Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In Nevada, investors eye underground water storage as a path to profits

Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity. They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water. … Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in the basin, less intent on building a new community than on supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest growing states.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Bay Area towns need to address sea-level rise. Will they?

The water keeps rising, shrinking the window for implementing solutions. Sea-level rise already threatens the bay shore, which, at about 500 miles, is half the length of the entire California coast. The worst is yet to come: The Bay Area needs to plan for a 2-foot rise by 2050 and up to 7 feet by 2100.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Saving the Colorado River doesn’t have to mean hurting farmers

The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply chains and bring decline to rural communities that have developed around irrigated agriculture.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Opinion: Do two failed dams foretell a dire future?

The 2008 financial market crash was called a “black swan” event — an extreme catastrophic event that was not anticipated. We hope that when a catastrophic dam failure occurs in the United States it will not be called a black swan, since there is already strong evidence that the combination of aging and poorly maintained infrastructure and climate extremes could be very deadly.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

US Southwest in grip of historic ‘megadrought’, research finds

A recent study published in the journal Science helps explains why, revealing that the south-western US is in the grip of a 20-year megadrought – a period of severe aridity that is stoking fires, depleting reservoirs and putting a strain on water supplies to the states of the region.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Trump administration seeks uranium mining near Lake Casitas and approves oil drilling in Carrizo Plain National Monument

The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will require additional action before taking effect, such as changes to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR unveils new benchmark toward reducing carbon emissions

The metric identifies the amount of carbon dioxide per acre-foot of water transported by the State Water Project. Water districts receiving water from the SWP can use this metric to understand the emissions of their water supply chains, and customers can better understand the ‘carbon intensity’ of the water they purchase.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Mapping dry wildfire fuels with AI and new satellite data

Anticipating where a fire is likely to ignite and how it might spread requires information about how much burnable plant material exists on the landscape and its dryness. Yet this information is surprisingly difficult to gather at the scale and speed necessary to aid wildfire management. Now, a team of experts in hydrology, remote sensing and environmental engineering have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Northstate lawmakers urge Newsom to reconsider proposed cuts to Paradise Irrigation District

Northstate lawmakers and local leaders gathered in Paradise, Tuesday, urging Governor Gavin Newsom to reconsider proposed state budget cuts that would impact the Paradise Irrigation District. … Earlier this month, Newsom proposed cutting the second year of backfill funding to the district meant to help them stay afloat after the Camp Fire decimated the ridge’s water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: 2020 is a dry year on the Colorado River. What happens next year will be more important

This winter’s decent snowfall has turned into an abysmal runoff on the Colorado River, thanks to the dry soils heading into the winter, along with a warm spring. … Our bigger concern is what happens next year. Are we headed for a multi-year drought?

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Expect more’: Climate change raises risk of dam failures

No one can say yet whether the intense rainfall that preceded this disaster [in central Michigan] was made worse by climate change. But global warming is already causing some regions to become wetter, and increasing the frequency of extreme storms, according to the latest National Climate Assessment. … That puts more of the nation’s 91,500 dams at risk of failing, engineers and dam safety experts said.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR enters ‘whale’s belly’ to combat climate change, protect water deliveries

A marshy tract known as Sherman Island is one of the most sensitive and geographically important locations for water conveyance in California. On May 11, DWR began a restoration project on the southeast side of the island that combats climate change while protecting statewide water supply.

Aquafornia news Cornell Chronicle

Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study

Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate and demand as a result of management practices and other factors.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Looming drought concerns Arizona water group

The Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona likes to say it represents Arizona agriculture “from ditch bank to dinner plate” indicative of the fact that its members range from farmers and ranchers to irrigation groups and trade associations — all of them concerned about water flow along the 1,450-mile-long Colorado River.

Aquafornia news KALW Radio

Audio: How climate change is fueling megadroughts in the western US

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’re discussing a new study from Columbia University about an emerging climate-driven megadrought in the Western US. Researchers used hydrological modeling and tree-ring reconstructions of summer soil moisture to show that the period from 2000 to 2018 was the driest 19-year span since the late 1500s.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

How much modification can Earth’s water cycle handle?

The authors provide an overview of how water supports Earth’s resilience and propose an approach for analyzing and better understanding global water cycle modifications focused on three central questions: What water-related changes could lead to global tipping points? How and where is the water cycle particularly vulnerable? And how do local changes in water stores and fluxes affect regional and global processes and vice versa?

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Regulators express concerns about Huntington Beach desalination project

The Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach could be facing rough waters ahead, as several regulatory officials on Friday expressed concerns over the controversial plan.. During a Regional Water Quality Control Board workshop held online, three of the agency’s six board members persistently pressed local officials about the need, consumer cost and environmental harm of the $1 billion project.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier Colorado River Basin

Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

Blog: Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge

A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral hydrology researcher at University of California, Riverside, modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate change.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Questions Simmer About Lake Powell’s Future As Drought, Climate Change Point To A Drier Colorado River Basin
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: A key reservoir for Colorado River storage program, Powell faces demands from stakeholders in Upper and Lower Basins with different water needs as runoff is forecast to decline

Persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin combined with the coordinated operations with Lake Mead has left Lake Powell consistently about half-full. Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom proposes huge cuts to California environmental programs in latest budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom used his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday to outline an austerity budget with deep cuts to cover a massive $54.3 billion deficit. Newsom’s proposal includes major cuts to environmental programs, including a $681 million slash in spending for environmental protection compared to last year, and a $224 million cut to the state’s natural resources department.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Small water systems across Monterey County are bracing for the inevitable next drought

In March, the California Department of Water Resources released a nearly completed draft report on the risk of water shortage in rural areas and the drought vulnerability of small systems. … Across the state, Monterey County is among the most vulnerable counties, with one of the largest numbers of highly impacted rural communities, according to the report. Also, the county’s small water systems are on average the 13th most vulnerable out of those of 58 counties.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: Let’s refill lakes Mead & Powell now

As of Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast for this year’s expected water supplies in the Colorado River is at 59% of average. That’s not good news. If that prediction proves true, this will be one of the driest water years since Lake Powell was constructed nearly 60 years ago.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Changing snowmelt threatens San Joaquin Valley ag, way of life

A new study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that about 50 percent of current runoff comes directly from Sierra snowmelt, and the Valley stands to lose between 13 percent and 50 percent of snowmelt runoff as the climate warms.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion – Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how less than 10% of farmland could solve the Colorado River’s water deficit

There is a better, more equitable pathway for reducing the deficit without forcing arbitrary cuts. It involves 3 million acres of irrigated agriculture, mostly alfalfa and forage crops, which consume more than 80% of total water use in the basin. By retiring less than 10% of this irrigated acreage from production, we could eliminate the existing million acre-foot overdraft on the Colorado River..

