Topic: 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 Capital Public Radio

Environment experts to Newsom: Now’s your moment

Back in September, while wildfires raged and the pandemic wore on, California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a virtual press conference to announce a bold new climate goal. By 2035, he said, all new cars and trucks sold in California would be zero-emission, in order to seriously curtail climate warming-emissions. … But while Newsom has grabbed attention for his clean car policy … environmental experts say he hasn’t moved boldly enough on ecological issues… Last summer, the governor issued a water resilience portfolio that outlines 142 state actions to help the state deal with water as the climate crisis worsens….

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Opinion: California must change course to avoid water shortages

Californians have recently endured increasingly aggressive wildfires, rolling power outages, and smoke-filled air for days. Unless the state government changes course, we can add water shortages to this list. … However, the dirty little secret is that 50 percent of California’s water supply is used for environmental purposes and is ultimately flushed out into the Pacific Ocean, 40 percent goes to agriculture, and only 10 percent goes for residential, industrial, commercial, and governmental uses.
-Written by Daniel Kolkey, a former judge and former counsel to Governor Pete Wilson and board member of Pacific Research Institute.

Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Drought conditions could impact power generation in the West

Ongoing drought in parts of the West could trigger water conservation measures across seven states this year. It would mark the first time that cutbacks outlined in drought contingency plans drafted two years ago have been put in place. Everything from hydroelectric power generation to agricultural production to the bubbling fountains at Las Vegas casinos could be impacted. Impacts on hydro generation could have ripple effects across the Southwest, including solar and energy storage.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

FEMA plan would free up billions for preventing climate disasters

Federal officials, showing how rapidly the Biden administration is overhauling climate policy after years of denial under former President Donald J. Trump, aim to free up as much as $10 billion at the Federal Emergency Management Agency to protect against climate disasters before they strike. The agency, best known for responding to hurricanes, floods and wildfires [such as those that struck California last year], wants to spend the money to pre-emptively protect against damage by building seawalls, elevating or relocating flood-prone homes and taking other steps as climate change intensifies storms and other natural disasters.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Environmental turnaround — 8 issues that will pivot in California’s favor under Biden

As wildfires, heat waves, water scarcity and threats to wildlife intensify in the West, California’s effort to confront these environmental crises now has support in Washington, a stark change from the past four years. Even as former President Donald Trump spent his final days in office on the sidelines, lamenting his election loss, his administration continued to roll back environmental conservation and gut climate regulations. 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Atmospheric river – Biggest storm of the year heading for California

Winter weather is finally arriving in Northern California. And after weeks of dry, warm conditions and growing drought concerns, it’s coming in hard. Forecasters say a sizable storm — the first significant atmospheric river event to hit the greater Bay Area this winter season and likely the biggest storm in at least 12 months — will soak much of California starting Tuesday night, continuing Wednesday, and bringing wet roads, downed trees, power outages and the possibility of mudslides. 

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Aquafornia news Denver Post

Colorado forests primed for megafires without large-scale action, federal managers warn

Federal officials entrusted with managing millions of acres of forest in Colorado and surrounding states say they’re facing accelerated decline driven by climate warming, insect infestation, megafires and surging human incursions. They’ve been struggling for years to restore resilience and ecological balance to western forests. But they’re falling further behind on key tasks…

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Record low Lake Powell and bad 2021 drought forecast sets stage for water cuts

The dry 2020 and the lack of snow this season has water managers in seven states preparing for the first time for cutbacks outlined in drought contingency plans drafted two years ago.  A sobering forecast released this week by the Bureau of Reclamation shows the federally owned Lake Mead and Lake Powell — the nation’s two largest reservoirs and critical storage for Colorado River water and its 40 million users — dipping near-record-low levels.

Aquafornia news Grist

38 countries have declared a ‘climate emergency.’ Should the US be next?

After 10 days of protests, Britain’s Parliament did a surprising thing: Its members approved a proposal to declare a state of emergency in response to the rapidly overheating planet. And while the U.K. was the first country to do so, it wasn’t the last. Today, at least 38 countries around the world — including the whole of the European Union, Japan, and New Zealand — and thousands of towns, cities, and counties have issued some kind of resolution declaring climate change a crisis. … A week into his term, President Joe Biden is already under pressure to do the same.

Aquafornia news The Pagosa Springs SUN

Opinion: When water dries up, it can be deadly

In Oregon, the Klamath Basin wildlife refuges have fallen into their winter silence now. The huge, clamorous flocks of geese that fill the sky during migration have moved south.  This summer, a different silence gripped the basin. A dead silence. The 90,000 acres of marshes and open water that make up the Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges are a small remnant of vast wetlands that once filled this region on the Oregon-California border.
-Written by Pepper Trail, a contributor to Writers on the Range and a conservation biologist in Ashland, Ore.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Editorial: The new reality – Year-round fire dangers amid drought

Oh, that the rain of the past few days would be enough. And, perhaps it will be, if forecasts for more during the upcoming week hold true. At the least, however, the rain that does fall will not dampen the possibility of more fires. Think about that: Fires in January? 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Is fire season now a year-round reality? Experts weigh in on extreme Bay Area weather

Warm temperatures. High winds. Wildfires. In January. Many Bay Area residents were caught off-guard this week by the unexpected chain of weather events that left them patching up fences and clearing wind-whipped debris. The week started out feeling more like late summer fire season than a midwinter day. A combination of unseasonal heat, low humidity, lack of rainfall and predicted offshore winds created the perfect recipe for a wildfire, triggering a rare red flag warning late Monday morning.

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Aquafornia news CBS Denver

Concern for Colorado reservoir water levels as drought conditions persist

There are many ways to gauge the severity of a drought. This winter in Colorado, all you have to do is look around. “The stream flows across the state have been really, really, really down throughout the whole fall season, so that is an indicator,” said Karl Wetlaufer. Wetlaufer is a rafter, so he pays attention to stream flow. It’s also part of his job as a hydrologist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Snow Survey Program.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

One-third of US rivers have changed color in recent decades, research finds

Rivers may seem like immutable features of the landscape but they are in fact changing color over time …The overall significance of the changes are unclear and could reflect various ways in which humans are impacting the environment, said lead author John Gardner, an assistant professor of geology and environmental science at the University of Pittsburgh. One stark example from the study of rapid color change is Lake Mead along the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Biden faces tough climate balancing act on public lands

The Trump administration left President Biden a dilemma in the California desert: a plan to remove protections from millions of acres of public lands and open vast areas to solar and wind farms. Biden’s team could easily block the proposed changes, which were slammed by conservationists as a last-gasp effort by the outgoing administration to support private industry at the expense of wildlife habitat and treasured landscapes….There are also places to put solar and wind installations besides intact habitat, including Central Valley farmland with dwindling water supplies … 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

California wildfire risk eases with rains spreading in parched state

California’s wildfire threat could ease over the next few weeks, with a series of storms bringing much-needed moisture after heat and drought torched record acreage in the state. The first downpour is already spreading across Northern California Friday, and that will be followed by progressively stronger systems through next week …

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Aquafornia news KRCR

Drought conditions continue in California due to a La Niña weather pattern

We had a very late start to the rainy season this year, similar to what we have seen in recent years. We’ve seen about one-third of the normal rainfall for the current date—well below the normal amount. There could be a weather pattern explaining some of the lack of rain. That is called a La Niña weather pattern.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Upper Colorado River drought plan triggered for first time

Increasingly bleak forecasts for the Colorado River have for the first time put into action elements of the 2019 upper basin drought contingency plan. The 24-month study released in January by the Bureau of Reclamation, which projects two years of operations at the river’s biggest reservoirs, showed Lake Powell possibly dipping below an elevation of 3,525 feet above sea level in 2022. That elevation was designated as a critical threshold in the agreement to preserve the ability to produce hydropower at Glen Canyon Dam. 

