Topic: Drinking Water


Drinking Water

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

Aquafornia news CBS - Pittsburgh

Cyberattack on Pittsburgh-area water authority sends alarms to Department of Homeland Security

A cyberattack over the weekend on the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa has international implications.  Aliquippa would seem to be an unlikely target for international cyber criminals, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating the possible attack by an anti-Israeli Iranian group on the water authority.  On Saturday, the nondescript water authority building in the woods on the outskirts of Aliquippa became the target of an international attack. A piece of computer technology that monitors water pressure suddenly shut down and a message appeared on its screen. … Deluzio says the Aliquippa attack raises concerns about more attacks within the United States and the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure, especially in our poorer communities. 

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

SCV Water to discuss lawsuit over contaminants 

The governing board of the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency is meeting in closed session Friday to discuss a 36-page complaint against manufacturing giant 3M and more than a dozen other businesses in October 2020, accusing them of poisoning the state’s water supply with their products.  The lawsuit claims that from the 1960s through the present, the company has manufactured and distributed “fluorosurfactant products” — known to the average consumer as chemicals that create Teflon coating, “Scotchgard,” stainproofing compounds, waxy surfaces and aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”), a firefighting agent used to control and extinguish Class B fuel fires.

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Aquafornia news Nature

New study: City-based scientists get creative to tackle rural-research needs

In 2022, Ashok Gadgil conducted the first field trial of a water-treatment system for the 600 or so residents of Allensworth, California, who have been battling arsenic contamination for some time. The system is a more efficient iteration of technology that Gadgil and his team installed in India in 2016 to provide rural and marginalized communities with access to safe drinking water at low cost1. Like many small rural communities, Allensworth — a historically Black town with a majority Latinx population today — has no access to high-quality surface-water treatment facilities that are common in urban areas. Instead, these communities often use wells, which are at high risk of contamination with arsenic and other toxic substances.

Aquafornia news Clyde & Co

Blog: Into the Unknown – Navigating expanding and uncertain PFAS litigation

Growing concern over per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) is cascading into a surge of unprecedented litigation. Like the chemicals themselves, PFAS-related lawsuits are becoming ubiquitous, spreading far beyond the initial exposure and environmental contamination claims we’ve seen to date. These legal actions are now encompassing a broader array of defendants that have incorporated PFAS chemicals into their products or packaging, venturing into uncharted territory concerning bodily injury, and expanding into other causes of actions. Given the current absence of substantial judicial precedent regarding coverage matters and liability defenses in the context of PFAS and aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), manufacturers, sellers, and commercial consumers of PFAS and their insurers will be closely watching litigation, looking to future rulings for guidance about the viability of coverage defenses raised in other pollution claims.

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Opinion: Close to Home – Avoiding Mississippi-sized saltwater problems

Recent headlines warned the nation that drinking water for almost a million people was at risk of saltwater contamination, as seawater migrated up the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. Fortunately, nature and humans (through the construction of an underwater dam and other extraordinary measures) intervened and — for now — the risks have been reduced. But with a changing climate increasing both sea level and chances of drought, saltwater will continue to threaten drinking water supplies in the future. Susan Gorin The potential for seawater intrusion isn’t limited to the lower Mississippi River. In southern Sonoma County, where the San Pablo Baylands form the boundaries of the Sonoma Valley groundwater sub basin, the potential has long existed for seawater to migrate inland to replace fresher groundwater pumped from aquifers in areas of long-term groundwater depletion.
Written by Susan Gorin, a Sonoma County supervisor and chair of the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Gripped by drought, this island is running out of drinking water

When Racha Mousdikoudine opens her kitchen faucet, she never knows what will happen. “Maybe I won’t get any water at all,” she told CNN. … For the last four months, Mousdikoudine and her two children have had little or no running water in their home on the French territory of Mayotte, and island of around 310,000 people in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of Africa, between Mozambique and the island of Madagascar. Mayotte is facing an unprecedented water crisis amid one of the worst droughts in its history, as the impacts of the human-caused climate crisis collide with a chronic lack of investment in the water system. The island is grappling with its worst drought since 1997. Its two water reservoirs have reached a “critical level of decline” – one is at 7% of capacity and the other at 6%, according to the most recent estimates, and they are on the verge of drying up. It has led to drastic water cuts.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Napa Green vineyard sustainability program to phase out Roundup

