Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Climate change involves natural and man-made changes to weather patterns that occur over millions of years or over decades.

In the past 150 years, human industrial activity has accelerated the rate of change in the climate due to the increase in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide). Scientific studies describing this climate change continue to be produced and its expected impacts continue to be assessed.

In California, the California Environmental Protection Agency has found temperatures have risen by about 1.5 degrees since 1895. Looking ahead, temperatures could rise by 2.7 degrees and its sea levels by 55 inches in the next 40 years, according to the California Energy Commission and the California Natural Resources Agency. These are among the ongoing issues the state faces as it grapples with climate change.

Already, California is confronting rising demand for water and diminishing supplies. At the same time, the state’s water infrastructure such as levees is increasingly aging and in disrepair—conditions expected to be made worse by climate change.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: To save Klamath River salmon, shut down the hatcheries

In 2021, four large dams on the Klamath River are due to be demolished, in part to revive the river and Klamath Basin salmon. But unless salmon hatchery operations are discontinued soon afterward on the river, the effort will founder. Allowing hatchery salmon to mix with struggling native salmon after removing the dams is like rescuing a dying man only to slowly poison him.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Delta conveyance next steps

Governor Newsom has stated that he supports a single tunnel—building on the planning and analysis for modernized conveyance in the Delta done to date with an increased focus on how to make the project work for the Delta communities. … Under this direction, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) will launch a new environmental review and planning process toward the end of this year.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Amethyst Basin dedicated

The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert, was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10 years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

A fight between Humboldt stakeholders over the Klamath dams is impacting environmental protections across the country

If the decommissioning goes through as planned (the latest timetable aims for a drawdown sometime in 2021) it will be the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, with major implications for environmental restoration, the salmon fishery, agriculture and local tribes. But a recent Federal Appeals Court decision is having repercussions that extend far beyond the Klamath River Basin.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: California lawmakers are turning cap-and-trade into the slush fund critics long feared

As part of the budget negotiations, lawmakers shelved Gov. Gavin Newsom’s controversial “water tax” that would have raised $140 million a year to help low-income communities finally clean up their contaminated water systems. Instead, lawmakers plan to fund the much-needed water cleanups with $100 million a year in cap-and-trade dollars — money that is paid to the state by polluters and which is legally required to be spent on projects to reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

California bill would fund research into ‘atmospheric rivers’

Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Wednesday the 2019-20 state budget will include $9.25 million for research to better understand and forecast so-called atmospheric rivers, leading to improved flood control and water retention in a state grappling with the effects of climate change and chronic drought.

Aquafornia news St. George News

After lengthy permit process, Utah’s Lake Powell Pipeline ready for next step

Championed by state and local water planners and decried by conservation groups, the Lake Powell Pipeline project continues to be a focal point for discussion among Southern Utah residents. As to the current status of the pipeline project, a public comment period connected to a permitting process overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – more commonly known as FERC – recently concluded.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration proposes to overhaul environmental regulations managing federal forests

A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say. The rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to prevent fires in California and other states.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

NASA explores our changing freshwater world

Through the Airborne Snow Observatory program, NASA and California’s Department of Water Resources use instruments mounted on airplanes to create high resolution estimates of snow water content for priority watersheds in the Western U.S. The collected data helps determine the timing of the spring melt, which has downstream effects on hydroelectric power generation and planning for how much water can be held in reservoirs.

Aquafornia news ABC News

Parched US Southwest gets reprieve as snowmelt fills rivers

A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening to push rivers over their banks.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Dams could protect ranchers from climate change’s drought, but could they also contribute to it?

Jason Mead at Wyoming’s Water Development Office says more dams could help ranchers survive the coming droughts, but some scientists say, building more dams might actually worsen climate change. University of Wyoming soil scientist Jay Norton says, dams that manage for flood control, for example, could have a damaging effect.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Ecological detectives hunt for San Francisco’s vanished waterways

Today subverted water is reappearing in inconvenient ways because we have constrained the space it once had to ebb and flow, and climate change is amplifying storms and droughts. To cope, cities are increasingly funneling runoff into green infrastructure such as permeable pavement and bioswales. But a scientific research center, the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), is proposing a more ambitious approach…

Aquafornia news Hot Planet

Blog: Creeping toward permanent drought

At the beginning of the twentieth century, though, a faint fixed pattern becomes discernible among the randomness, a quiet but strengthening note against a background symphony. Some regions—California, the Mediterranean, Australia—dry out. It is a small, almost imperceptible-to-humans drying, but it is a pattern that no natural cycle can reproduce.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Opinion: California and water: Half environmental nightmare, half remarkable success story

The effort, particularly in California, amounted to a wholesale re-engineering of the existing hydrology to suit the needs of ranchers and farmers. It was “California’s irrigated miracle,” as Mark Arax calls it in his new book, “the greatest human alteration of a physical environment in history.” “The Dreamt Land” is Arax’s exhaustive, deeply reported account of this problematic achievement.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Planet Money: The water marketplace

After seven years of drought in California that drained aquifers and brought many farmers to the brink, legislators in Sacramento crafted a bunch of rules governing water usage. Those rules, many of which kick in next year, cap how much water farmers and cities can use. The regulations have caused a lot of anger and panic in the farming community. But also…a lot of innovation.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Yurok Tribe awarded UN honor for forest management practices

The Yurok Tribe recently became the first indigenous community in the United States to be awarded the Equator Prize by the United Nations Development Programme, which honors “innovative nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment and poverty challenges.”

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: With floods and droughts increasing, communities take a new look at storing water underground

California is looking to scale up this strategy. The snowpack that historically has supplied water into the dry spring and summer is predicted to largely disappear with the climate crisis. And its winter storms are predicted to grow more intense. Water managers and scientists, led by the California Department of Water Resources, are looking for the best places to move water from winter storms underground for use during the dry summers.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

As water scarcity increases, desalination plants are on the rise

A second plant, similar to Carlsbad, is being built in Huntington Beach, Calif., with the same 50-million-gallon-a-day capability. Currently there are 11 desalination plants in California, and 10 more are proposed. … For decades, we have been told it would one day turn oceans of salt water into fresh and quench the world’s thirst. But progress has been slow. That is now changing, as desalination is coming into play in many places around the world.

Aquafornia news Time

California sees nearly 240 wildfires within a week

Less than a year after the Camp Fire became the deadliest blaze in state history, California is once against facing a spate of wildfires that threaten its residents and land. There have been nearly 240 wildfires in California over the past week, causing one evacuation and two power shut-offs while fire fighters and utility companies attempt to prevent another catastrophe.