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Will Kamala Harris champion water justice for California?

A month before she began campaigning for the second-highest political position in the United States, now-Vice President Kamala Harris briefly turned her attention to a small town with a big drinking water problem. “Utterly unacceptable that in 2020, we still can’t guarantee clean water to communities across America. It’s a fundamental human right,” Harris said in a July 9 tweet about the town of Earlimart in California’s Central Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Colusa Sun Herald

Virtual workshop planned about Well Monitoring Pilot Program

The Colusa and Glenn Groundwater Authorities will host an online workshop about a Well Monitoring Pilot Program the agencies are implementing.  The voluntary, non-regulatory program will gather information about groundwater use in the Colusa Subbasin while also providing participants with near-real time access to information on well production and groundwater levels at their wells, according to a press release. 

Aquafornia news Wired

The ongoing collapse of the world’s aquifers

A booming agricultural industry in the state’s San Joaquin Valley, combined with punishing droughts, led to the over-extraction of water from aquifers. Like huge, empty water bottles, the aquifers crumpled, a phenomenon geologists call subsidence. By 1970, the land had sunk as much as 28 feet in the valley, with less-than-ideal consequences for the humans and infrastructure above the aquifers. … All over the world—from the Netherlands to Indonesia to Mexico City—geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet.

Aquafornia news CNN

Nearly 2 years’ worth of rainfall possible in parts of Southern California over the next week

The historic run of dry weather has been one for the record books across the Western US, but now forecasts show some much needed relief is on the way. Over 70% of the Southwest is in grip of extreme drought. … Long-range models suggest three, or possibly four, separate storms will impact California, Nevada and Arizona during the final two weeks of January.

Aquafornia news NBC

Dry, warm weather fuels unusual January fires in Northern California

High winds, dry vegetation and unseasonably warm weather fueled several wildfires in Northern California on Tuesday as hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate, state fire officials said. Fire crews were working on multiple fronts to contain at least five active fires that ignited within the CZU Complex Fire burn area in Santa Cruz County. Several nearby neighborhoods were evacuated and firefighters struggled to gain access because of hazardous tree conditions from the previous blaze, according to state fire officials.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: After COVID-19, drought threat still looms

California is enveloped in balmy weather that’s more like spring than mid-winter — and that’s not a good thing. We have seen only scant rain and snow this winter, indicating that the state may be experiencing one of its periodic droughts and adding another layer of crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession. The all-important Sierra snowpack, California’s primary source of water, is scarcely half of what is deemed a normal depth.
-Written by Dan Walters, CalMatters columnist.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water partnerships between cities and farms would help prepare for a changing climate

San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern California cities are facing different but equally daunting water challenges.  For Valley farmers, the requirement to achieve groundwater sustainability in coming years has heightened interest in expanding water supplies to reduce the need to fallow irrigated farmland. For Southern California, falling demands since the early 2000s have reduced water stress during normal and wet years, but a warming climate makes future droughts a major concern. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they jointly developed and managed some water supplies.
-Written by Alvar Escriva-Bou, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for a dry year

While they remain hopeful the rest of winter will provide much more rain and snow, water resources managers in the Sacramento Valley are preparing for the potential for a dry year. While the prospect of a dry year is always jarring and challenging, we have confidence in the experience and knowledge that our water resources managers gained in 2014-15, and the strategies this region has implemented since that time to prepare for a dry year.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gearing up for long-term water use efficiency

If 2020 taught us anything, it is that ACWA member agencies are highly skilled at delivering essential services to their customers even during the most unexpected and unprecedented times. As we gear up for the new year, our members continue to impress with their collaborative and coordinated efforts on vital issues affecting California water management, including the implementation of additional long-term water use efficiency strategies to increase resiliency in dry years. 

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County flirts with drought as reservoirs recede in water-poor winter

About a mile of bare, cracked earth now lies like a desertscape between the boat ramp at the north end of Lake Mendocino and the water’s edge of a diminished reservoir that helps provide water for 600,000 Sonoma and Marin County residents. The human-made lake near Ukiah is about 30 feet lower than it was at this time last year, and Nick Malasavage, an Army Corps of Engineers official who oversees operations at the reservoir, said the scene is “pretty jarring.” 

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: COVID-19 is a precursor for infectious disease outbreaks on a warming planet

From the wildfires that destroyed millions of acres across Australia and California to a record-setting hurricane season, climate change has collided with COVID-19 to mark one of the most difficult years in modern human history. And while two highly effective vaccines have provided hope for the pandemic’s end, we must not become complacent. We must act aggressively on climate to prevent future pandemics from occurring more frequently. 

Written by Christine James, of Climate Health Now, and Sweta Chakraborty, news commentator for CNN, FOX and BBC.​

Aquafornia news The Daily Sentinel

Opinion: Lasting Colorado River solutions come from Main Street, not Wall Street

Sensational headlines, like those speculating that Wall Street will make billions off the Colorado River or that West Slope farmers should pack it in now, certainly attracts readers. Unfortunately, these articles wholly fail to convey the reality of the water challenges facing the Colorado River Basin. … The Colorado River is certainly in bad shape. Last year was marked by extremely hot temperatures, low flows and massive fires.

Written by Dan Keppen, executive director of Family Farm Alliance; Scott Yates, director of Trout Unlimited’s Western Water & Habitat Program; and Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program director for The Nature Conservancy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Wildfire danger in January? In ultra-dry California, PG&E says safety blackout is coming

At the height of what should be California’s rainy season, PG&E Corp. is warning it might need to shut off power to thousands of customers to reduce the risk of a wildfire. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it could impose a “public safety power shutoff” … in portions of nine counties — Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. By Sunday, PG&E scaled back the planned blackout down by 15,000 customers to approximately 6,100 in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Research: Shifting tropical rain belt will increase food insecurity

A study published Monday found billions more could face food insecurity as Earth’s tropical rain belt shifts in response to climate change, causing increased drought stress and intensified flooding. … Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and other institutions analyzed how the tropical rain belt would respond to a future where greenhouse gas emission continued to rise through 2100, UCI News reported. Their findings, published in Nature Climate Change, revealed the rain belt will shift northward over the Eastern Hemisphere, impacting countries in southeastern Africa.

Aquafornia news The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: California’s future – water and a changing climate

The pandemic and its economic fallout are affecting many aspects of water management, while climate change has major implications. And a much-needed national conversation about racism has illuminated water equity issues—such as how we address climate change, safe drinking water, and water scarcity.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Managing groundwater overdraft – combining crop and water decisions (without salinity)

California’s Central Valley produces much of the nation’s food, including about 40% of the country’s fruits and nuts and has the nation’s second most pumped aquifer system. Its drier southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley, has decreasing surface water supply reliability due to frequent and prolonged droughts, stricter environmental regulations, and growing competition among water users. Many farmers pump groundwater to provide their unsupplied water demand. The resulting groundwater overdraft has numerous impacts on the Valley’s agriculture and residents.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Satellite data, teamwork help chart future of Colorado River basin

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, but the viability of the massive river basin is being threatened by climate change. To plan future water use in the region — which includes Arizona — the Central Arizona Project is teaming up with NASA and Arizona State University, to evaluate how climate and land-use changes will affect patterns of hydrology. Using state-of-the-art satellite imaging, scientists will measure and evaluate how water flows throughout the basin. 

