Topic: Central Valley

Overview

Central Valley

The Central Valley is a vital agricultural region that dominates the center of California, stretching 40-60 miles east to west and about 450 miles from north to south.  It covers 22,500 square miles, about 13.7% of California’s total land area.

Key watersheds are located here: The Sacramento Valley in the north, San Joaquin Valley and Tulare Basin to the south. In addition, the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers drain their respective valleys and meet to form the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, which flows to the Pacific Ocean via the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Deb Haaland is approved as Interior secretary by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Rep. Deb Haaland’s bid to become the first Native American interior secretary was made more likely Thursday by an unlikely Republican supporter, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of oil-rich Alaska, who said she still had serious reservations about Haaland’s past opposition to drilling. Murkowski was the only Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to approve Haaland (D-N.M.) in the narrow 11-to-9 vote. Haaland’s nomination now moves to the full Senate, where the entire Democratic caucus and two Republicans, Murkowski and Susan Collins (Maine), are expected to back her, cementing her confirmation.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

New research: How much do humans influence Earth’s water levels?

Water levels in the world’s ponds, lakes and human-managed reservoirs rise and fall from season to season. But until now, it has been difficult to parse out exactly how much of that variation is caused by humans as opposed to natural cycles. Analysis of new satellite data published March 3 in Nature shows fully 57 percent of the seasonal variability in Earth’s surface water storage now occurs in dammed reservoirs and other water bodies managed by people. … The western United States, southern Africa and the Middle East rank among regions with the highest reservoir variability, averaging 6.5 feet to 12.4 feet. 

Aquafornia news Well+Good

Unsafe drinking water is a wellness issue

When Malini Ranganathan, PhD, an associate professor at American University and interim faculty director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, conducted research in Exeter, a flourishing agriculture town in California’s Central Valley, she didn’t expect to see similar conditions to what she’d witnessed in India’s low-income housing areas. Residents in one of the world’s richest states were depending on bore water and water tankers to drink because tap water was unsafe. 

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News Release: Cordua Irrigation District joins historic Lower Yuba River Accord

Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors today approved an agreement that adds the Cordua Irrigation District to the historic Lower Yuba River Accord, a model water management agreement that supports endangered salmon and steelhead, ensures water supplies for cities and farms and reduces conflict over water use.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Friday Top of the Scroll: Megadrought worsens in the Western U.S., California

Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year. In fact, some scientists are calling the dryness in the West a “megadrought,”  defined as an intense drought that lasts for decades or longer.  Overall, about 90% of the West is now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the highest percentages in the past 20 years, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Kleinfelder/Stantec team supporting critical California levee projects for US Army Corps of Engineers

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Sacramento District selected Kleinfelder and Stantec to provide engineering services for levee improvements on the Sacramento River in Northern California. The design project consists of seepage/stability improvements along the Sacramento River East Levee (SREL) downstream of the American River confluence in Sacramento. The project is part of the ongoing modernization of Sacramento’s aging flood infrastructure system.

Aquafornia news KHTS

Garcia introduces bill aimed at improving California’s access to water

Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bill Wednesday that would extend “critical water supply provisions” in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for the next seven years in an effort to improve California’s access to water. On Wednesday, Garcia introduced a bill that would enact a seven-year extension for “critical water supply provisions” in the WIIN Act, which became law at the end of 2016.

Aquafornia news ABC10 - Sacramento

California spring flood outlook 2021

Sacramento is typically ranked first or second in the country for the risk of flooding….This year, the California-Nevada River Forecast Center is forecasting a low potential for flooding due to spring snowmelt.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California’s snowpack signals another dry year, prompting calls to save water

California will face another critically dry year, and residents will need to adapt quickly to cope with water shortages and a warmer, drier climate that has helped fuel destructive wildfires. Officials with the state’s department of water resources announced on Tuesday they had found that the water content of the overall snowpack for 2 March amounted to 61% of the average. The state’s largest reservoirs were storing between 38% and 68% of their capacity, officials said, meaning that the state would have a lot less water to carry it through the rest of the year.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Celebrating 30 Years of NCWA

Looking back over the past 30 years, the Northern California Water Association has grown into an organization that the early founders can be extremely proud of. The men and women who had the foresight and passion to start the organization should be given a large amount of gratitude. What now is a high-level organization that fosters water management for multiple beneficial uses, sprung from very humble beginnings.

Aquafornia news Gizmodo

Blog: Humans have completely transformed how water is stored on Earth

Human fingerprints are all over the world’s freshwater. A new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature shows that while human-controlled freshwater sources make up a minimal portion of the world’s ponds, lakes, and rivers, they are responsible for more than half of all changes to the Earth’s water system. … Climate change already looms large over the world’s freshwater supply. Major sources of drinking water, like the Colorado River, have less water and are flowing more slowly due to climate change—even as they face increasing demand from our water-hungry farms and cities. Rainfall itself is becoming more erratic in some locations, such as California…

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New research: Oaks adapt drought resistance to local conditions

As climate change brings an increase in the frequency and severity of droughts, forest dieback is a key cause for concern: forests act as reservoirs of biodiversity and also allow vast amounts of carbon to be stored, reducing the so-called greenhouse effect. Oak trees, iconic veterans of European and American forests, have previously been thought to be highly vulnerable to drought. Now, thanks to a novel non-invasive optical technique, scientists from INRAE and the University of Bordeaux in France, with their colleagues from University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University have studied a range of oak species in North America to find out more about their resistance to drought.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Saving fish from extinction

A recent global assessment, released by 16 conservation organizations, of the world’s freshwater fish species found that nearly a third are at risk of extinction. Overfishing and climate change are the most significant and pervasive drivers of the global decline in freshwater biodiversity, but the blockages created by dams and the introduction of non-native species have also played significant roles. The news is distressing, yet CalTrout sees this as a call to action. Our organization works diligently to ensure resilient wild fish thrive in healthy waters. 

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Water conservation programs show potential to save water, energy and greenhouse gas emissions

In an innovative time where power and energy have evolved tremendously in the past few decades, efficiency and conservation have become new focal points, constantly being optimized in balance with costs. A study conducted by UC Davis’ Center for Water-Energy Efficiency illuminates the possibility of saving not only water but also energy and greenhouse gas emissions through water conservation programs. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Valadao hopes to pump funding into water infrastructure

Despite taking two years off from Congress, David Valadao (R—Hanford) is getting back to work by introducing new legislation to help keep water flowing in the Central Valley. Early this month, Valadao introduced the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements, or RENEW WIIN, Act, a no-cost, clean extension of operations and storage provisions of the WIIN Act. The RENEW WIIN Act would extend the general and operations provisions of Subtitle J of the WIIN Act and extend the provision requiring consultation on coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. 

Aquafornia news The (Vacaville) Reporter

Online public meeting planned to discuss groundwater sustainability

A part of the natural water cycle, groundwater is an important element of California’s water supply, especially in the Central Valley, where one in four people rely on it entirely. It is an especially important resource in the Solano Subbasin, a geographic area that includes Dixon, parts of Vacaville, Elmira, Rio Vista, unincorporated Winters, Davis, the Montezuma Hills, Isleton, Sherman Island and Walnut Grove. And every quarter, the Solano Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency Collaborative, aka the Solano Collaborative, hosts a Community Advisory Committee meeting and will so again from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Restricted season likely with poor Sacramento, Klamath river salmon numbers

A forecast of relatively low numbers of Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook salmon now swimming in the ocean off the California coast points to restricted ocean and river salmon fishing seasons in 2021. State and federal fishery managers during the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s salmon fishery information on-line meeting on February 25 forecast an ocean abundance this year of 271,000 adult Sacramento Valley fall Chinook salmon, about 200,000 fish lower than the 2020 estimate.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: This year will likely be critically dry for California

The winter storms that dumped heavy snow and rain across California early in 2021 are likely not enough to negate what will be a critically dry year, state water officials believe. California’s Department of Water Resources on Tuesday recorded a snow depth of 56 inches and water content of 21 inches at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. The water content of the overall snowpack was 61% of the average for March 2 and 54% of the average for April 1, when it is historically at its maximum.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California’s wet season nears an end with big concerns about drought

A disappointingly dry February is fanning fears of another severe drought in California, and cities and farms are bracing for problems. In many places, including parts of the Bay Area, water users are already being asked to cut back. The state’s monthly snow survey on Tuesday will show only about 60% of average snowpack for this point in the year, the latest indication that water supplies are tightening. With the end of the stormy season approaching, forecasters don’t expect much more buildup of snow, a key component of the statewide supply that provides up to a third of California’s water.

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Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: Bad news – CVP and SWP plan to drain CA’s largest reservoirs

The Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources plan to allocate approximately 5 million acre feet of water this year – as long as California allows them to effectively drain the two largest reservoirs in the state, potentially killing most or nearly all the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon this year, threatening the state’s resilience to continued dry conditions, and maybe even violating water quality standards in the Delta.

