Topic: Drinking Water

Overview

Drinking Water

Finding and maintaining a clean water supply for drinking and other uses has been a constant challenge throughout human history.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diegans could soon pay much more for water, now that a long-delayed rate analysis is moving forward

San Diego officials say they will complete a long-delayed comprehensive analysis of city water rates this year that could lead to sharp increases to pay for major infrastructure projects such as the Pure Water sewage purification system now under construction. The last time San Diego completed such an analysis in 2015, city officials voted to raise water rates by 40 percent over a four-year period. City water customers already face a 3 percent rate hike in January to cover rising imported water costs. That increase, which the City Council approved this week, was prompted by the County Water Authority voting in June to increase what it charges the city for imported water.

Aquafornia news The Press

Antioch to get new desalination plant

Antioch is investing in its water supply future. A new $110 million desalination plant is being built in Antioch. With construction underway at an existing water treatment facility, the new desalination plant will service the needs of Antioch’s population of more than 115,000 people, as well as help to improve its water supply reliability, city officials say. … The primary reason for the need for the desalination plant is due to increased salinity in the water supply. The city of Antioch derives much of its water source from the San Joaquin River …

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Can the California plastics law solve our plastic problem?

Thanks to a law in California signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom this past June, there could be much less plastic waste in California within a decade, serving as a potential pilot for this legislation being enacted elsewhere. The landmark legislation requires that all packaging in the state be compostable or recyclable by 2032, and sets guidelines for increasing the levels of recycling of plastic packaging in the state by the same year. By signing SB 54 into law, Newsom seeks to hold polluters responsible, shifting the burden of responsibility for plastic pollution from consumers to the plastics industry.

Aquafornia news ABC7 - San Francisco

Turning tomatoes into drinking water? Ingomar Packing Company, Botanical Water Technologies team up to make this happen

Two companies are teaming up to respond to the drought in California by turning the water in tomatoes into drinking water. Los Banos-based Ingomar Packing Company, a tomato processor, is partnering with Botanical Water Technologies to make this happen. Tomatoes are made up of about 95% water. … Despite coming from tomatoes, Rees said the water doesn’t taste like it. … The plan is for the Los Banos Ingomar site to create more than 200 million gallons of potable water per year by 2025.

Aquafornia news Carson City Nevada News

South Lake Tahoe leads the way as city council approves water bottle ban

In 2016, the City of San Francisco was the first American municipality to ban the sales of water that comes in plastic bottles. At the time it was called a bold move that was building on a global movement to reduce the huge amount of waste from the billion-dollar plastic bottle industry. South Lake Tahoe was an early adopter of the single-use plastic bag ban, as well as bans of single-use plastic, styrene, and straws. … Plastic bottles break down into tiny pieces (microplastics) that can be found in the lake and water bottles are the most commonly sold in South Lake Tahoe. At this time, soda bottles and other beverages sold in plastic will still be available. Water sold in reusable cans and boxes is becoming more popular, and they will still be allowed.

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Aquafornia news Beyond Pesticides

Blog: Neonicotinoid insecticides keep poisoning California waterways, threatening aquatic ecosystems

According to a September 15 Environment California press release, California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) data confirm more bad news on neonicotinoid (neonic) contamination: nearly all urban waterways in three counties show the presence of the neonic imidacloprid at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) chronic benchmark for harm to aquatic ecosystems; in five other counties, well over half showed its presence at similar levels. Neonic use is strongly correlated with die-offs and other harms to a variety of bees and pollinators, and to other beneficial organisms.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

California’s water emergency: Satisfying the thirst of almonds while the wells of the people that harvest them run dry

In just the past month, as California temperatures soared during a drought so severe some experts say it hasn’t been this parched in 1,200 years, about 250 wells, mostly in the state’s bread basket, have gone dry. They’re part of the more than 1,100 California wells that have dried up so far this year, a 60% increase from 2021. While that may not seem like a lot, given that California has 274,000 wells, it’s an ominous sign and a personal tragedy for the one million Californians who struggle for clean water. In many cases, it also pits hugely important agricultural producers, who rely on underground water for their crops, against their own workers, who need it to drink.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Toxic chemicals are everywhere. California can limit our exposure

Most parents take extra precautions to protect their children from toxic chemicals — from locking cabinets of cleaning supplies to scrutinizing ingredient labels. But some toxic chemicals are near impossible to limit their exposure to. California can change that. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, are a class of over 9,000 industrial compounds that are added to everyday products to repel stains, water or oil. … Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” they do not break down in the environment — ever. … According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, these chemicals may be contaminating the drinking water of up to 200 million Americans.

-Written by Rebecca Fuoco, science communications officer at the Green Science Policy Institute; and Arlene Blum, founder and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a research associate in the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at UC Berkeley.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Dangerous arsenic levels may be lurking in California prison water: study

Incarcerated Californians — and those who live in neighboring rural communities — may be exposed to dangerous levels of arsenic in their drinking water, a new study has found. Arsenic concentrations in the water supply of the Kern Valley State Prison and three nearby Central Valley communities exceeded regulatory limits for months or even years at a time, according to the study, published on Wednesday in Environmental Health Perspectives. To draw their conclusions, the authors combed through 20 years of water quality data from the prison and the adjacent communities of Allensworth, McFarland and Delano, where groundwater aquifers contain unhealthy levels of naturally occurring arsenic.

