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 KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Blog: A first — drought tops list of Californians’ worries

The drought has moved to the top of Californians’ worry list. And that’s a first. Asked to name the “most important issue” facing the state, 26 percent of respondents to a statewide survey earlier this month said “water” and “drought.”

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

News Release: New Western Water available

The newest issue of Western Water magazine examines salinity in the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary and critical juncture of the state’s water delivery system. Written by the Foundation’s Gary Pitzer, the September/October issue discusses the how salinity during drought is affecting fish, wildlife and farms. In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in between, the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the Delta is a constant pattern.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Monterey County begins Salinas Valley groundwater sustainability effort

Faced with a state mandate to balance groundwater basins within the next two decades, Monterey County officials on Tuesday took the first step toward meeting that goal in the long overdrafted Salinas Valley groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news NPR

Coping in a drier world: California’s drought survival strategy

The past few years have been California’s driest on record. … The state uses water rationing and a 90-year-old water distribution system to cope until the rains come.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California still at risk of floods during drought

Local state and federal agencies are operating as if it’s flooding, even during California’s drought.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Flagging problem dams for fish survival

This drought year, as in those past, California water regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows critical to fish and wildlife. … There are, however, legal backstops to prevent harmful reductions in fish flows, even during a drought as severe as this one.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sacramento Valley water transfer idea leaves locals fuming

There’s a plan for water transfers could move up to 511,000 acre-feet of water each year for the next 10 years from the Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area. … The Bureau [of Reclamation] is in the middle of writing the “Long-Term Water Transfers Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Poll: Water bond

The [Public Policy Institute of California] survey, produced with support from The James Irvine Foundation, determined likely voter sentiment on other issues, including: … On Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, 56 percent say they would support it after being read the ballot title and label for the measure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Gabriel Valley water agency declares water supply emergency

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District declared a water supply emergency Wednesday amid record-low levels.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

PG&E plan may reduce water flowing into Lake Mendocino

A plan by PG&E to temporarily shut down a powerhouse that feeds water from the Eel River to the Russian River may cut into consumer supplies this winter by further reducing the amount of water coming into Lake Mendocino.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tomato growers expect record year despite drought

About 95 percent of the nation’s processed tomatoes come from California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought, drawdowns and death of the Salton Sea

The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake at 370 square miles, once supported resorts that drew celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and Jerry Lewis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water agencies lose millions of gallons underground

Turns out the UCLA flood was just a drop in the sea of potable water that leaks or blows out of underground pipes. California’s water distribution systems lose up to 228 billion gallons annually, the state estimates — more than enough to supply the entire city of Los Angeles for a year.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Finding the Right Balance: Managing Delta Salinity in Drought
September/October 2014

In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in between, the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.

The cycle of ebb and flood is the defining nature of an estuary and prior to its transformation into an agricul­tural tract in the mid-19th century, the Delta was a freshwater marsh with plants, birds, fish and wildlife that thrived on the edge of the saltwater/freshwater interface.

Aquafornia news UT San Diego

San Diego adopts mandatory water restrictions

San Diego is cracking down on water waste, after the city council voted unanimously Monday to invoke mandatory water restrictions.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Warming Earth heading for hottest year on record

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest September in 135 years of record keeping.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid California’s drought, a bruising battle for cheap water

The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”

Aquafornia news The Hamilton Project

Report: In Times of Drought — Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States

This Hamilton Project memo presents nine economic facts that provide relevant background context to the water crisis in the United States. … We examine these issues through the lens of economic policy, with the aim of providing an objective framing of America’s complex relationship with water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown takes the long view on water

Battles over water rights, wet years flowing into dry ones, Jerry Brown gubernatorial tenures – in California, some storylines recur.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

198 drought maps reveal just how thirsty California has become

It doesn’t take much to understand why California is so worried about drought. … Watch the 10 second snap-shot here.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Gov. Jerry Brown touts water bond measure at Stanford summit

Gov. Jerry Brown pitched his plan Monday for a water bond and a rainy-day fund at a Stanford University water conference. … He called his water plan a “four-term effort.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Proposition 1 could lessen future water shortages, but at what cost?

Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately, the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers. … Mayor Eric Garcetti, who prefers the term “showers to flowers” instead of “toilet to tap,” also lobbied for groundwater cleanup funds. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Palm Springs HOAs need to follow water rules

Water has become a huge issue in the desert. On our You’ve Got Issues Facebook group, Vic Yepello of Palm Springs writes that homeowners associations are violating the rules about watering during daylight hours.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water agencies fielding more waste complaints

Broken sprinklers, water running on streets and neighbors hosing down driveways are increasingly prompting complaints to water agencies as drought-conscious residents across the Coachella Valley are reporting incidents of waste.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

NASA spacecraft could help California address drought

A NASA spacecraft getting set to launch will measure soil moisture, one of the most important components of the earth’s water cycle.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Blog: Jerry Brown dives into water policy at Stanford University

