Topic: Hydropower

Overview

Hydropower

Hydroelectric power is generated by the ability to turn falling water into electricity and in California accounts for about 15 percent of the state’s power supply annually.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces 30-day public comment period for Central Valley Project Friant Water Authority operation, maintenance and replacement contract

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday a 30-day public comment period for a 35-year contract renewal of the transfer of operation, maintenance and replacement activities related to Friant-Kern Canal and other associated works to the Friant Water Authority.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news KQED Forum

Audio: UCLA study: Less snow and more rainfall spell trouble for California

By the 2070s, climate change will reduce snowpack and increase extreme rainfall in the Sierra Nevada and California’s reservoirs will likely be overwhelmed. That’s according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists, who predict that run-off during so-called atmospheric rivers will increase by nearly 50 percent, leading to widespread flooding across the state.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Loss in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utilities

The loss in hydroelectric generation during the 2012-16 drought cost PG&E and other California utilities about $5.5 billion, a new study says. As California’s climate becomes more prone to severe droughts, the findings point to future costs that utilities — and ultimately ratepayers — will likely be forced to bear.

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Aquafornia news National Geographic

Can the Colorado River keep on running?

The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19 percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent. The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious trouble.

Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Opinion: PacifiCorp should move forward with historic Klamath dams agreement

For us, dam removal is absolutely necessary to restore our struggling fisheries, maintain cultural practices, and provide tribal members who struggle to make ends meet access to traditional subsistence foods.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Monday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River levels may rise with COVID-19 electricity demands

Summer energy demands driven higher as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps more people at home could lead to more water flowing from Glen Canyon Dam into the Colorado River. That could mean rapidly changing conditions for rafters, anglers, hikers or others on the river in Glen Canyon or the Grand Canyon, officials said.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

FERC faces environmental justice reckoning

A 1997 guidance document from the White House Council on Environmental Quality lays out best practices for FERC and other agencies to address environmental justice as part of reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency isn’t legally required to act on its findings.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Migratory river fish populations plunge 76% in past 50 years

Species such as salmon, trout and giant catfish are vital not just to the rivers and lakes in which they breed or feed but to entire ecosystems. By swimming upstream, they transport nutrients from the oceans and provide food for many land animals, including bears, wolves and birds of prey.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump makes two FERC nominations, potentially rebalancing commission

President Trump made two nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Monday, bowing to pressure from Democratic lawmakers who have pushed to maintain the bipartisan split in the commission.

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Aquafornia news Roseville Today

Placer County, PCWA split $12 million revenue distribution

In 1961, Placer County voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of bonds to finance construction of the Middle Fork American River Hydroelectric Project (MFP). Nearly 60 years later, with the bonds fully paid and financial reserves fully funded, the first-ever distribution of net revenue from the MFP has been made…

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blog: Creating a new fishery at Mountain Meadows Reservoir

For the past five years, Monty Currier, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife environmental scientist, has been working to rebuild the fishery at Mountain Meadows Reservoir after the PG&E impoundment went dry in 2015 from the combined effects of maintenance work and the drought. The unfortunate fish kill presented Currier with something of a dream opportunity.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Blog: Will “two lined swimming pools connected by a pipe” help us get rid of natural gas?

Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) is a pretty simple technology. … The effect is not to create energy. In fact, these facilities are net consumers of energy. But by making renewable energy available when it is most needed, PSH helps renewables better match demand, reducing the need for gas on the grid.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

A more modest Sites Reservoir focuses on environment

The latest proposal would trim the budget by $2 billion and the storage capacity by about 300,000 acre-feet, according to Jerry Brown, the new executive director of the project. Sites would use existing canals for conveyance rather than build new pipelines. The plan also eliminates a pumped-storage system for generating and storing energy during high flow events. He said the business case for that element of the project “just didn’t pencil out.”

Aquafornia news E&E News

FERC throws wrench into major dam-removal project

The country’s largest dam removal project was thrown into question last week when federal regulators refused to let the current owner fully transfer the impoundments to a nonprofit to carry out the demolition.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Federal decision leaves future of Klamath dam removal unclear

After four years of review, FERC granted the transfer of the license for the J.C. Boyle, Copco No. 1, Copco No. 2 and Iron Gate dams (collectively known as the Lower Klamath Project) to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, a nonprofit that would carry out the dam removal. But it requires PacifiCorp, the utility that currently operates the dams, to remain on the license, too.

