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 KCET - Los Angeles

Salton Sea policy-making excludes vulnerable Purépecha community members

Residing less than a mile from the Salton Sea, Purépecha farmworkers like [Meriguildo] Ortiz stand on the frontlines of one of the greatest environmental and health justice crises in the state. As the Salton Sea continues to evaporate, local residents report increasingly common cases of asthma, nose bleeds and allergies. The state has proposed solutions, such as the 10-year Salton Sea Management Program, but Purépecha community members who speak neither English nor Spanish, face limited internet access and lack high levels of education can rarely participate in decision-making.

Aquafornia news Capital and Main

California quietly stored 500,000 pounds of contaminated soil in Jurupa Valley. Then residents found out.

For four years, thousands of soil samples and paint chips taken from homes, schools, parks and parkways near the former Exide battery facility have been stored inside shipping containers at a Superfund site. Without consulting local officials or residents, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control transported the samples to the Stringfellow facility, an Inland Empire quarry that once served as an industrial dumping ground — one that leaked toxic chemicals into groundwater and soil over several decades.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Opinion: The monsoon can’t save us

As I wrote this, news arrived that Sen. Joe Manchin — the coal-loving Democrat from West Virginia — finally agreed to support a climate bill that would potentially cut planet-warming emissions by some 40% by 2030. It will be a huge step forward (fossil fuel-friendly provisions aside) if it makes it through Congress, but it won’t do much to ease the West’s desiccation anytime soon. That gives the collective users of the region’s water no choice but to cut our consumption, and fast.
-Written by Jonathan Thompson, a contributing editor at High Country News and author of Sagebrush Empire: How a Remote Utah County Became the Battlefront of American Public Lands.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

Cutback in Eel River diversions expected to prompt new curtailments for Russian River water rights

Federal energy regulators say Pacific Gas & Electric can begin drastically reducing Eel River water diversions bound for Lake Mendocino, which will likely result in additional curtailments of water rights for hundreds of landowners, ranchers and communities in the Russian River watershed. The new flow regime, approved last week after more than two months of consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, authorizes PG&E to divert as little water as it did last year even though there is almost 50% more water in Lake Pillsbury than there was at the same time last year.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Drought and old pipes could slow Colorado River to a trickle

In their pleas to Western states to cut back on water use from the Colorado River Basin, federal officials are keenly focused on keeping Lake Powell’s elevation at 3,490 feet — the minimum needed to keep hydropower humming at Glen Canyon Dam. But if federal efforts can’t stop the reservoir from shrinking to new lows — its elevation is 3,536 feet as of Monday — the lights going out might not even be the worst problem. If it dips 60 feet below its current level, the already dwindling Colorado River could trickle down into a fraction of what is expected for states below the dam, a new analysis by conservation groups found.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Let’s seize lithium opportunities, bring jobs and benefits to Imperial

For decades, Imperial County has been a dumping ground. Home to one of three hazardous dumps in the state, we absorb toxic, dangerous waste from our metropolitan neighbors. One of the few remaining wetland habitats in California, our Salton Sea, is today polluted by decades of agricultural runoff filled with dangerous chemicals that create clouds of toxic pollution. -Written by Luis Olmedo, executive director of Comite Civico del Valle, a community-based organization focused on civic engagement and health-based initiatives. Olmedo also leads the Lithium Valley Community Coalition and serves on the state’s Lithium Valley Commission.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

California spares coastal power plant owner from fines

The owner of an aging gas-fired power plant along California’s southern coast won’t be required to pay fines for some water pollution it causes through 2023, state water officials voted Tuesday. The Redondo Beach Generating Station is one of four coastal power plants that were set to close in 2020 but had their operating lives extended to 2023. The state is keeping them open in an effort to avoid power blackouts on hot summer days when there may not be enough renewable energy available as people crank up their air conditioners.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Plastics plague our oceans, killing marine mammals

A humpback whale was spotted off San Diego’s coast on Valentine’s Day 2020, entangled in a green plastic fishing net. It struggled to migrate up California’s coast, leaping repeatedly to desperately try to rid itself of the net.  But rescuers were unable to safely get close enough to try to cut the net off. … The plague of plastic in our oceans is steadily worsening, taking an increasingly deadly toll on whales, dolphins, seals and other marine mammals, not to mention other marine life. 
-Written by Dave Phillips, executive director of Earth Island Institute, a nonprofit environmental organization based in Berkeley; and Mark J. Palmer, a biologist and the associate director of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Project.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

How compost is helping farmers save water, survive drought

As California grapples with another long drought, cities across the state have implemented curbside collection programs to increase the amount of available water. Composting turns food scraps, sticks and leaves into organic material that is then added to soil to make it more fertile. Robert Reed, spokesperson for Recology, a waste management company, explains compost acts as a natural sponge.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

3 issues to watch as heat strains the grid

Drought conditions gripping the U.S. are shining a bright light on a severe and emerging risk to the nation’s long-term power supply: water scarcity…. The danger is most glaring on the parched West Coast where California, plagued by climbing temperatures, saw hydroelectric generation fall 48 percent below a 10-year average last year, and output was likewise curbed across the Pacific Northwest. The current dry spell — considered one of the worst on record — will likely take a bigger chunk of California’s hydropower out of commission….

