Topic: Groundwater

Overview

Groundwater

Unlike California’s majestic rivers and massive dams and conveyance systems, groundwater is out of sight and underground, though no less plentiful. The state’s enormous cache of underground water is a great natural resource and has contributed to the state becoming the nation’s top agricultural producer and leader in high-tech industries.

Groundwater is also increasingly relied upon by growing cities and thirsty farms, and it plays an important role in the future sustainability of California’s overall water supply. In an average year, roughly 40 percent of California’s water supply comes from groundwater.

A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

Announcement

Registration Now Open for the 36th Annual Water Summit; Take Advantage of Early Bird Discount by Registering Today
Join us Oct. 30 for key conversations on water in California and the West

Registration opens today for the Water Education Foundation’s 36th annual Water Summit, set for Oct. 30 in Sacramento. This year’s theme, Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning, reflects fast-approaching deadlines for the State Groundwater Management Act as well as the pressing need for new approaches to water management as California and the West weather intensified flooding, fire and drought. To register for this can’t-miss event, visit our Water Summit event page.

Registration includes a full day of discussions by leading stakeholders and policymakers on key issues, as well as coffee, materials, gourmet lunch and an outdoor reception by the Sacramento River that will offer the opportunity to network with speakers and other attendees. The summit also features a silent auction to benefit our Water Leaders program featuring items up for bid such as kayaking trips, hotel stays and lunches with key people in the water world.

Aquafornia news the Confluence

Blog: A California-European Union workshop on sustainable groundwater management and conflict resolution

Gathering California water policy and decision-makers along with groundwater stakeholders and users, the workshop gave participants the opportunity to meet European Union (EU) water specialists, exchange experiences and ideas, and compare California and EU issues and solutions.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Close to $3 million of water has reached Ventura County’s overstressed groundwater basin

Close to $3 million worth of water has rushed down the Santa Clara River over the past several weeks to recharge groundwater basins in the Oxnard Plain. The release was part of a deal between the United Water Conservation District and Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency to help recharge aquifers still struggling after years of drought.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Contaminated groundwater found beneath Lomita homes

Pollution from a source of contaminated groundwater near Torrance Airport — which exceeds state drinking-water standards and generates potentially harmful chemical vapors — has spread beneath Lomita, officials with the tiny city recently learned, though state officials have long known about it. The contaminants have spread both through the groundwater and the soil.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: A listening California should consult the real experts on water

The Natural Resources Agency, California EPA, and California Department of Food and Agriculture want the public’s input on how best to manage and deal with an uncertain water supply in the future. It seems every new administration in Sacramento must deal with water issues in California that never seem to get fixed.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater authority board discusses mandatory well registration

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors took the first step Thursday to require all groundwater wells in the valley to be registered by Oct. 1. … That first step also included a pumping fee to pay for the required groundwater sustainability plan due to the Department of Water Resources by Jan. 31, 2020.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Study explores groundwater pumping and surface water connections

Groundwater pumping has caused stream flow in U.S. rivers to decline by as much as half over the last century, according to new research by a University of Arizona hydrologist that strengthens the connection between groundwater and surface water.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Water Blueprint proposes parallel waterway for the sinking Friant-Kern Canal

The Friant Water Authority is confident a parallel canal is the best solution. This new one will be built in a way that prepares for subsidence. A new canal would also benefit from the Ground Water Management Act of 2014, which will regulate how much and when water is pumped out of the ground, preventing what some believe is the main cause of subsidence.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Chevron injected steam near well work before oil leak near McKittrick

Chevron records show the large, McKittrick-area oil leak … probably originated with an idle well being worked on at the same time the company was injecting high-pressure steam just 360 feet away, a combination that industry people say should not have been performed simultaneously in such close proximity and which possibly contributed to the release.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

Groundwater depletion may cause domestic wells to dry out

A new study looked at more than half a century of well depth trends to gain new insights into the management of the critical resource. … The team found that, between 1950 and 2015, across most of the country, groundwater users are drilling wells deeper and deeper. But well depths did not increase everywhere … which means that, in some places, wells might dry up.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Justice Department motions for judge to revisit ruling on Agua Caliente tribe lawsuit against Coachella Valley water districts

Key parts of the case were dismissed in April by U.S. District Court Judge Jesus Bernal, who ruled that the tribe did not have a claim of harm because it has always had enough water… Now, the federal government intends to make its case that this ruling should be reversed.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

New history exhibit shows city’s deep relationship with water is everywhere

The city’s evolving relationship with water is the subject of the Historical Society of Long Beach’s new exhibit “Water Changes Everything.” The free exhibit, which opened Friday and runs through June 2020, shows how “water has determined the history of Long Beach,” said Kaye Briegel, the long-time board member who helped put the show together.

Aquafornia news Register-Pajaronian

Pajaro Valley Water’s alternative groundwater sustainability plan approved

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently notified Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency that its Basin Management Plan (BMP) was approved and considered functionally equivalent to a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP).

Aquafornia news ABC7 News

Compton, Willowbrook residents can look forward to clean tap water after dealing with ‘contaminated’ water

Nearly 7,000 customers who live in the old Sativa Water District complained for months about murky brown water with a foul odor coming from their pipes. … Los Angeles County, which now has control of the water district, is taking old wells offline and connecting them to a neighboring water company.

