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 WIRED

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: A massive water recycling proposal could help ease drought

Lake Mead, which provides water for 25 million people in the American West, has shrunk to 36 percent of its capacity. One rural California community has run out of water entirely after its well broke in early June. Fields are sitting fallow, as farmers sell their water allotments instead of growing crops, putting the nation’s food supply in peril. As the West withers under extreme drought, legislators in the US House of Representatives have introduced HR 4099, a bill that would direct the Secretary of the Interior to create a program to fund $750 million worth of water recycling projects in the 17 western states through the year 2027.

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Aquafornia news The Center Square

Fitch: low river levels likely to increase Arizona water bills

The expected water cuts from the Colorado River as a result of the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) will likely mean higher water utility rates, according to Fitch Ratings. The U.S. Congress passed the DCP in 2019 to protect water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead which provide water to Colorado River basin states. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, and Mexico entered into the DCP, which mandates how water cuts will occur when the lakes drop to certain levels, called tiers.

Aquafornia news Fox 2 KTVU

Major renovations begin on Anderson Dam tunnel project; reservoir can’t be used for 10 years

Major renovations will begin Wednesday on the Anderson Dam tunnel project in Santa Clara County.  The project will require the reservoir to be drained – and it will be unable to be used for 10 years. The timing is not great as California remains in a drought but water officials say this is a vital project for flood protection that will protect the public for years to come. The reservoir can hold more than 300,000 gallons of water and is the water district’s largest drinking water reservoir.

Aquafornia news ABC 10

Sacramento offering more rebates for water conservation

If you’re a Sacramento homeowner, the city is now offering twice as much money for you to conserve water. According to a press release, the city’s Department of Utilities announced it is doubling its River Friendly Landscape rebates while funding is available. The program includes: Turf conversion, which doubled from $1.50 to $3 per square foot of grass replaced. Irrigation upgrades of up to $800 for new sprinklers or smart irrigation controllers. Installing a smart controller in the home. 

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin’s abandoned desal plan looms over drought crisis

The Marin Municipal Water District, facing the possibility of running out of water next summer, is scrambling to plan for two emergency projects to keep the taps flowing in case of another dry winter: a temporary desalination plant and a pipeline across San Francisco Bay. But nearly 11 years ago, the district chose not to build a desalination plant that could have supplied as much as 60% of its current yearly potable water demand — though at a high price. The district, which serves 191,000 residents in central and southern Marin, had been exploring desalination since the early 1990s and has tested two pilot desalting sites.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: SB 222 would establish CA Water Affordability Assistance Fund

California is answering the call to keep the tap open to millions of people who have fallen behind on their water bill payments through a recent $1 billion investment from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The timely assistance comes amid serious economic fallout from the pandemic that caused record unemployment and left 1.6 million households drowning in water debt. At the same time, some small water systems are struggling to keep the water flowing due to lost income from unpaid bills. The governor’s plan addresses both problems, for now. But what happens next year?
-Written by Sen. Bill Dodd (Napa) and Sen. Lena Gonzalez (Long Beach).

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

State still hasn’t fixed Porterville drinking water crisis from the last drought. Will residents go dry again?

The epicenter of dry wells during California’s last devastating drought was undoubtedly Porterville. The small Tulare County town saw wells go dry en masse in its unincorporated east side. It became a national headline as the media descended. Amid the glare of tv cameras, the state pledged to help and agreed to build three new wells. Five years have gone by, the state is in the grip of another drought and Porterville is walking a tightrope as the state connected more than 755 new homes to the city’s water system but only built one new well.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

State finds deficiencies in Paso and Cuyama basin plans

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) published its first reviews of local groundwater sustainability plans as part of a 2014 state law regulating groundwater—and two Central Coast aquifers are included in the initial wave of feedback. DWR reviewed and found “deficiencies” in the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin and Cuyama Valley Groundwater Basin sustainability plans—declining to give final approval to either.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Santa Rosa orders residents, businesses to reduce water use by 20%

The Santa Rosa City Council approved mandatory water-use restrictions for its residents and businesses starting Thursday, becoming the sixth city in Sonoma County to cut back on water. The motion to approve the water-shortage contingency plan — which mandates residents and businesses reduce water use by 20% — passed with five ayes… A persistent lack of precipitation has put most of the Bay Area in the worst drought category.

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Aquafornia news Congressional Research Service

Controlling lead in public drinking water supplies

Communities may face a range of issues associated with aging water infrastructure, including elevated lead levels in tap water. Because of lead’s toxicity, even at low levels, reducing lead exposures from drinking water and other sources remains a public health priority. Other sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint and contaminated soil and dust from deteriorated lead-based paint. Nationally, the phaseouts of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint, along with regulatory controls and technical changes, have reduced lead exposures. 

Aquafornia news Truthout

Explosive growth of toxic algae threatens water supplies across US

With a vast portion of the United States coping with exceptional drought this summer, conditions are ripe in many places for harmful algal blooms, bringing additional threats to already-stressed water systems and increased health risks for communities. The blooms are in large part fueled by phosphorus and nitrogen runoff from industrial agricultural operations, which provide a feast of nutrients for cyanobacteria — a group of aquatic, photosynthetic bacteria that grow out of control and overwhelm their ecosystems in the presence of excess nutrients.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: Delta adapts – Creating a climate resilient future

The time to act is now. Climate change is already altering the physical environment of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh (Delta), and we will continue to experience its effects through hotter temperatures, more severe wildfires, and prolonged droughts. Over the long term, climate change in the Delta is expected to harm human health and safety, disrupt the economy, diminish water supply availability and usability, shift ecosystem function, compromise sensitive habitats, and increase the challenges of providing basic services. Many of these impacts will disproportionately affect vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Report: Groundwater overhaul could threaten drinking water of more than a million Valley residents

As drought settles over the San Joaquin Valley, a new report warns of other circumstances that could result in entire communities losing drinking water. More than a million Valley residents could lose their public water in coming decades under the sweeping groundwater legislation known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), according to the paper published earlier this month by the non-profit Pacific Institute. Signed into law in 2014, SGMA aims over the next two decades to reduce California’s groundwater deficit by balancing water pumped out of the ground with the amount replenished.

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Aquafornia news Transportation Today

Reps. DeFazio, Pallone announce details of $715B surface transportation and water infrastructure bill

U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) announced Thursday new details of the $715 billion INVEST in America Act, which is scheduled to be sent to the House floor this week. The bill, the congressmen said, will create jobs, rebuild and reimagine the country’s roads, bridges, transit, rail, and wastewater infrastructure, as well as the drinking water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

A California town is without running water amid drought

This is how California’s water crisis is going these days: The only functioning well in the rural community of Teviston broke in early June, leaving more than 700 residents without running water as temperatures in the Central Valley soared to triple-digits in a drought. … Teviston residents are relying on limited bottled water for necessities such as staying hydrated, cooking, bathing and flushing toilets. Some residents, like Galaviz, are traveling to neighboring towns to stay with family or friends to shower and wash clothes.

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Blog: 9 ways to clean up plastic waste from the world’s rivers

The Clean Currents Coalition – a global network of local projects – is on a mission to clean up the world’s rivers, using scientific solutions to address the problem of plastic waste … Pollution doesn’t respect international boundaries, making plastic waste in the Tijuana River Estuary, which forms the border between the US and Mexico, everyone’s problem. As the river is the sole source of clean drinking water for many people, California and Mexico-based environmental non-profit WILDCOAST, has erected a “Brute Boom” across the Los Laureles Canyon to collect debris. 

Aquafornia news The Signal

SCV Water honored for PFAS water treatment project

SCV Water’s response to removing per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in the local groundwater supply received top honors as the Best Environmental Project from the American Public Works Association (APWA) — High Desert Branch. … PFAS chemicals are manmade and can cause adverse health effects. Officials recognized the opening of the plant, which is adjacent to the William S. Hart Pony Baseball & Softball fields, in early October. The $6 million facility restores up to 6,250 gallons of water per minute. 

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: EPA publishes instructions for water utilities to obtain chemicals in short supply

Many water utilities face challenges from a nation-wide shortage of chlorine and other chemicals for water and wastewater treatment and are struggling to locate necessary supplies or alternative sources. The Environmental Protection Agency administers a program under Safe Drinking Water Act section 1441 that allows water agencies to obtain priority access to these chemicals.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Giant rock wall built across Delta river to protect California’s water supply

For the past three weeks, construction crews working 24 hours a day have been stacking boulders across a river in eastern Contra Costa County, building what may be California’s biggest defense yet against the drought: a nearly 800-foot-long rock wall. The state’s emergency project, which was wrapping up Thursday, is designed to prevent San Francisco Bay’s salty flows from pushing into the coveted freshwater supplies of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Water levels in the delta’s rivers and sloughs have dropped after two dry years, putting water for almost 30 million Californians at risk of saltwater intrusion. The plan is to keep the wall up until November…

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Orosi one step closer to clean water as Tulare County moves to become administrator

East Orosi is one step closer to achieving clean drinking water, a basic human right that is denied to many of California’s disadvantaged communities, particularly in the rural San Joaquin Valley. Last Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to take steps to become the manager of the small agricultural community’s water board. That means the town of about 500 will soon have the financial resources and technical know-how to gain clean water.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

U.S. Department of Homeland Security reporting chlorine shortage in California

Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported a chlorine shortage in California that may affect some ACWA member agencies’ operations. An electrical failure at Westlake Chemical in mid-June caused the chlorine supply disruption to water and wastewater facilities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and parts of California. Today, state and local utilities attended a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Security Division and Region 9 to express their concerns relating to the chlorine shortage and shipments.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

California drought is causing some tap water to taste like dirt

A muddy flavor in your tap water lately may not be the product of your imagination.  An algae bloom is causing water sourced from the Sacramento and American rivers to impart a “musty” taste to tap water. The bacterial bloom generates something called geosmin, which is harmless for consumption but is easily detectable due to its earthy smell and taste. 