Aquafornia news Greeley Tribune

Opinion: We need to collaborate to protect the Colorado River from drought, speculation

Colorado is headwaters to a hardworking river that provides for 40 million people. The importance of the Colorado River to the state and the nation cannot be overstated, and its recent hydrology serves as a reminder that we must continue to find workable solutions that will sustain the river. History shows that we are up to the challenge. … Colorado and the other Basin states face big challenges. Drier hydrology, competing demands on the river, and those who seek to profit from such circumstances, impact the types of tools available to address these challenges. 
Written by Rebecca Mitchell, who serves as the state of Colorado’s Colorado River Commissioner as well as director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. 

Aquafornia news California Water Service

News Release: California Water Service launches, expands seventh annual H2O Challenge Classroom Competition

California Water Service (Cal Water), in partnership with the California Association of Science Educators (CASE) and DoGoodery, today announced the launch and expansion of the seventh annual Cal Water H2O Challenge. The free, project-based competition invites fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade classrooms in Cal Water service areas to develop and implement solutions for local water issues. … The revamped and expanded Cal Water H2O Challenge will build on best practices gleaned from the previous six years to engage more people in caring for water at a range of levels.

Aquafornia news France 24

Global population hit by extreme drought set to double

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade. 

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Here’s how much snow is typical during the second half of winter

The halfway point of meteorological winter is Friday, Jan. 15, and while that might seem like the light at the end of the tunnel for those tired of snow and cold, many cities still average more than half their season’s snowfall after this date. Winter in meteorological record-keeping is from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28. But for some parts of the nation, snowy conditions are still possible deep into March and even April. 

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning, we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Axios

Thursday Top of the Scroll: A “forever” drought takes shape in the West

The Southwest U.S. is mired in an ever-worsening drought, one that has left deer starving in Hawaii, turned parts of the Rio Grande into a wading pool, and set a record in Colorado for the most days of “exceptional drought.” Why it matters: These conditions may be the new normal rather than an exception, water experts say, as climate change runs its course. And worsening drought will intensify political and legal battles over water — with dire consequences for poor communities.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Turkey drought: Istanbul could run out of water in 45 days

Major cities across Turkey face running out of water in the next few months, with warnings Istanbul has less than 45 days of water left. Poor rainfall has led to the country’s most severe drought in a decade and left the megacity of 17 million people with critically low levels of water … and farmers in wheat-producing areas such as the Konya plain and Edirne province on the border with Greece and Bulgaria are warning of crop failure.

Aquafornia news News 18

Two-third of Earth might face severe drought by the end of this century

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent, while the population at risk jumps from 230 million to about 500 million … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Current drought conditions contributing to historically dry year

The local region’s current water year is shaping up to be one of the driest on record according to Turlock Irrigation District, with below-average rainfall amplifying California’s existing state of drought.  Data provided by TID Hydrologist Olivia Cramer during Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting showed that from September 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021, the Tuolumne River Watershed has so far received 5.55 inches of precipitation. Compared to TID’s historical average of 19.02 inches for those same dates, the recent 2020-2021 rainfall numbers account for just 37.9% of normal. 

Aquafornia news OOSKAnews

Human depletion of groundwater resources exacerbates climate change impacts

Large swathes of land in densely populated parts of the world are subsiding rapidly as a result of groundwater depletion. Paired with rising sea levels caused by global warming, this could place many coastal cities at risk of severe flooding by 2040.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Sunlight powers portable, inexpensive systems to produce drinking water

The U.S. Department of Energy will soon announce semifinalists for its Solar Desalination Prize. The goal: a system that produces 1,000 liters of usable water for $1.50… Such systems could surmount a big downside of reverse osmosis: it typically desalinates only half of the input saltwater, and the solution left behind eventually builds up enough salt to clog the membrane…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Turning the page on a disruptive year in the water world

Last year was one for the record books, with the pandemic, a statewide wildfire emergency, ongoing drought, and a lingering recession roiling California’s water landscape. These crises have exacerbated longstanding inequities in access to water services, and made it that much harder to accomplish important work to improve the resilience of the state’s water system and vulnerable ecosystems. Yet despite all the setbacks, the essential work of providing drinking water and wastewater services proceeded without a hitch—to which we all owe water workers a debt of gratitude.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Drought-stricken Colorado River Basin could see additional 20% drop in water flow by 2050

Colorado is no stranger to drought. The current one is closing in on 20 years, and a rainy or snowy season here and there won’t change the trajectory. This is what climate change has brought. “Aridification” is what Bradley Udall formally calls the situation in the western U.S. But perhaps more accurately, he calls it hot drought – heat-induced lack of water due to climate change.

Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Can Wall Street profit off the Colorado River?

The convergence of a multi-decadal, climate-fueled drought, a trillion-dollar river-dependent economy, and a region with growth aspirations that rival any place in the country has peaked speculative interest in owning and profiting from Colorado River water. 

Related article

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Research: Two-thirds of Earth’s land is on pace to lose water as the climate warms

The world watched with a sense of dread in 2018 as Cape Town, South Africa, counted down the days until the city would run out of water. The region’s surface reservoirs were going dry amid its worst drought on record, and the public countdown was a plea for help. … California also faced severe water restrictions during its recent multiyear drought. And Mexico City is now facing water restrictions after a year with little rain. There are growing concerns that many regions of the world will face water crises like these in the coming decades as rising temperatures exacerbate drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Jamaica Observer

2020 ties 2016 as hottest year on record

2020 has tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, the European Union’s climate monitoring service said Friday, keeping Earth on a global warming fast track that could devastate large swathes of humanity. The six years since 2015 are the six warmest ever registered, as are 20 of the last 21, evidence of a persistent and deepening trend, the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Ventura’s water security requires investment now

Did you know Ventura is one of the largest cities in Southern California to rely solely on local water supplies? Rainfall feeds the Ventura River, Lake Casitas, and local groundwater basins to meet all the water needs of our community. Water is at the core of our identity and the future of its security is in jeopardy. Although our community’s conservation efforts have reduced water use by 20%, Ventura’s rain-dependent water supplies remain vulnerable to future droughts.  

Aquafornia news The San Jose Mercury News

‘Fossil water’ may be vanishing from California

A dinosaur bone. The footprint of a woolly mammoth. An ancient shell imprinted on a rock in your backyard. These are the images the word “fossil” calls to mind. But, buried deep within the earth, there’s another kind of fossil you might not expect — ancient aquifers, created by rain and snow that fell more than 10,000 years ago. And unless the fossil water stores are better protected, scientists say, they may become a thing of the past. New research on fossil water from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory suggests that drinking wells that pump fossil water can’t rely on it being replenished — especially during times of drought.

Aquafornia news S&P Global Market Intelligence

Desert pipeline tests Colorado River’s future

Utah officials want to build a 140-mile-long pipeline to bring precious Colorado River water west to the thriving town of St. George, in the state’s far southwestern corner. In an era of perennial drought, when the future of the Colorado River watershed, the lifeline of the U.S. Southwest, is the subject of fierce debate in state capitols across the region, the idea of bringing more than 26 billion gallons of water a year to a community of fewer than 200,000 people on the edge of the Mojave Desert strikes many as folly. To officials in Washington County, of which St. George is the county seat, though, it is a critical resource for the future.

Aquafornia news Data Center Frontier

Tackling data center water usage amid historic droughts, wildfires

The seven-year-long California drought that ended in early 2019 and the wildfires that ensued are just two recent events that have cast a spotlight on the far-reaching consequences of worsening water shortages…. Data centers are under particular scrutiny. In the U.S. alone they are expected to consume an estimated 174 billion gallons of water in 2020. A 15-megawatt data center can use up to 360,000 gallons of water a day.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: A dry winter in California could lead to a repeat of the 2020 wildfire season, experts warn

Very little rain and snow are expected across California over the next few weeks, and what the clouds have dropped in the Sierra Nevada so far is about half of average for this time of year. That has scientists worried California is headed not only for prolonged drought, but a fire season similar to or worse than the one that devastated the state in 2020.  

