Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news Manteca-Ripon Bulletin

Opinion: Of rising oceans, 200-year floods & the California double standard

The California Natural Resources Agency in 2009 and again in 2013 issued reports on existing and anticipated climate change impacts based on peer reviewed science. Assessments from those reports have become part of the foundation as to why the California Legislature has established policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore the projected impacts of climate change.
-Written by Dennis Wyatt, Columnist for the Bulletin.

Aquafornia news WIRED

People should drink way more recycled wastewater

On a dusty hilltop in San Diego, the drinking water of the future courses through a wildly complicated and very loud jumble of tanks, pipes, and cylinders. Here at the North City Water Reclamation Plant, very not-drinkable wastewater is turned into a liquid so pure it would actually wreak havoc on your body if you imbibed it without further treatment. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Scientists see a La Niña coming. What does that mean for the dry American Southwest?

The wet winter the American south-west has hoped for as it battles extreme drought and heat is increasingly unlikely to materialize as scientists now predict that a phenomenon known as La Niña will develop for the second year in a row. The weather system could intensify the worst effects of the drought … Different regions in the US will experience different outcomes. Washington state, Oregon, and even possibly northern California could see wetter conditions than normal, possibly causing problems if the rain comes as a deluge.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California records driest year in a century

In a year of both extreme heat and extreme drought, California has reported its driest water year in terms of precipitation in a century, and experts fear the coming 12 months could be even worse. The Western Regional Climate Center added average precipitation reported at each of its stations and calculated that a total of 11.87 inches of rain and snow fell in California in the 2021 water year. That’s half of what experts deem average during a water year in California: about 23.58 inches.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Water Education Foundation among 24 organizations nationwide honored for climate leadership

The Water Education Foundation has won a national award for its innovative partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to train schoolteachers across the state on climate science and how they can bring hands-on activities into their classrooms connected to local examples of climate change impacts. The award was presented by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and The Climate Registry during their virtual Climate Leadership Series and Awards Showcase, Oct. 13-15. 

Aquafornia news CNN

California drought: This summer was the most extreme on record

The West’s historic, multi-year drought is threatening water supply, food production and electricity generation. It has drained reservoirs at incredible rates and fueled one of the most extreme wildfire seasons the region has ever experienced. In California, drought conditions this summer were the most extreme in the entire 126-year record — a clear sign of the role climate change plays in the perilous decline of the state’s water resources. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that drought months are becoming the new normal, with rainy months becoming fewer and farther between.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Utilize knowledge of Indigenous people to prevent wildfires

We need a dramatic shift in our efforts to curb wildfires in California. Instead of reacting to wildfires, we need to utilize the knowledge of Indigenous people on managing the land. When it comes to fire prevention, the wisdom of Indigenous tribes like the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa and Wintun is unparalleled. … Thoughtful prescribed burns with low-intensity fire were carried out on the land for thousands of years to keep fire, food and water resources in harmony. 
-Written by Chelsi Sparti, a member of the Winnemem, Nomtipom and Nomsus bands of the Northern Wintu People; and Chris Villarruel, a member of the Ajumawi band of the Pit River Nation. 

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Blog: Protecting water quality in Colorado

With the population of the United States doubling over the past 50 years, at least 40 states are now anticipating water shortages by 2024. … Consider the Colorado River basin. Located in the southwestern U.S. and stretching almost 1,500 miles from the Continental Divide to the Gulf of California, the Colorado River is a critical municipal water resource for nearly 40 million people throughout seven states.

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Aquafornia news Grist

Toxic algae blooms are multiplying. The government has no plan to help

In California, the Bureau of Land Management closed a 28-mile stretch along the Merced River after water samples south of where a family of hikers mysteriously died in August showed high levels of toxic algae. … But despite the dangers of algae-related poisoning and the harmful and costly impacts of blooms on ecosystems, the federal government doesn’t have a cohesive strategy for dealing with freshwater harmful algal blooms, or HABs. That’s the conclusion of a new watchdog report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General.

Aquafornia news AgriPulse

Energy needs to be part of SGMA conversation, new report says

As California plans for continued climate change, including the need to manage agricultural water use to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), a new report finds the intersection of energy with water and climate may not be getting as much attention as it deserves, especially in farm country.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

White House seeks to improve flood standards and access to climate data

The White House announced Tuesday that it would work to revise building standards for flood-prone communities across the country in the face of climate change, while launching tools to make climate information more accessible to the public. The move is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to push the United States to reckon with the costs of global warming by factoring in the long-term consequences of decisions being made today.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Great Salt Lake’s demise spurs water emergency for Utah

Utah’s iconic Great Salt Lake, long neglected by regulators, is collapsing due to a historic drought and climate change. And, in a cruel twist, the demise of the lake — which shriveled to a record low level in July — may threaten Utah’s posh ski towns and even the state’s water supply. At issue: the “lake effect.” The sprawling Great Salt Lake doesn’t freeze in the winter due to its high salt content, so when some storms blow in, they collect the lake’s moisture, strengthen, then deliver extra snow to the Wasatch Mountains. That snow is the lifeblood of ski towns like Alta and Snowbird, but it also contributes to water supply. 

Aquafornia news Yale News

New research: Atmospheric rivers are stable for now — but change is on the way

Yale researchers are charting the course of mighty “rivers” in the sky that are holding steady in the face of climate change — for now. In future decades, however, climate-induced changes to these atmospheric rivers could drastically increase extreme precipitation events in some parts of the world, they report in a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. … [The] study predicts that in the coming decades, as greenhouse gas increases are expected to continue to outpace aerosols, there will be intensification of atmospheric river-induced precipitation, by about 20 millimeters per month.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Lake Tahoe water level hits four-year low as drought pummels tourist spot

Lake Tahoe’s water level dropped to a four-year low on Tuesday as gusty winds and the impacts of California’s devastating drought hit the popular tourist destination. After days of high winds increased evaporation rates, water levels fell to the basin’s natural rim for the first time since 2017, the end of the state’s last drought. The lake normally sits above the rim, which allows for water to flow into the Truckee River. Levels will probably continue to drop, receding below the rim this week, sooner than expected.

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Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

New research: Ancient water management techniques inspire current practices

This year witnessed one of the hottest and driest summers in recent history for Western Canada and the American Southwest. The resulting droughts adversely affected food supply and helped send meat prices rising three times faster than inflation. Despite the severity of these droughts, the worst may be yet to come. … [L]essons can also be drawn from low-tech solutions developed by ancient societies that flourished in arid climates.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California releases first-ever draft natural and working lands climate smart strategy

The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), together with state agency partners, released a draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy that will guide and accelerate near- and long-term climate action across key California landscapes. The document is available for public feedback through November 9.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Will climate change lead to floods in Sacramento?

Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists and journalists who research and report on climate science, released new visualizations and data that show how rising sea levels from climate change could impact Sacramento. One of the graphics projects dramatic flooding at the state Capitol Building in the next hundreds of years if carbon pollution continues to go unchecked and, in turn, causes a 4-degree Celsius increase in global temperature. Climate Central also released an interactive map of Sacramento, depicting areas in the region that would flood in the future due to rising sea levels. But these visuals do not consider one important element — levees.

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Aquafornia news Daily Bulletin

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How to beat the drought? Inland Empire water agency wants to make it rain

Programs from the drought-busting handbook practiced by Southern California water agencies include recycling water, building storm-water capture basins and offering cash rebates for replacing thirsty lawns with xeriscape landscaping. With the grip from a second year of drought tightening, a regional water-planning agency in the Inland Empire is moving ahead for the first time in its history with a more controversial program: cloud seeding. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority Commission has approved a four-year pilot cloud-seeding project …

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Why the American West’s ‘wildfire season’ is a thing of the past – visualized

It’s only October, and 2021 has already been a horrendous year for wildfires in the American west. The Dixie fire leveled the town of Greenville. The Caldor fire forced the evacuation of tens of thousands in Lake Tahoe. Some fires sent plumes so high into the atmosphere that the toxic air reached the east coast thousands of miles away. Fire is an important part of life in the American west and essential for the health of the landscape, but as the climate has changed so have wildfires in the region.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

NOAA report reveals historic dryness in Southwest drought

People who live in the Southwest know it’s been especially hot and dry the past couple of years, but a new government report shows those conditions are actually historic. Precipitation across multiple basins in six states from January 2020 through August 2021 was the lowest recorded since researchers started tracking with gauges in the late 1800s. Meanwhile, the 20-month stretch had the third-highest average daily temperatures since researchers started measuring with instruments.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

With a warming climate, coastal fog around the world is declining

Fog is a defining element of summer in Santa Cruz … Its fingerprints are visible in the vast coastal forests, even when it isn’t hanging in the air. The redwood trees towering in a clear blue sky soak up moisture from the fog on gray days. It is often their only source of water for months at a time. Fog is essential for plants and animals, agriculture and human health, not only in California but in coastal zones around the world. But many scientists believe that fog is declining, another casualty of global warming.

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Aquafornia news The Sierra Fund

Blog: Protecting meadows as green infrastructure in the face of climate change

Meadows are hotspots for biological diversity and provide numerous ecosystem benefits, especially in relation to the land mass they cover, including flood attenuation, sediment filtration, water storage, water quality improvement, carbon sequestration, and livestock forage. Approximately 50% of meadows in the Sierra Nevada are known to be degraded, in large part due to land-use practices including overgrazing.

Aquafornia news Grist

The Colorado River is drying up. Here’s how that affects Indigenous water rights

Lake Mead is considered full when its stores reach 1,220 feet above sea level or more, but the reservoir is projected to sink to 1,066 feet above sea level by the end of the year, revealing rock that has been submerged since it began filling in the 1930s. With every foot that Lake Mead falls, the basin comes closer to triggering substantial cutbacks for certain water users along the river. … [I]f lake levels continue to decline, future cutbacks could impact the 30 Native American tribes with lands in the basin.

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Aquafornia news Streetsblog Los Angeles

Blog: Southern California doesn’t have to choose between housing and the environment

Amid a historic drought, the ever-present threat of wildfires and worsening heat waves, a little-known controversy is pitting environmental conservation against housing production, potentially threatening progress in building a thriving Southern California that can also withstand the challenges that are coming with climate change.

