Topic: Climate Change

Overview

Climate Change

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: As sea level rises, Stinson residents right to craft own plan

Stinson Beach residents are smart to start working on their own homegrown plan to prepare for rising sea levels. Even if the state’s warning that coastal areas should be prepared for an average 3.5-foot rise in sea level by 2050 comes true, much of the beach and many low-lying homes could be subject to regular flooding. Over the years, Stinson has already seen some of the damage that can be done as a result of a combination of higher tides and storm-driven waves. 

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Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Housing development or protected wetlands? Fight over future of California salt ponds

For decades, the Cargill salt ponds in Redwood City have stretched into the San Francisco Bay like a blank slate. What’s to come of them? The Cargill corporation sees the outline of a new housing development, while environmental groups see a restored wetland habitat. David Lewis and his group Save the Bay recently joined a lawsuit against the former Trump administration’s EPA in a back-and-forth battle over whether the area falls under federal protection.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How California hunters are trying to save ducks from deadly outbreak

Last year, tens of thousands of water birds became paralyzed and died in a gruesome botulism outbreak caused by lack of water at two wildlife refuges on California’s border with Oregon. And it could happen again this summer. The crippling drought that has plagued the region for years shows no sign of ending, and there’s been little relief from the bureaucratic gridlock and lawsuits over water that has slowly starved the Klamath Basin refuges of their supplies over the past two decades.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: The time has come for California to ban front yard lawns for new homes

The climate change cabal in Sacramento is ignoring some extremely low hanging fruit in their bid to protect us from ourselves. The reason they don’t see it is simple. It doesn’t involve raising taxes, rewarding corporations or disruptor greenies they align with, nor does it destroy jobs. The California Legislature needs to ban grass lawns for front yards as well as general commercial development for all new building projects.
-Written by Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin.​

Aquafornia news The Log

Huntington Beach desalination plant hearings expected to resume in April

Hearings have been scheduled to resume in April for Poseidon Water’s controversial proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant. Last April the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Santa Ana Region was expected to vote on renewing a permit for the proposed $1 billion project but the workshop was canceled due to COVID-19. A hearing scheduled for September was also delayed so Poseidon could have more time to address water board concerns.

Aquafornia news ABC10

How recent storms play into California’s drought position

Hail and rain blanketed much of the Greater Sacramento Area this week, though experts say it’s not likely to play a major role in the state’s drought position. … Having endured two consecutively dry winters, California’s snowpack in most areas is less than 75% of normal for this time of year, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Many water agencies in California have discussed water conservation measures, the center wrote in its latest drought report. The North Marin Water District in the San Francisco Bay Area has already considered voluntary and mandatory water conservation orders.

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Aquafornia news CaliforniaSalmon.org

News release: Leaders aim to empower next generation of water protectors, cultural leaders, and scientists

Today, [Tribes, Schools, and NGOs] released the Advocacy and Water Protection in Native California High School Curriculum and Teacher’s Resource Guide. The curriculum … responds to California’s urgent water, climate and educational crises, along with the need for Native American culturally informed education and representation in schools. The curriculum features online, classroom, and nature-based learning and responds to reports that Humboldt, Del Norte, and other counties are failing Native students, and that Native youth are facing a mental health crisis due to COVID-19 and the state’s water and climate crises.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Opinion: Reward Water’s Worth

When you think of shipping Humboldt’s Finest in Ziplocs to Southern California, you’re not thinking of bags of river water. But, putting Humboldt’s water in giant baggies on a boat to Southern California was a plan actually taken seriously in 2003 to encourage more water use. Humboldt historically has an outsized allocation of water from the state because the former pulp mills consumed an astronomical amount of water. Squandering water in order to preserve our state water allocation was the idea of some political leaders and business people. Written by J.A. Savage.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area salmon season is expected to be much shorter this year, bringing higher prices

Bad news for salmon lovers: The quantity of fish in Bay Area coastal waters this year is expected to be far lower than in 2020. And fewer fish means less work for local fishers and fewer salmon in stores. The number of adult king salmon from the Sacramento River fall run is projected to be 271,000 this spring and summer, compared with last year’s estimate of 473,200….The limited season reflects a downward trend in the population of king salmon, also known as chinook, over the last decade because of drought and state policies that have limited the amount of water allotted to the parts of the Sacramento River basin where the fish spawn and juveniles spend their early months. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Western states chart diverging paths as water shortages loom

As persistent drought and climate change threaten the Colorado River, several states that rely on the water acknowledge they likely won’t get what they were promised a century ago. But not Utah. Republican lawmakers approved an entity that could push for more of Utah’s share of water as seven Western states prepare to negotiate how to sustain a river serving 40 million people. Critics say the legislation, which the governor still must sign, could strengthen Utah’s effort to complete a billion-dollar pipeline from a dwindling reservoir that’s a key indicator of the river’s health.

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Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

News release: Water Authority plan shows sufficient supplies through 2045

The San Diego County Water Authority’s draft 2020 Urban Water Management Plan was released for public review today. The plan highlights how regional investments in a “water portfolio approach” to supply management and a sustained emphasis on water-use efficiency mean that San Diego County will continue to have sufficient water supplies through the 2045 planning horizon — even during multiple dry years.

Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Report calls for “radical changes” to Colorado River management

A recent report from Colorado River experts says it’s time for radical new management strategies to safeguard the Southwest’s water supplies. It’s meant to inform discussions on how to renegotiate certain parts of the Law of the River that will expire in 2026. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about the report with Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Russian River environment – Save water as if your life depends on it

Those of us in the water industry are always looking for new ways to ask our customers to save, conserve, and never waste water. And we do that for good reason. We live in a region prone to regular periods of drought, punctuated by sudden and catastrophic floods. Last year we had a very dry year, and this water year is off to a very dry start as well. Sonoma Water, which supplies drinking water to 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties, relies on rainfall to fill our reservoirs and consecutive years of below-average rainfall are always cause for concern. Will this be a two-year dry spell, or the beginning of a multi-year drought?
Written by Barry Dugan, Senior Programs Specialist in the Community and Government Affairs Division at Sonoma Water.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Editorial: Newsom right to boost Huntington Beach desalination facility

Opponents of a proposed desalination facility along the Huntington Beach coastline are aghast that Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken steps to help end a years-long regulatory logjam. Although an environmentalist, the governor clearly recognizes the importance of developing new water sources to meet California’s needs. Privately funded facilities plants that turn saltwater into drinking water aren’t the only solution to California’s water shortages, but they are one solution. For instance, a similar plant in Carlsbad has the capacity to meet 9 percent of San Diego County’s water needs. That’s an enormous contribution, especially with another drought looming.

Aquafornia news Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions

New research: Blue carbon California – Incorporating blue carbon science into climate policy solutions

California is home to a diversity of coastal ecosystems like tidal marshes, seagrass beds, and estuaries. These ecosystems provide flood and storm protection, healthy habitats for fish and birds, and recreational spaces. They may also play an important role in addressing climate change. A new COS and Natural Capital Project study in Global Environmental Change investigates the carbon sequestration potential of habitats along the California coast and details pathways incorporating carbon-capturing habitats into climate change policy.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Research brief: New laws reduce barriers to water markets

Water access in the western United States is controlled by property rights to use water. In most of the region’s watersheds, all of the water supply is legally claimed or is projected to be by 2030. In such locations, new water demands can frequently only be met through reallocation of existing water rights. For decades, water markets have helped the western U.S. voluntarily adapt water rights to new demands and changing supplies, providing water for growing cities, freshwater ecosystems and new farms and industries. However, many have questioned whether western U.S. water law provides sufficient flexibility to adapt to unprecedented water demand and a changing climate.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Operating dams to better manage big storms can build resiliency to climate extremes

California’s large reservoirs are currently operated using historical hydrology and outdated assumptions about the state’s climate. Many experts are calling for changing how reservoirs are managed to reflect advances in weather forecasting, which can help the state adapt to a warmer, more volatile climate. We talked to Martin Ralph—director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography—about advances in this field.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

HREC announces “NorCal Climate Futures,” a series of community conversations starting March 25

This winter, Northern California has seen significantly below average rainfall and snowpack, and as Cal Fire prepares for the potential of another intense wildfire season, communities across the North Coast are struggling to determine how to best prepare for the “new normal” precipitated by climate change, and what solutions might work to build community resiliency. At the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center (HREC), researchers have long been examining how the environment has been changing with the climate, best practices for land management after wildfires, changes to water resources, and more…

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Record drought strains the Southwest

For the first time ever, rancher Jimmie Hughes saw all 15 of the ponds he keeps for his cattle dry up at the same time this year. Now, he and his co-workers are forced to haul tanks of water two hours over dusty, mountain roads to water their 300 cows. … The Southwest is locked in drought again, prompting cutbacks to farms and ranches and putting renewed pressure on urban supplies. Extreme to exceptional drought is afflicting between 57% and 90% of the land in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona and is shriveling a snowpack that supplies water to 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Aquafornia news University of Miami

Blog: Should water be traded as a commodity?