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Southern California doesn’t have decades to figure out water recycling. We need it now

What we in Los Angeles should want from the Met is a continuing flow of clean water from the faucet — but this time with planning and infrastructure that reduce reliance on diminishing imports, minimize damage to our fellow Californians in the delta and elsewhere, and sustain iconic species like migrating salmon.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The tale of two pipelines for desert cities

Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply –– including Great Salt Lake.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Study: Southwest U.S. in midst of megadrought like no other

Southern Nevada has been in a drought for about 20 years. But now, we’re learning this isn’t just drought – it’s a megadrought. That’s a one in 500 years drought.

Aquafornia news UC Berkeley

New research shows hydrological limits in carbon capture and storage

New research shows that carbon capture and storage (CCS) could stress water resources in about 43% of the world’s power plants where water scarcity is already a problem. Further, the technology deployed in these water-scarce regions matters, and emerging CCS technologies could greatly mitigate the demand CCS places on water consumption.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Western megadrought: Worsened by climate change, most severe in centuries

Since 2000, the West has been stricken by a dry spell so severe that it ranks among the biggest “megadroughts” of the past 1,200 years. But scientists have found that unlike the decades-long droughts of centuries ago, this one has been supercharged by humanity’s heating of the planet.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Tribes need a seat at the Colorado River negotiating table

There are 29 federally recognized tribes across the Colorado River Basin. Together, these tribes have water rights to roughly 20% of the water that flows through the river annually. In Arizona, the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) and the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) were critical partners in making the Drought Contingency Plan possible.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: April Delta conveyance project update

The California Environmental Quality Act scoping period concluded on April 17, 2020 after an extended 93-day public comment period. DWR is reviewing all submitted comments and will publish a scoping report summarizing the information this summer.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Plant, restore soil, repeat. Could nature help curb climate change?

On a recent sunny, windy March day – just before COVID-19 sent the [San Francisco] Bay Area into lockdown – Dave Halsing stood on the trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and pointed out what used to be old industrial salt ponds. He noted how they’re gradually being restored into a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other ecosystems in the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

News release: Delta Stewardship Council appoints new lead scientist

Dr. Laurel Larsen, an expert in hydroecology, landscape dynamics, complex environmental systems, and environmental restoration, was unanimously appointed by the Delta Stewardship Council on Thursday as lead scientist. Most recently, Dr. Larsen has served as an associate professor in the Department of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UC Berkeley.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Back off the beach and the rising sea? No way, California cities say

With swelling seas now posing a greater threat to California’s economy than wildfires or severe earthquakes, authorities want those who live along some of the state’s famous shores to do what they’re loath to do: retreat.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

‘Borrowing from the future’: What an emerging megadrought means for the Southwest

It’s the early 1990s, and Park Williams stands in the middle of Folsom Lake, at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California. He’s not walking on water; severe drought has exposed the lakebed. “I remember being very impressed by the incredible variability of water in the West and how it’s very rare that we actually have just enough water,” said Williams, who went on to become a climate scientist at Columbia University.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Fair water

Fairness – or at least the perception of fairness – could play a determining role in the future of California’s groundwater, according to new research. The study, published in Society and Natural Resources, evaluated 137 surveys of Yolo County farmers to gauge their perceptions of fairness for groundwater allocation strategies and dispute resolution options.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Cruz

Watching the flow of water through oak woodlands at Arbor Creek Experimental Watershed

To understand how these beloved woodlands will fare in a rapidly warming climate, UC Santa Cruz researchers are putting a headwaters stream in the Diablo Range under a hydrological microscope.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah county does an about-face, pulls out of Lake Powell pipeline project

For the past decade, Kane County leaders have argued their southern Utah community will need water piped from the Colorado River to meet future needs, but the local water district abruptly announced Thursday it was pulling out of the costly Lake Powell pipeline project, leaving Washington County as the only remaining recipient of the water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

California ranks small water agencies for drought vulnerability

To develop the rankings, the state took into account numerous factors, including each water system’s vulnerability to climate change and projected temperature changes, projected sea level rise, recent water shortages, whether the system is in an overdrafted groundwater basin or was located in an area with underlying fractured rock.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water availability for San Joaquin Valley farms: A balancing act

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Report: Arizona’s Colorado River water supply will hold steady next year

Under the drought contingency plan hammered out by Colorado River Basin states last year, Arizona agreed to voluntarily reduce its water use by 192,000 acre-feet, or about 7%, leaving that water in Lake Mead to help reduce the likelihood of greater cutbacks down the road. Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, says data from a new Bureau of Reclamation report show that plan is working.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Changes in snowmelt threaten farmers in western US

The findings pinpointed basins globally most at risk of not having enough water available at the right times for irrigation because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the western United States.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

‘Megadrought’ could hit western U.S., scientists say

The western United States and northern parts of Mexico could experience a record-breaking megadrought, according to the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “A new study says the time has arrived: a megadrought as bad or worse than anything even from known prehistory is very likely in progress, and warming climate is playing a key role,” the Earth Institute said.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local water system from private ownership and placing it under the control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video conference. 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Baley v. United States: Water users in the Klamath Project petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari

On March 13, 2020, water users in the Klamath Reclamation Project (Project) petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Baley, et al. v. United States, et al. (Baley). The decision denied the water users’ takings claims for the 2001 Project water shutoff on water law grounds.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

Warmest oceans on record could set off a year of extreme weather

The world’s seas are simmering, with record high temperatures spurring worry among forecasters that the global warming effect may generate a chaotic year of extreme weather ahead. … Worldwide, sea temperatures were 1.49 degrees Fahrenheit above average in March. That’s the second highest level recorded since 1880 for the month of March, according to U.S. data.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Framework for agreements to aid health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a starting point with an uncertain end

Voluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. … Yet, no one said it would be easy getting interest groups with sometimes sharply different views – and some, such as farmers, with livelihoods heavily dependent on water — to reach consensus on how to address the water quality and habitat needs of the Delta watershed.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Science of an underdog: The improbable comeback of spring-run Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River

For the last four years, our team at UC Davis has been conducting scientific studies on reintroduced spring-run Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River and we wanted to take a minute to share some of what we’ve learned. Plus, everyone loves a good comeback story right?