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Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Removal of Scott Dam key to salmon and steelhead recovery

While it’s fair to say that salmon and steelhead are dying the death of a thousand cuts in the Eel River, Scott Dam is by far the deepest and most damaging of these injuries. Dam removal efforts from Maine to Washington State to here in California have shown time and again that restoring access to historical spawning grounds is key to rebounding fish populations.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: House panel approves major water infrastructure measure

A multibillion-dollar measure that would help build, repair, and maintain a wide variety of water infrastructure projects sailed through the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Wednesday. Approved unanimously by voice vote, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (H.R. 7575) would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers every two years to carry out specific projects and feasibility studies.

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Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Forest Service: Water activities prohibited during Karuk Tribe’s world renewal ceremonies

The Karuk Tribe is set to hold its World Renewal Ceremonies in Six Rivers and Klamath national forests from July through late September. In honor of these long-standing tribal traditions, outsiders will be prohibited from entering the water or launching watercraft during the ceremonies, the U.S. Forest Service has announced in a press release.

Aquafornia news BBC News

The most powerful renewable energy

Last year, the world’s hydropower capacity reached a record 1,308 gigawatts… As with other energy sources, however, hydropower is not without an environmental cost. 

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

To dam or not to dam

For the past two decades, dams have been falling across the United States in a bid to reverse a legacy of destruction of fish and their habitat. … But in southwestern Washington, a local flood control district is going against the flow by proposing a major new dam on the Chehalis River. … The Chehalis is a critical salmon stream and the largest river system fully contained within the state’s boundaries.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

After lengthy legal battle, Pasadena groups victorious at Devil’s Gate Dam

Pasadena conservationist groups secured a major victory on Tuesday when the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a settlement agreement, ending a protracted legal battle centered on the removal of 1.7 million cubic yards of sediment from the Devil’s Gate Dam and its potential environmental impacts.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Protecting the Clean Water Act

Decades of environmental protection is threatened to be undone by the recent Trump Administration Executive Order to roll back regulations from the Clean Water Act to speed up energy projects. The proceeding EPA rule-making procedures make it easier for owners of hydroelectric dam projects to bypass state oversight and environmental accountability. Without legislative protection, our waterways are under threat.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Humpback chub ‘alien abductions’ help frame the future of the Colorado River

Researchers in the Grand Canyon now spend weeks at a time, several times a year, monitoring humpback chub, which has become central to an ecosystem science program with implications for millions of westerners who rely on Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news National Science Foundation

Blog: New software tool to model the economic and environmental impacts of California drought

In a recent study published in Environmental Research Letters, a National Science Foundation-funded team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University analyzed the effects of a drought in California. The drought happened from 2012-2016 and was one of the worst in the state’s history. The scientists found that drought led to significant increases in power costs for three major utilities in the state.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal district court denies environmental plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction as to Shasta Dam operations

On June 24, 2020, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied the preliminary injunctive relief requested by a coalition of fishery and environmental groups regarding the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s operations of Shasta Dam and Reservoir, and related temperature management actions on the upper Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: A Trojan horse with a state water grab inside

With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in 2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Opinion: Feasibility study for Scott Dam removal has ‘frighteningly misguided’ conclusions

The feasibility study refers to removal of Scott Dam as a foregone conclusion. The reason being salmon and steelhead are not able to access spawning grounds above the dam. This area is a small percentage of the overall spawning habitat of the Eel River watershed. … A fish ladder around Scott Dam makes much more sense.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

How a historic drought led to higher power costs and emissions

A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant increases in power costs for three major investor-owned utilities in the state… They also found that increased harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to hydropower losses during drought in the future, even as more sources of renewable energy are added to the grid.

Aquafornia news North Carolina State News

News release: How a historic drought led to higher power costs and emissions

A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant increases in power costs for three major investor-owned utilities in the state… They also found that increased harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to hydropower losses during drought in the future…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Yurok Tribe, Rep. Huffman respond to increased Klamath River flows

Beginning June 11, the Bureau released flows to help sustain juvenile salmon, but it plans to provide only 16,000 of the 40,000-acre feet promised in the plan developed with the Yurok Tribe, fishing groups and irrigators in March. And nearly a month passed without augmented flows when young salmon were being infected and dying from disease-causing parasites and 1.5 million hatchery fish were released and ready to pass through the infection zone.