Aquafornia news VC Reporter

Efforts continue to create a sustainable Ventura River Watershed

Can we live within our watershed?  Human beings used to easily live within their watersheds, only habitating where there was enough water to sustain themselves. Today, we have the technology and money to put water where it is needed. But climate change is forcing a hard truth to seep to the surface: Water is a limited resource and we may not have enough for all. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

San Rafael flood risk prompts Canal insurance project

Activists and researchers have teamed up to seek an affordable flood insurance program for residents in the low-lying Canal area of San Rafael. Stephanie McNally of Canal Alliance said she is working on a pilot program with Jeffrey Rhoads of Resilient Shore; Kathleen Schaefer, a researcher for the University of California, Davis; and Stuart Spiegel, interim manager of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Their idea is in its early stages, and the team has submitted a grant proposal to set up the program and find an insurance funding source.

Aquafornia news The Inquirer (Diablo Valley College)

New study shows California’s water usage is contributing to rise of greenhouse gas emissions

Bay Area environmental research groups Pacific Institute and Next 10 paired up in a webinar on Sept. 28 to discuss a new study focused on water usage, sourcing and the ways that both are impacting greenhouse gas emissions. Colleen Dredell, director of research at the San Francisco-based nonprofit Next 10, emphasized that the goal of the collaborative report, entitled “The Future of California’s Water-Energy-Climate Nexus,” was to come up with solutions that would help California meet its targeted energy and greenhouse gas goals by 2030. Currently, California is not on track to meet these goals.

Aquafornia news Arizona Mirror

Colorado River drought conditions spur calls for better water infrastructure

Experts in government, agriculture, water management and the environment stressed during a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday the danger that droughts fueled by climate change pose in the West, including the Colorado River Basin.  During a hearing before an Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel, witnesses said long-term solutions and an investment in water infrastructure are needed to combat the effects of climate change.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Climate change is here’: Mike McGuire calls for urgent action

As the Western United States navigates yet another historic drought year fueled by the ongoing climate crisis, environmental scientists are calling for immediate action. State Sen. Mike McGuire invited the North Coast community to a virtual town hall Wednesday to explore bold solutions that will be needed in the months and years to come.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Is California’s wildfire season already winding down?

The nation’s firefighters spent a record 69 days this year at their highest level of alert, the dreaded level 5, rushing from one drought-driven wildfire to the next. Now they’re finally getting at least somewhat of a break. Last week, federal fire managers downgraded the National Preparedness Level to 3 after a handful of September storms smacked the Pacific Northwest and residual rain fell in California’s far north.

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Aquafornia news TheHill

UN agency warns of looming global water crisis

Climate change is poised to result in a worldwide water crisis, and international institutions and governments have not done enough to prepare, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report determined that as of 2018, some 3.6 billion people did not have sufficient access to water at least one month every year. … The report follows a summer that, in the U.S. alone, laid bare the threat of climate change to water supply and infrastructure. Lake Mead and the Colorado River saw their first-ever federal water shortage declaration in August, two months after its water levels hit an all-time low.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News - Arizona PBS

Experts: No short-term answers to problem of drought, water shortages

State and federal officials told a Senate panel Wednesday that there may be long-term solutions to the historic drought gripping the West, and the water shortages that come with it, but that the short-term outlook remains grim. The hearing comes against the backdrop of a 20-year-long drought has left about 90% of the West affected. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., said tree-ring and soil evidence indicates that the region may be going through the worst drought in 1,200 years – certainly the worst in the 100 years or so that records have been kept.

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Aquafornia news NOAA Climate.gov

Blog: October 2021 U.S. climate outlook – Finally, some less-than-scary news for the West

In honor of the start of Spooky Season… BOO! Let’s take a haunted look at the October 2021 outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. More than half the country, including parts of the West, are favored to have a warmer-than-average October, but for the first time in months, there’s no brown on the map out West, and even a little green. That means the odds of much wetter than average month are as good as or better than the odds of a much drier than average month.

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Climate anxiety takes a growing toll on farmers

As climate change-fueled extreme weather events such as storms and droughts become more frequent and intense, farmers and others in the agriculture community across the country are increasingly feeling the brunt and contemplating a dark future. Beyond the inherent stress of farming, they face anxiety, depression, and grief linked to a fast-changing natural environment on which they’ve staked their livelihoods—at a time when few mental health-related resources are available to them.

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

Blog: New climate risk disclosure recommendations explained

What are the climate risks to California’s state spending? Alicia Seiger: Every sector of the economy will be impacted by climate change, but the industries with the greatest exposure overlap a lot with state spending, like infrastructure. Construction projects near the coast can be delayed by flooding amid rising sea levels. Should those projects be moved inland? Are there alternative solutions to the same infrastructure need? If not, do the state’s counterparties have the ability to manage the costs of potential delays or rebuilds? 

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Water scarcity in a warming climate: a story in four visuals

Water scarcity will be the biggest climate-related threat to corporate assets like factories within the next few decades … A lack of water is triggering violent conflict in places like India’s Northern Plains … Sydney will endure shortfalls within 20 years if the city continues growing at its current rate, according to a recent estimate, while residents of San Jose, California, (the “Capital of Silicon Valley”) are being threatened with penalties if they don’t cut their water use by 15%. Kenya’s drought has been declared a national disaster.

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Aquafornia news TahoeDailyTribune.com

Opinion: Our chance to save Lake Tahoe

For the last 30 years, science showed us that climate change was threatening the planet and our way of life. Despite decades of warnings, the world has not done enough to stop it. We just felt the full force of climate change’s impacts here in Tahoe as the Caldor Fire endangered the lives of firefighters, thousands of homes and Tahoe’s sensitive ecosystem. Our recent, tragic experience should serve as a lesson. When scientific evidence warns of environmental disaster, we need to listen and take action to prevent it.
-Written by Darcie Goodman Collins, chief executive officer of the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Why California’s Dixie Fire got so big — and what that means for future wildfires

The Dixie Fire is only the second wildfire in California history to approach 1 million acres. Its monumental sweep across the northern Sierra ravaged Gold Rush towns, sacred Native American sites and thick conifer forests. On Sept. 30, firefighters said they don’t expect to fully contain the fire until Oct. 30. The blaze has burned for more than 2½ months, and it stands at 963,309 acres, or about 1,500 square miles. The size of the fire is a testament to both the harrowing conditions this year, including the drought, and a long-term trend of bigger, hotter fires, largely caused by global warming.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Blame it on the rain: Monsoon helped Colorado avoid summer megafires — though fire season isn’t over yet

Colorado’s top fire officials expected the worst for 2021. The previous year’s wildfire season was not only the largest on record but one of the longest. Only 30 percent of the Cameron Peak fire was contained by the beginning of October and the East Troublesome fire didn’t ignite until two weeks later. Firefighters and fire experts said Colorado was primed for larger fires given the prolonged drought and warming temperatures worsened by climate change.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New research: Groundwater markets could promote solutions to the West’s water woes

Amid historic drought and changing rainfall patterns, a groundwater market in the California desert could serve as a template for the future of water management. When landowners overlying the Mojave groundwater system switched from open-access management to a cap-and-trade system, it helped stabilize their groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news KneeDeep Times

Dodging a bullet on the Highway 37 redesign

To help keep Highway 37 open despite heavy storms and rising tides, planners are assessing a wide range of options from elevating the road to rerouting it. But zeroing in on the right redesign may be trickier than anticipated. New research shows that, with sea level rise, protections for this troubled North Bay road can worsen flooding and economic damages as far away as the South Bay. The good news is that this work can also identify Highway 37 redesigns that avoid these catastrophic impacts. 

Aquafornia news Grist

Opinion: The complex challenge of climate change requires collaborative solutions

When the Dixie Fire began on July 13, 2021, environmental groups knew it would be a fast-growing blaze thanks to the combination of the megadrought, the buildup of forest debris (aka wildfire fuel), and extreme heat. They couldn’t have predicted that it would be the first wildfire to span the Sierra Nevada mountain range, though, or that, at nearly 1 million acres burned, it will likely be the largest in California’s recorded history.
– Written by the California Landscape Stewardship Network, a collaboration of landscape stewardship collaboratives and others involved in stewardship of the natural environment.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Congress passes funding bill, aid for California wildfires, drought

Congress passed a government funding bill in a down-to-the-wire vote on Thursday in the face of a looming shutdown. The continuing resolution bill, a short-term spending resolution that will keep the government funded through early December, delegates $28.6 billion to disaster relief efforts, including for wildfire prevention and response and the consequences of drought. Here’s some of what the bill addresses on wildfires and drought.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water situation bleak as new rainfall year begins

Thursday marks the final day of the water year in California, and it was one for the record books — and not just because much of the state saw less than 50% of average rainfall. … California received about 24 inches of water during the water year that began Oct. 1, 2020, according to the 8-station index. It’s 46% percent of the average, which is about 51.4 inches and is drier than any of the years that produced the last prolonged drought that began roughly in 2011.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Avoiding water bankruptcy in the drought-troubled Southwest: What the US and Iran can learn from each other

The 2021 water year ends on Sept. 30, and it was another hot, dry year in the western U.S., with almost the entire region in drought. Reservoirs vital for farms, communities and hydropower have fallen to dangerous lows. … More than 7,000 miles away, Iran is grappling with water problems that are similar to the U.S. Southwest’s but more severe. One of the driest years in the past five decades, on the back of several decades of mismanaged water resources, brought warnings of water conflicts between Iranian provinces this year.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt Bay Symposium focuses on sea-level rise, adaptation

Researchers and environmental scientists from across the nation kicked off the 2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium on Tuesday. … Tom Suchanek, marine ecologist at the University of California, Davis, … predicted that much of the West Coast would experience nearly one foot of sea-level rise in the next 10 years and approximately two feet by 2050. By 2100, he predicted California would see a five-foot rise.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Map: 1 of every 8 acres in California has burned in the last 10 years. Here’s where the biggest fires spread — and are burning now

If it seems like wildfires in California are getting larger, they are. Nine of the state’s 10 largest wildfires since 1932, when modern records began, have occurred in the past decade. And amazingly, the eight largest have all burned since 2017. Why? “It’s a combination of everything — climate change, decades of fire suppression and drought,” said Craig Clements, director of San Jose State University’s Fire Weather Lab. Some fire experts call them “megafires,” blazes larger than 100,000 acres that once were rare but are becoming increasingly common.

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Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: Drought makes its home on the range

Drought—a year with a below-average water supply—is a natural part of the climate cycle, but as Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm due to climate change, droughts are becoming more frequent, severe, and pervasive. The past 20 years have been some of the driest conditions in the American west on record.