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Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

The rising tide will catch us all eventually

This pesky tendency of ours to get as nigh to water as possible—and to construct our cities and infrastructure accordingly—is what journalist Elizabeth Rush sets out to chronicle and ultimately critique in Rising, her account of sea level rise from the various sinking edges of our nation. And nowadays, not falling in is becoming more and more difficult.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Economic tradeoffs in groundwater management during drought

Domestic well users in some areas were greatly impacted by additional agricultural groundwater pumping during California’s 2012-2016 drought… Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) should improve long-term groundwater availability during drought for all system users by requiring groundwater management to avoid significant and unreasonable impacts of decreased groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Arizona plans for drought contingency plan impacts

Earlier this year, the seven states that rely on Colorado River water signed a collective drought contingency plan. At a conference last week in Colorado, Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said his state will take about half of the water reductions under that plan when a drought hits.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego City Council approves $700M for infrastructure in 2020 budget

Mayor Kevin Faulconer touted an infrastructure investment of more than $700 million, the largest in the city’s history. A large portion of that spending will fund construction of the Pure Water program, which the city says will produce one-third of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Groundwater managers seek 7 to serve as advisers

Water officials struck with the task of hammering out a plan to manage Santa Clarita Valley groundwater are looking for seven people to serve as the agency’s advisory group. … “We need their input to move ahead,” Tara Bravo, spokeswoman for SV Strategies, told the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency board.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Fostering sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s largest farming region faces two linked challenges: balancing groundwater supply and demand in overdrafted basins, and addressing water quality in the region’s aquifers. We talked to Ashley Boren, executive director of Sustainable Conservation, about tackling these issues in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Effort seeks to curb wildfires’ impact on drinking water

The $14 million effort, which is being led by Placer County through a stewardship contract with the USFS, is aimed at thinning the forest across both public and private land in an area where the 2014 King Fire created concern when it threatened two key reservoirs: French Meadows and Hell Hole reservoirs. The fire burned so intensely in that watershed that it impacted taste, odor and water treatment costs.

Aquafornia news Steamboat Pilot

Colorado exploring program to pay farmers to temporarily stop using water

As the West faces more demand for water and less water available to meet that demand, decision makers are working to figure out how Colorado could implement recently signed agreements to reduce water use in the Colorado River basin, which includes the Yampa River.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Public invited to groundwater meeting Monday afternoon

The people of Santa Clarita Valley are invited to weigh in on water issues Monday afternoon, when members of the SCV Groundwater Sustainability Agency is scheduled to meet. Concerns about local water resources and, of course, groundwater, are expected to dominate discussion.

Aquafornia news KUNC

On stressed Colorado River, states test how many more diversions watershed can bear

The Colorado River is short on water. But you wouldn’t know it by looking at a slate of proposed water projects in the river’s Upper Basin states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom abandons water tax, rejects some new spending in California budget deal

For the deal to come together, Newsom had to abandon his proposed $140-million tax on residential, commercial and agricultural water users — money he said was needed for helping communities without a reliable source of clean drinking water. … Instead, lawmakers will spend $133.4 million on clean water projects, with the lion’s share of the cash coming from proceeds raised by the sale of greenhouse gas emission credits — the centerpiece of California’s cap-and-trade program.

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

Palo Alto makes sludge sexy, onboarding $30 million sewer system

The San Francisco Peninsula city opened its $30 million sewage sludge processing facility, replacing an incinerator operating since 1972. As part of Palo Alto’s regional water quality control plant, the project funded by California Water Board loans is designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, eliminate a hazardous waste stream and reduce energy costs.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Santa Barbara couple creates award-winning and eco-conscious sparkling water

You don’t have to travel very far to get pure artesian water sourced from below a dormant volcano in New Zealand. “We tap an artesian aquifer, and we bottle at source in this amazing beautiful area of New Zealand,” said Justin Mahy of Santa Barbara.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Utilities in fire-weary California strategize for the long, hot summer

With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires. The first formal deployment of its new “public safety power shutoff” rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of Butte and Yuba counties without power…

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

In California, ‘enough’ water is never enough

Dr. Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, says while we would like to believe we are returning to the days when California rain and snowfall averages were normal more years than not, there is little or no indication that is the case. … “We’ll never be in a place where we can coast or just relax on water issues.”

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Save the Canal group files lawsuit against EID

Following through on its threats, on May 21 the group Save the El Dorado Canal filed suit against the El Dorado Irrigation District over plans to pipe the El Dorado Canal (also called the Upper Main Ditch) in Pollock Pines. … The canal is seen as a historical, environmental and recreational asset in the community as well as a conveyance that protects and enhances property values…

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz water panel scrutinizing Soquel Creek treatment project agreement

The water district would reroute an average 2.32 million gallons a day of the about 8 million gallons a day of treated wastewater otherwise discharged into the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. … Pure Water Soquel’s final product would then be pumped back into underground aquifers, depleted due to decades of overpumping, to replenish the Mid-County region’s major drinking supply.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater managers working in four critically-overdrafted basins discuss how their planning efforts are going

At the spring conference of the Association of California Water Agencies, a panel discussion brought together groundwater managers in four critically overdrafted basins to discuss their near-term goals and regional challenges in complying with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

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Aquafornia news Daily Universe

Lake Powell’s water levels on the rise — for now

Lake Powell is benefitting considerably from this year’s runoff following a strong snow year in the Rocky Mountains. The lake has risen 16 feet in the last month and is experiencing an inflow of 128% the average.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Record

Westland Water District denies violating any state law over potential raising of Shasta Dam

A California water district is disputing claims made in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra that it is violating state laws over a dam project. Westland Water District, which covers Fresno and Kings counties, was responding to the lawsuit filed over the Shasta Dam, the potential heightening of which the attorney general strongly opposes.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: On science and management in the Delta: A conversation with water expert Jay Lund

I recently sat down with California water expert and Delta Independent Science Board (ISB) member Jay Lund to talk about some of the challenges and opportunities for scientists and decision-makers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I am pleased to share highlights from our conversation in this month’s Delta Stewardship Council Chair’s blog.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Are California’s water operations as efficient as claimed?

California water users have been consistently frustrated over the seemingly endless water curtailments imposed on them. … Unfortunately, the messages from the regulators, political leaders, and media are not always consistent and the public is often left uncertain and confused. We wanted to show just how much water can be “lost” by California’s current water system operations.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Don’t let Trump, Cargill pave San Francisco Bay

Since our great awakening in the 1960s, the Bay Area has become a proud leader in protecting our local environment, from the redwoods and ridgelines to San Francisco Bay. … But some wealthy developers don’t care, despite decades of being told, “no, we won’t build on the Bay anymore.” With Donald Trump’s help, Cargill Salt and luxury home developer DMB Associates keep putting their profit above the health of our Bay.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

California’s water crisis has put farmers in a race to the bottom

In a recent interview, Mark Arax explained how water shapes culture in different parts of California, why the state might be crashing into its environmental limits, and why drought often makes farmers grow rather than shrink.

