Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news NASA Earth Observatory

Blog: A third of the U.S. faces drought

As the United States moves into the last weeks of climatological summer, one- third of the country is experiencing at least a moderate level of drought. Much of the West is approaching severe drought, and New England has been unusually dry and hot. An estimated 53 million people are living in drought-affected areas.

Aquafornia news Spectrum 1 News

Could a hurricane hit Southern California?

We’ll walk you through hurricane dynamics, talk a little history, and explain why a (weak) hurricane is not totally out of the realm of possibility for Southern California in the future.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: US West faces reckoning over water but avoids cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip slightly in 2021. … Despite the dip, Lake Mead’s levels are expected to stay above the threshold that triggers mandatory water cuts to Arizona and Nevada, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for a future when the flow will slow.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and Central Valley Flood Protection Plan updates

At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, councilmembers heard briefings on the activities of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy, and an update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Why is America running out of water?

Within as little as 50 years, many regions of the United States could see their freshwater supply reduced by as much as a third, warn scientists. … Shortages won’t affect only the regions we’d expect to be dry: With as many as 96 out of 204 basins in trouble, water shortages would impact most of the U.S., including the central and southern Great Plains, the Southwest, central Rocky Mountain states, as well as parts of California…

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers propose climate-smart desert food production model for land and human health

Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass over a decade with far less water than that used by conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the soil to mitigate climate change…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Time for California to build cheaper, faster, cleaner

The California Energy Commission is about to launch a process to update the state’s building energy code, known as Title 24. It will set the rules for energy efficiency levels and whether heating and hot water are powered by fossil or clean energy in new construction beginning in 2023…

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Failing to plan for sea level rise — even amid a pandemic — could be catastrophic, experts warn

If California lawmakers set aside climate concerns like sea level rise, and focus only on the pandemic, the state could be setting itself up for an even worse economic hardship, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office cautioned in a report Monday.

Aquafornia news Waste Today

California wastewater treatment site earns LEED Platinum certification

The Lakewood, California-based Water Replenishment District announced that its Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest rating offered to environmentally sustainable buildings. Only 5.7 percent of LEED projects in the U.S. have achieved this designation.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Opinion: Desalination is not the panacea

In response to Eberhard Brunner’s recent “Water in the West” op-ed, I’d like to share some facts about the true costs of desalinated water.

Aquafornia news KQED Forum

Audio: UCLA study: Less snow and more rainfall spell trouble for California

By the 2070s, climate change will reduce snowpack and increase extreme rainfall in the Sierra Nevada and California’s reservoirs will likely be overwhelmed. That’s according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists, who predict that run-off during so-called atmospheric rivers will increase by nearly 50 percent, leading to widespread flooding across the state.

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Aquafornia news SciLine

Quick facts: Drought and climate change

Human-caused global warming is increasing drought risk across much of the United States as rising temperatures accelerate evaporation, increase water uptake by heat-parched plants, and reduce the amount of winter snowpack available to refresh regions during dry summer months.

Aquafornia news UC Los Angeles

News release: A warming California sets the stage for future floods

By the 2070s, global warming will increase extreme rainfall and reduce snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, delivering a double whammy that will likely overwhelm California’s reservoirs and heighten the risk of flooding in much of the state, according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

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

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Focus on COVID might hamper state’s push against rising sea

The state will suffer dire long-term consequences if lawmakers set aside concerns about rising seas to focus solely on COVID-19, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned Monday. Sea level rise will likely put at least $8 billion in property underwater by 2050, and could affect tens of thousands of jobs and billions in gross domestic product, according to studies cited by the office. Sea level rise and related flooding and erosion … also pose threats to water treatment plants, roads, marinas, ports and railways.

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Aquafornia news Berkeley Lab

Blog: Expect more rainfall variability for California

California’s winter precipitation is expected to become 50% more variable by century’s end, based on a Berkeley Lab-led study of the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions on the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a rainfall pattern that covers a quarter of the globe.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: Predicting drought in the American West just got more difficult

People hoping to get a handle on future droughts in the American West are in for a disappointment, as new University of Southern California-led research shows El Niño cycles are an unreliable predictor. Instead, they found that Earth’s dynamic atmosphere is a wild card that plays a much bigger role than sea surface temperatures, yet defies predictability, in the wet and dry cycles that whipsaw the western states.

Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Opinion: Facts show holes in Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

In Colorado’s climate change hot spot, the West’s water is evaporating

This cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope — along with three counties just across the border in eastern Utah — has warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius, double the global average. Spanning more than 30,000 square miles, it is the largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48, a Washington Post analysis found. … The average flow of the Colorado River has declined nearly 20 percent over the past century, half of which is because of warming temperatures, scientists say.

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Aquafornia news American Geophysical Union

Blog: The secret life of water after a wildfire

In California, many of the wildfires occur in the Sierra Nevada mountains, which are the source of 70% of California’s water resources. Understanding the feedbacks and implications of disturbances on the hydrological cycle can help watershed managers plan for future scenarios with wildfires and climate extremes.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

City council discusses grant for desalination plant

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday to introduce and subsequently adopt an ordinance authorizing a grant funding agreement with the State Department of Water Resources in the amount of $10 million for reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.

Aquafornia news Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Blog: Projecting the future trade of virtual water

Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region. Now research led by scientists at PNNL has projected that the volume of virtual water traded globally could triple by the end of the century.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Climate change could lead to more incidents like the Oroville Dam spillway failures, experts warn

Nearly 200,000 people were evacuated when the spillways failed at Oroville Dam in 2017, an infrastructure disaster that cost around a billion dollars to repair. Three years later scientists say events that partially led to the incident could become more frequent. It comes down to how and when snow and rain fall.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Portfolio outlines actions to address water problems

Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has released a final California Water Resilience Portfolio, farm organizations say they will monitor progress on implementing the plan’s proposals—and on resolution of ongoing state-federal conflicts that complicate achieving some of its goals.

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Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Questions over water official who took money from interests pushing desal project she’s voting on

Regional water board member Kris Murray is on track later this week to vote on a controversial desalination plant sponsored by a company and interest groups she took money from during past political campaigns.

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Aquafornia news UC Irvine News

News release: UC Irvine engineers evaluate snow drought in different parts of the world

Environmental engineers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new framework for characterizing snow droughts around the world. Using this tool to analyze conditions from 1980 to 2018, the researchers found a 28-percent increase in the length of intensified snow-water deficits in the Western United States during the second half of the study period.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Water policy expert Felicia Marcus joins Stanford

The Program on Water in the West at Stanford University is pleased to announce that Felicia Marcus, a preeminent water policy expert and the previous chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, is joining the program as this year’s William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow.

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Where’s the dirt? Scientists surveying sediment in salt marshes

When Brenda Goeden first started working on mud, silt, and sand in the San Francisco Bay two decades ago, dredgers and contractors couldn’t get rid of all the sediment they excavated fast enough. … But today sediment is a hot commodity, as restorationists and developers scramble to elevate salt marshes and building sites before rising tides claim them. Now, a new plan is in the works to optimize allocation of this critical resource.

Aquafornia news Earth.com

California’s coast is vanishing due to land subsidence

The California coast has been largely spared from sea level rise for decades, but the trend is now set to reverse, and the coastline has already started disappearing due to land subsidence.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Can the Colorado River keep on running?

The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19 percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent. The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious trouble.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Thirsty? This costly plant could let you drink the Pacific

Poseidon Resources wants to build a $1.4 billion desalination plant near a power plant that is about to be shut down. They say it could produce 50 million gallons of water per day, enough for about 100,000 Orange County homes. Friday marked the second day of hearings before the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. Its approval is needed for the plant to discharge salty brine left over from the treated water.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Poseidon desalination proposal for Huntington Beach may face new requirements

After hearings this week for one of two remaining major permits needed for the project, several members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board indicated they were dissatisfied with the proposed mitigation for the larvae and other small marine life that would die as a result of the plant’s ocean intake pipes.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2012–2016: Environmental review and lessons

Droughts are common in California. The drought of 2012-2016 had no less precipitation and was no longer than previous historical droughts, but came with record high temperatures and low snowpack, which worsened many drought impacts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Fixing the Colorado River is tough. Good thing Arizona started early