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Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: Food waste can worsen the drought – here’s how you can help

We depend on fresh water to survive, and there’s not that much to go around.  California is in the midst of a historic drought, and in San Diego, we’re constantly told that we need to save water. We’ve heard a lot of these tips before: shorten your showers, “if it’s yellow, let it mellow,” don’t water your lawns, replace your garden with native plants. But with a drought of this scale, they might not be enough. … Shop smart, plan meals, and take steps at home to prevent food waste. When food is wasted, so are all of the resources that went into producing it — land, labor, fuel, energy, and water. Every year in the United States, wasted food consumes 5.9 trillion gallons of fresh water, or 14 percent of all the water we use.
-Written by Jessica Toth, the executive director of Solana Center for Environmental Innovation, a San Diego area environmental nonprofit that focuses on waste, water, and soil.   

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California revives Delta tunnel project for water deliveries

Here we go again. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration revived the Delta tunnel project Wednesday, unveiling a downsized version of the controversial, multibillion-dollar plan to re-engineer the fragile estuary on Sacramento’s doorstep that serves as the hub of California’s over-stressed water-delivery network. After three years with little to no public activity, the state released an environmental blueprint for what’s now called the Delta Conveyance — a 45-mile tunnel that would divert water from the Sacramento River and route it under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta so that it can be shipped to farms and cities hundreds of miles away.

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Aquafornia news KGET 17 - Bakersfield

The nation’s first environmental law resulted from destructive California mining operations

California’s Gold Rush is known for making many people rich and inflating the population of the then-young state, but it also resulted in the creation of the nation’s first environmental law. As gold mining went from individuals with gold pans raking the bottom of creek beds to industries using the latest technologies to strip precious ores from California’s hillsides, the impact on the surrounding environment became more severe. Hydraulic mining was a growing form of industrial mining, in which high-pressure water would blast out of water cannons, known as monitors, into hillsides to wash away dirt and rocks to uncover the gold beneath.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Climate disinformation leaves lasting mark as world heats

In 1998, as nations around the world agreed to cut carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol, America’s fossil fuel companies plotted their response, including an aggressive strategy to inject doubt into the public debate…. Nearly 25 years later, the reality of a changing climate is now clear to most Americans, as heatwaves and wildfires, rising sea levels and extreme storms become more common…. [Yet] Even as surveys show the public generally has become more concerned about climate change, a sizeable number of Americans have become even more distrustful of the scientific consensus. 

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Aquafornia news AP News

US could require steps for dams to save last Atlantic salmon

The federal government is conducting a review of four dams on a Maine river that could result in a lifeline for the last wild Atlantic salmon in the U.S. The last of the wild salmon live in a group of rivers in Maine and have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2000. One of the rivers is the Kennebec River, where Brookfield Renewable U.S. owns dams. … The review comes as the Biden administration is also eyeing changes to dams in other parts of the country. The administration released reports earlier this month that said removing dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington may be needed to adequately restore salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest.

Aquafornia news KYMA

California to tax lithium extraction beginning in 2023

A new tax on lithium extraction in California will go into effect next year, charging companies for each metric ton of lithium mined out of the Salton Sea. This tax will charge companies anywhere from $400 to $800 dollars per metric ton of extracted lithium. 80% of the money will go to the county the lithium was mined in and 20% will go toward Salton Sea renovation projects. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia says the tax is about making sure the citizens of Imperial get their fair share.

Aquafornia news Bay City News

Sunol sand-mining company Mission Valley Rock agrees to pay Water Resources Control Board fine

A company operating a sand-mining facility in Alameda County will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle charges that it discharged untreated wastewater into Alameda Creek last year, officials with the state Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) said Thursday. Mission Valley Rock must pay nearly the statutory limit after it allegedly discharged 41,000 gallons of untreated wastewater from its Sunol facility in March. The total settlement is $368,940. According to the WRCB, Mission Valley Rock failed to properly decommission a pipeline, which then ruptured, depositing several inches of sediment in the creek bed and along the bank. 

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Deep wells under Stanislaus could store climate-harming gas

A company seeks to drill two very deep wells in Stanislaus County to capture some of the carbon dioxide involved in climate change. Aemetis Inc. would sink the wells at its ethanol plant in Keyes and another coming soon to Riverbank. They would be perhaps 8,000 feet deep, far below groundwater sources, and would store close to 40 million tons of compressed gas over 20 years. The $250 million project would put the county at the forefront of the effort to sequester CO2 that otherwise would trap heat in the atmosphere. Experts say climate change is already disrupting agriculture, raising sea levels and making storms and wildfires more extreme.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

East Bay city increases water rates

Pittsburg water customers will soon see a 5% increase in their water rates for each of the next five years as a result of council action this week. Paul Rodrigues, city finance director, cited increases in the cost of energy and raw water, and the need to make capital improvements – at a $76.5 million price tag – in the water treatment plant as reasons for the increases. Both commercial and residential customers will be affected, but seniors will pay less, seeing only a 2% increase each year. 

