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 Oregon Public Broadcasting

The US needs minerals for green tech. Will Western mines have enough water?

On a 107 degree morning in the mountains east of Phoenix, a miner in a hard hat plunges down the nearly 7,000-foot shaft of what may soon be the biggest underground copper mine in the United States. But for now, the Resolution Copper mine isn’t taking out copper. It’s taking out groundwater, at a rate of around 600 gallons per minute. Because this copper is so deep underground, in geologic formations dating back more than a billion years, the mining takes place far below the water table. The mine is removing that aquifer water so the operations don’t flood. And the mine is giving away this water for free to nearby farmers, about 6 billion gallons so far.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Fracking for oil and gas is devouring American groundwater

[T[o strike oil in America, you need water. Plenty of it. Today, the insatiable search for oil and gas has become the latest threat to the country’s endangered aquifers, a critical national resource that is already being drained at alarming rates by industrial farming and cities in search of drinking water. The amount of water consumed by the oil industry, revealed in a New York Times investigation, has soared to record levels. … And now, fracking companies are the ones scrambling for water. A 2016 Ceres report found that nearly 60 percent of the 110,000 wells fracked between 2011 and 2016 were in regions with high or extremely high water stress, including basins in Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and California.

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Aquafornia news Nature Water

New study: Balancing-oriented hydropower operation makes the clean energy transition more affordable and simultaneously boosts water security

Reservoir hydropower offers a compelling combination of stability and flexibility services for modern water and power grids. However, its operating flexibility is poorly characterized in energy system planning, missing opportunities to cost-effectively uptake variable renewable energy (VRE) for a clean energy transition. In this study, we have developed a fully coupled reservoir operation and energy expansion model to quantify the economic and environmental benefits attained from adaptive hydropower operation in a high VRE future. Our case study of the China Southern Power Grid reveals that, in a 2050 net-zero grid, simply adapting hydropower operations to balance VRE can reduce 2018–2050 total system costs by 7% (that is, US$28.2 billion) and simultaneously save 123.8 km3 of water each year …

Aquafornia news Grist

Deprived of Colorado River water, an oil company’s plans to mine in Utah may have dried up

The Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah is one of the richest oil shale deposits in the country. It is estimated to hold more proven reserves than all of Saudi Arabia. Enefit, an Estonian company, was the latest in a long line of firms that hoped to tap it. It’s also the latest to see such plans collapse — but perhaps not yet for good. The company has lost access to the water it would need to unearth the petroleum and relinquished a federal lease that allowed research and exploration on the land. The two moves, made late last month, appear to signal the end of Enefit’s plans to mine shale oil in the Uinta Basin.

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Aquafornia news KUER - Salt Lake City

How rural southwest Utah is proving the potential of renewable geothermal energy

There’s a new hotspot in the world of geothermal energy: a seemingly sleepy valley in Beaver County. Its secret? The valley sits on top of bedrock that reaches temperatures up to 465 degrees Fahrenheit. Joseph Moore, who manages the Utah FORGE research project, pointed across a dirt parking lot to a well being drilled at the University of Utah’s subterranean lab. … The mission of the FORGE project — which stands for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy — isn’t to produce its own electricity. It’s to test tools and techniques through trial and error and, in the process, answer a big question: Can you pipe cool water through cracks in hot underground rock and create a geothermal plant almost anywhere?

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

California lawsuit says oil giants deceived public on climate, seeks funds for storm damage

The state of California filed a lawsuit against some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, claiming they deceived the public about the risks of fossil fuels now faulted for climate change-related storms and wildfires that caused billions of dollars in damage, officials said Saturday. The civil lawsuit filed in state Superior Court in San Francisco also seeks creation of a fund — financed by the companies — to pay for recovery efforts following devastating storms and fires. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement the companies named in the lawsuit — Exxon Mobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and BP — should be held accountable.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Late addition to energy bill may help develop a pumped storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir

A wide-ranging bill at the State Capitol aimed at boosting renewable energy sources includes a provision that could help develop a proposed pumped hydroelectric facility at the San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside. Assembly Bill 1373 aims to make the state a centralized buyer for renewable energy sources such as offshore wind power and geothermal facilities. And in a late addition to the bill, it allows the state’s Department of Water Resources to procure funding for a pumped hydro project that “does not exceed 500 megawatts and has been directly appropriated funding by the state before January 1, 2023.” The Union-Tribune received confirmation from legislative sources that the provision specifically refers to the San Vicente project.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