A first-of-its-kind winegrower sustainability certification program in Napa Valley is changing its rules to require that vineyards eliminate the use of synthetic herbicides. Napa Green, a nonprofit established in 2004, announced Tuesday it will require members to phase out their use of Monsanto-made weed killer Roundup by 2026, and all other synthetic herbicides by 2028. The program currently has around 90 participating wineries. … The move makes Napa Green the first of about 20 sustainable winegrowing certification programs worldwide to phase out synthetic herbicides. It also represents a change in position for Napa Green. Last year, Brittain told the San Francisco Chronicle that she feared banning Roundup would alienate growers. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with repeat exposure.

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Turlock and Ceres residents finally get treated river water, after 30-plus years of talk

Turlock and Ceres residents finally are drinking treated water from the Tuolumne River, [according to] officials gathered Tuesday at the plant, which reduces the cities’ reliance on wells. Hefty rate increases starting in 2018 are covering most of the $220 million cost. … “High-quality drinking water is now flowing to our communities that are so much in need of a long-term solution to the declining groundwater levels and increasingly stringent water-quality regulations,” Ceres Mayor Javier Lopez said. The Turlock Irrigation District is selling part of its river supply to the plant, just east of the Geer Road Bridge. Advocates say less pumping by the cities will mean a more abundant aquifer for farm and urban users alike.

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Aquafornia news Produce Blue Book

Commentary: Groundwater lawsuit leads to carrot boycott

A struggle over water rights has led to a carrot boycott in California’s Cuyama Valley north of Santa Barbara. The cause of contention is groundwater rights. Groundwater is the only source of water available in the region, and its aquifers are being rapidly drained. Wells have had to be sunk to 680 feet below the surface to gain access to the water, reports The Los Angeles Times. Signs reading “BOYCOTT CARROTS” and “STAND WITH CUYAMA AGAINST CORPORATE GREED” are aimed at the region’s two largest growers, Grimmway Farms BB #:112956 and Bolthouse Farms BB #:111358, which specialize in carrots and are by far the largest water users in the area.
-Written by Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services.

Aquafornia news Orange County Water District

News release: John Kennedy named general manager of Orange County Water District

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) Board of Directors is proud to announce the appointment of John Kennedy as general manager, effective January 27, 2024. Kennedy, who currently serves as the District’s executive director of engineering and water resources, was selected by the Board to succeed Michael R. Markus, who retires after more than 35 years with OCWD, including serving as general manager since 2007. Kennedy brings to the role more than 40 years of experience in the water and civil engineering industry. His career with OCWD, which began in 1995, has seen him responsible for a wide range of critical functions, including developing long-term financial projections, capital improvement programs, and acting as a liaison with 19 local cities and retail water districts.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Here’s how agencies are addressing PFAS in water

While tap water in California is considered safe by most standards, specific contaminants are finding their way into the drinking water supply. Take per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”) for example, which have been shown to have serious adverse effects on human health, including cancer, thyroid disorders, ulcerative colitis, infertility. The list goes on. In fact, tap water in urban areas in Southern and Central California appears to be a hot spot for contamination by these chemicals, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. Pollution involving “forever chemicals” is widespread.
-Written by Mike DiGiannantonio, an attorney with Environmental Law Group and lives in Hermosa Beach.

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Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Yountville takes action to protect from future boil water notices

Yountville Town Council said the town is taking action to bolster its water testing process after issuing two boil water notices earlier this year. The notices — in July and October — were connected to positive E.coli tests in samples of the town’s water supply. Though they were canceled within a few days, the notices prompted town officials to determine how to avoid such instances in the future. The Town Council decided Nov. 7 to improve its current water testing system by collecting supplementary data and actively monitoring chlorine levels.

Aquafornia news Marketplace

Listen: What happens when you lose access to affordable running water?

