Topic: Drought

Overview

Drought

Drought— an extended period of limited or no precipitation— is a fact of life in California and the West, with water resources following boom-and-bust patterns.

No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the West than in other regions of the country.

Most of the West experiences what is classified as severe to extreme drought more than 10 percent of the time, and a significant portion of the region experiences severe to extreme drought more than 15 percent of the time, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Experts who have studied recent droughts say a drought occurs about once every 10 years somewhere in the United States. Droughts are believed to be the most costly of all natural disasters because of their widespread effects on agriculture and related industries, as well as on urbanized areas. One of those decennial droughts could cost as much as $38 billion, according to one estimate.

Because droughts cannot be prevented, experts are looking for better ways to forecast them and new approaches to managing droughts when they occur.

Aquafornia news CNBC

Money from socially responsible investors flows into US water stocks

A growth in sustainable funds is lifting share prices for U.S. water utilities as investors seek to inject more money into socially responsible companies.

Aquafornia news National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

News release: Winter outlook: Warmer than average for many, wetter in the north

Warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the U.S. this winter according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. … Drier-than-average conditions are most likely for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well areas of northern and central California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial County seeks to declare Salton Sea emergency, wants disaster funds

Imperial County is seeking to declare a public health emergency at the Salton Sea … aiming to force Gov. Gavin Newsom and federal officials to free up emergency funds and take immediate action to tamp down dangerous dust.

Related article:

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

California’s Delta smelt are dying: How this affects the state’s water

The Delta smelt is such a small and translucent fish that it often disappears from view when it swims in the turbid waters of its home in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, it’s also been disappearing from the Delta entirely.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Second year of Santa Cruz to Soquel Creek water transfers to continue

In an update to the water district board of directors this week, officials from both agencies described how Soquel Creek will expand its distribution of city water to a greater part of its service area this winter.

Aquafornia news Axios

The water crisis U.S. cities don’t see coming

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. … Still, with only a handful of exceptions, “water systems aren’t designed to focus on health, they’re focused on cost-containment,” says Seth Siegel, whose book “Troubled Water,” released this month, examines the precarious state of water infrastructure in the U.S.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

The lost river: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the U.S.

The Colorado River serves over 35 million Americans before reaching Mexico – but it is dammed at the border, leaving locals on the other side with a dry delta.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Change in California water will prevent catastrophe, build a more resilient valley

Change is hard. It’s human nature to resist it. So it’s not surprising that some Central Valley farmers and water managers are raising alarm bells about the most sweeping change to state water law in a century, saying in a recent Fresno Bee series that the consequences will be “excruciating” and “catastrophic.”

Aquafornia news EOS.org

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

New research tracking 1.8 million trees found that tall trees died at more than twice the rate of smaller ones toward the end of extreme and persistent drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California likely to see a dry winter, a federal report warns. But nothing’s certain

The coming winter is likely to be dry in California, and drought conditions may begin to emerge in the central part of the state, federal climate experts warned Thursday. But forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also said weather patterns are fickle this year, and there’s no clear sign that another prolonged drought like the one that squeezed California earlier this decade will settle in.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

State letter chides San Luis Obispo County for diminished role of agriculture in groundwater plan

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture called out San Luis Obispo County in a letter expressing concern about irrigated agriculture’s “limited” involvement in crafting groundwater plans over the Paso Robles basin.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water explores potential for managed aquifer recharge to aid California’s groundwater basins

To survive the next drought and meet the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability law, California is going to have to put more water back in the ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging overpumped aquifers is no easy task.

Aquafornia news TriplePundit

Blog: World’s largest berry company bets big on water stewardship

Growing berries can be a water intensive proposition, with the added challenge that prime growing regions are often located in areas of high water stress: Eighty percent of Driscoll’s acreage globally can be found in California and Mexico, regions which coincide with significant water risks to businesses and the communities in which they operate.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea

Audubon California’s Salton Sea Program Director Frank Ruiz served as the guide for this trip. Ruiz says the Salton Sea is receding at an alarming rate, about 6-inches a year, exposing toxic lake bed which is evident from the air.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As developers built homes, Arizona groundwater levels fell. It can’t continue, report says

A set of water rules that has fueled rapid growth in Arizona’s suburbs is riddled with weaknesses, according to a new report by researchers at Arizona State University, who argue the system needs to be overhauled to protect homeowners from rising costs and to ensure sufficient water supplies for the future.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California scientists hope to breed climate resilient trees

When California’s historic five-year drought finally relented a few years ago the tally of dead trees in the Sierra Nevada was higher than almost anyone expected: 129 million. … But some trees did survive the test of heat and drought. Now, scientists are racing to collect them, and other species around the globe, in the hope that these “climate survivors” have a natural advantage that will allow them to better cope with a warming world.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

State requirements face off with federal law in decision requiring more water from Lake Cachuma for steelhead

For more than 20 years, California pondered what to do about steelhead in the Santa Ynez River. On Sept. 17, the State Water Resources Control Board finally made a decision. It voted to pass an order that will increase water releases from Lake Cachuma.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin’s wet year offers little comfort for firefighters

The ample rainfall in Marin County this past water year has acted as a double-edged sword. While the storms that touched down in the winter and spring filled reservoirs and moistened vegetation, they also created more fire fuel that is now beginning to fully dry out during what firefighters are calling a critical period in the fire season.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Why we need to treat wildfire as a public health issue in California

Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue. Health effects from fires close to or in populated areas range from smoke exposure to drinking water contaminated by chemicals like benzene to limited options for the medically vulnerable. These kinds of threats are becoming major, statewide concerns.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Ventura approves $200 million wastewater recycling plan

The Ventura City Council approved a $200 million-plus plan Monday that will give the city more drinking water and greatly reduce the treated wastewater its sewer plant releases into the Santa Clara River estuary. The big-ticket item in the city’s plan is a new plant that will take wastewater that once went into the estuary and treat it to drinking water standards…

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: As groundwater law plows forward, small farmers seek more engagement

Dennis Hutson worries small farmers may not have the resources to adapt to the potentially strict water allocations and cutbacks that might be coming. Their livelihoods and identities may be at stake. “You grow things a certain way, and then all of a sudden you don’t have access to as much water as you would like in order to grow what you grow,” he says, “and now you’re kind of out of sorts.”