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USBR forecasts “Tier Zero” shortage on Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections for the Colorado River’s water supply for the next two years. … Lake Mead is projected to fall into “Tier Zero” conditions for 2021 and 2022. That’s a new designation under the Drought Contingency Plan which requires Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take cuts in their water supply.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Among the ‘climate monsters’ that afflict California, Megadrought is the most reliable

As is appropriate for the state that is home to Hollywood, the “climate monsters” that bedevil California have names that sound like they came from B-movies — the Blob, Godzilla El Niño, Megadrought. One monster in particular, Drought, has more than overstayed its welcome, according to a new study in the journal Science.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR research vessel helps monitor climate change in Delta

The flagship of DWR’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP), the Sentinel is used as a floating laboratory that monitors water quality and ecosystem biology in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Study — CA and West suffering worst ‘megadrought’ in centuries

Officially, California’s most recent drought lasted five painful years and ended in 2017. But a new study released Thursday says California and the rest of the West are enduring a continuing megadrought that ranks among the worst on record.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Heart of Santa Cruz: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium

Since this year marked the first since 1862 that not a single drop of rain fell in Santa Cruz County during the month of February, efforts to sustainably manage water were at the forefront of the conversation. The symposium kicked off with an introduction from County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who discussed the ongoing work to develop sustainable groundwater management plans…

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Forecast: Coastal flooding is going to get a lot worse for California

A new study in Nature Scientific Reports says the possibility of extreme flooding along U.S. Coastlines is going to double every five years, and that dangerously high water levels we now expect to see every 50 years will become: Annual occurrences by 2050; Daily occurrences by 2100.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Science

How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model

Chris Funk, climate scientist, and geographer Greg Husak at the UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center, practice what they call “humanitarian earth system science.” Working with partners funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, they have refined their forecasts over 20 years from basic weather monitoring to a sophisticated fusion of climate science, agronomy, and economics that can warn of drought and subsequent famines months before they arise.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: What if California faces a disaster during the pandemic?

California has evacuation plans for earthquakes, floods, mudslides and, of course, wildfires, but what if one of those disasters occurs as the state is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak when everyone is being urged to stay home? State and local officials are trying to figure that out.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Bay Area sea level report explores cost of inaction

Led by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the report takes study findings from throughout the region to demonstrate the shared impacts of sea level rise ranging from 12 to 108 inches on housing, transportation networks, critical environmental habitat, jobs and disadvantaged communities.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin

This report, “Scaling Corporate Water Stewardship to Address Water Challenges in the Colorado River Basin,” examines a set of key corporate water stewardship actions and activities, with associated drivers and barriers, to identify how the private sector could help tackle Colorado River water challenges.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Stormwater capture is undervalued in California

Stormwater is the rain and other water that runs off of streets and sidewalks into nearby gutters or waterways. Communities throughout the western U.S. are expanding efforts to collect this valuable water resource. These projects range from capturing water from a single rooftop or driveway to developing large infiltration basins that recharge billions of gallons of water each year in groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Climate change has doubled riskiest fire days in California

An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Will climate change push these amphibians to the brink?

California newts faced the worst drought conditions in 1,200 years, but new research finds that the lack of precipitation may not have been their biggest threat.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Sea-level rise: ‘It’s managed retreat.’ Calif. pushes homes back from ocean

An empty lot on a 70-foot-high bluff above the ocean seemed like the perfect place to build a house when the owners bought the parcel for $1.8 million. Now a state ruling means they’ll have to put the house farther away from the water, where they won’t see the shore. It’s a result of climate change and California’s response to it.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers forecast longer, more extreme wildfire seasons

In California, a changing climate has made autumn feel more like summer, with hotter, drier weather that increases the risk of longer, more dangerous wildfire seasons, according to a new Stanford-led study.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blog: Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board has approved approximately $24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. … The approved projects will lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change.

Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: NASA, University of Nebraska release new global groundwater maps

NASA researchers have developed new satellite-based, weekly global maps of soil moisture and groundwater wetness conditions and one to three-month U.S. forecasts of each product. While maps of current dry/wet conditions for the United States have been available since 2012, this is the first time they have been available globally.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Rising seas threaten Bay Area economy, infrastructure, environment, says most detailed study yet

A 48-inch increase in the bay’s water level in coming decades could cause more than 100,000 Bay Area jobs to be relocated. Nearly 30,000 lower-income residents might be displaced, and 68,000 acres of ecologically valuable shoreline habitat could be lost. These are among the findings in the most detailed study yet on how sea level rise could alter the Bay Area.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Futurity.org

How dead trees help forests tolerate drought

As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt to drought, a new study shows. … The results indicate that tree communities, particularly in more arid regions, have become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Freshwater species are disappearing fast — this year is critical for saving them

We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine. The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA’s relaxed enforcement amid virus draws mixed state reaction

State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. … The California Environmental Protection Agency said its enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA memo.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper Klamath and Lost River subbasins.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Building upon 50 years of interagency ecological science in the Bay-Delta

This year marks a significant milestone for the Interagency Ecological Program (IEP) – now nine state and federal agencies that first joined forces 50 years ago for cooperative ecological monitoring and coordination in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay Estuary. As the IEP Lead Scientist, I have been reflecting on who we are, how we’ve evolved, and what we need to do to ensure we’re still working collaboratively for another 50 years.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

As climate change messes with temperature and precipitation, California newts suffer

Just three years after the 2011–2017 drought, one of the severest in recorded history for the state, the driest February in 150 years has spurred discussion of whether we’re in another drought — or if the last one even ended. That’s bad news for Los Angeles’ only newt, California newt, Taricha torosa, and other newts in the Taricha genus, particularly in the southern half of the state south of Big Sur.