When Leigh Harris and her husband Franck Avril moved into their dream home, Leigh said she felt like the luckiest person in the world. The home is in Rio Verde Foothills, Arizona, near Scottsdale in unincorporated Maricopa County. … There was just one downside. Their home was built on a dry lot, which means there were no pipes connected to a city water supply. … Leigh and Franck’s experience is an extreme version of the kind of trade-offs we all may have to consider in the future. Under the growing threats from drought, extreme heat, wildfire and floods, what are we willing to endure to keep living in the places we love? And who will have a choice?.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

News release: Former supervisor Ryan Sundberg appointed to North Coast water board

Former Humboldt County 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. The board’s stated goal is to “preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water,” according to the agency’s website. The board also works to “ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use.” Sundberg is the general manager of the Heights Casino in Trinidad.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Redding’s water supply does not currently have high levels of ‘forever chemicals,’ says water manager

In March, Redding was testing its water supply as part of a federal effort to gather information about unregulated contaminants. A group of chemicals known as PFAS were discovered. PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. These chemicals stay in the environment for a very long time, and are linked to negative health effects including cancer. But, on Tuesday, Redding’s Water Utility Manager Josh Watkins said the data doesn’t tell the whole story. … Watkins said that the well has not been used since it was taken offline in September. … The most dangerous PFAS chemicals have mostly been voluntarily phased out, according to the EPA. However, because of their nature, these chemicals remain in the environment. One ongoing use of PFAS chemicals is in firefighting foam used at airports.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

State, regional water boards’ nitrate policies face lawsuits

California environmental nonprofits and local agriculture organizations recently filed lawsuits against the state and regional water boards over nitrate regulations, but for different reasons.  Agriculture wants a better balance between the need to grow food and need to protect water quality, while environmental groups want to see a limit to nitrates’ use in agriculture. Nitrates are inorganic compounds containing nitrogen that can come from man-made or natural resources and are used to help with the soil quality in agriculture, but they can cause problems when they enter into ground or surface water, said Ted Morton, executive director for Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. 

Aquafornia news Honolulu Civil Beat

It will be years before clean water is restored in Lahaina

As Maui grapples with the trauma of the August fires and tries to envision the future of Lahaina, the mission to rebuild is complicated by a major obstacle: the contamination of the drinking water system. When fires tore through the town on Aug. 8, the heat melted pipes, polluting the water inside with toxic chemicals. Officials are now testing for contamination property by property. Early testing has already exposed the presence of the carcinogen benzene and other chemicals but officials are only starting to understand the scope of the problem. They haven’t widely sampled the core of the burn zone.  Testing will be followed by a mass flushing of the system until the water runs clean. Approximately 2,200 service lines were impacted and may need to be replaced. 

Aquafornia news Water World

News release: Reclamation provides $28M for 31 water reuse, desalination projects

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that it would provide $28.97 million in financial aid for 31 potential new water reuse and desalination projects. The funding will help prepare feasibility studies and undertake planning efforts such as preliminary project design and environmental compliance activities. … The 31 projects are in California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The projects also bring a cost-share contribution of $64.7 million, bringing the total investment of $93.7 million.

Aquafornia news KPBS Public Media

Live results: Fallbrook and Rainbow water districts detachment measures approved

Voters in Fallbrook and Rainbow approved of detaching from the San Diego County Water Authority for cheaper water in Riverside County in early voting results Tuesday night. After nearly three years of battling the Water Authority over what they say is increasingly high water rates, voters have had enough. … In July, the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) approved the request for Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utility District to leave the Water Authority for Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District. Detachment is a two-step process. After LAFCO’s decision, voters in both Rainbow and Fallbrook would also need to approve the detachment.

Aquafornia news KJZZ - Tempe, AZ

Arizona says recycling sewage for drinking water is inevitable as ADEQ opens public comment

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on expanded plans to reuse wastewater for drinking. The department released a roadmap for its Advanced Water Purification Program last week. ADEQ says the move comes amid increased water scarcity due to persistent drought.  Its roadmap would provide guidelines for municipal and private utilities to treat sewage and send the recycled water directly to homes. As it stands, treated effluent is filtered through the ground before the water is ready for consumption. ADEQ Deputy Director Randy Matas says specific treatment techniques will be left up to local communities, as the map is solely seeking to provide standards.