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Sonoma County staff to propose new well permit regulations

Sonoma County staff are polishing off a new draft of revisions to the county’s well regulations after the county Board of Supervisors delayed adopting the original revisions in order to obtain more community input on the possible impacts of the changes. The revisions are intended to align the county’s well ordinance with California’s Public Trust Doctrine, which requires local governments to protect public-use waterways , such as those used for commerce, recreation, navigation or habitat. The core of any proposed changes would require well permit applicants to meet certain criteria based on their proximity to protected waterways and use of groundwater. There would also be a public trust review of the well’s potential impact on those nearby waterways.

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Aquafornia news KGUN 9 - Tucson

Over $32M to go into safe drinking water projects for Arizona

Funding from Arizona Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law will be used to provide more safe drinking water across the state. … Over $32,000,000 will be provided towards Arizona projects through the Environmental Protection Agency.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Examiner

As California begins monitoring microplastics in water, experts brace for health impacts

Microplastics, or the small fragments of plastics and polymers from clothing, packaging and cosmetics, are now found virtually everywhere on Earth — from the highest peaks to the depths of the ocean. At five millimeters long or less, these tiny specks are also cropping up in the air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink. Microplastics have been detected in commercially farmed shellfish and, recently, in beef and pork, with little known about how much plastic we’re ingesting — or the impacts of this material on our health or the health of the planet. That’s why this month, California took the first step in regulating microplastics in its municipal water supplies, making it the first government agency in the world to do so.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Gavin Newsom can stop water projects from drowning in red tape

Earlier this month, the California Department of Water Resources announced a new round of funding for desalination projects in the state. Six million dollar grants will be made available for new projects that help expand the Golden State’s fresh water supply. The move comes on the heels of a new water initiative Governor Gavin Newsom has launched to address California’s historic drought. … A 2019 study estimated there are just under 16,000 desalination plants in operation worldwide, spread across 177 countries. It’s a rapidly growing industry, with reverse osmosis technology in particular behind much of the capacity growth in recent years. 

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Bringing arsenic-safe drinking water to rural California

According to the Rev. Dennis Hutson, people used to love the taste of Allensworth’s water. … Now, many residents of this historically Black community know that it is not safe to drink water from the wells in their town. Like many areas throughout California, the groundwater beneath Allensworth is tainted with dangerous levels of arsenic, a highly carcinogenic element that can seep into the water table from deposits in the soil and bedrock.

Aquafornia news Patch - San Mateo

Project to protect Bay Area drinking water from wildfires to begin

In an effort to protect the drinking water source for one million Bay Area residents from destructive wildfires, crews will soon work to masticate vegetation on Maple Way around watershed lands. In collaboration with Cal Fire, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, who oversees the SFPUC Peninsula Watershed, will hire contractors to mulch vegetation into small pieces. Reducing the size of vegetation growth will limit the risk of extreme fire around the watershed, the Edgewood County Park and surrounding private property, said Cal Fire.

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Aquafornia news NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Blog: Helping decision-makers improve water management

A new study from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Western States Water Council (WSWC) and Airborne Snow Observatories, Inc. points the way to accelerating how knowledge and technology are transferred to and from public agencies and environmental organizations. … In this latest paper, the team outlines a path for how to protect environmental resources by not only offering technical solutions, but by developing strategic relationships and fostering a culture of organizational support. Two water case studies – the Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) and the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN) – are used to highlight how effective knowledge and technology transfer can be done. 

Aquafornia news KSBW - Monterey

Pesticide found in surface water in California over past decade

Contaminated water has been found in urban areas in California, including the affects to the Central Coast, according to data released by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Imidacloprid is a neonicotinoid (or neonics), a pesticide that is also linked to bee die-offs. These pesticides are shown to disrupt the nervous system of bees, other insects and songbirds causing paralysis and death. … According to the CDPR, this insecticide can remain in the soil for long periods of time and be transported by rain or irrigation systems, which leads to contamination in California’s water.

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Aquafornia news Nossaman LLP - JDSupra

Blog: California becomes first government in world to require microplastics testing for drinking water

On September 7, 2022, California became the first government in the world to require microplastics testing for drinking water, an emerging contaminant that is found throughout the environment. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) approved a policy handbook that details how it will implement a four-year plan, including testing logistics as well as how it will select the public agencies that will be required to test. Microplastics represent an emerging contaminant of concern for which there are still a number of unanswered questions.

Aquafornia news ABC 10 - Sacramento

California Drought: Is desalination the solution?

Desalination is a controversial topic, due to its environmental impacts, energy use and monetary cost. California currently has 12 desalination plants, but there could be many more in the future. DWR is offering $6 million in financial assistance to support desalination projects that will help develop new sources of local water supplies in California, according to a news release from DWR.  While desalination is a complex process, [Kris Tjernell, deputy director of the Integrated Watershed Management with the California Department of Water Resources] described it as “simply the removal of salts and other impurities from water, such that it becomes available for drinking water, agricultural irrigation and other potential uses.” 

