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 San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom officially kills Jerry Brown’s Delta twin tunnels

The Newsom administration announced it is withdrawing permit applications that the Brown administration had submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and several federal agencies. Instead, the administration said it will begin environmental studies on a one-tunnel project.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Experts weigh in on the snowpack, and how a new water treatment facility benefits the valley

There’s a need to use the available surface water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs so the groundwater can replenish itself. That’s where the new Southeast Fresno Surface Water Treatment Facility comes in. … Michael Carbajal, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Fresno. says that before 2004, we used 100% groundwater to meet drinking water demand. “We’re hoping to get up over 50% meaning, 50% of our drinking water demand through surface water,” says Carbajal.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

A spring ritual: Groundwater pumping discussions under way

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released its operation plan, focusing on pumping volumes, April 20, kicking off a series of events that historically has ended with a volume at or near the proposed maximum. The water extractions will be used in the valley for irrigation, enhancement/mitigation projects and for export.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Opinion: Permanent conservation regulations

Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606 established indoor and outdoor irrigation regulations, making water conservation a permanent way of life. This draconian and arbitrary rationing legislation tramples upon the personal rights of individuals to make choices regarding their beneficial use of water, undermines local conditions and local control, the state’s water rights priority system and area-of-origin water right assurances.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Newsom says he has a fresh approach to California’s longtime water woes

At first blush, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest action on water seems fanciful and naive. But it has logic and conceivably could work. Newsom wants to reexamine practically everything the state has been working on — meaning what former Gov. Jerry Brown was doing — and piece together a grand plan for California’s future that can draw the support of longtime water warriors.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fire claims California cabin, site of snowpack survey

The property, a peaceful meadow  at 6,820 feet elevation near Echo Summit, is also home to … a monthly event that attracts hordes of reporters and photographers who tromp through the property on snowshoes. … Carol Pearson would usually watch the proceedings from the window of the small cabin, built in 1938, where she’s lived the past 20 years. Now Pearson, 67, has been displaced by fire. Her cabin burned to the ground in a chimney fire April 12, killing one of her cats.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Fingerprint of climate change on drought traced to 1900

Researchers revealed Wednesday the fingerprint of climate change on drought and the long-term effect on global water supplies can be traced to 1900. … Lead author Kate Marvel, a climate modeler at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University, said, “It’s mind boggling. There is a really clear signal of the effects of human greenhouse gases on the hydroclimate.”

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water supply and quality challenges in the San Joaquin Valley

Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, testified today (April 30, 2019) before the Assembly Subcommittee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, at a hearing on balancing water needs into the future in the San Joaquin Valley. Here are her prepared remarks.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Dam removal opponents keep up their fight

As the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced that they’ve contracted with a company for removal of four Klamath dams last week, opponents continue to insist the organization is ill prepared for the expense and consequences of removal.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water board faces lawsuit over new wetlands rules

With the Trump administration trudging ahead and re-writing another Obama-era environmental law, wary California regulators last month approved new protections for wetlands in the Golden State. … Hoping to freeze the new wetlands rules, a coalition consisting of several California water suppliers and the city of San Francisco sued the water board late Wednesday in state court. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District threatens Coachella Valley withdrawal

“3.1 million acre-feet of the (Imperial) Valley’s entitlement to Colorado River water is now up for grabs in Sacramento and it ought to concern all of us,” IID Board President Erik Ortega said Tuesday afternoon in El Centro. “That’s why I’m calling today for the general manager to bring back to this board a plan for the divestment of IID’s energy assets in the Coachella Valley.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How California drought turned some trees into ‘zombies’

Although seven years of drought in California finally relented this March, high heat and lack of water have caused a severe decline in the health of some trees, with many now essentially suspended between life and death, Sacramento-area arborist Matt Morgan said.

Aquafornia news SF Weekly

Even after all that rain, S.F. barely broke even for the winter

If it doesn’t rain another drop for the rest of this “winter,” we got exactly 0.13 inches more than an ordinary season, putting 2018-19 at almost exactly the historical average.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Colorado River: NEPA looms over drought plan enthusiasm

Some lawyers say the Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, may be built on shaky legal ground and could be vulnerable to litigation — depending on how the Bureau of Reclamation implements it. One California water district has already sued to block it.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Reinventing the tomato for survival in a changing world

Born and raised in Northern California, Brad Gates has been organically farming tomatoes in the region for 25 years, working on small leased plots and introducing new varieties with cult followings… For most of that time, he sold his tomatoes to top restaurants, including Chez Panisse in Berkeley. But a few years ago he completely rethought his work. Galvanized by climate change, he joined a growing number of farmers who are trying to find a future for their threatened crops.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California and Imperial Irrigation District near Salton Sea projects agreement

Imperial Irrigation District general manager Henry Martinez and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot have reached an agreement in principle that the state will be responsible for construction and maintenance of more than 3,700 acres of wetlands aimed at controlling toxic dust and restoring wildlife habitat. In exchange, the water district will sign easements for access onto lands it owns that border California’s largest lake.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

NASA takes guesswork out of measuring California’s snowpack

To better measure the water in our snow, California is sending sharper eyes up into the sky. Two sensors peer out from a turboprop aircraft, soaring from Mammoth Yosemite Airport over the white Sierra Nevada – collecting data that tells us almost exactly how much water we’ll have this summer.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: The vicious climate-wildfire cycle

In the Western US, climate change is a major driver behind the near doubling in burned area that we’ve experienced over the past 35 years, and has contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of fires, while lengthening the fire season in some regions.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

One of the most frequently recurring themes of last week’s business conference of California agricultural appraisers was the impact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is having on land values. … Another recurring theme was the tight availability of farm employees and the rising costs associated with those employees. One result has been the increase in plantings of nut crops, which require fewer people to tend and harvest.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am withdraws appeal of desal permit denial

Cal Am announced it had been told by city officials its request for the mayor and two council members to recuse themselves due to alleged bias against the desal project would not be honored. The company will now appeal the commission’s denial directly to the Coastal Commission.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Few details in Newsom’s water policy directive

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered key state agencies to develop a blueprint for meeting California’s 21st-century water needs in the face of climate change.The executive order includes few details and doesn’t appear to set a dramatic new water course for the state. Rather, it reaffirms Newsom’s intentions to downsize the controversial twin tunnels project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, use voluntary agreements to meet new river flow requirements and provide clean drinking water to impoverished communities.

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Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: Yuba Water Agency, DWR launch research to enhance reservoir operations

This research will supply information needed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to update the 1970’s-era water control manuals, which dictate the storm-season operations of both reservoirs. Yuba Water’s goal is to have a new water control manual approved about the same time the agency completes construction of a new, planned secondary spillway at its New Bullards Bar Dam, estimated for completion in 2024.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

New Trampas reservoir in south O.C. overcoming hurdles; public tours offered

Despite cost increases and weather-related delays, construction of the 1.6 billion-gallon Trampas Canyon Reservoir in south Orange County is well underway and officials continue pointing to long-term savings to be gleaned by reducing the need for imported water. … Construction costs have soared from the 2016 estimate of $56 million to $83 million today…

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers

It’s an exceptional year for Sierra snowpack — 150 to 200% in some places. Mountain snow is the main water source for agriculture on the Valley’s west side. But those farmers are getting just 65% of their allocation… Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says it’s frustrating that in a water year this good, some farmers still can’t get enough of it to grow food.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Garcetti outlines ‘Green New Deal’ for Los Angeles

Mayor Eric Garcetti Monday unveiled a Green New Deal for Los Angeles, setting aggressive new environmental goals in a range of areas, including electric autos, air quality, trees and public transit. … The plan includes a reiteration of some previous commitments, but also sets some new benchmarks, including sourcing 70% of L.A.’s water locally and recycling 100% of all wastewater for beneficial reuse by 2035.

