Topic: Drought

Overview

Drought

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

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

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

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

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Rain and snow return, but it won’t be enough to quench Northern California’s needs

More rain and snow area headed to Northern California on Tuesday, although the storm won’t be nearly enough to make up for what’s been a relatively dry January. … The Department of Water Resources’ precipitation index was at 63 percent of normal for the Valley and Sierra. The Sierra snowpack is 82 percent of normal.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Beetles and fire kill dozens of ‘indestructible’ giant Sequoia trees

The deaths of the trees, some of which lived through the rise and fall of hundreds of empires, caliphates and kingdoms – not to mention the inauguration of every US president – have shocked researchers in their speed and novelty.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Time’s up on groundwater plans: One of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained

The landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, requires some of the state’s thirstiest areas form local “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” and submit long-term plans by Jan. 31 for keeping aquifers healthy. Together, those plans will add up to a big reveal, as groundwater managers finally disclose how badly they believe their aquifers are overdrawn…

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Aquafornia news Cannabis Now

Climate change puts spotlight on the drought resistance of marijuana

Mediterranean climates include California, and dry-farming of cannabis is catching on in the Emerald Triangle as a part of the general trend toward sun-grown and organic product.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

New radar system in San Jose will make more accurate weather predictions

Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant in San Jose is the first permanent x-band weather radar system in the Bay Area. “The radar system that you see up there is collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water.“ Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C., Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system, which will improve weather forecasting across the region.

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Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration seeks input on water plan

As Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration attempt to establish a comprehensive and cohesive water policy for the state, officials are seeking public input on the draft water resilience portfolio released earlier this month. The document was issued in response to Newsom’s April 2019 executive order directing his administration to inventory and assess a wide range of water-related challenges and solutions.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Newsom administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio puts California on course to climate resilience

While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Wildfire and water challenge solutions featured in documentary to air on KVIE

UC Merced researchers outline solutions to the severe wildfire problems in California’s mountain forests and closely linked water resource challenges in a documentary premiering on KVIE, the Sacramento affiliate of PBS, later this month. The new film “Beyond the Brink: California’s Watershed” highlights the critical need to reverse a century of fire suppression in Sierra Nevada forests…

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Here’s how much better last fire season was than the previous two

Last year, with those recent calamities haunting the state, officials took some unprecedented steps to avert a devastating repeat. Did they work? Well, judging by the results tallied at the end of the year, something went right.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: An ounce of prevention: Australia and California could benefit from forest management

The fires raging in Australia present a sadly recognizable scenario, a new normal that, after two years of devastating wildfires in California, we in the United States have become all too familiar with. Policies intended to return forests to a more “natural” state with less proactive human management have created disastrous conditions…

Aquafornia news Futurity.org

Blog: ‘Perfect droughts’ hit California water sources 6 times a century

Severe droughts have happened simultaneously in the regions that supply water to Southern California almost six times per century on average since 1500, according to new research. The study is the first to document the duration and frequency of simultaneous droughts in Southern California’s main water sources—the Sacramento River basin, the Upper Colorado River Basin, and local Southern California basins.

Aquafornia news The Grocer

How US almond growers are struggling to overcome ‘vampire’ image problem

Californian almonds will benefit from a new public campaign next week to capitalise on the explosion in plant-based eating… However, the environmental reputation of the almond sector is much less favourable. It was once labelled a “horticultural vampire” by US magazine New Republic for its perceived role in California’s most recent droughts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado River had a stellar 2019, but this year’s forecasts are below average

Right now, the April-July runoff is supposed to be 82% of average. That compares to 145 % of average in 2019, the second-best runoff season in the past 20 years, says the federal Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. Despite last year’s excellent river flows, most experts also say the Colorado still faces long-term supply issues…

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Opinion: Save the Chinook and Coho salmon

Every year since 2014, I have petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to end the widespread practice of irrigation, especially of cattle pastures, outside the legal irrigation season. So far, however, State Water Board staff have not taken effective action to end the illegal water use and the resulting degradation of Scott River stream ecosystems…

Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Opinion: District updates groundwater charge zones

Because the amount of groundwater pumped out far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA panel: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability. … At ACWA’s fall conference, a panel discussed the legal framework, different types of groundwater rights, lessons learned from existing groundwater production allocation programs, and potential pitfalls …

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document’s proposed strategies. Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Sites Reservoir proposal receives $6M in federal funds

Sites Reservoir will receive $6 million from the federal government as part of a bipartisan spending bill that was signed by President Trump at the close of 2019.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County adopts plan to avoid pumping too much groundwater

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins. … Officials said the plan also lays out efforts to try to recharge groundwater — in other words, replace water sucked out from underground.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

Consistent with the science developed over the last three decades, the Newsom administration is pursuing comprehensive, watershed-wide solutions that address the numerous factors that limit the abundance of native fish in the Delta. These types of solutions are the ones that are most likely to achieve the state’s co-equal goals of the 2009 Delta Reform Act…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true

California will impose new limits on water usage in the post-drought era in the coming years — but a claim that residents will be fined $1,000 starting this year if they shower and do laundry the same day isn’t true. It wasn’t true when the state’s new conservation laws were enacted in 2018, and it isn’t true now — despite a recent report on a Los Angeles television station …

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California Democrat rolls out green new deal to fight climate change, poverty

Citing a lack of action by Congress and the Trump administration, a group of California Democrats said it’s up to the state to continue fighting the “existential” threat of climate change by simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas emissions and improving the standard of living for low-income communities and people of color.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Colorado River overcommitted on water availability

In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts. In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A change of plans

Governor Newsom’s administration recently released a draft Water Resilience Portfolio plan… This plan also emphasizes diverse relatively precise policy initiatives for state agencies, often in support of local and regional water problem-solving and with some aspirations to bring state agencies together. It is a good read, clearly reflecting intense and diverse discussions over several months.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State agencies release draft water resilience portfolio

State agencies on Friday released a draft water resilience portfolio with a suite of recommended actions to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona Legislature could stop the state’s next water war. Will they?

Another water war is getting underway. This time we are not fighting California. It’s a family feud right here in Arizona. Urban versus rural. Phoenix and Tucson ganging up on the rural communities along the Colorado River in western Arizona.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports

The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years. The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter. Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program.