In times of drought, California’s Central Valley is full of farmers hindered by the lack of water. And this region, where the bulk of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are cultivated, is driving up the demand for water. Although many farmers without easy access to water often buy and pump it in from their neighbors, droughts often fuel massive price increases. And this often makes water so cost-prohibitive that it can discourage farmers from even planting crops. This predicament led a firm to recently list water as the newest commodity on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Now, water futures are traded daily. This helps farmers lock in a price for water, so they have a cushion if a drought threatens their crop revenues.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Stinson Beach to devise sea-level rise defense plan

Stinson Beach will launch a multi-year effort to craft its first sea-level rise defense plan as oceans threaten to swallow up beaches, roads and waterfront homes by the end of the century. The community is the most immediately vulnerable to sea-level rise on Marin’s ocean coast and could face a water level as much as 10 feet higher by 2100 in a worst-case scenario, according to county officials and state projections. In 2018, the county outlined strategies Stinson Beach could adopt, including elevating roads and homes, building sea walls and dunes, boardwalking entire neighborhoods and building a new sewage system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Column: Desalination plan stinks all the way to Gov. Newsom’s office

[D]esalination may have a role to play in addressing California’s long-running water shortage issues. After all, we’ve got a 1,100-mile coastline in a drought-stricken state, and it’s only natural to think: Hey, let’s just stick a straw in the ocean, and our rabid thirst will be quenched once and for all. But desalination comes with many costs, including big hits to the environment and ratepayer pocketbooks. And as Susan Jordan, executive director of the California Coastal Protection Network, puts it, we need to temper our lust for what seems an easy fix.

Aquafornia news HortiDaily

Blog: Will California remain leader in U.S. agricultural production?

[A] new 18-chapter book, written by agricultural economists at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside, addresses issues such as labor, water, climate and trade that affect all of California agriculture. … Water, climate and trade pose challenges and opportunities for California agriculture. In the last decade, water scarcity and decreased water quality, along with regulations to address these issues like the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, have prompted farmers to use scarce water to irrigate more valuable crops, as with the switch from cotton to almonds. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Colorado River study predicts big cuts. That’s not why it’s intriguing

A new Colorado River study predicts we may need to make even deeper cuts to keep our reservoirs from tanking over the long haul. But the dire conclusions within the study aren’t what make it so intriguing. It’s how the group arrived at them. The Future of the Colorado River project, an effort based out of Utah State University, has produced six white papers to evaluate new approaches to water management along the river. And, most notably, it is using the Colorado River Simulation System (CRSS), the same modeling tool the Bureau of Reclamation uses to develop its long-term water availability forecasts for the basin.
- Written by Joanna Allhands, a columnist for the Arizona Republic.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will March rain help California winter drought conditions?

California, and Southern California in particular, is bone dry. The calendar says spring officially begins with the equinox March 20, but the meteorological winter — consisting of December, January and February — is already in the record books. In other words, the wettest months are over. Let’s take a look at where the Golden State stands.

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Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Dozens of environmental bills on California 2021 legislative agenda

California’s legislative session came to a wild ending in 2020 when the clock ran out on major bills. Key pieces of environmental legislation were among those that died on the floor, and conservationists are hoping 2021 brings a different story….Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, [proposed a climate resiliency bond that] would include $240 million for Salton Sea restoration, $250 million for groundwater management and $300 million for grants for clean and reliable drinking water.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

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

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

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Bolinas Lagoon flood project aims to redirect creek

Marin County plans to reroute a Bolinas Lagoon creek as part of an effort to prevent flooding along Highway 1, prepare for sea-level rise and restore habitat for threatened species. The county’s Bolinas Lagoon Wye Wetlands Project aims to redirect Lewis Gulch Creek closer to its historic route and raise a nearby road to allow the creek more room to wind and flow during winter storms. The project would also restore floodplains at the northern end of the 1,100-acre Bolinas Lagoon that were lost over more than a century as wetlands made way for roads and pastures.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

New report: U.S. dams, levees get D grades, need $115 billion in upgrades

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave America’s infrastructure a C- grade in its quadrennial assessment issued March 3. ASCE gave the nation’s flood control infrastructure – dams and levees – a D grade. This is a highly concerning assessment, given that climate change is increasingly stressing dams and levees as increased evaporation from the oceans drives heavier precipitation events. … Climate scientists at Stanford University found that between 1988 and 2017, heavier precipitation accounted for more than one-third of the $200 billion in [flood] damage…

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

A disease outbreak is killing Bay Area trees

A mass tree dieback has spread through the East Bay hills and Peninsula over the last several months, affecting both native and nonnative trees. … The first eight months of the 2020-2021 rainfall year constitute one of the driest starts on record in the Bay Area, and the last two years together are on track to be the second driest two-year stretch dating back to 1850 in San Francisco … Last year was also the warmest ever recorded in California. But the nature and spread of the tree dieback made researchers suspect more than just drought as the killer.

Aquafornia news Post Independent

Opinion: Colorado River Compact adjustments are needed

When [the Colorado River Compact was] signed in 1922, the Colorado River drainage was divided into two divisions; Upper: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah; Lower: Arizona, California, Nevada. At that time, it was felt the total average annual flow was 16.4 million acre feet. As a result, each basin was assigned 50%, or 7.5 million acre feet, with the 1.4 million acre feet surplus allocated to Mexico. … As a result, the Upper Basin is obligated to provide 7.5M acre feet to the Lower Basin, regardless of the actual flow of water in any given year. Obviously, snowpack and the consequent flow is not a constant and years of drought and low flows create a problem for the Upper Basin.
-Written by Bryan Whiting, a columnist for the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent. 

Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado in Drought — Scientists preparing for ‘chaotic weather’ future

The hot dry conditions that melted strong snowpack early in 2020 and led to severe drought, low river flows and record setting wildfires across the state could be a harbinger of what is to come in Colorado. Climate change is likely to drive “chaotic weather” and greater extremes with hotter droughts and bigger snowstorms that will be harder to predict, said Kenneth Williams, environmental remediation and water resources program lead at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, headquartered in California.

Aquafornia news USA Today

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

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

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego’s successful desal plant should be a model for California water policy

Often the value of a plan or project can best be judged by its opposition. In the case of the proposed Poseidon desalination plant in Huntington Beach, the forces lined up against it are clear indicators that it’s a worthwhile enterprise. The Sierra Club calls the plant “rather pathetic,” “the most expensive and environmentally damaging way to secure Orange County’s future water supply.”
-Written by Kerry Jackson, a fellow in the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute. 

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah Senate backs new agency to battle neighboring states over Colorado River

The [Utah] state Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would establish the so-called Colorado River Authority of Utah, along with a $9 million “legal defense fund,” intended to ensure that the state receives its allotted share of the Colorado’s dwindling flows….Utah has shared the Colorado River’s flow with six Western states under a century-old agreement, but the Beehive State has been slow to push its stake, according to backers of HB297. Accordingly, Utah uses 54% of its share, Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said… 

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Santa Barbara County extends state water contract to 2085

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve an extension of the county’s state water contract for 50 years, saying it would ultimately save ratepayers money. … Eight water agencies in Santa Barbara County, from the Carpinteria Valley to the City of Santa Maria, presently import water through the California Aqueduct. By 2035, their ratepayers will have paid off the $575 million construction debt for the pipeline that county voters approved in 1991 on the heels of a six-year drought. It extends from the aqueduct in Kern County to Lake Cachuma.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

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

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

Aquafornia news KHTS

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

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

Aquafornia news PV Magazine International

Floating PV plant at California water treatment facility

White Pine Renewables has completed a floating solar array in northern California that the company claims is the largest such project in the United States. The 4.8 MW Healdsburg Floating Solar Project was installed on ponds at a wastewater treatment plant in Healdsburg, California. It will deliver energy to the city under under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The company chose the project site and floating PV approach to help reduce evaporation and algae growth at the ponds. The electricity will cover around 8% of the city’s total energy demand and move it toward its goal of 60% renewable energy usage before 2030.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blog: Want to save energy and fight climate change? Use less water

[A]s often as I write about the importance of building clean power infrastructure to fight climate change, the cheapest, easiest way to reduce emissions is to use less energy in the first place. And in Los Angeles, at least, one of the cheapest, easiest ways to use less energy is to use less water.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Cruz

News release: UCSC leads multicampus initiative on coastal resilience and climate adaptation

Experts in coastal science and policy at UC Santa Cruz are teaming up with researchers at UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, and the U.S. Geological Survey to address the many challenges of adapting to climate change along California’s coast. … California’s iconic shoreline, from its communities and beaches to coastal wetlands and intertidal habitats, is increasingly threatened by coastal hazards such as extreme flooding and erosion associated with climate change, sea level rise, storms, and El Niño events.