Aquafornia news Physics World

Green water could help California’s farming woes

More effective use of green water – rainfall stored in soil – could mitigate irrigation demand for some of California’s most important perennial crops. So say US researchers who simulated 13 years’ growth of alfalfa, grapes, almonds, pistachios and walnuts under different irrigation strategies.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: The Groundwater Game: A new hands-on way to learn about groundwater management

One evening, at a community center in the Sacramento Valley, a teacher, a civil engineer, a tomato farmer and a local foundation board member found themselves standing above a table, feverishly competing to scoop the most glass beads from a large, communal bowl. But there was a catch.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After 800,000-gallon spill, Chevron site is still leaking oil

On the same day Sen. Dianne Feinstein chastised Chevron Corp. for keeping an 800,000-gallon spill outside Bakersfield “under wraps,” California officials confirmed Thursday that the site was once again seeping a hazardous mix of oil and water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

California strawberries are about to get tastier and more environmentally friendly

Scientists at UC Davis have developed five new types of the berry set to hit the market this fall. … Researchers say these new strawberries are the best of both worlds: the strawberries will use less water, fertilizer and pesticides and still produce more, healthier, higher-quality strawberries.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

State dissatisfied with Napa wine country groundwater plan

State Department of Water Resources officials emphasized they aren’t claiming well water use is harming the subterranean reservoir beneath the Napa Valley floor. Rather, they said a more than 1,000-page basin report submitted by Napa County doesn’t allow them to make a judgement.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Dozens of environmental groups want to contribute to Newsom’s water portfolio plan

A coalition of 55 environmental, fishing, and water policy groups has written Gov. Gavin Newsom, backing his Water Portfolio planning process, and announcing that they plan to take an active part with their own proposals for the plan.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR approves nine alternatives to groundwater sustainability plans

Following extensive technical review, DWR approved seven existing groundwater management plans and two 10-year sustainable yield analyses as alternatives under SGMA. One existing groundwater management plan and five 10-year sustainable yield analyses were not recommended for approval as alternatives.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

Cuyama passes pay-to-pump groundwater sustainability structure

Cuyama landowners will soon have to pay to pump groundwater, a decision that some say will place the burden of Cuyama’s dwindling water supply largely on farmers’ shoulders.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Underwater video shows violent shaking during 7.1m socal earthquake

The quake struck outside of Ridgecrest, but it was also felt about 150 miles to the east, at Devils Hole, a detached 40-acre area of Death Valley National Park that is across the California border in Nevada. That shaking is shown in a remarkable video released by the National Park Service. The clip shows water violently sloshing around, rising and falling 10 to 15 feet, according to a park estimate.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Secretary Crowfoot talks about the water resilience portfolio, delta conveyance and more

Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot discussed the Governor’s water resilience portfolio and reiterated the Newsom administration’s support for modernized conveyance in the Delta. That was followed by a robust discussion that included Delta conveyance, water storage, emerging contaminants and PFAS, among other things.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Photos: Major crude spill at Chevron well site in Kern County

State oil and gas regulators have released a series of photos of a Kern County well site where about 800,000 gallons of crude oil and water have spilled from a Chevron well site.

Aquafornia news Forbes

The importance of groundwater and of predicting human impacts on it

Water hidden beneath the earth’s surface comprises 98% of the planet’s fresh water. On average, this groundwater provides a third of all total water consumed… Before we even start to improve groundwater management, we must better understand and measure it, says international groundwater expert Craig Simmons, from Flinders University in Adelaide.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use

Requirements to balance supplies in California groundwater basins have refocused attention on how best to achieve recharge, and on what’s known as the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies. Some irrigation districts have been recharging groundwater in that manner for years or even decades.

Aquafornia news Food Tank

Opinion: Changing agriculture from a GHG emitter to absorber

Agricultural scientists across the globe including at Stanford University and the University of California at Davis have in recent years been making new discoveries showing that healthy soil holds more carbon than previously thought and that good soil management can serve as an important carbon sink.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Ties between the Delta and groundwater sustainability in California

Groundwater overdraft is a major problem globally and has been a persistent and growing problem in California for decades. This overdraft is predominantly driven by the economic value of water for agricultural production and cities.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Larry N. Olinger, vice chair of Agua Caliente tribe, dies at age 80

Larry N. Olinger, the tribal council vice chairman and a former chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, died Monday morning, the tribe said. He was 80 and lived in Palm Springs. … While on the tribal council, Olinger worked to resolve a longstanding dispute between the tribe and the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Heat waves likely to become longer, more intense — even in Bay Area, study shows

Summers in San Francisco may soon feel more like the warmer East Bay. The East Bay may soon feel more like Sacramento. And Sacramento — well, it might just be too hot to stick around any longer. One of the most detailed studies on rising temperatures suggests that few places in the United States will be unaffected by extreme heat by the middle of this century.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Plan to sustain Santa Cruz County drinking water unveiled

Keystone projects for the midcounty planning effort, mandated by the state for all groundwater-dependent agencies, include stormwater runoff management, Soquel Creek Water District’s Pure Water Soquel advanced water treatment plant, and the city of Santa Cruz’s ongoing efforts to develop a supplemental water supply that would primarily make use of unused winter river runoff, likely through new storage options.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

State orders Chevron to ‘take all measures’ to prevent further leaks of oil, water near McKittrick

California’s top oil regulator, losing patience with Chevron’s response to the uncontrolled release of thousands of barrels of oil near McKittrick, has ordered the company to “take all measures” to make sure petroleum, water and steam do not resume rising to the surface after previous efforts to stop the flow there proved temporary.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Chevron spills 800,000 gallons of oil and water in Kern County canyon

The seep, which has been flowing off and on since May, has again stopped, said Chevron spokeswoman Veronica Flores-Paniagua, with the last flow Tuesday. … Chevron reported that 794,000 gallons of oil and water have leaked out of the ground where it uses steam injection to extract oil in the large Cymric Oil Field about 35 miles west of Bakersfield.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Public Health raises septic tank costs in unincorporated areas, sends ‘confusing’ letter

In a letter recently distributed to a number of residents in the unincorporated areas of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced a new fee on septic tank users, leaving some confused and others surprised.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California Senate Bill 1 a dangerous over-reaction

Proponents have said SB 1 will keep Trump from delivering more water to farms, thereby harming endangered fish. That sentiment is exactly what makes SB 1 so dangerous. It relies on the worn-out trope that California’s water issues boil down to “farms versus fish.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Groups urge Newsom to fire oil and gas regulators, citing conflicts

Two consumer groups are calling on California’s governor to freeze all new oil drilling permits and to clean house at the agency that issues them, after the organizations uncovered records showing that top state regulators and engineers held investments in Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Valero and other petrochemical giants.