The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: How to use climate change in California water resource litigation

Insofar as climate change and water resources is concerned, there are many related issues, but don’t let that lead you astray. Stay focused on the fundamental water issue tied to climate change.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in lawsuit against Met

Following the Imperial Irrigation District’s recent win on a monumental water case in California’s appellate court against Michael Abatti, the water district is back in court filing the opening brief against the other large water district is Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom asks Warren Buffett to remove California dams

Desperate to complete a historic but complicated dam removal on the California-Oregon border, Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed to one of the world’s wealthiest men to keep the project on track: financier Warren Buffett. Newsom dispatched a letter to Buffett and two of his executives Wednesday urging them to support removal of four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River…

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California has a new plan to protect its water supply from climate change, but some say it’s based on old thinking

Water is a big deal in California, and climate change is threatening the precious resource. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom finalized a broad plan this week to help prevent future water challenges … The Water Resilience Portfolio outlines 142 actions the state could take to build resilience as the effects of warming temperatures grow.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Vehicles burned in Mexico to protest US water payment

Demonstrators in northern Mexico have burned several government vehicles, blocked railway tracks and set afire a government office and highway tollbooths to protest water payments to the United States.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom lays out big dreams for California’s water future

Gov. Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar tunnel and build new dams. Newsom says the sweeping water portfolio will help the Golden State prepare for global warming by reinforcing outdated water infrastructure and reducing the state’s reliance on groundwater during future droughts.

Aquafornia news Gov. Newsom's Office

BREAKING NEWS: Gov. Newsom Releases Final Water Resilience Portfolio

NEWS RELEASE: Governor Gavin Newsom today released a final version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, the Administration’s blueprint for equipping California to cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on groundwater and other challenges.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Poseidon’s desalination plant faces day of reckoning

After more than 20 years of developing plans for a Huntington Beach desalination plant and winding its way through a seemingly endless bureaucratic approval process, Poseidon Water comes to a key juncture as the Regional Water Quality Control Board votes on whether to grant a permit after hearings this week.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Famously clear Lake Tahoe has been polluted by climate change

When it was measured last year, the clarity of the lake was about 80 feet. … But, consider this, about 20 years ago, the clarity of lake was 100 feet. That’s the trend scientists are trying to reverse.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State Water Board has authority to implement temporary water curtailments without evidentiary hearing

The Third Appellate District has ruled that the State Water Resources Control Board has the authority to issue temporary emergency regulations and curtailment orders which establish minimum flow requirements, regulate unreasonable use of water, and protect threatened fish species during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Scripps Institution of Oceanography

News release: Researchers identify factor behind 2017 Oroville Dam spillways incident

What was extraordinary was the unusually deep snow recorded in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains before the storm event. Subsequently, several records were set for how much snowmelt occurred during the atmospheric river. The melt took place because of unusually warm and wet conditions, and it increased water available for runoff by 37 percent over rain alone, straining the capacity of California’s second-largest reservoir.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water examines state’s effort to preserve Salton Sea, California’s largest lake

The state of California, long derided for its failure to act in the past, says it is now moving full-bore to address the Salton Sea’s problems, with ambitious plans for wildlife habitat expansion and dust suppression.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Thursday Top of the Scroll: River agreements stall amid focus on Delta litigation

With state and federal administrations fighting in court about delta water operations—and with a pandemic and election year both underway—work has slowed on voluntary agreements meant to avoid severe cuts to northern San Joaquin Valley water supplies. At issue is the first phase of a State Water Resources Control Board plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California settles fight over hoarded dam water

As part of a settlement reached with fishing and environmental groups, the California State Water Resources Control Board says it will increase transparency and conduct heightened evaluations when deciding water quality standards and flow limits for the state’s critical waterways. … Environmentalists celebrated the deal as a “landmark settlement” that stands to boost protections for fish by improving water quality in the Sacramento River and the San Francisco Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmers doing more with less need help from above

Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based startup company, is one of several high-tech aerial monitoring companies helping California farmers, including those in Kern County, increase their production, while decreasing their demand for water. It is a logical marriage between agriculture and innovators in California’s Silicon Valley.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lake Tahoe’s aspens face dangerous new threat