Aquafornia news ABC10 - Sacramento

California spring flood outlook 2021

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

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

The biggest coal power plant in the American West closed. What happens with the Colorado River water it used?

The coal-fired power plant that sat on Navajo Nation land in the northeastern corner of Arizona did not just generate electricity. It also drew water from the Colorado River, an essential input for cooling the plant’s machinery. What happens to that water now that the plant is being decommissioned? Who gets to decide how it is used? In a drying region in which every drop of water is accounted for and parceled out, the stakes are high and the legal claims are unresolved.

Aquafornia news Gizmodo

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

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

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New research: Oaks adapt drought resistance to local conditions

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

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Saving fish from extinction

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

Aquafornia news The Aggie

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

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

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

In rapidly warming Colorado River Basin, the negotiating table is being set

Anyone who has hosted a good dinner party knows that the guest list, table setting and topic of conversation play a big role in determining whether the night is a hit or the guests leave angry and unsatisfied. That concept is about to get a true test on the Colorado River, where chairs are being pulled up to a negotiating table to start a new round of talks that could define how the river system adapts to a changing climate for the next generation. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Restricted season likely with poor Sacramento, Klamath river salmon numbers

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

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news La Mesa Courier

SD Water Authority mulls new aqueduct

Addressing the San Diego region’s limited local water supplies with innovative ideas is something the San Diego County Water Authority has become known for. Using expertise gained from decades of successful planning and projects, the Water Authority is developing strategies to reduce the future cost of water that sustains the economy and quality of life across the county.

Aquafornia news KUSI News

San Diego’s last native freshwater turtle is in hot water. Here’s what you can do

The southern western pond turtle, San Diego’s only native freshwater turtle, is becoming rarer and rarer in coastal Southern California. These pond turtles are competing against other recently introduced animals such as bullfrogs and largemouth bass, and especially released pets such as other turtles. Do NOT release pet turtles, or any other type of pet, into the wild as they often eat the smaller southern western pond turtle’s natural food and even their hatchlings, said Ms. Mallory Lindsay of Ms. Mallory Adventures. Other non-native turtle species can be found in the region such as snapping turtles, softshell turtles, and red-eared sliders.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Sierra Club looks to build on successful efforts to make water agencies more diverse and progressive

Water may be life, but most residents of Southern California do not often reflect on the complex series of canals, pumps, and pipelines that connect where they live to water sources like the Colorado River, the Sierras, or the numerous water basins under LA County. Even less appreciated is the role water districts play in combining water sources, treating our water, and distributing it. Major water districts influence water quality and rates. They decide how to meet future water needs in an era of drought and climate change. These agencies determine if your water comes from sustainable local sources like conservation and recycling or from desert-damaging water mining projects like Cadiz. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

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Aquafornia news UC San Diego News Center

New study identifies mountain snowpack most “at-risk” from climate change

As the planet warms, scientists expect that mountain snowpack should melt progressively earlier in the year. However, observations in the U.S. show that as temperatures have risen, snowpack melt is relatively unaffected in some regions while others can experience snowpack melt a month earlier in the year.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Canary in the coal mine – Moments that write history

One of the key issues on the table—highlighted in the CalTrout and UC Davis Report, SOS II: Fish in Hot Water—is that on our current trajectory, it’s predicted that 45% of native California salmonids will face extinction in the next 50 years. When a species faces imminent extinction – there is a sense of urgency to act, but recovery programs differ depending on the species. Because steelhead, the ocean-going form of Oncorhynchus mykiss, use many areas of a watershed from ocean to headwaters, there are a range of threats to address and many stakeholder interests to balance. Making things more complex, Southern steelhead recovery takes place in the middle of 20 million people – so a pragmatic approach is essential.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Utah’s 2020 drought likely to impact water supply this year

Last year, Utah experienced its worst drought in 20 years. Typically Utahns count on spring snowpack to remedy a dry year and while February snows have been a boon to ski areas the question remains: are they enough to generate an average water supply?

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Creek Fire: Rain storm could hurt water quality near Fresno

That it hasn’t rained much this year isn’t all bad news, especially in the aftermath of the Creek Fire that burned nearly 40% of the San Joaquin River watershed. Most importantly, mountain communities devastated by the Creek Fire have not faced the secondary disaster that can be brought by weather, like in Santa Barbara County when heavy rain in the burn scar of the Thomas Fire led to deadly and destructive mudslides. Some areas near Big Creek and North Fork are at risk of hazardous, post-fire debris flows.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Opinion: Rebuilding Lake Wohlford Dam

Lake Wohlford Dam is an important water storage, flood control and recreational facility that has served Escondido for generations. Restoring storage capacity and making it earthquake-safe is critically important, which is why I introduced AB 692.  The dam was originally constructed in 1895 to store water transported via a wooden flume from the San Luis Rey River to Escondido. One of the first rock-fill dams in California, Lake Wohlford Dam was 76 feet high and had a storage capacity of about 3500 acre-feet.
-Written by Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron, R-Escondido.

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

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

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

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Aquafornia news Lake Powell Chronicle

Blog: Is Lake Powell doomed?

On Feb. 22, 2021, Lake Powell was 127.24 feet below ‘Full Pool’ or, by content, about 38% full. Based on water level elevations, these measurements do not account for years of sediment (clay, silt, and sand) accumulation—the millions of metric tons on the bottom. Geologist James L. Powell said, “The Colorado delivers enough sediment to Lake Powell to fill 1,400 ship cargo containers each day.” In other words, Lake Powell is shrinking toward the middle from top and bottom. The lake is down over 30 feet from one year ago, and estimates suggest it could drop another 50 feet by 2026. The Bureau of Reclamation estimated the lifespan of Glen Canyon Dam at 500–700 years. Other estimates aren’t as optimistic, including some as low as 50 years. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Reconfigured Monterey One Water board moves forward with an expanded Pure Water Monterey project

Monterey One Water just celebrated the one-year anniversary of delivering recycled wastewater via the Pure Water Monterey project. The advanced filtration system is used on treated sewage water, which is then injected deep underground where the new supply will be mixed with the existing water supply.  Even before phase one of the Pure Water Monterey project was online, the board of M1W began debating an expansion of the project. But that expansion has been on ice for months, after the M1W board voted 11-10 (on a weighted vote) in April of 2020 not to proceed. It’s about to come back. 

Aquafornia news City News Service

Study: As wildfires increase, Southern California could face landslides almost every year

Fire-prone areas of Southern California can expect to see landslides occurring almost every year, with major events expected roughly every 10 years, a new study found. The results show residents face a double whammy of increased wildfire and landslide risk caused by climate change-induced shifts in the state’s wet and dry seasons, according to researchers who mapped landslide vulnerability in the southern half of the state.

Aquafornia news Kenwood Press News

Four new groundwater monitoring wells

While the county’s Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) has been monitoring groundwater through residential and commercial wells volunteered for the program since 2017, four new wells specifically designed to capture a broad range of information will soon be expanding the available data. The Sonoma Valley Fire District approved the installation of the first of four new groundwater monitoring wells on a small piece of their property on Felder Road, just off Arnold Drive. It is expected to be producing results by this year.