Aquafornia news Mustang News

How a water conservation senior project turned into a company of 25 employees with nationwide reach

In the midst of the record-breaking California drought in 2014, three Cal Poly students decided to use their senior project to try to help stop water leaks. They began designing a device that would monitor a consumer’s water usage during the month and hoped it would inspire people to pay closer attention to their consumption.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

A new effort to save birds pinpoints in amazing detail where they fly

As California’s Central Valley grew into the nation’s leading agricultural corridor, the region gradually lost almost all of the wetlands that birds depend on during their migrations along the West Coast. But a dramatic turnaround is underway in the valley. Dozens of farmers leave water on their fields for a few extra weeks each season to create rest stops for birds. The campaign has not only helped salvage a vital stretch of the north-south migration path called the Pacific Flyway but also tested a fresh model for protecting wildlife.

Aquafornia news CityLab

The town that extended ’smart growth’ to its water

Westminster, Colo.’s, comprehensive plan estimates how much water each type of building would use. Then the city built GIS software that overlays water resources and infrastructure over the comprehensive plan—making it easy to see, for example, how much water a proposed strip mall might use. It’s a step up from the typical water-per-capita measure that most cities rely on… It also helps planners guide developers to smarter construction.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Calistoga’s Crystal Geyser partners with conservancy group to protect watersheds

Crystal Geyser Water Company of Calistoga has partnered with a nonprofit watershed conservation group for the protection and restoration of forested watersheds and natural sources of drinking water. … The partnership has created a new initiative, called Spring for Life, and was announced April 16.

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Keep conserving, officials say, San Bernardino valley groundwater basins are ‘historically low’

As the Inland area dries out from this winter’s soaking, residents might be tempted to crank up their lawn sprinklers, and wash the dust off their driveways, but not so fast, water officials say. All that rain has done little to erase the deficits in local groundwater basins which are at historic lows thanks to two decades of drought.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder water bill a bipartisan effort

As a full Tuolumne River flowed behind them, a diverse set of government leaders and water stakeholders gathered alongside Congressman Josh Harder Wednesday afternoon in Modesto to unite under one important cause: protecting water in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Drought-resistant plants help save money

Spring has come to California and drought-resistant plants are a good option for residents looking to add some new plants. These drought-resistant plants can help save money, because they require less water.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Newsom offers a new approach to California’s water issues

By rejecting the twin tunnels proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent an important message that new thinking is required to address California’s complex water issues.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Is it really drought contingency or a missed opportunity?

In the DCP, there was no consideration of deeper conservation, no consideration of mechanisms to shift our state to less thirsty crops, and no consideration of what kind of development is sustainable. There was no consideration of our other rivers and the need for ecological flows.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Opinion: Sen. Feinstein – Working together to better prepare California for the threat of wildfires

Governor Newsom last month declared a wildfire state of emergency in California. The governor’s action’s followed a Cal Fire report that more than half of the state’s wildlands – 25 million acres – face a very high or extreme fire threat, placing hundreds of nearby communities at risk.

Aquafornia news Wired

How the Blockchain Could Protect California’s Aquifer

In Solano County, near Sacramento, [Alex] Johnson is working on what he says could be a model for parched ag regions around the state. … Last month, working with IBM and a company called SweetSense, Johnson’s team began deploying simple, solar-powered sensors, originally developed to monitor creaky groundwater pumps in East Africa. The sensors will be used to detect how much water is flowing in real-time. … Farmers will use that data to trade their water on (what else?) a blockchain platform.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

A look back at the specifics of a wild, wet and snowy winter in California and the Southwest

Following a pretty dry 2017-18 season, the storms came back with a frenzy this season across the Southwest, helping to propel many places to above-average precipitation.

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Josh Harder unveils water plan for Central Valley

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, thinks there is a better way to find water solutions for California’s Central Valley and to stop squandering water in wet years that’s needed in dry years. His bipartisan water legislation unveiled Wednesday promises federal support for storage and innovation projects to address shortages that too often plague Valley agriculture and communities.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How ski resorts in California are preparing for warmer winters

North America is not a snow globe, and as the real globe warms, one trend is clear: winter is shrinking and snow is melting. In the last 50 years alone, the frozen mantle that caps the Northern Hemisphere in the dark months has lost a million square miles of spring snowpack. …Coastal ranges like the Sierras and Cascades, where winter temperatures hover close to the freezing point, are most at risk.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Environment report: Lawsuits are a weapon in major water conflicts

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

The 80 homes that make up Tooleville nestle against the mighty Friant-Kern Canal, thousands of gallons of fresh water flowing each day past the two-street town. But none of that water can help Tooleville’s decades-old problem of contaminated water, chronicled at the start of this decade in a three-part series by The Bee on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. Nearby Exeter might, though, giving a rise of newfound hope.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump administration on water supplies, fish

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Growing awareness: Climate change and California’s crops

Last month the U.S. Drought Monitor declared California drought-free for the first time since 2011, thanks to a series of winter storms. But the long-term prognosis is for more droughts and severe weather, which will profoundly affect state agriculture. While farmers and lawmakers are taking notice, few see an immediate threat.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Judge dismisses parts of tribe’s lawsuit against local water districts

A federal judge has dismissed portions of a yearslong lawsuit brought by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians against the Coachella Valley’s local water districts, ruling against the tribe’s attempt to quantify its rights to groundwater. The judge ruled Friday that the tribe’s access to water has not been sufficiently harmed to adjudicate the matter.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Mission Springs Water District representative: ‘We’ve been hijacked by Desert Water Agency’

A report from a citizen advisory committee in Desert Hot Springs is asking lawmakers in Sacramento to “re-work” a state law, which went into effect in 2015, that allowed the Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs to take over management authority of the groundwater distributed by the Mission Springs Water District, to people living in Desert Hot Springs and surrounding areas. John Soulliere, MSWD’s Public Affairs Officer, says his district has been “hijacked”…

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Napa County watershed divide widens

On April 9 after three years and two unsuccessful ballot measures — Measure C failed by a razor-thin margin in June — the Napa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved greater protections for native woodlands from development and buffer zones for watersheds. But the contentious path to the Water Quality and Tree Protection ordinance vote may not be the last word from supporters and opponents of tougher rules, from inside and outside the wine business.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal plant project goes to Monterey County Planning Commission

Considered by many the key to long-running efforts to cut unauthorized pumping from the Carmel River, California American Water’s proposed desalination plant project is headed to the Monterey County Planning Commission next week. On Wednesday, the commission is set to conduct a public hearing on a combined development permit for the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desal plant.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: California lawsuit over the Salton Sea hurts Arizona, too

California’s inability to compromise and work together has put a big question mark on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. And that directly impacts Arizona’s ability to proactively plan for our new, drier water future.