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s statewide drought “pretty dire.” It’ll take more than a season’s snowfall to get out of it

It may be a new year, but Colorado’s statewide drought will be baggage it carries well into 2021. More than a quarter of the state is in the worst level of drought, and with snowpack significantly below what’s expected this time of year — especially on the Western Slope — scientists are warning that it will take more than just a big snowstorm to alleviate this dry spell.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Worsening US drought conditions are a major 2021 weather story

Drought is an insidious climate threat — by the time it has a hold of a region, impacts on ecosystems and water supplies can be locked in. It may not grab extreme weather headlines like the disrupted polar vortex or record hurricane season, but drought during 2020 and heading into 2021 is a looming story likely to grow in importance….In the Southwest, population growth and years of drought conditions are putting the region on a collision course with drastic water management decisions. On Wall Street, traders can now bet on California water futures on commodity markets, enabling them to hedge against future scarcity…

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Rain was only 4 percent of average in fall

Manteca-Lathrop-Ripon experienced its second driest fall since rainfall records started being kept in the mid-1800s.  The 0.9 inches of rain the South County received between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 was 4 percent of average according to the National Weather Service’s Fall 2020 Climate Summary released on Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post News

Long Beach’s climate action and adaptation plan to be presented to City Council

In an attempt to mitigate the effects of climate change that are attacking Long Beach, the city has put together a comprehensive Climate Action and Adaptation Plan with input from scientists, business people, city leaders and the public…The mammoth document and its appendices clocks in at more than 900 pages and tackles the main challenges of climate change: drought, sea level rise and flooding, extreme heat and air quality.

Aquafornia news

Southwest drought intensifies five-fold in a year and there’s no significant relief in sight

Drought conditions in parts of the Southwest have intensified by up to five times in the last year and the prospects for significant relief are slim for the foreseeable future. The final U.S. Drought Monitor report of 2020 released last week shows how U.S. drought conditions now compare to those from a year ago… Through November, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah are all on pace to have a top-five driest year in 2020…

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Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

2020 weather: Year of record heat, fire, smoke

As far as the weather was concerned, 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years our state has ever endured, with record-breaking temperatures, below-average rain and snow, and numerous wildfires covering California with a thick blanket of diabolical smoke.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Why disease is killing California’s wild ducks and shorebirds

A decade ago, a diverse coalition of tribes, farmers and conservationists hashed out water-sharing settlements that would have given the [Klamath basin] refuges a steady supply of water each year, and in the process stopped years of lawsuits, protests and acrimony. But Congress killed their efforts. Now the refuges — and Lower Klamath in particular — are at risk of drying up. And the fighting over water will only continue as the watershed grows increasingly dry from climate change.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

December storms can’t overcome dry fall in California

The first snow survey in California was ambiguous.  While it showed the mountains just southeast of Lake Tahoe contains a snowpack that is approximately average for this point of the winter, the automatic snow sensor network shows an impoverished snowpack throughout the Sierra, particularly in the southern reach of the range. 

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Visalia to tighten water restrictions in March

The Visalia City Council’s last meeting was a fitting end to 2020 bringing news of an impending drought and the possibility the city’s groundwater reaching a new low. At the Dec. 21 meeting, Visalia’s water resource manager Andrew Munn told the council he was recommending the city move into Stage 2 of its water conservation ordinance on March 1, 2021 and to move into Stage 3 if the aquifer drops to a historic low. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Drought, climate change and groundwater sustainability – Western Water news year in review

The ability of science to improve water management decisions and keep up with the accelerating pace of climate change. The impact to precious water resources from persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin. Building resilience and sustainability across California. And finding hope at the Salton Sea. These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2020. In case you missed them, they are still worth taking a look at.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

2020 may be the hottest year on record. Here’s the damage it did

With just a few weeks left, 2020 is in a dead-heat tie for the hottest year on record. But whether it claims the top spot misses the point, climate scientists say. There is no shortage of disquieting statistics about what is happening to the Earth…climate scientists say the warming climate set the stage for fires to get out of hand. California experienced the hottest October on record…

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

More must be done to protect Colorado River from drought, US says

A set of guidelines for managing the Colorado River helped several states through a dry spell, but it’s not enough to keep key reservoirs in the American West from plummeting amid persistent drought and climate change, according to a U.S. report released Friday.

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Aquafornia news KSUT Public Radio

Colorado River Basin winter forecast signals dry times ahead

All signs are pointing to a dry start to 2021 across much of the Colorado River watershed, which provides water to about 40 million people in the Western U.S. A lack of precipitation from April to October made this spring, summer and fall one of the region’s driest six-month periods on record. And with a dry start to winter, river forecasters feel more pessimistic about the chances for a drought recovery in the early part of 2021.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Santa may not need the heavy red coat when he visits Southern California

Santa might be able to lose the heavy red coat when he makes his rounds in the Southland, and he probably won’t need an umbrella either. The extended outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration favors above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation in the Los Angeles region from Dec. 24 through Dec. 30. Although the astronomical winter officially arrives in Los Angeles at 2:02 a.m. Monday, the region’s stubbornly warm, dry weather pattern doesn’t show much sign of stopping.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Drought keeps Lake Mead levels low

Last week’s storm did little to ease the drought in Arizona’s reservoirs. But there’s still plenty of winter left. The Bureau of Reclamation makes two-year projections, based on weather and water levels in Colorado River reservoirs, and its most recent projections have been dire. That could set the stage for an Arizona water shortage in 2022. Snowpack in the mountains is now 69% of normal. The water level at Lake Mead is about 40%.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Droughts aren’t just about water anymore

In recent years, researchers have been learning more about how an increasingly “thirsty atmosphere” in California and the West is influencing drought. We talked to Mike Dettinger—a climate scientist and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center’s research network—about this phenomenon.

Aquafornia news Payson Roundup

Drought tightens its grip on the Southwest

The drought’s getting worse and the reservoirs are drying up. Best get used to it, say a growing number of climate prediction models. The whole of the southwest remains in the grip of a severe drought. In Arizona, that means a failed monsoon season followed by a so-far dry fall. Much of Arizona set records on both fronts this year. The predicted storms this week did little to cushion the blow of a bone-dry year, with water experts predicting more water rationing next year together with a dangerous fire season.

Aquafornia news Vice

The climate scientist who is demystifying extreme weather

For Daniel Swain, climate scientist at UCLA, weather is an obvious inroad into engaging people on climate change, as people are way more likely to respond to a fire or flood at their doorstep than a chart of rising emissions…Swain studies why extreme events are changing, how we’re experiencing them, and what we can do to adapt to a new, disaster-prone world. This year, he released papers tying flood exposure and autumn wildfires in California to climate change…

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Aquafornia news Fresh Water News

Colorado activates municipal drought response for second time ever as water forecast worsens

The state of Colorado has activated the municipal portion of its emergency drought plan for only the second time in history as several cities say they need to prepare for what is almost certainly going to be a dangerously dry 2021.