Aquafornia news Mariposa Gazette

Fuel break projects awarded grant funding by CAL FIRE

CAL FIRE last week awarded $43.5 million to local organizations to reduce the risk of wildfires to homes and communities across California. Fifty-five local fire prevention projects are receiving funding for hazardous fuel reductions, wildfire preparedness planning and fire prevention education.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

Low-lying Petaluma faces flooding from sea level rise: report

For decades, the discussion over flood mitigation in Petaluma has almost exclusively centered around storm surges and heavy rainfall events. Now, months after the city made its landmark climate emergency proclamation, attention is shifting to focus more on sea level rise and scientific projections that offer a glimpse into what could be a sodden future.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Audio: The time for this water-saving grain in Nevada is now

Researchers with the University of Nevada, Reno, have been working to evaluate and commercialize crops that use less water. Professor John Cushman and his team think they’ve found an alternative. It’s called teff.

Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The unexplored consequences of wildfires reaching water

There is now plenty of evidence that as the atmosphere warms, the planet is experiencing more wildfires. … Understandably, much of the media surrounding these incidents focuses on the immediate damage to forests, homes, people and wildlife, but one potentially dangerous long-term impact has received less attention – the effect of fires on water.

Aquafornia news Silicon Angle

Creating resilient, sustainable water supplies means flipping the management paradigm

Stanford’s Newsha Ajami spoke with Sonia Tagare, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Women in Data Science conference in Stanford, California. They discussed how Ajami is working to bridge the gap between science and policy in water management, building solutions for water resilient cities, and changing the traditional top-down water management model to a more collaborative bottom-up approach.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC’s response to the climate resilient water portfolio

While the first draft of the governor’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio wasn’t the transformational vision many had hoped it would be, there is still time to deliver on a plan that will help us rise to the challenges ahead.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Lawyer writes of defending the Colorado River

If corporations can have the rights of people under the law, why not rivers? The question made sense to Will Falk, and he answered it yes. Falk is a lawyer, and he got to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit. So he spent time along the river, in something of a conversation with it. Falk tells the story in his book How Dams Fall.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Time for Cargill to join the 21st century

Let’s be clear, the Redwood City salt ponds are simply the wrong place for development. This is an open space tidal plain that’s part of the Bay and was a thriving wetland for centuries.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Valley District to assess the long-term reliability of local water

Given the wide swings in the availability of State Water Project water from year to year as well as the possibility of even more severe and lasting droughts, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District hired The Rand Corporation to independently analyze the long-term demand forecasts of local waters.

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: West Coast waters shift toward productive conditions, but lingering heat may “tilt” marine ecosystem

Burgeoning populations of anchovy and a healthy crop of California sea lion pups reflected improved productivity off parts of the West Coast in 2019. However, lingering offshore heat worked against recovery of salmon stocks and reduced fishing success, a new analysis reports.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Building bigger walls in San Francisco Bay to hold back rising waters

Spurred by a recent change in federal flood zone maps and a desire to prepare for rising seas, Foster City is in the process of raising its levees by 1 to 7 feet. Residents voted in 2018 to tax themselves in order to pay for the estimated $90 million upgrade. When the project breaks ground later this year, the city of 35,000 people will vault to the forefront of urban adaptation in the Bay Area to rising waters.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Driving water conservation

Stanford researchers have developed a machine learning model that detects unexpected water-use consumption patterns – data water utilities can use to inform resource planning and water conservation campaigns.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Western water reuse, conservation bills approved by House panel

The House Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve bills offered by California Democrats to reauthorize grant programs to provide reliable water supplies through reuse and desalination projects. Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he supported the water bills because Western states have been hit hard by drought conditions worsened by climate change.

Aquafornia news Climate Central

Report: The case of the shifting snow

Forecasting snowfall and determining long-term trends of snow climatology are inherently challenging, but the research team at Climate Central has produced an analysis of snowfall trends across the United States. While no single overall national trend in snowfall can be discerned from the results, clear regional and seasonal patterns do emerge. In almost all areas of the country, snow is decreasing in the “shoulder” seasons—fall and spring.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump administration presses cities to evict homeowners from flood zones

The federal government is giving local officials nationwide a painful choice: Agree to use eminent domain to force people out of flood-prone homes, or forfeit a shot at federal money they need to combat climate change.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: There’s no plan to save the Colorado River

The latest research about the Colorado River is alarming but also predictable: In a warming world, snowmelt has been decreasing while evaporation of reservoirs is increasing. Yet no politician has a plan to save the diminishing Colorado River.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Report predicts how water losses will hit SJ Valley

San Joaquin Valley farmers say they hope a newly released report will capture the attention of Californians about the potential impact of water shortages in the region. The report, released last week, said water shortages could cause 1 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland to be fallowed and cost as many as 85,000 jobs.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

If agriculture in the valley is going to survive, water leaders need to get cozy with new ideas and new allies. And, yes, that means environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Helping the snow gods: Cloud seeding grows as weapon against global warming

The scramble for water has intensified as global warming has battered much of the West during the last 20 years with heat waves, droughts and wildfires. With projections for declining snowpack and river flows, cloud seeding is becoming a regional climate adaptation measure costing several million dollars each year.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

South Bay salt pond restoration: Science and adaptive management in action

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast. When complete, the Project will restore 15,100 acres of industrial salt ponds to a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other habitats. The Project is intended to restore and enhance wetlands in South San Francisco Bay while providing for flood management, wildlife-oriented public access, and recreation.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Study: Fallowing cattle-feed farmland simplest way to alleviate western U.S. water shortage

An important new study finds that irrigated crop production accounts for 86 percent of all water consumed in the western US — and of all the water used on western farms, by far the largest portion goes to cattle-feed crops such as alfalfa and grass hay. To alleviate the severe shortage of water in the region, study authors suggest rotational fallowing farmland could be a simple and affordable means of dramatically reducing water use in the region.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The dam truth about the Colorado River

If you followed the news about the Colorado River for the last year, you’d think that a political avalanche had swept down from Colorado’s snow-capped peaks and covered the Southwest with a blanket of “collaboration” and “river protection.” I won’t call it fake news, but I will point out errors of omission.