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: Wetlands restoration on Mission Bay is more important than ever

In contrast to the “grey” infrastructure of blacktop pavement and hardened shorelines, green infrastructure incorporates features like permeable pavement, landscapes called bioswales that remove debris and pollution out of surface runoff, and living shorelines instead of concrete channels and piles of rocky rip-rap at water’s edge. Unfortunately, current redevelopment proposals for Mission Bay are a worrying example of rushed planning processes that fail to evaluate the strategic use of green infrastructure…

Aquafornia news Reuters

In Los Angeles ‘water colony’, tribes fear a parched future

When the first white settlers arrived in California’s remote eastern Owens Valley, the name given to its indigenous tribes was Paiute, or “land of flowing water” in the local language. But for more than a century, the water in the valley has flowed in just one direction: toward Los Angeles, nearly 300 miles (480 km) away.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Unusually wet winter and spring pushes Arizona out of short-term drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor recently reported that, for the first time in its nearly 20-year history, none of the contiguous states was showing symptoms of severe or exceptional drought. That report includes Arizona, as this year’s abnormally wet May helped push the state out of a 10-year drought period.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Some common questions on California water (Part II)

This is the second installment of answers to some common questions regarding water problems in California. Part I examined some common questions on water supplies (questions 1-5). Part II looks more at common questions on water uses and demands.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water districts heartened by regional supply deal

Marin County water district officials expressed encouragement after an early agreement was reached that seeks to end longstanding conflicts of a major regional water supply 100 miles to the north. The agreement centers around the relicensing of the Potter Valley Project hydropower plant in Mendocino County, which holds a supply of water that affects fish, farmers and communities stretching from Marin to Humboldt counties.

Aquafornia news Irish Times

Opinion: Lesssons from the Californian drought: Nature has adjusted, humans not so much

A week or two ago I walked through San Francisco in a high wind and heavy rain. It was not what I’d expected. Having packed T-shirts, linen and shorts I borrowed a flimsy hotel umbrella which soon got pulled inside out. Meanwhile, at home in Wicklow the sun was baking the hills. Something is undeniably up with the weather.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Celebrating 10 years of recycled water, Pajaro Valley looks to future expansion

The city of Watsonville and the water agency joined efforts to open the Watsonville Area Water Recycling Facility in 2009, two years after first breaking ground on the Clearwater Lane facility. The facility now supplies about 5,000 acre feet a year of irrigation water, mixed with fresh water, to the local agricultural industry, giving wastewater from the neighboring water treatment plant a third or tertiary level of cleaning, rather than piping it all out into Monterey Bay.

Aquafornia news KSL.com

Biologists blitz Lake Powell, study wildlife restoration as water recedes

What Glen Canyon once was is slowly starting to come back. At Lake Powell’s high water mark, which hasn’t been under water in over 20 years, dozens of plants, insects and wildlife have been gradually settling back in.

Aquafornia news KUNR

Large hydroelectric dam proposal draws concern in Bishop

A new hydroelectric dam project could be built within the next few years near Bishop. While many see it as a form of clean energy, some locals are concerned about the effects it could have on the wilderness area. Kurtis Alexander is an environmental reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. KUNR’s Bree Zender spoke with him about his reporting.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

The wettest part of Alaska is experiencing extreme drought. Is climate change to blame?

The drought has had negative economic consequences for surrounding communities. Many communities in the region rely on small hydropower projects, so the lack of water has forced communities to use back-up diesel generators. Additionally, potable water access has sometimes been restricted. The high costs of back-up generators and periods of water restriction have been passed onto households and businesses, Thoman says.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Sierra snowpack is 202 percent of average for this time of year

As of May 30, the snowpack measured 202 percent of average, according to the California Department of Water Resources which compiles data from about 100 stations across the range. At this time last year, it measured 6 percent of average, making this year’s 33 times bigger than last year. In 2017, the snowpack measured 190 percent of average.

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Aquafornia news Public Radio International

Climate change is intensifying food shocks

Conventional farming wisdom isn’t particularly helpful, says Renata Brillinger, executive director of the California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN). “No amount of experience, even among the most veteran farmers, is providing much of a guidepost for some of these impacts,” she says.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Santa Monica approves $800 million climate plan

The Climate Action and Adaptation Plan aims to reduce emissions by weaning buildings off fossil fuels, recycling or composting all waste and getting drivers out of their cars. Santa Monica will stop importing water by 2023 to avoid being impacted by regional droughts, buffer the coast against flooding and protect the city’s population from extreme heat and natural disasters.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Is there a “grand bargain” to be had in the Colorado River Basin?

The “what happens next” question is currently focused on 2026. That is how long the 2007 Interim Guidelines, DCPs, and Minute 323 last, and discussions are already underway about what sort of management regime will follow. The DCPs go a long way toward reducing the imbalance between the river’s available supply and the allocation rules written over the previous century. But everyone knows they do not go far enough.

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Blog: California’s twin tunnels water project is dead. What’s next?

This past February, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his decision to downscale California’s Delta tunnels project from two tunnels to one. In May, the Department of Water Resources withdrew the permit application it had previously submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board, officially killing the project, and gave notice that it would start planning for a single tunnel. The decisions were generally welcomed within the environmental community.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Can we grow enough seaweed to help cows fight climate change?

Cows belch—a lot. And their burps (as well as those of other ruminants) make them the top polluters of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. As pressure to reduce heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere mounts, an increasing body of research has shown that seaweed added to cattle feed could dramatically reduce livestock’s impact. The challenge: where will the enormous supply of seaweed—enough to impact millions of cows—come from? And at what cost?

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: DWR’s climate change vulnerability assessment

In order to address the impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego’s climate goals require more investment in energy storage

The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California regulators approve PG&E power outages to prevent more wildfires

California regulators have approved allowing utilities to cut off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers to avoid catastrophic wildfires like the one sparked by power lines last year that killed 85 people and largely destroyed the city of Paradise.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mark Arax’s ‘The Dreamt Land’ traces California’s fear of a handful of dust

On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A. Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the key to understanding California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Water management is tough. Let’s tackle it together

Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County, and we in the California almond community are all rooting for the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed in finding viable solutions and common ground.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Adaptation: California uses untested powers for ‘managed retreat’

Before the threat of rising seas was widely understood, California created an agency to protect its famous beaches from overdevelopment. Now the state Coastal Commission is pouring resources into a war against the effects of climate change, and it could lead toward the removal of oceanfront homes.