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Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

News release: Metropolitan Water District, Southern Nevada Water Authority collaborate to explore development of recycled water project

In a bold step toward a new kind of collaboration in the Colorado River Basin, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority are partnering to explore development of a drought-proof water supply that could reduce reliance on the over-stressed river.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

San Joaquin County in severe drought

All of San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties are now in severe drought. So is most of Merced County. And the three watersheds in the Central Sierra that the Northern San Joaquin Valley counties rely on to meet urban and agricultural needs are in moderate drought. Topping that, all three of the Central Sierra reservoirs that do the heavy lifting for water storage for the Northern San Joaquin Valley as of Tuesday were all significantly below average capacity for Dec. 8. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

With drought and pumping, Hopi natural springs are drying up

The Hopi have lived for thousands of years on the mesas of the Colorado Plateau. Flowing springs and seeps have sustained them, providing sources where they have collected drinking water, grown corn and beans, and maintained a spiritual connection to life-giving water.   But the springs are dwindling. Some are completely dry.  

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Lake Mendocino is low, but no water shortages forecast thanks to new tech

Lake Mendocino currently sits at 712 ft above sea level… That’s very low. But despite years of dry conditions … it’s not the lowest the lake has ever been. Thanks to a new set of satellite technologies and water management techniques dubbed FIRO, or Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (pronounced FEE-roh), the lake is still more than a dozen feet above its record low.

Aquafornia news CBS Denver

Colorado drought: Denver on track to record 5th driest year since 1872

The year 2020 will be remembered for so many things when we’re taking a look back at history several years from now…. A massive drought developed over much of the western United States during 2020. The dry conditions fueled historic wildfires, many of which set new all-time records for size in states including Colorado and California. 

Aquafornia news Marketplace

Creating water out of thin air in the Navajo Nation

The West is in a drought that’s only getting worse, and drought is an even bigger problem in places that have uneven access to water to start with. In the Navajo Nation, in the southwestern U.S., many homes have no running water at all. The tribe is working with the startup Source, which makes Hydropanels — solar-powered panels that pull water vapor from the air and condense it into clean drinking water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Weekend forecast brings potential fire risk for Northern California — in December

A potentially dangerous mix of arid conditions and the threat of gusty offshore winds in the coming days has meteorologists contemplating the extraordinary step of issuing a red flag warning — signaling a critical fire threat — in December for parts of Northern California.

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Aquafornia news CBS News

Severe wildfires burning 8 times more area in western U.S., study finds

According to a new study, there’s been an eight-fold increase since the mid-1980s in annual area burned by high-severity wildfires — defined as a fire that kills more than 95% of trees. The transformation in fire behavior has happened fast, with this exponential increase happening in just one generation over the course of 30 years. These more intense fires have a lasting impact on the ecosystem…Five of the six largest fires in California history and three of the four largest in Colorado history all burned this year.

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Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

‘Drought & Flood’ – Mike Hoover’s new history of South Coast water predicts drought in Santa Barbara and beyond

Mike Hoover, a Santa Barbara geologist, wants to remind us of the Medieval Drought, the epic dry period that held California and the West in its grip for 400 years, beginning in 950 CE…. It was so bad, he said, that it may have led to malnutrition and warfare among the prehistoric Chumash.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California heading for a multi-year drought? The odds aren’t in our favor, experts say

With no rain in the forecast for the rest of 2020 — thanks to a La Niña weather pattern pushing storms north of the state — the probability of California entering a multi-year drought is increasing. 

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: How private well owners in Madera, Fresno can shape water policy

It’s easy to understand why people who rely on private wells for their water can feel powerless about the future of their supply — wells pump water from underground aquifers shared by many neighbors.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water

If an options agreement between the [Ridgecrest] City Council and Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority comes to fruition, recycled water from the city’s wastewater facility could help balance the groundwater basin… Both the council and the groundwater authorities at their respective meetings last week approved the option agreement between the two parties for recycled wastewater.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg CityLab

Harvesting rainwater in a desert city

In September, Tucson declared a climate emergency, setting the ambitious goal of going carbon neutral by 2030. The desert city has gradually implemented policies over the past decade to further rainwater harvesting with the aim of bolstering conservation, lowering water bills and creating more green spaces.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Mild weather and sunny skies for Bay Area with no rain in sight

Winter is traditionally California’s wet season, when snowpack accumulates and later melts, replenishing water supplies. But a lot of rain and snow need to fall to make up for the dryness of 2020, a year of record-high temperatures and unusually low precipitation in the state — a problem fueled by global warming.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

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Aquafornia news South Yuba River Citizens League

News release: North Yuba Forest Partnership receives $1.13 million for forest health, wildfire resilience treatments

The North Yuba Forest Partnership has entered into an agreement to receive $1.13 million to plan future forest health and wildfire resilience treatments within the North Yuba River watershed. This funding originated from the US Forest Service’s Fireshed Program.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

Karuk Tribe natural resources spokesperson Craig Tucker joined John Howard to talk about the historic agreement, its impact on the region’s Salmon fisheries, and the potential for replication in other places where dams are contested.

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Aquafornia news Scientific American

Harsh droughts can actually start over oceans

Low-moisture air masses sometimes form and migrate thousands of kilometers over the sea, similar to the way hurricanes behave. … Some take more than half a year before they hit land, where they can destroy crops and threaten water security. Yet the long travel time means forecasters might be able to predict when this newly recognized type of drought will impact key regions, such as the western U.S.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

Milestone Colorado River Management Plan Mostly Worked Amid Epic Drought, Review Finds
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Draft assessment of 2007 Interim Guidelines expected to provide a guide as talks begin on new river operating rules for the iconic Southwestern river

At full pool, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. but two decades of drought have dramatically dropped the water level behind Hoover Dam.Twenty years ago, the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide on how to respond.

Tour Nick Gray

Clone of Central Valley Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - November 19

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

This virtual experience focuses on the San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of the vast region, which is facing challenges after years of drought, dwindling water supplies, decreasing water quality and farmland conversion for urban growth. The tour gives participants an understanding of the region’s water use and issues as well as the agricultural practices, including new technologies and water-saving measures.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Is third time the charm for Klamath dam removal project?

On Nov. 17, California, Oregon, PacifiCorp, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes announced a new agreement with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation to reaffirm KRRC’s status as dam removal entity and provide additional funding for the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The agreement is the latest development in a decade-long effort…

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration finalizes Shasta Dam raise plan to increase water storage for Californians and the environment

The Trump Administration Thursday released the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet,

Aquafornia news

Climate change and ‘atmospheric thirst’ to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA

In a new study published in Earth’s Future…climate change projections show consistent future increases in atmospheric evaporative demand (or the “atmospheric thirst”) over California and Nevada. These changes were largely driven by warmer temperatures, and would likely lead to significant on-the-ground environmental impacts.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

The Kern County Water Agency board of directors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to pay $14 million over 2021 and 2020 as its initial share of the early planning and design phase for what’s now being called the Delta Conveyance Facility.

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Aquafornia news Ducks Unlimited

Blog: Riches to rags: The decline of the Klamath Basin refuges

How did two of the most important waterfowl refuges in the United States reach such a sad state? The decline of the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges was a hundred years in the making. There are no villains here; rather it is simply a tale of too little water to go around on an arid landscape.

Aquafornia news

Will Vegas run out of water?

For a city built in an arid desert basin in Nevada, the USA’s driest state with around 10 inches of rainfall a year, this doesn’t sound too surprising. But the climate emergency and recent droughts have changed the complexion and urgency of the problem.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USGS report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

The lower Colorado River Basin, which is primarily in Arizona, is projected to have as much as sixteen percent less groundwater infiltration by midcentury compared to the historical record. That’s because warming temperatures will increase evaporation while rain- and snowfall are expected to remain the same or decrease slightly.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

This is America’s riskiest place for wildfires

Placer County, Calif., is a postcard place of picturesque parks and trails, quaint towns and wineries, high-elevation lakes, and ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Historic deal refreshes plans for major dam removal

America’s largest dam removal project has been brought back to life with a new agreement among California, Oregon, tribes and a utility owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The decadeslong effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California that have had a devastating impact on salmon runs had appeared in danger following an unexpected July regulatory order.