In June 2018, scientists first noticed that aspen trees around the basin were looking more defoliated than usual… “It was concerning because, from a landscape diversity perspective, aspens are so priceless in terms of what they contribute up here,” said Will Richardson, executive director of the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Fields of gold: Sacramento Valley climate is ripe for producing quality olive oil

“We believe olives are California’s crop of the future,” said Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “Because as the water supply tightens up, either through state policy or extended drought periods, we’re seeing a longer, warmer season — olives are really well-suited to manage that more than other crops…”

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Blog: Will “two lined swimming pools connected by a pipe” help us get rid of natural gas?

Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) is a pretty simple technology. … The effect is not to create energy. In fact, these facilities are net consumers of energy. But by making renewable energy available when it is most needed, PSH helps renewables better match demand, reducing the need for gas on the grid.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Potential harmful algal bloom spotted in New Melones near Camp Nine bridge

A potential harmful algal bloom (HAB) has been identified at New Melones Reservoir downstream of the log jam and Camp Nine bridge in Calaveras County. … This is the first HAB identified in Calaveras County this year, based on the state HAB Incident Reports Map.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: High and rising: Flood risk in California grows

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

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Removal of Scott Dam key to salmon and steelhead recovery

While it’s fair to say that salmon and steelhead are dying the death of a thousand cuts in the Eel River, Scott Dam is by far the deepest and most damaging of these injuries. Dam removal efforts from Maine to Washington State to here in California have shown time and again that restoring access to historical spawning grounds is key to rebounding fish populations.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Scientists predict dramatic increase in flooding, drought in California

Da Yang, an atmospheric scientist at UC Davis and his co-authors predict the entire West Coast will experience greater month-to-month fluctuations in extremely dry and wet weather, especially in California. The study explores the Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), an atmospheric phenomenon that influences rainfall in the tropics…

Aquafornia news Weather West

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Coastal flooding to steadily increase, says new federal report

The high-tide flooding that inundated the streets of Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula over the Fourth of July weekend will grow ever-more common throughout the state — and nation — thanks to rising seas, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s report released Tuesday, July 14.

Aquafornia news YubaNet.com

North Yuba Forest Partnership releases interactive story map detailing unique values of North Yuba River watershed

In November 2019, a diverse group of nine organizations, known as the North Yuba Forest Partnership, announced its commitment to using best available science in planning and implementing forest restoration at an unprecedented pace and scale within the North Yuba River watershed. Today, the group released an online interactive story map highlighting the ecological and human values within the watershed…

Aquafornia news Energy and Policy Institute

Blog: Utilities that operate coal plants in the Western U.S. face growing water supply risks

Electric utilities that operate coal plants face growing water supply risks in the western United States, where water is scarce and increasingly threatened by hotter and drier conditions driven by climate change. That’s the focus of a new Energy and Policy Institute report, which explores the water supply risks facing coal plants in the American West…

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Podcast focuses on new agriculture and California’s future

On a hot June evening, UC Merced Professor Josh Viers joined farm advocate and small farmer Tom Willey on his front porch near Fresno to talk about California’s water, disadvantaged communities, agricultural production and the future as part of the new “Down on the Farm” podcast that’s now available for all to hear.

Aquafornia news 5280.com

How did Colorado’s drought get so bad so quick?

To live in Colorado is to know drought. Since 2000, there has been only one month-plus-long period (from late May to mid July of 2019) when no drought has been desiccating the earth here. Other than that, at least one part of the state has been in a perpetual state of crisp.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: 30-year permit granted for complex habitat conservation plan for the Santa Ana River wash

A vision first formed in the early 1990s finally came to fruition when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District authority to manage a long-awaited project that will benefit water, environmental, economic and community interests in the Upper Santa Ana River Wash.

Aquafornia news CalTrout

Blog: Sen. Kamala Harris Introduces the Waters for Tomorrow Act

This legislation will ensure the nation’s water supply is safe and sustainable. The Water for Tomorrow Act will combine the water sustainability measures from Sen. Harris’ Water Justice Act with key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act, led in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA).