Aquafornia news NPR

After Paradise, living with fire means redefining resilience

Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of canyon.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California needs Senate Bill 487 for watershed surveying

In my 40 years at the California Department of Water Resources, I have seen changes in climate that have convinced me that the full picture is changing and our extrapolation methods are losing value rapidly. This is especially true in extreme years, wet or dry – such as 2015, when the statistics are just not going to be accurate enough to meet our growing water management needs.

Aquafornia news UC Davis

News release: Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought reduced tree loss

 The study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, found that thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-2016.

Aquafornia news Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

Blog: Will Our Drought Ever End?

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

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

FERC finds Premium Energy’s application ‘patently deficient’

Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Freak mud flows threaten our water supplies, and climate change is raising the risk

Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California water utilities seek relief from fire lawsuits

While wildfire lawsuits have typically targeted electric utilities and their downed powerlines that ignite the blaze, some recent lawsuits have also focused on the water systems that are supposed to provide the water for firefighters to put out the flames. The group, known as the Coalition for Fire Protection and Accountability, wants to be included in legislative efforts to reduce utilities’ liability, a prime topic of discussion this year following Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.’s bankruptcy…

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland

The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a move that could create a promising new water source — or spark a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A water portfolio planning report card for California

Governor Newsom recently called for a state portfolio of actions to manage water under rapidly changing climate and other conditions. This post reviews the state of water portfolio planning in California today.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: The Colorado River’s biggest challenge looms

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The West has many wildfires, but too few prescribed burns, study finds

Despite years of scientific research pointing to prescribed or “controlled” burns as a successful method of clearing brush and restoring ecosystems, intentional fire-setting by federal agencies has declined in much of the West over the last 20 years, the study found. “This suggests that the best available science is not being adopted into management practices…” the report warns.

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Aquafornia news WSIL TV

Herrin, Ill., plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken area

Steve Frattini, mayor of Herrin, Ill., went to a water conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought. So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The water is from the city’s wastewater treatment plant … The Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be used to transport the water… Initially, Frattini said the water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern California, a sea that’s been drying up for years.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

PG&E wants to make a massive investment in weather stations. Here’s why

California’s rich landscape of rolling hills and steep canyons has potentially hundreds of thousands of microclimates, which makes fire prediction an incredible challenge. That’s why PG&E wants to build a dense network of weather stations, which they hope will illuminate the humidity, wind speed, and temperature of Northern California’s varied landscape.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Are big dams renewable energy? California Democrats split

In an effort to combat climate change and reduce smog, former Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed a landmark law that requires California’s utilities to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. But hydroelectric power from large dams doesn’t qualify as renewable, because of another state law, passed nearly 20 years ago, that aimed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. That’s not right, says State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

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

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

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Making key policy decisions in advance of droughts

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

Aquafornia news Anchorage Daily News

Southeast Alaska is seeing its first extreme drought ever recorded, climatologists say

The southernmost portion of Southeast Alaska, including Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell and Metlakatla, has been in a drought for the last two years… Last week, though, the drought was updated to a D3, or “extreme” drought, the second-highest category the U.S. Drought Monitor measures. It’s the first time those conditions have ever been recorded in Alaska, according to the Drought Monitor.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: John Wesley Powell at 150: How can we tell better stories?

Rather than unquestioningly celebrating Powell and his legacy, this year gives us the chance to think about a couple of points: First, how are we telling Powell’s story now, and how have we told it in the past? Is it, and has it been, accurate and useful? Second, whose stories have we excluded, ignored, and forgotten about in the focus on Powell?

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour Weekend

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

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

Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Opinion: Little-watched water districts helping Trump administration drain California desert

Cadiz is using Three Valleys Municipal Water District in eastern Los Angeles County and the Jurupa Community Services District in Riverside County to co-sponsor what they’re calling a “peer review” of its groundwater plan, written by four scientific consultants.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Orange County water board vacancy draws ‘unprecedented’ interest after Newsom kills twin tunnels project

After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in 2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the Municipal Water District of Orange County.

Aquafornia news Western Water

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

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

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bureau of Reclamation bumps Westside water allocation to 70 percent

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

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Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Rural Nevadans unite with environmentalists over water bill fears

Nevada ranchers, environmental groups and American Indian tribes are sounding the alarm over legislation they say could drain the water supply from rural areas throughout the state. They’re worried about Assembly Bill 30 in the Nevada Legislature after negotiations over arcane language in the bill broke down in recent days.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey advances plan to shore up eroding beaches

Called the Monterey Bay Opportunistic Beach Nourishment Program, the plan entails hauling beach-quality sand from other inland locations as a result of construction, development or dredging projects. The sand would be added to stockpiles at different locations and then be applied to dry sand areas above high tide marks…

Aquafornia news KALW

A small city fights plans for a desalination plant

The desalination plant would have seven wells sloping into the ground and sucking up water underneath the dunes, removing the salt, and sending it to cities on the Monterey Peninsula … but not Marina. They wouldn’t get any of the desalinated water because they’re not served by CalAm. Biala and other Marina residents oppose the plant because they think it will cause irreversible damage to their town’s ecosystems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Late-season rains mask looming fire danger as lush plants turn dry and explosive

Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago, the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through, destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life with great speed.

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Aquafornia news KHTS

Santa Clarita solar company offering ‘smart’ sprinkler controller to save water during rain

The “smart” sprinkler controller … uses the internet to detect when rain is in the forecast and automatically delays the system so the homeowner doesn’t even have to think about it. In addition, the controller syncs to smartphones, allowing the homeowner to easily adjust watering schedules manually as well.

Aquafornia news The Pacific Institute

Blog: Can California shift to proactive drought preparedness?

Precipitation in California is highly variable from year to year, and climate change is increasing this variability. … To address this and other challenges, the state passed Assembly Bill (AB) 1668 and Senate Bill (SB) 606 in June 2018. Known jointly as the Water Conservation Legislation, these bills were drafted in response of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016 executive order to “make water conservation a California way of life.” There are six key components…

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

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

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

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Dodd’s water flow gauging legislation passes Senate

Legislation that would require the state to enhance its river and stream gauging system has cleared the state Senate. … The bill requires the Department of Water Resources and Water Control Board to improve and enhance the monitoring system, including filling those gaps that are found, as well as assess a funding source to complete the work.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Cadiz bill passes California Senate, now to Assembly

The California Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require additional environmental review for groundwater transfers that would affect desert areas, which would put a major roadblock in front of a controversial water project proposed in the Mojave Desert by Cadiz Inc.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: What’s behind California’s lawsuit against Westlands, raising Shasta dam?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Managing drought in a changing climate: Four essential reforms

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

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Update provided on imported water goal

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

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Domino droughts: How droughts travel across continents

Could a drought in California be linked to a drought in the Midwest? A recent Stanford-led study published in Geophysical Research Letters finds that regions may fall victim to water scarcity like dominos toppling down a line.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Almond growers learn about their ‘largest challenge’