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

News release: Predicting urban water needs with Zillow and census data

A new Stanford University study identifies residential water use and conservation trends by analyzing housing information available from the prominent real estate website Zillow. The research … is the first to demonstrate how real estate data platforms can be used to provide valuable water use insights for city housing and infrastructure planning, drought management and sustainability.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Fire season winding down as rain moves into the Bay Area

It’s the kind of forecast that Northern California, weary from historic wildfires, has been waiting months to hear. A cold front moving through the Bay Area will bring widespread rain on Tuesday, with 1 inch or more expected in the North Bay Hills and Santa Cruz Mountains, and a quarter inch or so in most Bay Area cities. Substantial snow also is forecast for the Sierra Nevada…

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Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin

A helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez Valley towing a large hexagonal frame is using a technology first developed in World War II to peer as far as 1,400 feet below the surface to map the groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater agency discusses how to manage future of Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward. And though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results could affect water and ag policy for years to come. Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater is coming along.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

Whatever came down in the first rains of the season was a mere drop in the bucket. The precipitation, the first for the rain year that began Oct. 1, measured .15 inches in downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. That puts the city at 8 percent of normal for rainfall this year, according to weather service records… A new storm system is coming on Tuesday night, with showers continuing on into Thursday, forecasters said.

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Aquafornia news

Blog: Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

Intersecting events such as major floods, decades-long megadroughts, and economic or governance upheavals could have catastrophic effects on the water supply for the 40 million people who live in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Drought plaguing much of US

A report by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday revealed what anyone living in California or the Southwest already know: We need rain. Badly…Much of the worst aspects of dry conditions are centered on the Colorado River Basin of western Colorado, which bodes ill for the millions of homes and businesses downstream that rely on a robust flow of water from the river…Extreme drought is growing in Northern California, but only in the northern reaches of the state along the Sacramento River.  

Aquafornia news

Blog: The Colorado River Basin’s Tanya Trujillo named to Biden Interior transition team

Tanya’s a New Mexican, former chief counsel to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and current member of the commission. She served as a legislative aide to New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman, in Interior in the Officer of Water and Science, and as executive director of the Colorado River Board of California.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfires emerge as threat to water quantity across parched West

How wildfires can affect water quality are well documented. But increasing—and increasingly intense—Western conflagrations are leading to fears they also could constrict the water quantity available in some of the nation’s most water-stressed areas….“It’s absolutely a threat to our water supply—the quantity and quality of the water that’s able to flow across the landscape,” said Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

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Aquafornia news

Blog: Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California.

Aquafornia news

St. Helena implements emergency water-use restrictions

Water-use restrictions went into effect Nov. 1 for residents and businesses in the city of St. Helena, where a water shortage emergency has been declared.

Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A move toward water speculation

There’s a concept called “demand management” in the news in Colorado, and here’s a simple definition: Landowners get paid to temporarily stop irrigating, and that water gets sent downstream to hang out in Lake Powell. It’s an idea long talked about because of increasing drought and the very real danger of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell dropping into “dead pool” where no hydropower can be generated.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

A 2007 deal creating guidelines governing how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are operated in coordination isn’t scheduled to expire until 2026. But water officials in Colorado River Basin states are already beginning to talk about the renegotiations that will be undertaken to decide what succeeds the 2007 criteria.

Aquafornia news Medford Mail Tribune

Opinion: The message is clear: We must manage our resources better

Why are our food producers, including many century-old family farms with 100-year-old water rights, facing a shortage of water? Because we drain Oregon’s largest lake to artificially increase water supply in California.

Aquafornia news Western Water

A Colorado River leader who brokered key pacts to aid West’s vital water artery assesses his legacy and the river’s future

Managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin is not for the timid or those unaccustomed to big challenges. … For more than 30 years, Terry Fulp, director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Region, has been in the thick of it, applying his knowledge, expertise and calm demeanor to inform and broker key decisions that have helped stabilize the Southwest’s major water artery.

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Aquafornia news University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Blog: Pilot system monitors tweets for drought early warning

Millions use Twitter to share their rapid-fire opinions, observations and connections to real-time events. And natural disasters are often major conversation starters. With that in mind, National Drought Mitigation Center assistant director Kelly Helm Smith wanted to see what tweets said about the impacts of drought, and whether tweets [including from California] could contribute to a drought early warning system.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Study: Drilling of deeper wells in United States is ‘unsustainable’

In areas where groundwater levels have fallen because of heavy pumping, people have often responded by drilling deeper wells. But exactly how much that has occurred on a nationwide scale wasn’t clear until water experts compiled nearly 12 million well-drilling records across the country. In a new study, [UC Santa Barbara] researchers found that Americans in many areas from coast to coast are drilling deeper for groundwater….The study confirmed that drilling deeper wells is common in California’s food-producing Central Valley…and household wells remain vulnerable to pumping by deeper agricultural wells. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Science group issues valley-focused advice on climate change

The San Joaquin Valley has received a specially addressed message from the Union of Concerned Scientists about what it thinks people across the region should be doing about looming water shortages, worsening air quality and generally more volatile weather in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Rain, snow in California forecast — though climate experts warn of deepening drought

California is expecting its first rain of the season this weekend, a major shift in weather that’s likely to bring scattered showers and chilly breezes to the Bay Area, and freezing temperatures and snow to the Sierra. While the unavoidable turn toward winter, starting Friday, is sure to offer at least some relief from this year’s unrelenting fire season, forecasters warn that wildfire risk is likely to persist for another month — possibly much longer.

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Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

NOAA says drought will likely continue in winter

The winter may not bring needed rains. With the La Niña climate pattern in play, drought is expected to continue and intensify in California through February, according to a winter outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Aquafornia news

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Major change’ in Bay Area weather forecast for Friday

The National Weather Service is forecasting a “major change” in the weather across the Bay Area on Friday and through the weekend, with temperatures dropping, winds kicking up and the potential for rain.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What California can learn from Cape Town about water policy

Two years ago, Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million people, informed its shocked citizens that the city was just a few months away from running out of water due to drought. It was a wake-up call for all of us to become much better stewards of our own water. … California of course continues to have its own foreboding water challenges.

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

A salamander vanishes

Desertification is dawning on the Central Coast, according to University of California, Santa Cruz ecology professor Barry Sinervo, and the impact can be seen in the disappearance of a uniquely giant and talkative amphibian from a southern Monterey County site: the Pacific giant salamander.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin salmon monitors get new tracking tools

Using a system of radio tags and electrical fields, the equipment is expected to give researchers more accurate counts of coho salmon that will return to Lagunitas Creek to spawn beginning later this month as well as the young salmon leaving the creek and entering the ocean in the spring.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

After another dry October in the Bay Area, is drought back?

Though the monthly average is just over 1 inch, October is a highly variable month, and it’s not unusual to end the month with little or no rain in the Bay Area. It is however exceptionally bad timing to do it twice in a row for only the second time in the last 170 years, as the state reels from fires, heat and smoke, on the heels of a record-breaking dry winter and as most forecasts [for California] call for a drier than normal winter ahead.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Monday Top of the Scroll: La Niña: Moderate to strong climate event predicted this year, meaning possibly drier conditions in SoCal

Global climate experts are predicting a moderate to strong La Niña weather event this year, meaning a stormy season for most parts of the world but possibly drier-than-normal conditions in Southern California.