Aquafornia news KSBY

San Luis Obispo County leaders test cloud seeding to raise Lopez Lake Reservoir levels

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors recently approved a winter cloud seeding project that could add millions of gallons of water to the Lopez Lake Reservoir and supply thousands of homes.

Aquafornia news Maricopa Monitor

Drone on the range: Farmers take to the skies to save water and money

Farmers for decades have used huge machines to plant, grow and harvest their crops, but more and more Arizona farmers today are using tiny, remote-controlled aircraft to boost yields and save water and money.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California can solve its water shortage with the water we have. Here’s how

California is at a water crossroads. We can continue our costly, 100-year-old pattern of trying to find new water supplies, or we can choose instead to focus on smarter ways of using – and reusing – what we already have.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California water cutbacks could take large area of farmland out of production

California is increasing regulations on groundwater. For many farmers in the state, it is a step too far. The law’s critics say it could lead to a loss of half a million acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley. As Kerry Klein of member station KVPR in Fresno reports, some farmers are so worried, they’re quitting.

Aquafornia news KCBX

Local professor’s fog research catches attention of the Defense Department

The Department of Defense recently awarded a $266,589 grant to a California State University Monterey Bay professor to continue his research into fog. Reporter Michelle Loxton spoke with Daniel Fernandez about how this grant will take his research to the next level.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

The nearly $4 million project, assisted with $3.4 million in state grants and a $1 million match from Pajaro Valley Water, is expected to further reduce groundwater pumping in the area, so as to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

County board approves $350K to support Salton Sea rehab

The supervisors authorized the disbursal from the Coachella Valley Air Quality Enhancement Fund to help pay for the planned north end restoration of the 360-square mile lake, which will include the establishment of a lagoon to overlay exposed playa and mitigate the resulting atmospheric impacts.

Aquafornia news KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

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Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Rural development loan aids Sites Reservoir Project in California

In a recent exclusive interview, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Western Farm Press that the low-interest loan will help fund projects associated with the off-stream storage site in western Colusa County. … “The USDA is putting up almost $500 million in rural development funds,” Perdue said.

Aquafornia news Popular Mechanics

Water desalination just got a lot better

A mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a new, micro-thin material to make membrane water desalination even better. Amir Barati Farimani, with fellow researchers Zhonglin Cao and Vincent Liu, has calculated how much better his metal organic framework (MOF) works than the traditional membrane method.

Aquafornia news Quartz

Drought is crippling small farmers in Mexico—with consequences for everyone else

This isn’t just a problem for Mexico. These growers are the custodians of rare varieties of maize that may hold the secret to more sustainable agriculture. If they lay down their tools, their crops could begin to vanish.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Can a Grand Vision Solve the Colorado River’s Challenges? Or Will Incremental Change Offer Best Hope for Success?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: With talks looming on a new operating agreement for the river, a debate has emerged over the best approach to address its challenges

Photo of Lake Mead and Hoover DamThe Colorado River is arguably one of the hardest working rivers on the planet, supplying water to 40 million people and a large agricultural economy in the West. But it’s under duress from two decades of drought and decisions made about its management will have exceptional ramifications for the future, especially as impacts from climate change are felt.

Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

Exploring Different Approaches for Solving the Colorado River’s Myriad Challenges
EDITOR’S NOTE: We examine a debate that emerged from our Colorado River Symposium over whether incrementalism or grand vision is the best path forward

Jenn Bowles, Water Education Foundation Executive DirectorEvery other year we hold an invitation-only Colorado River Symposium attended by various stakeholders from across the seven Western states and Mexico that rely on the iconic river. We host this three-day event in Santa Fe, N.M., where the 1922 Colorado River Compact was signed, as part of our mission to catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

A model for the future of water

With a low rumble from a large pipe, water began flowing into a dirt basin at 25th Street West and Elizabeth Lake Road Thursday morning, christening the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge Project and marking the debut of a new water storage endeavor in the Valley. Inside the basin, water flowed from holes in a round structure to begin flooding the bottom, where it will begin to percolate through the soil to the aquifer beneath.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Don’t go into the tunnel

Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Friday Top of the Scroll: U.S. water chief praises Colorado River deal, sees challenges

States in the U.S. West that have agreed to begin taking less water next month from the drought-stricken Colorado River got praise and a push for more action Thursday from the nation’s top water official. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told federal, state and local water managers that abiding by the promises they made will be crucial to ensuring that more painful cuts aren’t required.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Conservation key as decades-long drought continues

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Wednesday that Nevada has been a national leader in water conservation by reducing demand on the Colorado River and investing in infrastructure over the past two decades. In Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual conference, Burman declined to say, however, whether she sees Nevada’s share of the river’s water increasing…

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck

A year later, issues triggered by a contentious plan by state water regulators to increase unimpaired river flows for the benefit of fish remain firmly mired in red tape.

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Editorial: Essential ingredient for living

There are a number of very evident reasons, however, that Vandenberg Air Force Base is at the top of the Pentagon’s water-scarcity list…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Can recharge net metering contribute to sustainable groundwater management?

Dr. Michael Kiparsky is the founding director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law. In this presentation from the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Dr. Kiparsky discussed a pilot project in the Pajaro Valley designed to incentivize private landowners to do groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona will soon start getting less water from the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will start taking less water from the Colorado River in January as a hard-fought set of agreements kicks in to reduce the risk of reservoirs falling to critically low levels. The two U.S. states agreed to leave a portion of their water allotments in Lake Mead under a deal with California called the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP…

Aquafornia news Valley Citizen

Blog: Draining the last great aquifer: A group project

Environmentalists who had high hopes Gavin Newsom would lead the way to sustainable water use in the San Joaquin Valley are waking up to the knowledge that the new governor isn’t going to be any more effective than the old governor. Sustainability is just too big a lift.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local

There are two things already baked into the desert’s cake guaranteed to inject a bit of what ails the rest of the state — the full flowering of the regulatory scheme mandated by the state’s 2014 Groundwater Sustainability Act and reductions in Colorado River allocations made necessary by a drying Colorado River Basin that is already badly over allocated.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Trump takes aim at trickle-down toilets, faucets

President Donald Trump said on Friday he has directed his environmental regulators to find answers to what he said is a big problem – water-conserving showers, faucets and toilets.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Standing too close to the elephant: addressing scales in restoration and fisheries conservation