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Aquafornia news ABC 10 - Sacramento

California’s rainy season starting month later than 60 years ago

October marks the beginning of California’s new water year, which will run through Sept. 30 next year. This also signals the transition from the long, dry summer months to the wetter time of year. But new research is showing a delay to California’s rainy season. … [T]he rainy season has been progressively delayed since the 1960s. Specifically, 27 days later than six decades ago. This pushes the start of the state’s annual rainy season from November to December.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How climate change helped fires cross the Sierra Nevada for the first time

Californians have long thought of the Sierra Nevada mountains as a “granite wall” that wildfires couldn’t breach. But this summer’s searing heat and dry conditions, exacerbated by climate change, finally let two blazes scale and cross the jagged, rocky peaks for the first time in the state’s recorded history…. In past decades, it was not uncommon for the Sierras’ winter snowpack to hang around well into July and keep soils moist as late as August…. But climate change is altering that background and making high areas more vulnerable to encroaching flames.

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Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

U.S. lawmakers work to solve problem of disappearing Great Salt Lake

The Great Salt Lake hit a record low this year, but it’s not the only salty lake that’s drying up. Utah Rep. Blake Moore, a Republican, teamed up with California’s Rep. Jared Huffman to introduce the “Saline Lake Ecosystems in the Great Basin States Program Act” last week. The bipartisan legislation … would authorize $25 million over five years for the program, during a critical period where climate change is accelerating their decline….Moore’s bill would also attempt to rescue saline waters such as Oregon’s Lake Albert, Nevada’s Lahontan Wetlands and California’s Salton Sea and Mono Lake.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

On the Klamath, dam removal may come too late to save the salmon

The removal of four obsolescent hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, expected in 2023 or 2024, should have been an occasion for celebration, recognizing an underdog campaign that managed to set in motion the biggest dam removal project in American history. But that was before the basin’s troubles turned biblical. … it’s uncertain whether the remaining salmon will survive long enough to benefit from the dams’ dismantling.

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Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: California faces its new climate normal

California’s Mediterranean climate has gives it the most variable weather of any U.S. state, so it’s no stranger to catastrophic droughts and disastrous floods. … The latest science confirms that climate change has arrived and that we are in the middle of a megadrought. In August, 2021, a report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that climate change is quickening and intensifying.  Even in a best-case scenario, global temperatures will likely rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Importing water for drought fix a huge project

Importing muddy water from the Mississippi River to save Arizona from drought could be as simple as landing a man on the moon. As droughts force local communities to find alternative solutions to water shortages, Arizonans could turn to importing flood water in the future. An interstate pipeline would be a lengthy project in terms of time and effort that in a race against time isn’t an immediate answer, rather a commitment that would test the resolve of the state Legislature and Arizonans. 

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Solutions to fire and drought in Central Valley

The Central Valley is a special place to live. Friday night football games. Hiking in world-famous parks. The best food anywhere in the world, grown just next door. But right now, so much of what makes our Valley great is in jeopardy, and all you have to do is walk outside and take a breath to feel it. These massive wildfires and the smoke they create mixed with the terrible drought we’re in right now means everything from football to hiking to planting a year’s worth of crops is teetering on the edge of impossible.
-Written by Congressman Josh Harder.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California moves on climate change, but rejects aggressive cuts to greenhouse emissions

As California trudges into another autumn marred by toxic wildfire smoke and drought-parched reservoirs, state lawmakers have cast climate change as a growing public health threat for the state’s 40 million residents. But they were willing to push the argument only so far. … Lawmakers failed to pass legislation to more quickly and aggressively reduce the state’s share of the greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Developing tools to model impaired streamflow in streams throughout California

Droughts are extreme, but not necessarily extreme events — at least not in the way we humans usually experience events as discrete, episodic occurrences. Droughts are continuous and exhausting; they can come out of nowhere and take us on a rollercoaster of waiting for precipitation to come, measuring when it does, and hoping it will be enough to keep our rivers flowing for human use and healthy ecosystems. Droughts may feel so extreme that they should be a rare occurrence, but they are a natural part of California climate. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Monday Top of the Scroll: Drought forces West to turn to fossil fuels that helped cause it

An unlikely energy sector is emerging as a winner from the West’s megadrought: fossil fuels, whose heavy use has been blamed for creating the conditions causing the drought in the first place. The drought has slashed the electricity-generating capacity of major hydroelectric dams, forcing buyers to spend millions of dollars to buy extra power from an expensive sellers’ market. Some wholesale electricity consumers … are replacing emissions-free hydropower with dirtier energy sources.

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Aquafornia news The Seattle Times

Every season is getting shorter except summer, and that’s not good

In the 1950s, the seasons occurred in a predictable and relatively even pattern in the Northern Hemisphere. … But recently, the seasons have been out of whack. Over the past seven decades, researchers found high summertime temperatures are arriving earlier and lasting longer in the year because of global warming. This summer was no exception. In parts of California, which saw its hottest summer on record, unusually warm temperatures arrived in May.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water officials reach agreement on Cal Am water purchase

Key staff from three water organizations along the Monterey Peninsula have apparently reached an agreement on a deal that will send hundreds of acre-feet of new water to California American Water Co. for distribution up and down the Peninsula. Monterey One Water, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and Cal Am reached an agreement at a joint meeting Wednesday whereby Cal Am agreed to purchase water from Monterey One’s Pure Water Monterey expansion project.

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Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Organizations teaming up to help small California farmers impacted by drought

For over three decades, Donald Sherman has been a local farmer growing vegetable crops. It’s no secret California has been dealing with the impact of the drought for several years, and Sherman says he saw this coming about 20 years ago. … He says that as small farmers, they don’t always have the resources to keep up when wells begin running dry, and they have to be mindful of how they use every drop of water.

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Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Sebastopol filmmaker highlights California water crisis in new documentary

Although the current outlook for our water supply is pretty grim in California, Sebastopol filmmaker Emmett Brennan hopes to inspire, not depress, audiences with his new documentary, “Reflection: A Walk with Water,” premiering at the Mill Valley Film Festival Oct. 14 and 15. Environmental devastation, from desertification and overdevelopment, was Brennan’s initial motivation to make the movie. But instead of focusing on the damage, he captures the efforts of people working to restore and promote healthy water systems, from Santa Rosa ranchers and Ojai farmers to L.A. greywater ecologists and Sonoma soil experts. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom signs $15 billion climate, wildfire package at Sequoia National Park

Speaking at Sequoia National Park, where firefighters have toiled for the past two weeks to keep wildfires from killing some of the largest trees in the world, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a package of bills providing $15 billion for a wide range of climate, wildfire and water projects — from thinning forests to building electric car charging stations and encouraging the development of offshore wind farms.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: In climate talks, plans to keep planet from overheating should not ignore water

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on September 21 that his country would no longer finance coal-fired power plants abroad, making a high-profile commitment to move away from some forms of fossil fuel infrastructure less than six weeks before a pivotal global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. While climate campaigners applauded the carbon-reducing benefits of fewer new coal plants, the move comes with another, less obvious dividend: less strain on water. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

D.C. could send California billions for fire recovery – but there’s a catch

Billions of dollars that could cover the loss of burned vines and smoke-tainted wine grapes. Hundreds of millions to help with drought, and hundreds of millions more for hazardous fuels management. The House on Tuesday passed a nearly $30 billion disaster relief package that could be a godsend to Northern California’s wildfire-ravaged and drought-stricken communities. But in classic Washington fashion, there’s a catch — the money is tied up in a partisan game of chicken.

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Aquafornia news ASU News

Simulating a sustainable future of water, energy and food in Phoenix

Phoenix is a rapidly growing metropolitan area in a desert. As the population increases, it will be more and more challenging to supply water, food and energy — three essential resources that are interconnected in complex and competing ways.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

Blog: A century of watching the Colorado River

Inside the tower is a U.S. Geological Survey streamgage that will mark its centennial year of monitoring the river on October 1, 2021. At a time when jazz music was exploding and liquor was prohibited, the streamgage began collecting information about the water’s level and flow. USGS scientists chose the site in 1921 because it was readily accessible and strategically located to study the hydrology of the Colorado River drainage basin.  Now, seven states within the basin depend on the river for water supply and hydropower production. 

Aquafornia news Malibu Times

New climate change problems predicted for coastal cities

California Coastal Commission staff presented two important items regarding sea level rise in coastal cities like Malibu at the commission’s September meeting last week. The commission is urging local communities to get proactive in planning how they are going to deal with sea level rise and adapt to its effects on infrastructure like roads, wastewater systems and stormwater drainage. Some of these changes and the funding for them need to be planned out years in advance.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Southwest U.S. drought, worst in a century, linked by NOAA to climate change

Human-caused climate change has intensified the withering drought gripping the Southwestern United States, the region’s most severe on record, with precipitation at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, a U.S. government report said on Tuesday. Over the same period, from January 2020 through August 2021, the region also experienced the third-highest daily average temperatures measured since record-keeping began near the end of the 19th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) drought task force.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: A bold plan to fight America’s raging wildfire crisis

The federal government needs a new wildfire strategy, particularly in the American West, and several members of Congress are looking in the right direction with bills to create a new Climate Conservation Corps (CCC). The proposed CCC is modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps that worked effectively on soil conservation, water conservation, and recreation projects from 1933 to 1942. The new CCC, drawing in part on funding from the recent $1 trillion infrastructure bill, could provide similarly effective work on public lands.
-Written by James R. Skillen, an associate professor of environmental studies at Calvin University and director of the Calvin University Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens.

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Aquafornia news National Parks Traveler

Southwest’s long-running drought altering wildlife behavior

You don’t forget pronghorn antelope. These Western icons with their black horns and white rumps are blazingly fast — the fastest land mammal in the Western Hemisphere — and they show off that speed when they spot you, reaching 55 mph in an eyeblink if they need to. But even they are not expected to be fast enough to outrun climate change and drought in the Southwest. By the end of the century, half of the pronghorn populations in the region are expected to be gone, say federal researchers.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada town doesn’t have much, but it has lots of water

There isn’t much in Cal-Nev-Ari besides a cluster of homes, some businesses and an unpaved airstrip. But the town’s new dominant property owner believes the desert outpost might have something else: an underground river of sorts that doesn’t run dry. Jerry Tyler, president of mining firm Heart of Nature, told the Review-Journal last month that there appears to be something like a river flowing beneath the remote community south of Las Vegas and that it replenishes when water is pumped out.

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

We can grow coffee in California. But should we?