Aquafornia news CBS 8 - San Diego

San Diego overcharged water customers $79 million since 2014

Months after a judge ruled the City of San Diego is overcharging some water customers, the city has yet to pay up, or make changes to its rates. Attorneys say the delay is costing taxpayers millions in penalty fees. They filed the case back in 2017, saying San Diego was violating a portion of the California constitution, which states governments that provide services are not allowed to charge more for those services than it costs them to deliver. … Specifically, the suit alleged San Diego had been overcharging single family residential customers in tiers 3 and 4, which are those who use more water than the average customer.

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

Evaluating drought relief in Shasta County

Severe drought continues to impact California, and many residents need immediate relief. As summer winds down, Northstate communities are battling the lowest water levels of the year as is typically the case in September, and 2022 being the driest year on record, in the 139 year history of data keeping in Redding, has only exacerbated the problem. The Shasta County Department of Resource Management received a grant of over $2.4 million in July from the state Water Resources Control Board to be used through 2024. Relief efforts made possible by this grant include bottled water delivery, well deepening, repairs and replacement.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monsanto’s Roundup, linked to cancer, is a wine controversy

One of the most hotly debated issues in California wine these days involves a chemical that can be found in every Home Depot in America: Roundup. Monsanto’s high-profile herbicide is the go-to method of weed control for many California vineyards. … But Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, is probably a carcinogen, according to the World Health Organization. … That revelation has spurred a new outcry in the California wine industry. Some winegrowers who farm according to organic, biodynamic or regenerative protocols — which prohibit the use of glyphosate and other synthetic chemicals — are speaking out against Roundup with renewed fervor, calling for an end to its use in vineyards.

Aquafornia news Politico

‘Forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The battle over who pays to clean them up is just getting started.

State and local governments across the country are suing manufacturers of toxic chemicals that are contaminating much of the nation’s drinking water, aiming to shield water customers and taxpayers from the massive cost of cleaning them up. These pervasive “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, are linked to a variety of health hazards, including cancer. Now, as state lawmakers and federal regulators get serious about removing them, scores of governments and water suppliers are in pitched court battles over who is on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — the companies that created the chemicals or the customers who are drinking them. … In Orange County, Calif., water managers found PFAS in dozens of wells that draw from a vast groundwater basin that supplies 2.5 million people.

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: California’s water threatened by overuse of unregulated pesticides and herbicides

The water scarcity California has been experiencing over the last two decades is the result of the worst drought to hit the American Southwest in the past 1,200 years. … [I]ssues regarding water quality arise due to the state’s high use of pesticides in agriculture, with several Environmental Protection Agency-reapproved toxic herbicides not being regulated by state legislation. From 2004 to 2015, over 2 billion pounds of pesticides have been used in California, with the most recent numbers indicating an annual use of 209 million pounds. Though it represents only 2-3% of total U.S. cropland, the Golden State uses up to 20% of all pesticides employed in the U.S.
-Written by Stan Gottfredson, CEO of Atraxia Law, a San Diego-based firm that helps agricultural workers and their families affected by paraquat exposure compile the necessary information to support their Parkinson’s disease injury claims against liable manufacturers. 

Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

Racism robbed this historically black California town of its water. Now, they’re developing water of their own

[Valeria] Contreras lives in Allensworth, a small town of about 500 people an hour’s drive north of Bakersfield, in California’s Central Valley. She runs her own catering company, and in her spare time she is also the general manager of the Allensworth Community Services District, which oversees the town’s water supply. Back in February, Contreras had no idea why the water had stopped flowing. And it was her job to fix it. … Clean, safe and affordable drinking water is considered a human right under state law, but nearly a million residents don’t have access to it. Like Contreras, many of them live in the Central Valley, a patchwork of desert scrub and irrigated farmland that’s twice the size of Massachusetts and produces 25% of the nation’s food supply. 

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Merge water districts in OC? One loathes the idea, the other loves it

In this alternate universe, one water agency sees black while the other sees white. One sees good while the other sees bad. One says yes while the other says no. And none of it would matter much — except that everyone who showers and drinks and flushes the toilet is paying for it. … That grand jury, you may recall, told these two water giants in our compact little county to get over themselves, relinquish their pricey fiefdoms and form a single, unified, regional, county-level water authority to finally speak with — and this is the grand jury’s flourish — “One Voice.”
-Written by Orange County Register columnist Teri Sforza.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Dry wells in Klamath raise Oregon concerns about California regulations

Dropping aquifer levels in the Klamath Basin have convinced Oregon regulators to weigh in on groundwater management across the state line in California. The Oregon Water Resources Department has found fault with how groundwater resources are characterized in a management plan for the Tule Lake area of northern California. “We felt pretty strongly they were not appreciating the decline concerns that we have on the Oregon side of the border,” said Tom Byler, the agency’s director, during a recent meeting of the state’s Water Resources Commission. The OWRD objected that Tule Lake’s groundwater sustainability plan analyzed data from 2015-2018, which doesn’t consider vigorous groundwater development in earlier years or other problems that have developed more recently.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State delivers $15 million to support Tribal water infrastructure projects