Dr. Rachel Johnson is a research biologist with the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and UC Davis with over 15 years’ experience working on various aspects of conservation and fisheries biology. In this presentation from the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Dr. Johnson discussed the importance of developing a holistic framework among aquatic ecosystems and management authorities.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California voters call climate change their top priority

Pummeled by fires, drought and floods, California’s Democratic primary voters put fighting climate change at the top of their list of issues for the next president to tackle. Nearly half of likely Democratic primary voters call the issue the No. 1 priority for the next president, according to a new statewide poll…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California water supplies remain at critical levels

Tijuana and Rosarito residents may have gotten a brief reprieve from scheduled water shut-offs, but the delivery of water throughout Baja California is a vulnerable system in need of urgent repairs, state and water officials stressed this week.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘It would mean total annihilation’ – Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law

Farmers are worried… Some feel angry, even betrayed by lawmakers and the environmental groups that have pressured them into what they see as ever-tightening regulations on the ag industry. While many disagree with SGMA, most do acknowledge that California’s unrestricted groundwater use has been unsustainable.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly

Unfettered pumping has taken a toll on the state’s aquifers for many years, but just as experts are calling for Arizona to develop plans to save its ancient underground water, pumping is accelerating and the problems are getting much worse. Big farming companies owned by out-of-state investors and foreign agriculture giants have descended on rural Arizona and snapped up farmland in areas where there is no limit on pumping.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California urged to rethink 40 years of ‘piecemeal’ freshwater protections

The bitter drought validated scientists’ warnings that despite longstanding endangered species protections, the state’s outdated and overtaxed water management plans are failing in the face of climate change. … A report released Thursday by the Public Policy Institute of California recommends the state stop prioritizing individual species recovery plans and adopt holistic management methods that improve entire freshwater ecosystems.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Planned Palm Springs arena has big water needs, adds to climate footprint

The planned downtown Palm Springs entertainment arena, like many desert projects, is a thirsty one, requiring almost 12 million gallons of water each year to accommodate an American Hockey League affiliate team and other visitors.

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Securing SoCal water to benefit NorCal salmon

Rather than physically move water hundreds of kilometers across earthquake country between Northern California and San Bernardino, the plan involves reallocating water virtually, just as you would electronically transfer funds from one bank account to another. Once the Chino Basin Program is operational, in times of drought the southern region can draw water from the new reserve instead of from the State Water Project… That will mean water impounded by Oroville Dam can be released into the Feather River, benefitting endangered chinook.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: One Delta, one estuary; Connecting California through water

In her address to the State of the Estuary conference, Felicia Marcus spoke about the connections of the Delta to all Californians and the importance of working together and more broadly to solve the challenging problems before us.

Aquafornia news News 4

Multiple agencies take part in restoration project for the Lake Tahoe Basin

With the new strategy, land management agencies will increase the pace and scale of restoration actions, including forest thinning, prescribed fire, and meadow, aspen, and stream restoration. It will also provide a science-based framework to guide continued forest and watershed restoration over the next two decade.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California should take over PG&E and possibly other utilities, former top regulator says

Following a string of utility-sparked wildfires that have killed scores of Californians and destroyed billions in property, the former top regulator of California’s electric grid says it’s time for sweeping change — a public takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric and possibly other private utilities, which would be transformed into a state power company.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Q&A with Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos

In my current research, I have been studying the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, commonly known as SGMA, in California. SGMA is one of the world’s largest-scale policy experiments on collective action to manage natural resources. At the same time, pervasively disparate access to water resources in the Central Valley made SGMA the perfect case study to test some of the power asymmetry theories I have been working on with my colleagues.

Aquafornia news Clean Water Action

Blog: Q&A on groundwater sustainability with Jane Wagner-Tyack of the League of Women Voters

I assumed the different local water agencies were in regular contact with their customers about important issues like groundwater and that they would be happy to take advantage of the opportunity to educate the public about what was happening with SGMA. I learned that that was not the case. This is not a subject that engages people who don’t already have some reason to be concerned about it.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Finished Paso Robles groundwater sustainability plan awaits final approval

The 20-year groundwater plan, required by state law, aims to bring the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin back into balance. Between 1981 and 2011, the 684-square-mile aquifer serving 29 percent of San Luis Obispo County residents and 40 percent of its agriculture lost 369,000 acre-feet of water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fishing groups sue federal agencies over latest water plan for California

The fracas over California’s scarce water supplies will tumble into a San Francisco courtroom after a lawsuit was filed this week claiming the federal government’s plan to loosen previous restrictions on water deliveries to farmers is a blueprint for wiping out fish.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers?

California is by far the United States’ most populous state, as well as its largest agricultural producer. Increasingly, it is also one of the country’s most parched places. But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Turbidity and Insights on flow-habitat-fish abundance curves in policy-making

California’s water policy community continues to be embroiled on how best to manage what remains of California’s native aquatic ecosystems, particularly for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries. One aspect of this controversy is the dedication and use of habitat and flow resources to support native fishes.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Politicians knew the inconvenient truth about the Colorado River 100 years ago — and ignored it

As conventional wisdom has it, the states were relying on bad data when they divided up the water. But a new book challenges that narrative. Turn-of-the-century hydrologists actually had a pretty good idea of how much water the river could spare, water experts John Fleck and Eric Kuhn write in Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. They make the case that politicians and water managers in the early 1900s ignored evidence about the limits of the river’s resources.

Aquafornia news Military.com

More than 100 military bases now at risk of water shortages, GAO finds

The list of bases cited by the report was not limited by geographical area and ranged from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina in the East to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and Camp Pendleton, California in the West.

Aquafornia news CNBC

Christmas tree prices rise as drought and fire hit crops, farms close

Last year, the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, California, and burned a Christmas tree farm to the ground. The fire occurred just months after three other Christmas tree farms were wiped out in Northern California.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

State is forecasting small water allocation

The California Department of Water Resources announced an initial State Water Project allocation of 10% for the 2020 calendar year. According to a DWR announcement, the initial allocation is based on several factors, such as conservative dry hydrology, reservoir storage, and releases necessary to meet water supply and environmental demands.