Aquafornia news Consumer Reports

How to cut your water use in half

California’s seven-year dry spell may be over, but there will be another drought somewhere in the country this year—and every year. … There are lots of water-saving ideas floating around, but two of the best ways are to replace water-wasting appliances and fixtures and to modify your lifestyle and habits.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Rialto mayor asks for water conservation pledges to fight ‘hidden drought’

For the first time in more than 380 weeks, the state has not had a square foot in drought territory… But there’s a hidden drought affecting local groundwater basins, which have not recovered fully from the 2011-16 drought. So Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson is calling on residents and businesses to take a water conservation pledge, despite mountain peaks still topped with snow on the horizon.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California has farmers growing weeds. Why? To capture carbon

For some, like almond grower Jose Robles of Modesto, climate change was an afterthought, if that. That’s something they talk about in Sacramento, he says, not where he lives and works. But in December, the ground under Robles’ almond trees was a carpet of green, full of mustard plant and clover. … His neighbors really don’t understand it.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

DFW promises to restore Kirman Lake; don’t hold your breath

The problem with Kirman is that it does not have a place where the trout can spawn naturally. There is no stream running into or out of the lake where the trout could find moving water to spawn. That means the fishery was and is entirely dependent on plants of fingerlings or subcatchables from the Department of Fish and Wildlife hatcheries. And that is a big problem.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Dragging feet on toilet-to-tap in Montecito

The current five members of the Montecito Water Board ran as slate candidates in 2016 and 2108, and they won election largely on the promise of recycling treated wastewater for irrigation. A group of wealthy donors poured $200,000 into their campaigns. Yet the new board seems in no hurry to get the job done.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Congressman Jared Huffman in Ukiah for Potter Valley Project meeting

Congressman Jared Huffman says the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, which he chairs in the U.S. House of Representatives, is finally getting to do things “we weren’t allowed to do” for the past six years when Republicans controlled the House. Things like protecting public lands, making climate change part of all environmental programs, trying to prevent offshore drilling and looking at the state of the nation’s wildlife and fisheries.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Cal Am Water customers in Thousand Oaks to get way lower rate hikes

Some 22,000 California American Water customers in Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park and Camarillo are getting far lower rate increases than the company proposed in 2016, saving several million dollars a year combined. Thousand Oaks officials said this week that instead of being hit with a 32.1% hike over three years that the company wanted to impose and which the city actively opposed, customers only got a fraction of that.

Aquafornia news Tracy Press

Opinion: Environmental act not right for California water agencies

In SB1, State Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins provides a compelling case to protect California’s air, navigable water, drinking water and workers. … However, despite our recognition that some in our state feel recent administrative rulings and legislative changes to federal law may not be the right prescription for California, we believe this legislation is overbroad, duplicative and unworkable.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Secretive ‘harbor master’ steers Colorado River campaign

The Colorado River Sustainability Campaign has been an important behind-the-scenes player for environmentalists working on the waterway, which provides water to 40 million people. … When asked who funds his project, Sam Tucker listed five foundations. Those foundations’ grant databases showed that his campaign has received at least $8.6 million since 2016. … Almost half — $4 million — of the campaign’s money came from one source: the Walton Family Foundation. (Second of two parts.)

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Arizona’s top water official not worried yet about lawsuit involving drought plan

Arizona’s top water official says a lawsuit filed Tuesday by California’s Imperial Irrigation District could pose a threat to the newly approved multistate drought contingency plan. But Tom Buschatzke, director of the Department of Water Resources, said he’s not worried the plan will fall apart — at least not yet.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How much hip can the desert absorb?

Should the state of California honor a commitment made in 2003 to restore the Salton Sea, despite moving water away from the area to thirsty coastal cities? Or should this artificial, long-festering sea be left alone to dry up entirely? While politicians have dithered, Bombay Beach’s atmospheric decay has drawn filmmakers, novelists and other artists who marvel at the thriving community hidden inside seemingly derelict properties.

Aquafornia news Thousand Oaks Acorn

Golf course will be site of groundwater treatment plant

In an effort to end Thousand Oaks’ near total reliance on imported water, public works staff is asking the City Council to commit $16.6 million over the next two years to build a groundwater treatment plant at the city’s publicly owned golf course. The Los Robles Greens Golf Course Groundwater Utilization Project—which will be offset with an estimated $6 million in State Water Project (Prop. 1) grants—is the single most expensive item on the city’s proposed $97-million 2019-21 capital improvement program budget…

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Opinion: Let’s cooperate on Coastside water, sewers

The dominant water issue facing our community and every community in California today is the insecurity of the water supply. The California Legislature is facing up to the serious need to take less water from the surface and groundwater for human use to preserve wildlife habitats and industries such as fishing. Both depend upon water filling the streams and waterways that ultimately find their way to the ocean.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

West-side water ticks up to 65% of allocation. will it hit 100%?

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that it will supply South-of-Delta growers with 65% of their contracted water total. … Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), who is a grower and one of the top water policy experts in Congress, said that he expected the initial west-side allocation in February to be 50%, followed by a 75% revise.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID sues to halt Colorado River drought plan, says officials ignored Salton Sea

The petition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges violations of the California Environmental Quality Act by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and names the Coachella Valley, Palo Verde and Needles water districts as well. It asks the court to suspend the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan until a thorough environmental analysis has been completed.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River’s biggest champion: Walmart heirs

An unlikely advocate seems to be around every bend of the Colorado River these days: the Walton Family Foundation. The $3.65 billion organization launched by Walmart founder Sam Walton has become ubiquitous in the seven-state basin that provides water to 40 million people, dishing out $100 million in grants in the last five years alone. … The foundation’s reach is dizzying and, outside the basin, has received scant attention. (First of two parts.)

Aquafornia news Grist.org

What drought? These states are gearing up to draw more water from the Colorado

There are at least six high-profile projects in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming that combined could divert more than 300,000 acre-feet of water from the beleaguered Colorado River. That’s the equivalent of Nevada’s entire allocation from the river. These projects are in different stages of permitting and funding, but are moving ahead even as headlines about the river’s dwindling supply dominate the news.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Headwaters

I am standing where stream flow begins, in a nameless tributary of the Russian River to the east of Hopland, California. This particular spot and location has been a grazing livestock ranch, primarily sheep, going back more than 100 years. This is one of thousands of spots in the watershed where water comes to the surface, joins in a channel, and starts its path downstream.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farm leaders advocate on Capitol Hill

The California Farm Bureau delegation met last week with more than 20 members of the California congressional delegation, with a particular emphasis on members newly elected in 2018. They met with U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, two days before the Senate confirmed his appointment as the Cabinet’s newest member. For the first time in several years, they conducted a briefing for congressional staff members, to describe key issues facing California farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Paradise, Calif., water is contaminated but residents are moving back anyway

The extent of the latest crisis unfolding in Paradise is yet unknown: The deadly fire may also have contaminated up to 173 miles of pipeline in the town’s water system with cancer-causing benzene and other volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Preliminary results have shown contamination in about a third of the lines tested, though only about 2 percent of the entire system has been sampled.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Trump administration’s cold water war with California turns hot

Federal and state water managers have coordinated operations of the CVP and the parallel State Water Project for many decades. … But this intergovernmental water policy Era of Good Feeling (relatively speaking) has come to a sudden and dramatic end with the ascension of the Trump Administration.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump signs bill endorsing Colorado River drought plan

President Donald Trump signed a bill Tuesday authorizing a plan for Western states to take less water from the overburdened Colorado River. The president’s signing capped a years-long process of sometimes difficult negotiations among the seven states that rely on the river. … Next, representatives from Arizona and the other Colorado River basin states who had a hand in crafting the deal are expected to meet for a formal signing ceremony.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Wet year means above average flows for Lake Powell

A new study released by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicts a release of up to 9 million acre-feet of water from Lake Powell to Lake Mead this year, which means a possible shortage declaration looming in 2020 might be averted. The snowpack in the Colorado River Basin is about 130 percent of average, with flows into Lake Powell predicted to be 128 percent of average during the runoff season.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot on challenges of new climate reality

Wade Crowfoot, California’s new Natural Resources Secretary, recently delivered a keynote address at Los Angeles Business Council’s annual Sustainability Summit. He focused on the economic, social and environmental challenges the state and localities are addressing in response to a new climate normal; on prioritizing new wildfire and water supply & stormwater policies; and, commended the city of Los Angeles for its ambitious climate actions.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Community participation is key to future of water supply

What the state requires our community to do is challenging. Land development, population growth and climate change make planning for the future very complicated. The new state law requires us to face these challenges and work together as a community to create a plan.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

As two Ventura projects move forward, elected officials to study CEQA

Currently, the city has two significant environmental impact reports, which CEQA requires, making their way through the development process. One is for a plan to build a 7-mile pipeline to tap into Ventura’s long-held investment in state water. … The other project would capture effluent from Ventura’s wastewater treatment plant, treat it and turn it into drinking water.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Blog: Temperance Flat Dam Could Minimize the Devastation of SGMA

If farmers cannot prove that they are replenishing the amount of groundwater as they are taking out, they are not going to be allowed to use the groundwater pumps. … Temperance Flat would provide additional storage opportunities—up to an additional 1.2 million acre-feet—and will allow farmers to have carryover water from year to year. This will carry the farmers through the dry years, and it will give the allowance to stabilize the groundwater condition.