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

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

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

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

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

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID seeks Salton Sea consideration in Colorado River water lawsuit

The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton Sea is also considered.

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Aquafornia news St. George News

Glen Canyon day: Is the dam a tombstone or a giver of new life?

To those who opposed the dam, Glen Canyon Dam’s history reads like an obituary about the loss of an incomparable sandstone and water wonderland… Those on the other side of the issue feel the dam has improved Glen Canyon – now providing greater access to its breathtaking contrast of towering crimson sandstone walls and vast expanses of crystal blue water.

Aquafornia news Vanderbilt University

Blog: Geochemical analysis from the last ice age may hold clues for future climate change and preparedness strategies

The large and rapid variations in rainfall recorded in the LSC stalagmites demonstrate that climate in Northern California is sensitive to changes happening elsewhere in the world, and that rainfall in this area may be capable of increasing or decreasing in response to relatively small changes in global climate.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Phil Isenberg: Challenging conventional water wisdom

In five decades of public service Phil Isenberg has served as mayor of Sacramento, a member of the Assembly, a lobbyist, chairs of the Marine Life Protection Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, and, until 2016, the Delta Stewardship Council. … In a two-part oral history with Chris Austin, editor of Maven’s Notebook, Isenberg details the myths and complexities of California water politics.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in petition to suspend DCP

Imperial Irrigation District made the first notable follow-up to its petition to hit the brakes on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River with an opening brief filed Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Brown bag seminar: Building socioecological resilience by confronting environmental injustice

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

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Humpback chub ‘alien abductions’ help frame the future of the Colorado River

Researchers in the Grand Canyon now spend weeks at a time, several times a year, monitoring humpback chub, which has become central to an ecosystem science program with implications for millions of westerners who rely on Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In parched Southwest, warm spring renews threat of ‘megadrought’

Here at 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide, only vestiges of the winter snowpack remain, scattered white patches that have yet to melt and feed the upper Colorado River, 50 miles away. That’s normal for mid-June in the Rockies. What’s unusual this year is the speed at which the snow went. And with it went hopes for a drought-free year in the Southwest.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Climate-change research provides tools for farmers

Tapan Pathak, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist based at UC Merced, is doing applied research that farmers and ranchers can use to adapt to new conditions created by a variable and changing climate. “You don’t have to shift your practice tomorrow, but if you are thinking of making a 30-year investment, it’s important to know what risks there are for planting different crops,” said Pathak…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: California moves toward smart and efficient water heating

California has just adopted an energy code specification for grid-friendly and super-efficient water heaters that will help decarbonize buildings and the electric grid while saving Californians money on their utility bills.

Aquafornia news CapRadio

Sacramento region plans to store water underground as a climate change adaptation strategy

The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three times the space of Folsom Lake. 

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Could paying farmers to store carbon help the climate and save farms?

Scientists estimate the earth’s soil holds two to three times more carbon than the entire atmosphere. That’s a good thing, because cars, planes, factories, and farms churn out CO2 at astounding rates. If farmers could coax their fields to suck up more of the gas and deposit it underground in the form of organic carbon, it could go a long way toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news Earth.com

Study: Fish worldwide are shockingly vulnerable to climate change

Climate change will impact the reproductive success of fish worldwide, according to an alarming new study. The researchers estimate that rising water temperatures will limit the reproductive ability of up to 60 percent of all fish species. The study authors report that the risks for fish are much higher than previously realized, especially given the fact that in certain developmental stages they are extremely sensitive to rising water temperatures. 

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Some new climate models are projecting extreme warming. Are they correct?

For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world’s top climate modeling groups have been “running hot” – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been confounding scientists because it challenges decades of consistent projections.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: California megadrought? Not if you look at precipitation

If you want to know what climate change means for California’s water supply, consider the last two Februaries. In 126 years of statewide record-keeping, you can’t find a drier February than the one we just experienced. But February 2019 was the third wettest on record. The extremes underscore how global warming is exaggerating the year-to-year swings in California precipitation, which is naturally the most variable in the country.