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Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pioneertown residents now have clean tap water — for the first time in decades

For three years, residents of the unincorporated San Bernardino County desert town have used twice-a-month shipments of bottled water because local wells were no longer meeting state standards for drinking water. … That changed in September, when work finished on a new pipeline that pulls clean water from a well 4 miles away in Yucca Valley.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How racism ripples through California’s pipes

And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston… Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water fight between Kern district, Kings River managers

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New monitoring program hopes to boost science on Colorado River headwaters

A new federal program hopes to fill knowledge gaps on how water moves through the headwaters of arguably the West’s most important drinking and irrigation water source. The U.S. Geological Survey announced the next location for its Next Generation Water Observing System will be in the headwaters of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. It’s the second watershed in the country to be part of the program…

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Wildfires and climate change

A constellation of factors has primed California to burn big: more development in the forests, undergrowth that’s no longer cleared out by natural fires—and, importantly, climate change, which has been drying out the land and making fires bigger and the fire season longer.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Opinion: Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant will receive $585 million in credit assistance

Orange County has long been recognized as a worldwide leader for developing state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new water supply technology, and we are not resting on our laurels. … This month, it was announced that the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant will receive $585 million in credit assistance under the EPA’s WIFIA program.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tale of three regions: Study probes drought-forced change in water policies

Aside from advanced economies and Mediterranean climates that sustain long growing seasons, California, Spain and Australia share an intermittent feature that reshapes their overburdened water systems every time it rears its ugly head: drought.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is it drought yet? Dry October-November 2019

Should we worry about a drought yet? Yes, this is California, where droughts and flood can happen in any year, and sometimes in the same year… No, not especially anyway, because … there is not strong correlation between October-November precipitation and total water year precipitation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: ’Bomb cyclone’ could break records as it slams into the West Coast, bringing 100 mph winds and blizzard conditions

In the forecast stretching from Tuesday through Friday are plummeting temperatures, hurricane-force gusts that could reach or exceed 100 mph in some locations, giant waves of up to 37 feet, as much as four feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada and heavy rain in lower elevations between San Diego and Salem.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

A bi-national conference at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity… Experts at the Reborder 2019 conference discussed ways to improve regional access to “a secure and reliable water supply” through wastewater treatment and desalination.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’

The complaint filed in court on Nov. 19 asks the court to “impose a ‘physical solution’ amongst nine groundwater users in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin (“Basin”) to preserve and protect the Basin’s water supply, the investment-backed expectations of agriculture, and the economy that is dependent upon that supply.”

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Embattled water district an economic boon for Arizona, homebuilders’ study says

A district that recharges renewable water supplies to allow new housing development brings in about $13.4 billion a year in economic benefits, says a study written for a homebuilders’ group. …  The report goes against the grain of recommendations made over the years by academics, environmentalists and others to limit enrollment of new subdivisions in the district, saying that could cause a major economic setback for the state.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?

Lots of stories circulate about the unethical actions of Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom’s reluctance to fight Trump on water — stories about Bernhardt’s effort to get rid of scientists who concluded the new Trump Water Plan jeopardizes endangered species in the Delta. Then there’s his work to give Westlands a permanent water contract to irrigate poisoned selenium-ridden lands… What’s not being covered: the impact these projects will have on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, and Newsom’s reluctance to stop them.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

El Niño swings more violently in the industrial age, compelling hard evidence says

El Niños have become more intense in the industrial age, which stands to worsen storms, drought, and coral bleaching in El Niño years. A new study has found compelling evidence in the Pacific Ocean that the stronger El Niños are part of a climate pattern that is new and strange.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Opinion: Delay of water feasibility study disappointing

You might ask why anyone would want to study whether water could be piped from Paradise to Chico. It’s actually pretty simple.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: A study compares how water is managed in Spain, California and Australia

The study demonstrated the following: big legislative reforms in water management in these three areas have always come about as a consequence of important droughts. … One of the main differences lies in how water ownership is managed and how the market is regulated in this field.

Aquafornia news KPBS

After wet winter, why is Tijuana running low on water?

Water shutoffs aren’t uncommon in the growing cities of Tijuana and Rosarito. But they’re rarely announced beforehand, and they’re often isolated to certain neighborhoods after pipes or pumps fail. Earlier this month, however, Tijuana officials announced that it was planning wide-ranging shutoffs for the next two months, in an attempt to replenish a vital reservoir that is perilously low.

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

Reservoir project in California aims to store recycled water

A reservoir and water dam project aiming to store recycled water is on track, according to water management officials. The Santa Margarita Water District gave a tour of the Trampas Canyon Reservoir and Dam on Saturday, Nov. 16. Construction began in January 2018 and is expected to finish by 2020.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Can a new approach to managing California reservoirs save water and still protect against floods?

Known as Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), the approach centers on using the latest forecast technology to plan for the arrival of atmospheric rivers. Those are the torrents of moisture in the sky that barrel into California from the Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric rivers are critical to the state’s water supply, accounting for as much as half of its annual precipitation. But they can also cause catastrophic flooding.

Aquafornia news KCBS Radio

California suffers abnormally dry conditions, drought likely

Despite a winter storm forecast to hit the Bay Area soon, California may be headed for another drought. The National Weather Service’s latest drought forecast, released Thursday, shows that California is likely to develop a drought between now and the end of the February, with abnormally dry conditions covering most of the state.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

Related articles:

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can a New Approach to Managing California Reservoirs Save Water and Still Protect Against Floods?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Pilot Projects Testing Viability of Using Improved Forecasting to Guide Reservoir Operations

Bullards Bar Dam spills water during 2017 atmospheric river storms.Many of California’s watersheds are notoriously flashy – swerving from below-average flows to jarring flood conditions in quick order. The state needs all the water it can get from storms, but current flood management guidelines are strict and unyielding, requiring reservoirs to dump water each winter to make space for flood flows that may not come.