Aquafornia news Circle of Bue

Hidden flood risk for San Francisco Bay Area communities lurks underground

As sea levels rise, so do the waters in the bay, which connects to the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate. That relationship between rising ocean levels and rising bay levels is well known. What is less obvious is that groundwater levels are rising as well, adding another variable to the region’s equation of increasing flood risk.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A new twist on hydropower could be a key climate solution

The pit was a bustling iron mine once, churning out ore that was shipped by rail to a nearby Kaiser Steel plant. When steel manufacturing declined, Los Angeles County tried to turn the abandoned mine into a massive landfill. Conservationists hope the area will someday become part of Joshua Tree National Park, which surrounds it on three sides. Steve Lowe has a radically different vision.

Aquafornia news UC Irvine News

Blog: Driven for desalinization

Fresh water shortages have made desalination a possible solution for supplementing the overall water supply. To address this issue, a team of industry professionals and researchers have formed National Alliance of Water and Innovation to jointly examine the critical technical barriers and research needed to lower the energy cost of desalination and other water processing methods.

Aquafornia news CNN

Climate change is threatening winter sports’ very existence

A warming planet has major ramifications on winter snowpack across the globe, including a long-term drying trend for many. That’s a concern for winter sports enthusiasts and communities that depend on snow throughout the year.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Editorial: Depending on vitality of a river

A major contributor to the Southern California water supply is the Colorado River, which pumps in about 26 percent of the region’s water supply via the Colorado Aqueduct, which was built in the 1930s. … There’s a problem, and it’s happening at the source. Years of multiple water allocations and persistent drought have put the Colorado River under stress.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump insider embeds climate denial in scientific research

An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial — into the agency’s scientific reports, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. … The misleading language appears in environmental studies and impact statements affecting major watersheds including the Klamath and Upper Deschutes river basins in California and Oregon…

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Editorial: Depending on vitality of a river

A major contributor to the Southern California water supply is the Colorado River, which pumps in about 26 percent of the region’s water supply via the Colorado Aqueduct, which was built in the 1930s. … There’s a problem, and it’s happening at the source. Years of multiple water allocations and persistent drought have put the Colorado River under stress.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

The future of skiing in California

As the real globe warms, one trend is clear: Winter is shrinking and snow is melting. In the past 50 years, the frozen mantle that caps the Northern Hemisphere in the dark months has lost a million square miles of spring snowpack. Winter warming has tripled in the U.S. West since 1970; the length of winter is projected to decline at ski areas across the country, in some locations by more than 50% by 2050 and by 80% by 2090.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Without water we can’t grow anything’: Can small farms survive California’s landmark water law?

The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Western Water

Can carbon credits save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta islands and protect California’s vital water hub?

The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases tons of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. … An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Lawmakers grill EPA chief over push to slash agency’s budget

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before lawmakers Thursday to defend a budget that would bring the agency to its lowest funding level in years. As with previous Trump administration budgets, lawmakers are expected to ignore the proposed 26 percent cut to the agency, one of the steepest in the budget.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bills that would strengthen rural groundwater rules die in Arizona Legislature

Two bills that would make it easier for state regulators and county officials to limit well-drilling and groundwater pumping have died in the Arizona Legislature despite support from lawmakers and pleas from county officials who are asking for help to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.

Can Carbon Credits Save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Islands and Protect California’s Vital Water Hub?
An ambitious plan would use carbon credits as incentives to convert Delta islands to wetlands or rice to halt subsidence and potentially raise island elevations

Equipment on this tower measures fluctuations in greenhouse gas emissions for managed wetlands on Sherman Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases tons of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. As the islands sink, the levees that protect them are at increasing risk of failure, which could imperil California’s vital water conveyance system.

An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Water is life. It’s also a battle. So what does the future hold for California?

Scientists say climate change will bring more unpredictable weather, warmer winters and less snowpack in the mountains. These challenges and some ideas for remedies are outlined in a new plan, called the California Water Resilience Portfolio, released by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January to a mix of praise and disappointment. Below, an explanation of the state’s water development — as well as the challenges, today and tomorrow, of providing water for California’s people, places and things.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California abnormally dry after low precipitation winter

Drought has expanded to nearly a quarter of the state, mainly in central California, the heart of the state’s agricultural sector, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map made public Thursday. The map shows 70 percent of the state is abnormally dry.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sea level rise: A small California town embraces managed retreat

At a time when Del Mar, Pacifica and other coastal cities are fighting to defend their homes and roads from the rising sea, Marina has embarked on a path less traveled. Here in this Army turned university town, residents are learning how to adjust with the ocean as the water moves inland.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

See when Bay Area landmarks go underwater due to sea level rise if precautions not taken

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has created an online mapping tool known as the Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer that allows you to see the impacts of rising oceans if precautions aren’t taken. You can see how much of the shoreline is inundated at 12 to 144 inches of rise, as well as the impacts of storm surges and exceptionally high tides that can temporarily cause water levels to rise.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Climate change threatens Colorado River and the water supply for 40 million people

Climate change has dramatically decreased natural flow in the Colorado River, jeopardizing the water supply for some 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland, according to new research from the USGS. The decline is expected to continue unless changes are made to alleviate global warming and the impacts of drier, hotter temperatures.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: California must act to protect its beaches from sea level rise

California’s coast is truly a treasure for residents and visitors alike. Sadly, rising seas are washing away our beach, and for every inch of sand lost, our opportunities for joy — and our economic future — similarly shrink.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley seawater intrusion continues migrating deeper

Seawater intrusion in the Salinas Valley continues to seep into the deeper aquifers, according to the latest Monterey County Water Resources Agency data, even as the overall rate of seawater intrusion continues slowing down.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Declining snowpack due to climate change has cut the Colorado River’s annual flow by 10 percent, study finds

The Colorado River’s average annual flow has declined by nearly 20 percent compared to the last century, and researchers have identified one of the main culprits: climate change is causing mountain snowpack to disappear, leading to increased evaporation.

Related article:

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

How warming winters are affecting everything

Winters are warming faster than other seasons across much of the United States. While that may sound like a welcome change for those bundled in scarves and hats, it’s causing a cascade of unpredictable impacts in communities across the country.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Study to evaluate living shorelines as fix for rising waters

By 2030, the projected sea level combined with a particularly nasty storm event could flood nearly everything west of Highway 1 in Stinson Beach: 590 parcels, 430 buildings and several miles of road. By the middle of the century, every high tide will bring flooding, and the roadways will likely need to be altered to maintain access to the low-lying town.