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Tulare County takes over East Orosi water system

Help may be on the horizon for the about 700 residents of East Orosi dependent on bottled water. The Tulare County Board of Supervisors has directed county staff to begin negotiating the scope of work and a budget … to take control of the East Orosi Community Services District public water system. … East Orosi’s water has been plagued with nitrates from fertilizers and coliform bacteria since at least 2003, for which their water system has been cited for violating the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) both contaminants dozens of times.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Lawsuit: Point Reyes negligent in tule elk die-off

A federal lawsuit filed Tuesday is alleging the Point Reyes National Seashore was negligent in its wildlife management and violated federal law after more than 150 tule elk died in a park preserve last year. … Environmental groups and activists allege the Tomales Point elk died because of a lack of drinking water. Park staff said there were adequate water sources within the enclosure when the population decline occurred.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Sacramento drinking water tastes ‘earthy’ because of California drought

Something is off about Sacramento’s water. It smells and tastes a little “earthy,” residents are saying — an effect of compounding climate change crises: extreme heat, little to no precipitation and a historic drought that has gripped the region for the better part of a decade. Up and down the state of California, rivers, streams and reservoirs are drying up. In Sacramento, that has led to an increase in the concentration of geosmin in its drinking water, one of two organic compounds that give soil its characteristic smell.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Ensuring safe drinking water for California’s Native American communities

California is home to 109 federally recognized tribes—more than any other state—and several more are petitioning for federal recognition. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is responsible for regulating water quality on tribal lands, while the State Water Board regulates water quality for other water systems. According to USEPA’s ECHO database, 88 tribal water systems in California serve more than 160,000 people. Unfortunately, some Native American communities lack access to safe drinking water. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

California water shortages: Why some places are running out

In Los Angeles, people have been hearing about the dangers of drought for decades. But in this land of infinity pools and backyard putting greens — better suited for rattlesnakes and scrub — water never seems to run out. Yet little Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, which gets a bountiful 38 inches of rain in an average year and sits near the headwaters of the Russian River, has been devastated by this year’s drought. Each resident has been told to use no more than 55 gallons per day — enough to fill a bathtub and flush a toilet six times. … When it comes to the impact of drought, location is key.

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Aquafornia news The Coast News Group

San Elijo’s water reclamation facility named ‘Plant of the Year’

The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s water reclamation facility near San Elijo Lagoon on Manchester Avenue in Encinitas was named “Plant of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association, the agency announced today. The award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness and superior plant performance amongst wastewater agencies across California.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News release: Forty-two percent of public water supply wells in California’s San Joaquin Valley vulnerable, finds new report

Forty two percent of shallow wells supplying water to community water systems in California’s San Joaquin Valley are vulnerable to going partially or fully dry under the state’s minimum thresholds, finds a new report from the Pacific Institute. Most impacted wells are shallower, and tend to be in disadvantaged communities.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

This giant ‘inland ocean’ is Southern California’s last defense against drought

Mechanical engineer Brent Yamasaki set out amid the recent blistering heat wave to take stock of the giant dams, pumps and pipes that support Diamond Valley Lake in Riverside County, the largest storehouse of water in Southern California…. water availability in Southern California “is expected to remain relatively stable over the next few years,” says Deven Upadhyay, the MWD’s chief operating officer. “Diamond Valley Lake is a key part of that forecast….”

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water wells going dry in Madera County

On Sunday evening, a well motor failed in a Madera Ranchos community water system that serves around 1,000 homes. Last week, another well pump stopped working in Parksdale, southeast of Madera. Neither community has lost water service. Both are experiencing low pressure. Madera County Public Works runs both water systems. From Madera Acres to the Bonadelle Ranchos, private wells are running dry at an alarming rate. Self-Help Enterprises, an organization that supports communities with water challenges, has been tracking the problem.

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Aquafornia news The Independent

Zone 7 commits $2 million for PFAs water treatment facility

Zone 7 directors have approved spending $2 million to design a facility to treat potential human health threats in Cope Lake’s water should chemicals accumulate above legally acceptable levels. Those chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs and PFOAs), which are found in consumer products, such as cookware, food packaging and stain repellents. They make their way into drinking water sources.

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Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Water system maintenance causes concerns among some San Mateo County residents

Routine maintenance repairs on a portion of water system pipes along Cordilleras Creek left some San Mateo County residents concerned water was being wasted as the state enters a drought. … The Cordilleras Creek, one of two creeks running through Redwood City, also cuts through Redwood High School where [Redwood City resident Rudy] Tureillo works as a custodian. Typically the creek is “bone dry,” Tureillo said, but starting Wednesday, June 9, staff at the school noticed it was flowing strong.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Cyberattack on Bay Area water supply: ‘No specific threat to public safety’

A hacker accessed the computer system of a Bay Area water treatment plant in January and deleted programs the plant used to treat drinking water, a senior intelligence official confirmed Thursday. NBC News first reported Thursday that the unidentified hacker used a former plant employee’s username and password to gain entry to the unidentified Bay Area water treatment facility on Jan. 15.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As a hot, dry summer begins in California, more water wells are failing

In this blistering year in California, drinking water wells are going dry in increasing numbers, rekindling memories of the historic drought of 2012 to 2016, when more than 2,600 wells across the state stopped producing water. So many wells went dry in 2014 in the town of East Porterville that Tulare County supplied portable public showers. California is not yet to that level of emergency…. But because the trend lines do not look promising, government agencies and nonprofit groups are preparing for a difficult summer in which thousands of wells could fail.

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Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Low river levels to blame for ‘earthy’ taste to Sacramento tap water, city says

Does your tap water taste a little off right now? Sacramento city leaders say the drought is probably to blame. The city says they have been recently getting some calls with people reporting an “earthy” taste to their tap water. Some people have also been reporting an off smell as well.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California drought: Morgan Hill imposes mandatory water restrictions

Unlike most Bay Area cities, Morgan Hill gets 100 percent of its water from underground wells. And that’s a big reason why the city became the first in Santa Clara County to issue mandatory water use restrictions. … The mayor said he enjoys his green grass as much as the next person, but said mandatory watering cutbacks to just two days a week and only in the early morning or late evening hours mean it won’t look lush for long.

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Aquafornia news Sen. Bill Dodd

News Release: Sen. Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bill Clears Committee

Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would help hundreds of thousands of Californians who have fallen behind on their water bills and are at risk of being disconnected from water service cleared a key committee on Wednesday. … Sen. Dodd’s legislation comes as the State Water Resources Control Board heard results of a survey that found water debt in California climbed to about $1 billion. The survey estimated 12% of California households are behind on their water bills with an average debt of $500 per household. 

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Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Blog: Where does LA’s water come from?

Los Angeles is a pretty hot and dry place, and in fact, California is suffering from increasing impacts of drought, so how does the water we use every day get here? Let’s take the journey your water takes from the source to your mouth with these 5 things to know:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Salinity management: Putting Southern California’s water supply on a low sodium diet

While the saying, “too much of a good thing,” sounds pleasant at its core, water managers take that very seriously when it comes to managing salt, or salinity, in the water supply. Water managers across California are responsible for providing a clean and safe drinking water supply, and salinity management plays a critical role in the quality of water that is provided to communities. While salt is composed of natural elements commonly found in soil and water, how is salinity managed to support a diversified water resource portfolio? 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Water quality legislation attracts bipartisan support

President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative proposes to invest $111 billion in rebuilding and modernizing drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as funding other water quality-related priorities, including addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water supplies.  Legislation proposed in both the Senate and House of Representatives in the 117th Congress (2021-2022) reflects a bipartisan effort to translate the President’s goals into national policy.

Aquafornia news Sun Gazette

Tooleville water tainted with unregulated contaminant

 Instead of turning on the faucet to fill her pots to cook dinner, Maria Olivera turns to her drums of state issued water sitting next to the stove at her home in Tooleville. … Tooleville spans all of two dusty dirt roads at the edge of the Friant-Kern Canal, where the blue hue of flowing water is just out of sight over raised levees. Along with it, the basic human right of having clean drinking water. Nitrates from farming fertilizers have rendered the water undrinkable in Tooleville, and the community is dependent on biweekly water deliveries.

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Aquafornia news Food and Water Watch

Blog: Drilling California dry – An analysis of oil and gas water usage during the Newsom Administration

As California suffers from a major drought and enters a climate change fueled wildfire season, oil and gas operators continue to use hundreds of millions of gallons of freshwater for drilling operations annually. It’s a vicious symbiotic cycle: fracking and drilling contribute to climate change and suck up finite water resources, then drought and wildfires worsen from climate change.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Can the US survive California’s drought?

The drought facing the Western United States is bad. Really bad. It’s become worse faster than the last one. As more of the United States suffers from drought conditions and water supplies are diminishing, water demands are rising. Smaller water supplies combined with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns and other effects of climate change pose an enormous threat by creating a feedback loop that exacerbates drought conditions and increases wildfire risk across the United States. 

Aquafornia news Newsweek

Verizon, Southern California water supplier among those hit in suspected Chinese hack

Verizon and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California were two high-value targets hit by a suspected Chinese-backed hack that was first brought to the public’s attention in April, the Associated Press reported. Pulse Connect Secure networking devices are used by many companies and governments to allow secure remote access to their networks and those were the targets of the hacks. The Chinese government was suspected of backing the hacks, but China has denied any role.

Aquafornia news Water Online

New toolkit arrives just in time for HAB season

With harmful algal blooms (HABs) being forecast to increase, in part due to the effects of climate change, more water systems can expect to face problematic cyanotoxin conditions more frequently and for more days per year. In its efforts to mitigate the negative effects of such increases, the U.S. EPA has enhanced its information resources for water utilities by issuing a new Cyanotoxins Preparedness and Response Toolkit.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California must use budget surplus to fix water problems

As California plunges into another “historic” drought, people across the state are worried about water shortages. But the last drought never really ended for some Californians, like residents of East Porterville that still have emergency water storage tanks in their front yards. With the state’s current financial surplus, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fund drought preparedness and water safety in communities that have lived for decades with shallow and contaminated drinking water wells, inadequate water treatment, and other infrastructure failures…
-Written by Carolina Garcia, a resident of Tombstone Territory, and Sandra Chavez, a member of the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

U.S. water and power are shockingly vulnerable to cyberhacks

When the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was hacked in 2018, it took a mere six hours. Early this year, an intruder lurked in hundreds of computers related to water systems across the U.S. In Portland, Oregon, burglars installed malicious computers onto a grid providing power to a chunk of the Northwest. … All three drive home a point long known but, until recently, little appreciated: the digital security of U.S. computer networks controlling the machines that produce and distribute water and power is woefully inadequate, a low priority for operators and regulators, posing a terrifying national threat.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Joshua Tree closes trail for bighorn sheep during drought

It’s so dry at Joshua Tree National Park in southern California that a trail has been shut down to make sure bighorn sheep have access to water. Thirsty bighorn sheep need surface water to survive. As the drought becomes more extreme in Joshua Tree, herds have relied more on a spring near 49 Palms Trail. … To help make sure the bighorn sheep have the access to water they need, park officials are shutting down the 49 Palms Trail to all tourists.

