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 & the West

Weighing the consequences of losing carbon-free energy in California

Old environmental arguments over the consequences of nuclear power had seemed almost resolved in California. Antinuclear sentiment was intensified by the 33-year succession of accidents, from Three Mile Island in 1978 to Chernobyl in 1986 to Fukushima in 2011, severely diminished their appeal. California was getting ready to wave goodbye to its last nuclear plant. Up Close We explore the issues, personalities, and trends that people are talking about around the West. The political realities of 2022 and the need to reduce carbon emissions might change things.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Residents question collateral from Unaweep Canyon hydropower plan

A few months ago, [Paul] Ashcraft and several of his neighbors at the highest point in Unaweep Canyon saw a plan proposed by Xcel Energy to build a hydro power plant that will help the company reach its renewable energy goals. The plan put a 75-foot dam holding back the edge of an 88-acre reservoir in Ashcraft’s front yard. The proposal also puts his neighbors’ homes and Colorado 141 underwater. The plan would move water between a reservoir on BLM land on top of the cliffs and a reservoir on private land on the valley floor.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

PG&E is beginning to bury its electrical power lines

Etched in dirt, a narrow furrow is the only clue that the grasslands of Lime Ridge Open Space will soon be restored to their original splendor, cleared of dangerous power lines that could ignite nearby subdivisions. The undergrounding project, costing $3.75 million a mile, represents the beginning of a 10,000-mile-long effort by Pacific Gas and Electric to bury the state’s distribution lines to cope with the growing risk of winds and wildfires linked to global warming. The utility long resisted calls to bury its power lines as being too costly. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Methane leaks near Bakersfield homes renew concerns about idle oil wells

Environmentalists advocating new state restrictions on oil and gas drilling have seized upon confirmation last week that two idle wells were leaking methane near a residential area in northeast Bakersfield decades after they were improperly abandoned. Details remained sketchy Monday, including how much gas the wells were emitting and for how long. … Late last month, California officials outlined plans for doing more to cap the state’s orphan oil and gas wells using $25 million in federal money they said will help them prioritize work in populated areas most vulnerable to methane leaks and groundwater contamination.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news E&E News

The West, reliant on hydro, may miss it during heat waves

When California suffers a heat wave, it leans heavily on hydropower from the Pacific Northwest to keep the lights on. But that hydropower may not always be available when it’s most needed, as climate change is shifting the ground on which the West’s dams sit. Higher temperatures means snowmelt occurs earlier in the year and leaves less water available for power generation during the depths of summer. 

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Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

CA water and energy crisis: New plan wants to install solar panel canopies over parts of Turlock Irrigation District’s canals

California needs more water and renewable energy, and Solar AquaGrid CEO Jordan Harris is trying to help. … A big idea is starting with a small stretch of canals in the Turlock Irrigation District, located just south of Modesto. This fall, groundbreaking will begin on a pilot project to build solar panel canopies over existing canals. … A study from UC Merced concluded that shading all of the roughly 4,000 miles of California canals with solar panels could save 63 billion gallons of water every year by reducing evaporation, while potentially creating about one sixth of the state’s current power capacity.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Grid monitor warns of U.S. blackouts in ’sobering report’

The central and upper Midwest, Texas and Southern California face an increased risk of power outages this summer from extreme heat, wildfires and extended drought, the nation’s grid monitor warned yesterday. In a dire new assessment, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) described regions of the country pushed closer than ever toward energy emergencies by a combination of climate change impacts and a transition from traditional fossil fuel generators to carbon-free renewable power.

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Aquafornia news Law 360

States, green groups look to restart water rule challenge

Blue states, green groups and tribes that are challenging a Trump-era Clean Water Act rule are trying an unusual procedural move that could allow them to restart their case in federal district court and bypass an appeal that’s currently underway in the Ninth Circuit. The coalition is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to overturn a 2020 rule that restricted states’ and tribes’ authority to deny permits for projects such as pipelines under section 401 of the Clean Water Act.

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Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Solar power finds floating home in Healdsburg, California along Russian River

Perched along the Russian River, the town of Healdsburg is mostly known for great wine and weekend getaways. But these days the sun is doing more than ripening grapes. It’s producing power in an unusual setting. … Crowley and wastewater manager Rob Scates are showing off what’s believed to be the largest floating solar farm in the country. The panels are anchored on the surface of two ponds at the city’s wastewater treatment facility. And while they’re floating, the panels are also supplying roughly 8% of the city’s electrical needs. C

Aquafornia news CNN

Opinion: Orange County fire magnifies a stunning truth about climate change

I don’t think these disasters will convince us to curb fossil fuel pollution. Let me explain. First, available social science doesn’t support the notion that climate disasters lead to widespread changes in public opinion. A 2021 study from the journal Climate Change found hurricanes provide a modest nudge in favor of support for reducing carbon dioxide pollution. Wildfires and floods, the other disasters studied, did not sway people.
-Written by John D. Sutter, CNN contributor, National Geographic Explorer and MIT science journalism fellow. 