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Growers needed for on-farm, groundwater recharge program

The Colusa Groundwater Authority, the California Department of Water Resources and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to conduct an on-farm, multi-benefit demonstration program for growers in two select project locations around Colusa County.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Citizen

Fairfield spends $4 million on hardening project for wastewater treatment plant

The town of Fairfield is moving forward with a project to better protect its wastewater treatment plant from large storms and sea level rise. According to a press release from First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick, the project will cost a total of $7.4 million but $3.33 million will be funded through a grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Developments’ (US HUD) Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Longreads.com

The ancient waterways of Phoenix, Ariz.

To understand this sprawling desert city, you have to understand its canals, whose routes Indigenous people dug as far back as A.D. 200.

Aquafornia news WBUR

Driven by climate change, desalination researchers seek solutions to water scarcity

Extracting salt from water seems like an easy fix to a global problem, but the process of desalination can be expensive, and it can also have a huge impact on the environment. That’s why some researchers are looking into how to lower the cost and improve efficiency.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside

Marking a historic moment for the city of Oceanside and the region, city officials and water industry leaders will break ground on Pure Water Oceanside on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. Scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be on the map as the first operating recycled water project in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California agriculture in 2050: Still feeding people, maybe fewer acres and cows

Water supply concerns, regulations, labor issues, tariffs, climate change, and other challenges have prompted some rather dire predictions about the future of California agriculture. We talked to Dan Sumner—director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about his research on California agriculture in 2050.

Aquafornia news AgGrad

Audio: Water economics with Dr. David Zetland

David joins me today to discuss the water economy and where we are right now as a civilization. He shares why we should be in a global state of panic and why we’re no longer in a world where water is sustainable. He explains the need for water to be priced and how it can positively affect the ag industry. David also discusses water rights, “free water,” the water market, and possible solutions to water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Local reservoirs and municipal water supplies might become so polluted from the fires that the current water supply infrastructure will be challenged or could no longer treat the water. … But most of the fire-prone areas in North America lack large-scale vulnerability assessments of their municipal water supplies…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A crisis right now: San Francisco and Manila face rising seas

Two sprawling metropolitan areas offer a glimpse of the future. One rich, one poor, they sit on opposite sides of the Pacific Ocean: the San Francisco Bay Area (population 7 million) and metropolitan Manila (almost 14 million). Their history, their wealth, and the political and personal choices they make today will shape how they fare as the water inevitably comes to their doorsteps.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Former PG&E lawyer named new regional EPA chief in California

Days after the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed, the agency announced Tuesday that it would replace him with John W. Busterud, a former lawyer for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the state’s largest electric power provider.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California is dry with no rain in sight. Should we start worrying about drought and wildfire?

California’s alarmingly dry winter continues, with no meaningful snow or rain in sight. Although it’s far too soon to predict a drought, experts said wildfire risks could worsen this summer as a result of the shortage of precipitation.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In wildfire’s wake, another threat: Drinking water contamination

Wildfire poses layers of risk to drinking water that unspool over time and geography, with some effects emerging years later, sometimes outside the burn zone… Water utility managers, engineers and scientists have only recently begun to grapple with the aftereffects of fires that consume entire neighborhoods and towns—as they did in California—and that in the process, release dozens of manmade pollutants into water lines.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

So-called ‘negative emissions’ might actually work, at least in California

A report recently published by the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Getting to Neutral, suggests that power plants across the state could profitably convert wood from forests and orchards into liquid or hydrogen fuels, all while capturing their carbon.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Wildfires can have many detrimental impacts on water supplies. The effects can last for multiple decades and include drinking water pollution, reservoir sedimentation, flash floods and reduced recreational benefits from rivers. These impacts represent a growing hazard as populations expand, and communities encroach onto forest landscapes.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rising seas already overwhelm the Bay Area. Here is the desperate bid to avert disaster

The fate of Foster City and the rest of the Bay Area was front and center last week as state lawmakers grappled with the many threats California must confront as the ocean pushes farther inland. A special committee of state lawmakers gathered — for the second time in two months after years without meeting — to reignite a much-needed discussion on how to better prepare communities up and down the coast…

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Fighting sea level rise together

To adequately prepare for the impacts of sea level rise, regional collaboration must be enhanced and a considerable investment by the state is needed and soon, according to the experts and officials who spoke at a hearing on sea level rise Friday in Foster City.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

There are rivers in the sky drenching the U.S. because of climate change

Climate change is spurring a new, deep dive into a complex, little-studied weather system blamed for creating billions of dollars in flood damage across the western U.S. Atmospheric rivers are narrow ribbons of concentrated moisture that originate in the Pacific and can flow thousands of miles before dropping rain and snow on land.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Watershed forum looks to defuse Napa County water issues

The group called Water Audit California has used lawsuits to pry water releases from local reservoirs for fish and has threatened a groundwater-related lawsuit against Napa County. The group last week co-sponsored a forum to suggest another way.

Aquafornia news National Parks Traveler

Traveler special report: As goes the Colorado River, so go the parks

A warming climate has been linked to human activity around the world, and has affected the Colorado River System as well. The impacts are substantial, from reduced water flows, threats to indigenous species and the influx of new invasive species along the river system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Buffing up San Francisco’s historic piers to survive sea level rise

When the now-historic finger piers along San Francisco’s Embarcadero were built, you can bet the builders never expected that a century later, there would be engineering studies on how to prepare the gaunt sheds for seas that could rise nearly 7 feet.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trump’s regional EPA chief in California is suddenly removed

The Environmental Protection Agency’s top official in California was abruptly removed from office Wednesday. No reason has yet been given for Mike Stoker’s dismissal. … Stoker’s tenure was mired in controversy. In 2018, a few months after he was appointed regional administrator, a “hotline” complaint was filed with the EPA’s inspector general regarding his infrequent visits to the region’s main office, in San Francisco.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Reducing reliance on the Delta and improving regional self-reliance: Two sides of the same coin

One of the top priorities outlined in the Newsom Administration’s recently released draft Water Resilience Portfolio is reducing reliance on any one water source and diversifying supplies – key strategies for making our water supply systems more flexible, adaptable, and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems. It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Friday Top of the Scroll: What happened to the rain? California in a dry rut, snowpack shrinks

California is stuck in a dry spell amid what is historically the wettest time of the year. But while the Sierra snowpack is dwindling and rainfall totals are below normal, weather watchers are not concerned about a drought. “One dry year doesn’t make a drought,” said Chris Orrock, a spokesperson for the California Department of Water Resources.