Aquafornia news The Hill

US losing ground to China, Russia in South American lithium rush

U.S. companies are hitting speedbumps in the race to win contracts to extract lithium in the Americas, particularly as the Chinese and Russian governments throw their weight around to land such agreements. While the most easily exploitable currently known lithium deposits are in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, the United States has so far not been able to capitalize on its influence in the Western Hemisphere to support its companies. … One of the places in the United States with the best lithium potential is California’s Salton Sea, which abuts [D-Calif. Rep. Raul] Ruiz’s district. Ruiz said an environmentally exploited Salton Sea could cover U.S. lithium requirements while creating economic development in the area.

Aquafornia news Big Think

Is the Salton Sea hiding enough lithium to power America?

As the world transitions away from fossil fuels, electric vehicles are becoming more ubiquitous. But despite their environmental benefits, they still have a price. The batteries that power them rely on a limited resource: lithium. But some say California’s so-called “Lithium Valley” could be a vast powerhouse for the next century’s battery needs. … The Salton Sea is a land-locked salt lake in the California desert. As odd as it sounds, the salty, superheated water reservoir below the surface promises to provide an abundance of geothermal energy. 

Aquafornia news FairPlanet

Tapping solar canals

In California, climate change is already a reality. Annual devastating wildfires, years long droughts and over-pumped groundwater systems are symptoms of the onset of a global environmental catastrophe. Researchers worldwide are desperately looking for ways to avert the worst case scenario and, should it already be too late, deal with the new environmental challenges in the most effective way possible. The Solar Canal Project, a kilometer-long network of irrigation canals in California which will be used to generate renewable energy, is emerging as one promising solution to these challenges.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Yes, data centers use a lot of water. But a Utah company shows it doesn’t have to be that way.

Beyond all the gadgets, Novva offers one innovation that should at least pique the curiosity of Utah’s drought-stricken communities: Compared to most massive data centers around the state and the world, Novva uses a fraction of the water. There are those who might shrug off the center’s technology, like security drones so finely tuned they can detect vibrations that aren’t due to wind. Or those who turn up their nose at more data centers along the Wasatch Front, given the amount of land they consume and other environmental concerns. But with the rise of the internet, the surge of streaming, an influx of smart devices and a future of autonomous vehicles, big server farms are increasingly a mainstay of life.

Aquafornia news Redheaded Blackbelt

Fish fight: Two new developments in the ongoing damming of the Eel via the Potter Valley hydropower project

There have been two developments in the ongoing saga of the Potter Valley hydropower project this week. The 20-year license has expired, but PG&E still owns and operates the project on an annual license. On Monday, PG&E submitted a rough schedule to surrender the license to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In a separate filing, PG&E argued that it should be allowed to continue operating the project under the biological protections that were attached to the license when it was issued in 2002.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

As drought shrivels Lake Powell, millions face power crisis

Dwindling water levels at Lake Powell, which is now at 28% of its 24m acre-feet capacity, have put the Glen Canyon dam at risk. In March, water levels fell below 3,525 feet – considered a critical buffer to protect hydropower – for the first time. If the lake drops just another 32ft, the dam will no longer be able to generate power for the millions who rely on it…. The Bureau of Reclamation… forecasts that even with significant proposed cuts to water allowances there is a 23% chance power production could halt at dam in 2024 due to low water levels and that it is within the realm of possibility that it will happen as soon as July 2023.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Can dowsers help us through the drought?

He walked to and fro, holding the rods parallel to the ground and several inches apart. Every once in a while, the rods crossed. In each spot where they did, he bent down and planted a little blue flag and said that’s where I’d likely find my bad pipe. “I thought that was voodoo,” I said politely. … Well, this piqued my interest, and I began to do a little digging of my own. Is there anything to dowsing, and if so, might a battalion of dowsers help get us through the drought by identifying underground aquifers and streams?
-Written by Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist.

Aquafornia news Downey Brand LLP

Blog: California eases environmental requirements to address threatened electricity outages

On June 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 205, a legislative effort to bolster the state’s energy resources and avoid outages like those California experienced in August 2020.  AB 205 creates a Strategic Reliability Reserve that will secure new emergency and temporary generators, retain existing resources, and encourage the development of new clean energy projects and energy storage systems.  To secure the resources needed to maintain the reliability of electric service, the legislation temporarily relaxes some of California’s strict environmental requirements.  

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.


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.


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. 

Aquapedia background

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

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.