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Aquafornia news KALW

The town that refuses to die

When drinking water gets contaminated, there’s usually a polluter to blame. Most likely it’s the fault of big industry spewing out toxic fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. But in nearly 100 communities in California, this isn’t the case. They have water that is contaminated with a naturally occurring chemical: Arsenic. Allensworth, California is one of those communities.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers seek to slow desert water project

A project to pump billions of gallons of water out from under the Mojave Desert and sell it to people in Southern California could be slowed by a bill approved for the first time on Thursday by the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

Related articles:

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

On Monday the Glenn Groundwater Authority passed an operation fee increase for water service, despite meeting some opposition. Anyone within the Glenn County portion of the Colusa subbasin except for Willows and Orland will have to pay the fee. The board set the operation fee at $1.61 per acre, per year for the fiscal 2019-2020 year.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Communities still gaming out what the future of groundwater will be

To better understand groundwater markets, attendees at the meeting played a groundwater market game, which was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Michigan to teach players about the challenges of managing scarce groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

150 million trees died in California’s drought, and worse is to come

A new study, just published in Nature Geoscience, reveals an elegant formula to explain why some trees died and others didn’t — and it suggests more suffering is in store for forests as the climate heats up.

Related articles:

Announcement

2019 Water Summit Theme Announced – Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning
Join us October 30 in Sacramento for our premier annual event

Sacramento RiverOur 36th annual Water Summit, happening Oct. 30 in Sacramento, will feature the theme “Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning,” reflecting upcoming regulatory deadlines and efforts to improve water management and policy in the face of natural disasters.

The Summit will feature top policymakers and leading stakeholders providing the latest information and a variety of viewpoints on issues affecting water across California and the West.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Editorial: General Plan update must include water supply

It is vital for a local resilient water supply that the county acknowledge and address the limited, local resource of freshwater in the redo of the county’s General Plan.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: SB 307 sets a dangerous precedent in targeting Cadiz project

The state legislative process is designed to create laws that protect and improve the life of all Californians. It is not intended to punish a single business or project. Yet, our Legislature is moving a bill, SB 307, that does just that under the guise of desert protection.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bill to fix Friant-Kern Canal continues forward progress

The bill that will provide support for necessary repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal is continuing to make forward progress in the California legislature. Senate Bill 559 (SB-559) … was voted through the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee in the Assembly on July 2. The bill itself is seeking $400 million to make important upgrades and repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves clean drinking water fund

The California Senate on Monday sent legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom that will spend $130 million a year over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people. … Newsom had proposed a tax on most residential water bills to address the problem. Instead, the Senate approved a bill that would authorize spending up to $130 million each year on the state’s distressed water districts, with most of it coming from a fund aimed at fighting climate change.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative listening session

The California Water Commission held the first listening session at its June meeting with a panel of water management experts offering their perspectives on what a climate-resilient water portfolio might look like.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: In one Tucson neighborhood, residents must grow green grass or pay

A governing document called the Winterhaven Neighborhood Standards and Landscaping Guidelines make the desired effect clear: “Winterhaven’s dominant use of green lawns and non-native trees creates a Midwestern environment that is unique in Tucson …”

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Got surface water? Groundwater-only lands in the san joaquin valley

We estimate that nearly 20%—or 840,000 acres—of irrigated cropland in the valley has no access to surface water. … With groundwater cuts looming and no other water supply to fall back on, groundwater-only areas are on the front line of the effort to bring basins into balance.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril

The survival of a tiny, unique desert neighborhood is threatened because more than 60 years ago the community decided to form a small water district instead of digging individual wells. Borrego Air Ranch is built around a private air strip where residents’ garages double as airplane hangers.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Are pistachios the nut of the future?

Pistachio trees require somewhere between one-third and one-half as much water as almond trees. Unlike almond trees, pistachio trees don’t die during extended droughts. Their metabolism merely slows and when water returns, they start producing nuts again. … Pistachios can also handle, as Duarte’s team discovered, levels of salt that have already killed many an almond tree.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

After more than a decade, Lanare’s water is finally safe to drink

The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news Rainfall to Groundwater

Blog: How does groundwater get there? Some basics

Oscar Meinzer (1942) credits Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) with having advocated the infiltration theory slightly before Palissy’s time, basing his theories on observations made when he was in charge of canals in the Milan area. … Such a scenario might explain why California DWR staff and like-minded academics and nonprofits have all jumped on the bandwagon of managed aquifer recharge.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Reporter

Opinion: Make the drilling moratorium permanent

Here in Oxnard, we are also at a crossroads regarding the safety of our water. In February, scientists from the United States Geological Survey found that groundwater near the Fox Canyon aquifer system in eastern Oxnard was contaminated in an area of steam injection oil production … The USGS found thermogenic gases — byproducts of oil drilling — in groundwater wells near oil operations.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought, fish, and water in California

With a big collective sigh of relief, Californians rejoiced that we have largely recovered from 2012-2016 drought. But this is not a time for complacency… This should thus be a time to develop new and better strategies for reducing impacts of severe drought on both natural and developed systems.

Aquafornia news UPI

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Loss of deep-soil water triggered forest die-off in Sierra Nevada

Between 2012 and 2015, very little rain and snow fell on California. Aquifers shrank and the land dried out. … New research suggests the loss of deep-soil water best explains why the mountain range’s trees were unable to withstand the drought and heatwave.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Friant water blueprint focused on counties south of Delta

An important blueprint for the success of farming in the Central Valley is being developed to present to California government officials. This blueprint outlines what must be done to get water to the eight counties south of the delta. The blueprint is a critical step to help keep farmers in business due to the pressure from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Why California’s fight against climate change must include clean water

California’s political leaders have made the long-overdue decision to clean up the Central Valley’s contaminated drinking water, and help cash-strapped rural water districts. The catch: rather than assess a fee on water users or tapping into the state’s budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature relied on cap-and-trade money to pay for a portion of the operation.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working

The experiment to super-energize water recharging efforts at Fresno’s Leaky Acres appears to be working. … Tommy Esqueda, then the director of Public Utilities, described the system to me as “putting ‘unique’ straws in the ground. The depth and spacing of these ‘straws’ are designed to maximize groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news University of California

News release: California forest die-off caused by depletion of deep-soil water

A catastrophic forest die-off in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range in 2015-2016 was caused by the inability of trees to reach diminishing supplies of subsurface water following years of severe drought and abnormally warm temperatures.