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Aquafornia news Water Power Magazine

Opinion: The next generation of pumped storage

The first slide of Daybreak Power’s first-ever presentation to potential investors quotes Paul Allen, the legendary co-founder of Microsoft, asking what he calls the most exciting question imaginable: “What should exist? … What do we need that we don’t have?”. The answer I reached in the years leading up to co-founding Daybreak in 2018 is this: A bunch of big-honkin’ pumped storage hydropower projects

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Dam safety and the importance of the division of safety of dams with Andy Mangney

In recognition of National Dam Safety Awareness Day, Andy Mangney who serves as the Field Engineering Branch Chief overseeing DSOD’s dam inspection and monitoring program, took some time to answer questions about what DSOD is doing to protect Californians.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Our community will have a voice in proposed hydro-electric storage project near Joshua Tree

The proposed Eagle Mountain project went through nearly 10 years of regulatory review, mostly under the Obama administration, with deep investigations of potential impacts and subsequent requirements for some of the most stringent mitigations ever placed on a project. … The one hitch for us? We, the very communities who will be impacted by this project have no real voice.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: EPA limits states and tribes’ ability to protest pipelines and other energy projects

The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Monday curtailing the rights of states, tribes and the public to object to federal permits for energy projects and other activities that could pollute waterways across the country. The move … upends how the United States applied a section of the Clean Water Act for nearly a half century.

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Aquafornia news Greenbiz.com

Here’s how California’s water laws were made

This is an excerpt from “Ruling the Waters: California’s Kern River, the Environment, and the Making of Western Water Law” by Douglas R. Littlefield, published in May 2020.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Company plans dams in canyon next to Little Colorado River

When a Phoenix company floated a proposal last year to build two hydroelectric dams on the Little Colorado River, it faced an outpouring of opposition. … Taking note of the criticisms, the two businessmen who run the company have pivoted to a different approach. They propose to move the project off the Little Colorado River to an adjacent canyon to the east, where they would build four dams. 

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Keep momentum going to remove Klamath River dams and restore salmon runs

For Indians, confronting economic uncertainty and food shortages has been part of life since Europeans arrived in our lands. … This is why the Yurok Tribe is fighting so hard to remove Klamath River dams and restore the salmon runs that have fed our people since the beginning of time.

Aquafornia news Redwood Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Coalition to take major step in acquiring Potter Valley project from PG&E

A partnership of numerous Northern California agencies intends to file an initial plan to acquire the Potter Valley project from the Pacific Gas and Electric Co., multiple sources confirmed. The coalition will submit a document to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its consideration. If approved, the group may be able to form a partnered ownership of complex water infrastructure dividing the Eel and Russian rivers.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Major water infrastructure bills move ahead in Senate, House

The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works gathered the last few comments on Friday on its plans to move two mammoth water infrastructure packages this year. … At the same time, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is gearing up to introduce its own big water bill, which should come by month’s end and be marked up over the summer, according to a committee aide.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Law Symposium: Removing dams on the Klamath River

At the 2020 California Water Law Symposium, a panel discussed the project. Seated on the panel was Richard Roos-Collins, a principal with the Water and Power Law Group and General Counsel for the Klamath River Renewal Corporation; Paul Weiland, lawyer for Siskiyou County; and Mike Belchik, Senior Fisheries Biologist with the Yurok Tribe.

Aquafornia news Sites Project Authority

News release: Sites Project Authority to “right size” Sites Reservoir to meet current and future needs

Over the past several months, the Authority has undertaken a rigorous Value Planning effort to review the project’s proposed operations and facilities in an effort to develop a project that is “right sized” for current participants while still providing water supply reliability and enhancing the environment.The process has resulted in a project that includes facilities and operations that are different than originally proposed…

Aquafornia news Sacramento Water Forum

News release: Water Forum marks 20 years of collaboration and progress on the Lower American River

When the Water Forum Agreement was officially signed 20 years ago, the occasion marked an unprecedented show of regional cooperation. For years, interests representing business, the environment, water suppliers and others had sparred over the water needs of people vs. the environment of the lower American River.

Aquafornia news Plumas News

PG&E to begin work on Lower Bucks Lake

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced that it will be upgrading the Lower Bucks Lake Dam this year by attaching a waterproof membrane to the upstream surface of the dam to prevent seepage and extend the dam’s service life.

Aquafornia news The HIll

Opinion: Free-flowing rivers help ecosystems, wildlife, people and the economy

Now, just as the first Earth Day in 1970 gave U.S. policymakers a chance to chart a fresh course for conservation, this year’s 50th anniversary offers lawmakers an opportunity to act on a growing body of evidence that free-flowing, well-protected rivers serve the greater public good.