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Metropolitan Southern California’s use of Colorado River water on track to be the lowest this year since the 1950s

The reasons are twofold. First, a big Sierra snowpack (the fifth largest since 1950) meant a larger allocation via the California State Water Project – a 75 percent allocation (which is really bigger than it sounds – it’s a big allocation). Second, Met’s become much more nimble in conserving water and juggling the various supplies within its service territory.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Lake Mendocino benefits from high-tech weather forecasting system

Lake Mendocino made it through a typically long, hot summer with an abundance of water and now, thanks to an ongoing experiment with high-tech weather forecasting, the reservoir can retain more water through the winter, benefiting people, fish and farmers along the Russian River.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

The monsoon was a total letdown for the Southwest

In Arizona, the mountainous city of Flagstaff normally gets 8.3 inches of rain in monsoon season but had 2.08 inches — the driest in more than 120 years of record keeping. The Grand Canyon airport, Teec Nos Pos on the Navajo Nation and Show Low also had record low rainfall.

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Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Multi-million dollar plan proposed to change Kings County groundwater management

Kings County’s groundwater management will begin a 20-year transformation in 2020. Five local groundwater agencies presented more information behind the groundwater sustainability plan in a public outreach meeting Thursday night.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Court ruling pauses Cal Am desal plant project

A Monterey County Superior Court judge has called a halt to work on the California American Water desalination plant project, at least temporarily, while a California Coastal Commission appeal challenging the project’s source wells is pending.

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Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Court dismisses lawsuit against Crystal Geyser, county

The court denied the petitioner’s challenge, which questioned the validity of the county’s Environmental Impact Report, according to the Statement of Decision. Crystal Geyser purchased the former Coca Cola water bottling facility on Ski Village Drive in 2013 with hopes of bottle sparkling spring water and eventually producing Juice Squeeze drinks there.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Wildfires affect water resources long after the smoke clears

The number of wildfires burning across the western United States over the past 6 decades has been steadily increasing, and those fires are growing larger and more severe, especially in mountain areas where more than 65% of clean water resources for the West’s 75 million people originate. What happens when fires intersect water resources is the subject of two new papers in Hydrological Processes.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Long-term projections show insufficient groundwater in Pinal County, Arizona

Arizona’s top water official presented new long-term projections Friday showing that Pinal County doesn’t have enough groundwater to provide for the fast-growing area’s cities, farms and many planned subdivisions over the coming decades.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Opinion: Imagine a day without water

While Southern Californians appreciate the work that’s needed to provide a consistent water supply, most people carry on with their busy lives as long as water comes out of the taps. Because water pipelines are out of sight, they are also mostly out of mind. But try to imagine for a moment a day when water didn’t just flow from the faucets.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

San Diego Foundation awards $364,000 for local projects to address climate change

The San Diego Foundation has awarded $364,000 to six nonprofit programs that promise to strengthen regional resilience in the face of diminishing water supplies due to climate change.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Wastewater project could create drought-proof drinking water for 500,000 Southern California homes

In its effort to establish a new, drought-proof source of water that could serve a half-million Southern California homes, the Metropolitan Water District on Thursday, Oct. 10 unveiled a $17 million pilot plant that will bring wastewater to drinkable standards.

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Opinion: Cal Am looks to the future

While cities on the Monterey Peninsula have been working to address housing needs and the business community is actively looking to create more jobs, there is one component they all need to complete their plans – reliable, drought-proof access to water.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Getting ready for winter rains

Drainage in Southern California was built around getting storm water to the ocean quickly, but we now know that slowing down these flows and encouraging water to soak into the groundwater basin is preferable.

Aquafornia news HowStuffWorks.com

How the Salton Sea became an eco wasteland

California’s largest inland lake, the Salton Sea, lies in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. The lake, which is more than 50 percent saltier than the Pacific Ocean, is becoming more salt than water because it’s essentially evaporating. The lake and the area that surrounds it — once hotspots for tourism and wildlife — have essentially become ghost towns.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

With no El Niño, how does California’s winter shape up?

Will we have a second straight year of big snows and periodically heavy rains? Or is California headed for the start of another drought?

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Dispute resolution processes: Thinking through SGMA implementation

Building the capacity to resolve disputes and work together is critical for a sustainable water future. However, recent analysis conducted by Water in the West … suggests that alternative dispute resolution processes are rarely used even when included in water management agreements.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Inside California’s Central Valley water crisis

California’s Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States… But a seven-year drought has threatened the viability of the valley’s farmland, and many rural communities have suffered greatly as a result. Joris Debeij’s short documentary When a Town Runs Dry offers a window into the front lines of the water crisis.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Groundwater governance Q&A with Anita Milman

An expert in water governance, Anita Milman’s research focuses on understanding the interplay of technical, institutional and social dimensions of water within governance processes. … Below, Milman discusses keys to successful groundwater governance, implications toward achieving water security and her research activities at Stanford. 

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

As cost of delivering water climbs, Tustin looks at raising household rates

For the first time in five years, Tustin is looking at passing along those increases to consumers through a rise in rates. Early next year, the City Council will vote on a multi-year, incremental rate hike. If council members approve the staff proposal, rates almost immediately will increase 6% per year for five years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hydro company proposes to dam Little Colorado River

Pumped Hydro Storage LLC is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the sites east of Grand Canyon National Park over three years. None of it will move forward without permission from the Navajo Nation. Navajo President Jonathan Nez said he’s been briefed by tribal economic development officials about the proposals — but hasn’t talked with anyone from Pumped Hydro Storage.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

We’re back, baby! Fresno top ag county once again

A big part of the reason for Fresno County falling short of the No. 1 ranking those years was due to California’s five-year drought that began in late 2011— the worst in the state’s recorded history — causing major water shortages in the western end of Fresno County that forced farmers there to limit their farming or let fields go fallow.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Reimagining our water system: Sites Reservoir as 21st century infrastructure

Building on the Governor’s call to “position California to meet broad water needs through the 21st Century” there are unique opportunities in the Sacramento River Basin to more effectively integrate 21st Century infrastructure into our multi-benefit water management approaches to help achieve resiliency.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Chinook salmon flocking to revitalized San Joaquin River

A staggering number of Chinook salmon are returning to a California river that hasn’t sustained salmon for decades due to agricultural and urban demands, giving biologists hope that threatened fish are finally spawning in their native grounds without human help.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Business Insider

Orange County’s pure drinking water comes from filtered sewage

Whenever I visit my hometown of Orange County, California, I get to sip some of the purest drinking water in the US. The quality is sometimes hard to spot, since many drinking-water contaminants are odorless, tasteless, and invisible to the human eye. Even in cities where the water is contaminated with lead, residents have reported that their taps are crystal clear. But in Orange County, the water is actually as clean as it looks.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Profit and Trump’s attack on Bay protections

Areas under Clean Water Act, or CWA, jurisdiction are not prohibited from being filled for development, but if developed, the act does require federal oversight, permitting and full mitigation for any loss of wetlands and wildlife habitat. Removing CWA protections would likely make the 1,400-acre salt pond site more profitable to develop, and thus more difficult to purchase for tidal marsh restoration.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Hotter fires are transforming California’s forests

Hotter-burning wildfires are transforming California’s forests, and not for the better. A new study from UC Davis finds high-intensity fires leave fewer trees and a less diverse population of plants behind. … Those intense fires transform forest into shrubland. And according to Richter, the more frequent and the larger the area burned at these high-severity sites, the larger the shrub fields left behind.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Beware Trumpian claims that fish don’t need water (Part 1)

Over the past decade, state and federal agencies have continued to publish peer reviewed scientific research that largely strengthens our understanding of how the volume, timing, temperature, and quality of water – and the operations of existing dams and water diversion facilities, including the state and federal water projects – adversely affect salmon and other fish and wildlife.