New lithium company wants billions of gallons from Great Salt Lake, but says it will put it all back

The lithium bonanza continues at the largest saline system in the West, but a new company says it can harvest the mineral in a way that doesn’t contribute to ecological collapse. Waterleaf Resources, a subsidiary of California-based Lilac Solutions, wants to siphon an astounding 225,000 acre-feet from Utah’s Great Salt Lake, asserting it will pump all the water back after removing its lithium. The company uses an ion exchange technology that washes brine through bead structures which absorb the lithium minerals and flush out the rest of the water and its remaining minerals.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Why nature’s infrastructure works better than ours

On Thursday, August 10, Butte Creek turned orange. The culprit: a failed PG&E canal that caused orange sediment to flood the creek potentially creating deadly conditions for native fish currently inhabiting the watershed including threatened spring-run Chinook salmon. Salmon are a keystone species, and their health is intricately connected with the rest of the ecosystem. Native fish across California are consistently vulnerable to safe and responsible operation of hydroelectric infrastructure such as dams and canals. In some cases, basins like Butte Creek are managed by water-moving infrastructure, guiding flows from the nearby Feather River watershed to Butte Creek.  

Aquafornia news NPR

Mines for climate-friendly technologies face growing water scarcity in the West

Climate solutions like solar panels and electric cars require lots of minerals – copper, lithium, manganese. The U.S. plans new mines for these metals across the West. But as NPR’s Julia Simon reports, the country’s need for these metals can sometimes collide with the region’s lack of water. … You do have a miner in there. JULIA SIMON, BYLINE: On a 107-degree morning in the mountains east of Phoenix, a miner in a hard hat peeps out of the top of an 11-foot-tall bucket. Tyson Nansel, spokesperson for the Resolution Copper mine, says the miner’s about to plunge… SIMON: …Where the copper lies. To process it, the mine will use water – a lot, says geologist James Wells, much of it from an area east of Phoenix. JAMES WELLS: The equivalent of a brand-new city of something like 140,000 people – that’s how much water we’re talking about.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin utility eyes delay of smart water meter expansion

Marin Municipal Water District staff are recommending delaying a proposed expansion of “smart” water meters to all customers in order to address more urgent risks to the agency’s main software system. On Tuesday, staff and consultants told the district Board of Directors that attempting to simultaneously complete two of the district’s largest technological upgrades in decades may result in potential system failures. … For the past 23 years, the water district has used the same software system from the multinational company SAP to manage nearly all of the agency’s functions, including billing, water-use tracking, human resources, maintenance planning and customer relations.

Aquafornia news Berkeley Lab News Center

News release: Five ways NAWI is advancing water treatment and desalination technologies

Innovative water treatment and desalination technologies hold promise for building climate resilience, realizing a circular water economy, and bolstering water security. However, more research and development is critical not only to radically lower the cost and energy of such technologies, but to effectively treat unconventional water sources. Conventional water supplies, such as fresh water and groundwater, are typically used once and thrown away, rendering this valuable and finite resource inaccessible for further use. Since its launch in 2019, the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) has made strides in developing new technologies to economically treat, use, and recycle unconventional waters (such as brackish groundwater, municipal and industrial wastewater, and agricultural run-off), which could point to a future where water equity and security is accessible to all.

Aquafornia news Forbes

This company is turning waste into clean hydrogen. And electricity. And water

Power system manufacturer FuelCell Energy and carmaker Toyota have deployed the world’s first “tri-gen” system that turns methane-rich waste gas into electricity, clean hydrogen and water that the auto giant will use at its Southern California port facility for the next 20 years. … The companies said Thursday the energy platform at Toyota’s main U.S. logistics facility at the Port of Long Beach, proposed in 2017 and built in stages, is fully complete and operating. It’s designed to convert a stream of biogas, sourced from agricultural waste and sludge, into 2.3 megawatts of electricity, 1,200 kilograms of hydrogen and 1,400 gallons of water per day, FuelCell Energy CEO Jason Few told Forbes. It cost about $35 million to build and only takes up as much space as three basketball courts.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Green groups are divided over a proposal to boost the nation’s hydropower. Here’s why