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cow manure: An unexpected climate solution

In 2016, California became the first state to pass legislation regulating dairy methane, requiring the farms to cut their manure emissions 40% by 2030. … Enter Neil Black. Black’s company builds multimillion-dollar projects at the state’s largest dairies to capture the gas.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Learn about atmospheric river research and forest management on Headwaters Tour, June 27-28

Our Headwaters Tour June 27-28 highlights the connection between fire and water with an up-close look at the critical role healthy Sierra forests play in water supply and quality across California. We will also learn about a new initiative between Yuba Water Agency, the California Department of Water Resources and University of California, San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography to study how atmospheric rivers affect the location, duration and intensity of storms.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Millions of people should prepare to be displaced by potential 6.5 foot sea level rise by 2100, experts say

Coastal communities should not rule out a sea-level rise in excess of 6.5 feet, according to the study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. … Should this worst-case scenario come to pass, good portions of cities like New York City and Miami on the East Coast and Los Angeles and San Francisco on the West Coast would be underwater by 2100.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain

Blog: What the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan means in practice

I ran down a quick summary this morning of the relevant data, comparing recent use with the cuts mandated under the DCP. It shows that, at this first tier of shortage, permitted use is less than the voluntary cuts water users have been making since 2015. In other words, all of the states are already using less water than contemplated in this first tier of DCP reductions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: An abandoned mine near Joshua Tree could host a massive hydropower project

An abandoned iron mine on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park could be repurposed as a massive hydroelectric power plant under a bill with bipartisan support in the state Legislature. … The bill could jump-start a $2.5-billion hydropower project that critics say would harm Joshua Tree National Park, draining desert groundwater aquifers and sapping above-ground springs that nourish wildlife in and around the park.

Aquafornia news KUOW

Drought emergency declared over nearly half of Washington

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has declared a drought emergency across nearly half the state. The drought declaration covers the Olympic peninsula, the North Cascades, the eastern Cascades and most of southwest Washington. It allows local governments to tap into $2 million in state funding to respond to hardships caused by the drought. … Snowpack is now at its fourth-lowest level in the past 30 years.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Belvedere reshuffles flood committee amid cost dispute

While Belvedere officials consider a series of flood control projects that could cost up to $27.1 million, the city has appointed a new advisory committee that represents some of the hillside homeowners who say that money shouldn’t come out of their pockets. … An engineering consultant has designed several iterations of the projects, which are meant to safeguard the community from the forthcoming effects of sea-level rise.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River deal: As states sign, long-term challenges remain

The Colorado River just got a boost that’s likely to prevent its depleted reservoirs from bottoming out, at least for the next several years. Representatives of seven Western states and the federal government signed a landmark deal on Monday laying out potential cuts in water deliveries through 2026 to reduce the risks of the river’s reservoirs hitting critically low levels.

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Aquafornia news KGET TV

Bureau of Land Management to hold meeting on White House proposal to expand oil drilling, fracking

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield office is set to hold a meeting Tuesday over a White House proposal that would expand oil drilling and fracking on more than a million acres of public land across the state. … The proposal includes 40 new wells over the next 10 years on roughly 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate — land where the surface is owned privately, but the mineral rights beneath the ground are managed by the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Interior Department pulls support from Klamath dam removal project

Recently-appointed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has rescinded a letter of support that Obama-era Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wrote in 2016. … Matt Cox is with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the non-profit formed to implement the dam removal agreement. He says rescinding Jewell’s letter has no legal effect.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Feds to provide flood aid for roads, but not for Russian River residents

Residents whose homes were flooded will not be eligible for financial aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because state officials determined the amount of damage was insufficient to qualify.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

August tour examines lurking threat of drought along the California coast

On our August Edge of Drought Tour, we’re venturing into the Santa Barbara area to learn about the water challenges and the steps being taken to boost supplies. The region’s local surface and groundwater supplies are limited, and its hydrologic recovery often has lagged behind much of the state despite the recent lifting of a drought emergency declaration following this winter’s storms.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Russian River’s seasonal dam coming down again amid heavy rain, runoff

Two days of above-average spring rainfall in the North Bay have forced Sonoma County officials to begin deflating the seasonal dam across the Russian River, an about-face that comes less than a week after the rubber dam was fully inflated to serve the region’s drinking water system.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements. The money comes at a cost to California’s biggest undertaking — high-speed rail.

Aquafornia news Business Insider

Silicon Valley drinking water crisis is a result of drought, climate

The combination of droughts and floods has given rise to a process known as saltwater intrusion — what San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo refers to as his city’s greatest climate threat. … In coastal regions like San Jose, overpumping allows seawater to seep into the city’s aquifers, exposing local residents to excess sodium in their drinking water. The problem is compounded by sea level rise, which pushes seawater inland toward the city’s filtration system.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Rain and windy weather causing problems for North Coast wine grape growers

Because of the pelting rains and accompanying windy conditions, chardonnay and pinot noir grapes have the greatest chance to suffer from shatter, the term used by vintners when a grapevine’s delicate flowers don’t pollinate and develop into grapes.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Can small-scale farmers grow a healthier California?

Aidee Guzman is focusing on these small farms to find out whether, ecologically, this diversity has any positive effects on soil health. Her work won’t be published for another two years, but there is already a large body of research that explains how large monocropping operations strip soils of their nutrients and make them less capable of storing carbon… As she works, she is documenting a potential alternative to the industrial mega-farms of the valley and the West.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Monday Top of the Scroll: What’s up with all the late-May rain? Atmospheric science suggests answers

We’re likely seeing the effects of a batch of runaway arctic air slinking far enough south to energize and reinvigorate the subtropical jet stream. If true, we can thank the “relentless grind” of warmth in the Arctic this month for our unusually rainy May here in the Bay Area.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Lawmakers advance bill to increase oversight on Cadiz’s Mojave Desert Water Project

A bill that could block a Los Angeles-based water supply company from pumping water out of a Mojave Desert aquifer passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, extending the yearslong fight over whether the environmental impact of groundwater extraction merits additional scrutiny.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: We were warned 150 years ago about our water shortage. We have to do better

The Colorado River — of which the Green is the biggest tributary — is the main water source for 40 million people. It’s already overallocated, and climate change is predicted to shrink flows by up to 50 percent by the end of the century. We’re finally coming to grips with those forecasts and beginning to heed Powell’s century-and-a-half-old warnings. But it’s taken drought and desperation to get us there, and we have to do better.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Opinion: One good year does not end a drought

It takes more than one wet year to not only refill reservoirs but also recharge aquifers and return moisture in parched soils to normal levels. … All this upstream snowpack and rain is predicted to boost Powell to 47% of capacity by the end of the year, another three or four feet, but there’ll still be plenty of the “bathtub ring” visible. It’s been 36 years since Powell was full. It’s not likely it’ll ever fill again.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

The Drought Contingency Plan is done. Now what?