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

PFAS, emerging contaminants & how polluters are paying municipalities for water remediation costs

Toxic manmade chemicals, like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,2,3-Tricholoropropane (TCP), are showing up in water systems across the US. It’s not new, but it has become more common, as municipalities are now increasing mandatory testing due to new state and federal regulations. … TCP was tagged as a carcinogen in 1999 by the state of California which lead to the strictest state MCL level in the country at 5 ppt. One ppt is the equivalent of one drop of impurity in 21 million gallons of water – in other words, TCP is very toxic.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Shocking water news in Arizona, Tucson should lead to more action

The problem, as always, is that water keeps flowing from the tap. Every other indicator is telling us we should be in red alert right now about Arizona’s climate and water situation. But when we turn the valve, even on these blazing days, drinkable water flows. It’s a luxury in this season and this place. And it makes it easy to turn away from the news. But we shouldn’t. 
-Written by Tim Steller.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close

A large oilfield wastewater disposal pond near Buttonwillow will likely close this summer, and its operator and last remaining customer will together pay $645,000 in penalties and fees, under a recent court settlement that further restricts a decades-old practice that has become a focus of regional water quality regulators. The accord concludes a 2019 lawsuit that accused facility owner Valley Water Management Co. and Colorado-based oil producer Sentinel Peak Resources of dumping fluid containing harmful chemicals above a reservoir that provides local drinking and irrigation water.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Park Service installs water troughs at Point Reyes to help tule elk survive drought

Creeks and springs at Point Reyes National Seashore haven’t completely dried up but they’re looking parched enough that park staff set up three large troughs last week to ensure tule elk herds get enough water to make it through what could be an unprecedented drought. The 250-gallon troughs at the south end of the Tomales Point Tule Elk Reserve will stay in place at least until rains return next winter, National Park Service officials said.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Sen. Padilla proposes bill to clean up toxic chemical on military bases

Military bases across California, including some in San Diego, have tested positive for a toxic chemical. A bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla attempts to find the money to finally clean up the legacy of PFAS. The Department of Defense has known for decades that a chemical found in aviation fire fighting foam contains potentially toxic polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which has been linked to cancer when found in groundwater, Padilla said.

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Aquafornia news ABC News

Erin Brockovich: the real story of the town three decades later

Despite inspiring an Oscar-winning movie, the story of Hinkley, California, did not have the Hollywood ending viewers may have expected. Hinkley’s story shot Erin Brockovich to stardom and she has continued to crusade for access to safe water. Hinkley is a small southern California community in the Mojave Desert. Since the 1950s, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric has operated a natural gas pumping station. Until 1966, the company used a chemical called chromium 6 to prevent rust. The toxic chemical eventually seeped into Hinkley’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Mendocino County Board of Supervisors create standalone water agency

During the budget hearings on June 8, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a proposal for a standalone water agency to combat water insecurity in Mendocino County. This water agency will immediately focus on the local drought emergency and work on other water-related projects, such as water curtailment and groundwater management, in the future.

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Aquafornia news KCBX

San Luis Obispo reports safe water quality, no health standard violations; here’s what it means

San Luis Obispo’s 2020 Water Quality Report shows zero violations of health regulations. Jason Meeks is the supervisor of the city’s water treatment plant. He has been working in water and wastewater for nearly 22 years. Meeks said one of the most important things for city residents to know about the 2020 Water Quality Report is that it only shows substances that were detected in the water.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: How better data can help California avoid a drinking water crisis

[During the last drought], small rural communities reliant on shallow wells — many of them communities of color — were among the most affected. More than 2,600 households reported losing access to water because their wells went dry between 2012–16. (That number is likely an undercount as reporting was voluntary.) Much has changed however since the 2012–16 drought. Drought reporting systems such as MyDryWaterSupply are available today, and better data on domestic well depths and locations, as well as groundwater levels, aid our understanding of drought risk. 
-Written by Rich Pauloo, co-founder of the Water Data Lab; and Alvar Escriva-Bou, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California Water.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Last summer’s massive wildfires bring heavy metals to this year’s spring runoff

In unburned forests, the spring runoff is a glorious, annual event. But not this year. [U.S. Forest service ecologist Liz] Roberts and other forest experts know that the runoff will carry an array of frightening heavy metals and ash-laden sediment generated in the burned soils, posing danger to the people of Glenwood Springs, who rely on Grizzly Creek and its neighbor just to the west, No Name Creek, for drinking water. 

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Aquafornia news Capital and Main

Can California avoid another toxic waste disaster?

For decades, large red-hot furnaces cooked the lead from smashed batteries at the Exide plant, just seven miles from Downtown Los Angeles, spouting plumes of toxic air that settled on and contaminated thousands of homes. … In the years since, the facility has been cited repeatedly for serious compliance problems. According to a former DTSC senior scientist’s review of public records, at least four are responsible for soil and groundwater contamination that the department has or should have known about for years or even decades. 

Aquafornia news California Land Use and Development

Blog: Water district rate increases violated Proposition 218

A court of appeal invalidated a water district’s adopted rate increases, concluding that the district failed to meet its burden under Proposition 218 of establishing that the increases did not exceed the cost of providing the water service. … Following a hearing, the Board of Directors of the Florin County Water District voted to increase its water rates by 50 percent. Data presented by staff at the hearing showed that revenues would exceed expenditures in each of the four years following the rate increase, culminating in a net profit of almost $1.4 million in the fourth year.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Blog: Low-income water assistance program formally launched

The White House last week announced the official launch of the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) housed at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). This program is the first of its kind designed to provide funding to help low-income households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their water and wastewater bills. According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the available federal funds, which total $1.138 billion, were secured as part of the federal COVID-19 relief spending in December 2020 and March 2021.

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Aquafornia news UC Riverside

News release: A new water treatment technology could also help Mars explorers

Ateam led by UC Riverside engineers has developed a catalyst to remove a dangerous chemical from water on Earth that could also make Martian soil safer for agriculture and help produce oxygen for human Mars explorers. Perchlorate, a negative ion consisting of one chlorine atom bonded to four oxygen atoms, occurs naturally in some soils on Earth, and is especially abundant in Martian soil. As a powerful oxidizer, perchlorate is also manufactured and used in solid rocket fuel, fireworks, munitions, airbag initiators for vehicles, matches and signal flares. It is a byproduct in some disinfectants and herbicides. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Drought – Mandatory water restrictions coming to Santa Clara County

In a major sign of California’s worsening drought, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider announced Monday that it is moving forward with plans to declare a water shortage emergency and to urge cities and water companies that serve 2 million residents in and around San Jose to impose mandatory water restrictions. The move will be the first time since the historic drought of 2012 to 2016 that Santa Clara County residents will face mandatory restrictions as the county becomes the most populous area in California to impose such severe measures.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water bonds plug spending holes

As California responds to yet another drought and prepares for a future of greater climate extremes, securing funding to boost the water system’s resilience is a top priority. One go-to funding source over the last two decades has been state general obligation bonds. In dollar terms, GO bonds play a relatively small role in water system spending, yet they punch above their weight when it comes to filling critical gaps. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Two California districts have America’s best tasting tap water, but they’re not in the Bay Area

San Franciscans are pretty proud of their tap water.  Sourced from the Hetch Hetchy watershed in Yosemite National Park, the complex supply system of reservoirs, tunnels, pipelines, and treatment systems stretching from the Sierra to San Francisco is uniquely almost entirely gravity fed. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission even boasts on its site that their water is “among the purest water in the world.” So the 2.7 million residents who benefit from the supposed crème de la crème of tap water may be surprised to learn that the water coming out of the faucets in SoCal has been named the best tasting tap water in America, on qualities including odor and “mouth feel.”

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A.’s MWD wins best U.S. tap water at global tasting contest

In victories that make the state’s drought even crueler, two Southern California water districts have won the top prizes for best tap water in the U.S. at an international tasting contest. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California finished first and Santa Ana took second place for the nation’s Best Municipal Water on Saturday at the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting in West Virginia. Those two competitors finished first in the category in 2008 and 2018, respectively. Third place went to the Southwest Water Authority of Dickinson, in North Dakota.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

Worsening droughts could increase arsenic in well water

Recent research from the US Geological Survey (USGS) suggests that droughts, particularly the prolonged kind happening in parts of the US, could increase the risk of harmful arsenic exposure for people that rely on well water. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the baseline quality of your drinking water may have been set in stone, literally. Arsenic is a common groundwater contaminant, largely because of local geology. In Maine, for instance, the formation of the Appalachian Mountains and volcanic activity came together to concentrate arsenic and other metals into cracks inside the bedrock…

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: State Water Board’s “SAFER Summer Series” to engage communities in developing drinking water solutions

Aiming to inform the general public and stakeholders alike about its program to bring safe drinking water to the nearly 1 million Californians who lack it, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) is launching a series of virtual workshops called the “SAFER Summer Series” over the next two months.

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR releases first assessments of initial Groundwater Sustainability Plans

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its first assessments of groundwater sustainability plans developed by local agencies to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).   DWR has completed its assessment and approved plans for the Santa Cruz Mid-County Basin in Santa Cruz County and 180/400 Foot Aquifer Subbasin in Monterey County.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Adel Hagekhalil would be a good step forward for the MWD

Adel Hagekhalil is an inspired choice to be the next general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the agency that delivers the water ultimately used by half of the state’s population. He’s an engineer, a consensus builder and a champion of the movement to integrate management of different types of water — drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, environmental water — in order to reduce costs and use precious resources more efficiently. He may be exactly what the MWD needs at this point in its history…

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California’s drought response will worsen harmful algae

Climate change has created new “seasons” that challenge communities across the nation. California now has a “fire season,” and sadly, we are embarking on harmful algal bloom (HAB) season again. NRDC has updated its national map of state-reported freshwater HABs, which tracks the HABs reported by states from 2008-2020 and shows that these toxic outbreaks are increasing across the country, making our rivers, lakes, and beaches unsafe for swimming, boating, and drinking. Between 2008 and 2020, over 44,000 HAB events were recorded across 38 states. 

Aquafornia news Office of Sen. Bill Dodd

News release: Senate passes Sen. Dodd’s water access & equity bill

The state Senate today approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help hundreds of thousands of Californians who have fallen behind on their water bills and are at risk of being disconnected from water service. … Sen. Dodd’s legislation comes as the State Water Resources Control Board heard results of a survey that found water debt in California climbed to about $1 billion. The survey estimated 12% of California households are behind on their water bills with an average debt of $500 per household. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Ensuring high quality water for communities, ecosystems and farms

I am now working through my third drought as the Director of Water Quality for Northern California Water Association (NCWA), where I have learned the importance of broadening my perspective beyond my own tap in Roseville that brings delicious American River water into my home. A pillar in NCWA’s Strategic Plan and 2021 Priorities is to advance multi-benefit water management that supports nature-based solutions, which provide essential benefits for our economy, health and quality of life …

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Search for groundwater gets high-tech boost

Groundwater is one of the hottest ticket items in California’s water world these days. But much about it is a mystery. Where is it? How does it move? Which are the best spots to percolate water into the ground for storage? At least two technologies hope to answer some of those questions: airborne electromagnetic surveys and interferometric synthetic aperture radar. That’s AEM and InSAR for short.