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority celebrate the signing of a funding agreement that provides $15 million in direct financial assistance to Tribal communities. As California experiences a third consecutive year of drought – and plans for the possibility of a fourth dry year to come – many communities face challenges in accessing clean, safe drinking water. This funding will help advance water infrastructure projects that will improve water for families, enhance water supply reliability, and upgrade existing water infrastructure on Tribal lands.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

California approves microplastics testing of water sources

California water regulators [Wednesday] approved the world’s first requirements for testing microplastics in drinking water sources — a key step towards regulating tiny fragments that are ubiquitous in the environment. After years of research involving more than two-dozen laboratories, the State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a policy handbook for testing water supplies for microplastics over four years. Under the plan approved [Wednesday], up to 30 of the state’s largest water providers will be ordered to start quarterly testing for two years, beginning in the fall of 2023. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California set to become first in nation to test drinking water for microplastics

Microplastic is everywhere. The tiny particles that shed from clothing, food packaging and tires are in the air, the soil, the ocean and, almost certainly, your drinking water. This week, California is poised to become the first place in the nation, and perhaps the world, to begin requiring water agencies to test for the contaminant. State water regulators, after years of working with more than 20 labs in seven nations to pioneer a means of monitoring microplastics, are scheduled to adopt a testing and reporting requirement Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Dirty water, drying wells: Central Californians shoulder the drought’s inequities

Like a growing number of Central Californians, [Jesús] Benítez is bearing the brunt of the state’s punishing drought, which is evaporating the state’s surface water even as a frenzy of well drilling saps precious reserves underground. As a result, the number of dry wells in California has increased 70% since last year, while the number of Californians living with contaminated drinking water is at nearly 1 million. The majority of those people live in low-income communities and communities of color, state data show — and experts say heat, drought and climate change are only making those inequities worse. 

Aquafornia news KEYT - Santa Barbara

Bears roam Los Padres National Forest more often due to ongoing drought

The U.S. Forest Service is warning campers to beware of bears going into the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend. The bears, hungry and thirsty, are on the move because of the ongoing drought conditions. The bears have been seen recently roaming and foraging for whatever food they can find. Water is also a magnet as well, as it attracts other wild animals, officials said.

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Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: U.S. EPA pushing ahead to designate PFOA and PFOS as superfund hazardous substances

Late last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) moved forward to list perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) (including their salts and structural isomers) as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) (otherwise known as “Superfund”).  EPA released a pre-publication version of a proposed rulemaking that officially begins U.S. EPA’s efforts to regulate and address per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.  

Aquafornia news KVPR

New funding promises clean water for drought-stricken Tooleville

New funding from the California Department of Water Resources promises to help a struggling Tulare County town clean up its water and turn on its taps. Tooleville, a rural community of about 200 people at the base of the Sierra Nevada, has only intermittently had water since its second well recently failed – the latest victim of California’s intensifying megadrought. … Even when the well produces water, it’s often contaminated with unsafe levels of nitrates, a byproduct of nearby agriculture cultivation that can reduce oxygen levels in the blood.

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Aquafornia news Earth.Org

Blog: Top 6 environmental issues in the US in 2022

As the latest IPCC report warned, it is ‘now or never’ to limit global warming below 1.5C. Countries around the world are already bearing the brunt of climate change but the reality is that, unless we reverse this trend, the effects that we are going to experience in the near future are going to be significantly more devastating. … Here are the top environmental issues in North America and what the government is doing to tackle them. … A report released in August 2022 by California’s State Water Resources Control Board found that in the Western state alone, nearly one million people face possible long-term health conditions from drinking water containing unsafe levels of contaminants such as arsenic and nitrate.  

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Low-income Californians to get help paying water bills

California’s water affordability crisis has been simmering for years as water rate increases have outpaced inflation, rising 45% between 2007 and 2015 alone. By September 2021, nearly 650,000 residential and 46,000 business accounts owed more than $315 million in unpaid water and wastewater bills. Latino and Black communities have been hit the hardest, with higher average debt. About half a million account holders had their water shut off for unpaid bills in 2019, according to state data. California lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Monday and Tuesday to offer assistance: A bill that creates a new state program to help low-income Californians … pay their water and sewage bills is now expected to be sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Federal cyber mandate looms for local water systems

EPA is set to unveil a new federal mandate requiring states to expand inspections of about 1,600 water systems to include cybersecurity threats, according to a senior administration official. The official, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak candidly, said EPA is not issuing a new rule but instead will release a so-called implementation memo based on the agency’s existing authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Ultimately, states already responsible for inspecting everything from tanks to pumps and operations at hundreds of public water systems across the nation would also be responsible for ensuring utilities are protected against hackers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Heat, water, fire: How climate change is transforming the Pacific Crest Trail

In the desert near Agua Dulce, north of Los Angeles, hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail who reached mile marker 502 encountered a cistern of water that smelled bad and tasted worse, with a dead rat floating inside. They got out their filters and refilled their bottles anyway. “Will update if I get sick,” one wrote on a message board to those coming up behind. The message was just one sign of how global warming is affecting life along the trail, where, during a hot season nearly devoid of rain, water tanks and caches were more important than ever, the last line of defense against dehydration. At least some hikers willing to take their chances.