Aquafornia news Sierra Magazine

Blog: New maps show how groundwater affects lakes and rivers

Researchers have mapped the impact of groundwater pumping on surface water in individual watersheds before. But it’s only recently that computing power has improved enough to look at groundwater’s interaction with surface water, known as integrated modeling, on a scale as large as the United States.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

Council awards bid for long-discussed desalter

The facility would serve two main purposes. In addition to weaning Camarillo customers off imported water from Calleguas Municipal Water District, it would also help filter out the everincreasing amount of salt found in the plumes of water beneath much of the eastern half of the city.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change

SGMA inevitably means less water for irrigating farms. … On one path, the valley could become a patchwork of dusty barren fields, serving a huge blow to the agriculture sector and rural communities and further impairing already poor air quality. … On another path, the valley could transform into a pioneering agricultural region that not only puts food on our nation’s plates but also supports thriving wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, soil health, groundwater recharge and flood control.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

City of Fresno supports safe drinking water fund – with a catch

Two Fresno City Councilmembers made an atypical move at a press conference today by throwing in their support for a clean water drinking fund—as long as it doesn’t involve a tax.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Hermosa Beach loses $3.2 million grant set aside for stormwater infiltration project

Hermosa Beach, partnering with neighboring cities, was supposed to receive the money from the State Water Resources Control Board to help design and build the Greenbelt Infiltration Project … meant to help clean the Herondo Drain Watershed, which has consistently had elevated levels of bacteria. But the city put the funding in jeopardy in March when the council voted to dissolve a deal with neighboring cities and instead find a new home for the project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Water management is tough. Let’s tackle it together

Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County, and we in the California almond community are all rooting for the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed in finding viable solutions and common ground.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mark Arax’s ‘The Dreamt Land’ traces California’s fear of a handful of dust

On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A. Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the key to understanding California.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

License to Pump

Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the availability of a critical resource… A new dashboard tool, created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping – to help plan for a more sustainable future.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Rule: Court sides with WOTUS foes as legal fight gets messier

The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Fracking: Inside a BLM report, environmental impacts, and the public’s response

This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t known about the technique’s impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County set to extend Paso Robles groundwater restrictions

First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another several years to fully take effect.

Aquafornia news Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

Blog: Will Our Drought Ever End?

Earlier this month the governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group unanimously voted to inform the governor that Arizona’s long-running drought declaration should continue. This means Arizona has been in a state of drought for more than 20 years, surpassing the worst drought in more than 110 years of record keeping. Now that our drought has been extended yet again, it leaves many to wonder what it will take to get us out of this drought.

Aquafornia news High Country News

See where PFAS pollution has been confirmed in the American West

Because the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate PFAS chemicals, states are left not only to research and track them, but also to develop regulations to clean up already dangerous levels of pollution. And, according to recent data from the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, the West isn’t doing a great job.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax millions of residential water users and others while California enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: No, we shouldn’t pump desert groundwater near Joshua Tree to help store electricity

The plan calls for pumping 8 billion gallons of water in the first few years, and more than 30 billion gallons over 50 years, from the aquifer adjacent to, and connected with, the one beneath neighboring Joshua Tree National Park. … A better use for the land, which ceased to be mined more than 30 years ago, would be to return it to the fold and make it part of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. For example … many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults. … So I was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on March 20, 2019.

Aquafornia news Adventist Review

U.S. teens walk miles to raise funds for water

The Del Mar Mesa community in San Diego, Calif., has clean running water. Given this fact, the sight of nearly 20 girls in an affluent neighborhood carrying buckets of water up a ravine was out of the ordinary, to say the least. “What we’re trying to do is represent what African women do on a day-to-day basis: the fact that they have to travel several miles — several hours — to just get water,” said Emma Reeves, an 18-year-old high-school senior…

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Will Arroyo Grande Oil Field add 481 new oil wells? It just cleared a major hurdle

Sentinel Peak Resources has cleared an environmental hurdle that could allow it to move forward with years-old plans to increase drilling in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field — but whether it will or not is still up in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency granted Sentinel Peak Resources an aquifer exemption on April 30, exempting portions of the aquifer under the oil field from protections guaranteed by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley water agency might buy Central Valley farm

Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Group declares Orcutt oilfields contaminated drinking water wells

A presentation by the U.S. Geological Survey to California water boards has surfaced that reveals contamination in the groundwater around the Orcutt oilfield, the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara claims. The advocacy group released the information on Tuesday, stating that “federal scientists found evidence of oil-field fluids in groundwater underlying the nearby Orcutt oil field.”

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland

The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a move that could create a promising new water source — or spark a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

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2019 Water Summit
Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot to Keynote Oct. 30 event in Sacramento - JOIN THE WAITLIST!

The 2019 Water Summit, our annual premier event, will be held October 30, 2019 at a new location along the Sacramento River in downtown Sacramento. Now in its 36th year, the Water Summit features top policymakers and leading stakeholders providing the latest information and viewpoints on issues impacting water across California and the West.

Join the waitlist

Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront
100 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Opinion: Little-watched water districts helping Trump administration drain California desert

Cadiz is using Three Valleys Municipal Water District in eastern Los Angeles County and the Jurupa Community Services District in Riverside County to co-sponsor what they’re calling a “peer review” of its groundwater plan, written by four scientific consultants.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour Weekend

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

As the Colorado River’s flow declines, water supplies in seven states are imperiled by potential shortages. That includes Arizona, which passed legislation outlining steps it would take if water from the river continues to decrease. But what does a water shortage mean for Phoenix?