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Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

News release: California Urban Water Agencies appoints new executive director

The California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) today announces Brown and Caldwell’s Wendy Broley will assume the role of executive director effective July 1, replacing Cindy Paulson after 10 years in the role. CUWA is a non-profit corporation of 11 major urban water agencies responsible for serving drinking water to over two-thirds of California’s population. 

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Despite drought, Santa Barbara County water supplies adequate for short term

Having received just 48% of normal rainfall for the water year, which began Sept. 1 and will end Aug. 31, Santa Barbara County may be experiencing a bit of déjà vu, having been placed in the “severe drought” category again by the U.S. Drought Monitor. But despite a winter that brought less than half the normal rainfall, the county’s water supply is generally in good shape, and able to provide enough for drinking, firefighting and irrigation in the short term, city and county officials said.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lead tainted water adds more delays for CA train project

In September 2012, California’s transportation agency announced it was leading a multi-state partnership to buy more than 100 new passenger railcars, each one assembled on American soil. Funded in part by the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan, the cars would start arriving in late 2015. Instead, the project has gone badly off the rails. … Excessive levels of lead have been found in some of the cars’ restroom water supplies, discovered during routine testing last November, said Caltrans spokesman Christopher Clark.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Senate passes Sen. Dodd’s water access and equity bill

Sen. Dodd’s legislation comes as the State Water Resources Control Board heard results of a survey that found water debt in California climbed to about $1 billion. The survey estimated 12% of California households are behind on their water bills with an average debt of $500 per household. Many of those people are on the brink of service disconnection. Senate Bill 222 would prevent shut-offs by establishing a water assistance fund for low-income rate payers experiencing economic hardship.

Aquafornia news SCV Signal

Opinion: Balancing the costs of water

At SCV Water, we are committed to responsible water stewardship and providing service at a reasonable cost. As part of that responsibility, we regularly consider our rates, the cost of operations and the future health of the agency.  As such, SCV Water is considering new rates over the next five years to ensure revenue keeps pace with rising expenses. That isn’t the only reason the agency is considering changes, however.
-Written by Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Stanislaus homes with tainted wells start getting free bottled water. How to qualify

Free bottled water has begun to arrive at homes with nitrate-tainted wells in parts of Stanislaus and Merced counties.  The ambitious effort, funded by farmers and other parties, launched the week of May 10 with free testing of residential wells. Those that exceeded the nitrate threshold can start getting the 5-gallon jugs about 17 to 21 days later. 

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Aquafornia news Roseville Today

$3.6 Million in PCWA grants for water purveyors

At the May 20 meeting of the Placer County Water Agency (“PCWA”) Board of Directors, the Board awarded 12 grants, totaling over $3.6 million, to seven public water purveyors in Placer County. The $3.6 million figure is the most ever granted by PCWA in a single year. This is also the first instance in which the grants were wholly funded with net revenues from PCWA’s Middle Fork American River Project (“Middle Fork Project”). 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Biden budget seeks boost for EPA core programs and research

The EPA envisions making good on Biden’s pledge to help communities replace lead drinking water pipes, in part by bolstering Water Infrastructure and Innovation Act loans to local water systems. That includes a proposed increase of more than two and a half times in the budget for the EPA’s grant program for helping local and tribal governments replace lead pipes under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Funds for the grant program would total $81.5 million in fiscal 2022.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

News release: L.A. Board of Water and Power Commissioners approves renaming two landmark water facilities to honor late City Councilmember Tom LaBonge

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners approved the renaming of two historically significant facilities to honor the late 4th District Councilmember and longtime LADWP supporter, Tom LaBonge on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. The board authorized renaming the Los Angeles Aqueduct Centennial Garden and Headworks Water Complex to The Tom LaBonge Aqueduct Centennial Gardens and the Tom LaBonge Headworks Water Complex, respectively.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

News release: California Assembly approves bill to sharply reduce lead leaching from water faucets and fixtures

Today a bill to sharply reduce lead leaching from water faucets and fixtures passed the California Assembly. If it becomes law, it will create the nation’s most legally stringent lead leaching limit for faucets. Assembly Bill 100, by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), passed the state’s lower house by a vote of 45 – 0. The bill would limit lead leaching to no more than 1 microgram, making California the first state to enact a performance standard to ensure faucets and fixtures are practically lead-free.

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Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

RCSD increasing water, sewer rates to aid solvency

Rosamond Community Services District’s residential and commercial customers will see their water and sewer rates increase after the District’s governing Board approved rate adjustments earlier this month as part of the District’s efforts to remain fiscally solvent. The average district residential customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $6.11. This average represents about 70% of the District’s residential customer base. The average commercial 1 customer will see a monthly water bill increase of $20.90, while the average commercial 2 customer will see an increase of $2.56.

Aquafornia news The Union

In the water: Rise Gold Corp. CEO speaks to water quality concerns

[P]rivate and public stakeholders must hold Rise Gold Corp. accountable when it promises to deliver drinkable water — a promise it’s made — and in particular, investigate what primary and secondary drinking water standards mean. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, national primary drinking water regulations are legally enforceable standards applied to public water systems. In contrast, secondary drinking water standards are “non-enforceable guidelines regulating contaminants that may cause cosmetic or aesthetic effects.” Cosmetic effects are detailed as affecting skin or teeth color, and aesthetic effects refer to water’s taste, odor, or color.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought prompts delivery cutback from federal government

California’s water supply got cut again Wednesday, with the federal government reducing allocations to cities and farms as the drought intensified. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that municipal water agencies that rely on the Central Valley Project will have this year’s allocations slashed from 55% down to 25% — a level not seen since the drought of 2015. That could put additional pressure on the municipalities around greater Sacramento that depend on supplies from Folsom Lake, whose water levels have sunk dramatically this spring. The reservoir is at 46% of its usual capacity for late May.

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Aquafornia news Triplicate

Crescent City looking at water, sewer rates

The Crescent City Council is moving forward with a study on water and sewer rates, which may result in increased rates for residents. After receiving a grant from the California State Water Resources Control Board totaling about $80,000, the city is pressing on with the overdue rate studies. Typically, rate studies for water and sewer are completed every five years, however, the last water rate study came in 2013 and the last update to wastewater came in 2015, said City Manager Eric Wier. Wier said these projects are the first-step in maintaining the overall health of both systems.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin water supply project survives challenge

The Marin County Planning Commission voted on Monday to reject an environmental group’s petition to block a West Marin water supply project over potential impacts to Lagunitas Creek flows and endangered wildlife. The decision allows the North Marin Water District to build a new well that it says is necessary to ensure its West Marin customers have adequate water supply in the face of the worsening saltwater contamination at some of its existing wells.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A look at California’s safe and affordable drinking water gaps

The State Water Board recently completed a multi-year needs assessment of the state’s safe drinking water challenges. One big takeaway: more money is needed. The study identified a funding gap of $4.6 billion to resolve safe drinking water problems over the next five years. We talked to Greg Pierce—the study’s lead researcher and associate director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation—about the findings.

Aquafornia news CBS8

How to help animals during the California drought

Rainfall season is all but over, and San Diego is suffering from a major drought. That lack of rain is putting a huge stress on the chaparral.  Now imagine being an animal looking for water. We as humans can put water out to help the little critters and get a personal look at nature. … [Ernie Cowan's property] … is in North Escondido and it’s a sanctuary for all wildlife in the area. 

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Lack of water efficiency funding undercuts fight against drought

With the current drought already impacting over 90 million people in the U.S. and with water scarcity likely to get worse because of population growth and climate change, there is an urgent need to invest in water efficiency. This threat goes well beyond the arid west. Thirty-three states have been hit by drought since 2000, including ones located in the Great Plains, Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. And scientists warn that most of the country is on pace to experience water shortages if we don’t manage water better.
-Written by Ron Burke, president and CEO of the Alliance for Water Efficiency, and Mary Ann Dickinson, founding president and CEO of AWE. 

Aquafornia news Water Alternatives

Research paper: Disadvantaged unincorporated communities and the struggle for water justice in california

The notion of access to water for drinking and sanitation as being a human right – not a privilege or a commodity to be bought and sold – is based on the understanding that water is essential for life itself and should not be subject to the dictates of the market. This understanding parallels other treatments of vital resources such as housing and healthcare and has been codified in multiple United Nations frameworks. Human rights have been less common as a basis for public policy in the United States, where the more limited concept of civil rights has predominated. This has begun to change, most notably with the passage of California’s 2012 Assembly Bill 685 on the human right to water…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Replacement of Lake Wohlford dam is ’shovel ready’

The city of Escondido is moving forward with plans to replace the Lake Wohlford dam, a structure built of earth and rock that has stood at its present location since 1895. Lake Wohlford is about 5 miles northeast of downtown Escondido, just beyond city limits in the unincorporated area of San Diego County, and the dam is owned by the city. The lake has long served the city both as a recreational asset for boaters and fishing enthusiasts and as an emergency storage reservoir to supply drinking water in case of a drought.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cybersecurity: Colonial hack reveals major threats to water sector

When hackers penetrated a small water utility in North Carolina three years ago that debilitated its IT systems, operators there refused to “bow” to hackers and fork over ransom money to make the assault stop. That 2018 cyberattack was part of what experts say is a fast-growing and evolving threat in the water sector and a glaring example of the type of attack — ransomware — that earlier this month shut down the East Coast’s largest fuel supplier, the Colonial pipeline… EPA is in the process of collecting data from water utilities on their cyberdefenses to assess hacking risks.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Failing water infrastructure disproportionately hurts disadvantaged communities

The infrastructure Californians rely on to move water throughout the state is aging, deteriorating and in desperate need of repair. The cost of doing nothing will be borne by all water users — cities, towns, businesses, farms and the environment. However, the negative impacts from further neglect will land disproportionately on already disadvantaged communities.
-Written by Ian LeMay, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association. 

Aquafornia news Growing Produce

How California vegetable growers can adapt to new nitrogen rules

Growers in the Central Coast region of California produce most of the cool-season vegetables for the U.S. from March to mid-November. After several years of multi-cropping vegetables, the groundwater in many of the coastal valleys has become contaminated with nitrate. Some wells have concentrations of nitrate several times the federal drinking water standard of 10 ppm (parts per million) nitrate-N. Rural communities that rely on groundwater as their sole source of drinking water must purchase bottled water or install small reverse osmosis systems.