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

More than half of California in ’severe’ drought mode, 31% in ‘extreme,’ including parts of North Bay

Ninety-nine percent of the state is dry, according to ABC Seven News Meteorologist Mike Nicco. More than half of the state is in severe drought mode and 31% is in the extreme drought conditions which includes part of the North Bay. The Bay Area is abnormally dry right now, but that should have changed in January and February as they are typically our wettest months.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Reporter

Congress passes Garamendi bill to expand National Heritage Area into Rio Vista

Approximately 62 acres of land in Rio Vista, including the former Army Reserve Center, have been incorporated into legislation by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, to increase the boundaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. This bill, known as House Resolution 1230, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday and will move on to the Senate. The bill is an expansion of bicameral legislation by Garamendi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that was signed into law in 2019 to provide $10 million for community-based efforts to preserve the Delta’s cultural heritage as well as its historical landmarks. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘It’s a toxic blend’: where the kids are warned not to swallow the bath water

An invisible line splits the rural road of Avenue 416 in California’s Tulare county, at the point where the nut trees stretch east toward the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. On one side of the line, residents have clean water. On the other side, they do not. On the other side lies East Orosi, an unincorporated community of about 700 where children grow up learning to never open their eyes or mouths while they shower. They know that what comes out of their faucets may harm them, and parents warn they must not swallow when they brush their teeth. They spend their lives sustaining themselves on bottled water while just one mile down Avenue 416, the same children they go to school with in the community of Orosi can drink from their taps freely and bathe without a second thought.

Aquafornia news Winters Express

Opinion: Nature nearby – Climate change and Putah Creek

How do you factor in climate change? It can be a worrisome question, yet, it’s one that rightfully so demands an answer. A question that seems to loom over us, especially those who work within and on behalf of the environment. Yet, it might be difficult to notice the effects of climate change on Putah Creek. A walk along the creek exposes you to native riparian habitat and birds aplenty. Surely, the Chinook salmon return to their historic spawning habitat along Putah Creek could only signal a more healthy and stabilized habitat.
-Written by Alli Permann, Putah Creek Council Education Program Assistant. 

Aquafornia news KCET

Michael Preston: Helping sacred water heal people, land, spirits and salmon

Michael Preston grew up in the old village site of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, along the McCloud River in Northern California where the Shasta Dam has flooded spiritual and cultural lands. Since the 1940s, the creation of the dam has also blocked the usual migration of winter-run salmon, effectively endangering the species. Now, there are proposals to raise the dam by an additional 18.5 feet, which will cause further destruction. “Our tribal goal is to bring the salmon back … ” he said, adding that it’s more than just the fish. With the lack of salmon, which is a keystone species, other animals, such as bears, eagles and mountain lions are being starved.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thousands of native plants placed near Sacramento River

The organization River Partners teamed up with California State Parks and Butte County Resource Conservation District on Thursday to host a flood plain restoration and reforestation event. The event was called the Bidwell-Sacramento River State Park Riparian Restoration Project and was held near the Pine Creek Access point of the Sacramento River in Chico.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Friday Top of the Scroll: More than 25m drink from the worst US water systems, with Latinos most exposed

Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants. Latinos are disproportionately exposed, according to the Guardian’s review of more than 140,000 public water systems across the US and county-level demographic data. … Texas, where millions of residents lost access to water and power during the recent storm, has the most high-violation systems, followed by California and Oklahoma. The average number of violations is highest in Oklahoma, West Virginia and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news Responsible Investor

‘CalPERS is overlaying physical climate risk with water scarcity insights’: California’s Betty Yee on water risk

Today, Ceres’ Director of Water, Kirsten James is speaking to Betty Yee, who was first elected as California State Controller in November 2014 – a position that serves as the state’s chief fiscal officer. She also chairs the California Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards, representing a combined portfolio of nearly $500bn. She speaks about how her experience managing the world’s fifth-largest economy has shaped her thoughts on climate and water risk. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: California’s new futures market for water

On December 7, 2020, financial futures based on California water prices began trading. This post is a short introduction to these water futures. First, what’s a future? A future is a type of contract. It obligates the seller, who receives money, to provide some good at some future date, to the buyer, who pays money now to lock in the right to buy that good at that price. Humans have been using futures for thousands of years, primarily for agricultural products. But in recent years the futures markets have been expanding. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Biden urged to back water bill amid worst US crisis in decades

Democratic lawmakers and advocates are urging Joe Biden to back legislation proposing unprecedented investment in America’s ailing water infrastructure amid the country’s worst crisis in decades that has left millions of people without access to clean, safe, affordable water. Boil advisories, leaky lead pipes, poisonous forever chemicals, bill arrears and raw sewage are among the urgent issues facing ordinary Americans and municipal utilities after decades of federal government neglect, which has brought the country’s ageing water systems hurtling towards disaster. … Water supplies and sanitation have been disrupted over and over in recent decades – in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, California, Ohio and elsewhere …

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Magazine

Christy Smith appointed to Delta Stewardship Council

Former Assemblymember Christy Smith announced that she has been appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the Delta Stewardship Council. … The Council was created to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta – a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Delta as an evolving place.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Texas lessons for future California natural disasters

Consider California’s water systems. That they are not designed for what is coming seismically is no secret. Southern California still imports most of its water, and all of that imported water has to cross the San Andreas fault to get to us. None of those crossings has been engineered to work after the San Andreas breaks, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has estimated that it will take 18 months to repair all of them.
-Written by seismologist Lucy Jones, the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society and the author of “The Big Ones.”

Aquafornia news Colusa Sun Herald

Applications being accepted for 2021 Wetland Conservation Easement

Private landowners interested in enhancing, restoring and protecting wetlands are encouraged to apply for the Wetland Reserve Easements in California program facilitated by the Natural Resource Conservation Service. 

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts – Assessing climate change vulnerabilities

As Executive Officer Jessica R. Pearson identified in her December blog on the Delta Adapts initiative, “social vulnerability means that a person, household, or community has a heightened sensitivity to the climate hazards and/or a decreased ability to adapt to those hazards.” With an eye toward social vulnerability and environmental justice along with the coequal goals in mind, we launched our Delta Adapts climate change resilience initiative in 2018. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: A remembrance of George Basye

Many of my best days as a lawyer were spent driving through the Sacramento Valley and north Delta with George Basye (always in his Volvo).  As George neared his retirement, he wanted to ensure that I, as the successor to a number of his clients, understood the foundations of his client relationships.  George seemingly knew the history of every quarter section of land up and down the Valley.  He had a deep affection not only for the landscape but, most important to George, for the individuals and families who had settled and reclaimed the land and built the agricultural economy of the region.

Aquafornia news Far Eastern Agriculture

Follow the Food: Can agriculture overcome its own water problems?

For centuries, farmers have found ingenious ways of making the best of the water available, but access to fresh water is becoming more and more unpredictable. Extreme weather events and drought is as much of a threat, as flash flooding in farms and food producers. … In California’s Central Valley, a region that produces a quarter of the USA’s food and relies mostly on water pumped from underground, to irrigate the crops, is fast running out of its water supply. 

Aquafornia news Vanderbilt University

Blog: Evidence suggests climate whiplash may have more extremes in store for California

Vanderbilt paleoclimatologists using pioneering research have uncovered evidence of ancient climate “whiplash” in California that exceeded even the extremes the state has weathered in the past decade. Their findings present a long-term picture of what regional climate change may look like in the state that supplies the U.S. with more than a third of its vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts.

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Aquafornia news Atlas Obscura

Cresta Aqueduct – Oroville, California

AT FIRST GLANCE, THIS STRUCTURE appears to be an enigma. It’s a bridge between two granite monoliths, an above-ground tunnel, and an aqueduct carrying water over a creek. This structure is actually part of an elaborate water system. The Feather River Canyon is a scenic wonder. Sheer granite slabs rise hundreds of feet above the water. Almost equally impressive are the measures engineers have taken to conquer this rugged terrain.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Federal priorities for a secure water future in the West

Climate change will continue to impact the West, and particularly its water supply—the many impacts include longer and more damaging wildfire seasons as well as prolonged drought. Federal leadership and action are needed to address the climate crisis. With the 117th Congress now in session, Audubon is advocating at the federal level for funding and policy priorities that restore habitat, protect communities, and support birds through proactive water management and conservation.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News

Investments in California’s water may help lower costs during drought

Climate change and extreme weather events are forecast to further reduce water supplies in the American Southwest, and a new futures market could allow water users to recoup losses if the price of water spikes. The futures market is the first of its kind, allowing investors and farmers alike to bet on how much water in California will cost on a future date. Water users buy the futures contract to avoid risk and hedge against rising water prices affected by things such as droughts. 