Aquafornia news KUER

Colorado River Authority bill moves to full Senate, some still concerned about transparency

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday to create Utah’s Colorado River Authority, which would be tasked with helping the state renegotiate its share of the river. Originally the bill allowed broad reasons to close meetings and protect records. It’s since been changed twice to come more into compliance with the state’s open meeting and record laws. Critics of the bill said it’s still not enough. Mike O’Brien, an attorney with the Utah Media Coalition, said having a narrower scope for open meetings and records exemptions makes the bill better than when it was first introduced. But he wishes it would follow laws already there.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fact check: Ad blasts Gavin Newsom on lobbyist connection

An ad running in Sacramento media funded by an environmental group starts with a provocative question about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s now infamous attendance at a party held at a swanky restaurant. “Just what was Gavin Newsom discussing at the French Laundry?” the ad asks. The ad doesn’t answer the question directly, but suggests the Democratic governor might have discussed a proposed Huntington Beach desalination plant with his lobbyist friend Jason Kinney, who hosted the event.

Aquafornia news Winters Express

Opinion: Nature nearby – Climate change and Putah Creek

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

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thousands of native plants placed near Sacramento River

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

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Opinion: The SFPUC is tarnishing SF’s record as an environmental leader

San Francisco has long been an international leader on environmental issues. However, water policy has been a stain on that record. … Many California rivers are overtapped by excessive pumping, but few are in worse condition than the Tuolumne River. In drier years, more than 90% of the Tuolumne’s water is diverted. On average, 80 percent of the river’s flow never makes it to the Bay. It’s not a surprise that the river’s health has collapsed. …
-Written by Bill Martin, a member of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter Water Committee, and Hunter Cutting, a member of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s San Francisco Group Executive Committee

Aquafornia news Center for Biological Diversity

News release: Lawsuit launched to protect imperiled California fish

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent today to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for the Clear Lake hitch, a large minnow found only in Northern California’s Clear Lake and its tributaries. The Trump administration denied the fish protection in a December 2020 determination.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Climate change creating enormous challenges

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) is the largest groundwater agency in the State of California, managing and protecting local groundwater resources for over four million residents. WRD’s service area covers a 420-square-mile region of southern Los Angeles County, the most populated county in the United States. The 43 cities in the service area, including a portion of the City of Los Angeles, use about 215,000 acre-feet (70 billion gallons) of groundwater annually which accounts for about half of the region’s potable water supply.

Aquafornia news Responsible Investor

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

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

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Groups call Lake Powell hydropower project unsustainable

Federal regulators have issued a preliminary permit for a pumped-hydropower project using water from Lake Powell, but conservation groups say climate change could make the plan unsustainable. The project would pump water from the lake, drain it downhill to a generator, and send the power to massive batteries for storage. The 2,200-megawatt project would supply cities in Arizona, California and Nevada, over lines previously used by the retired Navajo Generating Station. Gary Wockner, executive director for Save the Colorado, which opposes the plan, said falling water levels will make the Colorado River Basin an unreliable source of water.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

News release: One California community shows how to take the waste out of water

Caught between climate change and multi-year droughts, California communities are tapping groundwater and siphoning surface water at unsustainable rates. As this year’s below-average rainfall accentuates the problem, a public-private partnership in the Monterey/Salinas region has created a novel water recycling program that could serve as a model for parched communities everywhere. 

Aquafornia news The New Republic

How does a state use 40 percent less water?

Arizona, California, and Nevada will need to cut their use of Colorado River water by nearly 40 percent by 2050. A study by researchers at Utah State University, which the Arizona Daily Star reported this past Sunday, noted that Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming—the Upper Basin states—will have to reduce their usage, as well, though not by as much as those pulling water from the Lower Basin.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Will California’s desert be transformed into Lithium Valley?

California’s desert is littered with remnants of broken dreams — hidden ghost towns, abandoned mines and rusty remains of someone’s Big Idea. But nothing looms larger on an abandoned landscape than the Salton Sea, which languishes in an overlooked corner of the state. The water shimmers and broils in the desert like a rebuke: born of human error, made worse by 100 years of neglect and pollution. California’s largest lake is also one of its worst environmental blights, presenting a problem so inverted that its toxic legacy intensifies as its foul water disappears…. The blue-ribbon commission members, appointed by state agencies, legislators and the governor, hold their first meeting today… 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Texas lessons for future California natural disasters

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

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Farmworkers, climate and wildfires are the focus of new legislation in California

The California Legislature is planning an active session this year to make up for lost time in 2020.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

$650 million Santa Ana River plan adds fish-saving methods to water-saving projects

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District has decided to join them, not fight them. Stymied by environmental barriers and losses in court for 11 years, the large water wholesaler serving 700,000 residential and business customers from Fontana to Yucaipa is on the precipice of releasing an environmentally based plan that would nearly double its supply of water by diverting billions of gallons from the Upper Santa Ana River, while mitigating the effects on 20 indigenous fish and bird species. 

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Opinion: Save water like your life depends on it

Those of us in the water industry are always looking for new ways to ask our customers to save, conserve, and never waste water. And we do that for good reason. We live in a region prone to regular periods of drought, punctuated by sudden and catastrophic floods. Last year we had a very dry year, and this water year is off to a very dry start as well. Sonoma Water, which supplies drinking water to 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties, relies on rainfall to fill our reservoirs and consecutive years of below-average rainfall are always cause for concern. Will this be a two-year dry spell, or the beginning of a multi-year drought?
-Written by Barry Dugan, Senior Programs Specialist in the Community and Government Affairs Division at Sonoma Water.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts – Assessing climate change vulnerabilities

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

Aquafornia news Interesting Engineering

“Water wars” – fights over a precious resource

Picture the desert landscape of a Mad Max movie populated with vigilantes devoted to acquiring not gasoline — but water. This scenario isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. “Water wars” describes conflicts between countries, states, or groups over the right to access water resources, usually freshwater. … As Los Angeles expanded during the late 19th century, it outgrew its water supply, and L.A.’s mayor, Fred Eaton, came up with the plan to divert water from the Owens Valley to L.A. via an aqueduct. 

Aquafornia news Far Eastern Agriculture

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

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

Aquafornia news Globe Newswire

News release: U.S. legal cannabis water use to almost double by 2025

New Frontier Data, the premier data, analytics and technology firm specializing in the global cannabis industry, in partnership with Resource Innovation Institute and the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center, releases Cannabis H2O: Water Use and Sustainability in Cultivation. The report provides an in-depth look at water usage in the regulated cannabis cultivation market and how its use compares to the illicit market and traditional agricultural sectors. … The report reveals that the cannabis industry uses significantly less water than other major agricultural crops in California.

Aquafornia news BBC News

Extinction: Freshwater fish in ‘catastrophic’ decline

Conservation groups said 80 species were known to have gone extinct, 16 in the last year alone. Millions of people rely on freshwater fish for food and as a source of income through angling and the pet trade. But numbers have plummeted due to pressures including pollution, unsustainable fishing, and the damming and draining of rivers and wetlands. The report said populations of migratory fish have fallen by three-quarters in the last 50 years. Over the same time period, populations of larger species, known as “megafish”, have crashed by 94%.

Aquafornia news Vanderbilt University

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

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

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West

Healdsburg asking residents to voluntarily conserve water

With much of Northern California swathed in a severe drought, the city of Healdsburg is asking residents to voluntarily conserve water by reducing irrigation and switching to drought resistant plants, fixing leaky faucets and running clothes and dishwashers at full capacity. As of Jan. 19, precipitation was at 40% of normal rainfall according to Felicia Smith, a utility conservation analyst with the city of Healdsburg.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Will the climate crisis tap out the Colorado River?

From California’s perspective, the view upriver is not encouraging. More than half of the upper part of the river basin is in “exceptional drought,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, while the Lower Basin is even worse off: More than 60% of it is in the highest drought level. In January, water levels in Lake Powell, the river’s second-largest reservoir, dropped to unprecedented depths, triggering a drought contingency plan for the first time for the Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has seen a sustained period of less water and hotter days. This is, as climate scientists like to say, the “new normal.”

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

State Ocean Protection Council awards $1.3 million to Elkhorn Slough restoration

The state’s Ocean Protection Council has awarded $1.3 million to preserving and safeguarding estuary habitat at Elkhorn Slough, which boasts the second-largest tidal salt marsh in California. The wetland, once degraded by farming activities such as diking, is at risk of impacts from climate change — particularly rising sea levels.