However, new tools and operating methods are emerging that could lead the way to a redefined system that improves both water supply and flood protection capabilities.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

A case study of the Fox Canyon groundwater market

Sarah Heard is Director of Conservation Economics & Finance with the California chapter of The Nature Conservancy… At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Heard gave this presentation on the Fox Canyon Groundwater Market in Ventura County, the first groundwater market since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Initially, federal scientists wrote a draft report that found increasing water exports would harm California’s native salmon population, a species already imperiled. Those scientists were reassigned. Now, the Trump administration and David Bernhardt have released a new proposal, and guess what? Westlands can grab even more water from the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Water coalition aims to coordinate conservation efforts

The water coalition has been meeting since 2018 and started under the facilitation of Alan Mikkelsen, senior adviser to Secretary of the Interior on water and western resources. … The coalition aims to address challenges to fisheries, water supply, and waterfowl and forest health.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek Water District recycled water project awarded $50M state grant

The pricetag for recycled drinking water just got less expensive for Mid-County customers. The State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a $50 million grant for Soquel Creek Water District’s pending Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

West Basin approves desalination-plant impact report — while dozens of foes stand against it

West Basin Municipal Water District took the next steps Monday toward building a desalination facility in El Segundo, a project that has drawn fierce opposition from conservation groups — including some who staged a rally before the meeting.

Aquafornia news KCET

Video: Restoring the river with the Yurok, Hupa and Karuk

For the past two centuries, California has relied heavily on the natural resources of the North Coast region, exploiting its pristine watersheds for agriculture and its forests for timber. … Now the Yurok are working with local and state organizations to revitalize the forests, rivers and wildlife, a comprehensive feat requiring collaboration among community leaders up and down the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

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Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Recognizing the Delta’s place in the greater watershed and beyond

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is hitched to so many things. Our estuary is a critical habitat for fish and wildlife, home to millions of people, and the hub of our state’s water delivery system. From the Sierra Nevada to the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, what happens in one part of the Delta watershed affects the entire estuary.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

‘They’re going to dry up’: Debate erupts over plan to move water from farmland to suburbs

A private company and the town of Queen Creek are proposing a water deal that would leave 485 acres of farmland permanently dry near the Colorado River and send the water used on that land to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb. The company GSC Farm LLC is seeking to sell its annual entitlement of 2,083 acre-feet of Colorado River water — about 678 million gallons — to Queen Creek for a one-time payment of $21 million.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

With new deal, Palo Alto banks on recycled water for drought protection

Seeking to fortify the city against future droughts, the Palo Alto City Council endorsed on Monday a long-term agreement with Santa Clara Valley Water District and Mountain View to build a salt-removal plant in the Baylands and then transfer the treated wastewater south.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is rain done in 2019? Is California in a drought? What to know as weather stays dry

It’s been warmer than normal. It’s been drier than normal. For most of the region, it hasn’t rained more than a sprinkle or a brief thunderstorm here or there in about six months. Northern California weather has done a relatively quick 180 in 2019.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news AgWeb

Blog: California can keep the water flowing

California is in trouble. We can’t keep the lights on, the fires out, or the air clean. Worst of all, from my perspective as a farmer, is that we’ve failed to keep the water flowing. That may change, thanks to the Trump administration.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Water scarcity in Nevada hits ‘critical mass’

Nevada’s director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Nevada has already reached the point of “critical mass” or the breaking point when it comes to the problem of water scarcity. … “We are up against that much strain in our water resources across the state,” Director Brad Crowell said.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater plan’s potential adverse impact on ag

When the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority technical and policy advisory committees reviewed a draft sustainability plan, it left many with questions and criticisms. The plan may also leave uncertainty for the valley’s agricultural industry. They face the brunt of the plan’s water sustainability requirements when the plan is implemented…

Aquafornia news KUNC

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

Ambiguity exists in the language of the river’s foundational document, the Colorado River Compact. That agreement’s language remains unclear on whether Upper Basin states, where the Colorado River originates, are legally obligated to deliver a certain amount of water over a 10-year period to those in the Lower Basin: Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Newport Beach set to consider water rate hike

Water rates have not increased in Newport Beach since 2014. If approved, starting Jan. 1, water rates will increase 7.4% each year until 2024. After 2024, the proposal calls for water rates to rise by 2.5% each year until 2029. The average household … can expect a $3.38 per month increase in its water bill for the first year, according to a staff report.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella water district approves $40 million loan for Oasis farm water pipeline

The Coachella Valley Water District on Monday approved taking on outside financing for what is believed to be the first time in its 101-year history for a $40 million pipeline to bring more Colorado River water to the region’s farmers, freeing up valuable groundwater for other uses.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Our wacky weather: From record heat to snowfall as first storm of season rolls in

The first storm of the season is set to roll into Southern California this week, bringing rain and the potential for snow at higher elevations, but the area isn’t completely in the clear for fire danger, weather officials said Monday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Ancient aquifers are dropping as Tucson suburbs pump groundwater

Since 2009, the water level has dropped 7.3 feet a year in one of two SaddleBrooke Ranch wells and 1.7 feet a year in the other, says the Arizona Water Co., a private utility serving the development. This is one of many suburban developments surrounding Tucson where underground water tables are falling and are likely to fall much farther over the next century, state records show.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water authority would pay $30 million to Raiders under proposed decade-long advertising contract for water conservation

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is proposing a 10-year marketing deal with the future Las Vegas Raiders that will pay the NFL franchise more than $30 million in tax dollars over the next decade, enabling the agency to use team logos and place advertising in the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Westlands contract shakes the waterscape

California’s perpetual, uber-complex conflict over water progresses much like the tectonic plates that grind against one another beneath its surface. In much the same way, interest groups constantly rub on each other in political and legal venues, seeking greater shares of the state’s water supply, which itself varies greatly from year to year. And occasionally, there’s a sharp movement that shakes things up.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Health of our families, communities depends on safe water

California took a historic step forward this summer with the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. This fund seeks to provide new targeted investments to end the state’s drinking water crisis, where one million Californians are impacted by unsafe water each year. Unfortunately, successful implementation of the fund is on a potential collision course with another California law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Path To sustainability: Workshop covers plan for groundwater

Groundwater in Tulare County, especially in Porterville, has been a hot topic of discussion for quite sometime. As groundwater levels have begun to subside, a viable and woking plan to maintain the groundwater has been state mandated, and the implementation of this plan is set to be put in action by January 31, 2020. But what exactly is the plan, and who is at stake?

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

West Basin Municipal Water District to weigh proposed desalination plant in El Segundo

A proposed desalination plant in El Segundo could soon be one step closer to reality. The West Basin Municipal Water District will hold a special meeting in Carson on Monday, Nov. 18, where the board will weigh whether to certify an Environmental Impact Report for the proposal. … The board has not yet selected a company to build the proposed plant, which could cost more than $400 million.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Are atmospheric rivers the reason for Northern California’s extreme weather?