Coffee farming in California has been something unheard of—an anomaly at most—as coffee is traditionally grown in tropical, humid climates throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. But [Chris] Bailey is part of an emerging group of growers who in recent years have been populating the state’s southern region under a brand named FRINJ coffee. … At the same time, the entire state is currently plagued by water scarcity … 

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

United Nations warns of ‘catastrophic pathway’ with current climate pledges

The global average temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius by century’s end even if all countries meet their promised emissions cuts, a rise that is likely to worsen extreme wildfires, droughts and floods, the United Nations said in a report on Friday. That level of warming, measured against preindustrial levels, is likely to increase the frequency of deadly heat waves and threaten coastal cities with rising sea levels, the country-by-country analysis concluded.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Climate change lets mosquitoes flourish – and feast – in Los Angeles

Many try and fail to make it in L.A. But one group is proving unstoppable: mosquitoes, which have taken over Southern California and are driving the humans here crazy. New invasive, disease-bearing species originating from Asia and Africa are thriving in the increasingly long, hot and humid summers afflicting this region thanks to climate change, according to numerous public health officials. Their growing numbers are baffling and infuriating Angelenos, who, until recently, considered themselves largely exempt from the buzzing bloodsuckers that make summers miserable in much of the rest of the country.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Risk Rating 2.0 – A first look at FEMA’s new flood insurance system

Risk Rating 2.0 has been called the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)’s most significant reform in 50 years.  Roughly 77% of customers of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) nationwide will see increases in their premiums, while the other ~23% will see reductions or no change.  FEMA will formally introduce Risk Rating 2.0 on October 1, 2021, and most premium increases will kick in on April 1, 2022.

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Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramento

Monday Top of the Scroll: NorCal water agency leads ‘unprecedented’ effort to douse wildfire risk

To the north of the Yuba Watershed, the Dixie Fire has burned nearly a million acres. To the south, the Caldor Fire has destroyed hundreds of homes as it continues to burn near South Lake Tahoe. Meanwhile, the Yuba Water Agency is leading an effort to avoid similar catastrophic fire by focusing on a plan to treat 275,000 acres in the Yuba Watershed.

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Aquafornia news CNN Politics

High temperatures, wildfire smoke and drought: The politics of climate change in one California congressional district

The changing climate is everywhere Gustavo Carranza looks when he walks through his undulating citrus farm here in this tiny town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. The summer temperatures are consistently higher than they used to be. The smoke from nearby wildfires fills the sky, obscuring the sun and speckling his mandarin trees with delicate ash. And, most concerning, the water he needs to run his 150-acre farm has become so scarce … 

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Revised repurposing farmland bill on Governor’s desk

After much wrangling over how lost farmland could be used for other purposes — and what purposes they could be — growers who lose farmland should now have a chance to receive the help they need to use their land for other plans. The end result is a bill that has passed the state legislature that keeps much of the provisions of the original bill and also contains $50 million to help farmers use lost farmland for other purposes.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Dems seek ‘historic’ changes to U.S. flood program

Congressional Democrats are moving toward enacting two measures that could vastly expand access to flood insurance and give communities a more accurate picture of their flood risk through better maps. Two provisions in a budget reconciliation bill the House Financial Services Committee approved Tuesday address long-standing shortcomings in flood protection as climate change and coastal development intensify damage from flooding. 

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Why groundwater flooding is becoming a threat to coastal cities as sea levels rise

While concerns over sea-level rise have typically focused on the ocean washing over previously dry land, higher seas also raise the coastal groundwater table — and that could expose far more Californians and their property to climate-change effects than overland flooding.  Miami is already experiencing such groundwater flooding. The Atlantic Ocean has risen enough that it routinely pushes subterranean water levels …

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Aquafornia news Farm Progress

Colorado River can no longer sustain Western thirst

Back when the Colorado River Compact was being negotiated about 100 years ago, water was not viewed as a problem. Officials deemed there was plenty to go around. Fast forward a century and the seven Colorado River Basin states – particularly the three lower basin states of California, Arizona, and Nevada – are using more than the system can sustain….Chris Harris, executive director of the Colorado River Board of California, says the basin states must grapple with the “new normal” of reduced flows in a river system once thought to provide ample water for the West….Harris says it’s not just the sustainability of the Colorado River system that needs addressing, but the wider Western water reliability of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and California’s State Water Project (SWP).

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Aquafornia news CNN News Wire

The West’s historic drought in 3 maps

More than 94 percent of the West is in drought this week, according to the US Drought Monitor, with six states entirely in drought status: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Parts of the West saw record-setting rainfall that brought some slight relief to the region, but most areas remain dry. Against the backdrop of climate change-fueled drought, wildfires have charred nearly 6 million acres of vegetation across the region. Fire experts say that dry and windy conditions create a prime environment for wildfires to spark and spread.

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Aquafornia news Foothills Sun-Gazette

Assembly ends SB 559 hopes this year

The Valley’s best hope to renovate its water infrastructure has been put on the shelf for now. Senate Bill (SB) 559, the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021, was moved to the state Assembly’s “inactive file” on Sept. 8. … As written SB 559 offered a holisitic, statewide approach to help restore the conveyance capacity by created a fund to provide up to $785 million to repair key parts of the state’s water infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Downsized almond industry proceeds with harvest

Almonds in California are no longer sustainable at current levels. That’s the consensus of recent headlines describing the prolonged historic drought — and increasing restrictions on water use — currently impacting the state’s $6 billion industry and its efforts to produce 80 percent of the world’s almonds.  The U.S. Drought Monitor is showing California to be slowly approaching 90% of the state categorized as being in ‘extreme’ drought —especially in the Central Valley.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: A holistic approach to water management in the Sacramento River basin – Ridgetop to river mouth water management

Water resources managers and the leaders in Northern California continue to advance Ridgetop to River Mouth water management … There are unique opportunities in the Sacramento River Basin to advance ridgetop to river mouth water management, which can best be envisioned by looking holistically at: 1) headwaters and forest health, 2) floodplain reactivation for public safety and fish and wildlife, 3) sustainable groundwater management (including groundwater recharge and banking), 4) healthy soils and farms; 5) safe drinking water; and 6) vital rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Journey along the Sacramento River and Into Other Key California Watersheds During Virtual Events this Fall

The Foundation’s virtual journeys will whisk you away to explore California’s key rivers and water regions this fall from the Sacramento River to the headwaters in the Sierras. Plus, our annual Water Summit will feature water managers and other water experts who are dealing with the “new normal” as unprecedented drought and wildfires challenge the status quo.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area winemakers are feeling climate change more acutely than ever this harvest season

This year’s wine harvest is well underway throughout California, and vintners in some parts of the state say they’re feeling the effects of climate change more acutely than ever.   The drought has left grapevines parched. Fruit yields are dramatically low. Vines look visibly stressed. In some vineyards, all of the grapes seem to be ripening all at once, presenting winemakers with a logistical impossibility. And the threat of wildfire — which, by this time last year, had ruined grapes up and down the state with pernicious smoke — remains on everyone’s mind.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Climate change is happening right now in Colorado, here’s how

The scientific consensus is that human-caused climate change has in recent decades raised average temperatures in the West about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, and nearly two full degrees on maximum temperature days, according to Matthew Lachniet, a geoscience professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The days of Coloradans putting off climate change as a worry for hurricane-ravaged Louisiana or a water-challenged Middle East now seem to be over. Following are just a few of the ways “climate change now” made its full force known in the Rocky Mountains this year and showed its impact on everyday life.

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Aquafornia news Foothills Sun-Gazette

Sierra Club threatens suit over ag land policy

A month after the Visalia City Council threw out a policy designed to prevent urban sprawl, the Sierra Club is threatening to sue the city over the change … requesting an injunction against implementation of the new policy, which does not include an ag mitigation policy (AMP). … The city attorney advised the General Plan could be “modified” due to changes in case law since 2014, such as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act which could affect the availability of water to some farmland within the city’s growth boundaries.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

California wildfires close Sequoia national park and prompt evacuations

A complex of lightning-sparked wildfires burning in California’s Sierra Nevada has exploded in size, prompting evacuations and the shutdown of Sequoia national park, where the fire is burning close to the park’s namesake trees. The KNP Complex fire, composed of the Paradise and Colony fires, took hold in the dense, mountainous vegetation on 9 September. By Wednesday morning, the blaze had scorched more than 7,000 acres….Fueled by higher temperatures and extreme drought conditions, more than 7,400 wildfires have burned in California this year, scorching more than 2.2m acres.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

An exceptional summer melted Mount Shasta’s snow and glaciers

Deep in the northern California wilderness, nestled among rolling hills and magnificent pines, the Mount Shasta volcano towers above the landscape as a lone sentinel beckoning to those around it. Rising to 14,179 feet, Shasta is one of the tallest mountains in the Lower 48. Given its height, snow cover is common year-round, especially after a snowy season or two. It is home to some of the largest glaciers in California and includes at least seven glaciers, some named after Native Americans in the 1800s. This year is testing the theory that snow and ice will always be found on Shasta.

Aquafornia news Capital and Main

California oil industry continues to thwart climate-related bills

This year, natural disasters across the country — including epochal drought conditions and devastating wildfires in California — have thrown into sharp relief the urgent need for action on climate. Despite the urgency of the issue, proposed legislation in the state to address climate change has either been thwarted or diluted by the powerful fossil-fuel industry’s allies and lobbyists. Overall, ten proposed bills that included environmental justice measures, industry accountability and emissions reduction programs never made it to a final chamber in the state Senate or Assembly in the face of opposition from the oil and gas industry.

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Aquafornia news Good Times Santa Cruz

As drought worsens, local agencies seek ambitious water solutions

Various climate models differ on whether our area will get slightly wetter or drier with rising temperatures. But they have one prediction in common: greater extremes.  Dry years will be drier. Rainfall could come all at once in a few large storms rather than spread across a season. … With this in mind, water managers are designing and implementing projects to capture, store and access clean water. Some irrigation for crops in the Pajaro Valley might soon come from lake water rather than groundwater. A project in Soquel will use recycled water to replenish a groundwater basin. Another project in Santa Cruz will inject excess runoff from winter storms into wells. 

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Could climate change put an end to Arizona’s alfalfa heyday?

It’s always alfalfa season in Arizona. In most other parts of the country, the perennial crop grows tall enough to harvest just a few times a year. But in the sun-drenched Southwest, the irrigated fields allow the crop to grow year-round, to the tune of 8.5 tons harvested for every acre and $397 million a year. All farmers need to do is add water. At least that’s been the case for the many decades that alfalfa has boomed and bloomed in the Arizona desert, providing feed to the region’s megalithic dairy industry. Now, accelerating climate change and depleting water availability could change this.

