Topic: Energy and Water


Energy and Water

Water and energy are interconnected. A frequent term to describe this relationship is the “water-energy nexus.”

Energy for Water: Energy is needed to store water, get it where it is needed and also treat it to be used:

*  Extracting water from rivers and streams or pumping it from aquifers, and then conveying it over hills and into storage facilities is a highly energy intensive process. The State Water Project (SWP) pumps water 700 miles, including up nearly 2,000 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains. The SWP is the largest single user of energy in California. It consumes an average of 5 billion kWh per year. That’s about 2 to 3 percent of all electricity consumed in California
*  Water treatment facilities use energy to pump and process water for use in homes, businesses and industry
*  Consumers use energy to treat water with softeners or filters, to circulate and pressurize water and to heat and cool water
*  Wastewater plants use energy to pump wastewater to treatment plants, and also to aerate and filter it at the plant.

Different end uses require more electricity for delivery than others. Water for residential, commercial and industrial end-use needs the most energy (11 percent), followed by agricultural end-use (3 percent), residential, commercial and industrial supply and treatment (3 percent), agricultural water supply and treatment (1 percent) and wastewater treatment (1 percent), according to the California Energy Commission.

Water for Energy: Water is used to generate electricity

*  Water is needed either to process raw materials used in a facility or maintaining a plant,or to just generate electricity itself.

Overall, the electricity industry is second only to agriculture as the largest user of water in the United States. Electricity production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, accounting for 39 percent of all freshwater withdrawals in the nation. Coal, the most abundant fossil fuel, currently accounts for 52 percent of U.S. electricity generation, and each kWh generated from coal requires withdrawal of 25 gallons of water.

Aquafornia news KQED - San Francisco

Could carbon removal be California’s next big boom industry?

Shaun Kinetic rests his hand on what looks like an out-of-place pile of hay bales. The bales, which are actually the leftovers from a corn harvest, sit under a shade structure in a parking lot in an industrial area of San Francisco sandwiched between highways. Those corn stalks, leaves and cobs would normally get plowed back into the field they came from in Half Moon Bay, or be left to decompose, releasing the carbon inside them back into the atmosphere. Only some of these leftovers are needed to maintain soil health and prevent erosion. … Unlike carbon capture, which involves trapping polluting greenhouse gasses at their source of emissions, carbon removal entails pulling the gas out of the atmosphere through either nature-based approaches, like conserving existing wetlands, or technological methods, like that used by Charm.

Aquafornia news Nature Communications

New research: Satellites reveal hotspots of global river extent change

Rivers are one of the most dynamic water cycle components of the earth surface and hold fundamental economic and ecological significance for the development of human societies, ecosystem sustainability, and regional climate. Yet, their natural balance has been threatened by a wide range of anthropogenic stressors and ongoing climate change. With increasing demands for economic and social development, human disturbances in the form of dam construction, aquaculture, and irrigation have resulted in large-scale and rapid transformations of river channels.

Aquafornia news Smithsonian Magazine

Are floating solar panels the future of clean energy production?

Floating solar panels placed on reservoirs around the world could generate enough energy to power thousands of cities, according to a study published last week in the journal Nature Sustainability. Called floating photovoltaic systems, or “floatovoltaics,” these solar arrays function the same way as panels on land, capturing sunlight to generate electricity. … The new research shows this buoyant technology has the potential to create vast amounts of power and conserve water—without taking up precious space on land. … A handful of countries are already answering that question by using floating solar panels in a limited capacity… California plans to test a similar idea in which solar panels will be placed above irrigation canals.

Aquafornia news Nature

New research: U.S. West Coast droughts and heat waves exacerbate pollution inequality and can evade emission control policies

Droughts reduce hydropower production and heatwaves increase electricity demand, forcing power system operators to rely more on fossil fuel power plants. However, less is known about how droughts and heat waves impact the county level distribution of health damages from power plant emissions. Using California as a case study, we simulate emissions from power plants under a 500-year synthetic weather ensemble. We find that human health damages are highest in hot, dry years. Counties with a majority of people of color and counties with high pollution burden (which are somewhat overlapping) are disproportionately impacted by increased emissions from power plants during droughts and heat waves.