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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Aquafornia news East County Today

City of Antioch breaks ground on water project in Delta

On Friday,  the City of Antioch, along with local and State dignitaries, broke ground on their new and historic Brackish Water Desalination Plant. At a price of $110 million, the project was made possible with $93 million in funding from the State, and $17 million from the City of Antioch.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Woodland council adopts initial phase of Cache Creek flood plan

Despite objections from some of the same landowners who have complained for nearly a decade that their property is being put at risk, the Woodland City Council has advanced its Lower Cache Creek Flood Feasibility Study. Acting this past week, the council voted unanimously to put the financial well-being of residents and businesses first in adopting an environmental impact report which favors a multi-million dollar project to divert Cache Creek floodwaters. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News Release: MAGSA awarded $10 million grant to expand On-Farm Recharge Project

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA), a Groundwater Sustainability Agency in the Central Valley’s Kings Subbasin, has been awarded a $10 million grant by the State Water Resources Control Board through the Prop 1 Stormwater Grant Program to expand the existing McMullin On-Farm Recharge (OFR) Project located near Helm in Fresno County.  The Project is identified in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan and is a key element in a vision developed by MAGSA to achieve groundwater sustainability under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) through innovative approaches in groundwater banking and crediting.

Aquafornia news Wired

Opinion: The energy sector must prepare for more extreme weather

Texas has always seen its share of extreme weather events, but over the past two decades they have intensified. A few years ago, after the fifth “ 500-year flood” in five years, I remarked to a friend, “We’re going to have to stop calling them that.” … Of course, this uptick in extreme weather is not limited to Texas. Numerous places across the country—and indeed the globe—have experienced multiple “historic” weather events in recent years. Last year, droughts in California led to six of the largest wildfires in the state’s history. In 2017 and 2018, British Columbia had two consecutive record-setting forest fire seasons.
-Written by Robert Rapier, a chemical engineer with over 25 years of experience in the energy industry.  

Aquafornia news KMPH

Lack of rain could potentially impact crops in the Central Valley

Crops are now blooming here in the San Joaquin Valley, which marks the beginning of harvest season for farmers. As a drier-than-usual wet season continues to unfold, many are worried about how current drought conditions will impact this year’s crop.

Related article:

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Rivas co-introduces statewide Clean Water Act

Nearing the 50th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act, Assemblyman Robert Rivas held a press conference on Feb. 2 to discuss the proposed California Clean Water Act, AB 377. The legislation, co-introduced by Rivas and state Senate Majority Leader Robert Hertzberg, would work to ensure all rivers, lakes, oceans and other bodies of water in California are clean enough for drinking, swimming and fishing purposes by 2050. 

Aquafornia news High Country News

Despite discrimination and drought, Punjabi Americans farm on

On a bright February morning, Kulwant Singh Johl, a third-generation Punjabi American farmer, checked the rain gauge in front of his neat stucco home in Northern California’s Yuba-Sutter area. Gusts and drizzles had battered his peach orchard nonstop for a week, but it still wasn’t enough to quench the recent drought. … And indeed, the intensifying drought could devastate livelihoods of many multigeneration Punjabi American farmers in California. This year, many may have to sell their hard-earned farm plots and leave an industry that they hold in high esteem.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Obituary: George Basye, long-time water law practitioner

In 1955 he joined Downey, Brand, Seymour and Rohwer in Sacramento, becoming a partner in 1958 and specializing in water and natural resources law. He represented the California Central Valley Flood Control Association and over 30 reclamation, levee, water, and irrigation districts and mutual water companies in the Sacramento Valley. He was actively involved in negotiations leading to the water right settlement agreements between the Sacramento River water users and the United States in 1964. He formed the North Delta Water Agency and negotiated the agreement in 1981 between that Agency and the State of California, protecting water quality and uses within the northern half of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news DredgingToday.com

Spotlight on Hamilton City levee project

Home to just under 2,000 people, the history of Hamilton City includes many flooding events and several near misses. One of the primary reasons for this susceptibility to flooding has been the town’s reliance on a substandard and undersized levee called the “J levee” – a levee that does not meet any USACE engineering standards.

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta Stewardship Council holds resilience scavenger hunt

Climate change is impacting the whole Earth, including the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. There are some big challenges ahead as the region changes over the next 30 years. In order to adapt to a world with increased flooding, drought, wildfire and intense heat, we need to start by understanding what’s going on. But where to begin? The Delta Stewardship Council is hosting a climate resilience scavenger hunt as part of its Delta Adapts initiative…. Now through Feb. 26, participants can complete as many activities as possible and submit their findings online. 

Aquafornia news KCRA

Millions of steelhead to be released throughout Central Valley

Steelhead season is underway in the Central Valley as three major hatcheries are set to release over 1.1 million fish into the Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers later this month. Steelhead are the migratory form of rainbow trout that make their journey to the Pacific Ocean and return to freshwater streams. 

Aquafornia news KCRA

Revisiting one of the costliest storms in NorCal history 35 years later

It is the 35th anniversary of one of the costliest and devastating storms in the history of Northern California. From Feb. 11 to Feb. 20, 1986, a series of three storms, each stronger than the previous, brought record-setting rain that, in some areas, overwhelmed flood control measures. In the end, the storms claimed 13 lives, and the damage was estimated at $400 million. The storm also brought eventual changes to California’s existing flood control system.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Our future in the Sacramento Valley – Serving water for multiple benefits

There has been recent commentary and discussion around a commodity futures market for water in California. In the Sacramento Valley, we are not involved in this process; nor are we participating in these contracts. Although we are not entirely clear on this market or what is being traded, it is clear that this new market does not involve real/wet water–which is our focus in the Sacramento Valley. We will continue to focus on serving water for cities and rural communities, farms, fish, birds, other wildlife and recreation.

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta study examines climate change effect

For the better part of the last two centuries, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been modified in any number of ways to meet the demands of Californians. But a new wide-ranging study looks at what might be the most serious Delta threat that doesn’t come in the form of an excavator – global warming. 

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Water District to host informative meeting on fire

A local water utility company is set to share information about how the Littlerock Creek watershed was adversely affected by the Bobcat fire. Palmdale Water District will host a free, virtual event at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 and provide information to the public about what steps are being taken to mitigate the damage. Much of the watershed has been burned and there is concern that potential heavy debris flow will create excessive sediment in the Littlerock Reservoir and affect water quality.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Western water conference goes virtual

A western water conference that draws national speakers each year — and normally draws Basin irrigators to Reno for the weekend — is being held virtually this Thursday and Friday due to COVID precautions. The Family Farm Alliance conference, organized in part by Klamath Falls-based executive director Dan Keppen, is themed “A Bridge over Troubled Water” this year. The alliance advocates for irrigated agriculture in 17 western states, including in Oregon.

Aquafornia news Growing Produce

Labor and water dominate California fruit growers’ concerns

Growers all over the U.S. are concerned about labor, and those in the Golden State are no exception. The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) announced the results of their “Top Issues Survey” for 2021, and labor- and water-related issues were prominently featured. CFFA members were recently surveyed to rank the top issues for the association to focus its efforts on this year.

Aquafornia news CapRadio.org

California now has a futures market for water. Some farmers are skeptical

Investors, farmers, and Reddit users can now all hedge bets on the price of water in California thanks to the launch of the first water futures market in the country late last year. It represents a new financial outlook on water in California — one driven by the market. Since its launch Dec. 7, the futures the market has seen 180 trades — equivalent to over 550 million gallons of actual water. But the water futures market has nothing to do with the movement of real water: it’s just about money.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee / The Guardian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump’s California water plan troubled federal biologists. They were sidelined

Federal scientists and regulators repeatedly complained they were sidelined by Donald Trump’s administration when they warned of risks to wildlife posed by a California water management plan, according to newly unveiled documents.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Eat prey loon – lessons from juvenile loons in Wisconsin

Identifying familiar habitats can be beneficial, but which habitat traits actually matter? A new study examines this question for juvenile common loons (Gavia immer) in lakes in northern Wisconsin. In central California we generally see loons in the winter, mostly in coastal ocean waters and also at some large reservoirs in Solano and Yolo County. But in summer, these large birds are icons of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, New England, and Canada.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Ag lender perspective on water futures and groundwater trading

Water futures and groundwater trading was the central focus of the most recent meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture. Several panelists and speakers weighed in on how a water trade system like that would impact farmers and ranchers. 

Aquafornia news Eos

Adaptation can compound climate change impacts on energy and water

In a recent study published in Environmental Research Letters, [Julia] Szinai and her colleagues present a framework that outlines the links between and vulnerabilities of [California's] energy and water systems. The findings can be used to evaluate how both climate change and our adaptation decisions might affect the interconnected systems. It’s a first and an “exhaustive” quantification of the linkages between energy and water…

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

FEMA releases more funds for reimbursing Oroville Dam spillway repair costs

The process to recoup over $1 billion in repairs to Oroville Dam’s spillways after the 2017 crisis is receiving more federal funds. The Department of Water Resources announced Feb. 1 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency released an additional approximately $308 million in requested funds for the Oroville Dam spillways reconstruction and emergency response. These funds are in addition to over $260 million that FEMA has already committed to …

Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Scientists still waiting to prove a Putah Creek-born ‘race’ of salmon

Scientists studying annual salmon runs in Putah Creek are still waiting for the absolute proof that fry born in the creek and leave for the ocean as juveniles are returning to spawn. However, since identifying one spawning fish in 2017 that was identified with a Putah Creek-Feather River origin, the University of California, Davis, and NOAA scientists have been collecting additional samples each year for analysis. 

Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

New research: In predicting shallow but dangerous landslides, size matters

The threat of landslides is again in the news as torrential winter storms in California threaten to undermine fire-scarred hillsides and bring deadly debris flows crashing into homes and inundating roads. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Local ag looks to spotlight its climate-friendly profile

The Kern County Farm Bureau issued a “call to action” this week asking local growers and ranchers to participate in a series of upcoming meetings that will influence the role California’s agricultural lands will be expected to play, or continue to play, in fighting climate change.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Report makes case for funding longer-range weather forecasting

Sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts could someday give western water managers as much as a two-year head start in planning for either a wet or dry winter. The scientific methodology already exists for what is known as S2S precipitation forecasting, but putting it to work requires improving weather and climate models and buying enough super-computer time to run the models to test them. Now, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report could spur Congress to approve the $15 million annual investment necessary to translate S2S forecasting from concept to implementation through pilot projects in the West.

Aquafornia news Ag Information Network of the West

Understanding the water consumption of treenut orchards

Tools such a SWIIM–which stands for Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management–provides a new standard in water measurement that allows growers to receive an accurate accounting of the water both delivered and consumed by their orchards. … And, of course we are talking about SGMA, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

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Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Regulatory changes on the horizon for California State Water Resources Control Board

On December 17, 2020, the Sacramento County Superior Court issued a ruling limiting the ability of the California State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) to implement its adopted statewide wetlands and Waters of the State (“WOTS”) regulations. 

Aquafornia news Columbia University

Blog: Rising water temperatures could be a death sentence for Pacific Salmon

In the Pacific Northwest, several species of salmon are in danger of extinction. The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has released a report on the state of salmon populations in the state’s watersheds — and the findings predict a grim future. … The population changes aren’t surprising to [scientist Daniel] Pauly. “This is what happens when temperature increases,” he said. “The fish are looking for the temperatures that they are attuned to, and if those temperatures are farther north, they move farther north. If you make a map from high arctic Alaska to California, the salmon stocks in California are essentially dead.”

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California’s rainfall is at historic lows. That spells trouble for wildfires and farms

There’s a race on in California, and each day matters: the precipitation during winter that fuels the snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas and fills groundwater supplies has been slow to start, and faltering at best. Northern California remains stuck in one of the worst two-year rainfall deficits seen since the 1849 Gold Rush, increasing the risk of water restrictions and potentially setting up dangerous wildfire conditions next summer. The current precipitation is only 30% to 70% of what the state would expect to have seen during a normal year – with no more big rainfall events on the horizon for February. 

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: To counter the worsening drought, California needs healthy soils

California is in the early stages of a severe multi-decadal drought, exacerbated by the climate crisis. As Dan Walters pointed out in his recent commentary, we must move quickly to prepare for water shortages and wildfires. A potent strategy to improve the state’s water storage capacity involves an ancient technology so ubiquitous that it is often overlooked: soil. The urgency of California’s drought and wildfire risks require that we invest in soil health now.
-Written by Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, and Torri Estrada, executive director of the Carbon Cycle Institute.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn, Attorneys at Law

Blog: Court of appeal holds that a city’s surcharge for utility services to cover voter approved general tax on revenues from customer fees and charges did not violate Proposition 218

The Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District recently ruled in Wyatt v. City of Sacramento that a City’s imposition of a surcharge in the form of a “general tax” on property-related utility services payable to the City’s general fund did not violate Proposition 218 (Prop. 218). The appellate court decision confirms that a surcharge imposed on a utility enterprise is a cost of providing utility services and is therefore properly part of the Prop. 218 analysis of determining whether revenues exceed funds required to provide the services. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Dry year myths revisited

It might be hard to imagine that it has already been more than five years since we exited the extreme dry years of 2014 and 2015. At that time, local, state and federal water managers were taking unprecedented actions in response to the dry conditions to maximize beneficial uses and every Californian was feeling the impact of multiple dry years. … In their blog earlier this year, Fritz Durst and Brent Hastey outlined much of the work that has occurred since 2015 to prepare for the next dry year. In addition to those actions, we also have worked to better identify the timing and quantity of water needed during dry years to maximize habitat benefits with limited resources.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog Q&A: How is the Delta conveyance project financed?

In the latest Delta Conveyance Deep Dive video, we take a look at the financing mechanisms that make the project possible, both now, in the initial planning stages, and in the future if the project is approved. It might not sound like the most exciting aspect of the project but it’s certainly one area where there’s a lot of public interest and concern. With a project of this scale (the most recent estimate of the total cost is around $16 billion) it’s not surprising that people want to know who’s footing the bill.

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Bay Area weather: Rain returning Thursday and Saturday

A storm is forecast to bring rain to the Bay Area on Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. After a stretch of sunny, dry weather, the first significant rainfall is heading to the Bay Area since an atmospheric river storm pummeled Northern California two weeks ago. A new storm is forecast to roll in Thursday night, forecasters said Tuesday. It won’t be anywhere near as big as the late January storm that triggered landslide warnings and evacuations in Santa Cruz County communities, and washed out a big chunk of Highway 1 in Big Sur.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Cascadian Farm supports Nature Conservancy’s water research

An organic food company has committed $750,000 to studying a sustainable farming strategy in the Sacramento Valley. Cascadian Farm, a manufacturer of cereal, granola, granola bars and frozen vegetables, announced the partnership with The Nature Conservancy last week. The money will fund a trial on a strategy that could turn working farmland into wildlife habitat, regenerate groundwater and reduce flood risk.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: California American Water invested more than $68 million in infrastructure improvements in 2020

California American Water recently announced its end-of-year investment total and system improvements for 2020. More than $68 million total was invested on system upgrades and various improvement projects in the communities we serve throughout the year. These improvements come despite the complications and challenges posed by COVID-19 public health emergency.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water suppliers consider drought restrictions

Marin County water districts are weighing the need for mandatory conservation actions in the face of abnormally low rainfall and what could be another prolonged drought. Marin’s two largest suppliers — the Marin Municipal Water District and the North Marin Water District — plan to begin with voluntary conservation measures before considering more restrictive options such as rationing and irrigation bans similar to those of the 2014 drought.

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Diverse bills take on rising sea level

The flood of state bills addressing sea level rise this year is surging faster than the ocean itself, as legislators recognize the urgent need to prepare for the consequences expected in the decades ahead. 

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Chico, Paradise sewer project unanimously reaches second phase

Chico City Council unanimously voted to analyze and study the current and future needs for the Chico Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) to develop a regional sewer connection to Paradise, according to the Town of Paradise. The connection will be from a specified area in Paradise, called the Sewer Service Area, and will include many parcels along Skyway, Pearson, and Clark Road.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Water systems in Fresno, Tulare counties in financial crisis

Unpaid water bills are piling up during the pandemic, as small water providers in the central San Joaquin Valley teeter toward a financial crisis that could affect drinking water quality and affordability. More than 76,000 customers in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties are behind on their water bills for a total debt of more than $15 million — according to the results of a state survey of just a fraction of community water systems. In reality, the collective debt is much larger. Small community water systems, many already on shaky financial footing, may need a bailout to keep safe and drinkable water running at a price affordable to customers.

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Aquafornia news MarketScreener

Cal Water selects Evan Markey to temporarily lead Oroville District

California Water Service (Cal Water) has announced temporary leadership changes for its Oroville District. Evan Markey has been named Interim District Manager, while previous District Manager George Barber is serving as Interim Director of Field Operations for the utility’s northern California region. Tavis Beynon will continue to serve as the Interim District Manager for the Chico District.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Water America’s crops challenge

Reclamation maintains and operates over 8,000 miles of water distribution systems that use, among other means, reservoirs and canals to store and deliver water. Water lost to seepage reduces the efficiency of the water delivery to the users and can cause undermining/erosion, subgrade soil migration, adverse vegetation growth, and even canal failure….This prize competition seeks innovative solutions that can reduce the costs and burdens associated with installation and maintenance of seepage reduction methods, and improve durability in a range of climatic conditions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Why Paradise CA wildfire hardening wasn’t enough to save it

Paradise had geared up for disaster. The Butte County town had an evacuation plan and emergency-notification systems. Paradise, neighboring communities and the county had undertaken “vegetation management” programs to reduce wildfire hazards. Yet for all its preparation, Paradise wasn’t truly ready for something like the Camp Fire. … The report comes as California, struggling with drought-like conditions, confronts another potentially difficult wildfire season.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Can Newsom end California water wars now that Trump is gone?