After months of tense, difficult negotiations, a plan to spread the effects of anticipated cutbacks on the drought-stricken Colorado River is nearing completion. On Monday, representatives of the seven states that rely on the river will gather for a formal signing ceremony at Hoover Dam, the real and symbolic center of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Pacific Grove set to sell $6.3 million in water credits, thanks to recycled water project

The idea was to count the reductions in water consumption thanks to new irrigation sources, and count that water toward the city’s water yearly water allowance. After that, the city would make those excess water credits available for sale to the residents and businesses that had languished on the city’s water waiting list, sometimes for years.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Ideas abound to fix the California lake. Will any work?

Many have gazed across its shimmering expanse and seen an idea just as big to fix it. … So far, with the exception of geothermal energy, none have seen the light of day. But with new interest in Sacramento, the rough outlines of immediate, medium range and long-term plans to protect public health and restore wildlife are taking shape.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California record cherry crop, season at risk due to May rains

Bruce Blodgett is executive director of the farm bureau in San Joaquin County, California’s cherry bowl. The mid-May downpour and his windshield wipers told him everything he needed to know: His county’s record ready-to-pick yield of sweet cherries – one of San Joaquin’s most lucrative crops even amid the county’s winemaking renaissance – was in serious danger.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Officials: Rule change needed to keep water flowing to fight wildfires

California agencies have appealed to air pollution control officials to change the rules after backup generators failed and water stopped pumping as wildfires burned last year. They said they need more time to test and maintain diesel-operated generators that power water facilities during a fire. Because of air pollution concerns, the agencies are limited to testing the diesel-powered generators as little as 20 hours per year in some cases.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: This Arizona bill supports local planning for resilient groundwater supplies in two rural counties

Arizona relies on groundwater for about 40% of its water supply, yet groundwater resources outside of the state’s biggest urban areas are largely unprotected and unregulated… HB 2467, a bill that passed in the Arizona House and currently awaiting a final vote in the Senate, takes an important step forward to address groundwater challenges in Mohave and La Paz counties.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Stay cool, babies: Growth and temperature tradeoffs for juvenile Chinook

Although they spend their lives hidden beneath the surface, fish are directly affected by the weather happening outside their aquatic world. This is particularly true of species that rely on watersheds in regions like California, where the availability of water changes dramatically with the seasons.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

As Nevada legislators weigh changes to water law, litigation and the pipeline loom

In the ceaseless conflict over how to use the state’s available water — and maybe then some — a varied group of water users and lawmakers sang a refrain older than Nevada: “Everyone is going to court in the end.” … The ghosts of litigation — past, present and future — loomed over the Thursday Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing that stretched until 8 p.m. and offered insight into why it’s so difficult to update Nevada water law.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

NASA’s GRACE: What researchers have learned from water in motion

When you hear news about ice loss from Greenland or Antarctica, an aquifer in California that is getting depleted, or a new explanation for a wobble in Earth’s rotation, you might not realize that all these findings may rely on data from one single mission

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Pinal County farmers make another plea for $20M from state to drill wells

Insisting the state made a commitment, a central Arizona lawmaker and farmers he represents are making a last-ditch pitch for $20 million from taxpayers to drill new wells and water delivery canals. Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said Thursday the farmers in Pinal County agreed to give up their right to Colorado River water to help the state come up with a plan to deal with the drought. In exchange they were given the right to take additional water out of the ground.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Uproot dysfunctional SF Bay protection agency

The commission, created in 1965 and comprised of 27 members appointed primarily by state and local officials, is supposed to protect the environmental health of the bay. If they won’t take their job seriously, Gov. Gavin Newsom, legislative leaders and local officials should replace them with people up to the task.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Key conflicts roil California’s ever-evolving waterscape

The big conflicts are deeply interconnected and appear to be reaching their climactic phases. How they are resolved over the next few years will write an entirely new chapter in California’s water history, changing priorities and perhaps shifting water from agriculture to urban users and environmental enhancement.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Latinos rely heavily on Colorado River water amid plans for cutbacks

This river provides water for one-third of Latinos in the United States. Latinos make up the bulk of agricultural workers harvesting the produce this river waters. We boat, fish, swim and recreate along its banks. We hold baptisms in its waters. Therefore, it is critical to engage the growing Latino population on water-smart solutions.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Audit blasts San Francisco Bay watchdog on inaction

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has “neglected its mission” to protect the bay and surrounding wetlands, the California state auditor reported Tuesday. The commission, which issues permits for activities like boating, dredging and dumping, has a backlog of 230 open enforcement cases, some decades old.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Senate should OK SB 307 to give California more review of Cadiz aquifer harvesting project

California must defend our scarce and sacred resources … The legislation, authored by Sen. Richard Roth of Riverside, authorizes state agencies to conduct independent review of the Cadiz project, restoring safeguards eliminated at the federal level and ensuring any pumping from underneath Mojave Trails and protected desert lands is sustainable. 

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water News looks at challenges ahead in next round of Colorado River talks

Stakeholders throughout the Colorado River Basin just wrapped up arduous negotiations on a drought plan. There’s little time to rest, however. Stakeholders are expected to begin the even more difficult task of hammering out sweeping new guidelines for delivering water and sharing shortages that could re-imagine how the overworked river is managed.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Interview with Wade Crowfoot: Implementing Newsom’s “One California” portfolio approach for water

When asked about his priorities, California’s recently appointed Natural Resources Secretary quickly rattles off a range of topics: climate change; strengthening water supply resilience; and building water capacity for communities, agriculture, and the environment, among them.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Owens Valley groundwater basin goes low

Over the short life of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Owens Valley has gone from medium to high and now low priority. That prioritization would have had an impact three years ago. Medium and high priority basins are required to form an agency and sustainability plan; low basins are not.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom crafts smart water portfolio for California

In reality, the WaterFix could not increase water exports while protecting the Delta ecosystem. That’s because California’s snow and rainfall are highly variable, making it unlikely that existing supplies can meet increasing water demands reliably into the future. Plus, the science demonstrates that San Francisco Bay’s fish and wildlife need more water, not less, to flow from the Central Valley to the Bay.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What does the Colorado River drought plan mean for California?

The DCP … provides assurance against curtailments for water stored behind Hoover Dam. This is especially important for the Southern California water agencies, whose ability to store water in Lake Mead is crucial for managing seasonal demands. Some significant challenges must still be addressed, however.