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Plastic bags are leaving their mark on the deep-sea floor

Plastic pollution is everywhere, from the tip of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Wherever it goes, plastic has unexpected effects: it transports pathogens, strangles wildlife, and, sometimes, becomes habitat. But on the bottom of the Philippine Trench, 10,000 meters deep, plastic is reshaping life on the seafloor. In 2021, Alan Jamieson, a marine biologist at the University of Western Australia, Deo Florence L. Onda, a microbial oceanographer at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute, and their crew descended into the third-deepest trench in the world. The place was swarming with plastic bags. As the scientists watched, the deep-sea current was dragging plastic bags along the seafloor, scraping it with parallel lines like tire tracks.

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Newsom touts lithium development near Salton Sea, counters rural fears

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday hailed the state’s rapid transformation to renewables from a unique spot: a lithium processing project in impoverished Imperial County, at the state’s sunbaked southern end that he and others say is part of a “transformational” industry that will bring good new jobs here while also preserving the environment for young people and aiding public health. … He brushed off concerns about global economic volatility and fears of massive renewables slicing through rural communities to power far-off cities, saying in an interview with The Desert Sun/USA Today that what is being done here is a template for vital, sustainable economic projects.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Opinion: California’s deluge has a hydroelectric silver lining

California is an elemental maelstrom branded as a laid-back idyll; a “beautiful fraud” as environmentalist Marc Reisner put it. The pitch has faltered in recent years, as first wildfires and now torrential rains have claimed lives, wrecked infrastructure and displaced whole towns. Yet the atmospheric rivers deluging the state today may offer a silver lining of sorts later this year, during California’s summer blackout season. Risk of wildfires is one factor that can prompt electricity shutoffs in California during the summer. A more prosaic reason is that hot evenings can raise demand for air conditioning just as the sunset switches off the state’s vast, but variable, solar energy, pushing the grid to its limits. 
-Written by Liam Denning, a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering energy and commodities. 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Earth to hit critical warming threshold by early 2030s, climate panel says

Earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level, according to a major new report released on Monday. The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, offers the most comprehensive understanding to date of ways in which the planet is changing. It says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news KESQ - Palm Springs

Governor Newsom to visit Salton Sea for update on lithium production

Governor Gavin Newsom will join local leaders on Monday for a visit to Imperial Valley. He will get an update on progress being made toward lithium production. Lithium is the material essential to battery production. Imperial Valley contains some of the largest lithium deposits in the world, specifically underground near the Salton Sea, a region also known as Lithium Valley. The Salton Sea was once a top tourist destination, attracting some of old Hollywood’s biggest names, but over the past few decades, it’s become an ecological disaster. Evaporation and agricultural runoff have exposed toxins in the lakebed and created a perfect environment for dangerous algae blooms and bacteria to thrive.

Aquafornia news

Where did Earth’s water come from? Not melted meteorites, according to scientists

Water makes up 71% of Earth’s surface, but no one knows how or when such massive quantities of water arrived on Earth. A new study published in the journal Nature brings scientists one step closer to answering that question. Led by University of Maryland Assistant Professor of Geology Megan Newcombe, researchers analyzed melted meteorites that had been floating around in space since the solar system’s formation 4 1/2 billion years ago. They found that these meteorites had extremely low water content—in fact, they were among the driest extraterrestrial materials ever measured. These results, which let researchers rule them out as the primary source of Earth’s water, could have important implications for the search for water—and life—on other planets. It also helps researchers understand the unlikely conditions that aligned to make Earth a habitable planet.

Aquafornia news CNN

The plastic water bottle industry is booming. Here’s why that’s a huge problem

The bottled water industry is a juggernaut. More than 1 million bottles of water are sold every minute around the world and the industry shows no sign of slowing down, according to a new report. Global sales of bottled water are expected to nearly double by 2030. But the industry’s enormous global success comes at a huge environmental, climate and social cost, according to the report published Thursday by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, which analyzes the industry’s global impacts. Groundwater extracted to help fill billions of plastic bottles a year poses a potential threat to drinking water resources and feeds the world’s plastic pollution crisis, while the industry’s growth helps distract attention and resources away from funding the public-water infrastructure desperately needed in many countries, according to the report.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California must intervene on Mono Lake water dispute with L.A.