Aquafornia news Patch - Napa Valley

Residents invited to attend hearing on water rate increase proposal

City of Napa residents are invited to attend a public hearing on proposed water rate increases scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, the city reminded residents on social media today. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. will be held at Napa City Hall located at 955 School Street. … Proposed water rate increases, should they be approved by city leaders, will help to pay for maintenance, including infrastructure Investments which include planned capital improvements and debt service on past capital improvements, the city said.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: What is seawater intrusion? A hydrogeologist explains the shifting balance between fresh and salt water at the coast

Seawater intrusion is the movement of saline water from the ocean or estuaries into freshwater systems. The seawater that has crept up the Mississippi River in the summer and early fall of 2023 is a reminder that coastal communities teeter in a fragile land-sea balance. Fresh water is essential for drinking, irrigation and healthy ecosystems. When seawater moves inland, the salt it contains can wreak havoc on farmlands, ecosystems, lives and livelihoods. … In groundwater basins of central and southern California, widespread pumping has caused groundwater levels to drop hundreds of feet in some areas. This is tipping the seesaw and causing groundwater from the sea to move far inland. Accessible groundwater has supported irrigated agriculture in these areas, but now the double hazard of reduced groundwater availability and seawater intrusion threatens crops like strawberries and lettuce.

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Aquafornia news KCRA - Sacramento

What is nitrate and could your water be contaminated with it?

Martha Lorenz lives in the shade of orchards, living in the house where she grew up outside of Ceres, California. She remodeled it in the 1980s. … She’s always gotten her water from a well. ”I didn’t think anything about it as a kid, you know, you just go to the sink and get your glass of water,” Lorenz said. But that all changed two years ago when she found out her drinking water was contaminated with nitrate. … Nitrate is odorless and colorless and can be dangerous. In infants, it can cause “Blue Baby Syndrome,” which causes low oxygen in the infant’s blood. It can be fatal. Nitrate can also cause cancer if the level in water is higher than 10 milligrams per liter. … Nitrate can come from a number of sources: urban wastewater applied on the land, septic tanks, farm manure, or fertilizer on golf courses or crops.

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Aquafornia news Nossaman

Blog: An update from Nossaman’s California Water Views

Deadlines are upcoming related to the multi-district per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) litigation. The relevant settlements are with DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva (collectively, DuPont) and 3M, parties who allegedly manufactured various PFAS chemicals. The currently-pending settlements cover $1.185 billion for DuPont and $10.5-$12.5 billion for 3M. The litigation is focused on alleged contamination of drinking water caused by DuPont’s and 3M’s alleged manufacture of PFAS chemicals. PFAS are a family of manmade chemicals that are used due to beneficial properties like repelling water.

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Aquafornia news ABC7 - Los Angeles

Company deploying existing desalination technology in a new way to provide California’s coastal residents with fresh water

Desalination facilities have critics who claim it’s too expensive and environmentally destructive, but there are supporters who want to make existing reverse osmosis technology better and many new ideas are being tested here in Southern California. … A water technology company named SeaWell believes desalination will work best off shore, so they are testing their equipment at the Navy’s sea water desalination test facility at Port Hueneme.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Big Basin Water making progress, still long road ahead

The precarious state of Big Basin Water Co. is beginning to stabilize, but the private water provider still faces a long and bumpy road ahead. That was the message delivered by Big Basin’s newly appointed receiver late Thursday night to a crowd of roughly 50 customers packed into the Boulder Creek Fire District station along with 40 more who tuned in via Zoom. The meeting featured Nicolas Jaber, an attorney and project manager of receiverships with Silver and Wright LLP, which is the law firm tasked in early October by a Santa Cruz County Superior Court judge with managing the water system and bringing it back into compliance with regional standards.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

The EPA’s struggle to limit drinking water contaminants

[A]t least once a year since 2019, the Smithwick Mills water system, which serves about 200 residents in [Texas], has reported high levels of the synthetic chemical 1,2,3-trichloropropane … Water quality tests from the Smithwick Mills utility have revealed an average TCP level of 410 parts per trillion over the past four years — more than 80 times what would be allowed in California. But the utility hasn’t taken any action. It doesn’t have to. The chemical isn’t regulated in drinking water by the EPA or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which means neither agency has ever set a maximum allowable level of TCP. 