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Hundreds bash Trump’s oil fracking plan: ‘This battle does not end tonight’

A public meeting erupted into an impassioned rally in San Luis Obispo Wednesday night as activists and local residents took turns bashing a federal plan to resume leasing public land in Central California to new oil and gas drilling, including fracking.

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Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

DWR reverses Solano lowlands groundwater priority for now

It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands. While the final decision by the Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.

Aquafornia news The Pacific Institute

Blog: Can California shift to proactive drought preparedness?

Precipitation in California is highly variable from year to year, and climate change is increasing this variability. … To address this and other challenges, the state passed Assembly Bill (AB) 1668 and Senate Bill (SB) 606 in June 2018. Known jointly as the Water Conservation Legislation, these bills were drafted in response of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016 executive order to “make water conservation a California way of life.” There are six key components…

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Rural Nevadans unite with environmentalists over water bill fears

Nevada ranchers, environmental groups and American Indian tribes are sounding the alarm over legislation they say could drain the water supply from rural areas throughout the state. They’re worried about Assembly Bill 30 in the Nevada Legislature after negotiations over arcane language in the bill broke down in recent days.

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Public hearing on fracking in Valley not recorded – ‘I feel like the process is rigged’

The majority of the dozens of commenters at the meeting spoke out against the analysis and the prospect of increased fracking in the region, expressing concerns about air pollution, drinking water quality, and climate change. … Tempers at the meeting also flared for what many attendees viewed as a lack of accountability from the BLM. The agency did not record the meeting, instead inviting attendees to submit written comments online, electronically, and only in English.

Aquafornia news ABC 15 Arizona

How Arizona is cleaning up dozens of contaminated groundwater sites

Slow moving plumes of potentially toxic water are sitting underneath homes, businesses and schools throughout Arizona. … While some cities like Phoenix do not use groundwater for drinking water, much of the state does.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Sonoma County approves plan to offset groundwater fees in the Santa Rosa Plain

On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Water Agencyand the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain… Under the plan, the County and Sonoma Water would contribute up to $240,000 annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Almond growers learn about their ‘largest challenge’

The session, “Navigating the Waters,” drew a crowd of about 150 farmers to the International Agri-Center in Tulare last week, where attendees heard from water-agency leaders, state water officials, farmers and others on a range of topics with the goal of helping almond growers make informed water decisions.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Update provided on imported water goal

A firm hired by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority is already in the initial phase to find sources of imported water for the valley, according to a progress report delivered at a Thursday board meeting. … Capitol Core Group, retained in March, is looking at what water supply options are available and how to secure funding to ultimately purchase and develop infrastructure to deliver into the valley.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Activists speak out against fracking on federal land in California

Kern’s oil industry took a pass Tuesday on a public hearing focused on the environmental impacts of fracking, handing the day to dozens of anti-oil activists who convened in downtown Bakersfield to rail against the technique and the threat of climate change. … The event was one of three hearings the BLM is hosting as part of its plan to reopen federal land in California to oil production.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: An abandoned mine near Joshua Tree could host a massive hydropower project

An abandoned iron mine on the doorstep of Joshua Tree National Park could be repurposed as a massive hydroelectric power plant under a bill with bipartisan support in the state Legislature. … The bill could jump-start a $2.5-billion hydropower project that critics say would harm Joshua Tree National Park, draining desert groundwater aquifers and sapping above-ground springs that nourish wildlife in and around the park.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Evaluating landscape effects of turf replacement

As part of efforts by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to assess its 2014-2016 turf replacement program during the California drought, we evaluated how yards changed after converting a lawn through a MWD rebate in LA County. We also evaluated trends in participation across cities.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cow manure: An unexpected climate solution

In 2016, California became the first state to pass legislation regulating dairy methane, requiring the farms to cut their manure emissions 40% by 2030. … Enter Neil Black. Black’s company builds multimillion-dollar projects at the state’s largest dairies to capture the gas.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

August tour examines lurking threat of drought along the California coast

On our August Edge of Drought Tour, we’re venturing into the Santa Barbara area to learn about the water challenges and the steps being taken to boost supplies. The region’s local surface and groundwater supplies are limited, and its hydrologic recovery often has lagged behind much of the state despite the recent lifting of a drought emergency declaration following this winter’s storms.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘Flint Is everywhere’: California farmworkers confront a tainted water crisis

Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s dairy industry faces water quality challenges

Contaminated groundwater is an ongoing problem in some of the state’s poorest rural communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. One big threat is nitrate, caused mainly by many decades of crop fertilization with chemical fertilizers and dairy manure. We talked to Anja Raudabaugh of Western United Dairymen about what can be done to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Bureau of Land Management to hold meeting on White House proposal to expand oil drilling, fracking

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield office is set to hold a meeting Tuesday over a White House proposal that would expand oil drilling and fracking on more than a million acres of public land across the state. … The proposal includes 40 new wells over the next 10 years on roughly 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate — land where the surface is owned privately, but the mineral rights beneath the ground are managed by the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Business Insider

Silicon Valley drinking water crisis is a result of drought, climate

The combination of droughts and floods has given rise to a process known as saltwater intrusion — what San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo refers to as his city’s greatest climate threat. … In coastal regions like San Jose, overpumping allows seawater to seep into the city’s aquifers, exposing local residents to excess sodium in their drinking water. The problem is compounded by sea level rise, which pushes seawater inland toward the city’s filtration system.

Aquafornia news ABC 15 Arizona

Beer makers teaming up to protect Arizona’s water supply

There is a unique partnership happening in Arizona between farmers, those involved in the malting process, and brewers that is saving thousands of gallons of water from being taken from the Verde River.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Take action now to protect Central Coast public lands from fracking

On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to promote increased oil and gas development… Then, in April 2019, in response to the President’s order, the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed opening up more than 1 million acres of public land in California’s Central Valley and southern Central Coast to oil and gas production.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Lawmakers advance bill to increase oversight on Cadiz’s Mojave Desert Water Project

A bill that could block a Los Angeles-based water supply company from pumping water out of a Mojave Desert aquifer passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, extending the yearslong fight over whether the environmental impact of groundwater extraction merits additional scrutiny.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Can small-scale farmers grow a healthier California?