Even with winter’s remarkable rainfall, Mono Lake will not rise enough to reduce unhealthy dust storms that billow off the exposed lakebed and violate air quality standards. Nor will it offset increasing salinity levels that threaten Mono Lake Kutzadika’a tribe’s cultural resources and food for millions of migratory birds. Any gain Mono Lake makes surely won’t last due to the [Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's] ongoing diversions….If DWP won’t voluntarily cooperate in finding a way to protect Mono Lake, then the State Water Board needs to step up and save Mono Lake – again.
-Written by Martha Davis, a board member for the Mono Lake Committee.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

A plan to ship oil alongside the Colorado River sees revived opposition amid national railway safety debate

Two Colorado Democrats this week are making a last ditch effort to block a proposed 88-mile railway in Utah that they say would drive up climate emissions and could lead to a catastrophic oil spill in the upper Colorado River, contaminating a vital water supply for nearly 40 million Americans that’s already critically threatened by deepening drought. The Uinta Basin Railway was approved by the Surface Transportation Board in 2021 and received provisional approval by the U.S. Forest Service last summer to travel through a 12-mile roadless area of the Ashley National Forest. It would connect the oil fields of Utah’s Uinta Basin to the national rail network and refineries on the Gulf Coast. 

Aquafornia news ABC 15 - Arizona

Arizona community worries energy company will hog water supply

Residents in one western Arizona community worry that a clean energy company, which plans to build nearby, could hog their groundwater supply. Brenda is a small town located a few miles north of Interstate 10 in La Paz County. Like nearby Quartzsite, it caters to RV visitors who are looking for sunshine and warmth during the winter months. At Buckaroo’s Sandwich Shop, manager Lisa Lathrop said she has lived in the area for 13 years because “it’s usually quiet out here and nobody knows about us.” That’s about to change. The addition of the Ten West Link, a high-voltage transmission line currently being built to connect Tonopah with Blythe, California, is expected to bring multiple solar power companies to the area. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

EPA proposes stricter limits on coal plant water pollution

The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed tighter limits on wastewater pollution from coal-burning power plants that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers across the nation. Under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency sets pollution standards to limit wastewater discharge from the power industry and other businesses. The Trump administration rolled back pollution standards so utilities could use cheaper technologies and take longer to comply with guidelines for cleaning coal ash and toxic heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic and selenium from plant wastewater before dumping it into waterways. The Biden administration’s proposal for stricter standards at coal-burning plants also encourages the plants to retire or switch to other fuels such as natural gas by 2028.

Aquafornia news BNamericas

Blog: Could a new Mexican desal proposal run into old problems?

Israeli firm IDE Technologies’ proposal to build a US$5.5bn desalination plant in Puerto Peñasco in northern Mexico’s Sonora state and then sell the water to Arizona is not a new idea and was previously rejected due to several problems.  In December, IDE presented Arizona’s Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) with a proposal to supply treated 1 billion cubic meters per year of seawater from the Sea of Cortez through a 328km system of pumps and pipes. WIFA was reported to have been analyzing the initiative, but no further updates have been announced.  The project would also provide water to Sonora state “without impacting the amount of water committed to Arizona,” according to the proposal. However, IDE needs a purchasing commitment from the US state’s authorities before moving forward with the project.