Aquafornia news Civil Engineering Source

Testing and treating microplastics in water face challenges

The deadline is looming: According to a state law adopted in 2018, the California State Water Resources Control Board has until July 1 to adopt a standard methodology for testing drinking water for the presence of microplastics; adopt requirements for four years of testing and reporting of microplastics in drinking water, including public disclosure of the results; and accredit qualified laboratories in California to analyze microplastics. The problem? Testing for microplastics … is not quite ready for prime time. It is not yet precisely clear what effects microplastics have on animals, including humans, and at what levels they may be harmful. 

Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily News

Water district funding 30 new groundwater level monitoring wells

The Estrella-El Pomar-Creston Water District (EPCWD) has begun creating a groundwater level monitoring network. Initially, the district has begun work to add 30 new groundwater level monitoring sites, using existing wells, throughout the 37,000-acre district. The campaign marks a significant effort in the basin to move toward groundwater sustainability in the Paso Robles Subbasin, according to the EPCWD.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Emergency water urged for rural Latino communities before California drought worsens

California lawmakers should take prompt action before drought conditions worsen by sending emergency drinking water to vulnerable communities in parched regions of the state, legislative advisers say. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report last week providing recommendations on how to address increasingly dry conditions throughout the state. Based on an analysis of the state’s previous efforts for the last major drought, from 2012 to 2016, analysts said lawmakers should start sending emergency water supplies to vulnerable communities in the San Joaquin Valley region… 

Aquafornia news BBC Future

Why Peru is reviving a pre-Incan technology for water

Today, modern Peruvians are redeploying that ancient knowledge and protecting natural ecosystems such as high-altitude wetlands to help the country adapt to climate change. It’s one of the world’s first efforts to integrate nature into water management on a national scale. … Several years ago, desperate for water security, the country’s leaders did something radical: they passed a series of national laws requiring water utilities to invest a percentage of their customers’ bills in “natural infrastructure”.

Aquafornia news CalTech

News release: New material could harvest water all day long

Tiny structures inspired by the shape of cactus spines allow a newly created material to gather drinkable water from the air both day and night, combining two water-harvesting technologies into one. The material, a micro-architected hydrogel membrane (more on that later), can produce water through both solar steam-water generation and fog collection—two independent processes that typically require two separate devices. A paper about the material was published in Nature Communications on May 14.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Bluetech workforce, desal could solve California water crises

Facing extended drought, diminishing snowpack, and depleted aquifers, California water managers face a harsh reality: our 20th century water systems – essentially linear designs in which fresh water is extracted, centrally treated, distributed to users, returned as wastewater, and finally treated and discarded – are breaking down. Although this approach has served us well for decades, we can no longer sustain ourselves with a paradigm that uses water once and throws it away.
-Written by Peter Fiske, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and executive director of the Department of Energy’s National Alliance for Water Innovation.

Aquafornia news Arizona News

Arizona Legislature proposes pumping Mississippi River water to help with drought

Arizona’s drought has lawmakers looking into drawing water from the Mississippi River to be used here in the desert. “This kind of project would be looking 20 years down the road,” said Republican Rep. Tim Dunn from Yuma. Dunn sponsored House Concurrent Memorial 2004, which got bipartisan support in the Arizona legislature, and urges Congress to study a plan for a pipeline that would take water out of the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa. 

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

After years of protests, Crystal Geyser abandons bottling facility plans in Siskiyou County

Crystal Geyser bought the nearly 145,000 square foot bottling plant in 2013. Since then, it’s been the target of protests by local activists and members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. Opponents say if it ever started operating, it would draw down too much water, and cause air and noise pollution. … They are in the midst of suing the beverage company in an effort to get a new environmental impact report. 

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Climate change impact increasingly felt in California

More wildfires. Hotter days. Drought. Sea-level rise. Those conditions are an increasing reality in California, which is steadily becoming an altered state. But if the grimmest predictions of experts about our state and climate change become true, the conditions will become far worse.

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Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Senate confirms Radhika Fox to EPA Office of Water

The U.S. Senate confirmed Radhika Fox, former US Water Alliance CEO, as EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator during a confirmation hearing May 12. With the confirmation, Fox became the first woman of color and first individual of Asian heritage to be both nominated and confirmed to lead the EPA Office of Water. Fox had been appointed to the Office of Water after President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January. 

Aquafornia news Stanford - Water in the West

New research: New modeling framework guides managed aquifer recharge under climate change

Current and future climate change effects are intensifying the hydrological cycle, leading to increased variability of both precipitation and runoff. This heightened pattern results in more frequent and severe droughts and floods, as well as more recurrent swings between these two extremes. Harvesting floodwaters using managed aquifer recharge to replenish depleted groundwater aquifers can simultaneously reduce flood and drought risks. 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Central Valley water districts get OK to sue Dow, Shell over groundwater pollution

A state appeals court has upheld California’s cleanup standards for a cancer-causing chemical that was added to pesticides and has polluted groundwater in the Central Valley, rejecting challenges by manufacturers that may have to pay the costs. The State Water Resources Control Board’s 2017 mandate for removing nearly all TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) from drinking water was contested by the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, representing Dow Chemical Co. and Shell Oil, which included the chemical in worm-killing fumigants widely used by farmers through the 1980s. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Toilet waste to tap water: Welcome to the future of recycled sewage

Suffering through a prolonged dry period, utilities are increasingly relying on sewage to generate the state’s water needs. Known in industry parlance as “recycled wastewater” and in lay terms as “toilet to tap,” this water source understandably triggers a gag reflex in some consumers — but it shouldn’t.  Recycled wastewater is quickly becoming the single most important element of a drought-proof water supply in the climate-change era, and it happens to be as pure and delicious as anything you might buy bottled from the Swiss Alps.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Lake Shasta is facing its worst season in 44 years. Here’s what that means for those who rely on it.

Lake Shasta this summer is facing possibly its lowest level in at least 44 years, and that could be bad news for the people who rely on it for drinking and irrigation water, as well as endangered salmon that depend on it to survive. Dam operators have to go all the way back to 1977 to compare how bad this year’s water situation is shaping up to be, said Don Bader, area manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the dam. 

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Aquafornia news CEQA Chronicles

Blog: Poseidon’s desalination plant’s supplemental EIR holds water according to the Court of Appeal

In California Coastkeeper v. State Lands Commission, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld the State Lands Commission’s decision to prepare a supplemental environmental impact report (EIR) for a desalination plant in Huntington Beach, overturning an earlier trial court ruling that invalidated the EIR. Limited changes to a desalination project were proposed in order to comply with desalination-related amendments to the State’s Ocean Plan.  

Aquafornia news Daily Kos

Gov. Newsom’s May budget revision allocates $200 million to plug abandoned and orphaned oil wells

California Governor Gavin Newsom on May 14 unveiled his May budget revision that allocates $200 million to plug abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells, many located near low-income residential areas where the majority of residents are Latino and Black. In January 2020, a report by the California Council on Science & Technology revealed that California taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $500 million to plug thousands of “orphan” wells drilled and abandoned by oil and gas companies. .. Plugging all 107,000 oil and wells in California when they become idle would cost more than $9 billion, the report also found.

Aquafornia news SF Gate

East Bay water officials have eyes on the future

East Bay Municipal Utility District officials have seen droughts come and go. But they seem to be coming more frequently this century. Climate change is stoking devastating wildfire seasons year after year, drying the state out and just making it more flammable the following year. State water officials say that means less water in the Mokelumne River Watershed, the main source for EBMUD and its 1.4 million customers. Last winter was the state’s driest since 1977, prompting the district to officially declare a stage one drought on April 27 and ask customers to cut ten percent of their water use. What can the East Bay expect moving forward?

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Construction of eight miles of Pure Water Soquel pipeline to begin May

Construction on 8 miles of water pipeline that will be serve as life-blood for the Pure Water Soquel Project, is set to begin on May 24 in Santa Cruz. Three distinct components of building are set to take place during the next several months. From late May until June 15 crews will work around California Street, from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility to Laurel Street. After that, and until around July 6, construction will take place on Laurel Street to Chestnut Street. The third scheduled construction phase will run from July 6 through Aug. 12 on Chestnut to the west end of the Laurel Street Bridge.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How unprepared is California for 2021’s drought?

California — already in the clutches of another drought emergency —  is looking over its shoulder at what happened last time, anticipating the worst and evaluating the strategies that worked and those that failed. So is California in a better position to weather this drought? Some things are worse, some better: Groundwater is still being pumped with no statewide limits, siphoning up drinking water that rural communities rely on. In northern counties, residents are reliving the last disaster as water restrictions kick in again, but in the south, enough water is stored to avoid them for now. … The upshot is California isn’t ready — again.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Water usage down sharply in San Diego, shrinking city’s reliance on expensive imported supplies

San Diego’s vulnerability to water shortages and drought is shrinking significantly because residents and businesses are using less water and city officials are boosting the local supply. A new city analysis shows local water use dropped sharply from 81.5 billion gallons in 2007 to about 57 billion gallons in 2020, even though the city’s population has grown about 1 percent per year over that time. The new data has prompted city officials to revise downward long-term projections of local water use by about 20 percent compared to their estimates from 2015, the last time the city conducted such an analysis. 

Aquafornia news The Nation

Exhuming California’s St. Francis Dam disaster

Just before midnight on March 12, 1928, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s St. Francis Dam collapsed, inundating the canyon below with some 12 billion gallons of water. The floodwaters, which in the darkness registered first as a mounting roar to those who were awake, tossed 10,000-ton fragments of the dam thousands of feet downstream and scoured the canyon walls to bare rock. More than 400 people in the flood’s 53-mile path to the sea were drowned or battered to death as the torrent sheared through orchards, pulverized buildings, and crumpled bridges. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco sues state over bid to restrict its Sierra water supplies

The city of San Francisco is reviving a long-simmering feud with the state over water, filing a lawsuit Friday that charges state regulators with trying to take away the city’s coveted Sierra Nevada water supplies. The suit claims the state water board is demanding the city forfeit too much water from the Tuolumne River as part of a licensing deal for two dams in the faraway basin. State regulators have said the water is needed to maintain proper river flows and support struggling salmon, but city officials contend the demands would leave Bay Area residents and businesses vulnerable to water shortages.

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Aquafornia news Mountain Democrat

No water service now for EID’s Folsom territory

El Dorado Irrigation District’s territory extends across the county line to a small piece of Folsom — a total of 190 acres. A developer is planning to turn that acreage into a subdivision. Currently the property is all range land and there is no request for water service. The earliest that water service could be requested may not be until 2023. El Dorado Irrigation District has been a multi-county agency since the early 1980s, according to Jesse Saich, EID communications manager. 