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Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Lake Powell Pipeline would accelerate climate damage in Colorado River Basin

Already affected by the warming temperatures of climate change the flow of the Colorado is once again being challenged by a proposed $2.24 billion taxpayer-funded pipeline taking 86,000 square-acre-feet of water to a community that already uses 234% more water than the average community — and does not need it.

Aquafornia news Phys.Org

Climate change is altering terrestrial water availability

The amount and location of available terrestrial water is changing worldwide. An international research team led by ETH Zurich has now proved for the first time that human-induced climate change is responsible for the changes observed in available terrestrial water.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: We’ve stabilized the Colorado River – for now. But much tougher work lies ahead

We are preparing now for the tougher negotiations that lie ahead to develop new operating rules for the Colorado River. Last week, Arizona’s water community began work preparing our state’s vision of what Colorado River management should look like after the current set of rules expire in a little more than six years.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: New data reveals hidden flood risk across America

Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater than government estimates show, new calculations suggest, exposing millions of people to a hidden threat… That new calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally, estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million shown on federal government flood maps. [See the map to explore county flood risk in California and the West.]

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Here’s what climate change means for wildfires in the West

While there are numerous factors that can lead to increased wildfire risk, a growing body of scientific evidence finds that climate change is a wildfire “threat multiplier,” amplifying both natural and human risk factors. But how climate will influence western communities and ecosystems varies considerably. Two recent studies in California and the Pacific Northwest help to bring some of this into better focus.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Imperial County hits feds with pollution violation notice

As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Foster City levee nearly $20 million over budget

Voters approved a $90 million general obligation bond for the project in 2018, and construction was supposed to be complete by December of this year. Now officials are expecting the project to cost about $109 million and not be complete until September 2023.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Water storage and dam management strategies in light of climate change

There can be little argument that many of the more than 90,000 dams in this country are in need of immediate attention. The catastrophic failure of two dams in Michigan last month following an extraordinary amount of rain in a relatively short period, highlights a number of issues:

Aquafornia news KUER

Lake Powell reached capacity 40 years ago. But what do the coming decades hold in store?

The water has made development possible and is used for farms, homes and businesses. Meanwhile, recreation has risen to over 4 million annual visitors in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, with tourists bringing in over $420 million to local communities. But climate scientists studying the Colorado River find the lake’s water source is quickly declining.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta science needs, Part 2: What do managers need to know to effectively make decisions in the future Delta?

The Delta is changing much faster than we can respond to, and if we want to start to get ahead of things, we need to think about what changes lie ahead and what managers and decision makers will need to manage those changes. That was the topic for the second Science Needs Workshop hosted by the Delta Science Program which brought together Jennifer Pierre with the State Water Contractors, Paul Souza with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Campbell Ingram with the Delta Conservancy…

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Opinion: Cal Am is blocking the Pure Water Monterey expansion

It seems some are willing to wait forever for a new water supply. After 25 years of failure, they still trust Cal Am to come up with a solution. But the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is clearly done waiting. Last Monday, the district board withdrew its support for Cal Am’s proposed desal plant.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Losing Carrizo

Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley

Aquafornia news KGO TV

As potential mega-drought looms, Stanford researchers explore desalination system

Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new predictions are accurate. … “To us, desalination is kind of the wave of the future,” says Stanford researcher William Tarpeh, Ph.D. Tarpeh and colleagues have been refining a technology that could eventually make widespread desalination cheaper, and safer for the environment.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s 21st century megadrought

A recent paper on climate change in California and the West has been in the news and raising concerns. Based on extensive analysis of tree ring data—a good measure of summer soil moisture—the authors postulate that most of the region is in an unfolding “megadrought” that began in 2000 and is the second worst in the past 1,200 years. … If the state is in a megadrought, it means a great deal. We should plan accordingly.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next, while other states have had more informal discussions.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Proposals to watch in Democrats’ infrastructure behemoth

House Democrats attached a provision to the bill that would look to introduce additional dam and hydropower safety inspections and analysis to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permitting process. … House Democrats included various provisions that would boost drinking water protections and infrastructure, harden water systems against the threat of climate change, and provide a financial lifeline for tribal water and wastewater systems.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California can lead the world to a more sustainable agriculture industry