Sasha Gershunov, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, is one of the nation’s experts on atmospheric rivers. ARs are one of the planet’s most extreme weather events, he said, and their impact on the state is both good and bad. They’re a critical source of water for the Golden State’s bountiful agriculture, thick forests and ecosystems, snowpack and drinking supplies, dropping 50% to 60% of the entire state’s annual precipitation.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news City Watch

Opinion: Unsustainable California

The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a small but influential wealthy class and an ever-expanding poverty population. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: And we wait. 81% of California abnormally dry as seasonal rains fail to materialize

California’s drought-prone hills and valleys are on the verge of another troubling dry spell. The U.S. government’s Drought Monitor on Thursday classified more than 80% of California as abnormally dry because rain has eluded the state for most of the fall. Forecasting models, meanwhile, suggest little change in the near future.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: California must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal

The Westlands Water District has engaged in some sleazy maneuvers over the years, but this one, which threatens the Bay Area’s water supply, tops them all.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: ‘Science Be Dammed’: Learning from history’s mistake on the Colorado River

The problem in the 1920s was neither the lack of good science nor the inability of decision-makers to understand the basin’s hydrology. … In an era driven by politics of competition for a limited supply of river water and federal dollars, those decision-makers had the opportunity to selectively use the available science as a tool to sell their projects and vision for the river’s future to Congress and the general public.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Consultant: Cal Am purchase can be paid for with rate savings

It will cost Monterey Peninsula ratepayers about $574.5 million, all in, to acquire California American Water’s local water system, but that cost can be covered in rate savings under public ownership with some leftover to lower local customers’ water bills.

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Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Climate whiplash: Wild swings in extreme weather are on the rise

The intensity of wildfires in places like California are a symptom of climate change, experts say, but the whiplash effect poses a different set of problems for humans and natural systems. Researchers project that by the end of this century, the frequency of these abrupt transitions between wet and dry will increase by 25 percent in Northern California and as much as double in Southern California if greenhouse gasses continue to increase.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Pinal County has plenty of water. We just need to prioritize demand

The Arizona Department of Water Resources is working on revising a model based on outdated assumptions and incomplete data that have perpetuated the myth that Pinal County is facing a water shortage. In fact, Pinal County has plenty of water for today, tomorrow and 100 years from now.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: SGMA: State Board to introduce streamlined permitting process for groundwater recharge

The streamlined permitting process is an important component of Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation, as it may assist Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in more efficiently obtaining the necessary water rights to divert and recharge water during high flow events.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Public-funded Oroville Dam advertisement called ‘propaganda’

The latest public relations effort cost California water ratepayers $29,000 to produce an eight-page color advertising insert that ran in recent days in six Sacramento Valley newspapers including The Sacramento Bee. … Critics argue it’s inappropriate for a state agency to be spending public money on an advertisement that they say serves little purpose other than to try to make the government look good.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Opinion: As the Vegas pipeline fight persists, remember Owens Valley

The Southern Nevada Water Authority’s Las Vegas water grab and pipeline –– which has been in various stages of development since 1989 –– would forever tarnish public lands and waters in Eastern Nevada and Western Utah. The idea is a direct descendant to the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trees that survived the California drought could contain the key to climate resilience

Scientists are breeding the trees that survived California’s historic drought to make the forests of tomorrow more resilient. A greenhouse full of 10,000 baby trees descended from 100 of those survivors will eventually be planted around the Lake Tahoe area. The researchers hope efforts like this can buy ecosystems time to adapt to the planet’s rapidly changing climate.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Wind and solar can save the planet — can they save our water supply, too?

Hydropower facilities store water in reservoirs in order to release it in a constant flow and produce energy consistently. If wind turbines and solar panels, paired with battery storage, took the pressure off of these facilities to fill the needs of the grid during a drought, more of that water could be released downstream for agricultural use, preventing further groundwater depletion.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump’s Bay-Delta biops are a plan for extinction

As we continue to read through the biological opinions, here are detailed reasons why these biological opinions are a plan for extinction in the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Historically left out, Colorado River tribes call for more sway in Western water talks

Arizona’s portion of the Drought Contingency Plan became a unique example in the basin of tribal leaders asserting themselves in broader discussions about the river’s management. … With the drought plan done, some tribal leaders say their water rights can’t be ignored any longer.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Big California water district backs away from Shasta Dam expansion

The nation’s largest water agency signed an agreement that legally bars it from participating in a controversial plan to raise Shasta Dam, a move applauded by environmental groups that fiercely opposed the proposal out of fears enlarging the state’s biggest reservoir would swamp a stretch of a protected Northern California river and flood sites sacred to a Native American tribe.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Rainfall: When’s it coming and when should we worry?

Normally between Oct. 1 and mid-November, if historical averages are any guide, the Bay Area has received nearly 2 inches of rain, and Los Angeles and Fresno each have received about an inch. But so far this year? None.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

Dust kicked up from the West’s drying lakes is a looming health hazard

Matt Dessert does not want to sue San Diego, nor does he want to start a legal battle with the state of California. But the growing threat to Imperial County’s air quality may leave Dessert, an officer with the county Air Pollution Control District, with little choice.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Sonoma County drills wells to study groundwater sustainability

The shallow wells Sonoma County’s water agency is drilling near 11 waterways have nothing to do with delivering water to 600,000 residents of Sonoma and Marin counties. Instead, the 21 wells will serve as measuring sticks to determine whether pumping groundwater in the county’s three basins … is curbing the flow in creeks inhabited by federally protected fish and other species.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: New paper with Anne Castle on risk of Colorado River curtailments in Colorado, Upper Basin

Here’s the nut: Water supply in the Colorado River could drop so far in the next decade that the ability of the Upper Colorado River Basin states – Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico – to meet their legal obligations to downstream users in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico would be in grave jeopardy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Trump Delta water policy threatens Stockton as well as salmon

The city’s fate is linked inextricably with the San Joaquin River… Much of the water upstream is diverted for agriculture, although a legal settlement ensures that the river no longer runs dry. Additional diversions at the downriver end … greatly reduce the amount of water that actually makes it through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the San Francisco Bay and then the Pacific. It is as if one of the state’s two great arteries … is detached from its heart.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

How to start adapting to California’s “precipitation whiplash”

Much of California enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate where the weather typically swings like a pendulum from warm, dry summers to cool, wet winters. …  While the pendulum has always swung here, there’s evidence that its swings are now getting more dramatic, and anyone who’s lived here in the last few years has seen it firsthand.