Related articles:

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Aquafornia news KTVU TV

Report: Sea-level rise ‘accelerating’ along U.S. coasts, including the Bay Area

Researchers at Virginia Institute of Marine Science issued their annual report card which looked at tide-gauge records for 32 coastal locations, stretching from Maine to Alaska. … The Bay Area was home to two of those stations: one in Alameda and one in San Francisco, which both recorded a year-over-year rise.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Ecologists see little difference between unimpaired and (truly) functional approaches to flow

From an ecologist’s perspective, river habitat and species population sizes and life histories were shaped by unimpaired flow patterns (including volume and natural variability) across seasons and years. Science from across the world, other regions in the US, and right here in California suggests that we can take some of that flow for other uses, but must preserve adequate volume and natural patterns of variation if we want native species to survive.

Aquafornia news CityLab

Where America’s climate migrants will go as sea level rises

“A lot of cities not at risk of sea of level rise will experience the effect of it,” says Bistra Dilkina, a computer scientist at the University of Southern California, who led the study. “This will require an adjustment in terms of the [increased] demand on the cities’ infrastructure.”

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Four Corners drought in 2018 was worsened by human-caused climate change, researchers say

The Four Corners drought of 2017 and 2018 caused $3 billion in losses and prompted the Navajo Nation to issue an emergency drought declaration. Now, new research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggests a sizable portion of the drought’s impacts stemmed from human-caused climate change.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Vast amounts of valuable energy, nutrients, water lost in world’s fast-rising wastewater streams

Vast amounts of valuable energy, agricultural nutrients, and water could potentially be recovered from the world’s fast-rising volume of municipal wastewater, according to a new study by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

To study atmospheric rivers, scientists need to get close. So they fly to them

The Air Force research crew on the WC-130J Super Hercules airplane was cruising at 28,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, preparing to deploy 25 weather-sensing devices over a long band of water vapor known as an “atmospheric river” when the hazards of air travel got in the way of science.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Why California’s environmental policies aren’t enough for this state lawmaker

Assemblyman Rob Bonta is proposing a far-reaching California Green New Deal to address climate change while prioritizing historically marginalized groups… The bill would extend the rights of Californians to include things like access to clean air and water; justice for institutional – including environmental – racism; debt-free public education through college, and affordable health care.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: The California Environmental Flows Framework

One of the major questions fish biologists are often asked is “how much water do fish need?” In 2016, a group of scientists from California Trout, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, with funding in partnership from the State Water Board, began to delve into this question and others.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Placer County continues work on French Meadows restoration project

Placer County, along with the U.S. Forest Service will continue restoration efforts at the French Meadows reservoir, 30 miles south of Soda Springs, with plans to treat over 3,800 acres of forest this year. … This year they expect to remove 9 million board feet of timber, three times the amount removed last year, and 15,000 green tons of biomass that will be chipped, hauled and used for energy production.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk

The situation in Australia illustrates a growing global concern: Forests, grasslands and other areas that supply drinking water to hundreds of millions of people are increasingly vulnerable to fire due in large part to hotter, drier weather that has extended fire seasons, and more people moving into those areas, where they can accidentally set fires.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford student’s invention gives her a worldwide platform to advocate change

Kiara Nirghin, ’22, developed a unique polymer that can keep crops hydrated during dry spells. The innovative research has garnered her global recognition, including top honors at the Google Science Fair.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California ag faces a decade of challenges

On the heels of a seemingly perpetual drought that has slowed surface water deliveries to a trickle and made water transfers complicated and expensive, Joe Del Bosque and other growers face new pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … The farm’s water costs have already more than doubled in the past 10 years…

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City of Ventura faces calls to drop legal action, water adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

City Council approves water rate hike to fund water self-sufficiency projects

The Santa Monica City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan Tuesday that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

As California preps for more ‘horizontal hurricanes,’ Air Force gathers intel over Pacific

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s mission over the coming months: C-130s — departing from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii; or from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield — will each release 25 sensors called dropsondes into a forming atmospheric river system. As the dropsondes fall from 25,000 feet along two V-shaped paths covering hundreds of miles, they send back readings on the gathering storm’s water vapor content, temperature, wind speed and direction.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Less turf, fewer pools shrink per-home water use in Phoenix area

Large lawns and backyard pools were once common features of new homes in the Phoenix area, but not anymore. A recent study of single-family homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area showed that nearly two-thirds of homes do not have a swimming pool.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Wildfires a hot topic during national weather conference at Stateline

Wildfires are feasting on overgrown, overcrowded and undermanaged forests, warmer temperatures have created longer fire seasons and officials are trying to prevent another environmental catastrophe. That was all just part of the discussion Monday during Operation Sierra Storm, a national weather conference sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority…

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The final demise of unimpaired flows

The concept of unimpaired flows has endured (much longer than reasonable in my opinion). While it was argued that unimpaired flows would allow resource assessments to be founded on the “natural” hydrology of the stream network, this had fundamental drawbacks.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

More rain, less snow increases flooding

By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Reversing history in the San Francisco Bay

Since the 19th century, close to 90 percent of the marshland that historically ringed San Francisco Bay has been lost to development. The effects include diminished wildlife habitat, increased flood risk, degraded water quality, and far fewer opportunities for nature-based recreation. In 2016, more than two-thirds of voters across nine counties supported ballot Measure AA, a $12 per year parcel tax over 20 years to provide $500 million in restoration funding to reverse some of those effects.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California water department must face reality of climate change

As we enter a new decade, California faces increasing environmental challenges caused by climate change, creating an uncertain future for our water resources. … It is time for California’s Department of Water Resources to implement water policy for the state that shores up our precious waterways and diversifies water supplies in the face of these imminent threats.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Border report: Climate change knows no borders

The U.S.-Mexico border delineates the separation of two countries, but that doesn’t mean the two sides are completely isolated from each other. … It’s also why the United States and Mexico coordinate on public health, and why experts say the two nations should do more on climate change.

Aquafornia news Good Beer Hunting

Changing tides: How breweries are combating water shortages and working towards sustainability

For many businesses in drought-ridden states like California, water supply issues aren’t a problem for the future—they’re happening right now. … For the Cloverdale-based Bear Republic Brewing Company, the impact was especially devastating, due to the city’s heavy reliance on the water supply of the Russian River. 