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Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: California budget — funding for fish, water, & people

The California Legislature released the final budget language late on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. CalTrout remains critical of the unnecessary delay in releasing critical budget items like emergency drought funding, wildfire relief, and climate resilience packages. As water curtailment orders go live throughout the state, the legislature is still waiting to officially approve these critical funding packages to combat the effects of climate during this year’s especially dry drought conditions.

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Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Opinion: Biden just handed a bone to big almond

To fill the post of chief agricultural negotiator at the United States Trade Representative’s office, the Biden administration dipped into California’s hot, dusty, drought-plagued San Joaquin Valley and plucked out an almond-industry lobbyist. … Biden is favoring the $6 billion almond industry at a particularly fraught time in its history. The ever-expanding groves of California’s Central Valley churn out nearly 80 percent of the globe’s almonds.
-Written by Mother Jones reporter Tom Philpott. 

Aquafornia news Nature Climate Change

Opinion: Climate change and the future of western US water governance

Water management in the western United States is rooted in an adversarial system that is highly sensitive to climate change. Reforms are needed to ensure water management is efficient, resilient and equitable moving forward.
-Written by Dylan R. Hedden-Nicely, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Native American Law Program, University of Idaho College of Law.

Aquafornia news Pro Publica

Reporting on climate injustice in one of the hottest towns in America

Thermal’s farmworkers earn, on average, between $15,000 and $17,499 a year, and they struggle to access clean drinking water and cool their homes adequately in the 110+ degree summer heat. Every year the housing authority is on high alert for heat-related deaths. Pedro Nicolas, a community leader and undocumented immigrant living in Thermal, told reporters his family slept in the hallway in the center of their trailer during the summer; because of the trailer’s lack of insulation, that was the coolest place in the house.

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Aquafornia news Lookout Local Santa Cruz

With a warming climate, coastal fog around the world is declining

Fog is a defining element of summer in Santa Cruz, obscuring the view of day trippers descending the hills to the coast and prompting kids to bundle up to hop on their bikes for summer adventures. Its fingerprints are visible in the vast coastal forests, even when it isn’t hanging in the air. The redwood trees towering in a clear blue sky soak up moisture from the fog on gray days. It is often their only source of water for months at a time. … But many scientists believe that fog is declining, another casualty of global warming.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Climate change is bankrupting California’s ecosystems

[G]lobal warming is not going away. Last month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its most alarming report yet: Earth is on the edge of ecological bankruptcy. That’s what California is facing this summer with record heat, severe drought, record fires, snow sublimation, record low reservoir levels, dry wells, communities without safe drinking water, deaths of salmon and whales, poisonous algae growth in lakes and streams, and record glacier melt.
-Written by Martha Davis, the former assistant general manager for policy at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and former executive director of the Mono Lake Committee. 

Aquafornia news New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: In California, worsening fires show limits of Biden’s power

President Biden visited California on Monday to tout his efforts to better protect the state against the raging wildfires that have burned more than two million acres, displaced thousands and pushed responders to the brink of exhaustion. “These fires are blinking code red for our nation,” said Mr. Biden, who used the occasion to promote two bills pending in Congress that would fund forest management and more resilient infrastructure as well as combat global warming.

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Aquafornia news ABC 10 -Sacramento

Megadroughts more likely in the Western U.S.

California has been experiencing drought for centuries. In fact, the megadrought in the Golden State and across the West right now rivals that in Medieval times but climate scientist, Ben Cook, at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies says there is one big difference, climate change. He says our warming world is intensifying what would be a moderate natural drought. This makes it not only easier to get into drought but harder to get out.

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Aquafornia news KQED

Central Valley farmers weigh in on California’s historic drought

Unless you have a personal connection to the Central Valley or work in agriculture, chances are you haven’t been able to speak directly to a farmer about how they’re experiencing this year’s historic drought. Recently on  KQED Forum, three farmers from the Central Valley, where roughly 40% of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown, shared just how little water they have to work with, how they’re adapting, and what the drought means for their industry long term.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Can science help California farmers cope with drought?

There’s a hive of PhDs at the University of California at Davis who are working to reinvent food production in the Golden State. Researchers have fanned out across the globe collecting rare plant samples; others are grafting Frankenstein trees and stitching together root systems of plums and peaches to create better almond and walnut trees. …. Whether in a sterile lab or in a dusty farm row, these projects are focused on one objective: saving water. In the midst of California’s extreme drought and scant water available for growers, the name of the game is how to produce more crop per drop.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Murders of environment and land defenders hit record high

Murders of environment and land defenders hit a record high last year as the violent resource grab in the global south continued unabated despite the pandemic. New figures released by Global Witness show that 227 people were killed in 2020 while trying to protect forests, rivers and other ecosystems that their livelihoods depended on.

Aquafornia news KUER - Salt Lake City

Federal agencies are ready to loosen protections on certain fish native to the Colorado River

The razorback sucker fish could be downlisted from an endangered species to threatened in the next year or so, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This week, environmental groups sent the agency a letter in opposition to the move. The letter argues the razorback sucker is still in trouble, despite recoveries it’s made in the last 30 years, which is when it was first listed as federally endangered. The fish is native to the Colorado River, which is facing historic shortages due to the west’s megadrought.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Infrastructure bill includes billions for Western water projects

A $1 trillion infrastructure bill that received bipartisan support in the Senate last month includes billions of dollars for Western water projects and programs. The Biden administration has called the infrastructure bill, which includes $8.3 billion for Western water infrastructure, “the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.” Of the $8.3 billion dedicated to Western water, $450 million is set aside for a competitive grant program to fund large-scale projects that advance water recycling….That program could help pay for a massive recycling project in California that would leave Nevada with access to more water in Lake Mead.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: Protect Bay Area shorelines for future generations

It’s clear the climate crisis is washing away an integral piece of our California life. Sea level rise, coastal flooding and erosion pose major threats to our state — where nearly 85% of people live and work in coastal counties such as San Francisco. Left unchecked, the climate crisis jeopardizes our health, homes, safety and economy. In San Francisco alone, for example, sea levels are projected to rise up to 55 inches by the end of the century. This increase could put nearly half a million people at risk of flooding and threaten $100 billion in property and infrastructure.
-Written by Amelia Fortgang, chair of the Bay Area Youth Climate Summit, a Youth Leadership Council member at EarthEcho, and a senior at Lick-Wilmerding High School. 

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s Chinook salmon population is disappearing

For centuries, spring-run Chinook salmon, among California’s most iconic fish, would rest for weeks in these historically cold waters after their brutal upstream journey. Then they would lay eggs and, finally, perish to complete one of nature’s most improbable life cycles. No longer. What once was a place where life began is now one of untimely death. The creek is simply too warm, an astounding 10 degrees warmer than average in some parts of these spawning grounds.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: California summer the hottest ever as climate change accelerates

Drought. Wildfires. And, for the country as a whole, temperatures worse than the Dust Bowl. In a further bit of evidence of the reality of climate change, California has just experienced its hottest summer on record, according to data released this week by the federal government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the average temperature in California reached 77.3 degrees from June to August. That topped the previous record of 76.5 degrees in summer 2017.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California records hottest summer as U.S. West sizzles

California and several other Western states endured the hottest summer on record, according to federal data released Thursday, underscoring the ways rapid climate change is unleashing unprecedented wildfires, deadly heat waves and drought conditions. In addition to California, officials said Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Utah also set all-time heat records for the meteorological summer, spanning June through August. Sixteen other states also saw a top-five warmest summer on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which issued its findings Thursday.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: Lakes Powell and Mead may never recover

This whole reservoir system along the Colorado River Basin was designed to get us through the drought years. Why isn’t it working? A glimpse into the history of the system, how it was designed and the impacts of climate change sheds light on why it was destined to fail — and why it may never recover.

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Aquafornia news KQED

California’s sustainable farms, models for agriculture in warming world, need help surviving it

The bustle of birds and insect pollinators is the first thing you notice at Full Belly Farm in Guinda, about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco in the Capay Valley, where Judith Redmond and her partners started farming four decades ago. … Farmers have always labored at the mercy of the elements, but climate change has brought overlapping calamities of wildfires, drought, prolonged heat waves and power outages. 

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

California approves new spending on drought, wildfire prevention

California lawmakers on Thursday voted to spend more than $2 billion to prevent wildfires and address a severe drought, closing the book — for now — on a $262.5 billion operating budget that began the year with a record deficit because of the pandemic and ended with a record surplus in spite of it. Wildfire spending in California has more than tripled since 2005, surpassing $3 billion last year. But most of that money is spent on putting out fires, not preventing them.

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Aquafornia news NOAA Climate Program Office

Study: Dry future likely unavoidable for Southwest, but reducing greenhouse gases can still help

For the past two decades, the southwestern United States has been desiccated by one of the most severe long-term droughts—or ‘megadroughts’—of the last 1,200 years. And now, scientists say the risk of similar extreme megadroughts and severe single-year droughts will increase in the future as Earth’s temperature continues to rise, according to a new study in Earth’s Future sponsored by CPO’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program and led by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

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Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Harbor District approves ‘living shoreline’ bid

Since 1994, a 300-foot-long stretch of the West Trail, which provides beach access to Pillar Point, has substantially eroded and needed emergency repairs, according to a report from the San Mateo County Harbor District. Now the Harbor District is doing something about it. … The West Trail Shoreline Protection project calls for the development of a “living shoreline” along the beach. This strategy is meant to provide a more natural ecological solution to erosion and flooding by bringing in native vegetation that blends with the environment and has minimal hard armoring.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How to save southern part of S.F.’s Ocean Beach – less roadway and a lot more sand

For the past two weeks, a 375-foot dredge ship has been cruising off the coast of San Francisco, ferrying thousands of tons of sand from the seafloor to Ocean Beach and marking the city’s latest effort to confront climate change. The ambitious $7 million project is designed to anchor the city’s rapidly eroding southern shoreline with a 3,000-foot-long, 30-foot-tall sand berm. … Roads, underground infrastructure and a major city wastewater treatment plant are at risk of being swallowed by the sea.

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Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers shelve plan to fix state’s water supply canals

The major arteries of California’s water-delivery system are crumbling, but a proposal in the state Legislature to spend $785 million fixing them is dead for the year. The legislation, SB 559 was pulled off the table this week by its chief author, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), after an Assembly committee stripped the funding and made other changes to the legislation. Hurtado’s decision turns SB 559 into a two-year bill that could be revived next year.