Aidee Guzman is focusing on these small farms to find out whether, ecologically, this diversity has any positive effects on soil health. Her work won’t be published for another two years, but there is already a large body of research that explains how large monocropping operations strip soils of their nutrients and make them less capable of storing carbon… As she works, she is documenting a potential alternative to the industrial mega-farms of the valley and the West.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Watermasters celebrate peaceful 50 years

The Western-San Bernardino and Orange County judgments, signed April 17, 1969, helped establish five watermasters and settle water rights throughout the watershed that supplies the water agencies within San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties. The agreements settled decades of lawsuits over water rights…

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Unsafe drinking water is bad enough: But what if you’re the one tasked with fixing it?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: This Arizona bill supports local planning for resilient groundwater supplies in two rural counties

Arizona relies on groundwater for about 40% of its water supply, yet groundwater resources outside of the state’s biggest urban areas are largely unprotected and unregulated… HB 2467, a bill that passed in the Arizona House and currently awaiting a final vote in the Senate, takes an important step forward to address groundwater challenges in Mohave and La Paz counties.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

As Nevada legislators weigh changes to water law, litigation and the pipeline loom

In the ceaseless conflict over how to use the state’s available water — and maybe then some — a varied group of water users and lawmakers sang a refrain older than Nevada: “Everyone is going to court in the end.” … The ghosts of litigation — past, present and future — loomed over the Thursday Senate Natural Resources Committee hearing that stretched until 8 p.m. and offered insight into why it’s so difficult to update Nevada water law.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

NASA’s GRACE: What researchers have learned from water in motion

When you hear news about ice loss from Greenland or Antarctica, an aquifer in California that is getting depleted, or a new explanation for a wobble in Earth’s rotation, you might not realize that all these findings may rely on data from one single mission

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Pinpointed: Water officials name alleged culprit of TCE contamination near airport

A nearly four-year investigation into how a chemical known to cause cancer showed up in more than a dozen rural wells by the San Luis Obispo County Airport has finally concluded with an alleged culprit. Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board investigators say that Noll Inc., a machine shop on Thread Lane, is responsible for the trichloroethylene (TCE) leak…

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Pinal County farmers make another plea for $20M from state to drill wells

Insisting the state made a commitment, a central Arizona lawmaker and farmers he represents are making a last-ditch pitch for $20 million from taxpayers to drill new wells and water delivery canals. Rep. David Cook, R-Globe, said Thursday the farmers in Pinal County agreed to give up their right to Colorado River water to help the state come up with a plan to deal with the drought. In exchange they were given the right to take additional water out of the ground.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Senate should OK SB 307 to give California more review of Cadiz aquifer harvesting project

California must defend our scarce and sacred resources … The legislation, authored by Sen. Richard Roth of Riverside, authorizes state agencies to conduct independent review of the Cadiz project, restoring safeguards eliminated at the federal level and ensuring any pumping from underneath Mojave Trails and protected desert lands is sustainable. 

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tribal groundwater rights and SGMA: A new underlying tension?

At the 28th California Water Policy conference held in April of 2019, a panel discussed how tribal lands and tribal representatives, as independent nations, can be integrated into SGMA implementation, what some of the obstacles to doing so are, and how those hurdles might be transcended.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Interview with Wade Crowfoot: Implementing Newsom’s “One California” portfolio approach for water

When asked about his priorities, California’s recently appointed Natural Resources Secretary quickly rattles off a range of topics: climate change; strengthening water supply resilience; and building water capacity for communities, agriculture, and the environment, among them.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells board hears brackish water study update

A brackish water study conducted by consulting firm Aqualogic has predicted three potential areas that can be tapped for brackish water extraction in the Indian Wells Valley. … The brackish water project has the potential to help expand local supplies if the water is properly treated and brine removed.

Aquafornia news UC Davis

Study: Maximizing use of water stored in soil could result in savings for farmers

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, looked at using a “free” resource — rain water stored in the soil — and found that optimizing its use could go a long way to help meet demand for five California perennial crops. Their findings appear in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Valley Water’s farm subsidy to remain, for now

Like everyone else in Santa Clara Valley who uses wells, farmers will see their groundwater production charges go up 6.8 percent this year. But unlike the others, they’ll continue to receive substantial subsidies. In approving the increased charges for well users, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board left intact for at least two years the current structure that allows farmers to pay only 6 percent of the amount residents and businesses pay.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Owens Valley groundwater basin goes low

Over the short life of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, Owens Valley has gone from medium to high and now low priority. That prioritization would have had an impact three years ago. Medium and high priority basins are required to form an agency and sustainability plan; low basins are not.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: The Cadiz project to drain the desert is a bad idea

The U.S. Geological Survey studied the land and the water and, in 2002 … concluded that the proposed pumping would far exceed the rate of natural refill. The National Park Service submitted comments in 2012 stating that Cadiz’s estimates are “3 to 16 times too high.” The Geological Survey, in 2017, reported that there was no information to lead it to change its 2002 conclusions. … And that ought to have been the end of it.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Central Coast may be opened to new oil and gas extraction

More than 725,000 acres of Central Coast land could be opened up for oil and gas extraction under a new plan led by the Trump administration. But due to local regulations — and economic realities — Santa Cruz County land appears unlikely to be affected even if the plan is approved.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

The massive snowmelt is coming. Are we ready?