Shortly after taking office two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised to deliver a massive compromise deal on the water rushing through California’s major rivers and the critically-important Delta — and bring lasting peace to the incessant water war between farmers, cities, anglers and environmentalists. … [C]oming to an agreement as promised will require Newsom’s most artful negotiating skills. He’ll have to get past decades of fighting and maneuvering, at the same time California is continuing to recover from the worst wildfire season in modern state history and a pandemic that has since killed more than 42,000 state residents.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In California, a warming climate will help a voracious pest—and hurt the state’s almonds, walnuts and pistachios

California almond farmers enjoyed record-breaking harvests over the last five years, after production dipped in the wake of 2014’s historic drought. That year a chorus of headlines vilified almonds for sucking up a gallon of water per nut, though irrigation efficiency has been improving.  Now, as global temperatures rise, a caterpillar barely the size of a paper clip may threaten California’s position as the world’s leading producer of almonds, walnuts and pistachios. 

Aquafornia news AgNetWest

Winery wastewater guidelines impact half of all California operations

A new set of winery wastewater guidelines will be imposed on a statewide basis. The State Water Resources Control Board recently adopted a general order regulating how wastewater will be processed and discharged. … While the wine industry is concerned with water quality issues, there is some concern that a statewide mandate may not be the best approach to the issue. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save the date for our virtual Water 101 workshop in April

Curious about water rights in California? Want to know more about how water is managed in the state, or learn about the State Water Project, Central Valley Project or other water infrastructure?  Mark your calendars now for our virtual Water 101 Workshop for the afternoons of April 22-23 to hear from experts on these topics and more.

Aquafornia news CSR Wire

News Release: Cascadian farm commits $750,000 to The Nature Conservancy to rebuild wildlife habitat and restore groundwater on farmland in the Sacramento Valley

Cascadian Farm, a pioneering brand in the organic movement, announced its commitment of $750,000 to The Nature Conservancy to help rebuild farmland in California’s Sacramento Valley. The two-year investment will focus on partnering with farmers to rebuild wildlife habitat and regenerate groundwater on more than 25 million square feet, equal to 600 acres of farmland, in this key sourcing region for the brand.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton city council drops pursuit for potable water

Pleasanton is no longer pursuing potable reuse as a water supply alternative after the City Council voted 3-2 to stop studying the matter with other regional agencies on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

Water warning: The looming threat of the world’s aging dams

Tens of thousands of large dams across the globe are reaching the end of their expected lifespans, leading to a dramatic rise in failures and collapses, a new UN study finds. These deteriorating structures pose a serious threat to hundreds of millions of people living downstream…. In 2017, a spillway collapsed at the 50-year-old Oroville Dam in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills. It caused the evacuation of around 180,000 people. The 770-foot dam is the highest in the U.S. and, after repairs to the spillway, remains critical to the state’s water supply.

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Bay Area sewage systems at risk as seas rise

An NBC Bay Area investigation found 30 out of 39 sewage treatment plants located around San Francisco Bay Area are at risk of flooding as sea levels rise due to climate change. Four of those plants could flood with as little as 9.84 inches of sea level rise. That’s an amount that state analysts say is a possibility by 2030. If and when that happens, toilets won’t flush, and in some cases, sewage could back up into homes, whether residents live in the hills or along the coast.  

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Opinion: Salmon dwindling while SFPUC fiddling

While wetter streets and a greener White House may offer San Franciscans some hope for the future, the situation remains dire for salmon in the Tuolumne River. … [I]t’s hard not to feel that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water policies are partially to blame. Californians are significantly reducing or eliminating dependence on river water. But the SFPUC continues to side with agricultural users to fight limitations on the water it takes from the Tuolumne. 
-Written by Robyn Purchia, an environmental attorney, blogger and activist

Aquafornia news Equal Times

Water futures: the latest battleground in the defence of the fundamental right to water

The volatility of stock market trading has made global headlines over the past couple of weeks thanks to the frenzy surrounding a US video games retailer. It’s a dizzying yarn of Reddit vigilantes taking coordinated action to bankrupt hedge funds that were short selling GameStop stocks, resulting in rollercoaster share prices, trading restrictions and US congressional hearings. It provides a stark illustration of the absurdity of the stock market, and yet, late last year, the US state of California decided to allow water to become a tradable commodity.

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Agricultural developer agrees to pay Clean Water Act fines

A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River in Tehama County, California. The developer must also preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitive injunction, according to the Department of Justice. Roger J. LaPant Jr. originally purchased the property in 2011 and sold it in 2012 to Duarte Nursery Inc. which sold it that same year to Goose Pond Ag Inc. 

Aquafornia news KQED

California environmental officials switch to offense as Biden takes charge

Sacramento, at least, is excited about Washington’s new climate direction. Jared Blumenfeld and Wade Crowfoot head California’s environmental protection and natural resources agencies, respectively. Last week, they discussed with KQED’s Kevin Stark what the change from the Trump to Biden administrations might mean for California. … The president’s order to triple protected land and waterways across the country should also infuse the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management with badly needed funds. 

Aquafornia news Smithsonian Magazine

California’s Central Valley and the Colorado River Delta are epicenters for North America’s migratory birds

Migratory birds have followed the same flight patterns for millennia, searching for abundant food resources. The journey is often risky, and birds undergo harsh weather patterns—from storms that can throw them off course to dry arid landscapes that provide little to no food resources. A new study published this week in Ornithological Applications found tens of millions of birds depend on the river and wetland habitats weaved within the Colorado River Delta and California’s Central Valley while they make their journey across the dry western landscapes, reports Corryn Wetzel for Audubon.

Aquafornia news Globe Newswire

News release: $2M seed funding round empowers AQUAOSO to further its water risk mitigation tool set for agricultural lenders and landholders

According to the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, by 2030 humanity’s “annual global water requirements” will exceed “current sustainable water supplies” by 40%, highlighting the importance of building a water resilient future.

Aquafornia news KALW

One Planet: California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we are speaking with Sacramento Bee environment reporter Ryan Sabalow about his five part investigation, Nothing Wild: California’s relationship with the animal kingdom is broken. Can it be fixed? Invasive grasses are causing fires to explode, thousands of water birds are dying miserable deaths, and the sage grouse is at risk of disappearing forever. Sabalow explores California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

A surge from an atmospheric river drove California’s latest climate extremes

Flooding rains and record snow in California last week marked another extreme swing of the state’s climate pendulum. The widespread downpours triggered mudslides that damaged homes and roads near some of the huge fire scars from last summer, and also brought some of the water the state will need to end a months-long hot and dry streak and douse a record-setting wildfire season that extended into January. ….It could get worse. Stronger atmospheric rivers are part of California’s “whiplash” climate future…

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Aquafornia news The Signal

SCV Water hosts meeting on water-shortage plan

In a year when California has only received approximately half its average rainfall, the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency hosted a virtual public meeting to inform residents of the Water Shortage Contingency Plan and gather community input Thursday. The large amount of rain and snow that fell in recent days were the result of the state’s first major atmospheric river this winter, changing drought predictions, according to Thomas Chesnutt, a consultant from A&N Technical Services. However, according to data released Jan. 19, drought conditions have returned to California, with much of Los Angeles County in moderate drought conditions. 

Aquafornia news ABC7 KRCR

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: DWR secures additional $300M for Oroville Dam spillway repairs

The California Department of Water Resources has secured $308 million in funding to pay for reconstruction and repair work that has been done on the Oroville Dam’s spillways. The funds, released by FEMA, are in addition to the $260 million that the agency provided for repairs on the lower portion of the dam’s main spillway. Repair work on the damaged emergency and main spillways has been ongoing for nearly four years following February 2017’s spillway crisis. The $308 million announced Monday was at first rejected but later approved by FEMA following an appeal from the DWR last year.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After a snowy few days in Northern and Southern California, there’s more to come this week

After a particularly wet week, Californians shouldn’t hang up their snow shovels and raincoats just yet. Those in Southern California should expect 1 to 8 inches of snow to fall in the mountainous areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties between late Tuesday and Wednesday night, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, one-quarter to one-half of an inch of rain is forecast to fall, with 3/4 inches expected in the foothills, Hoxsie said. 

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

The 1862 Megaflood and the ‘finger of fate’

While Global Warming only intensifies weather conditions, the geological record shows that Megafloods have occurred in California every century or two, likely triggered by “atmospheric rivers” dumping a conveyor belt of drenching rains out of the Pacific. The last Megaflood occurred in 1861-62, flooding all western states, putting vast sections of California underwater for months, ruining a quarter of the state’s economy, and pushing California into near-bankruptcy.

Aquafornia news Elk Grove Citizen

Elk Grove water district hires Kamilos as general manager

Bruce Kamilos last week was hired to serve as the next general manager of the Florin Resource Conservation District (FRCD), which manages the Elk Grove Water District. Kamilos will replace the district’s current General Manager Mark Madison, who will retire on May 1.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: California drought still looms despite latest ‘atmospheric river’

Six years ago, in the middle of a crippling drought, Californians were ordered to let their lawns turn yellow. They put buckets in their showers to conserve. Scofflaws had to attend “drought school.” Meanwhile, farmers throughout the Central Valley had to idle many of their fields. This week’s deluge left many Californians shoveling snow and splashing through puddles as an “atmospheric river” swept the state. More precipitation is in the forecast for next week. But experts worry that without repeated downpours over the next two months, the painful memories of the last drought could become reality again. 