Aquafornia news Arizona PBS

Experts say Arizona tribes’ role in drought negotiations marks turning point for inclusion

Daryl Vigil, water administrator at Jicarilla Apache Nation, who worked on the study, said it’s relatively new for local and federal lawmakers to include tribes in national water policy conversations. “That conversation and that opportunity wasn’t available before,” Vigil said. “But now with the conclusion of this DCP and the inclusion of tribes in that dialogue, I think that sets the stage for that to happen.”

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Major conservation milestone: This water plan benefits 40 million Americans – and counting

Here’s something worth celebrating: In a rare bipartisan resolve to prevent a water crisis in the Southwest, Congress has authorized a plan to reduce consumption from the Colorado River – a major conservation milestone. It shows that when we work together as Americans, we can address some of the biggest challenges facing our nation today.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Effort to repair Friant-Kern Canal passes first hurdle

A bill moving through the state legislature looks to make repairs and enhancements to the Friant-Kern Canal. Senate Bill 559 was authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado, representing the 14th Senate District, and was co-authored by several other San Joaquin Valley lawmakers. The legislation recently advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water with a vote of 7 to 0.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Fishy reasoning behind the state’s Stanislaus River water grab

Farmers, by trade, are experts in sustainability and by extension common sense. Growers along with 1.5 million Northern San Joaquin Valley residents could end up on the receiving end of an economic Armageddon perpetuated by the state Department of Water Resources on behalf of the threatened Chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

This toad’s sex life hinges on finding the perfect pool

The Yosemite toad is considered endangered, and its numbers are falling. Scientists say the amphibian chytrid fungus is one reason, but climate change also may contribute to some pools drying up before tadpoles mature.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Ag Census: Farmland receding in California

Agriculture appears to be slowly receding in California. Though it still leads the nation in production, the Golden State lost more than 1 million acres of farmland and some 7,000 farms from 2012-2017, according to the USDA’s latest Census of Agriculture.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

New invasive species found in Carlsbad, threatens to spread across Southwest

Besides choking out much-loved natives such as the golden poppy, which is the state flower, Ward’s weed is a wildfire hazard. Each year it dies off and turns into a brown mass of thin, dry brush, like a tiny tumbleweed, that can go up in flames with a spark.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Drought coverage in the continental U.S. drops to a 21st century record low

Drought’s expanse over the Lower 48 states of the U.S. dropped to a 21st century record low in early April, according to one analysis. … You almost have to squint to see areas that are in drought, including a few patchy areas of the South from South Carolina to Alabama to Texas, a swath of New Mexico, and the north Cascades of Washington state.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: The Central Valley is sinking as farmers drill for water. But it can be saved, study says

A team of Stanford University researchers believe they have identified the best way to replenish the shrinking aquifers beneath California’s Central Valley. … The study from Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, published in the journal Water Resources Research, found that unless action is taken, the ground in that region will sink more than 13 feet over the next 20 years.

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Aquafornia news KCRA TV

How NASA technology is supercharging California’s snowpack data

2019 marks the sixth straight winter that scientists from NASA/JPL have been flying over portions of the Sierra range, using light-detection and ranging lasers called lidar to map and decode the snowpack. The Airborne Snow Observatory program, or ASO, is based on technology that NASA has been using for years to look at Mars and other planets.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Los Angeles’ water supply in good shape for the year

The Eastern Sierra snowpack that feeds the Los Angeles Aqueduct was measured this month at 171% of normal and is expected to meet 70 percent of the city’s annual water needs. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said Friday the aqueduct will flow at or near full capacity for much of the next 12 months, providing about 119 billion gallons (450.4 billion liters).

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Aquafornia news KPBS

‘Pure Water’ dominates infrastructure spending in San Diego’s 2020 budget

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday, saying it includes the highest infrastructure investment in the city’s history. … The budget includes an infrastructure investment of $715.8 million, an increase of nearly 300% over the $179.4 million infrastructure allocation in the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget … More than half of that is earmarked for the city’s Pure Water program, which aims to recycle sewage into drinking water.

Aquafornia news KQED News

‘There’s so much here that’s still alive’: Young filmmakers document a dying Salton Sea

Massive fish-die offs. Dead birds. A toxic stench. Bryan Mendez and Olivia Rodriguez are dissatisfied that those sad facts are the only things most Californians ever hear about the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland seas in the world.  

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior: Bernhardt faces hefty to-do list

Bernhardt has a roster to fill, with gaping vacancies in key positions. He’s got, by his own account, a departmental ethics program to fix and an ambitious reorganization scheme that critics decry or simply dismiss. He’ll have to cope with a multibillion-dollar national parks maintenance backlog and thread the needle with an offshore drilling plan. And as he’s already discovered during his short stint as acting secretary, he faces opposition from Democratic lawmakers in control of the House.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The end of California’s drought could mean fewer cases of West Nile virus

Researchers say the end of California’s drought could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Drought is the most important weather-related factor that affects the rate of West Nile infection, scientists say.

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

After historic drought deal, Arizona returns to older water issues

Congress passed an historic Colorado River drought deal on Monday, which is now on its way to President Trump’s desk for his signature. That leaves Arizona back to wrestling with water issues that it mostly set aside during the two years it fixated on the negotiations for the Colorado River deal.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Money for victims, uncertainty for PG&E: ‘Everything’s on the table’ in Newsom’s new wildfire plan

California should consider a wide range of policies and law changes to tackle the state’s wildfire crisis — including controversial revisions to state liability laws and potentially breaking up PG&E — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday. The ideas come in a 58-page report — the work of a “strike team” the governor created 60 days ago — that Newsom unveiled Friday.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Environmentalists, lawmakers find compromise on water pipeline bill

Environmental groups have dropped their opposition to a bill they had originally blasted as a way for the state to green-light a controversial plan to pipe water from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas after the bill was amended last week. … But AB30 was altered significantly enough on Wednesday to allow those groups to feel comfortable enough to now say they are neutral on the bill.

Aquafornia news Kaiser Health News

Heavy rains, end of drought could help keep West Nile Virus subdued — for now

The end of California’s drought, announced last month amid one of the rainiest winters in memory, could offer a surprising benefit: reduced transmission of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus. Longer term, however, more severe droughts associated with climate change could contribute to an increase in the number of infections in the state and nationally.

Aquafornia news Wyoming Tribune Eagle

New initiative aims to use clean wastewater in dry states

Statewide leaders in agriculture recently launched an initiative to clean oilfield wastewater for use in arid Western states, hoping to reduce the region’s carbon footprint and improve the lives of ranchers and farmers.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

EID’s Folsom Lake intake project draws local ire

Eldorado Irrigation District staff said the proposed improvements and replacements are needed because the existing equipment does not allow selective temperature withdrawal at multiple elevations for the benefit of downstream fisheries. In addition the existing pumps and boosters have reached the end of their useful life, having undergone multiple repairs over the years.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Groundwater sustainability board backs off fees for rural well owners in Sonoma County

Facing a wave of opposition over proposed fees for using well water, the directors of a little-known public agency backed away from a decision Thursday and agreed to consider an alternative plan that would exempt rural residents and cost other groundwater users far less overall.