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Aquafornia news Water Power Magazine

Largest dam removal project in US takes further step forward

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation’s plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River in the US has taken a major step forward with the issuance of key documents from the California State Water Board. The plan – the largest dam removal project in the US – would re-open 360 miles of the Klamath River and its tributaries to salmon.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: California greenlights massive Klamath River dam removal

The largest dam removal project in U.S. history came one step closer to fruition this week, as California issued permits for breaching the four dams on the Klamath River. The State Water Resources Control Board issued a Clean Water Act certification and environmental assessment for the proposal to remove three dams in Northern California and one in southern Oregon.

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Aquafornia news Person of Infrastructure

Blog: Dam guardian

Today, as the chief of dam safety services within the Division of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) of California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR), David Sarkisian guides a team of 25 engineers that monitors, surveils, inspects and guides the on-going maintenance of the 26 dams and reservoirs within the California State Water Project (SWP), many of which are more than 50 years old.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: PG&E sells Narrows hydroelectric facility to Yuba Water Agency

The Narrows Project was marginally economic for PG&E and is far from PG&E’s regional hydropower headquarters. Yuba Water, however, is a natural buyer as the agency also owns the nearby Narrows No. 2 Powerhouse just upstream. For decades, the two entities closely coordinated the operations of these facilities, including the flows.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water

The second-largest river in California has sustained Native American tribes with plentiful salmon for millennia, provided upstream farmers with irrigation water for generations and served as a haven for retirees who built dream homes along its banks. With so many competing demands, the Klamath River has come to symbolize a larger struggle over the increasingly precious water resources of the U.S. West…

Aquafornia news Popular Science

America thrived by choking its rivers with dams. Now it’s time to undo the damage

The falling cost of renewable energy and continued decline of manufacturing renders many of these structures unnecessary. Others require expensive maintenance. Seven in 10 are more than 50 years old and many are falling into disrepair, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers…

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Lawyer writes of defending the Colorado River

If corporations can have the rights of people under the law, why not rivers? The question made sense to Will Falk, and he answered it yes. Falk is a lawyer, and he got to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit. So he spent time along the river, in something of a conversation with it. Falk tells the story in his book How Dams Fall.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Kaweah River Power Authority selling hydro plant to Canadian operator

Tulare County-based Kaweah River Power Authority has requested Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval to transfer the license for their 20MW hydroelectric plant at Kaweah Lake’s Terminus Dam to Canadian-based Ontario Power Generation.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Tuolumne Utility District announces negotiations with PG&E to acquire water system, pre-1914 water rights

Tuolumne Utilities District announced on Tuesday that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to acquire the Phoenix Hydroelectric Project, which would include pre-1914 water rights on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River…

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Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Controversial Walker Lake hydropower proposal wins preliminary permit

A proposal to pump water out of Nevada’s fragile Walker Lake to generate hydropower to sell in California won preliminary approval from federal regulators. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit and granting priority to file for the proposed Walker Lake Pumped Storage Project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A new twist on hydropower could be a key climate solution

The pit was a bustling iron mine once, churning out ore that was shipped by rail to a nearby Kaiser Steel plant. When steel manufacturing declined, Los Angeles County tried to turn the abandoned mine into a massive landfill. Conservationists hope the area will someday become part of Joshua Tree National Park, which surrounds it on three sides. Steve Lowe has a radically different vision.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

$446 million Klamath dam removal budget submitted to FERC

In a Feb. 28 filing, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, formed to shepherd the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River in Northeern California and Southern Oregon, submitted key budget information to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … This filing is another concrete step toward implementing the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), removing the dams and restoring a free-flowing Klamath River, KRRC officials said.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Anderson Dam: Draining won’t cause water shortage, officials say

Silicon Valley water officials assured the public Tuesday they have enough water to avoid shortages this summer, even after federal regulators announced that Anderson Reservoir, the region’s largest, must be completely drained beginning this fall because of the risk its dam might collapse in a major earthquake.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

One idea, two cool things: desalinated water and renewable energy

The contraption, reminiscent of Rube Goldberg, would produce two of Southern California’s most precious and essential resources: water and electricity. … The idea, developed by Silicon Valley-based Neal Aronson and his Oceanus Power & Water venture, caught the attention of the Santa Margarita Water District. The agency quickly saw the project’s viability to fill a void.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Salmon Cannon company presents in Siskiyou