Estimates vary, and can change as the water year progresses, but the Kern River basin, the rivers and streams that collect the water that flows into Isabella Lake and downstream toward Bakersfield, is estimated to be at 172 percent of normal, possibly more. And all that ice and snow is starting to melt, big time. Are local water managers ready?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Northern California’s famed clothing-optional Wilbur Hot Springs listed for $10 million

The 1,700-acre off-the-grid health retreat, where clothing is optional in the pools, went up for sale quietly last year for $10 million. Now, the property near Williams (Colusa County) is officially listed with Sotheby’s International Real Estate.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Bunker Hill Basin reported below full after 2017-18 water year

According to an engineering investigation released by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District on March 7, the Bunker Hill Basin, which stores the groundwater used by the San Bernardino Valley, remains 570,718 acre-feet below full water storage following the 2017-18 water year. … The water year brought a reported 56 percent of average annual precipitation and 161,708 acre-feet of groundwater production.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Are Santa Clara Valley farmers paying too little for precious water?

The water that irrigates Santa Clara Valley’s last farms comes dirt cheap for growers who pump it out of the ground. They pay just a fraction — 6 percent — of the amount residents and businesses in the valley must pony up for their well water. The rest of the cost for farmers’ water is subsidized, mostly from revenue the Santa Clara Valley Water District receives through property taxes.

Aquafornia news The Harvard Crimson

Opinion: Harvard’s investment in land and natural resources

For rural communities in the central coast region of California, the name “Harvard” does not connote excellence. For these communities, where water is scarce and becoming scarcer, it evokes greed and exploitation. As California takes its first steps to regulate groundwater in the midst of a worsening water crisis, Harvard’s endowment fund is investing millions into vineyards that pump inordinate amounts of water from California’s critically overdrafted groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Fox40

Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California

When it rains in California, it pours. But when it doesn’t, California’s drought years can have a devastating impact on the state. California’s water experts are looking for ways to better store water during rainy years like 2019 so the state can have it during years when the rain and snow inevitably dry up.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California

A Q&A with Valerie Olson, assistant professor, and Emily Brooks, post-doctoral researcher — both environmental anthropologists at UC Irvine. They have a new project aimed at getting a better understanding of how communities, particularly the underserved, think about and use their water, and how the agencies that provide water can better serve them.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California Central Coast, Bay Area to open for oil & gas drilling

A more than five-year moratorium on leasing land in California for oil and gas development will be coming to an end with a May 9 Interior Department plan to open up about 725,000 acres across the state’s Central Coast and the Bay Area for drilling. The decision comes just two weeks after the Trump administration released its plan to reopen more than 1 million acres of public land and federal mineral estate in eight counties in Central California to fracking.

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Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California’s bold step forward into the contentious world of wetlands regulation

In April 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a comprehensive new legal framework for protecting California’s wetlands. California has lost approximately 90% of its historic wetland areas, which have important water quality, species habitat and other environmental and economic benefits. … California has never had its own comprehensive wetlands protection law.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

State agencies consider aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon oil field

Oil companies may have more space to build injection wells in the Cat Canyon Oil Field if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a potential recommendation from various state agencies. … If the EPA approves expanding the exempted area, class 2 injection wells could be built over almost the entire oil field boundary, according to maps prepared by DOGGR. These wells are used to dispose of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Don’t panic, but California has yet another water problem

It’s true that a report published late last month in the journal Environmental Health found a link between California tap water and cancer. The study noted high levels of arsenic, plus numerous other contaminants that may be more toxic in combination than they are separately. … The problem is very serious — but not necessarily statewide.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California to outlaw pesticide harmful to kids

The nation’s most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used toxic pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said Wednesday. The move would outlaw chlorpyrifos after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The California water model: Resilience through failure

A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes. California’s highly variable climate has made it a crucible for innovations in water technology and policy.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

USDA report calls for more tech in U.S. farms

The USDA report, released Tuesday, finds that between $47 billion and $65 billion could be added to the U.S. agricultural economy annually if infrastructure for what the report calls “precision agriculture” — a term for farming practices that emphasize digitally-based data collection and e-connectivity (often via broadband) — is deployed in rural agricultural economies on a large scale.

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Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

CVP districts seek ways to enhance water supplies

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, may update its 65% allocation for south-of-delta agricultural contractors later this month. But Lon Martin, general manager of the Los Banos-based San Luis Water District, said landowners who are planting crops and must secure water for the remainder of the year “cannot wait until May and June to make decisions.”

Aquafornia news Physics World

Weighing water from space

By monitoring tiny changes to the Earth’s gravitational field, the GRACE satellites have been pinpointing the distribution of fresh water on our planet for almost two decades. But as Marric Stephens explains, a new follow-on mission is also helping with plans for a space-based gravitational-wave detector

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Hundreds of California species at risk of extinction, United Nations report says — in addition to millions globally

In California, there are around 300 species at risk and 346 species in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon combined. A handful of plants and animals have already disappeared from the state, such as the Santa Barbara song sparrow and the the California subspecies of the Grizzly Bear. … About a dozen species are currently at risk of extinction, according to Dan Applebee, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley

In a formal response to the drilling proposal, a dozen environmental organizations expressed concerns about the effects on ground and surface water if exploration leads to an industrial-scale mine. … Among those who have spoken against the plan are officials at Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Is vertical farming a solution for feeding our growing cities?

Vertical farming also brings potential for solving our current and projected water issues in California. By using hydroponic system technology, water is constantly recycled and uses 98% less water per item than traditional farming. Adopting this technology would be greatly beneficial for our future, considering that California’s agricultural sector uses 40% of our water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels

Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. … Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California reports one of the highest levels across the military, at 8 million parts per trillion.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes

Newsom … said he would announce his administration’s detailed strategy on energy policy in the next few weeks. The governor was coy about core aspects of that policy, and declined to say if it would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, a process that uses drilling and large volumes of high-pressure water to extract gas and oil deposits.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Calistoga prevails in $10M, decade-long water rights suit

A multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against Calistoga over water rights has been dismissed on appeal. The California Court of Appeal on April 29 rejected Debbie R. O’Gorman’s $10 million lawsuit against the city,

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

A spring ritual: Groundwater pumping discussions under way

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

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Department of Interior to hold meeting in San Luis Obispo on fracking plan

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials will visit San Luis Obispo later this month to take public comment on a pending federal plan to grow oil and gas production on public lands in Central California.