Related article:

Aquafornia news NOVA

Scientists may now be able to predict forest die-off up to 19 months in advance

In July of 2015, California’s forests began to crumple. Parched from more than three years of severe drought, trees died in droves, transforming entire swaths of the Sierra Nevada from vibrant green to dull, lifeless red. … But as Mukesh Kumar and his colleagues would discover, California’s trees had sounded a subtle death knell long before they breathed their last.

Aquafornia news Golden Gate Xpress

Fish farmers work to restore the San Francisco Bay

The loss of oyster reefs in the bay has affected its entire ecosystem. Oysters are natural filter feeders, filtering out small sediments and contaminants in the water. The unclean water has made it difficult for underwater grass to grow, reducing habitats for fish. The California Shellfish Initiative … works to advance local restoration plans for the bay, partnering with the California Coastal Conservancy to rebuild its native oyster reefs and wetlands.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Los Angeles, a city known for its freeways, is about to plant a ton of trees

The ambitious tree-planting project falls under the purview of Rachel Malarich, the city’s forest officer—a job that was just created in August to “oversee the growth of Los Angeles’ urban forest” as part of Garcetti’s Green New Deal. … The project will grow what’s already the largest urban forest in the country, making what happens in Los Angeles an important model for other cities looking to go green.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California water czar seeks resource collaboration, not combat

For E. Joaquin Esquivel, California has made great strides in fighting climate change and transitioning to a cleaner energy sector. Now, he said, it’s water’s turn. “Water, I think, is ready for that moment,” said Esquivel, the chairman of the California State Water Resources Control Board who took over from longtime chair Felicia Marcus in February.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Protecting our groundwater, and our future

As a berry farmer in Coastal California my entire life, I have been a vocal supporter of groundwater regulation. … We are now seeing the profound risk of losing this critical resource, unless we collectively act soon to preserve groundwater resources for both the next decade and future generations.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Groundwater overdraft numbers ‘don’t add up,’ and that’s a big problem

Here in Kern County, state-mandated water budgets presented by several large ag water districts and groundwater sustainability agencies have painted a far rosier groundwater picture. So rosy, the numbers simply couldn’t be believed…

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey project nears finish line with ceremony

The project is the first of its kind to tap agricultural run-off among a variety of wastewater sources for conversion into potable, drinking water that would represent about a third of the Monterey Peninsula’s new drinking water supply.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

San Francisco Bay study gives 20-year window into marine life, climate impacts

On a biological scale, 20 years is like the blink of an eye — if not faster. But for San Francisco marine biology researchers, 20 years is priceless in what it can tell about the changing nature of the bay’s wildlife, especially in the face of a changing climate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Is California ignoring wildfire science as it adds more homes?

Scientists have increasingly found that loss of property and life from fire is overwhelmingly the result of precariously placed housing in and bordering wildland areas — residential developments that are, themselves, a major driver sparking conflagrations.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

This ancient fruit holds secrets for how to farm in climate change

Katie Fyhrie, a grower at Cloverleaf Farm in Davis, Calif., worries that the farm won’t be able to keep producing stone fruits—which depend on the timing and duration of winter chill—in the long-term. … With that in mind, Fyhrie and her team have started growing elderberries.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

UC Cooperative Extension survey results on cannabis cultivation

A UC Cooperative Extension survey of California registered and unregistered marijuana growers will help researchers, policymakers and the public better understand growing practices since cannabis sales, possession and cultivation first became legal for recreational use.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Volunteers celebrate 10 years of combating silt, pollution in Tijuana River Valley

Pulling weeds is not usually a great way to start a party. But filling a dumpster with invasive species was just the right activity to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Tijuana River Action Month on Saturday.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A ‘chilling message’: Trump critics see a deeper agenda in California feud

President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Warm it up: Balancing the needs of sturgeon, salmon, and humans

How does one achieve temperature and flow targets for listed species with such different requirements, while also meeting the needs of human water users? A recent study sought to achieve an equitable solution by using a multi-objective approach to identify trade-offs and model an optimal dam release scenario to meet the needs of salmon, sturgeon, and humans…

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Kaweah sets hearing for groundwater plan acceptance

Based on the most detailed data they have available, the East Kaweah has a supply of 125,000 acre feet per year of ground water available for use without threatening overdraft. However, Hagman notes that the East Kaweah has overdrafted their portion of the basin by 28,000 acre feet on average, per year.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Riverside judge dismisses challenge to WMWD water rate structure; a victory for customers who use water efficiently

Western Municipal Water District, which provides water to Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District and Rancho California Water District in southwest Riverside County, won a court challenge from two excessive water users to share their higher costs with those who efficiently conserve their water usage and save on their water bills.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Shrinking water supply puts Mojave Desert birds on the brink

Bird populations in the Mojave Desert have collapsed over the last century, and now scientists say they know why: The animals’ bodies can’t cope with the hotter and drier weather brought on by global warming.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Environmental bill’s veto sparked surprise

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s veto of a major environmental protection bill angered and surprised environmentalists – and left some wondering what happens next.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: How groundwater management activities can affect water quantity and quality

The paper is intended to help groundwater managers avoid inadvertently contaminating water supplies as they change management practices to comply with California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. It focuses on natural contaminants such as arsenic, chromium, and uranium, as well as contaminants that can pose a threat to human and ecosystem health…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Environmentalists push for removing dam along Colorado River

Environmental groups that have long pushed to bring down a huge dam along the Colorado River are suing the federal government, alleging it ignored climate science when approving a 20-year operating plan for the dam near the Arizona-Utah border.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The next big California vs. Trump fight is over water and endangered species

Just how far will Gov. Gavin Newsom go in his high-profile fight with the Trump administration over environmental protections? The next few months will provide an answer, as Newsom is forced to take a stand on Trump rollbacks in a long-contested battleground — the Northern California Delta that helps supply more than half the state’s population with drinking water and fills irrigation canals on millions of acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Appeals court dismisses Klamath groundwater dispute