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Atmospheric rivers that hit California getting a boost from melting Arctic ice

The fast-melting ice in the Arctic may be the primary cause of extreme weather across the globe, including some of the most violent, damaging storms to hit the Bay Area and California, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography study has found.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

News release: Climate report prompts proposed policy changes to protect San Francisco Bay and outlying areas

In an effort to aggressively combat the impacts of climate change on low-lying areas of the Bay Area, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board today proposed changes to the region’s Water Quality Control Plan to better protect shorelines from sea level rise, storm surges and flooding.

Aquafornia news Smart Water Magazine

Scientists connect 2018’s Four Corners drought directly to human-caused climate change

The 2018 Four Corners drought — centered on the junction between Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico — put the region deep in the red. An abnormally hot spring and summer indicated that climate change was clearly at work, but that was about as much as most people could say… Climate scientists from UC Santa Barbara have now distilled just how strong an effect human-induced warming had on that event.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

New water recycling projects will help battle Central Coast’s seawater invasion

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California geothermal plan released after leasing spike

One of the biggest indicators of renewed geothermal interest occurred Thursday when the Bureau of Land Management published a final environmental impact statement on a California geothermal leasing area that sat on the shelf for eight years. The statement is for the proposed designation of a 22,805-acre Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area north of Ridgecrest, Calif., and west of Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Between wildfires, land in the US West has short 10- to 15-year reprieve

In wildland forest locations, they found that drought-ridden and drier locales like Idaho and Colorado have longer stretches of post-burn protection (about 20 years) because the woody debris in those forests require extreme drought to carry fires and the land lacks grassy fuels. Coastal California, however, receives more moisture and grassy fuel grows quickly, increasing the risk for reburn, seeing that negative feedback disappear after about 10 years.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Birds in California’s desert are dying

These networks of habitat and water that run under and across our desert are essential to stop the loss of bird species diversity. These linkages, flowing through our communities, under our highways, bubbling up in the livestock allotments of our public lands or pulsing within renewable energy development zones, are not easily replaced. The loss and degradation of these connected lands and waters are contributing to the current crisis.

Aquafornia news E&E News

NOAA gets go-ahead to study climate Plan B: Geoengineering

David Fahey, director of the Chemical Sciences Division of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory, told his staff yesterday that the federal government is ready to examine the science behind “geoengineering” — or what he dubbed a “Plan B” for climate change. Fahey said he has received backing to explore two approaches.

Aquafornia news Bay Crossings

King Tides sound a pollution alarm in the Bay

Last month, high tides in San Francisco Bay washed up onto the shoreline of a large former pharmaceutical company in Richmond. A few hours later, the outgoing tide pulled contamination—including pesticides, toxic chemicals and radioactive waste—off the industrial land and into the Bay.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Bonds on the ballot: Will billions of dollars help California cope with climate change?

Competing plans for “climate resiliency” bonds come from three sides of state government: the Assembly, the Senate and Gov. Gavin Newsom. … Resilience projects are aimed not so much at preventing sea level rise, wildfires, droughts and extreme heatwaves, but helping people and communities survive. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To boost geothermal, Trump seeks rollback of desert protections

In step with President Trump’s push for more energy development in California’s deserts, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Thursday it wants to transform 22,000 acres of public land in the southern Owens Valley into one of the largest geothermal leasing sites in the state.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom wades into decades-long bid to wring more water for California

The water portfolio lists over 100 actions and while many are forward-thinking and do things like improve drinking water quality, boost efficiency in urban and agricultural water use and favor voluntary water agreements instead of state mandates, it also endorses billion-dollar projects that flopped under past governors. The first draft was well received by farmers, water districts and others in California’s water circle, but critics are worried the innovative and cheaper options are already taking a backseat …

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: As water agencies balk at the tunnel’s price tag, DWR turns to a desperate ransom strategy

Since July, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Contractors have engaged in fruitless negotiations over how to pay for a single-tunnel Delta Conveyance Facility. On December 23, right before the holidays, DWR made their 6th proposal to the State WaterContractors with a major shift in approach.

Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation approves rate increases, protest level not reached

The Santa Fe Irrigation District approved three percent water rate increases for the next three years at a Jan. 16 hearing. … The rate increases aim to help meet the district’s objectives to ensure equity across customer classes, encourage conservation and maintain financial stability as it faces challenges such as the rising costs of imported water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

Related article

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: California can make lowly water heaters mighty climate tools

In a groundbreaking vote, California has allocated nearly $45 million toward boosting highly efficient electric heat pump technology that can help avoid burning fossil fuels to heat our water, as well as store California’s abundant pollution-free solar energy to give us piping-hot showers when the sun isn’t shining.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Beetles and fire kill dozens of ‘indestructible’ giant Sequoia trees

The deaths of the trees, some of which lived through the rise and fall of hundreds of empires, caliphates and kingdoms – not to mention the inauguration of every US president – have shocked researchers in their speed and novelty.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Cannabis Now

Climate change puts spotlight on the drought resistance of marijuana

Mediterranean climates include California, and dry-farming of cannabis is catching on in the Emerald Triangle as a part of the general trend toward sun-grown and organic product.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

New radar system in San Jose will make more accurate weather predictions

Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant in San Jose is the first permanent x-band weather radar system in the Bay Area. “The radar system that you see up there is collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water.“ Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C., Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system, which will improve weather forecasting across the region.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration seeks input on water plan

As Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration attempt to establish a comprehensive and cohesive water policy for the state, officials are seeking public input on the draft water resilience portfolio released earlier this month. The document was issued in response to Newsom’s April 2019 executive order directing his administration to inventory and assess a wide range of water-related challenges and solutions.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Friday Top of the Scroll: State just starting to grapple with climate change

California’s vulnerability to climate change — from deadly fires to sea level rise — has been well documented. But the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal adviser says the state, with rare exceptions, has only just begun to assess the risk climate change poses to roads, dams, parks and schools.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Here’s how much better last fire season was than the previous two

Last year, with those recent calamities haunting the state, officials took some unprecedented steps to avert a devastating repeat. Did they work? Well, judging by the results tallied at the end of the year, something went right.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Newsom administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio puts California on course to climate resilience

While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.

Commands