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Farallone View students, staff adjust to life without water

Parents gathered at Farallone View Elementary School on Thursday morning to hear administration plans after the Montara Water and Sanitary District shut off water service to the school today due to its public health concerns caused by construction at the site. For many children at the school, it was also time to face their first Porta-Potty. Cabrillo Unified School District officials scrambled to get portable sanitation stations in place for the school day and to assure some potable water was in place.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Noll Inc. wants the regional water board to take accountability for wrongfully accusing it of contaminating groundwater

In the last four years, the Nolls have spent almost half a million dollars on consultants, investigatory reports, water bottles and filtration systems, well testing, and more. Starting on July 31, 2019, the family lived under constant threat from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board: a fine of $5,000 a day for not complying with a cleanup and abatement order for pollution that the Nolls maintained from the beginning wasn’t their fault. … This summer, the water board finally rescinded its order against them, acknowledging the Nolls’ “time and resources to provide safe drinking water to the residents of the Buckley Road community” in its July 2023 notice to the Nolls but not much else.

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Aquafornia news New York Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: A tangle of rules to protect America’s water is falling short

America’s stewardship of one of its most precious resources, groundwater, relies on a patchwork of state and local rules so lax and outdated that in many places oversight is all but nonexistent, a New York Times analysis has found. The majority of states don’t know how many wells they have, the analysis revealed. Many have incomplete records of older wells, including some that pump large volumes of water, and many states don’t register the millions of household wells that dot the country. … While farmers face severe risks from groundwater depletion, many warn that too much regulation would harm their livelihoods and the nation’s food supply. “Farming would not exist as we know it in California without the use of groundwater,” said Chris Scheuring, a water attorney at the California Farm Bureau and a family farmer himself.

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Aquafornia news CivicWell

Blog: Planning for drinking water sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley

Communities across California are facing extreme water challenges. Decades of overpumping groundwater coupled with ongoing drought has led to crises including depleted aquifers, domestic and shallow wells running dry, issues with groundwater salinity, and devastating floods. Fairmead, an unincorporated community in the San Joaquin Valley, faces significant concerns about its drinking water supply. The Madera Subbasin, in which the community is located, is categorized as “critically overdrafted.” Many residents have experienced their wells drying up, and drilling deeper wells is cost-prohibitive for most.

Aquafornia news KTLA - Los Angeles

Assistance available for residents who need to keep the water on

Californians who need help paying their water bills can benefit from a state-administered program. The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, which is administered by the state Department of Community Service and Development, is available to both renters and homeowners. “Many low-income residents behind on their water or sewer bills have received hundreds or even thousands of dollars in financial support to help pay their bills,” California CSD said on its website. Through March or until federal funding runs out, Californians can apply for one-time help to “pay past due or current residential water and sewer bills ​and keep their water on,” state officials added.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Pleasanton plans to drill new groundwater wells to address contamination

Pleasanton is moving forward with a plan to build two new drinking-water wells to replace its wells found to be contaminated. The new wells would be drilled away from the ones contaminated with the potentially harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS  — that caused the city to stop using the three wells it currently operates. The City Council this month approved moving forward with the project, which will take about four years to complete and cost an estimated $23 million to $43 million, according to city figures. However, city officials have not decided how to pay for the entire project. The City Council only committed $500,000 from the city’s water fund to cover planning and development costs.

Aquafornia news Nature

New study: The anthropogenic salt cycle

Increasing salt production and use is shifting the natural balances of salt ions across Earth systems, causing interrelated effects across biophysical systems collectively known as freshwater salinization syndrome. In this Review, we conceptualize the natural salt cycle and synthesize increasing global trends of salt production and riverine salt concentrations and fluxes. The natural salt cycle is primarily driven by relatively slow geologic and hydrologic processes that bring different salts to the surface of the Earth. Anthropogenic activities have accelerated the processes, timescales and magnitudes of salt fluxes and altered their directionality, creating an anthropogenic salt cycle.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

EPA to fund studies of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in agriculture

The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday $8 million in new research funding to understand how the toxic compounds known as “forever chemicals” are affecting plants and animals in agricultural, rural and tribal communities. The agency announced the new funds as part of an effort to develop ways to identify and mitigate exposure pathways to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a class of more than 12,000 chemicals known as PFAS. These nearly indestructible chemicals, which do not exist in nature, accumulate in the environment and in living things, including people. They contaminate air, soil and waterways and have been detected in the blood of nearly every person tested in the United States. The agency is offering researchers five $1.6 million grants over four years.