Aquafornia news Science Magazine

Drought is not just about water. It affects air pollution, too

The severe drought that struck California from 2011 to 2015 had an obvious impact on rivers, forests, and wildlife. Now, a new study shows it also had some surprising effects on the state’s notorious air pollution, adding new wrinkles to the state’s efforts to clear the skies.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Garbage in, garbage out: Sacramento’s Salton Sea restoration plan

At its core, the ill-advised attempt to “restore” the Salton Sea is nothing short of environmental malpractice. It will inevitably fail at a very high cost to both wildlife and taxpayers, succeeding only in perpetuating a hazardous condition.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Even though the rain felt endless this winter, it actually wasn’t that wet

While this season has stood out in many people’s minds as noteworthy and painstakingly rainy, “it’s just a normal year,” said Jan Null, a consulting meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services. The city measured similar rainfall totals as recently as 2016-17.

Aquafornia news KUNC

In Colorado River’s final hundred miles, small signs of life return

Zig-zagging around us, among the trees, is a sprawling network of irrigation ditches. It’s almost laid out like a farm. Instead of the food crops grown all around this site, Schlatter’s team grows trees and willows, prime habitat for birds, coyotes, frogs and other wildlife. The whole site only receives water a couple times a year.

Aquafornia news KCET

Shadow of Drought: Southern California’s looming water crisis

While California recovers from the worst drought in state history, a myriad of impacts resulting from climate change threaten Southern California’s imported water supply. As a shadow of drought hangs over the region, this documentary explores the dire consequences of inaction that lie ahead.

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Why more California rain could mean bigger problems for your wine, vineyard business

While flooding is clearly a problem, the extra vegetation that thrives can lead to another problem. A hotter-than-average summer – such as one fueled by climate change – can cause vegetation to dry out faster. With all this natural kindling in place, it doesn’t take much to start a fire.

Aquafornia news SouthTahoeNow.com

Laser measurement of Sierra snowpack from the air being considered in Sacramento

This bill calls for $150M in funding over the next ten years from the state’s General Fund to conduct laser surveys via ten airplane trips over the Trinity Alps and the Sierra Nevada each year. They would also fly over hydrologic areas that drain to, or supply water to, certain major reservoirs and lakes.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

The Renaissance of hydrology

Over the past 50 years, hydrology has experienced a revolution in theory, technical application, and interdisciplinary collaboration. … But as impressive as these technological advancements are, the hydrological revolution owes as much to a shift in culture.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

With an impending deadline, Cal Am pushes for desal plant permits amid changing waterscape

When you turn on a faucet on the Monterey Peninsula, you’re consuming water that’s been illegally pumped from Carmel River. Now, after more than two decades of this, scores of public officials, utility executives and citizen advocates are working – and sometimes fighting – to replace the region’s water supply before state-mandated sanctions kick in. California American Water is forging ahead with its plan: a desalination plant near Marina.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Nevada Legislature changes water bill over Las Vegas pipeline fears

Lawmakers on Wednesday moved an amended version of the bill following pressure from conservationists, American Indian tribes and rural communities who oppose siphoning water from remote Nevada valleys to the state’s largest city. Although the bill still requires approval from both the Assembly and Senate to become law, opponents say the watered-down version assuages their concerns about the pipeline.

Aquafornia news Sanger Herald

State-ordered project will raise water bills

While the city struggles with the final phase of a state ordered rezone for affordable housing, it’s tackling the first phase of a possibly more complicated state ordered project based on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … Part of the increased cost would be for the purchase of water from Consolidated Irrigation District and part would go toward servicing a debt incurred for building the infrastructure and other capital costs associated with getting the project ready to go. 

Aquafornia news KXTV

California may be drought free, but water conservation is here to stay

Let’s face it, the 2018-2019 water year has been awesome! … Even with this great news, the California Department of Water Resources says, “the days of taking water for granted is over.” Niki Woodard is the Deputy Assistant Director for California Department of Water Resources and she believes the small steps we take at home add up and can make a huge difference for our state.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Rapid urbanization increasing pressure on rural water supplies globally

An international team of researchers has carried out the first systematic global review of water reallocation from rural to urban regions—the practice of transferring water from rural areas to cities to meet demand from growing urban populations. … The study, published in Environmental Research Letters, found North America and Asia are hotspots for rural-to-urban water reallocation,

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: Using flood water for managed aquifer recharge

“Flood-MAR” is a resource management strategy that uses flood water for managed aquifer recharge (MAR) on agricultural lands, working landscapes, and managed natural landscapes. At the March meeting of the California Water Commission, a panel discussed Flood MAR with a focus on using agricultural lands for groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

In bid for cleaner water, California seeks arranged utility marriages

The State Water Board was given the power to force a larger, better run utility to absorb a smaller neighbor that consistently fails to deliver clean water. They would like South Kern to connect to Bakersfield’s system, which serves high-quality water to 144,000 people. … The three sides have been in negotiations for two and a half years, a struggle between one of the largest cities in California’s Central Valley, state officials, and two tiny water suppliers that is the first significant test of the four-year-old statute.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Central Valley assemblymember calls out Water Board for claim that contaminating drinking water in disadvantaged communities is not “significant”

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) ripped the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant”. Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Water for irrigators: KWUA announces project delivery

Bureau of Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office will deliver at least 322,000 acre feet of water — or a 92% allocation — rather than a full 350,000 from Upper Klamath Lake to the Klamath Project this summer and fall.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scoll: Bay Area weather: Why this winter wasn’t as wet as we think

Now that spring is here and the sun is finally out, Bay Area residents are already reminiscing over what a rainy winter it was, one of the wettest in recent memory, with many more downpours than normal. Or was it? Not according to weather experts.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Five years later, effects of Colorado River pulse flow still linger

All this reliance on an overallocated river has left its final hundred miles as the ultimate collateral damage. Since the early 1960s, when Glen Canyon Dam impounded the river near Page, Arizona, it has rarely reached the Pacific Ocean. The thread is frayed beyond recognition, leaving no water for the river itself.

Aquafornia news La Jolla Light

The water shortage is over, so can La Jolla shower like it’s 1999? – La Jolla Light

That’s the last thing they should do, experts say, and it explains why munipical drought restrictions — three-day weekly lawn-watering, recycled water for ornamental fountains, water served in restaurants only upon request — have not and will not be lifted.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Exploring the Delta’s big questions

For the millions of Californians who live and work far from the Delta, it can be easy to overlook the splendor of the largest estuary in western North America. Whether you are one mile or hundreds of miles from the Delta, however, all Californians have a stake in the survival and preservation of this fragile, dynamic ecosystem that is also the keystone of the state’s water supply system.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Where can flooded fields help replenish groundwater?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft has caused land across much of the region to sink like a squeezed out sponge, permanently depleting groundwater storage capacity and damaging infrastructure. … New research from Stanford University suggests a way to map precisely where and how to use groundwater recharge to refill the aquifers and stop the sinking.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

IID: Salton Sea is first casualty of drought contingency plan

Responding to congressional approval of a Southwestern drought pact, officials from the Imperial Irrigation District said Tuesday the Salton Sea is the untested plan’s “first casualty.” … IID had refused to sign the plan because it wanted a “firm commitment” of more than $400 million in state and federal funds to resolve environmental issues at the Salton Sea.

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Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Editorial: SB307 goes against California’s water needs

Senate Bill 307 prohibits water transfers unless two agencies agree that the transfers do not harm state and federal desert lands. But it’s really about one thing: stopping the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project. … The Cadiz project has been thoroughly vetted and meets an important need. It’s time legislators let it proceed.