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Aquafornia news CapRadio

Here’s what California lawmakers want to do to take action on climate change

Wildfires and smoke have ravaged large parts of California, sea level rise is threatening the golden coast’s viability and drought is looming in the future. … But for the first time in four years action on climate change is gaining momentum on the federal level — President Joe Biden signed multiple executive orders related to the crisis in his first week in office. Meanwhile California has held ground on climate policies as the Trump Administration rolled back environmental rules and regulations.  

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Atmospheric rivers and the future of California

Ten days ago the state set new heat records and brush fires broke out. Burn areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains rekindled. Then, over the last three days, a 2,000-mile-long filament of water in the sky burst over the areas that last week sat brown and smoking. Snow fell on peaks and even some lower hills in the Bay Area. The California Department of Water Resources Central Sierra snow measurement station jumped from 42 percent of average to 62 percent of average.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Judge voids Monterey County approval of Cal Am desal plant project

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has set aside the county’s approval of California American Water’s desalination plant project over its rationale for why the project’s benefits would outweigh environmental impacts in a lawsuit brought by the Marina Coast Water District. At the same time, the judge rejected a bid by Marina Coast to require the county to conduct additional environmental review for the project as a result of new information and changed circumstances…

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: The floodplain forward – Bypasses and fish habitat

Today, 95% of the Central Valley’s historical floodplains are cut off from the river by levees. Built in the early 1900s to combat devastating floods, levees and bypasses were constructed to corral mighty rivers and push water quickly through the system. Even before invasive species, large rim dams, and Delta water export facilities were introduced into the system, salmon populations started to dramatically decline with the construction of the levees. Simply put, the levees prevented Chinook salmon from accessing their primary food source. 

Aquafornia news KCRW

To understand food waste, follow a California strawberry along the supply chain

Nearly half of food grown in the United States gets thrown out. More food is tossed once it reaches a household fridge than at any other point in the supply chain. With every strawberry that doesn’t get eaten comes the wasted water to grow it, the wasted gas to transport it, the methane it emits while it rots, and crowded landfills.

Aquafornia news UC Davis

News release: Eye-popping research helps inform salmon and floodplain management

If you look deep into the eyes of a fish, it will tell you its life story. Scientists from the University of California, Davis, demonstrate that they can use stable isotopic analysis of the eye lenses of freshwater fish—including threatened and endangered salmon—to reveal a fish’s life history and what it ate along the way. They conducted their study, published today in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, through field-based experiments in California’s Central Valley. The study carries implications for managing floodplains, fish and natural resources; prioritizing habitat restoration efforts; and understanding how landscape disturbances impact fish.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Budgeting for agricultural sustainability and resiliency

Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes funds for agricultural programs designed to build climate resilience and support farmers’ financial resilience and water security. We talked to Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) about progress on such programs, and what’s on the horizon.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Tens of millions of western birds depend on these two regions during migration

Each spring and fall, an estimated 1 billion birds migrate through the Pacific Flyway, which snakes down from Alaska, along the West Coast of the United States and Mexico, and into South America. … Now new research reveals what has been long-suspected but never confirmed: California’s Central Valley and the Colorado River Delta are hotspots for North America’s migratory landbirds. 

Aquafornia news Patch

Dublin-San Ramon Services District Board vacancy: 4 candidates to be interviewed soon

A new representative for the vacant Dublin San Ramon Services District Board Division 5 will be appointed at the Tuesday, Feb. 2 board meeting. Two members of the public applied for the position, which represents Dublin residents east of Hacienda Drive. Any applicants must live within the boundaries of the district and the board short-listed five candidates. Four finalists from that pool will be interviewed during the meeting, which is set to begin at 6 p.m. 

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Opinion: California must change course to avoid water shortages

Californians have recently endured increasingly aggressive wildfires, rolling power outages, and smoke-filled air for days. Unless the state government changes course, we can add water shortages to this list. … However, the dirty little secret is that 50 percent of California’s water supply is used for environmental purposes and is ultimately flushed out into the Pacific Ocean, 40 percent goes to agriculture, and only 10 percent goes for residential, industrial, commercial, and governmental uses.
-Written by Daniel Kolkey, a former judge and former counsel to Governor Pete Wilson and board member of Pacific Research Institute.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Backers of higher Tuolumne flows welcome latest ruling

A federal agency has ruled that the state can continue to seek higher flows on the Tuolumne River than planned by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The Jan. 19 ruling drew cheers from environmental and fishing groups that have long sought larger releases from Don Pedro Reservoir into the lower river. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: San Francisco – Save the river you drink from

San Francisco rightly prides itself on being an environmental leader. Given this deep commitment to protecting the environment, the city’s water agency — the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission — should be a leader in smart, sustainable water policy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. But Mayor London Breed now has a once-in-a-decade chance to turn the SFPUC in a new direction by appointing a progressive, visionary new general manager who reflects the city’s values. San Francisco’s Bay-Delta ecosystem and the Central Valley rivers that feed it are in steep decline…
-Written by John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association, and Kate Poole, the water lead for the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

Aquafornia news Regional Water Authority

News release: Michelle Banonis selected as RWA manager of strategic affairs

The Regional Water Authority (RWA) is delighted to announce that Michelle Banonis has been selected as the organization’s new Manager of Strategic Affairs. Banonis has over two decades of experience in water, ecosystems, engineering, policy, and law, and most recently served as the Assistant Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources where she worked on water-related issues of statewide significance with multiple interests.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News Release: State Water Boards adopts new rule for winery wastewater processing and discharging

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a general order for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and surface water from wastewater discharges. The order protects groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water quality. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Biden faces tough climate balancing act on public lands

The Trump administration left President Biden a dilemma in the California desert: a plan to remove protections from millions of acres of public lands and open vast areas to solar and wind farms. Biden’s team could easily block the proposed changes, which were slammed by conservationists as a last-gasp effort by the outgoing administration to support private industry at the expense of wildlife habitat and treasured landscapes….There are also places to put solar and wind installations besides intact habitat, including Central Valley farmland with dwindling water supplies … 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

California wildfire risk eases with rains spreading in parched state

California’s wildfire threat could ease over the next few weeks, with a series of storms bringing much-needed moisture after heat and drought torched record acreage in the state. The first downpour is already spreading across Northern California Friday, and that will be followed by progressively stronger systems through next week …

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Friday Top of the Scroll: California water operations among Biden agency review plans

California’s tussle with federal authorities over water operations will get a second look under the new administration of President Joe Biden. The 46th president plans to sign a number of executive orders, including one that instructs agency heads to review actions taken under President Donald Trump that “were harmful to public health, damaging to the environment, unsupported by the best available science, or otherwise not in the national interest.” On the list for both the departments of Commerce and Interior is a review of new biological opinions adopted in 2019 governing water delivery in California. 

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Aquafornia news Market Screener

California Water Service completes water infrastructure upgrade to support Stockton customers

California Water Service (Cal Water) has completed a multiphase infrastructure project in the Magnolia area of Stockton that will keep critical water infrastructure in the area safe and reliable. The upgrade will ensure customers, firefighters, and nearby medical facilities continue to have the water they need for their everyday and emergency needs.

Aquafornia news Colusa Sun Herald

Virtual workshop planned about Well Monitoring Pilot Program

The Colusa and Glenn Groundwater Authorities will host an online workshop about a Well Monitoring Pilot Program the agencies are implementing.  The voluntary, non-regulatory program will gather information about groundwater use in the Colusa Subbasin while also providing participants with near-real time access to information on well production and groundwater levels at their wells, according to a press release. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Justice

News release: Agricultural developer agrees to pay clean water act fines, mitigate impacts to sensitive streams and wetlands

A California agricultural developer has agreed to pay a civil penalty, preserve streams and wetlands, effect mitigation, and be subject to a prohibitory injunction to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) on property near the Sacramento River located in Tehama County, California, the Justice Department announced today.  Roger J. LaPant Jr. purchased the property in this case in 2011 and sold it in 2012…

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for a dry year

While they remain hopeful the rest of winter will provide much more rain and snow, water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for the potential for a dry year. While the prospect of a dry year is always jarring and challenging, we have confidence in the experience and knowledge that our water resources managers gained in 2014-15, and the strategies this region has implemented since that time to prepare for a dry year.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Chico’s Cal Water gets new interim leader

There are temporary changes in leadership for Chico’s California Water Service district as of Friday. Tavis Beynon will be the interim district manager while previous District Manager George Barber is serving as interim director of Field Operations for the utility’s Northern California region.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: 3 critical lessons California offers to improve restoration of land on a global scale

California has lost more than 90% of its wetlands since the arrival of European settlers. Wetlands play an increasingly crucial role in absorbing excess water and protecting coastal and inland communities from flooding. They also provide critical habitat for wildlife, including a variety of species found nowhere else on Earth, some of which are at risk of blinking out of existence…. we’ve identified three critical lessons California has to offer the world to improve restoration on a global scale…
-Written by Julie Rentner, president of River Partners, and Manuel Oliva, CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Crop reports reveal new, old trends in valley agriculture

While farm receipts from 2018 to 2019 show an almost unchanging total, beneath the surface, shifts in dominant crops have begun to occur as growers face labor shortages and higher water demand.Cumulatively, ag commissioners across Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties report gross values in 2019 equaling $19.41 billion, down from $19.45 billion in 2018.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Northern California tribe asks judge to block permanent water contract with Westlands

The Hoopa Valley Tribe in Humboldt County argued before a federal judge that no Trinity River water can be sent to the Central Valley at the expense of the tribe’s fishery. The main dispute is over whether to block the U.S. Department of Interior from signing permanent water delivery contracts with Valley agribusiness interests, including Westlands Water District. Opponents say the real agenda is being driven by environmental groups that don’t want extra money going towards water storage projects, and they’re singling out Westlands because of its name recognition.