He’ll [Gov. Jerry Brown] dive further into the world of water at a policy conference today at Stanford University, hosted by The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. … His speech, scheduled for 9:20 a.m., will be webcast.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Drought funding dries up

San Joaquin County is missing out on millions of dollars in state grants to fight the drought, in part because some private landowners are reluctant to share confidential information about their wells.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

West Nile cases surging in state, Bay Area

In the midst of a historic drought, public health officials are searching for clues as to why cases of West Nile virus have exploded statewide since last year, making this season the worst for human infections in California since 2005.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Make hard choices on drought while we still can

The pending closure of the Paradise Pines Golf Course may be a matter of simple economics, but it may also be a sign of these dry times in California. … The course is an economic asset, a recreational asset, and a scenic asset for many of the residences built along the fairways.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Giant sequoias may surprise us in a warmer future

Research ecologist Nathan Stephenson crawled around magnificent Giant Forest, checking young giant sequoias for damage from California’s three-year drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angles Times

Commentary: California is in a drought, so why is it still hard to rip out your lawn in L.A.?

For months now California leaders have been telling people to conserve water, let their lawns go brown and switch to drought-tolerant yards. But Los Angeles rules have, in some cases, made it hard to be water wise.

Aquafornia news NPR

As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up.

Aquafornia news NPR

California farmers: We are getting ‘much less water’

Farmers say they aren’t using up groundwater supplies, nor are they solely to blame for the water crisis. Almond grower Dan Errotabere talks with NPR’s Rachel Martin about the situation on his farm.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Could desalination solve California’s water problem?

Along this patch of the Pacific Ocean, welders and pipefitters nearly outnumber the surfers and sunbathers. … They are building the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will convert as much as 56 million gallons of seawater each day into drinking water for San Diego County residents.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Desalination comes of age

Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. That line is all that remains in my brain from an early exposure to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the endless poem that has been cruelly inflicted upon generations of American schoolchildren.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tahoe level at 5-year low; no Truckee River flows

Lingering drought has helped push Lake Tahoe’s water level below its natural rim for the first time in five years, cutting off flows into the Truckee River, which has been reduced to a shallow stream as it meanders down the Sierra through Reno.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruzans drink up water source solutions

Even ideas are being conserved as Santa Cruz continues its hunt for alternative water supply solutions. … The so-called ideas convention was hosted by the city’s 14-member Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: It’s time to get extremely serious about conserving water

The message that California is in severe drought is being heard. But more must be done.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Californians can save a lot of water by retrofitting wasteful older homes

The reduction of water use in new homes has long been a focus of California’s homebuilding industry. … The good news is the state has a golden opportunity to use the emergency drought funds available to retrofit older homes to comply with current building standards – potentially saving hundreds of billions of gallons a year.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

The West is bone dry. Here’s how to help

Drought is rampant these days in many parts of the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift: You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your job is to turn around and use that resource in the most valuable way possible.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

News Release: Learn about groundwater and take a cruise on Lake Shasta

The Water Education Foundation’s popular Northern California Tour features a diverse group of experts talking about groundwater, flood management, the drought, water supplies, agricultural challenges, and the latest on salmon restoration efforts. The tour also includes a houseboat cruise on Lake Shasta. … The tour travels the length of the Sacramento Valley with visits to Oroville and Shasta dams.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Little hope for wet winter

A winter outlook released Thursday by the National Weather Service suggests drought is likely to continue in many parts of California for a fourth straight year. Although that prediction is early and marked by some uncertainty, it’s enough to keep water officials on edge.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog by UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Blog: Modernizing drought water allocations

The State Water Resources Control Board recently solicited public comments on how to improve its drought curtailment of water rights. Here is a summary of insights and recommendations from a group of seven California water experts.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Mendocino Wine Co. saves water, earns raves

In his first career, Tim Thornhill stuck about 4,000 tensiometers – instruments that measure soil moisture and thereby help regulate irrigation – into the earth as he developed botanical gardens around the country.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Drought Watch — California as a testing ground

An international consortium of water economists gathered at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. earlier this fall for two days of meetings on water policy research. … In light of the national and international attention to California’s ongoing drought, I was asked to give keynote remarks about lessons from California for other regions of the world.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Edson wants county to cash in on snowpack

Caring for the annual snowpack would become a core industry in Calaveras County under an economic development vision being championed by county Supervisor Cliff Edson of San Andreas. … Now, he’s putting together an ad-hoc coalition of water agencies, utilities, forest managers, property owners and others who have an interest in either the prosperity of Calaveras County or in increasing water yield.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma to consider hiking water rates

In an attempt to reduce water use during California’s severe drought, Sonoma’s City Council will consider raising water rates next month and imposing a new tiered-pricing system that puts the financial squeeze on the city’s heaviest water users.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Experts offer advice for drought tolerant landscaping in Southern California

The drought has reached a tipping point, according to several area landscape contractors and designers. More residents are converting some or all of their lawn to drought-tolerant landscapes, while others are mulling it over.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Garcetti’s ambitious goal for L.A.’s water supply

Spurred by the drought, but planning for long-term sustainability, Mayor Eric Garcetti has set an ambitious and important goal for Los Angeles: to reduce the amount of water it purchases by 50% in 10 years.