Aquafornia news NBC - Palm Springs

Cadiz water project promises free water for Salton Sea area

As California’s water crisis deepens, a new project aims to help conserve resources and ensure disadvantaged communities are not left behind. Cadiz Inc. is hanging onto its years-long goal of storing water before it evaporates and then selling or giving it away to communities in Southern California. … Cadiz incorporated owns over 70 square miles of property in the eastern Mojave Desert and are hoping to turn the land into a key conservation site. … For decades, the company has proposed pumping groundwater from beneath the desert and selling the water to urban cities in Southern California.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: EPA releases proposed rule designating PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances under CERCLA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released the pre-publication of the long-awaited Proposed Rule designating perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as “Superfund.” The White House Office of Management and Budget found the proposed rule to be economically significant. This designation means the rule is expected to annually cost $100 million or more, and requires the EPA to conduct a Regulatory Impact Analysis.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Californians want water rights reform

Without reform, California’s [water rights] system means that the most senior water rights holders—those who declared the water theirs during the violent and exclusionary settling of California in the late 1800s, early 1900s, predominantly irrigation districts—get first claim to the available water, while water for people to drink and bathe and water for the environment only get the leftovers. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This century-old system of water rights does not reflect current values, and it should not dictate how the state prioritizes our limited water supplies. FM3 recently polled Californians to obtain their views on a variety of matters, including our water rights system. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

State funding brings small San Joaquin Valley town closer to long-term drinking water solution

The two-street town of Tooleville finally saw significant progress in a decades-long quest for clean drinking water this week when the state Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced $7.2 million in funding for an interim connection project. Tooleville will be hooked up to the nearby city of Exeter’s water system, something advocates and Tooleville residents have been asking for since the 2010s. … Tooleville has been plagued by contaminated water for decades. Most residents rely on bottled water. And the ongoing drought has resulted in surrounding farmers pumping more groundwater, dropping Tooleville’s water table and repeatedly drying up its two aging community wells. 

Aquafornia news University of California

New research: A simple method for destroying ‘forever chemicals’ and making water safe

Chemists at UCLA and Northwestern University have developed a simple way to break down almost a dozen types of these nearly indestructible “forever chemicals” at relatively low temperatures with no harmful byproducts. In a paper published today in the journal Science, the researchers show that in water heated to just 176 to 248 degrees Fahrenheit, common, inexpensive solvents and reagents severed molecular bonds in PFAS that are among the strongest known and initiated a chemical reaction that “gradually nibbled away at the molecule” until it was gone, said UCLA distinguished research professor and co-corresponding author Kendall Houk.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: 15 California communities to receive drought funding amid extreme conditions

As part of ongoing efforts to help small communities address water supply challenges amid extreme drought and build water resilience for the future, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced its eighth round of funding through the Small Community Drought Relief Program. In coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, the program will provide $40 million to 15 projects in Butte, Humboldt, Lake, Madera, Mariposa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Sierra, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo counties. Of the selected projects, 12 will directly benefit disadvantaged communities to implement long-term solutions such as pipeline replacement, well installation, and infrastructure upgrades to improve water resilience and water quality.

Aquafornia news ABC 10 - Sacramento

Keyes-area home gets drinking water out of air

When Martha Lorenzo was told she could get clean drinking water simply by installing some panels and extracting moisture from the air, she was in disbelief. In April, Lorenzo had three solar, hydro panels installed outside her home by the company Source Global, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. The panels absorb water vapor pulled from the air. Connected to a line under a panel and run into her home, she gets about nine to 11 gallons of drinking water every day. … The water comes from a number of sources including humidity from plants and trees and much more on rainy or foggy days.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

NM city, victim of government burn, now faces water shortage

In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains … [t]he clock is ticking for Las Vegas, a college town and economic hub for ranchers and farmers who have called this rural expanse of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range home for generations. It has less than 30 days of drinking water left. Events have been canceled in an effort to discourage more people from coming to town. Residents are showering with buckets in hopes of salvaging extra water for other uses. Restaurants are worried they may have to cut back on serving their signature red and green chile dishes. The three universities that call Las Vegas home are coming up with conservation plans as the school year kicks off.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Foundation journalism team highlights water issues in California and the West with newsfeed, articles and more

As our programs team at the Water Education Foundation is busy this summer putting together fall events such as tours, our annual Water Summit and our Water Leader alum reunion, our journalism team is helping to raise water awareness every day. You can access our newsfeed each morning of the top articles on water issues in California and the West and even get it sent to your inbox. You can also find interactive maps showing reservoir levels, water-savings tips and more on our special online drought resource page. And we just published our latest Western Water article focused on a pilot program in the Salinas Valley that is run remotely out of Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