Aquafornia news KCRW

Ballona Wetlands are getting a makeover, but opponents don’t want too much ecological change

A restoration project for the long-suffering Ballona Wetlands is moving forward after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife certified the final Environmental Impact Report for the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve last year.  Years of neglect, human impact, and development took a toll on the wetlands for years.  The project aims to remove invasive plants and leftover fill from the development of Marina Del Rey, re-establish a functioning floodplain, and create natural levees for flood protection against sea level rise. 

Aquafornia news Audubon

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

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

Aquafornia news Cronkite News

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

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

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

California’s wet season hasn’t brought much drought relief and the outlook isn’t promising

California’s wet season has not brought much relief so far and the outlook is not promising. …Unfortunately, the outlook is not promising. Little to no precipitation is expected through the end of February. California, with the exception of far northern areas, will likely experience drier than average conditions during the March through May period, according to NOAA. Above-average temperatures are also anticipated for the southern half of the state this spring.

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Aquafornia news East County Today

City of Antioch breaks ground on water project in Delta

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

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz, Soquel Creek water propose extending supply sharing pilot program

The Santa Cruz City Council is poised to approve a 5-year extension between the City and Soquel Creek Water Districts on a pilot program that would funnel excess surface water to Soquel Creek during winter months, in hopes of bolstering overdrawn groundwater supply there. That surface water, on average, is projected to be around 115 million gallons delivered by Santa Cruz Water to Soquel Creek during the wet season, which would take strain off pumping the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin. 

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

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

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

Aquafornia news Wired

Opinion: The energy sector must prepare for more extreme weather

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

Aquafornia news KMPH

Lack of rain could potentially impact crops in the Central Valley

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

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Aquafornia news Pagosa Daily Post

Editorial: Dragons, unicorns, and Colorado’s water crisis, part six

“Basic climate science reveals that Lake Powell is not a reliable water source for this ill-conceived project.” The reference to ‘basic climate science’ refers to recent computer models that show a drier climate throughout the American Southwest over the next few decades, allegedly due to the continued use of fossil fuels all around the globe. But even without access to clever computer models, we have all seen Lake Powell and Lake Mead — America’s two largest water reservoirs — struggle to remain even half full, as we watch water users extract more water than nature can replace.

Aquafornia news Patch

Opinion: Rebuilding Lake Wohlford Dam

Lake Wohlford Dam is an important water storage, flood control and recreational facility that has served Escondido for generations. Restoring storage capacity and making it earthquake-safe is critically important, which is why I introduced AB 692. The dam was originally constructed in 1895 to store water transported via a wooden flume from the San Luis Rey River to Escondido. One of the first rock-fill dams in California, Lake Wohlford Dam was 76 feet high and had a storage capacity of about 3500 acre-feet.
-Written by Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R-Escondido

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Wildfire, landslides threaten California’s endangered black abalone

A few weeks after [California's late-January] storm, in early February, eight scientists with a research consortium called the Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network, or MARINe, hiked towards a beach smothered by one of the Big Sur debris flows. The sour smell of decomposing creatures hit them. A few turkey vultures nipped at the sand. There were dead sea stars, chitons, and likely hundreds of dead black abalone. In a previous visit to this site, scientists were able to count 150 black abalone or “abs” in a small 50-meter area, with hundreds left uncounted. A fraction of the site’s population remained.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pushes private seawater desalting plant over local and environmental opposition

When Gov. Gavin Newsom was photographed dining at an opulent Napa Valley restaurant during a surge in coronavirus cases, many Californians saw it as hypocrisy. For opponents of a planned $1-billion desalination plant along the Orange County coast, however, the optics were menacing. The unmasked Newsom was celebrating the birthday of a lobbyist for Poseidon Water, which is close to obtaining final government approval for one of the country’s biggest seawater desalination plants. 

Aquafornia news Wall Street Journal

California seeks to save its redwoods from wildfires

Ancient giant redwoods are among the charred survivors in Big Basin Redwoods State Park after a wildfire last year. Now rangers and conservationists are developing plans to better protect them out of fear that the world’s tallest trees may not survive future blazes that are almost certain to come. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of the Interior

News release: Interior Department welcomes newest members of leadership team

The Department of the Interior today announced additional members of the agency leadership team working to steward America’s natural, cultural and historic resources, and honor our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes. Among those named is Daniel Cordalis of Arcata, Calif., who was appointed Deputy Solicitor, Water.

Aquafornia news Weather West

Blog: Despite cool and occasionally unsettled conditions in NorCal, unusually dry conditions to persist into March

The main weather excitement of the season thus far was certainly the major late January atmospheric event that was the focus of my last blog post. Despite missing some the details during the early portion of the event (winds were stronger and precipitation less intense than originally predicted), the storm largely evolved as expected–stalling along the Central Coast and bringing very heavy double-digit rainfall totals there, as well as extremely heavy snowfall throughout the Sierra Nevada (on the order of 3-8 *feet* in many places).

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

New method to track genetic diversity of salmon, trout

Scientists at Oregon State University and the U.S. Forest Service have demonstrated that DNA extracted from water samples from rivers across Oregon and Northern California can be used to estimate genetic diversity of Pacific salmon and trout. The findings, just published in the journal Molecular Ecology, have important implications for conservation and management of these species, which are threatened by human activities, including those exacerbating climate change.

Aquafornia news Yahoo News

Gearing up for potentially ‘big’ fire season

COVID-19 wasn’t the only thing that made 2020 such a horrific year. It was also a historically bad year for wildfires across the United States, to put it mildly. States such as California and Colorado saw extreme wildfires that lasted for weeks, turning the sky orange in some of the nation’s largest cities. In New Mexico, lightning strikes caused a large, out-of-season fire in the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF), later named the Medio Fire, which burned more than 4,000 acres.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Despite discrimination and drought, Punjabi Americans farm on

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

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater salinization in California’s Tulare Lake basin, the ABCSAL model

Lower groundwater levels can prevent drainage of water and salts from a basin and increase aquifer salinity that eventually renders the groundwater unsuitable for use as drinking water or irrigation without expensive desalination. Pauloo et al. (2021)  demonstrate this process for the Tulare Lake Basin (TLB) of California’s Central Valley. Even if groundwater pumping does not cause overdraft, it can cause hydrologic basin closure leading to progressive salinization that will not cease until the basin is opened by allowing natural or engineered exits for groundwater and dissolved salt. The process, “Anthropogenic Basin Closure and Groundwater Salinization (ABCSAL)”, is driven by human water management. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Colorado River study means it’s time to cut water use now, outside experts say

Less water for the Central Arizona Project — but not zero water. Even more competition between farms and cities for dwindling Colorado River supplies than there is now. More urgency to cut water use rather than wait for seven river basin states to approve new guidelines in 2025 for operating the river’s reservoirs. That’s where Arizona and the Southwest are heading with water, say experts and environmental advocates following publication of a dire new academic study on the Colorado River’s future. The study warned that the river’s Upper and Lower basin states must sustain severe cuts in river water use to keep its reservoir system from collapsing due to lack of water. That’s due to continued warming weather and other symptoms of human-caused climate change, the study said.

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta Stewardship Council holds resilience scavenger hunt

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: What California needs to do to avoid a Texas-style electricity crisis

California and Texas, the country’s two most populous states, have each faced major energy crises within the past six months that share a primary cause: extreme weather….The Lone Star State’s plight is many orders of magnitude worse than the rolling blackouts Californians endured over two blistering days in August. Yet both situations have exposed the extent to which the United States’ vital energy infrastructure is threatened by erratic and extreme weather conditions that are becoming increasingly common as climate change advances.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

How fires have spread to previously untouched parts of the world

Wildfires are spreading to fuel-abundant regions of the world that used to be less prone to burning, according to a new analysis of 20 years of data by the Guardian. While the overall area of annual burn in the world has remained relatively static in this period, the research indicates a shifting regional fire pattern that is affecting more forests and fewer grasslands. In recent years, fires have devastated areas of California, Australia, Siberia and the Pantanal that used to be relatively unaffected.

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Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: Valley Water gathering feedback on expansion of Pacheco Reservoir

The first few months of this rainfall season were below average across California, with drought conditions evident statewide. Although the Golden State received a much-needed soaking in late January, moderate drought conditions remain across Santa Clara County. Valley Water remains focused on preparing for future wet and dry years through various projects and programs, including the proposed expansion of Pacheco Reservoir in southern Santa Clara County.
-Written by Valley Water Directors, Vice Chair Gary Kremen, John L. Varela, and Richard P. Santos. 