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Aquafornia news Treehugger

Is American hydropower in jeopardy?

The visible signs of America’s lingering drought are obvious at reservoirs across the American West. Drive from Las Vegas and step out of your car at Hoover Dam and Lake Mead in Nevada or peek out at Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border, and you’ll see the stone-stained “bathtub rings” indicating the high-water marks of better times. … [A]s water levels drop, the unseen effect of these drastic reservoir declines is that hydroelectric power is decreasing. 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Sen. John Laird joins Coastal Conservancy board

State Sen. John Laird, the former Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, has been appointed to a state agency charged with protecting and improving natural coastal lands. Laird will serve as one of six non-voting representatives of the state legislature to the Coastal Conservancy, after his appointment Wednesday by Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins. … Looming threats to the environment such as climate change-driven sea-level rise, an increasingly threatening drought cycle and other coastal access issues mean “it is time to get to work,” Laird is quoted in a release from his office.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California drought driving up greenhouse gas emissions: study

Drought in California, coupled with population growth, is accelerating the need for energy-intensive water projects — driving up greenhouse gas emissions and thwarting the pace of statewide decarbonization efforts, a new study has found.  Water use, collection, treatment and management is linked to about 20 percent of California’s statewide electricity use, one-third of non-power plant natural gas consumption and 88 billion gallons of diesel use, according to the study, published by the Oakland-based Pacific Institute and commissioned by the non-profit think tank Next 10.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California could experience an intense fall fire season

California is again the center of the nation’s biggest and most destructive wildfires. Over 2 million acres have burned, with the enormous Dixie and Caldor fires (more than 917,000 and more than 216,000 acres, respectively) accounting for more than half of this acreage. More than 3,050 structures have been damaged or destroyed, and over 14,000 firefighters are battling blazes in the state. …The entirety of the state remains in drought, with 88 percent in extreme to exceptional drought, the two highest categories.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Projects on Colorado keep coming despite shortage

The Bureau of Reclamation recently declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, but that hasn’t stopped states from proposing new water projects. Just about every drop on the Colorado River is accounted for. But climate change has reduced the amount of water in the system. Gary Wockner is with Save the Colorado, a conservation group that is tracking new projects.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Growers hope groundwater markets provide flexibility

Some San Joaquin Valley farmers could someday have a new “crop” to sell —  their groundwater. In the face of looming groundwater pumping restrictions, some groundwater agencies are looking at internal markets to give growers a way to save water and still earn a profit.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: San Francisco, agriculture suppliers want their water, sue state over drought restrictions

San Francisco, along with a handful of Central Valley irrigation districts, is suing the state for enacting drought restrictions that are keeping thousands of landowners and suppliers from drawing water from rivers and creeks. The lawsuit, filed late last week in Fresno County Superior Court, claims that the State Water Resources Control Board — drought or no drought — does not have the authority to suspend the draws of those with the most senior claims to California’s water.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Telosa: Plans for $400-billion new city in the U.S. desert unveiled

The cleanliness of Tokyo, the diversity of New York and the social services of Stockholm: Billionaire Marc Lore has outlined his vision for a 5-million-person “new city in America” and appointed a world-famous architect to design it. Now, he just needs somewhere to build it — and $400 billion in funding. The former Walmart executive last week unveiled plans for Telosa, a sustainable metropolis that he hopes to create, from scratch, in the American desert. The ambitious 150,000-acre proposal promises eco-friendly architecture, sustainable energy production and a purportedly drought-resistant water system. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

S.F. to pay $600 million to keep low-lying neighborhoods from flooding. It will probably take seven years

San Francisco has pledged to invest another $600 million into the city’s sewer system in an effort to prevent chronic flooding in low-lying areas as part of an agreement with state water quality officials. The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board announced the tentative pact, which was negotiated with city officials but needs final approval from the Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed. The city’s Public Utilities Commission has recommended approval.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County dreads third straight super-dry rain season

Water year 2021-22 begins on Oct. 1 and the stakes are whether Napa County escapes having one the deepest droughts in its recorded history. The county has been hit by a devastating one-two drought punch. Rainfall at Napa State Hospital for 2020-21 is about 10 inches, following a season of 12.19 inches. The average annual rainfall there is about 26 inches. A third consecutive rainfall year with a total barely denting double digits would be unprecedented in weather records dating back to 1877-78.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought takes toll on Central Valley farmworkers

For decades, farm labor has kept unincorporated communities alive throughout the Central Valley. But the drought is making it hard to stay. The dearth of essential resources — clean water, adequate housing and fair employment wages — has crippled towns that are easily overlooked and triggered a slow exodus to bigger places.

Aquafornia news MSN

After this desert city faced dry taps, California rushed through emergency water funding

For months, the city of Needles has endured not just scorching hot weather but the possibility that its single water well could fail, a potentially life-threatening risk for this Mojave desert community of 5,000 residents. Yet over recent weeks, word arrived that state officials — flush with billions of dollars in surplus tax revenue — intend to hand over $2 million to pay for a new well that could be operational later this year. City officials are now breathing easier…

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: Why California needs to build Sites Reservoir project

As reservoirs across California meet historic lows, we are again faced with the reality of not enough water for the environment, farms and people. … As our climate continues to change, we can expect more of the same, and possibly worse if we don’t make some meaningful changes to how we manage water in California. We need to advance water recycling projects, increase conservation and develop more capacity to store water. One key part of the solution is the construction of Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news CNN

Majestic sequoia trees can live for thousands of years. Climate change could wipe them out

Almost everything about a sequoia tree is giant: It can grow to more than 200 feet tall and live longer than 3,000 years. Yet the sequoia’s footprint is shrinking, as human-induced climate change threatens this ancient tree’s survival. … There are only around 48,000 acres of sequoia groves left in the world, and the trees are now facing threats from human-made climate change in several ways. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Creek work in Ross key to county’s flood plan

More than 50 years and millions of dollars of damage later — and after spending hundreds of thousands more on studies and plans — Marin County and the town of Ross are moving forward on improving flood protection along Corte Madera Creek. The two have reached a consensus on a $14 million plan that is headed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its approval and funding. For too long, reaching a constructive consensus seemed an erstwhile political exercise. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Deadly East Coast hurricane, California downpours tied to climate change

As Tropical Storm Ida cripples New York City and flooding takes dozens of lives along the East Coast, California suffers from a two-year drought that has curtailed water supplies and spawned wildfires scorching nearly 1,000 square miles. One side of the nation gets far too much water, the other side far too little, The common element is climate change and it would be folly for Californians to yearn — even with flames approaching Lake Tahoe, the jewel of the Sierra — for a portion of the rain falling 3,000 miles away. 

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Climate change will be a tougher burden for minorities in the US

Racial minorities in the United States will bear a disproportionate burden of the negative health and environmental impacts from a warming planet, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday, including more deaths from extreme heat and property loss from flooding in the wake of sea-level rise. The new analysis, which comes four days after Hurricane Ida destroyed homes of low-income and Black residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, examined the effects of the global temperature rising 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with preindustrial levels.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Law School

Blog: Stanford’s Buzz Thompson on California’s wildfires, water, drought, and climate change

California’s wildfire season started early again this year and its destruction already for the record books with the Dixie fire currently the second largest in the state’s history and growing while the Caldor fire has caused the evacuation of residents from the iconic South Lake Tahoe communities.  Here, Stanford Law School’s Professor Buzz Thompson, one of the country’s leading water law experts, discusses California’s wildfires, drought, water, and climate change with Stanford Legal on SiriusXM co-hosts Professors Joseph Bankman and Richard Thompson Ford. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Climate change threatens gems like Lake Tahoe

Across the West, megafires are no longer uncommon, and unprecedented fire behavior is no longer unexpected. Welcome to the California of climate change, where the new normal is extreme weather and terrifying consequences. Already, the 2021 fire season has confounded expectations. Before this year, no fire was known to have burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other. Now it’s happened twice — with the Dixie fire in the northern Sierra and now the Caldor fire near Lake Tahoe. 

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Aquafornia news Chamber Business News

Colorado River water users enter new phase of stewardship in face of long-anticipated cuts

For the first time in history, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, which serves as a lifeline to more than 40 million people in western states like Arizona and California.  States that are used to receiving substantial amounts of water from the river are going to be receiving considerable cuts in water availability. The river has served as a source of affordable hydraulic power and provides water for irrigation systems to countless farms in the region.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

La Niña responsible for megadroughts in North and South America, study finds

La Niña, the climate event that causes water to be colder than normal in the eastern Pacific, has now been shown by new research released Monday to be responsible for simultaneous megadroughts in the North and South American Southwest over the past 1,000 years.  Megadroughts are extended periods of drought that last at least 20 years. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers found that these megadroughts occurred simultaneously in the North American and South American Southwest “regularly” and often during a La Niña event.

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Aquafornia news American Society of Civil Engineers

Private entity sought to develop San Diego pumped-storage energy facility

As part of its recently enacted budget for 2021-22, California included funding to help foster the development of one such storage method, known as pumped-storage hydropower. In particular, the budget provided $18 million to the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority for use in advancing their planned joint project known as the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility. The funding will enable the two entities to issue a request for proposals in September for a private partner willing to develop the project at its own expense.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Exasperated by drought, farmers could be critical in Newsom recall fight

Like many farmers across California, Zack Andrade’s business is being choked by an extraordinary two-year drought. Water cuts could soon erase about a quarter of the irrigation he depends on to grow leafy greens, carrots and beets on his family’s farm in the rolling hills south of Silicon Valley, near Morgan Hill. Andrade said the crisis has been made worse by successive governors, including Gavin Newsom, who he says have punted on damming rivers and building new reservoirs to help California store more water during wet years.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Rare California red fox population listed as endangered

In the midst of a climate crisis in California, another species has been added to the endangered species list: the Sierra Nevada red fox, a subspecies of red foxes found only in California. With an estimated population of about 18 to 39, California’s distinct red fox population is now in critical danger of extinction, joining a list that includes the California condor and salt-marsh harvest mouse.

Aquafornia news NPR

Water in the West: Bankrupt?

