Despite droughts, the recession and natural disasters,
California’s urban population continues to grow.
This population growth means increasing demand for water by urban
areas—home to most of California’s population [see also
Agricultural Conservation]. As of 2012, seven of the most
populated urbanized areas in the United States are in California.
The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that public
agencies reviewing a development proposal generally do not have
to consider the effects of environmental conditions on future
occupants unless the project itself would worsen those
Situated on nearly 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River,
the planned community would house 58,000 people and offer
stores, golf courses, schools and recreational centers.
… But the plans hit a major roadblock Monday when the
California Supreme Court rejected the environmental report …
At a time when Gov. Jerry Brown has warned of a new era of
limits, the spate of construction, including a boom in building
that began even before the drought emergency was declared, is
raising fundamental questions about just how much additional
development California can accommodate.
Water may be scarce in California and other parts of the
Southwest, but people are flooding in, according to newly
released Census data. The influx of residents into these areas
not only coincides with a changing labor and housing market,
but also has far-reaching implications for water
California’s historic drought is so bad people are banned from
even hosing dirt off their front steps, but as iconic
Candlestick Park is being demolished, thousands of gallons an
hour of drinking water — fresh from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir
— are being dumped on the rubble to hold down dust.
Blessed by its perch at the confluence of two major rivers, the
Sacramento region has grown for generations in sprawling style,
confident that water would be there in ample supply. Even now,
amid a historic drought that has prompted deep, state-mandated
water cuts for urban users, capital area leaders show no sign
of backing off their plans for another major growth surge.
In a victory for public agencies and developers, the California
Supreme Court issued its heavily anticipated ruling in Berkeley
Hillside Preservation v. City of Berkeley, reversing
the Court of Appeal.
A state panel’s decision this week to approve $365,000 in
grants to help buy undeveloped land in southwest Riverside
County will help preserve habitat for six animals increasingly
pressured by development.
In the January/February issue of Western Water Magazine, Writer
Gary Pitzer delves into the notion of a “sustainable” and
“resilient” water supply. His article highlights what
sustainability and resiliency mean to a state in the middle of
a drought and with a growing population and water needs that
stretch from bustling cities in the north and south to the rich
agricultural fields of the Central, Imperial and Coachella
valleys and Central Coast. … Read the excerpts from this
issue. Purchase a printed magazine or subscribe to the
digital, interactive version.
Against a rural tableau draped in a gray winter sky, a fleet of
heavy, clawing earth movers rumbles back and forth across a
fallow, 953-acre field that for decades produced bell peppers,
carrots and alfalfa.
California water agencies are on track to satisfy a state
mandate to reduce water consumption 20 percent by 2020. But
according to their own projections, that savings won’t be
enough to keep up with population growth just a decade later.
The decades-long struggle to free several hundred acres of land
halted from development by the breeding rights of a one-inch
fly on the endangered species list has finally ended after 21
years, unlocking a major economic engine for the city, but not
without a hefty personal and financial cost to some landowners.
Where tens of thousands of Valencia trees once spread across
the land and perfumed the air, the [Orange] county’s namesake
citrus has been reduced to a collection of dwindling private
groves, haphazard leftover trees and commemorative historic
sites. … It’s a fate mirrored across Southern California.
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.
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
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.
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
As the state’s population continues to grow and traditional water
supplies grow tighter, there is increased interest in reusing
treated wastewater for a variety of activities, including
irrigation of crops, parks and golf courses, groundwater recharge
and industrial uses.
The 20-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Marketing provides
background information on water rights, types of transfers and
critical policy issues surrounding this topic. First published in
1996, the 2005 version offers expanded information on
groundwater banking and conjunctive use, Colorado River
transfers and the role of private companies in California’s
developing water market.
Order in bulk (25 or more copies of the same guide) for a reduced
fee. Contact the Foundation, 916-444-6240, for details.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water
Despite droughts, recession and natural disasters, California’s
urban population continues to grow.
This population growth means increasing demand for water by urban
areas—home to most of California’s population [see also Agricultural
Conservation]. As of 2021, three of the nation’s 10 most
populated cities are in California.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water discusses low
impact development and stormwater capture – two areas of emerging
interest that are viewed as important components of California’s
future water supply and management scenario.
This printed issue of Western Water examines the
changed nature of the California Water Plan, some aspects of the
2009 update (including the recommendation for a water finance
plan) and the reaction by certain stakeholders.
This printed issue of Western Water explores some of the major
challenges facing Colorado River stakeholders: preparing for
climate change, forging U.S.-Mexico water supply solutions and
dealing with continued growth in the basins states. Much of the
content for this issue of Western Water came from the in-depth
panel discussions at the September 2009 Colorado River Symposium.
This issue of Western Water asks whether a groundwater
compact is needed to manage this shared resource today. In the
water-stressed West, there will need to be a recognition of
sharing water resources or a line will need to be drawn in the
sand against future growth.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
When water and growth was featured in the May/June 1995 Western
Water, the debate in the California Legislature was about whether
a local water district should have any say when it came to
providing water to new developments. Of the four bills before
state lawmakers, it was Sen. Jim Costa’s SB 901 that cleared the
Legislature and was signed into law. The bill established a
voluntary link between water and land-use planning by requiring
planning departments to consult with local water purveyors about
the availability of new supplies.