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: Yuba Water commits $6.5 million to improving forest health and reducing wildfire risk

Yuba Water Agency’s board of directors took bold action to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and advance landscape-scale forest restoration in the Yuba River watershed. In two separate actions, the board approved $6.5 million in funding for forest restoration projects as part of the North Yuba Forest Partnership. The partnership is a diverse group of nine organizations working collaboratively to plan, finance and implement forest restoration across 275,000 acres of private and public land spanning Sierra and Yuba counties and two national forests.

Aquafornia news The Texas Tribune

Texans warned to boil and conserve water as power outages persist

First Texans lost their power. Now, they’re losing their potable water. After enduring multiple days of freezing temperatures and Texans dripping faucets to prevent frozen pipes from bursting, cities across the state warned residents on Wednesday that water levels are dangerously low and may be unsafe to drink. They’re telling Texans to boil tap water for drinking, cooking, brushing their teeth and for making ice — as residents have been struggling to maintain power and heat while an unprecedented winter storm whips across the state. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027

New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state already planning to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. … Environmental groups say [fracking] can cause significant harm to air quality and water supplies.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: California needs a more flexible approach for planning for sea level rise across the state

The state of California has changed its sea level rise guidance for state agencies and coastal communities, now advising in new “Principles for Aligned State Action” that Californians employ a single sea level rise target — plan for 3.5 feet by 2050 — as opposed to the more flexible approach the state used in the past. But this single sea level rise number does not represent the best available science and could make California less resilient to climate change. 
Written by Robert Lempert, a senior scientist at the RAND Corp. and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and David Behar, climate program director at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and co-chair of the World Climate Research Programme’s Sea Level Rise Grand Challenge Committee. 

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta study examines climate change effect

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

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: California’s climate change future is being written – in its waterways

Much like COVID-19 is changing our election practices and day-to-day business operations, climate change could change your water rights, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. In the past, I have eluded to the shift from historical facts used for analysis and forecasting to a fear-based guessing game that allows an unelected bureaucracy backed by a one-party-rule elected body to usurp your property rights.
-Written by Wayne Western, Jr. the Sun’s Agriculture Pulse contributor, writing on the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural community and water issues. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District seeks voluntary conservation

The Marin Municipal Water District is calling on customers to voluntarily cut back on their water use for the first time since the 2013 drought in response to meager rainfall reminiscent of the notorious 1976-1977 drought.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute Of California

Blog: The path to healthy headwater forests

The worst wildfire year in California history has prompted new interest in and increased efforts to better manage Sierra forests to improve their resilience to fire, drought, and pests. … [PPIC researcher Henry] McCann summarized PPIC’s new analysis of recent forest stewardship practices on public and private lands in the headwaters region, which shows that the amount of land treated is below what experts say is needed to keep forests healthy.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona rivers are drying up. This change could help sustain them

There is much to see and appreciate in Arizona’s natural resources. Water flowing through washes, creeks, rivers and springs sustains life in this hot, dry state. Protecting these waterways, crucial to all life in a desert environment, is an important priority for most Arizonans.
-Written by Kristen Wolfe, a coordinator with Sustainable Water Network.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why Utah lawmakers are worried about having enough water in the future

Utah lawmakers say drought and the dwindling Colorado River make it more important than ever for the state to act now to safeguard its interest in the river. 

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Tentative order released for controversial Poseidon water project

The Santa Ana Regional Water Board released a tentative order Friday detailing proposed revisions to Poseidon Water’s controversial proposed $1.4-billion water desalination project in Huntington Beach. The board’s tentative order would make Poseidon responsible for five mitigation projects, including four projects within the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and the restoration of a 41.5-acre rocky reef offshore of Palos Verdes. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Canadian utility proposes Salinas Valley desal project

A large Canada-based utility service company has unveiled a proposal to construct and operate a Moss Landing desalination plant using brackish water from wells at the mouth of the Salinas Valley. According to a Jan. 28 presentation by Liberty Utilities official Kim Adamson, the proposal calls for a desal plant capable of producing up to 32,000 acre-feet of drinking water per year at a cost of about $1,000 to $1,500 per acre-foot for Salinas, Castroville and Marina, and perhaps even eventually the Monterey Peninsula. 

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Ag lender perspective on water futures and groundwater trading

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

Aquafornia news Eos

Adaptation can compound climate change impacts on energy and water

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

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

FEMA releases more funds for reimbursing Oroville Dam spillway repair costs

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

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Water agencies disagree on how much water San Diego needs

The San Diego Water Authority thinks the region is going to need way more water over the next few decades, but the smaller agencies that buy water from them aren’t so sure. They think the Water Authority is projecting too much growth in future water demand, and they’re worried that if they’re right, residents are going to end up paying for it, even as they curtail their own water usage.

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Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

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

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

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

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

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

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Utah ‘behind the times,’ needs watchdog on Colorado River, leader says

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson says the state needs to do everything it can to protect its share of water in the drought-challenged Colorado River, and the creation of a new entity would foster that protection. … He and Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, are sponsors of the Colorado River Amendments, HB297, which would set up the Colorado River Authority of Utah with $9 million in one-time money and $600,000 of ongoing money.

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Aquafornia news Columbia University

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Navigating uncharted waters in Santa Clarita Valley

While the situations and circumstances may have been unfamiliar, SCV Water faced them with expertise, professionalism and compassion. We assessed the situation, adjusted our sails, and adapted to meet the challenges while holding fast to our mission: Providing responsible water stewardship to ensure the Santa Clarita Valley has reliable supplies of high-quality water at a reasonable cost.
-Written by Gary Martin, board president of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Trump’s environment policies killed thousands, scientists say

The Trump administration deliberately harnessed racism and class animosity to push policies that caused hundreds of thousands of U.S. deaths, according to a scathing new report in the British medical journal The Lancet. After undertaking a comprehensive assessment of the health and environment impacts of Donald Trump’s presidency, the 33 scientists who co-authored the article estimated that rollbacks of environmental and workplace protections led to 22,000 excess deaths in 2019 alone. … On environmental policy, the report noted that Trump rolled back 84 vital regulations covering everything from toxins in water to the way scientific research gets used by the federal government…

Aquafornia news EOS

Community forests prepare for climate change

Trees benefit residents in communities around the world by mitigating pollution and other environmental impacts of contemporary society and by broadly improving livability in cities and towns. However, many locales are feeling the heat as urban, or community, forests—defined by the U.S. Forest Service as “the aggregate of all public and private vegetation and green space within a community that provide a myriad of environmental, health and economic benefits”—struggle against a multitude of stressors stemming from climate change. … [H]eat, megadroughts, and shifts in the amounts and timing of precipitation are changing water availability—all contributing to a looming urban tree crisis.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

How your water heater works can be a secret weapon in the climate change fight

Nearly every home has a water heater, but people tend not to think about it until the shock of a cold shower signals its failure. To regulators, though, the ubiquitous household appliance is increasingly top of mind for the role it could play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and weaning the power grid from fossil fuels High-tech electric water heaters can double as thermal batteries, storing excess production from wind and solar generators. In California, officials aim to install them in place of millions of gas water heaters throughout the state. That would reduce the need to fire up polluting fossil fuel power plants to supply electricity for water heating after the sun sets. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Blog: Colorado Water Plan turns five: Is it working?

In the five years since Colorado’s Water Plan took effect, the state has awarded nearly $500 million in loans and grants for water projects, cities have enacted strict drought plans, communities have written nearly two dozen locally based stream restoration plans, and crews have been hard at work improving irrigation systems and upgrading wastewater treatment plants. But big challenges lie ahead — drought, population growth, accelerating climate change, budget cuts, wildfires and competing demands for water, among others.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

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

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

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s Water Plan has made progress toward ensuring supply, but the work’s far from done

In the five years since Colorado’s Water Plan took effect, the state has awarded nearly $500 million in loans and grants for water projects, cities have enacted strict drought plans, communities have written nearly two dozen locally based stream-restoration plans and crews have been hard at work on improving irrigation systems and wastewater treatment plants. But there are big challenges ahead — drought, population growth, accelerating climate change, budget cuts, wildfires and competing demands for water, among others. 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Dry summer and fall could lead to water rationing in spring

There is a possibility that residents of Santa Cruz could be asked to ration water usage in the spring after dry summer and fall seasons. Santa Cruz Water Director Rosemary Menard gave a preliminary presentation of the city’s water outlook to the City Council on Tuesday, shortly after the second half of the wet season began. The presentation evaluated four factors to project what the city’s water outlook will look like and whether residents will need to ration water as the dry season approaches. 