The Oregon Court of Appeals won’t resolve a dispute over the impact of Klamath basin wells on surface waters due to newly imposed regulations in the area. The appellate court has dismissed the case because it’s moot and unworthy of review after the Oregon water regulators adopted different rules governing surface water interference from wells in the Upper Klamath basin earlier this year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New water year kicks off with a surplus in California

California has more water stored in its reservoirs than it did a year ago after a marathon wet winter that pounded the state with rain and blanketed its mountain ranges with snow.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Next step? Make AZ a strong voice among Colorado River states

We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. Arizona is stronger together. And that will serve us well as we work toward the next step – maintaining a stable, healthy Colorado River system as we face a hotter and drier future.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Montecito takes a step toward recycled water

On the heels of a severe drought and years of water rationing, a longstanding plan to provide recycled water for the vast lawn at the Santa Barbara Cemetery is finally gaining some momentum. At a joint committee meeting this week, members of the Montecito Water and Sanitary District boards and staffs tentatively agreed to collaborate on recycled water for the cemetery…

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Opinion: Public water now

Over 30 years, Cal Am’s Desal would cost $1.2 billion while the Pure Water Monterey expansion would be only $190 million. But the cost in dollars is not the only comparison that should be made. The environmental cost comparison is also dramatic.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California water permit warnings for commercial cannabis farmers

Although the Water Board made clear that they are not, at this time, issuing notices of violation, the letters serve as a shot across the bow to an industry that is beginning to appreciate the importance of compliance with environmental regulations and portends more significant enforcement efforts in the near future.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

PG&E installs weather stations in foothills: What you need to know

PG&E has installed more than 600 weather stations at locations all across the Sierra foothills in Northern California and plans to more than double that in the next three years. … The weather stations provide multiple sets of eyes on an area that has very dry vegetation with a real danger of wildfires. They also give PG&E a better handle on when it may be necessary to de-energize the power lines.

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Aquafornia news Rich Pauloo

Blog: Race To The Bottom

There simply isn’t enough water in any given year to support all of the crops and livestock, so farmers and ranchers depend on groundwater pumped from deep, underground aquifers. Groundwater, like oil, is a limited resource, and in California it’s consumed at an alarming rate.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Eco-groups sue feds, allege Glen Canyon Dam plan ignores climate change

Lake Powell’s long decline may be on hiatus after this year’s snowy winter, but activists still are raising concerns that climate change could render Glen Canyon Dam inoperable. This time, they are taking their concerns to court, asking a federal judge to invalidate the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 20-year operating plan for the towering dam..

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Blog: Facing the forever drought

California isn’t in an official drought and under mandatory water conservation, but climate change means that saving water is always crucial. That’s why a recent announcement should not go unnoticed: The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District won state approval to deliver recycled water to agricultural and habitat conservation land in the southern part of the county.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

River flows are falling worldwide as groundwater is depleted

A new study released Wednesday says that diminishing groundwater is causing the level of streams and rivers to fall as well. Like the shrinking aquifers, surface water is critical to farms, towns and cities for everything from food to trade to energy production. … In watersheds such as California’s Central Valley, the Midwestern U.S.’s high plains, the Upper Ganges and the Indus in South Asia, groundwater is already being depleted.

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Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Recycled water contract extended

The Palmdale Water District extended its contract with the Los Angeles County Sanitation District 20 for recycled water, as projects for this water have been delayed for circumstances beyond their control.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Can dry farming help save California’s vineyards?

California’s most recent drought lasted many long, parched years… There was plenty of suffering to go around, but some vineyards fared less terribly than others—historic parcels east of San Francisco, in Contra Costa County, for example. Planted at the turn of the last century by Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish immigrants, they rely on a technique called dry farming rather than irrigation.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Water storage agreements OK’d

The Antelope Valley Watermaster gave preliminary approval to the first two water storage agreements to come before the Board tasked with overseeing the 2015 court settlement that set limits on groundwater pumping for users across the Valley.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s water year starts with a large increase in reservoir storage. Here’s why

California is enjoying an increase in average water reserves due to increases in snowfall and precipitation, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Blog: Four lessons from the front lines of California’s water wars

From mandatory drought restrictions to billions of dollars’ worth of drought-proofing projects, San Diego and the entire West has for years had a complicated relationship with its water – and it’s not going to get any easier or any cheaper any time soon.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

To guard against drought, Santa Maria looks to acquire rights to suspended state water supply

Santa Maria and several other Central Coast Water Authority members are planning to claim an additional 12,214 acre-feet of state water that was set aside decades ago. The move — which would be funded by issuing a $42 million bond — would increase Santa Maria’s annual right to state water from 17,820 to over 27,000 acre-feet each year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story

Although the $750 million represents a personal gift to Caltech rather than a corporate gift from the Resnicks’ principal corporate entity, The Wonderful Company, they’re engaged through that company in some arguably unsustainable environmental practices.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria residents could see water and sewer increases for the next 4 years

The proposed water rates include a fixed meter charge per month and a variable consumption charge per unit of water. The city says most single family residences will see about a $15 increase in January of 2020. … The last rate increase was approved by the city council five years ago, but he says a lot has changed since then.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Newsom administration faces difficult tests on water this fall

While I’m deeply disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1, the governor’s veto is also a troubling sign for several big tests on California water coming this fall…

Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Opinion: Trump administration makes right move in repealing 2015 water rule

Recently, authority over many streams, pools, and lakes in the United States reverted from the federal government to the states. The Trump administration repealed the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, under which the federal government claimed authority to regulate virtually any body of water it wished.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Water vending businesses tap into customer fears over water quality

Water vending machine companies compete aggressively to sell water outside of supermarkets and pharmacies at an incredible markup. The industry is only lightly regulated – last year the California Department of Public Health inspected just two machines in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District stops work on Shasta Dam study after court loss

Following losses in court, a Fresno-based irrigation district has backed off its plans to do an environmental study on raising the height of Shasta Dam. The Westlands Water District announced Monday that it has stopped working on the report because it could not meet the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s schedule for the project.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$100 million desalination project to be led by Berkeley Lab

In an effort to widen the use of a nearly limitless — but expensive — source of water for California and other places worldwide that are prone to shortages, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been selected to lead a $100 million project aimed at bringing down the cost of desalination.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The Interior secretary wants to enlarge a dam. An old lobbying client would benefit

For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California. The department’s own scientists and researchers concluded that doing so would endanger rare plants and animals in the area… But the project is going forward now, in a big win for a powerful consortium of California farmers that stands to profit substantially…

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield’s water usage drops as residents’ behavior becoming more efficient

Bakersfield residents deserve a round of applause, at least in terms of the city’s water usage. So far in 2019, city residents have saved 3,348 acre feet of water compared to 2013 quantities. Cumulatively, the city has cut water usage by nearly 12 percent since 2013, an average year before drought struck the state.

Aquafornia news Seattle Times

In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next?