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Aquafornia news BenitoLink

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases winter forecast

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) winter forecast for the U.S. favors warmer, drier conditions across the southern tier of the U.S., and cooler, wetter conditions in the North, thanks in part to an ongoing La Niña. Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center are also closely monitoring persistent drought during the winter months ahead…

Aquafornia news

Blog: Climate change and the water policy funnel

Climate change, as I’ve often heard Brad Udall point out, is water change. By that, Brad means that the effect of a changing climate on people and ecosystems is most clearly felt through changes in how much water there is.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

Blog: Yuba-Feather forecast-informed reservoir operations

Recognizing the central role that atmospheric rivers play in both flood risk and water supply – two of Yuba Water’s core mission areas – the agency is investing in new research and tools to better understand, forecast and manage for these powerful storms.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: Water partnerships between cities and farms in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California each face growing water challenges and a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some water supplies.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Atmospheric rivers and their impact on California’s reservoirs

“Pineapple Express” or “Atmospheric River” are terms you may hear often. But what do they mean, really? DWR Climate Change Program Section Chief, Elissa Lynn, gave a presentation on DWR’s Water Wednesdays live educational series where she discussed these storm systems, what they mean for California, and their impact on the state’s water reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Forecasting water supply in Colorado River may benefit water resource management

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, a climate scientist at Utah State University, used dynamic climate modeling to try to predict water supply in the Colorado River. They found ocean surface temperatures have a larger impact on predicting drought than atmospheric processes like precipitation. … Chikamoto said oceans provide a long-term memory that can be used to forecast drought.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta watermaster breaks down water use in the Delta, addresses implementation of reduced reliance on the Delta

At the Oct. 22 meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Watermaster Michael George gave a detailed presentation on estimating water use in the Delta… He also discussed implementation of the state’s policy of reducing reliance on the Delta and provided updates on the preparations for the next drought…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Off the charts: Dryness stat shows why West is burning

Researchers at the Plumas National Forest in Northern California received a startling result: Sticks and logs they gathered from the forest floor to assess wildfire risk had a moisture level of just 2%. The reading was the lowest ever recorded in 15 years of measurements at a site in the forest’s southwest corner. It also was a warning: The area was tinderbox-dry and primed to burn.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Western wildfires: Experts say time to fight fire with more fire

Vastly increasing the number of these low-intensity, carefully managed fires is key. Experts say it reduces dangerous levels of highly combustible fuel and underbrush built up over more than a century of trying to snuff out most every forest fire. The conditions set by that longstanding federal and state policy are now worsened by climate change, with fires growing larger, more frequent and more destructive.

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Aquafornia news Berkeleyside

Jewel Lake is more like a muddy puddle than a lake. What happened?

The lake is particularly small and low right now for a few reasons, said Matt Graul, the East Bay Regional Park District’s chief of stewardship. Wildcat Creek runs dry in the rainless months of summer and early fall, but has been hit harder than ever since the Bay Area received less rainfall than typical last winter. Once the rains start and fill the creek, there should be water again in the lake, he said.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Eel River tributaries decimated by drought

Completely dry riverbeds, record low flows, and diminished fish populations — that’s what staff and volunteers from a local environmental nonprofit found when they surveyed tributaries of the Eel River earlier this month.

Aquafornia news Institutional Investor

California’s complex water market faces new challenges

The supply and demand of California water are geographically and seasonally disconnected, a trend that could be exacerbated by climate change. Agriculture, urban and environmental use compete for limited supply in the state’s $1.1 billion water market.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Here’s the challenge of implementing historic groundwater law

I can see clearly the challenge ahead for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Actcal act because I now have first-hand experience with the kinds of water disputes that can arise when the local parties involved are not given a chance to work things out collaboratively.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Winds may be ‘strongest of year’ this weekend. Bay Area regions under fire weather watch

The National Weather Service issued a high wind watch for the entire Bay Area beginning Sunday evening, when meteorologists say winds up to 70 mph could cause widespread damage and incite new wildfires. The powerful winds, which officials say could be the strongest of the year, have potential to bring down trees and power lines, a major concern at a time of historically dry vegetation.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: La Niña: Is California heading into another drought?

A commonly held assumption among many Californians is that La Niña means a dry winter is coming, and in years when the opposite occurs, El Niño, a wet winter is considered more likely. So brown lawns and water rationing are just around the corner, right? Not necessarily.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley residents urge the state for action on the Salton Sea

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Aquafornia news CNN

Monday Top of the Scroll: A boiling summer is now a scorching fall in the West

The desert Southwest is a hot place to live, but imagine spending over half of the year with high temperatures of at least 100 degrees. Parts of California and Arizona did just that this year. … A series of high-pressure systems in unfavorable locations have not only allowed for temperatures to soar over the past few months, but have effectively blocked any large, rainmaking storms from moving through the area.

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Aquafornia news Science

Distant seas might predict Colorado River droughts

In 2011, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains filled the Colorado River, lifting reservoirs—and spirits—in the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest. The following year, however, water levels dropped to nearly their lowest in a century… Now, scientists say they may have come up with a potential early warning system for the Colorado’s water levels—by watching temperature patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thousands of kilometers away.

Aquafornia news

Oceanside gets 2nd place in national water conservation challenge

Oceanside finished second in a national water conservation challenge among cities with populations between 100,000 and 299,999, behind only Lakeland, Florida, it was announced Wednesday. … Oceanside residents pledged to save water and protect the environment as part of the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

With dry La Niña conditions, persistent Western drought looms large in winter outlook

The forecast looks warm and continued dry this winter in California and the Southwest, which raises the disturbing prospect of a perpetual fire season. … If this scenario unfolds, it would exacerbate drought conditions in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and California, and worsen the wildfire outlook for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desalination plant in Orange County will help ensure clean drinking water

California is facing an impending water shortage. With widespread fires, a COVID-19 provoked economic recession bringing widespread unemployment and a public health emergency, it would be easy, but not prudent, to forget that we face a water crisis around the next corner.

Aquafornia news American Geophysical Union

Research tidbit: Where will snow survive in a warming world?

Even if mean annual snowfall decreases, an increase in the intensity of snowfall events could prevent snow ablation, or the loss of snow due to melting, sublimation or evaporation. … In this study, Marshall et al. (2020) analyze spatial patterns in snowfall using both observational data from snow networks across the Mountain West [from the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountains to the Rockies] and outputs from climate change simulations.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Multiple droughts can be a mixed bag for forests

Droughts usually leave individual trees more vulnerable to subsequent droughts. “Compounding extreme events can be really stressful on forests and trees,” says Anna Trugman, assistant professor in the geography department at the UC Santa Barbara. She compares the experience to a person battling an illness: You’ll be harder hit if you get sick again while you’re still recovering.

Aquafornia news

Linking critical zone water storage and ecosystems

Several years into the research at the California Critical Zone Observatories, a multiyear drought lasting from fall 2011 to fall 2015 hit the state, causing massive tree death in the southern Sierra, while in Northern California there was essentially none. The massive die-off in the Sierra was a wake-up call for land managers and researchers alike…

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Vast new reservoir in south Orange County gets its first drops of water

It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently imports 100% of its drinking water from the Colorado River and northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and to recycle more wastewater.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Setting ‘good fires’ to reduce the West’s wildfire risk

Prescribed burning … targets brush, grasses, and other accumulated vegetation, along with dead and downed trees, to improve ecosystem health and reduce the fuels that power wildfires. … “We’re trying to encourage a cultural shift in our relationship with wildfire,” says Sasha Berleman, a fire ecologist who runs a prescribed burn training program based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Fire isn’t going away, so let’s change how we’re living with it.”