State officials visit Moss Landing site of contaminated water

Off an unmarked dead-end road surrounded by farmworkers harvesting strawberries just north of Moss Landing on Thursday, Ignacio Garcia stood on his cement driveway near a dozen or so five-gallon plastic bottles of water. The water is needed, he explained, because his own well is contaminated. … Garcia, who has become an advocate for his community, is far from alone. When the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board began testing wells in the area in 2018, groundwater contamination was bad enough to warrant periodic testing of 44,000 wells in the region. Back in 2014, of 1,627 domestic wells tested in some areas, more than 40% exceeded public health drinking water standards for one particular contaminant – nitrate.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New research: ‘Forever chemicals’ destroyed by simple new method

PFAS, a group of manufactured chemicals commonly used since the 1940s, are called “forever chemicals” for a reason. Bacteria can’t eat them; fire can’t incinerate them; and water can’t dilute them. And, if these toxic chemicals are buried, they leach into surrounding soil, becoming a persistent problem for generations to come. Now, Northwestern University chemists have done the seemingly impossible. Using low temperatures and inexpensive, common reagents, the research team developed a process that causes two major classes of PFAS compounds to fall apart, leaving behind only benign end products.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water mains being flushed in Sacramento for drinking quality

Sacramento Department of Utilities announced it will be flushing water mains across the city this week to “help maintain high drinking-water quality for residents,” a press release states. Flushing the water mains will prevent sand, sentiment, and biofilm from building up in the water system. The city mainly gets water from the Sacramento and American rivers, according to the press release. The flushing began on Tuesday, in an effort to be proactive in keeping natural buildup out of the city’s drinking water, said spokesperson Carlos Eliason.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Resources available for dry wells in Tehama County

More than 100 wells in Tehama County have gone dry as local agencies work to provide water to those affected. Clint Weston of Tehama County Environment Health provided the board of supervisors with an update Tuesday on the wells’ status. The county has a reported 135 dry wells that have been made aware of services to provide free water or purchase water out of the Corning municipal system. Many of these dry wells are in small parcels scattered around the county’s southern portion, and these are county wells not connected to any water systems.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

From the Archives: A seawater desalination plant opened in Chula Vista 55 years ago

A seawater desalination plant opened in Chula Vista in August of 1967. The Clair Engle Desalting Plant was an experimental test facility built by the Department of Interior capable of producing one million gallons of fresh water daily. The Chula Vista plant replaced a similar facility that was moved from Point Loma in 1964 to provide fresh water for the U.S. navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 1973 federal funding dried up and the Chula Vista plant closed. After the city council decided it was cheaper to buy imported water, San Diego turned down an offer to take over operating the facility .

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Watch: History of water poaching in California

Southern Californians know about neighbors using more than their fair share of water. But what about growers who steal water from farms, businesses or even houses? L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison looked at the long history of poaching in California and how it relates to today’s water fights. Here’s what Patt says. Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Federal officials announce $310 million in funding to combat ‘megadrought’

On a tour of increasingly parched California on Thursday, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland visited a water recycling project in Irvine to tout her department’s allocation of more than $310 million to combat a western “megadrought” fueled largely by climate change. Joined by Rep. Katie Porter (D-Irvine) and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, Haaland stood before heavy equipment at the Syphon Reservoir Improvement Project and said she felt “overjoyed” to announce the funding of 25 water recycling projects, 20 of which are in California…. Another water official, however, voiced frustration over how the federal government awarded assistance, and said there needed to be a “new paradigm” for grants in the face of recurring drought.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Disadvantaged communities in northern California

Northern California is home to nearly four million people, from downtown Sacramento to mountain towns to small farming communities. Of those four million, approximately 600,000 are living in disadvantaged communities. For the past decade, the Legislature and Governor have implemented various policies to support disadvantaged communities in California, ensuring these communities have access to reliable, clean water when they turn on the tap.  This dynamic was particularly vivid with the recognition of a Human Right to Water (HR2W) in 2012, making California the first state to enact legislation recognizing “safe, clean, affordable, and accessible” water as a human right. 

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Taps have run dry in a major Mexico city for months. A similar water crisis looms in the US, experts say

About 300 miles southwest of San Antonio, water taps have run dry in a major Mexico city. Thousands of residents wake up at dawn to check their taps and fill up containers. Others line up with large jugs, bottles and buckets at cisterns around the city, where fights have broken out when people try to jump the line. This is the scene in the industrial hub of Monterrey, Mexico—the nation’s third largest city and one of its wealthiest. … But Monterrey isn’t alone in its water crisis. Drought is sapping the water from huge swaths of North America and making it increasingly hard for humans to count on running water.

Related articles: 

Could Virtual Networks Solve Drinking Water Woes for California’s Isolated, Disadvantaged Communities?
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: UCLA pilot project uses high-tech gear in LA to remotely run clean-water systems for small communities in Central California's Salinas Valley

UCLA’s remote water treatment systems are providing safe tap water to three disadvantaged communities in the Salinas Valley. A pilot program in the Salinas Valley run remotely out of Los Angeles is offering a test case for how California could provide clean drinking water for isolated rural communities plagued by contaminated groundwater that lack the financial means or expertise to connect to a larger water system.