Aquafornia news Slate

Blog: Pacific Decadal Oscillation — We may see two El Niño years in a row

As this year’s El Niño sets in, early signs are pointing toward the possibility of a rare occurrence: back-to-back El Niño years. If it happens, it would virtually guarantee a new global heat record in 2015 and could help usher in a decade or more of accelerated warming.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Blog: Capitol Alert

Governor Grounded: Typically, a Groundwater Resources Association of California conference might not register too much attention.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The risks of cheap water

This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

California’s giant pumpkin growers undeterred by drought

California’s punishing drought has drawn down reservoirs and fallowed fields in the Central Valley, but it hasn’t stopped giant pumpkin growers from pursuing ever bigger gourds.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Early, quick harvest means few rain worries for local grape growers

The threat of rain in mid-October would typically have winemakers and vineyard managers scrambling as they look to limit any damage caused by severe rot or other moisture-related harm to the North Coast’s most valuable crop.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid drought, Mayor Garcetti directs Los Angeles to cut water use 20% by 2017

Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday challenged Los Angeles residents, businesses and city agencies to cut water use by 20% over the next 21/2 years and warned of new water restrictions if conservation targets aren’t met. … The mayor’s move comes as statewide conservation efforts appear to be producing results.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Blog: High temps intensified California drought

The showers and cooler temperatures in the forecast this week won’t be a drought buster — but they may help take the edge off conditions that have been been making the drought even worse.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. forecast: Cool weather, possible rain to make long-awaited debut

Not only are temperatures across the Southland expected to drop below normal for the rest of the week, but some areas could even see rain overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Green Gulch Creek ‘recreated’ to help endangered fish

For the past seven weeks crews at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center have been rerouting a creek closer to its original path to help an endangered species’ chance for survival.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Oroville inches closer to record low

Only time and nature will determine whether Lake Oroville will continue its steady drop or begin to climb back. On Monday, the lake was at a low water elevation of 670 feet. Capacity is 900 feet.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Prop. 1, Prop. 2 backers oversimplify wildfire costs

The campaign for a $7.5 billion water bond and a budget reserve measure is running a TV ad that says reserves will help “protect the water and the fire services we need” in future economic downturns.

Aquafornia news UT San Diego

After a three-year dry spell, the West could face decades more of drought

For three years now, Californians have fixed leaks, ripped out lawns and shortened showers, adjusting to what officials call the most severe drought in memory. Imagine what changes might come next if the drought continues for the rest of our lifetime.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

People who would be flooded by Sites Reservoir still back project

Cattle and sheep have grazed on the floor of the Antelope Valley for more than a century. But just a few years from now, the land could be transformed into the bottom of a vast inland sea.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Blog: California farmers pray for rain, prepare for continued drought

Get a group of farmers and ranchers together and they will tell you without hesitation California’s historic drought is driving up the cost of food. The Center for Land-Based Learning, a non-profit teaching people how to farm, held its annual fundraiser at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City this weekend.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Pool water in Burbank is repurposed to help aid drought relief

After the final splash into Burbank’s McCambridge Pool as summer’s swimming season ended, the more than 200,000 gallons of water didn’t just gurgle down the drain.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Reintroduced tule elk compete with cattle on Point Reyes

The wild elk and domestic cows simply do not mix, according to the ranchers who lease the fields from the National Park Service, which administers 28,000 acres of agricultural land in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes seashore. The ranchers say the competition from the elk for scarce vegetation threatens their very existence after three years of drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Vast landscape charred by King Fire will receive emergency treatment

Rugged and isolated, the Rubicon River Valley on the border of El Dorado and Placer counties was for many years an idyll of old growth trees and icy swimming holes. … Experts now worry that the devastation and the extreme temperatures of the fire, which scorched much of the soil and reduced its ability to hold together and absorb runoff, could lead to floods and mudslides when winter storms arrive.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Cities seek water independence

California’s drought has created mandated water conservation efforts, but some communities in Southern California, from Huntington Beach to Los Angeles, are doing something extra: trying to become water independent.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Dry-weather runoff — A new source of water for drought-stricken California?