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

$230 million settlement reached in 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill lawsuit

A settlement has finally been reached in the seven year-lawsuit regarding the 2015 Santa Barbara oil spill. Plains All American Pipeline has agreed to pay $230 million to fishers, fish processors and shoreline property residents who are members of two classes in a class-action lawsuit filed against the company.  The lawsuit was filed after a corroded pipeline spilled an estimated 15,000 barrels of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean in 2015. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Cal Am not fazed by rejection of SoCal desal project

A Thursday ruling by the California Coastal Commission denying a Southern California desalination project appears as if it could impact the prospects of California American Water Co.’s plan to construct a desal plant along the Monterey Peninsula. But Cal Am says the Commission’s decision to deny Poseidon Water Co.’s Huntington Beach project and any impacts on Cal Am’s long-proposed desal project on the Monterey Peninsula is comparing apples to oranges.

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Aquafornia news CBS News

Lake Powell is vanishing with devastating consequences. But it’s bringing a former canyon back to life

Climate change is making the West hotter and drier, threatening the Colorado River system, including the man-made reservoirs of Lake Powell in Utah and Lake Mead in Nevada that provide water for 40 million people in seven states. The National Park Service has been forced to shut down 11 boat ramps at the Lake Powell recreation area, which draws millions of visitors. The critically low lake levels could soon cause the Glen Canyon Dam to stop producing hydropower for more than five million people in six states, forcing them to find alternative sources. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news CNN

As water runs short in California, commission will vote on whether to allow another costly desalination plant

As California battles a historic drought and a water crisis looms, the state’s coastline protection agency is poised to vote Thursday on whether it will allow a $1.4 billion desalinization plant in Huntington Beach that would convert ocean water into municipal water for Orange County residents. Poseidon Water, which has been trying to build the plant for decades, says it would be capable of producing up to 50 million gallons of drinking water a day, helping to make the region more drought resilient. But desalination opponents argue less expensive and less harmful conservation tactics should be the first resort.

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Aquafornia news CNN Business

This California desert could hold the key to powering all of America’s electric cars

The Salton Sea Basin feels almost alien. It lies where two enormous chunks of the Earth’s crust, the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate, are very slowly pushing past one another creating an enormous low spot in the land. It’s a big, flat gray desert ringed with high mountains that look pale in the distance. It’s hot and, deep underground, it is literally boiling. The Salton Sea, which lies roughly in the middle of the massive geologic low point, isn’t really a sea, at all. The largest inland lake in California, it’s 51 miles long from north to south and 17 miles wide, but gradually shrinking as less and less water flows into it. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s new plan for carbon neutrality will make our lives radically different

More organic farming. Less driving. No more natural gas in new buildings. Electric off-road vehicles. For the first time in five years, California regulators have released an ambitious plan for tackling climate change. … Among the methods: encouraging Californians to eat plant- or cell-based products instead of meat. Doubling the amount of acres of cropland that are certified organic. … Restoring an immense amount of acreage in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — 130,000 acres under one scenario. For context, a state-funded project in the works that will convert 1,200 acres will have taken 20 years and $63 million when it’s complete.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Maximizing benefits of solar development in the San Joaquin Valley

The implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) over the next two decades may require taking at least 500,000 acres of cropland in the San Joaquin Valley out of irrigated production (about 10%). To soften the blow on jobs and economic activity, it will be important to identify alternative land uses that generate income. Solar development is one of the most promising options.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

California prepares for energy shortfalls in hot, dry summer

California likely will have an energy shortfall equivalent to what it takes to power about 1.3 million homes when use is at its peak during the hot and dry summer months, state officials said Friday. Threats from drought, extreme heat and wildfires, plus supply chain and regulatory issues hampering the solar industry will create challenges for energy reliability this summer, the officials said. … Large hydropower projects generated nearly 14% of the state’s electricity in 2020, according to the independent system operator. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

To fight climate change, California approves seaweed that cuts methane emissions in cow burps

California dairy farms will soon be able to feed their cows seaweed to fight climate change after the state department of food and agriculture approved the use of a seaweed feed shown to reduce methane emissions from cow burps, the first in the U.S. to do so. On Friday, Blue Ocean Barns, which produces the red seaweed at a farm on the Big Island of Hawaii, announced that the supplement had been approved for use on both conventional and dairy farms. Called Brominata, the red seaweed variety has been shown to cut methane emissions in dairy cows by 52% over 50 days but so far has only been used in trials.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

California voters in November likely will decide on plastics – again

California’s inability to meet its long-stated goal of cutting solid waste by 75 percent by 2020 has prompted environmentalists to craft a ballot initiative targeting single-use plastic products – including a sharp limit on their production. The initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot marks the second time in six years that California voters have decided on plastics use. … The latest initiative, the California Recycling and Plastic Reduction Act, would require all single-use plastic packaging and foodware to be recyclable, reusable, refillable, or compostable by 2030.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Blog: Doubling down on Diablo Canyon nuclear plant could ease energy, water woes