Though the process leading to removal of the Klamath Dams continues to march forward, numerous citizens in Siskiyou County have continued fighting to keep the dams in place. Many of those dam advocates are members of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association, which in January hosted a presentation about an alternative fish passage technology the association believes could “make it possible” for the dams to remain.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State senator introduces plan for California to take over PG&E

State Sen. Scott Wiener will unveil legislation today to let the state of California seize control of the embattled utility PG&E. Wiener’s bill … would use eminent domain to force the company’s stockholders to sell their shares to the state of California, which would then take over operations.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Lake Elsinore area residents organize to oppose hydroelectric project

Some local residents are organizing to oppose a twice-rejected proposal for a Lake Elsinore hydroelectric plant. The Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage project, more commonly known as LEAPS, was tossed aside by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nearly a decade ago in 2011.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete their life cycle,

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Judge: Modesto Irrigation District overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne issued his decision Dec. 30 in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Hobbs and Dave Thomas. Each sued the MID in 2016, and their lawsuits were combined into one. … Beauchesne ruled the subsidy was an illegal tax under California law because the MID had not sought voter approval for electric customers to subsidize irrigation water customers.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

How America’s aging dams risk lives and homes

In the United States, many of the structures that were once engineering marvels are nearing the age most humans decide to retire. Despite steadily increased budgets for dam repair and maintenance, over the past four decades more than a 1,000 have failed … Although some dams are having critical maintenance done, states and private entities are also coming up with a different solution: take them down. California, once a bastion of dam building, took down 35 dams just last year, making it the leader in dam removals in 2018.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

This California mountain community was swallowed by a lake

Communities sprout up and sometimes wither away, but in 1972, the small community of Cedar Springs met its demise when it was swallowed up by a lake. The San Bernardino Mountains community was located at the confluence of the west fork of the Mojave River, Sawpit Canyon, and Miller Canyon, about 4 miles northwest of Crestline. Today, the location is under the waters of Silverwood Lake, near the boat launch ramp.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Group to sue county flood control district, others for alleged harm to fish

Two wildlife advocacy groups Wednesday announced their intent to sue the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, as well as other regional and federal government agencies, for allegedly putting a fish species’ habitat at risk with the release of water from the Seven Oaks Dam.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Citizens committee files to stop Oroville Dam re-licensing, says DWR is untrustworthy

The Feather River Recovery Alliance has filed a motion to intervene with the Department of Water Resources’ pending application to re-license operation of the Oroville Dam. … The motion requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reopen the licensing process that was conducted over a decade ago, and prior to the community becoming aware of safety concerns at the Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Future of Potter Valley power project could hinge on options for dam at Lake Pillsbury

CalTrout has identified Scott Dam, which impounds Eel River water in Lake Pillsbury, as one of five aging dams it considers “ripe for removal,” especially in the wake of PG&E’s license surrender. There is, however, a potential middle course backed by Friends of the Eel River, a Eureka-based nonprofit that has long called for the dam’s removal.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Opinion: What’s next for Potter Valley Project?

Exactly what the Potter Valley Project will look like in the future is not set in stone. The partnership is committed to identifying solutions that meet the needs of the communities and wildlife affected by the project’s operations.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA

During days when solar panels feed more energy into the grid than utilities want to buy, the projects would use the excess power to pump water from Walker Lake or Pyramid Lake into the newly constructed reservoirs. Once there, the water would sit as a giant pool of potential energy. When demand for power increased at night as solar production waned, the water could be released downhill and run through a power plant.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Climate change could double greenhouse gas emissions from freshwater lakes

Small shallow lakes dominate the world’s freshwater area, and the sediments within them already produce at least one-quarter of all carbon-dioxide, and more than two-thirds of all methane released from lakes into our atmosphere. The new research, published in the journal PNAS, suggests that climate change may cause the levels of greenhouse gases emitted by freshwater northern lakes to increase by between 1.5 and 2.7 times.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Agencies scrap controversial Klamath Project biological opinion

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spent months working with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to mitigate potential harm to endangered sucker fish in Upper Klamath Lake, as well as threatened coho salmon in the lower Klamath River. … However, the bureau now says it received “erroneous data” from an outside source during consultation, meaning it must scrap the plans and start over again.