Aquafornia news Fox2 KTVU

How California’s drought impacts wildlife populations and their behavior

The COVID-19 pandemic encouraged wildlife, looking for easy food, to visit quiet neighborhoods they normally didn’t. The drought may now be forcing them to do the same.  Experts say, though you might like to, do not leave food and water out for wild animals showing up in neighborhoods. … The bear that showed up in a tree near central San Anselmo this week is one of several recent North Bay sightings. 

Aquafornia news Sacramento CBS Local

Folsom Lake levels continue to drop amid drought emergency, push for water conservation

Less than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for Northern California, Folsom Lake is standing at one of its lowest levels ever. … Ryan Ojakian is with the Regional Water Authority (RWA). Now, there’s a push from the RWA for its 20 water providers that serve about 2 million people in the Sacramento region to shift to using more groundwater than surface water to reduce reliance on Folsom Lake and the Lower American River.

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Aquafornia news Corning Observer

County groundwater monitoring station in Corning

A permit has been granted by Tehama County for the establishment of a new groundwater monitoring station located at the Corning Public Works maintenance yard on Gallagher Avenue near Highway 99W. During a presentation on the project to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors, county Public Works Flood Control Manager Ryan Teubert said there will be no cost to the county as the yard is owned by Tehama County, and drilling, installation and construction costs will be paid for, and performed, by the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

States ask Biden to trash Trump-era Clean Water Act change

With shrinking reservoir levels and a summer of water shortages impending, drought-ridden California on Wednesday pressed the Biden administration for more control over future infrastructure projects planned in the Golden State. California and a collection of states urged the federal government to drop a Trump-era rule that reduced states’ authority to deny permitting and licensing for things like new water infrastructure, oil pipelines, wastewater plants or development projects in wetland areas. The states claim the rule gives them little say over projects that could ultimately harm water quality and the environment.  

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: Report: Drought to hit rural Latino communities hardest

Rural, low-income Latino communities across California were hardest hit by the last drought and could see drinking water shortages again this year as extreme drought spreads across the state, according to a report released Thursday by non-partisan advisors to California’s lawmakers. The report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office warns state officials to prepare by ramping up monitoring of wells in vulnerable communities and lining up emergency drinking water supplies to send there. 

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento urged to cut water usage 10% during drought

Sacramento-area residents were urged Thursday to cut water usage by 10% as much of the state has been plunged into another severe drought. Just three days after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the area officially in a drought, the Sacramento Regional Water Authority asked for voluntary conservation measures as its member agencies scramble to cope with drought conditions that seemingly worsen by the day.

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Aquafornia news Cal Coast News

Lustful eyes cast on Paso Robles Water Basin

On its surface, the idea of banking water to bridge the certainty of future rain-deficient periods seems like an innovative and non-controversial planning procedure. In the end, however, it all depends on who holds the keys to the bank. The notion of water banking has grabbed local attention lately following a controversial and divided 3-2 vote March 3 by San Luis Obispo County supervisors, a vote which numerous North County entities view as opening the door to selling and exporting county water resources to the highest outside bidder.

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Aquafornia news Congressman Jim Costa

News release: Costa legislation aims to improve water quality and supply

At a time when California is facing severe drought conditions that triggered Governor Gavin Newsom’s declaring a state of emergency and providing more than $5 billion dollars for water infrastructure and drought response funding, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) introduced bipartisan legislation to address California water supply and water quality goals…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Fail: Tule Basin drinking water plan kicked back for a redo

When Sandra Chavez’ mother discovered she had stage four cancer last year, one of Sandra’s first thoughts was about their water. Her family’s private well is contaminated with nitrates and Chavez wondered if years of drinking the water could have caused her mother’s sickness. Chavez and her family have relied on bottled water since they found out their well water was unsafe in 2015. But sometimes they don’t have enough and are forced to drink the contaminated water. So when Chavez found out about a new program providing free bottled water delivery for families with nitrate-contaminated wells, she was frustrated she hadn’t been contacted.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Water

News release: Defining groundwater conditions in three local basins

Well owners in Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley and Sonoma Valley are invited to join community meetings on groundwater conditions and sustainable management of this critical water source.  The Santa Rosa Plain, Petaluma Valley and Sonoma Valley groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) are nearing completion of major plans that identify issues with current and future groundwater resources and that describe how these challenges will be addressed. 

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Huffman hosts drought summit, water managers ask for aid, presidential emergency

Reps. Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson, along with prominent North Coast water managers and politicians gathered at a virtual summit yesterday morning to discuss the severe drought facing the North Coast and the entire state. At the summit (a recording of which is available on YouTube), State Senator Mike McGuire stated that the state legislature is moving forward on a several billion dollar drought relief package, which would include $1 billion in grants to help ratepayers and utilities pay off back bills and $500 million to help smaller low income communities develop enhanced drinking water supplies, among other things (read the full list below).

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

CA Water Commission: Advancing flood-mar: What are the possibilities?

At the April meeting of the California Water Commission, the Commission continued examining the state’s role in conveyance projects by hearing from two experts on flood-managed aquifer recharge, or Flood MAR. First, Dr. Graham Fogg, UC David professor emeritus of Hydrogeology, discussed scaling up Flood MAR and how that will likely present new conveyance needs.  Then, Jenny Marr, Supervising Engineer at the Department of Water Resources, outlined the state’s approach to flood Mar.

Aquafornia news Press Telegram

3 environmental groups take 3 positions on Poseidon desalination plant

Among attributes of the controversial Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach is the $1.5 million or so it would spend annually to keep the tidal inlet open at the Bolsa Chica wetlands, five miles up the coast from the project site. But as much as the money is needed there, the three non-profit groups dedicated to the wetlands’ preservation clash when it comes to support for the desalter plant. The state spent $151 million to create the inlet in 2006, restoring the estuary’s interaction with the ocean and revitalizing the wildlife habitat. The work has been a particular boon to the population and variety of birds.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Judge makes preliminary ruling against Apple Valley taking over water system

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge has made a ruling against the Town of Apple Valley in its attempt to take over its largest supplier of water. In a tentative decision issued Friday, Judge Donald Alvarez found that Liberty Utilities had “disproved” the town’s arguments that its acquisition of the company’s water system would be in the public’s interest and a necessity. … The town filed its eminent domain lawsuit in January 2016 when the system was owned by Ranchos Water Company in response to what they said was a public outcry over rising water rates.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Yes, you can water your lawn. But here are the restrictions for Sacramento area, so far

You can’t water your lawn more than twice a week in the city or Sacramento during summer, and never on Thursday or Friday. For thousands of Sacramento County residents, the limit is three days a week. In Roseville, there’s no watering between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Customers of the San Juan Water District have five days to fix leaks, and hosing down the driveway or sidewalk is off-limits in Elk Grove. Long before Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for the Sacramento region — and much of the rest of California — area residents were already dealing with an assortment of restrictions on water consumption, depending on their supplier.

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Opinion: Six factors will ensure California agriculture’s future

I am proud to be a part of California agriculture. Our state has the impressive responsibility of feeding our country—and even the world. We have led the nation in agricultural production for the past 60 years due to our richly productive land and climate. Yet, our agriculture industry now faces serious and urgent challenges, from recovering from last year’s multiple crises to the ever-increasing competition in the global market. 
-Written by Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Opinion: Watch out, state assembly wants to help us

AB-377, is a proposed state Assembly bill titled Water Quality: Impaired Waters. The premise of this legislation seems to be that local authorities are responsible for all the dirty water in local waterways. While the goal of “cleaning up the water” is commendable the proposed solution is problematic. The Lompoc City Council discussed a staff request to oppose this legislation on May 4; the staff explains that “Assembly Bill (AB) 377 seeks to ensure California’s waterways are drinkable, fishable and swimmable by 2050.” 
-Written by Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident.

Aquafornia news Nevada Independent

Microplastics are everywhere. A Nevada researcher wants to know how they spread.

Tiny specks of degraded plastics have been documented in the snowpack around Lake Tahoe — and in the lake itself. They have been found in the Las Vegas Wash. The phenomenon is not unique to Nevada. Microplastics, the end product of our plastic consumption, have been found in ecosystems across the world, even in remote areas. Microplastics are small — less than 5 millimeters — but they are not uniform. They can have different shapes and vary in size. Microplastics from clothing can appear as synthetic fibers, whereas degraded plastic from bags or water bottles might take on a different composition.

Aquafornia news Food & Water Watch

Blog: Newsom expands California drought emergency, commits $5.1 billion to water infrastructure and debt relief

Governor Gavin Newsom announced an expansion of the drought emergency to 41 of the state’s 58 counties, dedicating $5.1 billion to boost water infrastructure and an additional $1 billion to paying off nearly the entirety of Californian household water debt. Yet, while the governor’s plan includes $150 million for groundwater cleanup and water recycling measures, it does nothing to speed up the process to bring overdrafted water basins into full and sustainable operation. The deadline is currently 2040 for critically overdrafted basins and 2042 for remaining high and medium priority basins.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Extremely dry conditions spill across the American West

Spring is generally a time of renewal for the watersheds of the western United States. Warmed by the lengthening days, the region’s towering mountain ranges shed their mantle of snow, releasing freshets of water into welcoming streams and reservoirs. This year, though, the cycle is in disarray. Outside of the Olympic and Cascade ranges of Washington state, winter snows were subpar. The spring melt has been a dud. From the Klamath to the Colorado and Rio Grande, watersheds are under stress once again, and water managers face difficult tradeoffs between farms, fisheries, and at-home uses. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State water agencies, CA water data consortium and EDF partner on groundwater accounting platform and data standards

State water agencies, the California Water Data Consortium (Consortium) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced a new partnership today to make an open-source groundwater accounting platform freely available to help groundwater sustainability agencies manage the transition to sustainable supplies. 

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Aquafornia news

New tool lets California well water users see drought impact

The state is facing major water impacts, but for those reliant on water wells — in mobile home parks, rural communities, and areas where water district access is limited — the concern is growing. The Department of Water Resources has created a website that can help those who rely on well water to figure out just how much at-risk they are of a water shortage. The site was created after the last drought, but with California’s drought only recently worsening, it had not been widely used or needed until now. The interactive map allows users to explore their area and keep tabs on their well water situation.

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Arizona looks to Mississippi River to soothe water shortage

Arizona legislators are looking eastward to ease the impact of a two-decade drought in the Colorado River Basin. According to Arizona Rep. Tim Dunn, who represents the area of Yuma, the Legislature is asking Congress to fund a technological and feasibility study for diverting floodwater from the Mississippi River to replenish the Colorado River. Whether that comes in the form of a diversion dam or pipeline, Dunn says the plan would benefit both the Midwestern and Southwestern United States.