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”

In the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Two Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Try to Find Their Balance
WESTERN WATER SPECIAL REPORT: Agencies in Fresno, Tulare counties pursue different approaches to address overdraft and meet requirements of California’s groundwater law

Flooding permanent crops seasonally, such as this vineyard at Terranova Ranch in Fresno County, is one innovative strategy to recharge aquifers.Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

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

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

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

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Douglas E. Beeman

Water Resource Innovation, Hard-Earned Lessons and Colorado River Challenges — Western Water Year in Review
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK-Our 2019 articles spanned the gamut from groundwater sustainability and drought resiliency to collaboration and innovation

Smoke from the 2018 Camp Fire as viewed from Lake Oroville in Northern California. Innovative efforts to accelerate restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires. Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address persistent challenges facing the Colorado River. 

These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed them.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Layperson's Guide to Climate Change and Water Resources Gary PitzerDouglas E. Beeman

As Wildfires Grow More Intense, California Water Managers Are Learning To Rewrite Their Emergency Playbook
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their customers

Debris from the Camp Fire that swept through the Sierra foothills town of Paradise  in November 2018.

By Gary Pitzer and Douglas E. Beeman

It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems and upend an agency’s finances.

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: The connection between homelessness and water is gaining attention under California human right to water law and water quality concerns

A homeless camp set up along the Sacramento River near downtown Sacramento. Each day, people living on the streets and camping along waterways across California face the same struggle – finding clean drinking water and a place to wash and go to the bathroom.

Some find friendly businesses willing to help, or public restrooms and drinking water fountains. Yet for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater Gary Pitzer

As Californians Save More Water, Their Sewers Get Less and That’s a Problem
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Corrosion is evident in this wastewater pipe from Los Angeles County.Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought when water districts were required to meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Flood Management Gary Pitzer

Southern California Water Providers Think Local in Seeking to Expand Supplies
WESTERN WATER SIDEBAR: Los Angeles and San Diego among agencies pursuing more diverse water portfolio beyond imports

The Claude “Bud” Lewis Desalination Plant in Carlsbad last December marked 40 billion gallons of drinking water delivered to San Diego County during its first three years of operation. The desalination plant provides the county with more than 50 million gallons of water each day.Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.

In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)

Western Water Gary Pitzer

California Officials Draft a $600M Plan To Help Low-Income Households Absorb Rising Water Bills
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report proposes new taxes on personal and business income or fees on bottled water and booze to fund rate relief program

Filling a glass with clean water from the kitchen tap.Low-income Californians can get help with their phone bills, their natural gas bills and their electric bills. But there’s only limited help available when it comes to water bills.

That could change if the recommendations of a new report are implemented into law. Drafted by the State Water Resources Control Board, the report outlines the possible components of a program to assist low-income households facing rising water bills.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater Gary Pitzer

Vexed by Salt And Nitrates In Central Valley Groundwater, Regulators Turn To Unusual Coalition For Solutions
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Left unaddressed, salts and nitrates could render farmland unsuitable for crops and family well water undrinkable

An evaporation pond in Kings County, in the central San Joaquin Valley, with salt encrusted on the soil. More than a decade in the making, an ambitious plan to deal with the vexing problem of salt and nitrates in the soils that seep into key groundwater basins of the Central Valley is moving toward implementation. But its authors are not who you might expect.

An unusual collaboration of agricultural interests, cities, water agencies and environmental justice advocates collaborated for years to find common ground to address a set of problems that have rendered family wells undrinkable and some soil virtually unusable for farming.

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

One Year In, A New State Policymaker Assesses the Salton Sea, Federal Relations and California’s Thorny Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: State Water Board member Joaquin Esquivel

State Water Resources Control Board member E. Joaquin EsquivelJoaquin Esquivel learned that life is what happens when you make plans. Esquivel, who holds the public member slot at the State Water Resources Control Board in Sacramento, had just closed purchase on a house in Washington D.C. with his partner when he was tapped by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago to fill the Board vacancy.

Esquivel, 35, had spent a decade in Washington, first in several capacities with then Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and then as assistant secretary for federal water policy at the California Natural Resources Agency. As a member of the State Water Board, he shares with four other members the difficult task of ensuring balance to all the uses of California’s water. 

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management Gary Pitzer

Researchers Aim to Give Homeless a Voice in Southern California Watershed
NOTEBOOK: Assessment of homeless water challenges part of UC Irvine study of community water needs

Homeless encampment near Angel StadiumA new study could help water agencies find solutions to the vexing challenges the homeless face in gaining access to clean water for drinking and sanitation.

The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) in Southern California has embarked on a comprehensive and collaborative effort aimed at assessing strengths and needs as it relates to water services for people (including the homeless) within its 2,840 square-mile area that extends from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Orange County coast.

Western Water Gary Pitzer

Millions of Dollars Needed to Help Low-Income Ratepayers with Water Bills, State Water Board Told
Five million Californians have affordability issues

A statewide program that began under a 2015 law to help low-income people with their water bills would cost about $600 million annually, a public policy expert told the California State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) at a meeting last week.

Aquapedia background

Potable Water

Photo of drinking water filling a glass over the kitchen sink. Potable water, also known as drinking water, comes from surface and ground sources and is treated to levels that that meet state and federal standards for consumption.