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Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Drought recovery in Carpinteria

Because of the wet weather this winter, the district is proposing to lower its Stage Two Drought Condition to a Stage One Drought Condition, which would lift many mandatory drought water-use restrictions.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

April water use up 8% in Manteca; growing faster than city population

Last month there was an 8 percent increase in water compared to April 2018. Meanwhile the population over the same time period went up 2,759 residents or just over a 3 percent increase. … Using a five-year yardstick with the city adding just over 9,000 residents since 2014, per capita water consumption is down by more than 10 percent from April 2014 to April 2019.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: The Cadiz project to drain the desert is a bad idea

The U.S. Geological Survey studied the land and the water and, in 2002 … concluded that the proposed pumping would far exceed the rate of natural refill. The National Park Service submitted comments in 2012 stating that Cadiz’s estimates are “3 to 16 times too high.” The Geological Survey, in 2017, reported that there was no information to lead it to change its 2002 conclusions. … And that ought to have been the end of it.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom administration is getting closer to water deals

With the administration’s leadership, representatives of farmers, cities and conservation groups are having productive negotiations on a complex package of actions that would increase river flows and improve fish habitats, collectively called a “voluntary agreement.” A possible final agreement is months away, but we are making progress.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Our Towns: National policies have local effects

Five years ago, Deb Fallows and I made the first of what became many visits to the farming town of Winters, California. … When we first visited five years ago, the main question for the area’s nut-tree farmers, and for California’s agricultural economy as a whole, was whether the state’s drought-ravaged water supplies could support such commercially valuable but water-intensive crops.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

How LADWP uses two lakes to store energy like a giant battery

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has turned two big lakes into a monster battery capable of storing enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes. It involves using the excess wind and solar power L.A.’s renewable energy sites produce during the day to pump water from Castaic Lake uphill 7.5 miles to Pyramid Lake.

Aquafornia news The Harvard Crimson

Opinion: Harvard’s investment in land and natural resources

For rural communities in the central coast region of California, the name “Harvard” does not connote excellence. For these communities, where water is scarce and becoming scarcer, it evokes greed and exploitation. As California takes its first steps to regulate groundwater in the midst of a worsening water crisis, Harvard’s endowment fund is investing millions into vineyards that pump inordinate amounts of water from California’s critically overdrafted groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo to use Nacimiento water to generate electricity

The California Energy Commission is offering the city of San Luis Obispo a $3 million loan to build a 261-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system as well as a 264-kilowatt hydroelectric generation system — both located at the city water treatment plant on Stenner Creek Road behind Cal Poly. By generating its own power at the treatment facility, SLO could earn savings of $266,863 annually compared to its current power bill.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Bunker Hill Basin reported below full after 2017-18 water year

According to an engineering investigation released by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District on March 7, the Bunker Hill Basin, which stores the groundwater used by the San Bernardino Valley, remains 570,718 acre-feet below full water storage following the 2017-18 water year. … The water year brought a reported 56 percent of average annual precipitation and 161,708 acre-feet of groundwater production.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Storage is essential for California to achieve 100% green energy without blackouts

Counter-intuitively, the same environmental groups that have championed the state’s climate goals want to kill all pumped storage instead of evaluating each project on its own merits. … Come hell or high water, there is no way that we can get to 100% renewable resources, which, by nature, are intermittent and unreliable, without adequate storage.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

Fire forced me from my home. Then water trapped me there

There’s three roads that go up to the hill. Because of flooding and mudslides, all three of them were blocked. So here we were, an island. There was no way to get supplies. No way to get medication. No way to get propane deliveries for heat. People who work on and off the hill couldn’t go to their jobs. The whole town was impacted, especially the businesses and restaurants who depend on the tourism.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herand & News

Opinion: Only FERC will decide dam removal, not Compact Commission

Various parties have recently claimed that the Klamath River Compact Commission has authority over the proposal to remove four dams in the Klamath Hydroelectric Project. … This argument, while creative, is wrong. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or FERC) will decide whether the proposed dam removal is in the public interest.

Aquafornia news Aspen Times

Colorado to make tough decisions when it comes to water usage in Drought Contingency Plan

The West is still in the midst of a long-term water shortage in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, primary reservoirs that serve 40 million people. For that reason, the Upper Basin states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — have to also come up with their own drought contingency plans. That means Colorado might be heading into choppy waters as one of the requirements of a drought contingency plan — demand management — could pit communities and regions against each other …

Aquafornia news Western Water News

Friday Top of the Scroll: With drought plan in place, Colorado River stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. … But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news Fox40

Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California

When it rains in California, it pours. But when it doesn’t, California’s drought years can have a devastating impact on the state. California’s water experts are looking for ways to better store water during rainy years like 2019 so the state can have it during years when the rain and snow inevitably dry up.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Reforestation project along the scenic byway in eastern Madera County makes progress; Reforesting the French Fire burn scar

Reforestation will improve watershed conditions by restoring severely burned areas to forested conditions, reducing sedimentation and turbidity, and improving water quality for downstream users. It will also improve habitat by providing stabilization that reduces erosion of stream banks and meadows.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Millions for climate, environmental priorities in Newsom’s May budget

The new funding includes about $250 million for climate-related programs, thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program, and $75 million to fund an assessment of wildfire protection plans. … Newsom also defended a controversial tax on water bills that would fund programs to rebuild broken or degraded drinking water infrastructure in some of the state’s poorest communities.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must adapt wastewater policy to climate change

In California, treated wastewater also is a critical source of water for the environment, and, increasingly, a source for recycled water. Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news The Reporter

Garamendi applauds cancellation of twin tunnels, suggests alternative plan to Newsom

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to withdraw permits for the proposed Twin Tunnels project in favor of a smaller single tunnel, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, issued a letter to the governor expressing support for the decision while also outlining alternative water plans.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to coral records

A new category of El Niño has become far more prevalent in the last few decades than at any time in the past four centuries. Over the same period, traditional El Niño events have become more intense. This new finding will arguably alter our understanding of the El Niño phenomenon. Changes to El Niño will influence patterns of precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek Water board advances Live Oak treatment site

Locking in a $3.2 million sale price, the Soquel Creek Water District board will enter an initial five-month “option to purchase” agreement to buy a nearly 2-acre parcel in Live Oak. The purchase option period … is designed to give district officials time to survey the 2505 Chanticleer Ave. land, assessing its ability to serve as home to the proposed Pure Water Soquel plant.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

Six months later, how are the communities affected by the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire recovering?

Last November, two blazes, the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire, caused mass destruction in California. Here’s how the affected communities are recovering half a year later.