Aquafornia news Estuary News

How the Great Flood of 1862 inspired Measure AA

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, it was a wake-up call for Bay Area Council members, who were glued to coverage of the devastation from their tenth floor offices near San Francisco’s Ferry Building… They asked themselves if the disaster unfolding 3,000 miles away could strike here too. [They] realized the answer was yes when they learned about the Great Flood of 1862, the worst in California’s recorded history.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Unsafe water more common in communities of color

In this video, Elizabeth Martinez, of Lideres Campesinas—and a resident of Kern County, California—talks about the fears and challenges of living in a county with a long history of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Michele Roberts of Environmental Justice Health Alliance and NRDC’s Kristi Pullen Fedinick highlight their analysis of data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that confirms there is unequal access to safe drinking water, based most strongly on race.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Toxic tap water in Latino towns is a legacy of racist policies, California officials say

In the San Joaquin Valley, agricultural runoff from fertilizer and manure leaches into groundwater, contributing to some of the highest levels of nitrate pollution in community water systems in the country. A new report shows Latino neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by elevated levels of nitrate, which advocates say is a result of a historic pattern of racist policies at every level of government.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

New land trust focused on groundwater aims to give farmers options

Southern Tulare County farmers inching toward a cliff of groundwater restrictions that could dry up tens of thousands of acres have joined with conservationists to potentially soften their own landing and help improve wildlife habitat at the same time. At least that’s the goal of the newly formed Tule Basin and Water Conservation Trust.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Cows get hot, too: A new way to cool dairy cattle in California’s increasing heat

California dairy farmers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year trying to keep their cattle cool, as increasingly high summer temperatures, driven by climate change, heat up the country’s biggest dairy state. Cows are especially sensitive to heat and produce less milk when they are overheated, so farmers in California try to keep them cool using shade, fans and sprinkler systems. But these cooling systems use huge amounts of water and electricity, adding costs and wasting resources in an already resource-stretched state. 

Aquafornia news Water in the West

Flying the foothills to fill groundwater data gaps

Groundwater managers across the Central Valley striving to attain sustainability for underground aquifers are largely operating without a map. California’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act requires managers to attain groundwater sustainability by 2042. However, critical knowledge is lacking on where water flows from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to recharge water supplies underground, and where there are sites that could be used to enhance the recharge…

Aquafornia news SciTech Daily

Keeping California a powerhouse of almond production while improving environmental quality

Almond trees shed leaves, grow woody tissue, and undergo other processes similar to trees in a real forest. These all have effects on carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrient cycles. These characteristics can often mean that nutrients flow off of the field. They can get into areas like groundwater aquifers, where they can impact drinking water supplies for rural communities.

Tour Nick Gray

Clone of Central Valley Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - November 19

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

This virtual experience focuses on the San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of the vast region, which is facing challenges after years of drought, dwindling water supplies, decreasing water quality and farmland conversion for urban growth. The tour gives participants an understanding of the region’s water use and issues as well as the agricultural practices, including new technologies and water-saving measures.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water board enforcement actions being taken on dairies

Dairy producers will need to be mindful of enforcement actions from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. Paul Sousa of Western United Dairies said enforcement typically occurs during the rainy season. Enforcement actions have been taken on six California dairies.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Rice fields provide crucial refuge for migrating birds

As a rice farmer in Yolo County, Kim Gallagher should be used to the sight of thousands of birds swarming her flooded fields this time of year—but when she sees a flock take off, scattering the sky with a confetti of fluttering wings, her enjoyment is clear.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

New law adds resources to combat invasive nutria

A bill that would send federal help to California and other states looking to eradicate an invasive swamp rodent has been signed into law.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: ARkStorm

California tends to be wetter than normal during the El Niño phase of ENSO, and dryer during the La Niña phase. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation affects California rainfall similarly. Since the two cycles run at different rates, sometimes they compete and cancel each other out, but when they are in synch, we get severe drought or inundation.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FEMA ends policy favoring flood walls over green protections

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a dramatic step to encourage communities to use environmentally friendly features such as wetlands for flood protection instead of building sea walls and levees.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Congress passes Harder bill aimed at invasive rodent

Congress has given final approval to a bill that would take on nutria, a giant rodent threatening waterways in the Central Valley and beyond. … The measure, HR 3399, would provide $12 million to California and several other affected states for nutria control, research and related efforts.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Mega fires and floods: New extremes require a response of similar scale

Californians are understandably focused on the wildfires that have charred more than 3 million acres and darkened our skies – forcing us to find masks that protect us from both COVID-19 and smoke. But Californians should also pay attention to the multiple hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast this season. These disasters have much in common.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bilingual SGMA video series to foster better understanding

State and local agencies are continuing to work to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. With SGMA’s far-reaching implications, Ph.D. candidate at UC Merced, Vicky Espinoza has created a bilingual video series to help provide a better understanding of the impact of SGMA and generate more engagement.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water board must establish a state water budget that California can afford

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt writes that a “Grand Bargain” in California water is needed to end the “political culture of deferral” and allow major water projects to advance. On the contrary, what’s needed is an adult regulator that will make hard choices that water users refuse to make.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Climate change may bring unexpected benefits to San Francisco Bay-Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself, development and other land use changes have left only a tiny fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Americans back tough limits on building in fire and flood zones

Americans support far more aggressive government regulation to fight the effects of climate change than elected officials have been willing to pursue so far, new research shows, including outright bans on building in flood- or fire-prone areas — a level of restrictiveness almost unheard-of in the United States…in California and elsewhere, officials continue to approve development in areas hit by fires.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Tom Philpott predicts the end of farming as we know it

The veteran food writer’s new book warns that the current trajectory of farming in California’s Central Valley and the Corn Belt could be setting us up for collapse.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

U.S. flood strategy shifts to ‘unavoidable’ relocation of entire neighborhoods

This month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency detailed a new program, worth an initial $500 million, with billions more to come, designed to pay for large-scale relocation nationwide. … On the other side of the country, California has told local governments to begin planning for relocation of homes away from the coast.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

California’s war against nutria is getting bloodier. But it’s unclear who’s winning

Because the invasive 20-pound rodents pose a unique threat to California’s wetlands, the state has expanded the Nutria Eradication Program over the past year to a staff of 26 field operatives 100% dedicated to exterminating the swamp rat. Unlike just about everything else in the state, the war against nutria has been almost entirely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: Saving native Central Valley salmonids

One survival bottleneck that needs opening for salmon and steelhead in the Central Valley is predation by non-native fish. There is a long list of non-native and native predators from which native fish need protection. The best protection is to minimize native-nonnative habitat interactions. That can best come from adequate physical-geographical habitat and habitat water quality for natives while minimizing non-native fish habitat.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Proposals for California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program being accepted

With up to $4,058,220 available, the program provides economic incentives to landowners or lessees who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a management plan developed through a consultation with biologists from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program for a two-year period.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta lead scientist report: New research papers focus on habitat, flow, predation

At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Lead Scientist Dr. John Callaway updated the Council on the latest scientific developments, discussing three papers that highlight the multi-faceted approach that is needed to address the Delta’s ecosystem; he also previewed upcoming events and provided the By the Numbers Report.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein, Kennedy introduce legislation to eradicate nutria

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) to introduce legislation to amend the Nutria Eradication and Control Act. The legislation would authorize an additional $6 million a year to increase assistance for states that implement initiatives to eradicate the invasive species.

Aquafornia news Ingrained

Audio: Giants in the rice fields

Nearly 230 wildlife species depend on Sacramento Valley rice fields for food and a resting place, including the giant gartersnake, a threatened species. Although it has “giant” in its name, this creature is, at most, five-feet long. These snakes are heavily dependent on rice fields for their survival; having lost most of their earlier habitat – traditional wetlands…

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Migratory river fish populations plunge 76% in past 50 years

Species such as salmon, trout and giant catfish are vital not just to the rivers and lakes in which they breed or feed but to entire ecosystems. By swimming upstream, they transport nutrients from the oceans and provide food for many land animals, including bears, wolves and birds of prey.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: High and rising: Flood risk in California grows

FEMA maps show that roughly 500,000 California properties are at substantial likelihood of flooding, with a 1% chance of being flooded in any given year. The study found that more than twice that amount—1.1 million properties—are already at this level of risk, and that an additional 150,000 properties will join them in the next 30 years, mainly because of rising seas.