Aquafornia news

Wastewater sector emits nearly twice as much methane as previously thought

Municipal wastewater treatment plants emit nearly double the amount of methane into the atmosphere than scientists previously believed, according to new research from Princeton University. And since methane warms the planet over 80 times more powerfully than carbon dioxide over 20 years, that could be a big problem. … Zondlo led one of two new studies on the subject, both reported in papers published in Environmental Science & Technology. One study performed on-the-ground methane emissions measurements at 63 wastewater treatment plants in the United States; the other used machine learning methods to analyze published literature data from methane monitoring studies of various wastewater collection and treatment processes around the globe.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press Online

Blue-Ribbon Commission on lithium extraction completes its mission

The Blue-Ribbon Commission on lithium extraction in California has been dissolved per a resolution by the California Energy Commission on Friday, February 17, after completing an equitably written final report. The commission was established in January 2021 to address the issues and opportunities that come along with lithium extraction at the Salton Sea, including the impacts that developing this new resource would have on local communities. … A few of the things included in the report include establishing a Lithium Valley priority permitting process, accelerating state planning for investment and upgrades in transmission for geothermal power plants, and establishing the Southeast California Economic Zone. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: CEMEX wants to keep mining San Joaquin River near Fresno. Why wasn’t public informed?

A multinational building materials company is trying to pull a fast one on Fresno County residents — and county officials are helping.  Remember CEMEX’s proposal to continue gravel mining along the San Joaquin River north of Fresno for another century? By using even more environmentally damaging methods than those currently employed?  Things have been quiet on that front since 2020 when CEMEX’s impertinent scheme came to light and I expressed my initial outrage.  Sure enough, the gears of destruction are moving once again.
-Written by columnist Marek Warszawski. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: As the Colorado River shrinks, federal officials consider overhauling Glen Canyon Dam

The desiccation of the Colorado River has left Lake Powell, the country’s second-largest reservoir, at just 23% of capacity, its lowest level since it was filled in the 1960s. With the reservoir now just 32 feet away from “minimum power pool” — the point at which Glen Canyon Dam would no longer generate power for six states — federal officials are studying the possibility of overhauling the dam so that it can continue to generate electricity and release water at critically low levels. A preliminary analysis of potential modifications to the dam emerged during a virtual meeting held by the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which is also reviewing options for averting a collapse of the water supply along the river.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Fracking wastewater causes lasting harm to key freshwater species

Extracting fossil fuels from underground reservoirs requires so much water a Chevron scientist once referred to its operations in California’s Kern River Oilfield “as a water company that skims oil.” Fracking operations use roughly 1.5 million to 16 million gallons per well to release oil and gas from shale, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. All that water returns to the surface as wastewater called flowback and produced water, or PFW, contaminated by a complex jumble of hazardous substances in fluids injected to enhance production, salts, metals and other harmful elements once sequestered deep underground, along with their toxic breakdown products. 

Aquafornia news Envirotech Online

Blog: How do we monitor the pollutants produced by desalination?

Monitoring the pollutants that result from desalination is critical for ensuring that the process is carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner. There are several instruments that are commonly used to monitor pollutants in the marine environment, including chemical sensors, optical sensors, and biological indicators.  Chemical sensors are used to measure the concentration of various pollutants in the water, including heavy metals, organic matter, and pathogens. These sensors can be deployed in real-time, providing continuous monitoring of water quality, and can be used to detect changes in water quality over time. Some chemical sensors are also capable of measuring multiple parameters simultaneously, which can help to provide a more comprehensive picture of water quality. 

Aquafornia news Barrons

The world’s plastic use is getting worse. ‘It’s a recipe for disaster.’

The world thrives on plastic—one of the most enduring, versatile materials ever invented. It’s in our coffee pods, clothes, cars we drive to work, and tech devices we can’t live without. Extracting ourselves from plastic-land is tough. Buy strawberries in a clamshell box, and you’re fueling the plastic economy. The cost seems negligible—a penny in a $20 takeout order. But a global addiction to plastic is turning into an environmental catastrophe, challenging goals to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and reduce the 385 million tons of waste that’s landfilled or incinerated, or that drifts out to sea, each year.

Tour Nick Gray

Lower Colorado River Tour 2023
Field Trip - March 8-10

This tour explored the lower Colorado River firsthand where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to some 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states, 30 tribal nations and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.

Hyatt Place Las Vegas At Silverton Village
8380 Dean Martin Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Tour Nick Gray

Lower Colorado River Tour 2022
Field Trip - March 16-18

The lower Colorado River has virtually every drop allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states, 30 tribal nations and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.

Hyatt Place Las Vegas At Silverton Village
8380 Dean Martin Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89139

Lower Colorado River Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - May 20

This event explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour. 