Aquafornia news Gilbert Sun News

Gilbert may join Phoenix toilet-to-tap study

Phoenix is moving forward with plans to build a facility to turn wastewater into drinking water by 2030 and Gilbert wants in. Town Council on Tuesday will consider entering into a non-binding agreement with Phoenix to investigate a regional advanced water purification facility. The item is on the consent agenda. The memorandum of understanding will “advance the planning and studies needed to fund, design and construct the facility,” Water Resources Manager Lauren Hixon said in a report to council.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

SLO County gets grant to study desalination and water reuse

This month, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that San Luis Obispo County was among 31 Western U.S. planning projects to receive $28.9 million in funding to support potential new water reuse and desalination projects. SLO County was awarded $550,000 in matching funds to start a feasibility, technology and project location study to take advantage of our over 80 miles of ocean frontage that could help transform seawater into drinking water. With the prospect of future droughts due to global warming, “this renewable, almost inexhaustible resource would not be diminished by climate change, insufficient rainfall, or water conservation efforts,” says Angela Ford, SLO DESAL (Desalination Executable Solution and Logistics) Plan manager and supervising water resources engineer with the county.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

New Mexico’s largest fire wrecked this city’s water source

The largest fire in New Mexico history began with a disastrous government agency blunder. Its consequences for land and a small northern New Mexico city’s water were magnified by man-made climate change.  … The fire burned the upper reaches of the Gallinas River watershed, the drinking water source for more than 17,000 people in and around Las Vegas. The fire had plenty of fuel — the watershed hadn’t had a major burn in more than a century. Ash and sediment flushed into the river from the bald slopes of the burn scar are undeniable threats to the city’s water treatment system. … Fires in recent years have destroyed water systems in Superior, Colorado; Detroit, Oregon; Malden, Washington; and in the California locales of Paradise, Santa Rosa, and the San Lorenzo Valley. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Arrowhead bottled water company sues to continue piping from California forest

The company that sells Arrowhead 100% Mountain Spring Water is suing to challenge California regulators’ recent ruling that the company must stop taking much of the water it pipes from the San Bernardino National Forest for bottling. BlueTriton Brands filed the lawsuit this month in Fresno County Superior Court, arguing in its complaint that the State Water Resources Control Board overstepped its authority “far beyond what California law allows.” The board voted unanimously in September to order the company to halt its “unauthorized diversions” of water from springs in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Opinion: Uinta Basin Railway plan courts environmental disaster

The Oct. 15 derailment near Pueblo spilled mountains of coal over I-25, collapsed a bridge, and killed a truck driver. This was tragic, but it could have been much worse. It could have been a two-mile-long train filled with crude oil–the kind that the Uinta Basin Railway would send through Colorado up to five times a day. … Julius T. Murray, speaking for his Ute Indian Tribe, urged federal taxpayers to finance the railway to make up for historical mistreatment of his tribe by the federal government. … While Mr. Murray reveres the Colorado mountains from which his people were moved long ago, he dismisses the threats to those same mountains which these oil trains pose — both the threat that inevitable derailments could ignite wildfires in Colorado’s inaccessible timbered canyons or spill crude oil into the Colorado River …
-Written by Malin Moench, a Utah resident, who spent 37 years analyzing the economics of public utilities and logistics at the federal level. ​

Aquafornia news NPR

After no clean drinking water for 4 years, this tribal nation wants more than sympathy

Over the hills of northern Nebraska and along the banks of the Missouri River lies the village of Santee on the Santee Sioux Nation Reservation. Home to fewer than 1,000 residents, it’s isolated from Nebraska’s major population centers and almost an hour from the nearest Walmart in Yankton, South Dakota. For the past four years, the reservation has not had access to safe drinking water. And for four years, the tribe has been unable to afford the necessary infrastructure to fix the problem. … While the Santee are experiencing an especially dire situation, dozens of other tribes across the country also have water access issues, from the Navajo Nation’s battle for water rights in the desert southwest to the Apsaalooke Nation’s wastewater contamination in Montana.