Even without rainfall, the gutters, channels and storm drains of Los Angeles County pulse with about 330 million gallons of water every day.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Proposition 1’s water bonds followed long legislative odyssey

Amid a multiyear dry stretch that is among the worst droughts on record, California lawmakers this year made crafting a new water bond a priority.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Jerry Brown, smart and prepared, responds to California’s drought emergency

Three straight years of desperately dry conditions in California are igniting hills in walls of towering orange flames, turning reservoirs to sandpits, and causing residents across America’s most populous state to clamor for water.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News Release: EPA’s WaterSense 2014 Partners of the Year honored for efficiency efforts to protect nation’s water supply

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the 2014 WaterSense Partners of the Year for their commitment to promoting water efficiency and strengthening the drought resiliency of communities across the country, during the WaterSmart Innovations Conference today [Oct. 9] in Las Vegas, Nev.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Horseback protest targets BLM, but environmentalists say whoa

They’re a dozen men and women riding horseback on a modern-day cross-country cattle drive, but with fistfuls of petitions instead of a herd of steers. … But environmentalists have lashed out at protesters as a selfish, entitled group with no business running private cattle on public lands, especially during years of prolonged drought.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Commentary: Tahoe-Sierra mega droughts

The Sierra Nevada water year for 2014 ended on Sept. 30 and the snowfall and precipitation totals aren’t pretty. The 194.5 inches of snowfall measured last season at the Central Sierra Snow Lab tied with 1924 as third least snowiest since 1879, well under the 409 inch seasonal average.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

El Niño looking like it will be a weakling

This year’s much-anticipated El Niño is closing in, federal climate experts said Thursday, but it’s also looking weaker than ever — meaning there is little chance it will help squelch California’s drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Castaic Lake so low that fisherman finds agent’s gun lost 22 years ago

California’s lingering drought has lowered the water level in Castaic Lake so dramatically that authorities said a fisherman on Thursday recovered a badge and handgun that a federal agent lost in the lake nearly 22 years ago.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Colorado River water-conservation effort to begin

Providers of municipal water in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado are starting a conservation program for the Colorado River system.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California drought: Team climbs high to assess redwoods threat

Flood, fire and famine have been no match for California’s mighty redwoods. … But a research team worries they may be facing new threats — the latest being the state’s three-year dry spell.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: U.S. Department of the Interior and Western municipal water suppliers developing water conservation projects as part of a landmark collaborative agreement

Faced with the increasing probability of shortage on the Colorado River, municipal water providers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado, and the Bureau of Reclamation are implementing a landmark Colorado River System Conservation program. … At a later date, water users in the Upper Basin will be invited to participate in this unique agreement.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Californians ring in new water year with trepidation

October 1 marks the beginning of the water year, a term hydrologists and water managers in the western United States use to define the period when snow begins to accumulate in mountain basins rather than melt. … Going by the calendar year – the January to December period that governs most record keeping – 2013 was the driest in state history.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Meeting state groundwater rules will mean a lot of work locally

The biggest changes to California groundwater law in 150 years are on the way. What it means for local water leaders is a lot of work. The goal within 20 years is for all groundwater basins in the state to achieve sustainability.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Plans for five new Glenn-Colusa wells face a tough crowd

Five new wells are on the drawing board for Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, the biggest surface water district in the Sacramento Valley. … Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District is considering the five wells as a backup to surface water during dry and critically dry years, presenters explained.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Drought Watch — video seminars

A series of videos available online is a great resource for water wonks and newcomers alike. Researchers and cooperative extension specialists from the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with support from the California Department of Water Resources, have put together these video seminars on drought-related water management issues.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Californians make big cuts in water usage, report says

Some of the biggest savings have come in Southern California, which faced criticism earlier this year for increasing water use at a time when the rest of the state was cutting back, according to state records released Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Water use declines thanks to rebates, mandatory restrictions

Water use was down across most of the Inland area in August compared to the same period last year, contributing to a statewide 11.5 percent drop for the month, officials said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news National Journal

Can California make it rain with drones?

Billowy and filled with life-sustaining water vapor, the cloud passes overhead without emitting a drop of rain. … What that cloud needs is a kick start, a catalyst to squeeze the water out of it.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water use continues to decline — but by how much?

When Tracy city workers first ran the numbers suggesting that residents saved 41 percent more water in August than they did the previous year — one of the highest conservation rates in the state — Steve Bayley was stunned.

Aquafornia news KPBS Radio News

Tapping into the ocean with San Diego’s billion dollar desalination plant

San Diego’s water supplies could be seriously tested if a punishing four-year drought extends through another winter. But there is relief on the horizon. It’s not coming from rain clouds; relief is coming from the West Coast’s first seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Big water cuts by many Northern Californians

As California braces for a rainy season that may again be a bust, residents are becoming increasingly mindful about water conservation, particularly in the northern half of the state.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water for Coachella Valley farms untouched by drought

One of the most extreme droughts in California’s history has been hitting agriculture hard, forcing cutbacks in water deliveries in parts of the Central Valley and leaving more than 400,000 acres of farmland fallow and dry.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Amid drought, plan seeks to conserve aquifer under Santa Rosa Plain

Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday are expected to adopt a far-reaching plan that seeks to locally manage and protect groundwater resources through scientific study and voluntary measures such as well monitoring.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Despite drought, some ticketed for brown lawns

When Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought in January and made a second emergency declaration in April, Riverside resident Rowena “Roni” Silver was listening.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Voters will decide fate of $7.5 billion water bond

Storage was the key sticking point in getting the legislature to pass the water bond with the two thirds vote it needed. That portion of the bond includes reservoirs and projects to clean up or store more groundwater.