The recovery from the COVID shutdown gives us a rare opportunity to rethink our relationship with the global ecosystems on which we depend. Like so many others, I long for a return to normalcy. But that’s not what we need. We must come out of this pandemic looking to address other looming crises. Our unsustainable agricultural system, along with climate change, are at the top of the list.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Sinking islands capture carbon credits

Encouraged by a recently vetted new method for creating carbon offsets from wetlands, a flurry of new climate adaptation projects on publicly owned islands strewn along the central Delta corridor aim to defend against sea-level rise, restore habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

How a historic drought led to higher power costs and emissions

A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant increases in power costs for three major investor-owned utilities in the state… They also found that increased harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to hydropower losses during drought in the future, even as more sources of renewable energy are added to the grid.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Forty miles of creek, six adaptation projects

As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.

Aquafornia news North Carolina State News

News release: How a historic drought led to higher power costs and emissions

A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant increases in power costs for three major investor-owned utilities in the state… They also found that increased harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to hydropower losses during drought in the future…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado River water battle comes to a boil in California

There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The roots of a coming Lake Powell Pipeline legal tangle

As Utah pushes forward with its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline – an attempt move over 80,000 acre feet per year of its Upper Colorado River Basin allocation to communities in the Lower Basin – it is worth revisiting one of the critical legal milestones in the evolution of what we have come to call “the Law of the River.”

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Preparing California’s water system for climate extremes

In October 2019, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) released the report, Priorities for California’s Water, which outlined California’s water management challenges and their top priorities for addressing those challenges. At the May meeting of the California Water Commission, Alvar Escriva-Bou, a PPIC research fellow, gave a presentation on the findings and how they align with the actions of the draft water resilience portfolio.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Remarkable drop in Colorado River water use a sign of climate adaptation

States have grappled in the last two decades with declining water levels in the basin’s main reservoirs — Mead and Powell — while reckoning with clear scientific evidence that climate change is already constricting the iconic river… For water managers, the steady drop in water consumption in recent years is a signal that conservation efforts are working and that they are not helpless in the face of daunting environmental changes.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Palo Alto Tide Gates, which prevent flooding in low-lying areas on Peninsula, to be replaced

Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula, commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee trails, you might never know these important structures exist.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Major ocean research effort centered in San Diego

UC San Diego will host the Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth and Atmospheric systems, and it will get up to $220 million in funding for research over a five-year period. … The research institute will help federal scientists understand the complicated interaction between ocean and atmosphere, and the interaction’s effects on the planet’s climate [including] …West Coast rainfall, the abundance or lack of abundance of water, drought conditions…

Aquafornia news Western Water

Key player on Colorado River issues seeks to balance competing water demands in the river’s upper basin

Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational industry and environmental protection takes expertise, leadership and a steady hand. Colorado has that in Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board since 2017

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Green infrastructure can be cheaper, more effective than dams

Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and state governments should heed those findings and increase funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and “living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Reimagine California’s big-water dreams

A note from another former colleague the other day prodded me into some rethinking — as with everything in this economic crisis, partly in light of the need for California to think small. By which I mean, think local.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: ‘Megadrought’ and ‘aridification’ — understanding the new language of a warming world

After nearly two decades of declining water flows into the Colorado River Basin, scientists have decided the word drought doesn’t cut it anymore. We need different terms, they say, to help people fully grasp what has happened and the long-term implications of climate change — not just in the Southwest, but across the country. The term that’s caught the most attention lately is “megadrought.”

Aquafornia news BNamericas

Mexico poised to breach 75-year water treaty with US

Under the 1944 treaty, the US is committed to sending 1.5mn acre-feet of water from the Colorado River basin to Mexico in 12-month periods, which represents 10% of the river’s average flow, according to the US Congressional Research Service. Meanwhile, Mexico must send 1.75mn acre-feet in five-year cycles from the Rio Grande’s six major tributaries that cross its territory.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta science needs: Looking at climate change impacts

The Delta Science Program is convening a Science Needs Assessment Workshop in October of 2020 to explore rapid environmental change facing the Delta relative to climate and other change impacts and to develop a comprehensive science needs assessment that will contribute to a long-range science strategy.

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 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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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 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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 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 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 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.

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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.

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