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Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: Valley Water to discuss upcoming construction at Anderson Dam

In June, Valley Water will start building a 1,700-foot long tunnel next to Anderson Dam that will allow us to release more water safely during major storms or emergencies. This work is a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen Anderson Dam and protect our communities. Before construction on the tunnel begins, Valley Water will host a virtual community meeting from 6-8pm on May 19. Please join us via a Zoom videoconference (details below) to learn more about the upcoming work and impacts on the neighborhood. We will also answer as many of your questions as possible.
-Written by John Varela, representing District 1 on the Valley Water Board of Directors.

Aquafornia news Mongabay

Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

Many dryland cities like Los Angeles, Cairo and Tehran have already outstripped natural water recharge, but are expected to continue growing, resulting in a deepening arid urban water crisis. … The situations in arid and semi-arid cities like Phoenix, Arizona; Bamako, Mali; or Dubai, UAE, differ in their particulars, but rhyme in their impending disastrous trajectory. These, and other arid-region cities, are approaching the edge of an ecological cliff: dependent on sustaining growth, which itself requires a growth in water supplied by faraway and finite sources, and delivered by aging infrastructure. But water in dryland regions is getting scarcer and supplies more unpredictable. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom declares drought across much of California

Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded his drought emergency declaration to 39 more counties Monday, underscoring the rapid deterioration of California’s water supply in recent weeks. The governor broadened his earlier drought order, which was limited to two counties on the Russian River, to cover most of parched California, which is plunging into its second major drought in less than a decade. The new order covers the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds, the Tulare Lake basin region and the Klamath region in far Northern California. About 30% of the state’s population is now covered by the declarations…

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Aquafornia news CBS 5 Investigates |

Arizona water users preparing for first-ever cuts to CAP

Arizona cities, towns, farmers and ranchers are preparing for the first-ever cuts to the state’s allotment of Colorado River water. The cuts are the result of a drought that’s lasted 26 years and will likely take effect in 2022. The so-called “Tier 1″ water shortage will affect some water users more severely than others. … Farmers and ranchers in Pinal County are already preparing, but it’s going to be a costly process.

Aquafornia news Law360

Calif. Appeals Court won’t halt desalination plant project

The California State Lands Commission properly reviewed a stalled desalination planned to be built on the coast south of Los Angeles, a state appeals court says. In a decision filed Saturday, the appeals court affirmed a lower court’s rejection of a challenge to the plant by the environmental group California Coastkeeper Alliance and others. It determined that a 2017 re-review of the planned desalination plant in Huntington Beach adequately complied with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Sonoma County officials to cut pumping from Russian River by 20% amid deepening drought

Sonoma County supervisors are expected to offer their formal support Tuesday for a plan to pump 20% less water than normal from the Russian River for the remainder of the year, preserving dwindling supplies in local reservoirs but making less water available to more than 600,000 consumers in Sonoma …

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

United Water Conservation District reaches $1M settlement with Ventura

A water district locked in a long-running legal battle over residential rates with the city of Ventura recently agreed to pay $1 million, but the fight does not appear to be over. City Attorney Gregory Diaz said Friday he expected the United Water Conservation District to exercise its option to appeal. Ventura has filed lawsuits every year against the water district since the agency implemented increased charges in 2011-12. This settlement is for fiscal year 2019-20. The district charged residential customers three times more than agricultural customers for groundwater, and the city challenged its methodology. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Our latest Western Water article examines efforts to help consumers afford water as bills pile up amid pandemic

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. … Our latest article in Western Water explores the hurdles to helping consumers, how some water agencies have devised workarounds and how far more lasting solutions remain out of reach.Western Water is just one of the publications produced by our journalism team…

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin water well project challenged by environmentalists

The North Marin Water District failed to adequately study whether there will be enough water for endangered fish in Lagunitas Creek if it builds a new well in West Marin, an environmental group alleges. The well is intended to address worsening saltwater contamination in the water supply. Save Our Seashore, a nonprofit in Inverness, filed an appeal against the project with the Marin County Planning Commission. … The commission is expected to hold a hearing on the issue on May 24. 

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In California’s farm country, climate change is likely to trigger more pesticide use, fouling waterways

Every spring, California farmers brace themselves for signs of wriggling organisms destined to launch multigenerational attacks on their crops. Many insect species survive the winter as eggs or larvae and then emerge in early spring as the first generation to feed and breed on millions of acres of California vineyards, orchards and row crops. Climate change will complicate farmers’ efforts to control these pests in complex and unpredictable ways. The most alarming consequence is apt to be ramping up pesticide applications, with broad implications for the safety of California’s waterways—just as the state gears up for a future filled with drought.

Aquafornia news High Country News

How ‘sustainable’ is California’s groundwater sustainability act?

In scale and ambition, California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) has few parallels. And the work becomes increasingly urgent as the climate crisis makes water shortages increasingly severe. … This emphasis on local expertise points to SGMA’s possibilities — and its potential pitfalls — especially when it comes to deciding what “sustainable” water management means. Each management body has wide discretion to define “sustainability” — and the path to sustainability by 2040 — for its particular basin.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Wildfires are contaminating drinking water systems, and it’s more widespread than people realize

More than 58,000 fires scorched the United States last year, and 2021 is on track to be even drier. What many people don’t realize is that these wildfires can do lasting damage beyond the reach of the flames – they can contaminate entire drinking water systems with carcinogens that last for months after the blaze. … Since 2017, multiple fires have impacted drinking water systems … including the CZU Lightning Complex, Camp and Tubbs fires in California. Thousands of private wells have been affected too.

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Aquafornia news KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2

Siskiyou County residents protest over new water tank restriction ordinance

Residents in northern California rallied outside of Yreka City Hall Thursday to protest the County’s new ordinance aimed at curtailing illegal marijuana grow. On Tuesday, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors amended Chapter 4 of Title 3 – adding restrictions on water trucks using specific County highways. The restrictions largely target streets in the unincorporated communities of Butte Valley and Big Springs. … Protesters of the affected areas voiced their opposition to the bill – stating the Water Trucks are critical for their survival.   

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Drought-tolerant San Diego won’t go thirsty in the dry stretch ahead

San Diego takes droughts very seriously. That’s why the region is well-positioned to weather an extended dry spell with enough water.  Local officials don’t shrug at the drought conditions across the state that have triggered emergencies in a couple of northern counties. For one thing, the wildfire threat can be as dangerous here as anywhere. San Diego may be more drought-tolerant than in the past when it comes to water…

-Written by Michael Smolens

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board finalizes water rate increases

Water customers with the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency can expect rate increases to kick in over the next five years, after board members voted in late April to approve the fees. The PVWMA serves coastal growers and farmers in south Santa Cruz and north Monterey counties through 21 miles of water pipelines running near Highway 1. The water, which is a blend of recycled water, groundwater and Harkins Slough Recovery well water, supplements farmer’s on-site agricultural wells. 

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Tehama County Supervisors approve groundwater monitoring station in Corning

A new groundwater monitoring station is coming to Corning’s public works yard on Gallagher Avenue just across from a warehouse that stores various road signs and equipment. Public Works Flood Control Manager Ryan Teubert presented the project Tuesday to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors. It consists of construction at the yard, which will be funded and performed by the California Department of Water Resources. 

Aquafornia news Stanford Medicine

New research: Higher levels of nitrate in drinking water linked to preterm birth, Stanford study finds

Pregnant women exposed to too much nitrate in their drinking water are at greater risk of giving birth prematurely, according to a Stanford University study of more than 1.4 million California births. Agricultural runoff containing fertilizer and animal waste can greatly increase the nitrate level in groundwater, which naturally contains a low level of the chemical. … The strongest effects of nitrate on prematurity risk were seen in California’s agricultural regions, including the San Joaquin Valley and the Inland Empire, the study noted. A higher proportion of births in these areas are to Hispanic women than in other regions of the state …

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Some rural California residents doubt they’ll ever get clean water

When Ramona Hernandez turns on her kitchen faucet in El Adobe, an unincorporated town just a few miles southeast of Bakersfield, the water that splashes out looks clean and inviting. But she doesn’t dare drink it. … Drinking the tap water in this tiny community of dusty ranches and unpaved roads could expose Hernandez to arsenic. So, for years, she and her husband, Gerardo, have shuttled twice a week to the nearby town of Lamont to load up on bottled water. At a cost of about $80 a month, it’s enough for drinking and cooking. 

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Public health crisis looms as California identifies 600 communities at risk of water-system failures

A familiar scene has returned to California: drought. Two counties are currently under emergency declarations, and the rest of the state could follow. It was only four years ago when a winter of torrential rain finally wrestled the state out of its last major drought, which had dragged on for five years and left thousands of domestic wells coughing up dust. That drinking-water crisis made national headlines and helped shine a light on another long-simmering water crisis in California: More than 300 communities have chronically unsafe drinking water containing contaminants that can come with serious health consequences, including cancer.

Aquafornia news Grist

Western tribes already lacked water access. Now there’s a megadrought.

In 2021, access to running water and clean drinking water is a given for most Americans. The Census Bureau has even considered dropping a question on plumbing access from the U.S. census questionnaire. But many of the nation’s tribes still lack running water, access to clean water, and even flushing toilets. Native American households are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing, according to the U.S. Water Alliance, and more likely to lack piped water services than any other racial group. That problem is at an inflection point for the Navajo Nation and 29 other tribes in the Colorado River Basin, which stretches from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Congress, water sector signal optimism for major investment

On Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to pass S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA). It is the first infrastructure bill approved by the Senate this Congress. The bipartisan, comprehensive clean water and drinking water infrastructure legislation will authorize strong annual water infrastructure investment to help boost total federal investment. In full, the legislation authorizes more than $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater resource development projects across the country …

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

State Senate lays out $3.4 billion drought relief package

California Senators have unveiled a $3.4 billion drought relief package to address the hardships created by ongoing dry conditions. The Senate Budget Plan on Drought, Safe Drinking Water, Water Supply Reliability, and Ratepayer Assistance would be the single largest investment to address drought challenges in California. During the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy hearing, the proposal was passed by a 4-0 vote. The proposal offers a comprehensive approach to drought relief, with funding designated for water supply projects, research, and water-use efficiency projects.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State develops tool and recommendations to support those most vulnerable to drought

With drought conditions returning to California, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has finalized a tool and recommendations to support those communities most at risk during drought. Historically, small water systems and rural communities that rely on private domestic wells have been hit the hardest by prolonged periods of dry conditions. To provide increased state support, DWR led a two-year process learning from stakeholder experiences about what puts small water systems and rural communities at higher risk of water shortages and what is needed to build their resilience to drought.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: How San Diego County’s water supply investments protect our economy and quality of life from drought

Increasingly ominous signs suggest that we are entering another multiyear drought in California. The State Water Project recently reduced projected water deliveries for 2021 from 10 percent of requested supplies to 5 percent, and on April 21, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a regional drought emergency in the Russian River watershed in Northern California. But it’s a different story in San Diego County.