If there is a hell for salmon, it probably looks like this. There were many more golf balls in the water than salmon this summer, whacked there by enthusiasts at Aqua Golf, a driving range on the bank of the Sacramento River. Below the surface, the gravel salmon need to make their nests had been mined decades ago to build Shasta Dam, 602 feet tall and with no fish passage. The dam cut off access to all of the cold mountain waters where these fish used to spawn.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Citizens advisory commission created in response to Oroville Dam crisis

The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting an inaugural public forum designed to address issues related to the Oroville Dam, according to a press release from the CNRA. 

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

Ballona Wetlands: Malibu Lagoon’s resounding success

The final of six yearly Comprehensive Monitoring Reports performed by The Bay Foundation based on detailed scientific monitoring data prove the Project wholly succeeded in meeting its goals, performance standards and success criteria, and requires no supplemental work.

Aquafornia news Paso Robles Daily News

Templeton Community Services District celebrates new drought-resistant water supply project

The project, called the Upper Salinas River Basin Conjunctive Use Project, captures existing wastewater flows generated within the eastside of the District and will return these flows back to the Meadowbrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. The wastewater undergoes treatment and is then discharged into the river alluvium that contains the Salinas River underflow providing subsequent conveyance to district wells…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Two new Grand Canyon dams could be built by Phoenix company

A Phoenix company wants to build two hydroelectric dams less than five miles from the eastern border of Grand Canyon National Park, submerging several miles of the Little Colorado River and the endangered fish habitat it protects.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Santa Cruz River starts thriving again, water supply is restored

The river is carrying year-round flows down a stretch on the Tohono O’odham Nation’s San Xavier District that until recently was dry for more than 70 years except after big rains. And here, unlike through downtown Tucson, the water is once again coming up from the aquifer naturally — not being added artificially through effluent.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must embrace groundwater management, and expand it

Over the last five years, more than 250 groundwater sustainability agencies have formed to manage groundwater at the local level and dozens of groundwater sustainability plans are in progress. … So what do we still need to make the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act a success?

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

In major move, Utah pulls most hydropower out of Lake Powell pipeline

Utah’s proposed Lake Powell pipeline will cost less to build and be easier to permit under a decision announced Wednesday to cut major hydropower components from the controversial project that would move 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water to St. George.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Oregon releases plan to reduce water temperature in Klamath Basin

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has issued a new plan to reduce water temperatures for endangered fish in the Upper Klamath and Lost River watersheds, though it could come at a price for farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Often short of water, California’s southern Central Coast builds toward a drought-proof supply

The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Inside the desert resort rethinking water conservation

When the Coachella Valley became a hub of tourism in the 20th century, spas and resorts were built around springs, whose unusually lithium-rich waters were touted as therapeutic. There are more than 20 such establishments in the 30 square miles that make up Desert Hot Springs, one of which is the recently-refreshed Two Bunch Palms resort.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

IWVGA board talks future administrative structure

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority rolled out concepts for an administrative structure that could eventually cement the new agency as an independent entity — should money ever be found to fund them.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Farming the sun:’ As water goes scarce, can solar farms prop up the Valley?

On the Changala family farm in Tulare County, the past and future are separated by a dirt road and a barbed-wire fence. On the south side sits a wheat field. On the north, a solar farm, built three years ago, sending electricity to thousands of Southern Californians. Alan Changala sees little difference between the two.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Often Short of Water, California’s Southern Central Coast Builds Toward A Drought-Proof Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Water agencies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties look to seawater, recycled water to protect against water shortages

The spillway at Lake Cachuma in central Santa Barbara County. Drought in 2016 plunged its storage to about 8 percent of capacity.The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.

Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

A river runs through them

A plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River – one of the most ambitious river restoration projects ever attempted – is either mocked or praised depending on the audience. It will expand salmon habitat or destroy a fishery. The only certainty is that lives will change forever.

Aquafornia news Del Mar Times

Santa Fe Irrigation selects multi-tiered structure for water rate increases

The Santa Fe Irrigation District board recommended moving forward with a new five-tier rate structure for its proposed three percent water rate increase. The board is expected to make a final decision on the rates by January 2020 to ensure the financial stability of the district and meet its objectives of equity across customer classes and encouraging conservation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How the Central Valley became the ‘Appalachia of the West.’ Now, new threats loom for economy

Water shortages, already the scourge of the Valley, are about to get worse. A powerful state law called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will curb access to water and shrink agriculture’s footprint in the next two decades. Thousands of acres will be turned into solar-energy farms and other non-agricultural uses. The long-term effect of climate change, meanwhile, will squeeze water supplies even more.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Wet winter, no new water

The five-year-old moratorium on new water hookups in the Goleta Valley will likely continue through 2020, even though the drought emergency is over, authorities say.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California fights Trump over Delta water, fish, environmental rules

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said the federal plan would harm the nearly-extinct Delta smelt and other species. The state said the plan would also hurt the mostly urban water agencies that belong to the State Water Project, which might have to surrender some of its supplies to compensate for the federal plan.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

DWR Director Karla Nemeth on the department’s strategic plan, Delta conveyance

At the August meeting of the California Water Commission, Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR), spoke to the commissioners about the Department’s strategic plan and the work underway on the Delta conveyance project, which she noted nests into the strategic plan as a key feature of what needs to be done to modernize the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Audio: How is climate change impacting Reno’s Truckee River?

As populations in the West rise, managers of our precious water supplies have to figure out how to deal with increasing demand in the midst of climate change. In Southern Nevada, we rely on the Colorado River. But the Truckee River is the lifeline in Northern Nevada, and climate change is affecting them in a much different way.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Revealed: Trump’s Wildlife Service pick has ties to anti-animal protection groups

Aurelia Skipwith, who is already a top official at the interior department, formerly worked at the agrochemical giant Monsanto. New revelations show she also has ties to the Westlands Water District, a political powerhouse with a history of chafing against Endangered Species Act regulations that can interfere with farmers’ demands for water in California.

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Aquafornia news Davis Enterprise

Evolution of the modern lawn

Lawns cool the air, reduce urban heat-island effect, remove pollutants, and provide play spaces. … From a design standpoint, they make uncluttered views, provide background and contrast for flowers, and create our outdoor living spaces. Historically, lawns provided all those benefits at high cost, literally and environmentally.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

UN climate panel finds growing risks to oceans, glacial regions

Arctic ice is melting faster than expected and is contributing to a global climate crisis that will include stronger storms, longer droughts and an alarming increase in the marine heat waves that recently ravaged the ocean ecosystem along the West Coast, an international panel revealed Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: The snow must go on

Climate change is bringing many changes to California’s water system, but one of the most concerning is the loss of the Sierra snowpack caused by warming temperatures.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: More Colorado River “grand bargain” buzz

There was more buzz this week at two big Colorado River Basin events about the idea of a “grand bargain” to deal with coming collisions between water overallocation and the Law of the River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers fear ‘catastrophe’ from water restrictions

Starting next January, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will require farmers to gradually rein in the amount of groundwater they pump from their wells. It could devastate the economy of the entire San Joaquin Valley. In a region where agriculture is king — and the ability to extract the water beneath one’s soil has been practically a birthright — a difficult reckoning is coming.