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Aquafornia news Nossaman

Blog: Water security through consolidation

Providing affordable, safe and reliable water service in California is becoming increasingly challenging. Water service providers must deal with aging infrastructure, increasingly stringent water quality regulations and the threat of more frequent and extreme weather events, such as fires, drought and flooding, due to climate change. Smaller water service providers may struggle with adapting their operations to comply with changes in water quality requirements. These systems, which often rely on a single water source, are less resilient in dealing with contamination or natural disasters. Additionally, due to their smaller customer bases, it can be difficult for these systems to charge rates that cover necessary long-term improvements while maintaining affordability.

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

California’s first wave-powered desalination plant underway in Fort Bragg

Since almost completely running out of water in 2015, and again in 2021, the City of Fort Bragg is working to make sure it stays ahead of any future droughts by investing in desalination. ”We stopped allowing people to wash dishes and had them use paper products and things like that, just disposable plates and things like that. So it was very serious at that time,” Director of Public Works for the City of Fort Bragg John Smith said. He says part of the reason why Fort Bragg was so impacted by the droughts is because there are no groundwater sources within the city. “If we don’t have the aquifer or the streams and those types of things flowing, then we just run out of water,” Smith said.

Aquafornia news US Environmental Protection Agency

Biden-Harris administration announces $76 million WIFIA loan to strengthen climate resilience in northern Monterey County, California

Today, at an event near Marina, California, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox joined City of Monterey Mayor Tyller Williamson and other local officials to announce a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Monterey One Water. This $76 million loan will expand existing water reuse capacity from 5 million gallons per day to 7.6 million gallons per day while ensuring residents and businesses in the surrounding areas have a climate resilient water supply. Since its creation, EPA’s WIFIA program has announced $19 billion in financing to support 113 projects that are strengthening drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure and creating tens of thousands of jobs.

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Aquafornia news Fronteras

Tucson City Council approves city plan to sustain, diversify future drinking water sources

The Tucson City Council has approved a plan laid out by municipal authorities to secure drinking water for residents in the coming years. In a 6-1 vote last Tuesday, the council green-lit what’s called the One Water 2100 Plan — it’s part of a sustainability package put together by Tucson officials and it spells out where drinking water for Tucson will come from in the coming years. … One Water 2100 outlines four distinct drinking water sources — stormwater, groundwater, surface water and recycled water. The city is looking at ways to manage water resources depending on various factors — like Colorado River allocation, drought management and shifting community needs in Tucson.  

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Environment report: What water bill relief could look like for San Diego

Let’s call it what it is – San Diego has a cost of water crisis.   All the things San Diego built to get water and keep it here is pushing up the price of this key molecule with little sign of it dropping. The Escondido City Council just OK’d an 8 percent increase in January, triggering outrage from locals, reports KPBS. The city of San Diego jacked up rates almost 20 percent through 2025. The conductor of this breakaway train is the San Diego County Water Authority, which brings in water from big sources and sells it to places like Escondido and San Diego. It recently passed on a 9.5 percent price mark-up to its 24 customer water districts. A couple of those districts are so peeved, they’re hoping to leave San Diego entirely for cheaper water elsewhere.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Boil water order in Yountville lifted after officials say water supply is safe

Officials in Yountville announced Sunday afternoon they have lifted the mandatory order for residents to boil water before consumption that was issued Friday after E. coli was detected in the municipal water supply. Town and state officials said Sunday the local water supply met mandated testing requirements for negative results. The State Water Resource Control Board approved the use of town water. The order marked the second time Yountville issued a mandatory boil water order. A precautionary order was issued for three days in July.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

CA program will help residents pay their water bill

The California Department of Community Services and Development is extending its program to help low-income residents pay their current or past-due water and sewer bills. The federally funded Low Income Household Water Assistance Program was originally set to end in the fall, but will remain open through March 2024 — or until funds last. Here’s how to apply for one-time support paying your water and sewer bill, and who qualifies …