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Opinion: Till the well runs dry – Pasadena’s devastating water plan

As long as people have lived in Pasadena, water has been an essential element for the life-style, health and economy of our region. Now, however, Pasadena faces a severe water crisis. This never has been an easy need to resolve, but population, growth and climate change have made the development of a sustainable or resilient water program an even greater necessity for the future. It’s not just a challenge for Pasadena, but also for all of California, and even the nation.
-Written by Tim Brick, the Managing Director of the Arroyo Seco Foundation.  

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s rainy season has already shrunk, increasing wildfire risks

California’s rainy season is starting later in the year than it used to, extending the threat of fast-spreading wildfires into the cooler months when, in earlier decades, the fire season would have been over, according to a new study. The findings are contained in a recently released study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. It finds that the state’s wet season is beginning nearly a month later than it did in the 1960s and that the autumn season has become progressively drier.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Earthquakes and climate change threaten California dams

Although the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and the near failure of the Lower Van Norman Dam have given rise to construction improvements … the overwhelming majority of California dams are decades past their design life span. And while earthquakes still loom as the greatest threat to California’s massive collection of dams, experts warn that these aging structures will be challenged further by a new and emerging hazard: “whiplashing shifts” in extreme weather due to climate change.

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

Report: Recommendations for an effective water rights response to climate change

The [State Water Resources Control Board] Division of Water Rights released a report on climate change. The report outlines staff recommendations to make water availability analysis more robust, and actions to support an effective water rights response to climate change within the existing water rights framework in California. The report and related material are available on the Division’s climate change webpage. Staff will present a summary of the report at the State Water Resources Control Board Meeting on February 16, 2021. 

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Diverse bills take on rising sea level

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

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Mountains, ice and climate change: A recipe for disasters

The flash flood that killed dozens of people and left hundreds missing in the Himalayas of India on Sunday was far from the first such disaster to occur among the world’s high-mountain glaciers. In a world with a changing climate, it won’t be the last. Shrinking and thinning of glaciers is one of the most documented signs of the effects of global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases … Over the long term, there are concerns about what the loss of glaciers will mean for billions of people around the world who rely on them at least in part for water for drinking, industry and agriculture.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

The Colorado River crisis is a national crisis

The Colorado River supports over 40 million people spread across seven southwestern states, 29 tribal nations, and Mexico. It’s responsible for the irrigation of roughly 5.5 million acres of land marked for agricultural use. Local and regional headlines show the river is in crisis. The nation mostly isn’t listening.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Environmental groups file appeal to stop 469-home development near Newark wetlands

Environmentalist groups aiming to stop a major controversial housing development at the edge of Newark’s wetlands are appealing an Alameda County court decision that would allow the project to go forward, marking the latest volley in a decades-long fight over the best use for the land. The Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge and the Center for Biological Diversity … said the development “would contribute to the loss of Bay wetlands and wildlife habitat,” such as the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse, and could worsen flooding in nearby areas.

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Aquafornia news RECYCLING magazine

Study: Global markets and technologies for water recycling and reuse

Threats associated with global water scarcity are increasingly making news as continued growth in agricultural production, expansion of urban boundaries, new industrial facilities, and increased sensitivity to environmental needs drive increased water demand. Supply side constraints for water are further exacerbated by increasingly intense and frequent drought events, such as the recent four-year (2016 to 2020) California drought … Thus, a proliferation in wastewater recycling over the coming decades could support a significant lessening of water stress in many water-stressed areas.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Accounting for a decade of headwater forest management

Forests in the Sierra‒Cascade headwater region have dramatically changed over the past 150 years. The prohibition of Indigenous burning, aggressive wildfire suppression, and early timber harvest practices made these forests denser over time, increasing their vulnerability to catastrophic wildfires and widespread tree-die off. These forests are a dominant feature on the landscape, occupying nearly 40% of the 15 million acre headwater region overall and well over half of some northern watersheds. Changing the way we manage these forests can improve their health and make them more resilient to wildfire, drought, and disease.

Aquafornia news Tucson.com

Colorado River outlook darkens dramatically in new study

In the gloomiest long-term forecast yet for the drought-stricken Colorado River, a new study warns that lower river basin states including Arizona may have to slash their take from the river up to 40% by the 2050s to keep reservoirs from falling too low. Such a cut would amount to about twice as much as the three Lower Basin states — Arizona, California and Nevada — agreed to absorb under the drought contingency plan they approved in early 2019. Overall, the study warned that managing the river sustainably will require substantially larger cuts in use by Lower Basin states than currently envisioned, along with curbs on future diversions by Upper Basin states.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Building resilience for cities and farms with water partnerships

Moving from competition to cooperation can help solve water problems facing farms in the San Joaquin Valley and cities in Southern California, and better prepare both for a changing climate. At a virtual event last week, PPIC research fellow Alvar Escriva-Bou summarized a new PPIC report showing how cooperative investments in new supplies and water-sharing agreements can help address both regions’ needs.

Aquafornia news NPR

Near coasts, rising seas could also push up long-buried toxic contamination

For many Bay Area residents who live near the water’s edge, little-publicized research indicates groundwater rising beneath their feet could start to manifest in 10-15 years, particularly in low-lying communities like Oakland. And that could resurface toxic substances that have lingered for years underground.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

California’s rainy season is starting a month later now than in 1960

California’s annual rainy season now is starting nearly a month later than it did 60 years ago, a new study published Thursday revealed, an ominous trend that is making the wildfire season longer.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Despite storms, San Joaquin County, Sierra still in drought

Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop may not see any more rain until March. The long-range forecast by Accuweather based off of National Weather Service modeling underscores the fact California isn’t out of the woods when it comes to the potential for 2021 being a drought year even with the recent heavy storms that dumped significant snow in the Sierra. The rest of the month is expected to see weather that has daily highs in the mid-60s to the low 40s with no rain anticipated until March 1.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

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

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

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

A $5 billion water project could drill through Anza-Borrego park. Is it a pipe dream?

It would be arguably the most ambitious public works project in San Diego history. The envisioned pipeline would carry Colorado River water more than 130 miles from the Imperial Valley — through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, tunneling under the Cuyamaca Mountains, and passing through the Cleveland National Forest — to eventually connect with a water-treatment plant in San Marcos. An alternative route would run through the desert to the south, boring under Mt. Laguna before emptying into the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside. Estimated cost: roughly $5 billion. New water delivered: None.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Advanced metering, desalination would bolster water supply amid construction mandates

If the natural water supply doesn’t meet the water needs of an increased population, Marin is going to have to revisit the idea of building a desalination plant. Currently, the largest U.S. desalination plant in San Diego produces 50 million gallons daily at a cost of one cent per gallon. That cost is kept low given the San Diego’s plant is adjacent to a power station. If Marin had to draw its power from MCE or Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the cost would rise to 1.33 cents per gallon or $10 per billing unit over and above normal water charges. 
-Written by Rick Johnson, who worked 40 years with the San Francisco Water Department as a senior inspector and revenue recovery project manager.

Aquafornia news PhysOrg

California’s rainy season starting nearly a month later than it did 60 years ago

The start of California’s annual rainy season has been pushed back from November to December, prolonging the state’s increasingly destructive wildfire season by nearly a month, according to new research. The study cannot confirm the shift is connected to climate change, but the results are consistent with climate models that predict drier autumns for California in a warming climate, according to the authors.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Despite recent storms, California’s dismal snowpack raises worry of dry year ahead

State water surveyors who trekked into the Sierra Nevada on Wednesday found exactly what they expected: little snow and long odds of anything but a dismally dry year ahead. Despite last week’s pounding snowstorm, which hammered roads with days of whiteouts and delivered to ski slopes as much as 10 feet of fresh powder, this month’s statewide snowpack measured just 70% of average.

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Aquafornia news National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Report: Subseasonal and seasonal forecasting innovation: plans for the 21st century

This report outlines the current use of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) S2S products and services, and how NOAA plans to improve the usability and transference of data, information, and forecasts. It will serve as a guidepost for NOAA planning and execution, as well as to inform the public and NOAA’s stakeholders on its efforts on subseasonal and seasonal forecasting…. and recommends a western U.S. pilot project to support water management. 

Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Bay Area sewage systems at risk as seas rise

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

Aquafornia news NPR

Biden wants to move fast on climate change. Is it fast enough?

In a flurry of first-week executive orders, President Biden sent a definitive message that his administration would move faster on climate change than any before. Now, the question is whether it will be fast enough. Scientists warn that the coming decade will be critical for slowing heat-trapping emissions, potentially keeping average annual global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the mid-19th century. Right now, the world is on track for an increase of 3 degrees Celsius, a level that ensures more destructive wildfires and hurricanes, devastation for coral reefs and rising seas flooding the coastlines.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Central

Opinion: SRP is helping thin Arizona forests. Our water supply depends on it

Over the last 10 years, we have watched as large wildfires ravaged the watershed in and around the Salt and Verde Rivers. The devastation proves one important fact that must be addressed now – our forests are unhealthy. SRP manages the water supply for much of the Valley – most of which comes from 8.3 million acres of land in northern Arizona. Snowfall and rain provide the water that travels through the watershed into SRP reservoirs, which is then delivered to homes and businesses via canals. The forested lands that harness this precious resource have been hit by devastating wildfires and are primed for more infernos like those that impacted California and Colorado. 
-Written by Elvy Barton, a forest health management principal who leads Salt River Project’s forest restoration partnerships, programs and policy analysis initiatives.

Aquafornia news City of Watsonville

News release: City of Watsonville levee embankment stabilization project

[FEMA] intends to provide federal financial assistance … to the Santa Cruz County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Zone 7 in Santa Cruz County, California, to install a sheet pile wall through the center of the existing Pajaro River levee adjacent to the southern edge of the Watsonville Wastewater Treatment Plant. The proposed action would protect the plant flooding if the levee is compromised by river erosion, slope failure, and seepage.

Aquafornia news KALW

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

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

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

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

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

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Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

The Colorado River basin’s worsening dryness in five numbers

Dry conditions are the worst they’ve been in almost 20 years across the Colorado River watershed, which acts as the drinking and irrigation water supply for 40 million people in the American Southwest. As the latest round of federal forecasts for the river’s flow shows, it’s plausible, maybe even likely, that the situation could get much worse this year. Understanding and explaining the depth of the dryness is up to climate scientists throughout the basin. We called several of them and asked for discrete numbers that capture the current state of the Colorado River basin. 

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Aquafornia news ABC7 KRCR

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

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

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Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

New Delta carbon market could boost Bay Area water security

The Delta Conservancy has launched a new initiative aimed at fixing all these problems — carbon emissions, soil subsidence, and water security — at the same time. Called the Delta Carbon Program, the initiative entails a two-pronged solution. First, subsided islands are flooded, protecting them from the air and so arresting further soil and carbon loss. Then the newly inundated islands are re-vegetated with water-loving plants that rebuild peat, reversing subsidence and so reducing the risk of levee failure.

Aquafornia news Patch

2 new lawsuits call Ballona Wetlands restoration a climate threat

Two new lawsuits filed Thursday are challenging the legality of the State of California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s approval of a major project that could harm the Ballona Wetlands and the abundance of diversity of species there. Additionally, climate impacts and flood risk are significant issues not adequately addressed by this proposed huge industrial alteration.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water markets in California can reduce the costs of drought

California’s increasingly volatile warming climate is making droughts more intense, and complicating water management. A just-launched commodity futures market for the state’s water provides a new tool for farmers, municipalities and other interested parties to ensure against water price shocks arising from drought-fueled shortages. Taking a Wall Street approach to an essential natural resource has prompted both fear and hype. Will California experience a new Gold Rush in water? Will speculation boost the cost of water? Perhaps both the fear and the hype are unwarranted.  
-Written by Ellen Hanak, economist and director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Feds ’shortchange’ San Francisco Bay – local Congress members want money for restoration

San Francisco Bay is dwarfed by the Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound and other treasured estuaries when it comes to federal funding, and California lawmakers want that changed. On Thursday, a contingent of Bay Area members of Congress introduced legislation that would boost federal money tenfold for restoration of the region’s signature waters. Under the proposal, $50 million a year for five years would flow to bay projects that reduce water pollution, support wildlife, revive wetlands and protect shoreline communities from sea level rise.

Aquafornia news S&P Global Market Intelligence

Analysis: The growing economic cost of wildfires

Wildfires in the wilderness are part of the ecological cycle. Wildfires in ‘not-so-wild’ places are not, however, and are called Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) fires. These have been increasing in both frequency and intensity. For example, 2018 was the most destructive and costly fire season in California history. As shown in Table 1, the state’s top three wildfires that year exceeded $10 billion U.S. in financial losses.

Aquafornia news CapRadio

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

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

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Atmospheric rivers and the future of California

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

Aquafornia news Eco-Business

Extreme drought and fire risk may double by 2060

As climate change threatens a doubling of the impact of extreme drought and fire within a generation, researchers are uncovering the influence of human activity on both these growing risks. One study has found that human numbers exposed to the hazard of extreme drought are likely to double in the decades to come, as global heating bakes away the groundwater and limits annual snowfall. 

Aquafornia news The Independent

State water agency seeks input from local groups on infrastructure projects

There is an adage in California that goes, “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting over.” But instead of fighting, the California Water Commission (CWC) is looking for opportunities to hear from local agencies on water infrastructure projects. The CWC recently wrapped up a series of public workshops intended to determine the opportunity for a state role in financing water conveyance projects that meet the challenges of a changing climate. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Water Year 2021 – How are we doing?

We are now past the halfway mark in California’s normally wettest winter months, and the wet season to date has been anything but. Most of the state has received less than half of its average annual precipitation to date. Coming after a very dry Water Year 2020 these conditions are concerning. More precipitation will certainly occur in February and March, but will it be enough to erase the state’s large deficit?  

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

The ocean’s mysterious vitamin deficiency

California researchers now investigating the source of [the Sacramento River's Chinook] salmon’s nutritional problems find themselves contributing to an international effort to understand thiamine deficiency, a disorder that seems to be on the rise in marine ecosystems across much of the planet. It’s causing illness and death in birds, fish, invertebrates, and possibly mammals, leading scientists from Seattle to Scandinavia to suspect some unexplained process is compromising the foundation of the Earth’s food web by depleting ecosystems of this critical nutrient. 

Aquafornia news EOS

New research: How heavy rain and drought influence California crustal strain

Earth’s crust may feel rigid beneath our feet, but it responds elastically to temperature gradients, atmospheric pressure, and hydrological loads. Everything from heavy rain and snow to human activities like groundwater pumping can deform the crust on seasonal scales. Researchers are particularly interested in such deformations when they occur near plate boundary zones, like in California, where they can influence seismicity rates. 

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

With Klamath dam removal at an impasse, Huffman calls forum

[T]he decades-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams that clog the upper Klamath River should be seen not simply through an environmental and economic lens but also a social justice one, according to Craig Tucker, a natural resources consultant for the Karuk Tribe.

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Opinion: To make progress on global challenges, start with water

Whether used for potable (drinking) or non-potable purposes, clean water is our most valuable and fundamental resource, and ultimately underpins the success or failure of every other challenge that we face. Yet we are perilously close to 2025, when it is predicted that half of the world’s population will not have reliable access to clean water…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Budgeting for agricultural sustainability and resiliency

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

Aquafornia news SFGate

As storm sets up to pummel Tahoe, meteorologists forecast a future without snow

One week, it’s fires; the next, it’s feet upon feet of snow. In the middle of January, high winds and dry conditions sparked wildfires throughout California. Now, an atmospheric river is taking aim at the state with a huge amount of water. In the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe region, forecasters are calling for between three and six feet of snow by the end of this week. This kind of dramatic shift from fire to fire hose is something California is already used to. But the tick-tock between extremes  — or what climate researcher Daniel Swain calls “precipitation whiplash” — will only become more exaggerated as the climate crisis plays out, now and in the near future.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Earth has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994

The melting of ice across the planet is accelerating at a record rate, with the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets speeding up the fastest, research has found. The rate of loss is now in line with the worst-case scenarios of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading authority on the climate, according to a paper published on Monday in the journal the Cryosphere.