-Written by Gary Croucher, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors.

Aquafornia news White Mountain Independent

Drought intensifies forcing rationing of Colorado River water

The US Bureau of Reclamation last week warned water users to brace for a 500,000 acre-foot cut in water from the Colorado River as a historic drought continues to tighten its grip on the Southwest. The cutback comes on top of a 200,000 acre-foot reduction Arizona water users agreed to last year in an effort to put off this day of reckoning. The Central Arizona Project provides more than a third of the state’s water. The reductions will mostly impact farmers. The sparse snowpack this winter soaked into the ground during the hot, dry spring — producing little runoff.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California tribes call out degradation of Clear Lake

Seven years ago, after the fish died, Sarah Ryan decided she couldn’t wait any longer for help. California at the time was in the depths of its worst drought in the last millennium and its ecosystems were gasping. For Ryan, the fish kill in Clear Lake, the state’s second largest and the centerpiece of Lake County, was the last straw. Ryan is the environmental director for Big Valley Rancheria, a territory of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians that sits on the ancient lake’s western shore. She and others raised alarms for several years about increasingly dire blooms of toxic cyanobacteria. 

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Why California is planning to ban fracking

A little more than a week ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that not only would California effectively ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by 2024, but the state also would work to phase out oil extraction entirely by 2045. … It was — like the governor’s promise last year that the state would ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035 — a sweeping pronouncement meant to show urgency in addressing climate change while the state he leads struggles with many of its most dire effects. But meeting those goals requires complex regulatory maneuvering.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Napa prepares city water use curbs in pursuit of 15% consumption cut after dry California winter

Irrigation curbs, car washing restrictions and the shutoff of fountains may return in the city of Napa amid shrinking water supplies on the tail of a dry California winter. Tuesday night, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a “moderate water shortage” declaration intended to cut consumption by 15%. Approval would mark the return of water-use restrictions last rolled out in the mid-2010s when a six-year drought led California to mandate across-the-board cutbacks statewide. Napa’s actions would follow mandatory cutbacks imposed upvalley by the cities of St. Helena and Calistoga.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Installing solar panels over California’s canals could yield water, land, air and climate payoffs

Climate change and water scarcity are front and center in the western U.S. The region’s climate is warming, a severe multi-year drought is underway and groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many locations. … About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money.

Aquafornia news Brownstein Water

Blog: Bridging intention and outcomes

On March 24, 2021, the Groundwater Resources Association of California and California Groundwater Coalition hosted the virtual 2021 Groundwater Law & Legislation Forum, featuring a keynote address from California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and updates on pending groundwater legislation, DWR’s SGMA implementation, and ACWA’s position on potential bond measures. One panel focused on the intersection of environmental justice, groundwater management and the role the legislative process can play…

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Monday Top of the Scroll: Pandemic lockdown exposes the vulnerability some Californians face keeping up with water bills

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Massive water pipelines, veganism: Your drought ideas

Stop eating meat. Build interstate pipelines. Turn sea water into drinking water. When our letter writers start making these suggestions in earnest, that’s how I know we’re beginning to feel the effects of another drought in California.
-Written and compiled by Paul Thornton, the Los Angeles Times’ letters editor.

Aquafornia news Mission Local

Blog: Putting Dennis Herrera atop the PUC is weird. But San Francisco is a weird town.

It’s been a week since Mayor London Breed tapped City Attorney Dennis Herrera to lead the Public Utilities Commission, a massive, billion-dollar entity providing San Franciscans — and, in fact, millions of nearby locals — with water and/or power. It’s been a week, and nobody seems to be saying it, so we’ll say it: This is weird. It would be weird if the mayor transferred a hypothetical general manager of the Public Utilities Commission — with a background touching on engineering and water and wastewater and sewage treatment and hydroelectric power generation and distribution — into leading the City Attorney’s office. The reverse is weird, too. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

New report looks into water insecurity in tribal lands across Colorado River Basin

A recent report looked into why Indigenous communities within the Colorado River Basin are struggling to get clean, reliable running water. A household in tribal lands is 19 times more likely than a white household to not have indoor plumbing, and during the pandemic this had catastrophic effects on some Indigenous communities. According a 2019 report outlining the action plan for closing the water access gap throughout the United States, “race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access,” and it’s Indigenous people who face this problem most.

Aquafornia news City of Roseville

News release: Federal funding bolsters water reliability efforts

Roseville is the recipient of $33 million in low-interest financing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. This funding will accelerate water supply planning and implementation under Roseville’s Water Future Initiative. … WIFIA program funding and utility operation funds will advance two critical efforts under Water Future. We will increase the number of groundwater wells and examine how we can expand water recycling over time.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Lake Pillsbury, there is no water to waste

Little is said about the role of Lake Pillsbury in our regional water system or the critical water it provides to fill Lake Mendocino. If anything, its importance to understated or not referenced at all in most media articles. Without Lake Pillsbury at the Eel River headwaters to control downstream flows, both the Eel and Russian Rivers and surrounding aquifers will intermittently dry up. … A strong movement is afoot to remove Scott Dam and eliminate Lake Pillsbury…
-Written by Frank Lynch & Carol Cinquini, Directors of the Lake Pillsbury Alliance.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Groundwater monitoring station planned for Tehama County

Water talk will be a big part of Tuesday’s Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting as plans for a new groundwater monitoring site in Corning are coming to fruition. Tehama County Public Works plans to sign a Permit to Use Land Agreement for a groundwater station in the Corning Public Works yard on Gallagher Avenue, should the board approve the request. Creating and maintaining the station will be a combined effort of Tehama County Public Works, the Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the California Department of Water Resources. According to the related agenda report, the station is expected to be in use for a minimum of 20 years. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Is Newsom making any difference on fracking?

British journalist James Bartholomew is widely credited with creating the phrase “virtue signaling” to describe positioning oneself on the popular side of an issue without actually doing anything about it. Politicians are particularly prone to uttering words or making token efforts on difficult issues to stave off criticism about their failure to act meaningfully. Gov. Gavin Newsom is California’s champion virtue-signaler as he faces a recall election later this year. … There’s no better example than Newsom’s ever-shifting attitude toward hydraulic fracturing to increase petroleum production.
-Written by Dan Walters

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin drought brings echoes of 1976-77 water crisis

Swap this year and the period of Marin County’s worst-ever drought in 1976-77 and it might be hard to tell the difference. Water suppliers restricting use to conserve reservoirs. Ranchers preparing to truck in water as creeks and wells dry up. Talks of a potential water pipeline. And questions about the resiliency of the county’s water supply. During the 1976-77 drought, the Marin Municipal Water District was within 120 days of running out of water. The county’s savior was a 6-mile pipeline over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to pump in water from the East Bay.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Facing droughts, California challenges Nestlé over water use

After another dry winter that threatens to worsen water shortages across California, state officials have accused a water bottling company of diverting too much water from forests in the San Bernardino area. The officials issued a draft cease-and-desist letter to the company last week – the latest development in a battle that has dragged on for years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Poseidon wins key seawater desalination permit

Poseidon Water won a key approval Thursday in its long quest to build a seawater desalination plant on the Orange County coastline. But the permit from the Santa Ana Regional Quality Control Board does not ensure that the $1-billion ocean desalter will rise on the grounds of an old power plant in Huntington Beach. Poseidon still needs a construction permit from the California Coastal Commission and, most critically, a binding deal with a public agency to buy 50 million gallons a day of purified seawater.

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Aquafornia news Senator Bill Dodd

News release: Sen. Dodd’s Water Access & Equity Bills Advance

Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help ensure low-income and pandemic-strapped Californians struggling to make water bill payments do not lose access to water service cleared a key committee hurdle today. … Sen. Dodd has proposed two bills to ensure access and affordability. Senate Bill 222 establishes a water assistance fund for low-income rate payers experiencing economic hardship. And SB 223 expands protections and protocols for customers who are faced with having their water shutoff because of an inability to pay their bills. They were approved today by the Senate Environmental Quality committee with overwhelming support.

Aquafornia news KCRA3

Sierra snow survey canceled due to impacts of dry weather, water supply also at risk

A lack of wet weather is taking a toll on the state’s water supply. Chris Orrock, a spokesperson for the California Department of Water Resources …  said while drought-like conditions are very common for the state, this year is worse than normal, especially considering back-to-back dry winters with little snow and rain. It is so dry, in fact, that DWR canceled Thursday’s snow survey at Phillips Station because there was not enough snow on the ground. 

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Shandon-San Juan Water District applies for Nacimiento and Santa Margarita lake water

A North County water district representing irrigated agriculture near Shandon is asking the state for allocations of Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita Lake water, which it proposes to pipe into the nearby Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. While pitched as a potential solution to the Paso basin’s overdraft, the proposal is already getting blowback from two county supervisors.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

Attorneys for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District filed a complaint with state regulators Tuesday asking that California American Water Co. be forced to purchase water from the expansion of a recycling project because Cal Am is failing to meet a deadline for its part in increasing the local water supply, according to language in the complaint. Any decision by regulators is important because it will affect the ability of the Monterey Peninsula to generate an alternative water source. Cal Am in 2009 was hit with a state cease-and-desist order to stop over-pumping from the Carmel River basin.

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Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

Blog: Brown and Caldwell receives funding grant for PFAS incineration study

Brown and Caldwell has been granted funding from The Water Research Foundation (WRF) to study the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through sewage sludge incineration. PFAS is a group of human-made chemicals found in a range of consumer and industrial products. Many PFAS are resistant to grease, oil, water, and heat and used in many applications, including stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints, and fire-fighting foams. The widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment over time can result in environmental contamination.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Navajo Nation wins revival of Colorado River water rights suit

The Navajo Nation can pursue its lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to secure water from the Colorado River for the reservation, the Ninth Circuit said Wednesday, reversing a lower court’s dismissal of the tribe’s breach of trust claim. The tribe doesn’t seek a judge’s determination of its rights to the river, which the Interior Department says would fall under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Instead, the tribe seeks an order for Interior to determine the extent to which it needs water, to develop a plan to secure… 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Stunning drone photos over Lake Oroville show drought emergency in Northern California

Stunning drone photographs of Lake Oroville help illustrate the drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom in two Northern California counties. Water levels at Lake Oroville [the keystone reservoir of the State Water Project, which supplies water to 27 million Californians] have dropped to 42% of its 3,537,577 acre foot capacity. Conditions are particularly acute in Mendocino and Sonoma counties because the local water supply depends on rainfall in the Russian River watershed.

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