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

‘Forever chemical’ bans face hard truth: many can’t be replaced

As lawmakers around the world weigh bans of cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” many manufacturers are pushing back, saying there often is no substitute for the compounds.  Minnesota and Maine have passed legislation to effectively outlaw the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in nearly all products by the early 2030s. Dozens of other states are also considering curbing their use. And the European Union’s Chemical Agency has proposed a widespread ban.  In response, Ford Motor Co. warned Maine state officials in May that “there is no commercially available technology that exists in the world today” that can replace a PFAS-containing thermoplastic used for electric vehicle batteries. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Navajo officials ask lawmakers to work harder to secure water supplies

Navajo Nation Speaker Crystalyne Curley told a U.S. Senate committee that many Navajo citizens still struggle to find clean drinking water, and joined other officials seeking help to secure reliable supplies. … The hearing was a chance to examine the ongoing challenge of clean water access for tribal communities, said Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, the committee’s chairperson. It also offered an opportunity to hear testimony not only from Curley but from other tribal leaders, experts and federal partners on how the investments made by the bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act has assisted in these communities.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications

Rice growers grapple with water quality problems

Brief spikes in pesticide detections have triggered new actions, while others in the Sacramento Valley are dealing with nitrates.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council to vote on moving forward with plans to build two new wells

The Pleasanton City Council is set Tuesday to consider allocating $500,000 from the water enterprise fund balance to the water replacement capital improvement program so staff can proceed with the planning process to develop two new city-owned wells. According to the staff report, the council will vote on establishing the new capital improvement project for the two new wells — which are being called Well 9 and Well 10 — and will look to approve the water supply alternatives study final report draft from Oct. 12, which outlines why the two new wells are most economically viable options to bring clean water to residents.

Aquafornia news KBAK - Bakersfield

Cal Water gives a closer look on how

The California Water Service in Bakersfield hosted their annual ‘Imagine a Day Without Water.’ The day aims to highlight the essential nature of water. Officials with Cal Water gave us a tour of their Northeast Bakersfield plant that adds around 20 million gallons of water to the city’s water supply every day. The water at this site goes through a rigorous five-step process that ensures the water they source from the Kern River is clean.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Once hailed as a drought fix, California moves to restrict synthetic turf over health concerns

… But this year Democrats in the Legislature went in a different direction, proposing bills that would discourage synthetic turf. They’re worried about health risks created by the chemicals present in these lawns, including perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS chemicals. One of the bills Newsom signed, for instance, undoes the Brown-era law and allows cities and counties to again ban artificial turf. Some California cities have already begun moving to prohibit fake lawns, including Millbrae in San Mateo County and San Marino in Los Angeles County. … Microplastics from the grass blades and crumb rubber can also leach into groundwater and freshwater bodies.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Fresnoland

Most of state’s unsafe water systems in California’s Central Valley

… A state audit from the California Water Resources Control Board released last year found that over 920,000 residents faced an increased risk of illness–including cancer, liver and kidney problems–due to consuming unsafe drinking water. A majority of these unsafe water systems are in the Central Valley. The matter has prompted community leaders to mobilize residents around water quality as politicians confront imperfect solutions for the region’s supply. Advocates point out that impacted areas, including those in Tulare County, tend to be majority Latino with low median incomes. … This year’s extreme weather has only worsened the valley’s problems. The storms that hit California at the start of this year caused stormwater tainted with farm industry fertilizer, manure and nitrates to flow into valley aquifers. 

Testing at the Source: California Readies a Groundbreaking Hunt to Check for Microplastics in Drinking Water
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Regulators and water systems are finalizing a first-of-its-kind pilot that will determine whether microplastics are contaminating water destined for the tap

Image shows a test jar filled with microplastic debrisTiny pieces of plastic waste shed from food wrappers, grocery bags, clothing, cigarette butts, tires and paint are invading the environment and every facet of daily life. Researchers know the plastic particles have even made it into municipal water supplies, but very little data exists about the scope of microplastic contamination in drinking water. 

After years of planning, California this year is embarking on a first-of-its-kind data-gathering mission to illuminate how prevalent microplastics are in the state’s largest drinking water sources and help regulators determine whether they are a public health threat.

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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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 California Groundwater Map

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 California Water Map

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 Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map

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.