The climate crisis is making wild weather much more common. Since Sunday evening, we’ve seen all kinds of destruction in New Orleans as Hurricane Ida hit – winds, flooding, way too much water. And meanwhile, in America’s West, they’re dealing with fires and a historic drought – not enough water. And as the West gets drier and drier, how water is used attracts a lot of controversy.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

San Luis Valley water: Drought, climate change and diversion plans

They all remember when the San Luis Valley brimmed with water. South of San Luis, Ronda Lobato raced the rising floodwaters in San Francisco Creek every spring to fill sandbags that protected her grandparents’ farm.  North of Center, potato farmer Sheldon Rockey faced so much spring mud that he had to learn to extract his stuck tractor.  Outside Monte Vista, Tyler Mitchell needed only a hand shovel on the family farm near Monte Vista to reach shallow underground flows in the Valley’s once-abundant water table.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Devastating fires could damage Lake Tahoe’s iconic blue waters

Smoke and ash from wildfires near Lake Tahoe — one of the deepest lakes in the world — is already clouding the lake’s famously clear water, researchers say. While the long-term effects are unclear, ash and soot are now coating the surface of the High Sierra lake and veiling the sun, which can disrupt the lake’s ecosystem and its clarity. More debris and sediment are likely to wash into the lake from runoff and rain this fall and winter.

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Aquafornia news CNN

More Americans are ignoring the warning signs of climate change, moving to high-risk areas

[A] new analysis by Redfin, a real estate brokerage, reveals more Americans are moving into areas that face the highest climate risks than ever before. … Counties with homes facing the highest heat risk saw populations increase by an average of 4.7% over the last five years. Counties with homes facing high drought risk saw population growth of 3.5%, fire risk counties grew by 3%, flood 1.9%, and storm 0.4% over the last five years.

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Aquafornia news The Motley Fool

Droughts are making water, Earth’s most vital liquid, an increasingly solid investment

It’s been almost nine months since Wall Street turned on the taps — with the launch of the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index on December 7th, 2020, investors have been able to bet on the price movement of water. The real-world droughts that followed have made for an oasis of opportunity. … As droughts and wildfires hammered the U.S. West Coast, California declared a state of emergency in April, and last month asked residents to cut their water use by 15%. As of July 31, California’s major reservoirs held just 53% of their historical averages. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Another dry winter may be ahead in Sonoma and Mendocino counties

It’s too early to say if Sonoma County and surrounding areas will get enough rain this winter to revive the parched landscape and replenish dwindling water supplies, but it doesn’t look good. “The tilt is toward a drier than normal winter,” said Brian Garcia of the National Weather Service. … Don’t expect the kind of above-normal rainfall that would be typical of an El Niño weather pattern. The opposite is more likely: below normal rainfall common to La Niña conditions …

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Editorial: Wake-up call – California’s water is running out

Mandatory limits on water use are likely to be imposed in the near future on California residents, businesses and farms. Get ready. You can’t change the weather, which has deprived the state of its necessary rain and snowfall. But you can change your response. After examining the state’s shockingly low reservoirs, Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters recently that a statewide limit on water use may be needed to head off a supply crisis caused by California’s historic drought, which continues to worsen.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

The environmentalist case for fish farms

This summer, tens of millions of salmon have been cooked in California in their own native habitat. Record-breaking heat and drought have drawn down the water flows and turned up the temperatures of the state’s streams and rivers. The heat shock, along with the impacts of parasites and fungal blights that are fueled by warmer waters, has decimated the wild salmon populations. To stem the crisis, scientists have literally gone above and beyond, hurling salmon over dams via pneumatic cannons and trucking millions of fish to the Pacific Ocean to bypass unlivable rivers. 

Water-Starved Colorado River Delta Gets Another Shot of Life from the River’s Flows
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Despite water shortages along the drought-stressed river, experimental flows resume in Mexico to revive trees and provide habitat for birds and wildlife

Water flowing into a Colorado River Delta restoration site in Mexico.Water is flowing once again to the Colorado River’s delta in Mexico, a vast region that was once a natural splendor before the iconic Western river was dammed and diverted at the turn of the last century, essentially turning the delta into a desert.

In 2012, the idea emerged that water could be intentionally sent down the river to inundate the delta floodplain and regenerate native cottonwood and willow trees, even in an overallocated river system. Ultimately, dedicated flows of river water were brokered under cooperative efforts by the U.S. and Mexican governments.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Significant summer rain not enough to erase SoCal drought

It has been a very active monsoon season, especially in Arizona. However, here in Southern California, we do not expect much rain during the summer, and the totals we have seen thus far will not be a drought buster. 

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Aquafornia news GreenBiz

The Colorado River Basin: What’s wrong and what’s needed to make it right

On Aug. 16, the U.S. federal government declared a Colorado River water shortage for the first time. This unprecedented action was triggered by the precipitous drop in Lake Mead’s water level: It’s at 1,067 feet above sea level, or about 35 percent full. …. The economic impacts to the states that tap water from the Colorado River are significant, with no relief in sight.

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Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

What is the drought’s effect on Western U.S. water resources?

People regularly discuss California when talking about long-term drought, particularly because the state often experiences prolonged water shortages. Some experts believe that rather than going through brief non-drought periods, the state is actually enduring a so-called emerging megadrought and has been for the last two decades.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

A water pipeline to the Mississippi River? Democrat stirs up recall debate with unusual ideas

There was an unusual twist at Wednesday’s gubernatorial recall debate in Sacramento: A Democrat participated for the first time. And that Democrat, 29-year-old millionaire Ventura County real estate investor Kevin Paffrath, jump-started the hour-long debate with some unusual ideas. Paffrath, who has never held elective office, proposed to solve California’s water shortages by building a pipeline to the Mississippi River…. As California falls deeper into an extraordinary drought, all three GOP candidates threw shade on Newsom approach of encouraging conservation. It was one of their most detailed debate exchanges about water policy to date, yet yielded few ideas for immediate action.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Droughts push more people to migrate than floods

After a year of extreme weather, people in the drylands of northern California and the hurricane-drenched bayous of southern Louisiana are brooding on the same question: should we leave? New global research suggests that one of these “water shock” scenarios is more likely to result in migration. World Bank researchers found that people are five times as likely to move following drought conditions as they are after floods or periods of excess water.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

At annual Tahoe summit, lawmakers offer dire warning, hope about lake’s future

The growing threat of catastrophic wildfires blazing across the West and the resulting detrimental effects, such as hazardous air quality, were top of mind for Nevada and California leaders gathered on a slightly hazy shore Thursday morning for the 25th annual Lake Tahoe Summit.  Before speakers launched into remarks on climate change, wildfires, infrastructure and legislation aimed at preserving the popular year-round tourist destination, Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California Chairman Serrell Smokey began with a prayer.

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Aquafornia news Wildfire Today

Why are fires in the West growing larger this year?

There are a number of ways to analyze the behavior of wildland fires using data that is easily available. The amount of moisture in the live and dead vegetation is a critical factor in determining how readily it will burn, because it has to be cooked off before the grass, brush, or woody vegetation will vigorously combust. The amount of precipitation over days, weeks, months, and years affects how wildfires burn. The map above depicts precipitation during the 30-day period ending August 23, 2021.

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Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Newsom recall could mean a seismic shift for conservation

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall election in mid-September, should he lose, will very likely terminate the floundering politician’s career. A late-term gubernatorial replacement would also mean a potentially major shift in California environmental policies. … Budget spending … could be directed away from hundreds of conservation projects that are tentatively scheduled to begin, and directors of wildlife, water, and resource agencies who were appointed by Newsom would almost certainly be replaced.

Aquafornia news Inkstain blog

Blog: Why don’t they redo the Colorado River Compact?

There’s less water. What do we do? As the reservoirs behind Hoover and Glen Canyon dams on the Colorado drop to record lows, as irrigators in central New Mexico struggle to water crops after an early start and early end to their irrigation seasons, as I spend countless hours with reporters from across the country looking for help understanding all of this, as my own river goes dry, it remains the central question. And I do not know the answer.

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Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Inaugural Solano Water Institute for teachers makes waves in science education

The Solano Resource Conservation District hosted the first three-day Solano Water Institute for Teachers early this month at various sites throughout Solano County and at Lake Berryessa. The new teacher workshop provided 27 Solano County educators with knowledge, skills and tools to help them teach watershed science and land preservation from a locally relevant perspective. The Solano Water Institute featured presentations from nine local and state experts on water resources, open spaces and climate change with conversations integrating Project WET, an award-winning environmental education curriculum created by the Water Education Foundation.

Aquafornia news NPR

Residential developments and the risk of rising sea levels

NPR climate correspondent Lauren Sommer talks with Emily about a dilemma facing many local governments now. Should they develop in areas vulnerable to rising sea levels? On today’s episode, we look at Sunnyvale, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s a situation complicated by a landowner that really wants to continue expanding there, Google. In an episode last week, we asked who should be paying for climate change — taxpayers or private landowners with waterfront property?

Aquafornia news MarketWatch

Water funds attract $35 billion as drought drains reservoirs. A new report asks if they are worth it

As extreme drought and water shortages plague the U.S. West and beyond, water funds have attracted about $35 billion of assets under management, according to a new Morningstar report. The trend comes as much of California faces voluntary water rationing this summer as drought parches the land, forces some farmers to destroy crops and drains reservoirs. This month, the U.S. also declared the first-ever water shortage for the Colorado River, a key supplier of water and hydropower to households and farms in seven U.S. states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

U.S. climate change: These maps tell the story of two Americas

In New York City, a tropical storm delivered record-breaking rains this weekend. Heavy downpours caused devastating flash floods in central Tennessee, tearing apart houses and killing more than 20 people. Yet, California and much of the West remained in the deepest drought in at least two decades, the product of a long-term precipitation shortfall and temperatures that are much hotter than usual. This divide, a wetter East and a drier West, reflects a broader pattern observed in the United States in recent decades.

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Aquafornia news Greenbiz

What does never-ending drought mean for California agriculture?

California farmers are living in the drought future they thought would take 20 more years to arrive. Last week, for the first time, federal officials declared a water shortage for the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million people in seven western states and turns dry desert into fertile farmland, including in California. The situation has economy-wide ramifications.

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Scientists launch effort to collect water data in US West

The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday announced a new kind of climate observatory near the headwaters of the Colorado River that will help scientists better predict rain and snowfall in the U.S. West and determine how much of it will flow through the region.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Recall candidates have shallow takes on California’s water problems

California is suffering from extremely dry conditions, so it stands to reason that the candidates trying to oust and replace Gov. Gavin Newsom have latched onto persistent but extremely shallow and woefully outdated claims about the management of the state’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Frontline

What’s the big deal about water scarcity?