Aquafornia news The Center for Investigative Reporting

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water officials aren’t following own call for conservation

Water bills obtained via the state’s Public Records Act show that in 2013, nearly half of the officials who supervise the state’s biggest water agencies used more water than the typical California household.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Drought cuts California food exports sharply, costing growers millions

Exports of California food products took a dive in August, with fruit and tree nuts decreasing by 8 percent when compared to the same time last year and vegetables dropping by 7.8 percent, according to data released Friday by Beacon Economics.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sacramento region may receive $10 million for water supply improvement projects

The Sacramento Region is one step closer to reducing its reliance on Folsom Reservoir. The state of California has recommended the Regional Water Authority receive almost $10 million for projects to improve water supply. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought disrupts migratory birds in Central Valley

As birds fly south for the winter, millions of them will stop in the Central Valley, but the drought will make it harder for the birds to find food and water.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Central Valley Project begins Water Year 2015 with 3.1 million acre-feet of storage

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project began water year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015) with 3.1 million acre-feet of water in six key CVP reservoirs (Shasta, Trinity, Folsom, New Melones, and Millerton reservoirs and the federal share of the joint federal/state San Luis Reservoir). This is less than half of the 15-year average annual carryover of 6.4 million acre-feet and about 2 million acre-feet less than the amount with which the region started WY 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In wake of drought and fires, turtle habitat becomes death trap

Biologists strode along the cracked, dry mud surrounding this evaporating north Los Angeles County lake last week, pausing periodically to pick up an emaciated turtle and wash alkaline dust off its head and carapace.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California drought worries pool industry

California swimming pool companies just regaining their financial footing after the recession are now facing a new challenge: a devastating drought that has put the state’s ubiquitous backyard pools under the microscope.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Could those empty San Joaquin Valley reservoirs fill up in one winter?

In mid-September 1977, the 326 billion-gallon Pine Flat Reservoir sat nearly empty — holding 6% of capacity in a warm puddle.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: In virtual mega-drought, California avoids defeat

A few years ago a group of researchers used computer modeling to put California through a nightmare scenario: Seven decades of unrelenting mega-drought similar to those that dried out the state in past millennia.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz water director calls for rationing to continue

With high unlikeliness that Santa Cruz will receive enough precipitation in the coming year to escape the persistent drought, Water Director Rosemary Menard recommends extending residential rationing on a month-to-month basis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California dairy farmers struggling to survive prolonged drought

Dust whips across the toasted soil where Tom Barcellos usually plants corn for his 800 dairy cows. This season, there was no water to plant the crop.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Surge in Sierra bears reported

You’d be hungry too if you couldn’t find any food and were used to eating the equivalent of more than 80 cheeseburgers a day.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

With dry taps and toilets, California drought turns desperate

In the Gallegos household and more than 500 others in Tulare County, residents cannot flush a toilet, fill a drinking glass, wash dishes or clothes, or even rinse their hands without reaching for a bottle or bucket. Unlike the Okies who came here fleeing the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the people now living on this parched land are stuck.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California

The severity of California’s drought continues to shock, with the latest example coming courtesy of NASA.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Smartphone apps let neighbors report water wasters

With Californians being urged to cut water use as the state’s historic drought drags on, a growing number of local water agencies are enlisting the public to play water cop with their smartphones.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought prompting extraordinary measures to protect salmon

State and federal wildlife officials this month are preparing extraordinary measures to protect Chinook salmon returning to spawn in California’s drought-depleted rivers.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

Commentary: Water for a parched land

We talked the other day about the most exciting project now going on in California, public or private. That would be Poseiden Water’s Carlsbad desalination plant north of San Diego, scheduled to begin operating next year.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State ends one of driest-ever water years

California officials are urging residents and businesses to keep conserving water as the state ends another extremely dry “water year” with no guarantee the coming year will be any wetter.

Aquafornia news NPR

When can a big storm or drought be blamed on climate change?

Nowadays, when there’s a killer heat wave or serious drought somewhere, people wonder: Is this climate change at work?