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Aquafornia news California Agriculture

Watering the Emerald Triangle: Irrigation sources used by cannabis cultivators in Northern California

An improved understanding of cannabis cultivators’ water use practices is a particularly pressing need. Given the propensity of cannabis growers to establish farms in small, upper watersheds, where streams that support salmonids and other sensitive species are vulnerable to dewatering, significant concerns have been raised over the potential impacts of diverting surface water for cannabis cultivation.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: New $100m innovation hub to accelerate R&D for a secure water future

The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies and for treating nontraditional water sources for various end uses.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Editorial: WOTUS has done more for trial lawyers than clean water

While farm and private property interests cheered, environmental groups last week bemoaned the Trump administration finalizing the repeal of the controversial “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, rule. We see little to cheer or jeer at this point, as the repeal is hardly the final chapter in a dispute that has stretched on for nearly 10 years.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Concrete jungle: The quest to make the L.A. River wild again

A dozen kayakers paddled down the tree-lined, sandy-bottomed Los Angeles River in late August, running their hands through sycamore and willow leaves and gliding over carp and steelhead trout as traffic noise from the nearby 405 Freeway buzzed overhead.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers deal with climate change every day

Most farmers haven’t heard about the recent report from the UN, even though it deals with climate change and land use and features agriculture prominently. But we don’t need to read the science — we are living it.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas water use has dropped, but its affluent residents remain copious consumers

Total and per-capita water use in Southern Nevada has declined over the last decade, even as the region’s population has increased by 14%. But water use among the biggest water users — some of the valley’s wealthiest, most prominent residents — has held steady.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Freshwater flows, reduced diversions help abate toxic algae

When water is diverted from rivers, the remaining water moves more slowly and warms more easily. Algae and bacteria thrive in warm, stagnant water and are more likely to grow in excess, increasing the chances of a HAB event.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Steelhead win landmark victory

By any reckoning, the steelhead trout won a significant legal victory this week, along with CalTrout and the Environmental Defense Center, which have been arguing the case for two decades. But it remains uncertain exactly how much more water will have to be released downstream from Lake Cachuma to create a habitat wet enough along the main stem of the Santa Ynez River for the federally endangered fish to wage a meaningful comeback.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Palo Alto looks to sell, treat — and possibly ask people to drink — wastewater

In an effort to open the spigot on recycled water in the region, Palo Alto and Santa Clara Valley Water are exploring a deal that would send the city’s wastewater to a treatment plant elsewhere in the county, where it would be treated, transformed into potable water and potentially resold to the city for its residents and businesses.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom should sign SB 1 into law. Without its environmental protections, Californians will suffer

At least 85 different federal laws and regulations affecting California have been weakened or undermined by the Trump administration since January 2017. … That’s why I, along with many proponents, believe that Senate Bill 1 would safeguard our state …

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Aquafornia news Needles Desert Star

Free water available for areas of Needles with prior perfected rights

Free water is available to Needles residents who happen to live in one of the areas the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has determined to have earned prior perfected water rights (PPR): Well-drilling, pumping, piping and treating not included. Neighbors within an area must agree on an equitable plan for distribution of the water.

Aquafornia news Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

California’s chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution

When you walk through Jeannie Williams’s sunny orchard, you don’t notice anything wrong. But the problem’s there, underfoot. The land around her — about 250 square kilometres — is sinking. “It’s frightening,” Williams says. “Is the land going to come back up? I don’t know.”

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Monday Top of the Scroll: These trees survived California’s drought and that’s giving scientists hope for climate change

Individual members of any species can vary dramatically, something tied to genetic differences. That diversity comes in handy when environmental conditions change. The drought, heat and beetle outbreaks in recent years put extreme pressure on sugar pines, creating a natural experiment that weeded out all but the toughest.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Report: Peninsula may not need desal for two more decades

Reaction has been predictably mixed to a new report that concludes the Monterey Peninsula may be able to get by with recycled water instead of desalinated water for the next two decades and perhaps beyond.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: To avoid environmental genocide, Gov. Newsom must sign SB 1

I’m writing to express our tribe’s dismay at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he plans to veto Senate Bill 1. … Vetoing this bill will green-light President Trump’s plan to divert even more water from our struggling rivers for industrial agriculture. Many well-respected fish biologists and environmentalists have concluded Trump’s attempt to ignore the best science and rewrite the rules will essentially be an “extinction plan” for Chinook salmon and other threatened fish.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California farms, ranches strive to adapt as climate warms — it’s a matter of survival

Every degree of warming is expected to worsen what, in many ways, is already a crisis for the state’s multibillion-dollar agricultural industry. And a crisis here is a problem everywhere, given that California produces 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables and 90% of its nut crops.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Study: Inadequate groundwater for current and potential demands in basin targeted by Las Vegas

There is not enough water to support important wetlands and springs in a semi-arid desert ecosystem that straddles the Nevada-Utah border if all permitted and proposed groundwater rights are put to use, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study of the Snake Valley. There also may not be enough groundwater to satisfy the desires of the Las Vegas area, whose water agencies have eyed the valley for decades…

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Demise of key environment bill could escalate California’s water wars

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds. The result may be the heightened regulatory uncertainty that opponents of the bill said they hoped to avoid…

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Eyes in the sky help farmers on the ground

Recent years have brought severe droughts that have forced farmers to become more efficient with water use. With nearby Silicon Valley teeming with the promise of efficiency and data-fueled intelligence, a natural relationship between technology and agriculture has developed.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Investment in regenerative agriculture connects the dots between soil and plate

Anthony Myint vividly recalls the moment he encountered the idea that would shift his life’s path. In 2014, the San Francisco chef and his wife and business partner, Karen Leibowitz, visited California carbon ranching pioneer John Wick at Nicasio Native Grass Ranch in Marin County.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: The quiet death and imminent rebirth of a water bond

A concerted effort to put a $4 billion bond measure for safe drinking water, drought preparation, wildfire prevention, and climate resilience on the March 2020 ballot in California died quietly in the state legislature last week. But the bond measure proposal will rise again early in the new year…

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

As water sources dry up, Arizona farmers feel the heat of climate change

Farms in central Arizona will soon lose access to Colorado River water, impacting farmers, cities, and Native communities.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Higher groundwater pumping fees are coming to Oxnard

The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency … discussed reasons why the area will reduce pumping in the future to meet its sustainability goals as it moves toward 2040. Cities can expect considerable pumping fee increases per acre-feet of water and can have far-reaching effects on the local economy.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Coastal Commission delays Cambria affordable housing project

Commissioners will decide later about whether the long-planned, reconfigured Cambria Pines Apartments project (32 affordable-housing apartments and a manager’s unit) should move forward, given Cambria’s current water-supply issues and other concerns.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

State to increase flows on Santa Ynez River to protect steelhead

State officials have ordered increased water flows on the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara County to protect steelhead trout, which are endangered in Southern California. The State Water Resources Control Board action follows two decades of legal efforts to address long-term declines in native fish populations in the Santa Ynez.