America’s hydropower industry is hoping to reestablish some of its former glory by making itself central to the nation’s transition to clean energy—and it’s turning to Congress for help. … Today, hydropower provides just a small fraction of the nation’s electricity and is quickly being outpaced globally by its clean energy rivals in new development. Now the industry, with help from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers, hopes to change that trend. … The bill has gained early support from industry, environmental groups, Native tribes and even the Biden administration. But it’s also getting pushback from some advocates who say that expanding or extending the use of hydropower could actually worsen climate change and hasten ecological degradation.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

How California dreaming is bringing new life to gold rush towns in the Sierra Nevada

At an age when most schoolkids are still learning to tie their shoelaces, Nathaniel Prebalick — AKA Gold Plate Nate — was teaching budding treasure hunters how to pan for gold. As a third-generation prospector, he was raised amid the sparkling streams of California’s Gold Country, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, getting to know its watery veins as well as the life lines of his own hands.  While this may sound like a sepia-tinged snapshot from another century, it’s anything but — as I discover when I meet Nate on a grassy riverbank one spring morning. He’s a thoroughly modern gold digger — a smiling twentysomething who uploads his gilded finds to Instagram — and he has a ready explanation for why Tuolumne County in eastern California is, once again, in the grip of a gold rush.

Aquafornia news Northern California Public Media

Changing coast more than just shifting sands and turning tides

The coast is for many the epitome of Sonoma County’s natural beauty beloved for its seaside towns and rugged, wide open spaces. But seeing the future of the Sonoma coast means embracing its constant movement. Big proposals like the Bodega Bay nuclear power plant in the 1960’s, or the Fort Ross pumped hydro electric facility today easily capture public attention and spur opposition, but there’s one powerful force that changes the Sonoma Coast every minute of every day: the ocean.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit halts gold drilling project in eastern Sierra Nevada

A federal appeals court panel Friday halted an exploratory gold drilling project in the eastern Sierra Nevada that was set to begin this week. Kore Mining Ltd. planned to drill for gold near Mammoth Lakes. The project involved 12, 600-foot deep holes on some 1,900 acres. It would have required vegetation clearing and less than a mile of temporary access roads. Four groups — Friends of the Inyo, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Watersheds Project and the Sierra Club — sued Kore Mining and the U.S. Forest Service in October 2021, arguing the drilling would impact area groundwater that feeds into the Owens River and cause the bi-state sage grouse to abandon its habitat. A federal judge in March sided with the defendants. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As coal mines depleted a Navajo Nation aquifer, feds failed to flag losses, report says

Coal mining depleted areas of a critical aquifer in the Black Mesa region of the Navajo Nation, but a federal agency didn’t consider the losses environmentally damaging, researchers concluded in a new study of the aquifer in northern Arizona. The researchers detailed what they said were failures by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to hold the Peabody mining company responsible for the environmental effects of coal mining in the Black Mesa area. The findings of the study, conducted by the Institutes for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, didn’t surprise Nicole Horseherder, executive director of Tó Nizhóní Ání, a group working to protect Black Mesa water, among other things.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

As companies eye massive lithium deposits in California’s Salton Sea, locals anticipate a mixed bag

… Rising salinity, exacerbated by a shrinking freshwater supply from the chronically drought-plagued Colorado River, has made the Salton Sea uninhabitable for many aquatic species. … But recently, the Salton Sea has become a hotbed of industrial activity filled with promise for the future. Beneath its shores lie untouched lithium deposits that experts believe could play a role in the world’s clean energy future. With the rising demand for lithium during the clean energy transition, the area—also known as “Lithium Valley”—has become an attractive location for major energy companies to explore advanced mining techniques like direct lithium extraction (DLE). 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Could the Chinese government fund construction of huge new dam at Pacheco Pass?