“For years wars were fought over oil,” said U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris earlier this year. “In a short time they will be fought over water.” Given that more than 70 per cent of our planet is covered in water — all told that’s more than one billion trillion liters of the stuff — a short time might sound a bit dramatic. After all, there’s always been enough to go around. … While some places are flooding, others are in near permanent drought — 85 per cent of California is currently in extreme or “exceptional” drought and towns and agricultural areas are running out of water.

Aquafornia news 12-News Phoenix

Is Arizona’s drought over?

It’s been a wet monsoon season. Sky Harbor has seen 3.35 inches of rain so far, which far surpasses the 2020 “non-soon.” So is the long drought in the Southwest over? Not by a long shot, experts say.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

As the West bakes, Utah forges ahead with water pipeline

As drought and climate change strangle the Colorado River, a small county in Utah nevertheless continues forging ahead with a billion-dollar pipeline to suck more water from it to sustain its growing population. The proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a 140-mile straw from one of the country’s largest reservoirs to Washington County in southwestern Utah, has sparked backlash from other states in the Colorado River basin and environmentalists, and now has the Biden administration in a difficult position. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Caldor Fire ‘knocking on the door’ of Lake Tahoe Basin, Cal Fire says

A scramble is on in the Sierra to seize on favorable weather conditions and keep the flames of the Caldor Fire out of the Lake Tahoe basin. The 9-day-old blaze that has already destroyed 447 homes and consumed more than 114,000 acres is now the “No. 1 priority in the nation” for firefighting resources, Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said on Monday. He warned that the fire was “knocking on the door” of the Lake Tahoe region, even after crews were encouraged by the progress of getting the fire 9% contained by Monday evening.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Opinion: In Southern Nevada’s endless water crisis, we’re well past the time to be lawn gone

The front lawn came with the house we moved into a couple years ago. The patch of Bermudagrass was smaller than an average putting green and easy to mow. The splash of deep green was cute as far as that goes, but it was out of place on a street that had largely made the transition to colored rock and water-smart landscaping. Beyond the postcard aesthetics, it made zero sense to continue to water a lawn in the desert. Setting aside the politics of climate change and our arid land with its endless water crisis — a basic definition of “desert” — there were no children at home to play on it. 
-Written by John L. Smith, an author and Nevada Independent columnist. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How climate change is affecting California with wildfires, drought

Welcome to the summer of climate change. No longer a distant phenomenon — something to worry about in a few decades — the consequence of a warming planet has arrived in a resounding fashion. Most Californians probably didn’t need to read the recent doomsday report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to know that their lives are being upended already by climate change. Now they must fret about their electricity being shut off, their faucets running dry and their houses catching fire.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: 2021 Drought in California – in one page

California has more hydrologic variability than any state in the US, meaning that we have more drought and flood years per average year than any other state.  This is a problem, but has also meant that we have designed for droughts, which are always testing us. 2021 is the 3rd driest year in more than 100 years of precipitation record. 2020 was the 9th driest year in the precipitation record.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

UN climate change report is no surprise to Indigenous peoples

Prickly pear cactuses used by Indigenous peoples to make the popular Mexican and Southwestern nopales are shriveling in an increasingly hot and dry southern Sonoran Desert. Ancestral lands along the California coast may soon be underwater, rendering them worthless to many Native peoples, including the Salinan, Chumash, Tongva and Ajechemem, even as other lands burn in ever-larger wildfires. Some salmon species teeter on the brink of extinction due to drought and diverted water, while elsewhere, people and homes are swept away on a brown tsunami-like wave of floodwaters.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

These California lawmakers have big ideas for sea level rise

In a year marked by record-breaking wildfires, extreme heat and unprecedented water shortages, California lawmakers say there’s another — seemingly distant, but just as urgent — climate catastrophe the state cannot afford to ignore: sea level rise. This oft-overlooked threat is the focus of more than a dozen new bills and resolutions this year — a remarkable political awakening mobilized by years of research and piecemeal efforts across the state to keep the California coast above water.

Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Kelly calls for Senate hearing on Colorado River shortage declaration

Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly is calling for a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on this week’s first-ever Colorado River shortage declaration. It comes as region-wide drought has heightened stress on western water resources. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. Kelly wants the Senate to examine how the decision could impact Arizona cities, tribal communities and farmers. As a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he says he’s concerned about the region’s dwindling reservoirs.

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Aquafornia news Good Day Sacramento

American River Parkway suffers more fire damage than ever before

Sacramento’s American River Parkway gets more than five million visits a year—that’s even more than Yosemite—but this year, the nature area has suffered more destructive brush fires than ever before. Parkway advocates came face to face with politicians, firefighters and those who manage the area to demand more protection. 

Aquafornia news Winters Express

Nature Nearby - What’s happening with this ‘extreme’ drought?

Summer is underway and that means splashing around Putah Creek, hiking, camping, and… heat domes? With this excessive heat, the thought on everyone’s minds is likely how does this severe drought affect water resources throughout California? The extreme temperatures coupled with the low snowpack in the Sierra have meant fast evaporation in many of the state’s reservoirs; not to mention a heat dome that has descended upon much of the United States bringing record breaking heat to even the most mild summer climates.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

California reservoirs: dropping daily

California’s fifth largest reservoir — San Luis — is now at 16 percent of capacity. The nation’s largest off-stream reservoir with the ability to hold 2,041,000 million acre feet exists to divert excess winter and spring river flows headed for the Pacific Ocean. As such it underscores the fact the entire Central Valley, the southern Sierra, the North Bay, and the East Bay are in exceptional drought — the worst designation of the United States Department of Agriculture drought monitor. Historically on Aug. 16 San Luis would be at 36 percent of capacity.

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Tour Nick Gray

Headwaters Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - November 9

Thirty percent of California’s developed water supply originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests, which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought, wildfires, widespread tree mortality and other climate change impacts.

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey into the foothills and the mountains to examine water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts downstream and throughout the state.

Aquafornia news CNBC

Facebook pledges to restore more water than it uses by 2030

Facebook announced plans Thursday to restore more water than it consumes by the year 2030, the company’s latest initiative targeting climate change. The company mostly uses water for cooling the banks of computers that run in its data centers. In 2020, Facebook withdrew 3.7 million cubic meters of water for a total consumption of 2.2 million cubic meters. Facebook intends to focus its efforts in regions where it uses local water resources, but it will also look at high-risk areas that face the most challenges in terms of their water supply…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California faces unprecedented dangers as record heat, dryness combine with fierce winds

With more than a million acres burned fairly early in the fire season, California is entering uncharted territory as the record dry conditions that have fueled so much destruction will soon combine with seasonal winds that fire officials fear will bring unprecedented dangers. Officials have attributed warming temperatures and worsening drought to the explosive growth of fires, mostly in the mountains of Northern California, this summer.

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Aquafornia news Ensia

Could desalination play a role in the Colorado River Basin’s future?

In North America, the countries that share the Colorado River Delta are experiencing a similar reality as their own diplomatic relationship is shaped by cross-border water exchanges. And like Israel and Jordan, the U.S. and Mexico are now considering the role desalination might play in sharing this vital resource. … Establishing a desalination facility jointly operated by the U.S. and Mexico could help “bolster resilience in the Colorado River Basin,” according to the Binational Study of Water Desalination Opportunities in the Sea of Cortez.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Water projects in West benefit from infrastructure bill

With vast swaths of the West experiencing exceptional or extreme drought conditions and more than 90 active wildfires, a national coalition led by the California Farm Bureau has helped secure Senate approval for major federal investments in critical water projects. California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson applauded the Senate’s passage of legislation to fund $550 million in infrastructure spending over the next five years. As drought conditions continue to worsen throughout the West, he said, “now is the time to invest and make timely improvements in our nation’s water management portfolio.”

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Rejuvenating our lands – Healthy soils in the Sacramento Valley

With an increasing focus on the multiple benefits of healthy soils, the Budget Act of 2021 recently appropriated $50 million in one-time funding from the General Fund to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for implementation of the Healthy Soils Program and $40 million for State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) to reduce greenhouse gases and save water. The CDFA’s Healthy Soils Initiative promotes the development of innovative farm and land management practices that increase water retention and infiltration …

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Postcard from Thermal: Surviving the climate gap in eastern Coachella Valley

The first thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s really damn hot. Already, at this early date in our planetary crisis, 139 days a year are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit in Thermal. Over the next 30 years, temperatures will rise 4 to 5 degrees more, and by the end of the century, more than half the year there will be hotter than 95 and nearly a quarter will be hotter than 112. The second thing to know about Thermal, California, is: It’s a cartoonishly horrible expression of a moral and practical issue that exists, at some level, in every society on earth.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California builds ‘Noah’s Ark’ as extinction looms

It was just before sunrise in July when the botanists Naomi Fraga and Maria Jesus threw on backpacks and crunched their way across a brittle alkaline flat in the hottest corner of the Mojave Desert. Their mission: to rescue a tiny plant teetering on the brink of extinction. … Today, the species [Nitrophila mohavensis] has dwindled to fewer than 150,000, and most of the plants that still sprout from this salt-white playa have stopped producing viable seeds — stressed victims of decreasing rainfall, rising temperatures and the loss of groundwater due to pumping.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Experts say record-setting heat and wildfires just a taste what’s coming in our future

Extreme weather events in recent headlines, including wildfires, heat waves and flooding, could offer a preview of what to expect in forecasts of the near future, experts suggest. … Already, historic heat waves have ravaged the Pacific Northwest, wildfires blaze across California and Oregon and agencies are recording some of the hottest months on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last week that July was the hottest month ever recorded.

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Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Northern California fires burn 820,000 acres, thousands still evacuated

Firefighters face extreme fire conditions and strong wind gusts this week as they battle several major wildfires burning throughout Northern California. Almost 10,300 firefighters were working North State fires as of Monday, including the recently-ignited Morgan Fire burning east of the small Tehama County town of Mineral near the 570,000-acre Dixie Fire. Dixie was the largest of the fires, which altogether burned through 821,415 acres as of Monday morning. Thousands of residents are still under evacuation orders.

Aquafornia news KMPH

Sites Reservoir is last proposed dam project being considered in California

Only one water storage project remains a possibility in California seven years after voters approved a bond to build more dams. Sites Reservoir is the last proposed project standing. State Senator Jim Nielsen of Red Bluff has spent years fighting to build Sites Reservoir in Northern California. It’s a $5-billiion project creating 1-point-8 million acres feet of water storage.