Aquafornia news Outside Magazine

The West’s water shortage is fueled by human error

Five of the seven water-stressed western states along the Colorado River—Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming—don’t yet track how they use their limited water in any kind of systematic, accessible way, teeing up potential shortages as the region dries.

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Opinion: The EPA says we need to reuse wastewater

On September 10, 2019, at the 34th Annual WateReuse Symposium in San Diego, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan for public comment—containing 46 proposed actions, to be accomplished by a mix of federal, state, private, local and private stakeholders, in order to promote 10 strategic objectives.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Rosamond treatment plant gets upgrade

The revamped and expanded plant is expected to be operational in spring 2021 and will do so with a new name — The Rosamond CSD Water Reclamation Plant — to better describe its ultimate purpose. In addition to handling the community’s wastewater disposal, the plant will recharge the underlying groundwater basin, providing additional groundwater for the District to pump.

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Coastal Commission staff wants more study of desal impact

Cal Am Water’s experts may have seriously underestimated the potential impact the company’s proposed desalination plant would have on the existing water supply nearby, the staff of the California Coastal Commission concluded in a report released this week as a supplement to its exhaustive report on the overall project.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Green Building Council

Blog: Deploying on-site water reuse in California and nationwide

How do we mitigate the “yuck factor” that many people have about reclaimed water use, when it’s been proven safe and effective elsewhere? These concerns were discussed at GreenerBuilder 2019, USGBC’s conference in the Pacific region, hosted in San Francisco, where industry experts from across the state led a panel discussion on tactics to improve onsite water reuse.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Unprecedented effort to combat risk of catastrophic wildfire announced

One year after the devastating Camp Fire sparked, a diverse group of land, water and environmental managers who have not always seen eye to eye announced … a plan to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the North Yuba watershed. The announcement Thursday includes a Memorandum of Understanding … to thin and restore 275,000 acres of forest on a pace and scale that will prioritize community safety, forest health and resilience.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Blog: As fire ravages California, our infrastructure is still not equipped to handle climate change

Here’s the scariest part: What’s happening in California is not an isolated problem. From saltwater-ravaged tunnels in New York to flooding in Houston to water loss along the Colorado River, it is clear that we did not design our infrastructure and communities to manage our new climate realities. While Congress and statehouses across the country debate how much to spend on traditional repairs and maintenance, we ignore a more fundamental question: What will it take to redesign our entire approach to infrastructure for an era of climate insecurity?

Aquafornia news Patch.com

JPA formed to govern East County water purification program

The creation of the JPA marks a key milestone in moving forward the project that will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Sudden oak death spreading fast, California’s coastal forests facing devastation

It is the forgotten killer when compared to our increasingly frequent climate calamities, but the virulent pathogen known as sudden oak death remains active and is spreading death so fast it could destroy California’s coastal forest ecosystem, UC Berkeley scientists reported Thursday. The deadly microbe has now established itself throughout the Bay Area and has spread along the coast from Monterey to Humboldt County…

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: Pinpointing water content in mountain snow will help California water management

Based on DWR’s own documents, it appears that an aerial snow observator is the most important science- and data-focused program that needs to be expanded statewide, so that the integral aquifer recharge program can play its role in Governor Newsom’s Water Resiliency Portfolio.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Tijuana and Rosarito to ration water supply for the next two months

Starting Monday, authorities in Tijuana and Rosarito will ration water for the next two months because of a limited supply, according to the Baja California Public Service Commission. Roughly 140,000 households and business in the border cities will go without water service for up to 36 hours every four days.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Climate change and the future of California’s water

Dr. Geeta Persad is a senior climate scientist with the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. … In this presentation from the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Dr. Persad discussed the ways in which climate change is going to fundamentally transform how, when, and where California gets its water and how those changes will have profound impacts for the state and for the San Francisco estuary in particular.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Opinion: Long-term reliability and resilience requires investment

El Dorado Irrigation District has been making preparations for these power shutoffs since 2018. After analyzing areas in our system that would need to be bolstered in the event of large-scale power outages — pump stations or other facilities without backup power — we asked the EID Board of Directors to approve $800,000 to purchase generators that could be utilized across our 220-square-mile service area.

Aquafornia news California Weather Blog

Blog: Increasingly unusual dry autumn conditions persist; fire season continues until further notice

October 2019 ended up being a shut-out in the precipitation department in many regions–yielding the 10th driest October on record in over 100 years of record-keeping. More significantly, though: this extremely dry and relatively warm pattern has now persisted into November, and appears likely to continue for at least another 10 days.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water unveils details of its emergency plan

In response to concerns about power outages, wildfires and the water used to put them out, local water officials unveiled details of an emergency plan Tuesday, explaining how SCV Water is prepared for emergencies.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The disconnect between groundwater legal systems and groundwater hydrology

The Groundwater Resources Association’s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress featured David Sandino, Senior Staff Counsel at the Department of Water Resources, who spoke about the disconnect between legal groundwater systems and how the system actually works; and Maurice Hall, Associate Vice President of Ecosystems-Water at the Environmental Defense Fund, who spoke of how more holistic and inclusive groundwater management can increase the resilience of our water supply…

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Climate change is driving California’s wildfires. The Kincade Fire? Not so much

The Kincade Fire, the year’s largest, has burned more than 77,000 acres of Sonoma County’s chaparral. Sage, shrubs, coastal live oak and madrones spot the grassy woodlands. Sure, there are areas with forest canopies here, but they are not nearly as thick as in the Sierra. Now that it’s about 88% contained, fire scientists say that strong winds, not forest fuel, drove the Kincade’s growth.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California urged to update water plans for increasingly wild weather

Casting climate change as a direct threat to California’s water security, a panel of experts on Tuesday said the state must plan for the “new normal” by modernizing water infrastructure before the next great disaster.