Six years after unveiling plans to build a 320-foot high dam and reservoir at Pacheco Pass in southern Santa Clara County, the largest water district in Silicon Valley still hasn’t found any other water agencies willing to help fund the project. But this week, an unusual potential partner came to light: China. The revelation of interest from one of the United States’ most contentious rivals is the latest twist in the project’s shaky history: The price tag has tripled to $2.8 billion since 2018 due to unstable geology found in the area. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, which is pursuing the plan, has delayed groundbreaking by at least three years, to 2027, instead of 2024 as announced five years ago. And environmentalists won a lawsuit this summer that will require more study of how ongoing geological work will affect endangered plants and animals. 

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Planning commission approves gravel pit near Colorado River

The Grand Junction Planning Commission voted 7-0 on Tuesday to approve a conditional use permit for a sand and gravel pit located near the Colorado River. The proposed gravel pit would sit on about 28 acres on C 1/2 Road, in an area zoned for community services and recreation. The area that is within 100 feet of the river will not be mined, according to a city staff report. Some of the vegetation on the site has already been cleared in anticipation of construction, Grand Junction Principal Planner Kristen Ashbeck said. The site will be mined over 10 years, Ashbeck said, with operations focusing on a small area at a time.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news High Country News

Federal court derails proposed Utah oil railroad

Fears, concerns and legal challenges over a proposed oil train route along the Colorado River were finally addressed in federal court last week. Until then, plans for the Uinta Basin Railway project, which would ferry vast amounts of crude oil from northeast Utah eastward alongside the Colorado River, sailed through federal agencies tasked with approving large transportation projects. But then the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., successfully challenged the project’s environmental impact assessments, siding with the railway’s opponents and striking a blow against what would have been the largest petroleum corridor in the United States. 

Aquafornia news Eos

A holistic approach to hydropower data

In 2021, hydropower contributed 16% to total global electricity production, whereas in the United States it accounted for only about 6% of the total (although it was responsible for 31.5% of electricity generated domestically from renewable sources), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That small share of U.S. production could be higher: The 2016 Hydropower Vision Report, published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO), stated that “U.S. hydropower could grow from 101 gigawatts (GW) of capacity to nearly 150 GW by 2050.”

Aquafornia news Las Virgenes Municipal Water District

News release: OceanWell and Las Virgenes water district announce partnership to pilot California’s first ‘Blue Water’ farm

OceanWell and Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) announced today their partnership to pilot California’s first-ever Blue Water farm. LVMWD Board of Directors unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that paves the way for the public/private partnership to research an environment-first approach that addresses the increasing concern of water scarcity and reliability. Blue Water is fresh water harvested from the deep ocean or other raw water sources. This, first-of-its-kind project, will test OceanWell’s proprietary water purification technology to produce safe, clean drinking water without the environmental impacts of traditional coastal desalination methods. 

Aquafornia news Nature Food

New study: Sustainable irrigation and climate feedbacks

Agricultural irrigation induces greenhouse gas emissions directly from soils or indirectly through the use of energy or construction of dams and irrigation infrastructure, while climate change affects irrigation demand, water availability and the greenhouse gas intensity of irrigation energy. Here, we present a scoping review to elaborate on these irrigation–climate linkages by synthesizing knowledge across different fields, emphasizing the growing role climate change may have in driving future irrigation expansion and reinforcing some of the positive feedbacks. This Review underscores the urgent need to promote and adopt sustainable irrigation, especially in regions dominated by strong, positive feedbacks.

Aquafornia news Politico

Central Valley farmers are having a climate reckoning

Climate change — and changing political winds — are prompting shifts in strategy at California’s largest agricultural water district. Westlands Water District, which occupies some 1,100 square miles of the arid San Joaquin Valley, is in the midst of an internal power struggle that will determine how water fights unfold across the state. After years of aggressively fighting for more water, Westlands is making plans to live with less. In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned in the valley, promising to “open up the water” for farmers in the then-drought stricken state. Its leaders are now sounding a more Biden-esque note: They are planning to cover a sixth of the district with solar panels to start “farming the sun” instead of thirsty crops like almonds and pistachios.

Tour Nick Gray

Eastern Sierra Tour 2023
Field Trip - September 12-15

This special Foundation water tour journeyed along the Eastern Sierra from the Truckee River to Mono Lake, through the Owens Valley and into the Mojave Desert to explore a major source of water for Southern California, this year’s snowpack and challenges for towns, farms and the environment.

Grand Sierra Resort
2500 E 2nd St
Reno, NV 89595
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.