With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Talks are about to begin on a potentially sweeping agreement that could reimagine how the Colorado River is managed

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

After its 12 wettest months on record, the United States is virtually drought-free for the first time in decades

Drought affects just 2 percent of the country — about the smallest area since the federal government began official monitoring in 2000. Meanwhile, NOAA data show the last 12 months (May 2018 to April 2019) were the wettest on record for the nation.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Wildfire burn zones deplete snowpack across West, fueling more fire and snow loss, research shows

The effect of wildfires on snowmelt is more widespread and longer lasting than people thought and has ramifications across the region, where cities … rely heavily on melting snow to replenish water supplies. What’s more, human-caused global warming is feeding the spread of fires, which contributes more to the deterioration of snow, thus extending and intensifying the fire season.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District criticized over proposed environmental budget cuts

In the district’s “high-level” draft budget proposal for the 2019-2010 fiscal year projects a 4% increase in annual spending, and includes a $45,000 operational savings secured through cutting funding for water conservation and education programs for the coming year.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties…

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

CVP districts seek ways to enhance water supplies

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, may update its 65% allocation for south-of-delta agricultural contractors later this month. But Lon Martin, general manager of the Los Banos-based San Luis Water District, said landowners who are planting crops and must secure water for the remainder of the year “cannot wait until May and June to make decisions.”

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The California water model: Resilience through failure

A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes. California’s highly variable climate has made it a crucible for innovations in water technology and policy.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Summer tours explore California’s plentiful mountain snowpack and a lurking threat of drought along the coast

Get a firsthand view of California’s diverse water resource issues with two of our summer tours — to the Sierra Nevada headwaters that were blessed this winter with a plentiful snowpack, and a Southern California coastal region chronically prone to drought.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

The end of California’s drought shouldn’t mean the importance of water is forgotten, city officials say

To kick off Water Awareness Month, PWP is partnering with the City of Pasadena Public Health Department for Rethink Your Drink Day, a statewide initiative to encourage the public to switch from sugary drinks to healthy drinking water. At the event, PWP and the Public Health Department will promote drinking great-tasting Pasadena tap water with a variety of family- friendly activities and giveaways.

Aquafornia news KUNC

There’s dust in Colorado’s record-setting winter snowpack

Snowpack in every part of Colorado’s high country is sporting layers of dust, according to a new statewide survey of the state’s winter accumulation. … Dust is darker than snow. Just like a black T-shirt on a sunny day, it absorbs more sunlight, causing what’s underneath it to heat up more rapidly.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: DWR withdraws approvals and permit applications for WaterFix

DWR has not yet disclosed whether it intends to withdraw the WaterFix bond resolutions, which are subject to numerous challenges in litigation DWR filed to validate the bonds. It remains unclear what will happen with the validation action now that the project and cost estimates these items are based on no longer exist.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley

In a formal response to the drilling proposal, a dozen environmental organizations expressed concerns about the effects on ground and surface water if exploration leads to an industrial-scale mine. … Among those who have spoken against the plan are officials at Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A little-known company is quietly making massive water deals

In the past several years, Los Angeles-based Renewable Resources Group has helped sell 33,000 acres of land to California’s most powerful water agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Documents obtained by Voice of San Diego raise fresh questions about those deals. Now, Renewable may be working on another deal that could rearrange the distribution of water in California forever.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Business Journal

Environmental health hazards impacting the city of Long Beach

Across its multitude of neighborhoods, communities and cultures, the City of Long Beach offers a diverse haven for businesses and families to thrive. At the same time, the unique location of Long Beach in Southern California places it at the mercy of significant human health risks caused by both environmental and man-made factors.

Aquafornia news Mohave Valley Daily News

Bureau of Reclamation projects Lake Mead to stay above shortage trigger

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the snowpack in the Upper Basin is nearly 140% above average as of April 15 and it forecasts that seasonal inflow to Lake Powell will be at 128% of average. … “These developments may lessen the chance of shortage in 2020,” Terry Fulp, BOR’s Lower Colorado regional director, said in a prepared statement.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

The end of California’s drought shouldn’t mean the importance of water is forgotten, city officials say

Pasadena Water and Power is partnering with the city’s Department of Public Health in celebrating the month of May as Water Awareness Month, and Wednesday, May 8, as Rethink Your Drink Day. PWP General Manager Gurcharan Bawa said the utility plans to engage with community organizations in Pasadena during the entire month in an effort to educate people about the importance of water as a precious resource.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Is vertical farming a solution for feeding our growing cities?

Vertical farming also brings potential for solving our current and projected water issues in California. By using hydroponic system technology, water is constantly recycled and uses 98% less water per item than traditional farming. Adopting this technology would be greatly beneficial for our future, considering that California’s agricultural sector uses 40% of our water.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Spawning fish complicate Oceanside sand replenishment

Manson Construction, the contractor that dredges the Oceanside harbor and pumps the sand onto the beach, has another obstacle to overcome this spring — the grunion. The small, silvery, sardine-like fish spawned on the beach near the municipal pier two weeks ago. The contractor has had to avoid that area until after the eggs hatch, which occurs this weekend. But, there are several more chances for grunion runs this month.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

‘Desperately needed’: Congress OKs more than $29 million in disaster relief for California fisheries

It’s taken four years but fishermen along California’s North Coast who have seen crab and salmon seasons truncated and even closed altogether will finally see some relief after $29.65 million in federal disaster relief funding was approved by Congress. It was in the 2015-16 year the Dungeness crab fishery and the Yurok Chinook salmon fishery both collapsed due to poor water quality.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

California and offshore drilling: Like oil and water

It’s been 35 years since new federal leases for drilling along the Pacific Coast have been issued. … But while the practice is banned in state waters, without federal legislation the possibility for renewed production in waters more than 3 miles from shore still remains. Richard Charter is a longtime ocean protection advocate. He talked with KQED’s Brian Watt about the Trump administration’s efforts to upend longstanding policy on the issue.

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Checking the water jug that is Lake Powell

The giant reservoir, formed by Glen Canyon Dam, was under 40 percent full the last week of April. And a lot of water is still being released from the reservoir, more demands on the water are expected, and the water supply above the reservoir, in the sprawling Colorado River system, is expected to decrease.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

With Colorado River drought plan in place, stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multi‐year drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: The Delta twin tunnels project is dead

Gov. Gavin Newsom killed the divisive twin tunnels project Thursday, calming fears that have roiled the delta communities and dominated California water politics for more than a decade. It is a signature decision for the young administration.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California must embrace desalination to ensure water supply

In one key respect, California is lagging behind many other parts of the world. Climate change is causing drought and water shortages everywhere, but California has been slow to adopt a solution that over 120 countries are using: desalination.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes

Newsom … said he would announce his administration’s detailed strategy on energy policy in the next few weeks. The governor was coy about core aspects of that policy, and declined to say if it would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, a process that uses drilling and large volumes of high-pressure water to extract gas and oil deposits.

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