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Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

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

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

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal district judge rules in favor of water agencies on latest issues in Agua Caliente litigation

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a decision … finding that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lacked standing to seek adjudication of its claim to quantification of its reserved groundwater right and its claim regarding groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water board faces lawsuit over new wetlands rules

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

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

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

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

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

EVWD approves new master plans for water and sewer systems

The full buildout recommendations were based on Southern California Association of Governments population projections … The plan also recommends a new 2.88 million gallon (MG) well to increase groundwater supply for the existing system. For the near-term plan, an additional 9.25 MG of storage is recommended ⎯ assuming the 5.5 MG capacity for the existing system is implemented ⎯ for a total of 14.75 MG.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State announces draft basin prioritization for 57 modified water basins; public comment period begins

The California Department of Water Resources has announced draft basin prioritization for 57 groundwater basins recently affected by basin boundary changes under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. For more than 75 percent of these basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Coachella Valley groundwater levels show `significant increases’

Groundwater levels throughout most of the Coachella Valley have increased significantly over the past decade, according to an annual analysis released today by the local water district. … The report documents “significant increases” in groundwater levels in the range of 2-50 feet in the past decade in most of the Indio Subbasin, located under the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Small fee would yield safe drinking water in California

We have a drinking water crisis in California—a crisis that has disproportionately impacted disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color for years. There is however hope as many voices, from many different people, with various political views, have now joined the fight to address this crisis.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

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

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers

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

Aquafornia news CNN

Contaminants in California tap water could result in over 15,000 additional cancer cases, study says

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime. These contaminants include chemicals such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Melting snow may have caused earthquakes in California, research shows

In 2017, a swarm of seismic activity occurred near California’s Long Valley Caldera in the Mammoth Mountain area. During the same period of seismic activity, the area had high levels of flooding due to snowmelt. The 2016-2017 winter brought heavy snow that created one of the largest snowpacks ever recorded in California’s history. A record amount of snowfall occurred in the same region this year, raising the question of whether the same occurrence will happen in 2019.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

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

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

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Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration unveils plan to open up 1 million California acres to oil drilling

A 174-page environmental report released by the U.S. Interior Department will expedite new extraction on roughly 1 million acres of Central and Southern California, primarily in the historical oil fields around Bakersfield and the deep petroleum deposits near Santa Barbara but potentially in the Sierra Nevada as well.

Aquafornia news KCET

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thick and Viscous: California oil production among the dirtiest in the country

A recent report from the California Water Quality Control Board found “multiple lines of geochemical evidence” indicating that “groundwater is mixing with oil field fluids.”

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Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder water bill a bipartisan effort

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

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

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

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

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA Proposes Weaker Standards on Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water

After pressure from the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency significantly weakened a proposed standard for cleaning up groundwater pollution caused by toxic chemicals that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans and that have been commonly used at military bases.

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Oil producers plan costly groundwater protection measures in western Kern

Regulatory efforts to protect groundwater quality in western Kern are forcing two of the county’s largest oil producers to spend many millions of dollars over the next several years moving or reworking dozens of disposal wells and other critical oil-field infrastructure.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

How Silicon Valley provides the blueprint for cleaning up our drinking water

The presence of groundwater contamination in Silicon Valley in the 1980s destroyed the narrative that high-tech was a clean alternative to the industrialization of the Northeast and Midwest. But the central concern of residents now dealing with the effects of contaminated drinking water was what to do next. Local activism offered a path forward.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert! Science News

Snowmelt causes seismic swarm near California’s Long Valley Caldera

A spring surge of meltwater, seeping through vertically tilted layers of rock, caused a seismic swarm near California’s Long Valley Caldera in 2017, according to research presented at the 2019 SSA Annual Meeting. The unusual event prompted U.S. Geological Survey researcher Emily Montgomery-Brown and her colleagues to look back through 33 years of seismic and water records for the region. They found that rates of shallow seismicity were about 37 times higher during very wet periods versus dry periods.

Aquafornia news Wired

How the Blockchain Could Protect California’s Aquifer

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

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

News Release: Cooperation Preserves Pauma Valley Groundwater

Instead of waiting for Yuima Valley’s precious groundwater supplies to dry up, the Yuima Municipal Water District and local farmers are working cooperatively to create a sustainable long-term strategy for maintaining the region’s economy and quality of life by proactively managing the valley’s aquifer.

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

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Court limits landmark tribal groundwater case

A California court has sided with a Southern California water district in a high-stakes case with a Native American tribe over access to groundwater.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

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

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

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Drilling a danger to water supply

Drought isn’t the only danger to our water supply, as we have discovered in the last few weeks. Deep under the ground, our life-saving aquifers have been filling up from the rain. But on the Oxnard Plain, oil drilling threatens what we’re working so hard to protect.

Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Growing awareness: Climate change and California’s crops

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

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

Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

Napa County watershed divide widens

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

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

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

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Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Oil producers plan costly groundwater-protection measures in western Kern

Regulatory efforts to protect groundwater quality in western Kern are forcing two of the county’s largest oil producers to spend many millions of dollars over the next several years moving or reworking dozens of disposal wells and other critical oil-field infrastructure.

Aquafornia news KABC Los Angeles

Lincoln Heights park’s green design helps improve LA’s water quality

Ten-acre Albion Riverside Park can get a lot done. The green infrastructure built into the park can clean the stormwater that goes through it, capture pollutants and release it into groundwater basins. The price tag on the park is about $40 million. The new park sits on the old Downey Recreational Center and the Swiss Dairy site, bringing new athletic fields and more to the community.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: Rising waters of the state and receding waters of the U.S.

While you may have heard about the Trump administration’s attempts to narrow the scope of Waters of the United States (WOTUS), California is expanding its regulations, including broadening the definition of wetlands subject to permitting requirements. … Projects impacting California surface waters and wetlands that are outside federal jurisdiction will now need state authorization under new and more expansive rules. 

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