Western Water California Water Map Gary Pitzer

How Private Capital is Speeding up Sierra Nevada Forest Restoration in a Way that Benefits Water
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: A bond fund that fronts the money is expediting a headwaters restoration project to improve forest health, water quality and supply

District Ranger Lon Henderson with Tahoe National Forest points toward an overgrown section of forest within the Blue Forest project area. The majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada forest is awe-inspiring, but beneath the dazzling blue sky, there is a problem: A century of fire suppression and logging practices have left trees too close together. Millions of trees have died, stricken by drought and beetle infestation. Combined with a forest floor cluttered with dry brush and debris, it’s a wildfire waiting to happen.

Fires devastate the Sierra watersheds upon which millions of Californians depend — scorching the ground, unleashing a battering ram of debris and turning hillsides into gelatinous, stream-choking mudflows. 

Lower Colorado River Tour 2020
Field Trip - March 11-13

This tour explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour. 

Silverton Hotel
3333 Blue Diamond Road
Las Vegas, NV 89139

Lower Colorado River Tour 2018

Lower Colorado River Tour participants at Hoover Dam.

We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.

Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Tour Nick Gray

Lower Colorado River Tour 2019

This three-day, two-night tour explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour. 

Best Western McCarran Inn
4970 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Western Water Magazine

Tapping the Ocean: What is the Role of Desalination?
Winter 2016

This issue looks at the role of ocean desalination in meeting California’s water needs today and in the future.


Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.


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.


Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.


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.


Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters Colorado River Bundle

Colorado River Basin Map
Redesigned in 2017

Redesigned in 2017, this beautiful map depicts the seven Western states that share the Colorado River with Mexico. The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the country of Mexico. Text on this beautiful, 24×36-inch map, which is suitable for framing, explains the river’s apportionment, history and the need to adapt its management for urban growth and expected climate change impacts.

Publication Colorado River Basin Map

Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

Cover page for the Layperson's Guide to the Colorado River .

The Colorado River provides water to 40 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.

Publication California Water Map

Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2021

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. New in this 10th edition of the guide is a section on the human need for water. 

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

Image shows Glen Canyon Dam with Lake Powell in the background.The construction of Glen Canyon Dam in 1964 created Lake Powell. Both are located in north-central Arizona near the Utah border. Lake Powell acts as a holding tank for outflow from the Colorado River Upper Basin States: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The water stored in Lake Powell is used for recreation, power generation and delivering water to the Lower Basin states of California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

Western Water Magazine

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality: A Cause for Concern?
September/October 2012

This printed issue of Western Water looks at hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. Much of the information in the article was presented at a conference hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association of California.

Western Water Excerpt Gary PitzerRita Schmidt Sudman

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

The connection between water and energy is more relevant than ever. After existing in separate realms for years, the maxim that it takes water to produce energy and energy to produce water has prompted a re-thinking of management strategies, including an emphasis on renewable energy use by water agencies.

Western Water Magazine

Making the Connection: The Water/Energy Nexus
September/October 2010

This printed issue of Western Water looks at the energy requirements associated with water use and the means by which state and local agencies are working to increase their knowledge and improve the management of both resources.

Western Water Magazine

Desalination: A Drought Proof Supply?
July/August 2009

This printed issue of Western Water examines desalination – an issue that is marked by great optimism and controversy – and the expected role it might play as an alternative water supply strategy.

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

Turning Water into Power: Hydropower Projects Under Review
September/October 2005

Hydropower generation is prevalent in the West, where rapidly flowing river systems have been tapped for generations to produce electricity. Hydropower is a clean, steady and reliable energy source, but the damming of rivers has exacted a toll on the environment, affecting, among other things, the migration of fish to vestigial spawning grounds. Many of those projects are due to be relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Western Water Magazine

Dealing with the Shock: Shedding Light on the Link Between Water and Power in California
September/October 2001

The California power crisis has made international headlines. But what is the link between water and power in California? How is the state’s dry spell affecting its hydropower generation? How has the electric crisis affected water users in the state? These questions and others are addressed in this issue of Western Water.