Aquafornia news Weather West

Blog: Extreme atmospheric rivers: What will California’s strongest storms look like in a warming climate?

Since ARs are such a fundamental aspect of California’s historical climate, it’s critically important to understand how such events are changing in a warming world.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Understanding the human dimensions of social agro-ecological systems

This brown bag seminar was part of the selection process for a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist who will be hired jointly with the Delta Stewardship Council. … The candidate and presenter is Jessica Rudnick. Rudnick arrived at UC Davis in 2016 after completing her master’s in ecology and has since been a Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: California almonds and salmon: Contrasts in sustainability

Earlier this year, the California Almond Board released a report regarding the acreage of almond trees that have reached bearing age and another with totals including young trees. These reports paint a stark picture of an unsustainable industry that threatens the Bay-Delta ecosystem and California’s salmon fishing jobs.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bigger, badder storms coming in years ahead, and California is right in their path

California’s wild weather swings, from pounding rain to drought and from fires to floods, are widely expected to worsen as the climate warms. A new study shows just how severe things might get, and it’s not pretty.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Can we talk? New nationwide flood maps provide opportunities for dialogue

For 50 years, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have unintentionally stifled conversations of flood risk. They have encouraged property-owners and governments at all levels to dwell on map details for one static event, rather than flood risks for a range of events… Now, First Street Foundation has released a new tool that can change how these conversations develop…

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Location, location, location: New tool shows where groundwater recharge will maximize benefits

With support from EDF, four UC Santa Barbara graduate students have developed a new mapping tool for California’s Central Valley to identify the best locations for groundwater recharge to secure these bonus benefits. The tool, called Recharge for Resilience, is available online and also can be downloaded by users with more technical expertise.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Brown bag seminar: Building socioecological resilience by confronting environmental injustice

This brown bag seminar is part of the selection process for a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist who will be hired jointly with the Delta Stewardship Council. The position with the Delta Stewardship Council will provide leadership in advancing collaborative partnerships and initiatives and in catalyzing and implementing social science research to inform management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region of California.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Should farmers meter their wells now for SGMA?

With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act closing in on growers throughout California, there are many questions. One big one: should growers go ahead and put a meter on their pumps?

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Pandemic, water costs, consumer behavior lead to $2 billion in ag losses thus far

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on California agriculture was severe, unprecedented, and will continue to affect the industry in the coming months and years. That’s the sobering news from an economic study released last week by Davis-based ERA Economics. [The report also noted] Groundwater Sustainability Plan implementation started earlier this year for critically overdrafted groundwater sub-basins across the state and 2020 water supply deliveries for ag are reduced, resulting in higher water costs.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Sun

Opinion: Damming up water progress throws California’s future into limbo

Get ready… here comes the true California water cycle: It begins with headlines and quotes warning of pending disaster based on what could, might, maybe, or possibly happen over the state’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: California hatcheries complete release of 20 million young salmon

Hatcheries operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in the Central Valley just completed the final release of young Chinook salmon raised this year. More than 20 million young salmon, called smolts, raised in four state-run hatcheries were released in various locations throughout the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems, the Delta, San Pablo Bay and into a coastal net pen.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Understaffed and ‘struggling,’ Central Valley Water Board trims programs

While the budget for next year has yet to be passed, the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board is already taking drastic steps to prepare for a significant reduction in staffing. Farmers could face a potential fallout further down the road. “All told, the board is looking at around a 30 to 35% reduction in productivity,” said Patrick Pulupa, executive officer for the regional board, during a meeting Thursday.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Nut of the future?

With droughts inevitable, more farmers are switching from almonds to pistachios, but not everyone is happy about it. Around the Central Valley, as far north as Colusa but mostly south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, pistachio production is rapidly accelerating. 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California court of appeal holds noncontiguous landowner has a riparian right to Middle River based on extrinsic evidence

On May 7, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal issued a much-anticipated ruling in Modesto Irrigation District (MID) v. Tanaka, (Super. Ct. No. 34-2011-00112886-CU-JR-GDS) holding that the question of whether a landowner of noncontiguous real property has a riparian right depends upon the intent of the parties at the time of conveyance of the land, and such intent may be inferred from extrinsic evidence.

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Aquafornia news Center for Biological Diversity

News Release: Lawsuit challenges federal water contracts that imperil Delta, fish, wildlife

Three environmental groups sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Wednesday to dispute the award of permanent federal water contracts to water users supplied by the Central Valley Project. The suit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, Restore the Delta and Planning and Conservation League challenges the Trump administration’s moves to make permanent 14 existing short-term Central Valley Project contracts and ongoing work to convert dozens of others.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Opinion: ACWA urges state and federal officials to resume Delta voluntary agreement talks

In letters addressed to Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Association of California Water Agencies is urging state and federal officials to rejoin talks on voluntary agreements to address ecosystem needs in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Clean water in a time of coronavirus: Tackling the crisis in California

In many areas of the Central Valley and Central Coast, decades of intensive agriculture has resulted in groundwater too polluted to drink, and wells that have gone dry from over-pumping. More than one million people in these regions lack a source of clean water in their homes. This is a hardship even in the best of times, but it puts communities at extremely high risk during this time of crisis.

With Sustainability Plans Filed, Groundwater Agencies Now Must Figure Out How To Pay For Them
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's Prop. 218 taxpayer law and local politics could complicate efforts to finance groundwater improvement projects

A groundwater monitoring well in Colusa County, north of Sacramento. The bill is coming due, literally, to protect and restore groundwater in California.

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years.

Western Water Water Education Foundation

ON THE ROAD: Cosumnes River Preserve Offers Visitors a Peek at What the Central Valley Once Looked Like
Preserve at the edge of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta includes valley oak forests and wintering grounds for cranes

Sandhill cranes gather at the Cosumnes River Preserve south of Sacramento.Deep, throaty cadenced calls — sounding like an off-key bassoon — echo over the grasslands, farmers’ fields and wetlands starting in late September of each year. They mark the annual return of sandhill cranes to the Cosumnes River Preserve, 46,000 acres located 20 miles south of Sacramento on the edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Meet the Veteran Insider Who’s Shepherding Gov. Newsom’s Plan to Bring Climate Resilience to California Water
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Former journalist Nancy Vogel explains how the draft California Water Resilience Portfolio came together and why it’s expected to guide future state decisions

Nancy Vogel, director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program, highlights key points in the draft Water Resilience Portfolio last month for the Water Education Foundation's 2020 Water Leaders class. Shortly after taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom called on state agencies to deliver a Water Resilience Portfolio to meet California’s urgent challenges — unsafe drinking water, flood and drought risks from a changing climate, severely depleted groundwater aquifers and native fish populations threatened with extinction.

Within days, he appointed Nancy Vogel, a former journalist and veteran water communicator, as director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program to help shepherd the monumental task of compiling all the information necessary for the portfolio. The three state agencies tasked with preparing the document delivered the draft Water Resilience Portfolio Jan. 3. The document, which Vogel said will help guide policy and investment decisions related to water resilience, is nearing the end of its comment period, which goes through Friday, Feb. 7.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Opinion: Water plan should focus on the future, not the past

Time and time again seemingly well-intentioned initiatives and repeated attempts to develop a comprehensive water management solution have failed, despite cautionary tales. However, 2019 witnessed the horizon of a new initiative called the Voluntary Agreements that could do what few, if any, past plans, efforts, or reports could do – unite water management and develop collaboration.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

At a panel discussion hosted by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, the panelists discussed how by spreading out and slowing down water across the landscape can provide multiple benefits year-round by allowing farmers to cultivate the land during the spring and summer, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife in the fall and winter months.

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

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

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

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

Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. flood risk model to be publicly available in boon for homebuyers

A climate research organization will offer access to a risk model that predicts the probability of flooding for homes across the United States, giving the public a look at the data institutional investors use to gauge risk.

Aquafornia news The Grocer

How US almond growers are struggling to overcome ‘vampire’ image problem

Californian almonds will benefit from a new public campaign next week to capitalise on the explosion in plant-based eating… However, the environmental reputation of the almond sector is much less favourable. It was once labelled a “horticultural vampire” by US magazine New Republic for its perceived role in California’s most recent droughts.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan

While considerable progress has been made to improve flood management in the Central Valley, the vast region still faces significant flood risk. … It has been estimated that California needs to spend at least $34 billion to upgrade dams, levees, and other flood management infrastructure. Accomplishing these upgrades within 25 years would mean spending $1.4 billion per year—roughly twice the current level of investment.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck

A year later, issues triggered by a contentious plan by state water regulators to increase unimpaired river flows for the benefit of fish remain firmly mired in red tape.

Commands