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Aquafornia news UCLA

News release: UCLA to assess California drinking water systems to identify risks and solutions

Through a $3 million contract with the California State Water Resources Board, the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation will conduct a statewide drinking water needs analysis to identify risks and solutions for water systems and private wells throughout the state.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Newsom must keep his promise on California SB1

Whatever satisfaction might be gained by telling the president to pound sand is nowhere near as important as protecting the water supply of Modesto and thousands of farmers depending on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Selma residents get drought notices, demand answers from city officials

We all know it’s important to conserve water, but are we still in a drought? California water officials say “no!” But a number of residents in Selma got a notice on their door telling them we are in a drought and that’s why stage 3 water restrictions are in place.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Opinion: Why environmentalists are losing the water wars

It all boils down to diluted language that minimizes the perception of how we’re devastating our rivers and other bodies of water.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

UC pot researchers working with ‘gray literature’

Here’s a weird fact: There is no industry standard for how much water a cannabis plant requires. Four gallons a day? Six? Growers are left to ask their friends, look at possibly-dicey web sites, and experiment for themselves. Growers of tomatoes or corn, meanwhile, can easily find such information by looking it up on the USDA’s web site, or asking their local extension representative.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

A brief history of Pure Water’s pure drama

After years of scientific progress, regulatory wrangling, political ups and downs, and searching for the money, San Diego is getting ready to get to work on a multi-part, multibillion-dollar project that will eventually provide a third of the city’s drinking water.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom has a chance to end California’s water battles

Last week, the Legislature acted to thwart President Donald Trump on water matters by passing a bill to essentially pre-empt the execution of federal environmental law. The Metropolitan Water District opposed Senate Bill 1 because it would have unleashed rounds of state-federal litigation, and would have likely brought 13 years of effort to a halt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has signaled he plans to veto the measure.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A fight with Trump that Gavin Newsom doesn’t want: Why he’s vetoing environmental bill

Newsom saw SB 1 as a mortal threat to something he’s been supporting since shortly before he took office: a tentative truce in California’s longstanding water wars. The truce revolves around the flow of water in and out of the Delta from California’s most important river systems, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.

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Aquafornia news Teen Vogue

What climate change will do to three major American cities by 2100

For San Franciscans … there are new worries for the city. Fires now burn more regularly across the Sierra Nevada as well as coastal mountain ranges. The flames may ruin plans for weekend getaways to Yosemite or deliver noxious smoke to the Bay Area. And locals may start to reach for air masks as dangerously smoky days become more common.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: East Coachella Valley residents, demand a cleaner environment

The state’s moves open up more opportunities for extension of drinking water service, operations and maintenance for domestic wells, and even demands action for Salton Sea conservation. The myriad issues east valley residents face are exacerbated by the public health impacts of the receding Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: The Klamath River Basin is headed toward disaster. Here’s how we can save it

Salmon and steelhead that were once abundant in this great watershed are now at risk of extinction, a preventable disaster that can be averted by moving forward with the planned removal of four aging hydroelectric dams. While the Klamath River was once the third-largest salmon producer on the west coast, its fish runs have been declining for decades.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

South Gate charts new course to rear fish that once thrived in L.A.

The city of South Gate plans to transform a weedy and rutted field overlooking an industrialized stretch of the Los Angeles River into a sylvan retreat boasting a nursery for rare native fish that thrived before the explosive growth of Southern California after World War II.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Ocean heat wave intensifies in Pacific, with risks for wildlife and wildfires

An intensifying marine heat wave in the northeastern Pacific Ocean has triggered government warnings about harm to salmon and other fisheries along the U.S. West Coast, and it’s raising concerns about hurricane risks to the Hawaiian islands and wildfire risks in California.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Steelhead trout trapping underway to help the endangered species

Steelhead trout … trapping is taking place in an undisclosed portion of Gaviota Creek in Goleta where the water is drying up. There are more than a dozen barriers that restrict the movement of the fish when they get trapped below them.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Providing flows for fish

Because there are moral, aesthetic, and legal obligations to provide fish with water in streams, biologists like me often get asked the question “Just how much water do the fish need, anyway?” This, of course, is the wrong question…

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Removing dams is key to fish recovery

Removing the four aging hydroelectric dams from the river would significantly improve ecological and geomorphic conditions throughout the Klamath watershed and play a key role in returning salmon to stable population levels.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Forecasters see neither La Niña nor El Niño

The tropical Pacific Ocean probably won’t be particularly warm or cool this winter, climatologists said Thursday, depriving forecasters of their best clue to how much snow will pile up in the Cascade Range and the rest of the Northwest.

Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Environmental report favors new reservoir

The project would build a new dam and expanded reservoir on the North Fork of Pacheco Creek that could hold 140,000 acre-feet of water, a substantial increase from the 5,500-acre-foot capacity of the existing reservoir built 80 years ago.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: What’s next for the Colorado River? Here’s how Arizona will find out

It didn’t take long for the completion of the Drought Contingency Plan to create value to Arizona and the Colorado River Basin. Its focus on stabilizing Lake Mead and creating incentives to “bank” water in the reservoir already are paying dividends.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

Opinion: The water wars are here

Heather Hansman’s new book Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West explores the water emergency with remarkable calm and even-handedness. She focuses on a single river, the Green River, where ranchers, frackers, rafters, fishermen, and urbanites all fight for their share of the water, while contending with Byzantine state policies.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Camarillo officials celebrate groundbreaking for desalter plant

The groundbreaking ceremony was decades in the making for the North Pleasant Valley Groundwater Desalter Plant, which aims to convert brackish water from the Calleguas Creek watershed into potable water for the city of Camarillo.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

You can rip out your SoCal lawn for money again — now without landscaping abominations

The Metropolitan Water District’s new rebate program is still about removing grass, but it has a tighter focus on improving the looks and sustainability of our collective front yards. And it pays $2 for every square foot of lawn you remove, even more in some areas where local water agencies supplement the rebate.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: State Water Board authorizes major recycled water project

Efforts to increase recycled water use in California got a significant boost this week with the State Water Board’s issuance of an order authorizing the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s program to deliver an average of 45 million gallons per day of recycled water from the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant …

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey recycled water project delays continue

Completion and operation of the much-anticipated Pure Water Monterey recycled water project have been delayed again and it is now expected to miss another key water delivery deadline set for the end of this year.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Will climate change mean less farming in the West?