Aquafornia news Modern Farmer

New spray could help crops hold onto water during droughts

With drought becoming a more frequent and lasting longer, scientists have really been booking it to try to find potential solutions for crops. … A new possibility comes from researchers at the University of California, Riverside, in the form of a chemical that triggers plants to stop growing—and start storing water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

PUC struggles to regulate PG&E on California wildfire safety

Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken to making public statements almost daily about PG&E’s shortcomings. Yet some elected officials and other experts believe the state itself — specifically the Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the company — should take some blame for the PG&E crisis. These critics say the commission hasn’t been aggressive enough about cracking down on PG&E’s safety flaws.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Trump administration plan allows Delta water managers to kill off winter-run Chinook salmon

Eight-hundred pages into the text of a lengthy new report, federal biologists have quietly granted government water managers permission to nearly exterminate an endangered run of Sacramento River salmon so they can send more water south from the river’s delta to farmers in the arid San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California health: Can desalinated water help Kern County’s water needs?

If California goes into another drought and Kern County needs an extra supply of water, Santa Barbara is open to partnering with communities like Kern County. “We’re able to do exchanges with people, so you could in theory have someone in the Central Valley be a partner in desal,” said Joshua Haggmark, water resource manager for Santa Barbara.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Study: Climate change and drought killing off Mojave Desert birds

Shrinking water resources due to climate change are driving major declines in Mojave Desert bird populations, according to a new study from researchers at University of California, Berkeley.

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Why desalinating water is hard — and why we might need to anyway

In places like San Diego and Dubai, where freshwater is scarce, humans turn to machines that pull the salt out of seawater, transforming it into clean drinking water. … Many researchers are working to improve the technology so it can reach more people — and address climate change without contributing to it.

Aquafornia news WaterOnline.com

California wildfires lead to water treatment struggles

The latest extreme blaze in California, known as the Kincaid Wildfire, has burned tens of thousands of acres, prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents, and consumed more than 100 structures. And naturally, as with any widespread catastrophe, there have been significant impacts on regional water treatment operations.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

California wildfire risk could drag into December

Wildfire risk will remain substantial in much of California through at least this month, the National Interagency Fire Center said Nov. 1 in its monthly National Significant Wildfire Potential Outlook. Risk will persist into December in some areas.

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Aquafornia news KSBW TV

Editorial: Desal – No sale

Now is the time to focus on Pure Water Monterey and scrap the desal plans. If 10 years from now the recycled water project doesn’t do the trick, and there’s still a need for a desal plant, we can be optimistic that future advances in technology will make any desal option more environmentally-friendly and less expensive.

Aquafornia news IntraFish

Nordic Aquafarms given green light to pursue California land-based facility

The board of directors of land-based salmon producer Nordic Aquafarms approved the company’s proposed investment plans to pursue a land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm in Humboldt County, California… Nordic Aquafarms will receive financial incentives from a California county government to move forward with its land-based facilities in Humboldt County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Does a rain-free October signal a return to drought in California?

According to the Drought Monitor, almost one-fifth of California is either abnormally dry or in moderate drought, as of the end of October. … Three months ago, only 4.32% of California was abnormally dry…

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: With California’s water at stake, progress finally triumphs regress

Welcome to the Two States of California: one boasts one of the largest economies in the world while another is shamed with water rationing, third-world power outages, uncontrolled wildfires, an ever-expanding homeless population riddled with medieval diseases. This is the tale of the latter California and the continued alarmism about its water.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

For years, a public water district blurred the line between business and government — with a developer’s brothel workers at the helm

Officials who oversee a water district exempt from state regulation work and live at a brothel owned by the public face of the world’s largest industrial park, raising questions about whether governmental powers such as eminent domain are being wielded by a private entity.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

LandWatch wants Seaside to commit swapped water to Campus Town project

LandWatch, the nonprofit environmental watchdog, has in effect said it will support the city of Seaside’s Campus Town if the project will obtain its 442 acre-foot water supply without increasing groundwater pumping. Campus Town … proposes building up to 1,485 housing units on 85 acres of former Army land next to CSU Monterey Bay …

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Trump stymies California climate efforts even as state burns

For the past three years, countries and companies around the world have looked to California as a counterweight to the Trump administration’s aggressive dismantling of efforts to combat climate change. But this past week, as wildfires burned across the state — fires that scientists say have been made worse by a changing climate — and as at least five large carmakers sided with President Trump’s plan to roll back California’s climate pollution standards, the state’s status as the vanguard of environmental policy seemed at the very least diminished.

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Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Opinion: Despite wildfires and drought, California keeps building

The Gold Rush might have ended 140 years ago, but its ethos of extraction still dominates California. It’s not just the farmers adding tens of thousands of acres of orchards and vineyards in a state famous for drought. It’s the developers building new subdivisions across Northern and Southern California—houses marching out to the chaparral, hill and forest, straight into the path of wildfire.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Debate: Does watering Arizona’s suburbs promote affordable housing or urban sprawl?

To authors of a new, highly critical study, Arizona’s system of groundwater management encourages urban sprawl. But to an official and lobbyist for a homebuilders group, the system encourages construction of affordable housing.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In Napa Valley, winemakers fight climate change on all fronts

Wine producers are grappling with a maelstrom caused by a warming planet: heat waves, droughts, cold snaps, wildfires and more.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

New laws may result in water rate increases

In order to keep up with the state’s underground water recharge laws, sooner or later, local water rates will likely need to increase. That was the message local water management officials gave in a joint presentation at the Oct. 21 Selma City Council.

Aquafornia news Stanford School of Engineering

Q&A: How do we develop new sources of usable water?

Late last month, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a $100 million research grant to the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) to lead an Energy-Water Desalination Hub. Meagan Mauter explains how this very large and potentially transformative project will work, and Stanford’s role in the work.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Delta group critical of federal move to change water priorities

An environmental group, highly critical of a federal agency’s newly proposed recommendations to protect endangered species in the Delta, states that they would seriously harm those species and their habitat. The new recommendations, released Oct. 22 by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, are to be used as guidelines for operating the federal pumping plant in the Delta.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Gov. Bruce Babbitt: Rural counties should take charge of groundwater

Babbitt spoke at a conference of county supervisors from across Arizona Tuesday, calling for new legislation that would give county officials the authority to manage groundwater. He said while the 1980 law has had “a lot of success” in managing groundwater in urban areas from Phoenix to Tucson, its main flaw has been leaving groundwater pumping unregulated in rural parts of the state.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Bureau of Reclamation takes up review of Lake Powell Pipeline

The elimination of the major hydropower components of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline means a new federal agency will review the project and determine if it is environmentally sound to move forward.

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