Aquafornia news KRCC

Soil erosion in the West is getting worse and the air is getting dustier

Activities that remove vegetation and disturb the soil are the most harmful. “Things like energy exploration and development can do some of that as well as off-highway vehicles,” Duniway said. He said livestock overgrazing is another culprit, as well as droughts and wildfires. Climate models predict those conditions will only get worse.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Barbara declares end to drought emergency

The city says the above-average rainfall this winter improved water supplies. Based on current water supply forecasts, the city believes it has enough supply to meet demands through 2021. On Tuesday, the City Council ended its Stage Three Drought Emergency, lifting drought water use regulations. The City Council first enacted the Stage Three Drought Emergency in 2015, requiring 25 percent water conservation initially.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Congress passes Colorado River drought plan

A bill that would authorize the federal government to enact a drought plan for Colorado River basin states in times of shortage has passed Congress and is on its way to the White House for the president’s signature. … Its aim is to protect water users from deep losses and keep the reservoirs and river healthy.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

As the Colorado River Basin dries, can an accidental oasis survive?

The wetland is fed by a concrete canal that removes drainage water from American farms across the border in Arizona. … But there’s a problem. As the Colorado River basin heats up and dries out like climate projections predict, Juan Butrón-Méndez is concerned people will stop thinking of the water that flows to the wetland as waste, find a way to use it and, in turn, harm the Ciénega.

Aquafornia news Clean Water Action

Blog: Community participation in groundwater sustainability: The Borrego Valley

At its core, the Borrego Valley Stewardship Council exists to ensure that the town of Borrego Springs survives and benefits from the groundwater sustainability plan process. To that end, BVSC members are taking a more creative look at the town as the hospitality hub for the state park, relying on a geotourism program from National Geographic, and aggressively trying to buy out 70% of water from farmers.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Pass legislation that invests in America’s water future

Two pieces of legislation recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives will help more communities modernize their water management strategies to include water recycling and we urge Congress to pass them.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Opinion: It’s time to push the pause button on the Cadiz water project

Cadiz says that the aquifer refills at the rate of 32,000 acre feet per year (not 50,000); but, renowned scientists working with the United States Geological Survey and the National Park Service say the refill rate is more like 2,000 to 10,000 acre feet per year — at least 40,000 acre feet per year less than the Cadiz plan. The math just doesn’t add up.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: State and federal experts discuss San Joaquin Valley’s water future

How can state and federal agencies help California’s largest agricultural region address its difficult water management problems? This was the theme of an event last week that brought together PPIC experts with top officials working on issues related to water, agriculture, and natural resources.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

For long-term water supply, U.S. officials look to Mexico

An increasing number of solutions to California and Arizona’s long-term water problems now involve Mexico. Some of the ideas are seemingly far-fetched, like a pipeline to bring water from the Gulf of California to the Salton Sea in Imperial County. Some are already happening, like Mexico agreeing to reduce its water use in the event of a Colorado River shortage. … That stands in contrast not only to recent threats by President Donald Trump to shut down the border, but some existing water projects.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Opinion: Finally, a new path toward managing water, rivers and the Delta

Our rules, cobbled over time from various state water right decisions or federal biological opinions, are too rigid. Pumping rules in the Delta on Nov. 30, for example, are very different than those 24 hours later, regardless of the weather. … Simply put, we are stuck in yesterday’s way of regulating things.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Water wants to charge residents for conservation

San Jose Water, the local water company, recently sent out a public notice saying it wants to impose a year-long surcharge beginning this summer. The reason? To recover what it described as an “under-collection” of more than $9 million in fixed costs. … In other words, thank you for following the rules and limiting your water usage, but that’s hurt our bottom line, so we’ll be sending you a bill.

Edge of Drought Tour
Field Trip - Aug. 27-29

This tour journeyed through a scenic landscape and explored an area of California dealing with persistent threats to its water supply and quality. Along the way, we learned about solutions that were being implemented.

Although Santa Barbara County had lifted its drought emergency declaration after the 2019 storms replenished local reservoirs, the region’s hydrologic recovery has often lagged behind much of the rest of the state. It is a region particularly prone to drought, wildfires and mudslides.

Tour Nick Gray

Central Valley Tour 2020
Field Trip - April 22-24

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

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Assemblyman Todd Gloria holds “inaugural dialogue” with Mexican officials on Tijuana water pollution

Officials met in Imperial Beach Friday to discuss the sewage pollution that continues to plague South Bay shorelines — shuttering beaches more than 100 days every year. The event was billed as an “inaugural dialogue,” which in the future will include a host of other binational issues, including climate change and commerce.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Water board orders water prohibition for cannabis grows through October

On March 29, the State Water Resources Control Board announced that cannabis cultivators with water rights are not allowed to divert surface water for cannabis cultivation activities at any time from April 1 through October 31 of this year unless the water diverted is from storage. … It’s really just common sense because it prohibits using water from surface sources, such as streams, creeks, and rivers during California’s dry season.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

Opinion: Russian River Watershed Association: New agencies manage aquifers

You can’t see them. You can’t swim in them. But groundwater aquifers are one of the most important sources of water in the North Coast. … People who live in rural areas rely almost exclusively on groundwater, and while cities in Sonoma County get most of their water from the Russian River, groundwater provides a critical back-up source that is used during droughts or in emergencies.

Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

City Council approves plan to study ways to increase groundwater supply

City officials approved a plan for a new groundwater sustainability project, hoping it will be a solution to increase the supply of groundwater and find a place for excess effluent water coming to the Tehachapi Waste Water Treatment Plant. The benefits will not appear for decades, when the project is complete.

Aquafornia news KPBS

What a disappearing Yosemite glacier tells us about climate change

Even longtime Californians might be surprised to learn of modern-day glaciers in the state. But the fact is remnants of the Lyell Glacier, in Yosemite National Park, are about to disappear.

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Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: California adopts new, welcome wetlands protection rules

This week California’s State Water Resources Control Board adopted important new rules to protect the state’s remaining wetlands resources. Enacted after over a decade of Board hearings, workshops and deliberation, those rules are overdue, welcome and critically necessary. Their adoption is particularly timely now, given the Trump Administration’s wholesale assault on and erosion of federal programs designed to protect our nation’s wetlands under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

Aquafornia news E&E News

Energy Transitions: Navajo imagine a future without coal

Two of the four plants are scheduled to close by 2025. The fate of the third rests upon a longshot bid to keep it open beyond 2022. … Navajo Generating Station was built as part of a federal effort to bring water to Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz. Power from the plant was used to pump water up and out of the Colorado River and across the desert. The federal government still owns a stake in NGS through the Interior Department.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: San Diego is ready for some big water solutions

It might be tempting to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors, especially given all the rain and snow this winter. But our work is not done. In fact, the San Diego County Water Authority’s board leadership will ask the board of directors to consider options to leverage the investments we have made in decades past to meet the challenges and opportunities of decades to come.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Monday Top of the Scroll: Oroville residents submit petition to ‘hold DWR accountable’ to federal agency

Specifically, the Feather River Recovery Alliance is asking FERC to not reissue a license to the state Department of Water Resources to operate the Oroville Dam until terms of the agreement are renegotiated, including a new recreation plan. The group says it received 6,469 local signatures on the petition.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Sun

Tribal leaders urge House to extend funding for water settlements

Tohono O’odham Chairman Edward D. Manuel testified Thursday that lack of water has been killing crops and livestock – and, essentially, the tribe’s economy – and things will only get worse if federal funding is allowed to lapse. That’s why Manuel joined officials from other tribes, utilities and advocacy groups to urge passage of a bill by Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, that would make permanent a federal fund used to help the government meet its obligations under legal settlements over water-rights issues.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Opinion: Rain, like a tax refund, should be banked for the future