The three-year Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) started out modestly, with just 15 participating farms and ranches the first year, but grew quickly as farmers realized they could earn passive income for changing their irrigation patterns, turning off the water they diverted from the river earlier in the year when it carries more snowmelt, and—in a few cases—fallowing some fields all together.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Ventura sued over State Water Project environmental impact report

A nonprofit that advocates on behalf of water issues is suing Ventura for what it claims is a faulty environmental report prepared in anticipation of the city connecting to state water.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Opinion: Farms, the environment, and the future of water

If we don’t manage groundwater pumping, levels of groundwater as well as rivers and streams will decline, compromising the wildlife, farms and cities that depend on them. By managing our groundwater with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, we are plugging leaks in the system.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: Could “black swan” events spawned by climate change wreak havoc in the Colorado River Basin?

The Colorado River Basin’s 20 years of drought and the dramatic decline in water levels at the river’s key reservoirs have pressed water managers to adapt to challenging conditions. But even more extreme — albeit rare — droughts or floods that could overwhelm water managers may lie ahead in the Basin as the effects of climate change take hold, say a group of scientists.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Review of the Pacific warm blob sequel: Not yet a phenomena like the original

The new marine heatwave, which started spreading out from the Gulf of Alaska in June and now covers much of the Pacific Ocean, has not yet fully become The Blob 2, particularly in California. Which means the effects, too, might not be as dire as last time.

Could “Black Swan” Events Spawned by Climate Change Wreak Havoc in the Colorado River Basin?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Scientists say a warming planet increases odds of extreme drought and flood; officials say they’re trying to include those possibilities in their plans

Runoff from what some describe as an "epic flood" in 1983 strained the capacity of Glen Canyon Dam to convey water fast enough.  The Colorado River Basin’s 20 years of drought and the dramatic decline in water levels at the river’s key reservoirs have pressed water managers to adapt to challenging conditions. But even more extreme — albeit rare — droughts or floods that could overwhelm water managers may lie ahead in the Basin as the effects of climate change take hold, say a group of scientists. They argue that stakeholders who are preparing to rewrite the operating rules of the river should plan now for how to handle these so-called “black swan” events so they’re not blindsided.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

California professor awarded grant to harness water from fog

A California State University, Monterey Bay professor will receive a substantial grant from the Defense Department to find methods to harness fog. … The DoD is interested in the study … which may be useful for military personnel in remote foggy regions.

Aquafornia news KCET

Blog: Unquenchable thirst: Groundwater bill could shift state’s water management approach

Although its target was narrow — it was designed to undercut the capacity of Cadiz, Inc. to pump annually upwards of 16 billion gallons of groundwater in eastern San Bernardino County and sell it to ever-thirsty Southern California — the legislation may prove to be far-reaching in its consequences.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern’s $400 million fix sunk by state legislature

In March, newly-elected Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) proposed a $400 million windfall to finance repairs for the canal under Senate Bill 559… But the bipartisan bill, much like canal it was designed to fix, is sunk — for now. The bill failed to reach the Senate floor for a vote before the Sept. 13 legislative deadline.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers are not to blame for Valley subsidence, but they can help solve it with water

Why do farmers pump the water under their land (which California law clearly states belongs to them) in the first place? Unfortunately, you’ll rarely read the answer to this question in the press, but it is the most important part of the story.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California’s Trump-blocking environmental bill may be delayed in fight over water

Facing fierce lobbying from well-financed water districts, the bill’s author, Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, acknowledged Tuesday that the bill might get pulled from consideration until next year.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: The Russian River: Managing at the watershed level

Water managers across the state face new and more extreme challenges as the climate warms—from balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of urban, agricultural, and environmental water users to reducing risks from fires, floods, and droughts. We talked to Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, about how his agency is approaching these challenges comprehensively, at the scale of the entire watershed.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Is a pipeline from Paradise to Chico even possible? Supervisors approve study to find out

A major groundwater sustainability study was approved by the Butte County Board of Supervisors which will look at different aspects into future water allocations and conservation in Butte County, including the possibility of building a pipeline from Paradise to Chico.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

State seeks comment on its Water Resilience Portfolio

In a new effort to balance California’s water needs, Gov. Gavin Newsom has directed state agencies to prepare a water plan known as the California Water Resilience Portfolio that includes “a comprehensive strategy to build a climate-resilient water system.”

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Editorial: Chico, Paradise problems may have single solution

Of all the chicken-or-the-egg dilemmas that will determine Paradise’s recovery from the Camp Fire, water may be the most critical. To rebuild, the town needs water from the Paradise Irrigation District. To survive, PID needs the town to rebuild. One can’t happen without the other, and it’s been tough to figure out how it’s going to work.

Aquafornia news USA Today

California’s wildfire season is off to a quiet start. That could change this week

Forecasts of strong winds in Southern California this week have heightened concerns that the state’s fire season, tame in its early stages compared to the devastation of last year, could swing into destructive, even deadly mode.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The good, the bad, and the ugly of California’s state-mandated urban water conservation

The state’s drought response was seen by some as an overwhelming success and by others as an unprecedented, and possibly illegal, invasion of local water suppliers’ management… Through analyzing the practical outcomes of the state’s drought response, the overall experience can be distilled into what worked and what didn’t.

Aquafornia news Davis Enterprise

Opinion: Residential graywater for outdoor irrigation

When the next drought rolls around, and it will, we could be sitting pretty with healthy trees and landscapes using less water from the Sierra than we do now. How could we accomplish this? The answer is graywater, defined in California as the discharge from laundry wash water, showers, and bathroom sinks.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: The world is in a water crisis and climate change is making it worse

Presently, three (Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego) of the top ten most populous cities in the US–home to about 7 million people–are within ‘extremely high’ water stress regions. … Twenty years from now, another four cities (New York, Chicago, San Antonio, and San Jose) may experience such conditions.

Aquafornia news CALMatters

Opinion: In going after Trump, California is going too far with environmental legislation

We cannot advance the fight for environmental quality by declaring that all science stopped on a specific date. If it’s dumb for the President to close his eyes to science, it’s dumber for us to follow him down that rabbit hole.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Newsom plan best to fix California water woes

We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts in leading discussions with the United States Department of the Interior, public water agencies and environmental groups to craft voluntary agreements that will restore the ecological health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while providing California with clean, reliable water.

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