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Judge upholds water for Klamath salmon

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a federal water agency did not violate the law when it made special reservoir releases last year to help salmon in Northern California’s Klamath River survive the drought, rather than save it for farms.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

North Coast water woes reflected in dwindling reservoirs

California turned the page this week on the fourth-driest water year on record, an occasion marked on the North Coast by dwindling reservoir supplies and restrictions on water use.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Commentary: Droughts likely to be new normal for California

Whether viewed from a dry-as-dust ground level or from a sky-high planetary perch, the ongoing drought in California is remarkable.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: State high court OKs water cuts on Russian River to aid salmon

The state Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed California regulators to order farmers along the Russian River to reduce cold-weather water sprays that have helped preserve their crops while killing thousands of endangered salmon.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Western U.S. governors begin drought discussions

In the midst of a record-smashing dry cycle in the United States, the organization with the most influence over state and federal drought policy wants to do a better job managing the crisis. … On September 18 and 19, the Western Governors’ Association, a forum for state leaders, will welcome to Norman, Oklahoma, agency officials, industry representatives, and technical experts who will offer insight on how a multi-year drought in the western United States is challenging the energy sector.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought has Yankee Hill mobile home park on the edge of bone dry

Help will soon be on the way for about 100 residents who live in the Big Bend Mountain Mobile Home Park in Yankee Hill. … Luckily, the park was added to a list for emergency water supply funds, with money recently approved by the state.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Reservoirs at 19-year low

We’ve all had those years when we couldn’t wait to flip the calendar to January, put our troubles behind us and get a fresh start. That’s how California water managers must feel today.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: October begins water year with prospect of tighter restrictions

As the state ends the fourth-driest water year on record with no guarantee of significant rain and snowfall this winter, Californians face the prospect of stricter rationing and meager irrigation deliveries for agriculture.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

IRS extends deadline for farmers forced to sell livestock due to drought

Farmers and ranchers forced to sell livestock due to the drought have an extended period of time to replace their livestock and defer tax on any gains from the sales, the Internal Revenue Service announced.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California Indian tribes honor water

Indian tribes from across California will converge on the state Capitol Friday [Sept. 26] for an event meant to draw attention to the drought and celebrate water as a sacred substance.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s water year ends as one of the driest on record

California’s water year ends Tuesday as one of the driest in state history — and water managers are warning the new water year may be just as bad.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Commentary: What’s the best way to price residential water? Question of the Week

If the severe drought gripping California continues much longer, there’s a good chance that many of the Golden State’s residences will be assigned a daily allocation of water and then charged extra for exceeding that amount.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Low flows a danger to salmon coming and going

While waterfowl are winging toward Central Valley skies, salmon will simultaneously be splashing up Central Valley streams. And like the birds, they’ll have a drought to deal with when they get there.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Migrating birds in for a tough winter in Central Valley

If the millions of birds that migrate to the Central Valley each winter look forward to the equivalent of a cozy bed and a warm meal, this year they could find themselves sleeping under a bridge.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Rebates for replacing lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping won’t be taxed

Rebates received by homeowners for replacing their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping will not be counted as income, according to a bill authored by a Los Angeles lawmaker and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California’s drought linked to greenhouse gases, climate change in Stanford study

The stubborn high-pressure systems that block California rains are linked to the abundance of human-caused greenhouse gases that heat the oceans, according to a major paper released Monday by Stanford scientists. But two other new studies disagree — saying there’s no evidence that warming ocean waters are to blame for our drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought and climate warming: Studies find no clear link

Global warming contributed to extreme heat waves in many parts of the world last year, but cannot be definitively linked to the California drought, according to a report released Monday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Studies fault warming in much of 2013 wild weather

Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on more than half of them. … The California drought, though, comes with an asterisk.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought-conscious residents turn the water tables on public agencies

As officials crack down on homeowners who waste water, more drought-conscious Californians are using social media to broadcast video of what appear to be government agencies breaking their own water-use rules: sprinklers running at city parks in the middle of the day, public workers hosing grass until it becomes a muddy mess.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fall begins with warm weather; smoky skies in Sierra

Fall officially arrives tonight — but first two days of warm weather.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Changes to water releases from Lake Mendocino helping

A change in releases at Lake Mendocino is helping water suppliers hold back precious reserves as the region’s dry spell wears on and threatens to cut historically low reservoir stores to critical levels.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

All of San Joaquin County, 58% of state now in ‘exceptional drought’

All of San Joaquin County, and 58 percent of the state, is now considered to be in a state of “exceptional” drought, federal officials said today [July 31].

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water-use restrictions take effect in California; daily fines possible

Tough new statewide regulations restricting outdoor water use took effect Tuesday, the same day millions of gallons of water gushed from a ruptured water main near the UCLA campus.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lessons of California’s drought from 1976

“What have you done to save water today?” That leading question could be asked any day this year, but it’s an echo from California’s past.