Our predecessors settled in a valley bordered by mountains that increase the rainfall and help store water as melted snow underground. They also experienced drought and, in response, they thoughtfully set aside thousands of acres of land needed to capture and replenish the primary source of the water they needed, underground.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Despite being a desert, the Palm Springs area’s past is tied to water

Despite its designation as a desert, the Coachella Valley is blessed with water. The very names associated with the most prominent places and businesses in the desert, such as the Oasis Hotel, Mineral Springs Hotel, Deep Well, Indian Wells, Palm Springs, Snow Creek, and Tahquitz River Estates, all conjure up pretty images of water. But the early story of desert water is more utilitarian than picturesque: it quite literally can be seen as a history of ditches.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

KID, KWUA sue agencies over water supply

Klamath Irrigation District has filed a lawsuit against Reclamation in federal court in Medford. Klamath Water Users Association will follow suit in a separate legal filing, jointly with Klamath Drainage District, Shasta View Irrigation District, Tulelake Irrigation District and individual farmers Rob Unruh and DuVal. Limitation to water supply stem from protections in the biological opinion for endangered sucker in Upper Klamath Lake and Coho Salmon in the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Western bird species are struggling in face of rapidly changing climate

New research finds that climate change is putting stress on wetlands in the West’s Great Basin and that is putting pressure on bird populations navigating the Pacific Flyway. Changing water conditions linked to climate change are impacting the wetland habitats that waterbirds rely on. The basin includes most of Nevada and parts of Utah, Arizona, Oregon and the eastern edge of California.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Regional sustainable groundwater management forum hosted in Corning

Tehama and Butte counties teamed up Friday to host a Northern Sacramento Valley forum on sustainable groundwater held at Rolling Hills Casino. … The forum was a chance to look at neighboring agencies and see similarities and differences as well as how they are progressing in the planning, Fulton said. It was a place to connect with the agency in their area so they would know where to go if they had questions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Protect the state’s environmental legacy from Trump’s onslaughts

His departments and agencies have moved to weaken or eliminate dozens of protections, and the rollbacks are coming so fast it’s not always possible for the state to keep up. It’s not for lack of trying. On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board approved new standards to protect California’s wetlands and seasonal streams and ponds that are slated to lose their current federal protection under the Clean Water Act as part of the Trump administration’s rollbacks.

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Fact fuses with fiction at Phoenix water meeting

On the first morning of a water conference in downtown Phoenix on Friday, an academic expert spoke of aridification in the Colorado River basin due to the ill effects of humans burning fossil fuels. After dinner, a writer of vivid predictive fiction spoke about his book “The Water Knife,” which describes Phoenix in a dusty and water-starved river basin, in the not-so-distant future.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Escondido moves forward with new recycled water plant plans

The Escondido City council has decided to move forward with building a recycled water treatment plant off Washington Avenue, in the western part of the city in an industrial area where, unlike two other locations, there aren’t any residents nearby to complain. The council on Wednesday unanimously approved spending $3 million for initial engineering, design and pre-construction costs.

Aquafornia news Huffington Post

California town declares climate emergency four months after state’s deadliest wildfire

Four months after the Camp fire destroyed the northern California towns of Paradise and Magalia, city council members in the neighboring town of Chico voted this week to declare a climate emergency that threatens their lives and well-being.

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Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Lawsuits seek to stymie Crystal Geyser

Crystal Geyser initially announced its intention to open the facility to bottle fruit juices with much fanfare in 2013. However, legal challenges have so far foiled its plans. The Winnemem Wintu Tribe and WATER (We Advocate Thorough Environmental Review) have filed two lawsuits to prevent the project, both of which are moving through the court system.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Harder asks EPA for close review of Delta Plan

Political leaders from the valley are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to closely scrutinize new water quality standards proposed for the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. … “The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to the EPA misses the mark,” said Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, who joined almost a dozen congressmen, including conservatives Kevin McCarthy and Tom McClintock, in sending a letter to the EPA.

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Aquafornia news Encinitas Advocate

Olivenhain to start desalinating groundwater with test well

Construction starts this month on a $1.5 million test well to show whether desalinated groundwater could supplement the drinking water supply for 86,000 customers of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District. The district serves parts of Encinitas, Carlsbad, San Diego, San Marcos, Solana Beach and neighboring communities, and relies almost entirely on water imported from the Colorado River and Northern California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Pools still raise a home’s value—in L.A., the average bump is $95K

L.A.’s love affair with swimming pools has lasted for generations, and for good reason. Summers are sunny, winters are mild, and many luxury listings flaunt an indoor-outdoor lifestyle where backyards are as crucial as any living room or kitchen. A recent report from Redfin says they might not be a bad investment, either.

Aquafornia news KALW

The Bay’s colorful salt ponds are fading, and that’s a good thing

Almost everyone who flies into San Francisco or San Jose airport has seen it — a vibrant patchwork quilt of colorful water. … As part of a huge effort called the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, the Cargill salt company has freed almost 16,000 acres of their salt ponds.  

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal government challenges the State Water Board’s amended Bay-Delta water quality control plan

The Amended Plan … has touched off a series of lawsuits due to its controversial unimpaired flow requirements for the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries … The Federal Government’s lawsuits challenge the Amended Plan by asserting that it fails to comply with CEQA and congressional mandates that control the operation of the New Melones Dam, which is part of the federally run Central Valley Project (CVP).

Aquafornia news Poynter.org

In Las Vegas, a newsroom came together to ask the big question: Do we have enough water?

It started with a question: How big can Las Vegas grow before the water runs out? The answer from the Las Vegas Review-Journal is The Water Question, a 10-part series online and in print that brought together different parts of the newsroom. Together, staff took The Water Question from a planned Sunday package to both a series and online resource that asks and answers critical questions for Las Vegas.

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Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Farmers look to adapt to climate change

Mention of climate change may still provoke skepticism in other sectors, but in California’s agriculture industry, the discussion is less about whether disruption is coming than it is about how farmers will adapt. A consensus appears to have emerged that extreme weather conditions — drought and flooding, hotter summers and milder winters — will increase competition for irrigation water such that some crops now produced in the Central Valley may no longer be economically feasible in the region.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan board workshop compares one-tunnel options to Calif. WaterFix

So just what would a one-tunnel project look like? A workshop for Metropolitan Water District board members compared a single tunnel project at both 3000 cfs and 6000 cfs to the California WaterFix project, looking at water delivery capability, the ability to divert stormwater flows, water quality benefits, reverse flows, seismic events, and project costs.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Actions to improve California water rights administration and oversight for future droughts

This post provides an overview of our recommendations for actions the State Water Resources Control Board can take before, during, and after droughts to make water rights administration and oversight more timely, fair, and effective. … Here are five actions the Board can take to build on past gains and its institutional knowledge from past drought experiences:

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Experts call for pre-planning, flood monitoring, community networks to combat disastrous wildfires

In an era of high population growth and sprawling urban and wildland development, fire and flood disaster officials have to plan in advance for post-fire problems… One strategy California and Colorado are working on is to build political alliances that combine forestry, water and land issues so that lawmakers at the state and even the federal level are provided with a more powerful, holistic view of the problems.

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Aquafornia news Inland Empire Community News

Mayor, school district kick off water conservation challenge with pledge

Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson issued a city-wide challenge to residents to pledge to be water wise during the month of April, as part of a non-profit national service campaign to see which leaders can best inspire their residents to make a series of informative and easy-to-do online pledges to use water more efficiently. Two years ago the City of Rialto came in fifth place on its first try.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: Water board staff tries end run around negotiations

When the State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to adopt the Bay-Delta Plan, its members ignored the direction of former Governor Brown and current Governor Newsom to pursue voluntary agreements with our irrigation districts. Many saw this as an act of defiance by former Chair Felicia Marcus, the executive director, and many of the activist staff.

Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: Cannabis growers and investors: Be sure of your water rights

The California State Water Resources Control Board adopted a complex policy essentially treating cannabis as a crop inferior to other traditional agricultural crops from a water rights perspective. Other states have not made such a strong policy choice yet, but will certainly be faced with how to address this influx of permit applications, and will feel pressure from farmers of traditional crops, who do not always welcome cannabis growers with open arms.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Plan unveiled to cut Borrego Springs water consumption by 75 percent

For years, the desert town of Borrego Springs has been living on borrowed time, drawing more water from the ground than its rains replace. But a reckoning is near. In March, a nearly 1,000-page draft report was released outlining how the community must and will reduce its water use by a staggering 74.6 percent between now and 2040.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Opinion: Coping with water conservation regulations

Unfortunately, the thing that almost always lingers on after an adverse event such as a prolonged drought is government’s heavy hand in regulations and mandates that are hastily put together in an attempt to mitigate the drought and get us through it.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: CalEPA Secretary Blumenfeld on Governor Newsom’s water & climate priorities

As Secretary, Jared Blumenfeld oversees the state’s efforts to fight climate change, protect air and water quality, regulate pesticides and toxic substances, achieve the state’s recycling and waste reduction goals, and advance environmental justice. … Blumenfeld joined TPR for an exclusive interview to discuss the administration’s priorities…

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa County supervisors pass watershed, tree protections

After 10 hours, 12 minutes and more than five dozen public speakers, supervisors … increased requirements for preserving trees and replacing cut-down ones for vineyards and other development in watershed areas, but decided against a complete ban on projects on ground steeper than 30 percent.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmers welcome federal agencies’ suits on flows plan

Now that the federal government has filed its own lawsuits against an unimpaired-flows plan for San Joaquin River tributaries, farmers and other parties to the lawsuits wait to learn where they will be heard–and prepare for a lengthy court battle. California Farm Bureau Federation … filed its own lawsuit against the unimpaired-flows plan in February…

Aquafornia news KQED Forum

Former water board chair Felicia Marcus on lessons learned from California drought, water wars

Felicia Marcus, who stepped down as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board early this year, joins us to discuss California’s water challenges, what the state learned from the recent drought and the future of its water wars.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

Opinion: Reject latest effort to undermine needed local water projects

Under a veil of trying to protect the vast California desert, SB307 focuses squarely on the Cadiz Water Project aiming to trap it in another state-run permitting process promoted by special interests who have challenged the Cadiz Project for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Bombay Beach Biennale focuses artists’ energy in effort to save Salton Sea

The use of public art to bring about social change created the interactive art event called the “Bombay Beach Biennale” on the shores of the Salton Sea. Organizers hope to bring attention to the long-ignored environmental issue facing the region, once one of the premier tourist destinations in Southern California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea gains protections, IID board president says

Excluded from a Southwestern drought pact, the Imperial Irrigation District won a small victory on Tuesday when federal legislators included protections for the Salton Sea that were left out of previous drafts of the agreement.

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Aquafornia news KUNR

Sierra wildfire prep stunted by federal shutdown, heavy snow

Most winters, [firefighter Mike] Morello would be working on several of these forest treatment projects, especially prior to the bulk of the Sierra winter snowfall. But throughout late December and most of January, Morello was sitting at home. He got to spend more time with his kids, but because he was one of the thousands of Forest Service workers to be furloughed, he couldn’t spend time in the woods, trying to prevent the next Sierra town from becoming Paradise, California, where 85 people died in November of last year.

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Restoring mountain meadows to benefit water supply

To prepare for the dry years that will come again as well as an uncertain future, healthy mountain watersheds will be key to our water supply. While the importance of forests to these watersheds is well known, new research suggests that meadows are valuable too. Meadows are like sponges, soaking up snowmelt in the spring and releasing it through the dry season.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Bills in Congress would implement drought plan in West

Two members of Arizona’s congressional delegation introduced legislation Tuesday on a plan to address a shrinking supply of water from a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West. Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva vowed to move identical bills quickly through the chambers. Bipartisan lawmakers from Colorado River basin states signed on as co-sponsors.

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Aquafornia news The Eastsider

New Lincoln Heights park provides green space and cleans water, too

On Saturday officials held a grand opening ceremony for the $44-million Albion Riverside Park — the city’s newest greenspace. The triangular six-acre site next to the L.A. River at Spring Street includes playing fields, walking trails, restrooms, playgrounds, parking and an outdoor fitness center. But the park will also do double-duty as a giant filter to clean storm drain water before it flows in the adjacent L.A. River.

Aquafornia news Kenwood Press

Focus is on wells as groundwater board does its research

Parts of Sonoma Valley … have seen a persistent decline in groundwater levels over the last decade – and it may be expanding. These chronic declines, based on data from the USGS and the Sonoma County Water Agency, indicate that groundwater withdrawals are occurring at a rate exceeding the rate of replenishment within the deeper aquifer zones of southern Sonoma Valley.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz water panel taking stock of supply plans

A self-imposed deadline to choose what path the city will choose in securing its future water supply, even in times of prolonged drought, is approaching. The Santa Cruz Water Commission will take stock of its progress to enact an ambitious water supply plan, reuniting with the 14-member community panel that spent 18 tumultuous months crafting the city’s water supply source blueprint.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Here’s how much the Pure Water project could raise your water bill

San Diego water customers will soon pay $6 to $13 more a month to fund the first part of the city’s new recycled water project, according to a newly released estimate. The city is working on a multibillion-dollar plan to purify enough sewage to provide a third of the city’s drinking water by 2035.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

California’s worsening wildfires, explained

If it seems that wildfires are burning nearly all the time these days, that there’s no longer a definable fire season in California, you’re right. Fourteen of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have occurred since 2007, and California has 78 more annual “fire days” now than it had 50 years ago.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Why this Drought Contingency Plan is no friend to the Salton Sea

The March 26 opinion piece by Tom Buschatzke and 13 other Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan proponents to persuade the public that the DCP is good for the Salton Sea would have been better served – and made more believable – by a show of good faith rather than a show of force.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Researchers learning true scale of Lake Mead, Powell evaporation rates

Precious water is vanishing into thin air at the Colorado River’s two largest reservoirs, and scientists are only now learning the true scale of the problem. Building on ongoing research at Lake Mead, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Nevada’s Desert Research Institute have teamed up on a new study using remote sensors on floating platforms at Lake Powell to pinpoint how much water is lost to evaporation.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: A sustainable solution to preserve our water supply

Before we can begin to address our water supply issues in the Ventura River watershed, we must first recognize the problem, and realize we need to work together to solve it. Accordingly, I am pleased to report that the watershed’s water leaders have agreed to come together to collaborate on developing a new sustainable approach to managing the watershed for the future.

Aquafornia news California Sun

Artists are bringing new life to a town on the dying Salton Sea

Decay festers all around at the Salton Sea, the vast inland lake in Southern California that once hosted beauty pageants and boat races in its tourist heyday. … But new life is moving into the breach. At Bombay Beach, artists drawn by the cheap prices and surreal setting have been snapping up lots and crumbling buildings as gallery spaces.

Aquafornia news Menifee 24/7

EMWD breaks ground for new water treatment facility

Eastern Municipal Water District officials celebrated groundbreaking today for EMWD’s third water treatment facility at its complex serving Menifee and Perris on Murrieta Road. The plant will significantly increase the amount of drinkable water for the area…by removing salt from brackish groundwater basin water and exporting the salt through a regional brine line.

Aquafornia news Western City Magazine

Desalination’s potential for California’s water supply

As a result of California’s outdated water infrastructure and persistent droughts, some elected leaders are shifting the focus to investing in seawater desalination to help address the state’s water crisis. While less than half a dozen desalination plants currently exist in the state, the idea is gaining momentum and greater support at the state level.

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