Aquafornia news

$1 million research project tracking agricultural water savings

If certain hay species retain more nutrients than others when on low-water diets, then ranchers know their cattle will continue to eat well as they evaluate whether they can operate their ranches on less H20…. Any water saved could be left in the Colorado River, allowing it to become more sustainable, even as the West’s population grows and drought becomes more intense.

Aquafornia news

Reservoir release pilot project on the Colorado River

A new experiment is looking into how drought conditions, like we’re currently in, can affect water traveling downstream in the Colorado River. The pilot project involved shepherding water from a high mountain reservoir to the Colorado-Utah state line.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: La Niña may signal scant relief from California’s seemingly endless loop of hot, dry weather

California just recorded its hottest September on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the state looks to be stuck in a nearly endless loop of hot, dry weather. With a strong La Niña developing, the dry pattern is looking ever harder to break, and could be settling in to stay for a while.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: A Craigslist for water trading? Learn how this new water management platform works

To inform landowners about their water budgets, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District in Kern County partnered with EDF, Sitka Technology Group, WestWater Research and local landowners to co-develop a new online, open-source water accounting and trading platform. We asked general manager Eric Averett to answer a few questions about how the platform…

Aquafornia news KVOA TV

University of Arizona researcher leading project to model the nation’s groundwater

A University of Arizona researcher is leading a National Science Foundation project that is integrating artificial intelligence to simulate the nation’s groundwater supply for the purpose of forecasting droughts and floods. [One aim, the researcher said, is to] “come up with better forecasts for floods and droughts in the upper Colorado River Basin…”

Aquafornia news

Colorado River water supply is predictable owing to long-term ocean memory

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Inverness and Bolinas step up water restrictions, warn of rationing

Residents of Bolinas and Inverness must take further steps to reduce their water consumption to stave off rationing. Both the Inverness and Bolinas utility Districts lack significant water storage in their systems; recently, they put increased pressure on their customers to cut water use and warned of mandatory restrictions should they fail to comply.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Supervisors discuss Corning area groundwater levels

Tehama County Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday … on groundwater levels and well depths following reports of south county wells going dry. … The majority of the calls come from areas west of Interstate-5 as far as Rancho Tehama, where at least two people have reported wells going dry. A few others have reported declining groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news The Current, UC Santa Barbara

Blog: Tapping into conservation

In a new paper, researchers from UC Santa Barbara reveal how a large-scale field experiment in messaging based on psychological science significantly reduced water consumption on the Central Coast of California.

Aquafornia news University of Texas

News release: Key indicators discovered of climate change’s impact on California water supply

In the new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists found that leading climate projections used by the state strongly agree that climate change will shift the timing and intensity of rainfall and the health of the state’s snowpack in ways that will make water management more difficult during the coming decades.

Aquafornia news

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet. That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less water.

Aquafornia news

NUDES designs a towering rainwater harvesting concept for San Jose

in a bid to celebrate the importance of water in our lives, the collaborative design office NUDES has conceived a rainwater harvesting tower for San Jose in California. The soaring ‘rain water catcher’ is a design proposal that aims to address the global impact of climate change by advocating the need for water conservation.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water year starts with concerns about La Niña

Despite little precipitation and a small snowpack in the 2020 water year, which ended Sept. 30, California weathered the year on water stored in reservoirs during previous years’ storms. Going into 2021, farmers note that weather officials predict a La Niña climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which has brought drought conditions in the past.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship… One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa “Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work together.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Droughts that start over the ocean? They’re often worse than those that form over land

A Sept. 21 study published in the journal Water Resources Research found that, of all the droughts that affected land areas globally from 1981 to 2018, about 1 in 6 started over water and moved onto land, with a particularly high frequency along the West Coast of North America….The current Western drought could soon rise to a crisis level, with federal water managers warning that … two key Colorado River reservoirs may drop to levels that could result in economically damaging cuts to water allocations in the Southwest and California. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District candidates address funding, climate

Three first-time candidates and a 16-year incumbent are vying for two seats on the Marin Municipal Water District board in the November election.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Lawmakers pass technical fix to aid drought-stricken Klamath Basin

House lawmakers passed the bill Oct. 1, allowing irrigators to access up to $10 million for emergency drought relief in the basin straddling Southern Oregon and Northern California. The bill passed the Senate in July, and now heads to President Trump to be signed into law.

Aquafornia news

New Drought Monitor map shows extreme dry conditions growing in Calif.

The new federal Drought Monitor map shows that localized drought conditions are increasing in Northern California. The Sept. 22 map had 3% of the state in extreme drought while the Sept. 29 map released Thursday shows 13%.

Aquafornia news Caiifornia WaterBlog

Blog: Happy 2021! Here’s to a new water year!

As we leave 2020, the soils are dry (and ashen) and most reservoirs and aquifers have been somewhat drawn down by the dry year.  Most major water storage reservoirs have below average storage, but some are above average.  We enter WY 2021 with less stored water than when we entered 2020.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Orange County desalination project doesn’t pencil out

Unfortunately, some Wall Street water companies are trying to take advantage of California’s drought fears by pushing through overpriced and unnecessary water projects. Poseidon Water Co. is one of those companies. Poseidon has been working for years to build a seawater desalination plant in Orange County, seeking a deal that would lock the local utility into buying their water for decades, regardless of need.

Aquafornia news UC San Diego

News release: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Madness and arrogance” forced lawsuit against desert groundwater agency

Two lawsuits accusing the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority of ramming through a plan that ignores water rights and, according to one plaintiff, is intended to “destroy agriculture” were filed this week. At issue is a controversial $2,000-per-acre-foot fee that would be charged to certain groundwater users over a five-year period. That money is intended to raise $50 million to buy Central Valley water and, somehow, bring it over the Sierra Nevada to replenish the overdrafted desert aquifer.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How groundwater managers can avoid the courts as they divvy up water

One of the biggest challenges to implementing California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act hovers around this two-part question: Who gets to pump groundwater and how much do they get to pump? Or, put another way, who must cut their groundwater use and by how much? [Please note Oct. 20 webinar.]

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Conflict over U.S.-Mexico water treaty escalates as farmers take La Boquilla Dam

Tensions between Mexico and the United States over water intensified this month as hundreds of Mexican farmers seized control of La Boquilla dam in protest over mandatory water releases. The protesters came from parched Chihuahua state, nearly 100 square miles of land pressed against the U.S. border, where farmers are opposing the delivery of over 100 billion gallons of water to the United States by October 24.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Paying for forest health projects

Four days before dry lightning ignited this year’s statewide wildfire siege, state and federal leaders signed an agreement to vastly expand vegetation management in California. This signals progress towards shared management of forests to reduce the risk of large severe wildfires and improve their resilience to the changing climate. … But are current funding sources enough to keep pace?

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County Water Authority sets agricultural water discount in exchange for reliability

Participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water, while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per acre-foot. Farmers who participate will receive a lower level of water service during shortages or emergencies. That allows the water authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits. In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water storage and supply reliability charges.

Aquafornia news The Rolla Daily News

Research links sinking land to regions of high groundwater demand

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology … are using a form of artificial intelligence known as machine learning to map the sinking – called land subsidence – to help water policy officials make informed decisions. … To carry out their research, Smith and his Ph.D. student, Sayantan Majumdar, compiled hydrologic and subsidence data from satellites and ground-based GPS stations across the western U.S., including California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River to southwest Utah.

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Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Opinion: Water has always posed a challenge for Santa Maria Valley

From the time when the pioneers first arrived, water, or the lack of it, was a major problem for the valley. The first water system was started by Reuben Hart, who came to the United States from Derbyshire, England, first settling in New Jersey with his brother, Thomas.