Aquafornia news The Center for Investigative Reporting

Why the California drought affects everyone

California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked restaurants not to serve water unless diners ask for it. He’s letting lawns at the state Capitol turn brown. Farmers in the Central Valley are getting just a trickle of the water they usually do. Conspicuous water wasters – commercial and residential – face fines of $500 a day. Even Lady Gaga is pleading with Californians to conserve.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Major California reservoirs below 50% capacity as drought wears on

Most of California’s major reservoirs are now less than half-full — or at what officials call a “seriously low” level — but that’s still nowhere near the historic lows set in 1977, the state’s driest year on record.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Rita Schmidt Sudman Jennifer Bowles

Dry Times Ahead: California’s Drought
March/April 2014

Living in the semi-arid, Mediterranean climate of California, drought always lingers on the horizon. People believe they are ready to face the next dry period, then conditions arrive testing whether that is the case.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

News Release: May Survey Looks at Views on Budget, Drought

From the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC):

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Daily water allocation could be the next California drought strategy

You probably know your Social Security number, your driver’s license number and perhaps the latest wrinkle in mattress marketing, your sleep number. But do you know your drought number?

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California Burning: Southern California homeowners left to defend

Wildfires behave differently in southern California than in northern forests. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California Burning: Northern Californians prepare for megafires

The 2013 Rim Fire was the largest wildfire ever in the Sierra Nevada, scorching 257,000 acres.


Central Valley Tour 2014
Field Trip

This 3-day, 2-night tour travels the length of the San Joaquin Valley, giving participants a clear understanding of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project. Stops include the Kern County Water Bank, the San Joaquin River, Terminus Dam, Mendota Pool, Friant Dam, San Luis National Wildlife Refuge and San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Another drought casualty: No chance to make key air standard

California’s freakishly dry 2013-14 winter dealt the San Joaquin Valley more than a crippling blow to the farm economy.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California harvest much smaller than normal across crops

It’s harvest time in much of California, and the signs of drought are almost as abundant as the fruits and nuts and vegetables.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Report: Sierra Nevada forest health in rapid decline

A report released this week shows that many Sierra Nevada forests are in critical condition, and that natural benefits they provide — such as clean air and water — are at risk from large, intense fire.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

No drought relief in U.S. West without deep mountain snow

The drought in the U.S. West is unlikely to end any time soon, and that makes the coming winter one of the most crucial in recent years.

Aquafornia news Mono Lake Committee

Blog: Two Mono Basin wildfires in one week

With two wildfires in one week, the Mono Basin is getting hit hard during this tinder-dry early autumn.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought has 14 communities on the brink of waterlessness

Parkwood is one of 28 small California communities that have since January cycled onto and off of a list of “critical water systems” that state officials say could run dry within 60 days.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

As the California drought enters its fourth year, are we doing enough to conserve water?

After a sweaty day outdoors, you’re only halfway through an evening shower with shampoo stinging your eyes when it hits you: You’ve just about used up your water ration for the day. And you still have to water your petunias and wash your dirty socks. What to do?

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Drought plays out differently in various regions of California

Most of California is experiencing a “severe” or “exceptional” drought, impacting more than 37 million Golden State residents, according to the Drought Monitoring Center at the University of Nebraska.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Santa Rosa gives water-saving demonstration garden green light

Santa Rosa has been encouraging people to conserve water and protect creeks from harmful runoff for years. Now it’s moving forward with a $1 million project to show them how it’s done.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz council OKs water rate hike

Tuesday, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved a five-year water rate increase and temporary drought-recovery fee designed to fund long-needed infrastructure improvements, grow reserves and replace revenue lost during mandated rationing.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Parched California expected to miss out on typical fall rains

Northern and Central California typically receive 30% to 40% of their precipitation over the next three months, but this year, forecasters say the upper two-thirds of the state can expect to miss out on much of that badly needed moisture.

Aquafornia news Contra Costa Times

Tri-Valley hits high water marks: Cities top drought conservation lists

Three public water agencies and a private company serving Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and part of San Ramon ranked among the top 10 in the entire state for slashing water use, according to a recent survey by the state’s Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Blog: Drought rallies support for California water projects

Californians continue to see the ongoing drought as a priority — and that may be driving a willingness to spend billions on securing their future water supplies.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Poll: Strong support for state water bond — and for local water bonds too

An epic drought and wave of wildfires have left California voters thirsty for the $7.5 billion state water bond on November’s ballot — and also anxious to approve local bond measures to supply more water, a wide-ranging new poll finds.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Fewer scorchers, but summer’s average temperature was warmer than usual

For the fifth year in a row, Stockton has escaped the summer season with relatively few 100-degree days.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Amid drought, a water damage bill for Stockton

Perhaps only in Stockton might the City Council be asked to declare a Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency and simultaneously have to shell out nearly $50,000 to repair City Hall rainwater damage at the very same meeting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Forest Service thinks California’s drought caused a massive mudslide

Government scientists say exceptionally hot, dry conditions and a lack of insulating snowpack primed Mt. Shasta for the massive mudslide that rumbled down over the weekend after a pulse of water burst out from under an alpine glacier. That a severe drought could cause flooding is the latest expression of a three-year dry spell that is afflicting California with increased wildfires, crop losses, water shortages and spikes in air pollution.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Heat, drought cited in massive Mount Shasta mudslide

Glaciers are not known as fast-moving objects. Yet on Saturday, things started happening very quickly at a glacier high on the slopes of Mount Shasta.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Reserves narrowing for California water wholesaler

The giant wholesaler that provides drinking water for half the California population has drained two-thirds of its stored supplies as the state contends with a punishing drought, officials said Monday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Survey: California wine industry adapting to aging baby boomers, foreign competition, drought

In the latest surveys, respondents said California’s massive wine industry will hold its own in the global marketplace despite shifts in consumer demographics, drought, competition from imported wines and the rising popularity of craft beers and cocktails.


Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - Paperback

The story of water is the story of California. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.


Water & the Shaping of California
Published 2000 - hardbound

The story of California is the story of water. And no book tells that story better than Water & the Shaping of California.

Western Water Magazine

A Significant Challenge: Adapting Water Management to Climate Change
January/February 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines climate change – what’s known about it, the remaining uncertainty and what steps water agencies are talking to prepare for its impact. Much of the information comes from the October 2007 California Climate Change and Water Adaptation Summit sponsored by the Water Education Foundation and DWR and the November 2007 California Water Policy Conference sponsored by Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform.

Western Water Magazine

A Drought-Proof Supply: The Promise of Recycled Water
July/August 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines recycled water – its use, the ongoing issues and the prospects it holds for extending water supplies.

Western Water Magazine

Dealing with the ‘D’ Word: The Response to Drought
November/December 2008

This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought – its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should it arrive.

Western Water Magazine

The Colorado River: Building a Sustainable Future
November/December 2009

This printed issue of Western Water explores some of the major challenges facing Colorado River stakeholders: preparing for climate change, forging U.S.-Mexico water supply solutions and dealing with continued growth in the basins states. Much of the content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth panel discussions at the September 2009 Colorado River Symposium.

Western Water Magazine

The Colorado River Drought: A Sobering Glimpse into the Future
November/December 2010

This printed issue of Western Water examines the Colorado River drought, and the ongoing institutional and operational changes underway to maintain the system and meet the future challenges in the Colorado River Basin.

Western Water Magazine

Solving the Colorado River Basin’s Math Problem: Adapting to Change
November/December 2011

This printed issue of Western Water explores the historic nature of some of the key agreements in recent years, future challenges, and what leading state representatives identify as potential “worst-case scenarios.” Much of the content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth panel discussions at the Colorado River Symposium. The Foundation will publish the full proceedings of the Symposium in 2012.

Western Water Magazine

How Much Water Does the Delta Need?
July/August 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the issues associated with the State Water Board’s proposed revision of the water quality Bay-Delta Plan, most notably the question of whether additional flows are needed for the system, and how they might be provided.

Western Water Magazine

A Call to Action? The Colorado River Basin Supply and Demand Study
November/December 2012

This printed issue of Western Water examines the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study and what its finding might mean for the future of the lifeblood of the Southwest.

Western Water Magazine

Viewing Water with a Wide Angle Lens: A Roundtable Discussion
January/February 2013

This printed issue of Western Water features a roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.

Western Water Magazine

Adjusting to the New Reality: Climate Change in the West
July/August 2013

This printed issue of Western Water This issue of Western Water looks at climate change through the lens of some of the latest scientific research and responses from experts regarding mitigation and adaptation.

Western Water Magazine

An Era of New Partnerships on the Colorado River
November/December 2013

This printed issue of Western Water examines how the various stakeholders have begun working together to meet the planning challenges for the Colorado River Basin, including agreements with Mexico, increased use of conservation and water marketing, and the goal of accomplishing binational environmental restoration and water-sharing programs.

Western Water Magazine

Overdrawn at the Bank: Managing California’s Groundwater
January/February 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at California groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by local, regional and state management. For more background information on groundwater please refer to the Founda­tion’s Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.

Western Water Magazine

Dry Times Ahead: California’s Drought
March/April 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at California’s latest drought, which is shaping up to be one of the worst in the state’s recorded history.


A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: U.S. Senate Passes California Drought-relief Bill

With nary a word, the Senate on Thursday night passed a California drought-relief bill that sets up serious negotiations with the House over water storage, river protection, irrigation deliveries and more.

Maps & Posters

Truckee River Basin Map
Published 2005

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues. 

Maps & Posters

Nevada Water Map
Published 2004

This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the environment. It features natural and manmade water resources throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River that forms the state’s eastern boundary.


Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.


Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water
Published 2006

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada. It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and today’s water supply challenges.


Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.


Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater
Updated 2017

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background and perspective on groundwater. The guide explains what groundwater is – not an underground network of rivers and lakes! – and the history of its use in California.


Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

The Colorado River provides water to more than 35 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.


Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.


Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2011

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the history of the project, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state, and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).