Water from natural sources is treated for microorganisms, bacteria, toxic chemicals, viruses and fecal matter. Drinking raw, untreated water can cause gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, vomiting or fever.

Aquapedia background

Coliform Bacteria

Coliform Bacteria as Indices

Directly detecting harmful pathogens in water can be expensive, unreliable and incredibly complicated. Fortunately, certain organisms are known to consistently coexist with these harmful microbes which are substantially easier to detect and culture: coliform bacteria. These generally non-toxic organisms are frequently used as “indicator species,” or organisms whose presence demonstrates a particular feature of its surrounding environment.

Product

Colorado River Facts Slide Card

This card includes information about the Colorado River, who uses the river, how the river’s water is divided and other pertinent facts about this vital resource for the Southwest. Beautifully illustrated with color photographs.

Video

A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.

Video

Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 

Video

Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Video

Protecting Drinking Water on Tribal Lands

This 30-minute DVD explains the importance of developing a source water assessment program (SWAP) for tribal lands and by profiling three tribes that have created SWAPs. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the video complements the Foundation’s 109-page workbook, Protecting Drinking Water: A Workbook for Tribes, which includes a step-by-step work plan for Tribes interested in developing a protection plan for their drinking water.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters

Truckee River Basin Map
Published 2005

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues. 

Maps & Posters

Nevada Water Map
Published 2004

This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the environment. It features natural and manmade water resources throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River that forms the state’s eastern boundary.

Maps & Posters

Water Cycle Poster

Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Water Recycling
Updated 2013

As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge and industrial uses.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater
Updated 2017

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background and perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the history of its use in California.

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use. New in this 10th edition of the guide is a section on the human need for water. 

Publication

Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Aquapedia background

Water Treatment

Finding and maintaining a clean water supply for drinking and other uses has been a constant challenge throughout human history.

Today, significant technological developments in water treatment, including monitoring and assessment, help ensure a drinking water supply of high quality in California and the West.

The source of water and its initial condition prior to being treated usually determines the water treatment process. [See also Water Recycling.]

Aquapedia background

Surface Water Treatment

A tremendous amount of time and technology is expended to make surface water safe to drink. Surface water undergoes many processes before it reaches a consumer’s tap.

Aquapedia background

Safe Drinking Water Act

Safe Drinking Water Act

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for drinking water quality in the United States.

Launched in 1974 and administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Safe Drinking Water Act oversees states, communities, and water suppliers who implement the drinking water standards at the local level.

The act’s regulations apply to every public water system in the United States but do not include private wells serving less than 25 people.

According to the EPA, there are more than 160,000 public water systems in the United States.

Western Water Magazine

Nitrate and the Struggle for Clean Drinking Water
March/April 2013

This printed issue of Western Water discusses the problems of nitrate-contaminated water in small disadvantaged communities and possible solutions.

Western Water Magazine

Preserving Quantity and Quality: Groundwater Management in California
May/June 2011

This printed issue of Western Water examines groundwater management and the extent to which stakeholders believe more efforts are needed to preserve and restore the resource.

Western Water Magazine

Pervasive and Persistent: Constituents of Growing Concern
January/February 2011

This printed issue of Western Water, based on presentations at the November 3-4, 2010 Water Quality Conference in Ontario, Calif., looks at constituents of emerging concerns (CECs) – what is known, what is yet to be determined and the potential regulatory impacts on drinking water quality.

Western Water Magazine

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines desalination – an issue that is marked by great optimism and controversy – and the expected role it might play as an alternative water supply strategy.

Western Water Magazine

Small Water Systems, Big Challenges
May/June 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines the challenges facing small water systems, including drought preparedness, limited operating expenses and the hurdles of complying with costlier regulations. Much of the article is based on presentations at the November 2007 Small Systems Conference sponsored by the Water Education Foundation and the California Department of Water Resources.

Western Water Magazine

From Source to Tap: Protecting California’s Drinking Water
November/December 2006

This issue of Western Water looks at some of the issues facing drinking water providers, such as compliance with increasingly stringent treatment requirements, the need to improve source water quality and the mission of continually informing consumers about the quality of water they receive.

Western Water Magazine

Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products: An Rx for Water Quality Problems?
July/August 2004

This issue of Western Water examines PPCPs – what they are, where they come from and whether the potential exists for them to become a water quality problem. With the continued emphasis on water quality and the fact that many water systems in the West are characterized by flows dominated by effluent contributions, PPCPs seem likely to capture interest for the foreseeable future.

Western Water Magazine

Confronting a Legacy of Contamination: Perchlorate
May/June 2003

This issue of Western Water examines the problem of perchlorate contamination and its ramifications on all facets of water delivery, from the extensive cleanup costs to the search for alternative water supplies. In addition to discussing the threat posed by high levels of perchlorate in drinking water, the article presents examples of areas hard hit by contamination and analyzes the potential impacts of forthcoming drinking water standards for perchlorate.

Western Water Magazine

Managing the Colorado River
November/December 1999

Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999 in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional water development of the past has given way to a more collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment while stretching available water supplies.