[D]esalinization … draws in saltwater and, utilizing reverse osmosis, purifies the water to a consumable standard. Around the globe, countries have adopted desalinization as a considerable part of their water portfolio. … California is shockingly behind the curve when it comes to embracing the practice. .. Rather than removing [Diablo Canyon Power Plant] from the region, we should double down on production and build an additional site to power a mega-sized desalinization plant.
-Written by Assemblymember Devon J. Mathis. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Column: Wyoming wind power could reshape the American West

Reporting on clean energy from my kitchen table is one thing. Standing atop the Continental Divide — wind whipping at my face, construction workers grading roads nearby, pronghorn jogging across the sagebrush landscape — is something else entirely. … As we stood on Miller Hill — which is not named for the Anschutz executive — we looked west over lands where rainfall drains into the Little Snake River, later flowing into the Yampa River, the Green, the Colorado and eventually the Gulf of California — unless it’s diverted first to grow crops, or to provide drinking water for cities such as Los Angeles or Las Vegas.
Written by LA Times energy columnist Sammy Roth.

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Aquafornia news CNBC

The Salton Sea could produce the world’s greenest lithium

About 40 miles north of the California-Mexico border lies the shrinking, landlocked lake known as the Salton Sea. … [T]he California Energy Commission estimates that there’s enough lithium here to meet all of the United States’ projected future demand, and 40% of the entire world’s demand. … Traditionally, lithium extraction involves either open-pit mining or evaporation ponds, which work by pumping lithium-containing brine to the surface and waiting for the water to dry up. … But at the Salton Sea, three companies are developing chemical processes to extract lithium in a much cleaner way, taking advantage of the Salton Sea’s rich geothermal resources.

Aquafornia news E&E News

‘Enough is enough’: Calif. targets Big Oil over plastics

In a first-of-its-kind legal action, California is interrogating the role of fossil fuel and chemical giants in driving the plastics pollution crisis and deceiving consumers about recycling. California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) said yesterday that the state is investigating Exxon Mobil Corp. and other companies for “their role in causing and exacerbating” plastics contamination. … “In California and across the globe, we are seeing the catastrophic results of the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long campaign of deception. Plastic pollution is seeping into our waterways, poisoning our environment, and blighting our landscapes,” said Bonta, a Democrat, in a statement.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

An oil train is set to destroy pristine Utah mountains. Why won’t Biden stop it?

Wildcat speculators, big oil companies, and state officials alike have been salivating over the Uinta Basin’s rich oil deposits for years … In December, the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) signed off on a plan to build an 88-mile railway from the Uinta Basin to a rail terminal about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City. … Environmentalists, however, warn that … during a time of extreme drought, the construction will impact more than 400 streams, many within the critical watershed of the Colorado River, which provides drinking water to 40 million people in the West.

Aquafornia news Time

California sunshine could be key to combating drought

Some ideas are so satisfying that you wonder how they haven’t been done before. Solar canals, which will get their first U.S. pilot later this year in California, fit that mold. Western states are crisscrossed by thousands of miles of irrigation canals, some as wide as 150 feet, others just 10 feet across. By covering those channels with solar panels, researchers say, we could produce renewable energy without taking up precious land. At the same time, the added shade could prevent billions of gallons of water loss through evaporation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blog: Follow along on our clean energy tour of the American West

Over the last century, cities including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas reshaped the American West by building coal plants, hydropower dams and nuclear reactors to fuel their growth. Now those cities are on the verge of doing it again, only this time with solar panels, wind turbines, long-distance transmission lines and lithium mines. These proposals are igniting opposition from conservationists, tribal activists and rural residents looking to protect landscapes and ecosystems — and at times their way of life.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

California regulators banned fracking wastewater for irrigation, but allow wastewater from oil drilling. Scientists say there’s little difference

California prohibits farmers from growing crops with chemical-laced wastewater from fracking. Yet the state still allows them to use water produced by conventional oil drilling—a chemical soup that contains many of the same toxic compounds. When rumors spread several years ago that California was growing some of the nation’s nuts, citrus and vegetables with wastewater produced from hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, regulators said that would be illegal.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

California eyes solar canals as clean energy source

As part of a broader research effort to conserve California’s scarce water resources, a $20-million pilot project in the state will investigate the use of solar canals as a major source of renewable energy. Known as Project Nexus, the state-funded venture is expected to demonstrate how covering canals with solar panels can reduce water delivery system costs and generate enough electricity to meet ambitious clean power goals.

Aquafornia news Food & Water Watch

Blog: Ventura County farmers urge passage of measures A and B to protect water resources

Amid the sweeping backdrop of the Topatopa Mountains and a field of colorful organic vegetables, members of the Ventura County farming community joined advocates and water experts to urge the passage of Measures A and B. The twin ballot measures would close a loophole in Ventura County allowing oil and gas companies to drill without environmental review using antiquated permits. In most cases, these permits were granted between 1930 and 1970. Cynthia King’s farm, where the press conference took place, is surrounded by a CUP that was approved in 1928. 

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.