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Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: Climate impact of hydropower varies widely

Hydropower is broadly considered to be much more environmentally friendly than electricity generated from fossil fuels, and in many cases this is true. However, a new study reveals that the climate impact of hydropower facilities varies widely throughout the world and over time, with some facilities emitting more greenhouse gases than those burning fossil fuels.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

End could be near for Kilarc Reservoir, a popular fishing spot

PG&E said Thursday that a small powerhouse at the reservoir had been shut down since a canal at the reservoir had been damaged during last winter’s storms. The utility has determined that the costs to repair the canal “outweigh the economic benefit of (power) generation at the Kilarc powerhouse.”

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Potter Valley Project water coalition makes strides toward two-basin solution

A local coalition formed in the hopes of maintaining the most important aspects of the Potter Valley Project is making progress toward a two-basin solution, Janet Pauli told the Ukiah City Council at its last meeting.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Public-funded Oroville Dam advertisement called ‘propaganda’

The latest public relations effort cost California water ratepayers $29,000 to produce an eight-page color advertising insert that ran in recent days in six Sacramento Valley newspapers including The Sacramento Bee. … Critics argue it’s inappropriate for a state agency to be spending public money on an advertisement that they say serves little purpose other than to try to make the government look good.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Wind and solar can save the planet — can they save our water supply, too?

Hydropower facilities store water in reservoirs in order to release it in a constant flow and produce energy consistently. If wind turbines and solar panels, paired with battery storage, took the pressure off of these facilities to fill the needs of the grid during a drought, more of that water could be released downstream for agricultural use, preventing further groundwater depletion.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Documentary on protecting public lands and water to be released online

After touring film festivals in two dozen cities across the country, the documentary, Visions of the Lost Sierra, will be released online Wednesday for all to view. … Visions is a short film exploring how the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Feather River has connected communities and inspired outdoor enthusiasts for generations.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

High on hydroelectricity

The Mojave Water Agency on Thursday cut the ribbon on its Deep Creek Hydroelectric Clean-Energy System, a project that produces electricity from California Aqueduct water and replenishes the groundwater in the Victor Valley.

Aquafornia news North Bay Bohemian

Saving salmon: Will overhauling Scott Dam save native fish?

Today, annual salmon runs in Eel River that once may have totaled a million or so adults consist of a few thousand. Lamprey eels, too, have dwindled. Now, there is serious talk of removing Scott Dam, owned by PG&E since 1930. For fishery proponents, such a river makeover is the optimal way to revive the Eel’s salmon runs.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

Opinion: Californians should favor dam expansion plan

The effects of the last drought are still obvious in California’s agricultural belt. … From this perspective, the federal government’s plan to increase the storage capacity of Lake Shasta, created by the Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River, is both sensible and compassionate.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Feds’ California water project must charge customers equitably

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation can’t charge Central Valley Project power customers disproportionately more than water customers in order to fund its environmental efforts, the Federal Circuit said Nov. 6. The law requires the Bureau to charge customers in proportion to what they pay to fund the network of dams, reservoirs, canals, and water power plants as a whole, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said.

Aquafornia news Huffington Post

Fed up with PG&E, California mayors pitch customer-owned power co-op

In a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission shared Tuesday, the mayors and city supervisors argued that PG&E ― beset by massive bankruptcy and public outrage over its role in deadly wildfires and mismanaged forced power outages ― would function better as a customer-owned utility than a business focused on paying dividends to its shareholders.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: A fresh look at the future of hydropower requires that we see clearly its past and present

The record of the hydropower industry on America’s rivers and streams is not one of protecting and preserving natural ecosystems. It is, in fact, exactly the opposite.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Is renewable energy’s future dammed?

Just outside Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a year-round, mineral-rich spring turns the Little Colorado River a vivid turquoise. This final stretch, about 10 miles from the river’s confluence with its larger relative, is one of the West’s spectacular waterways, with bright water flowing below steep red-rock cliffs. But the view will change dramatically if a Phoenix-based company builds a proposed hydropower project.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Klamath River Compact Commission boosts visibility

Prior to a commission meeting earlier this year, the Commission hadn’t met since 2010, according to Curtis Anderson, commission member representing the California side of the river. … “We’re seeing if we can be helpful by at least providing information and providing an opportunity for people to raise concerns concerning the Compact itself,” Anderson said.

Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Opinion: Klamath dam removal is not a partisan issue

Today’s noisy partisan divide concerns me and makes the thought of meaningful collaboration across parties seem impossible. However, the largest river restoration project in history, spanning the California-Oregon border, tells a hopeful story offering a blueprint for political, conservation and economic progress.

Aquafornia news E&E News

The new weapon in the war over dam removal: Economics

The decadeslong Pacific Northwest salmon war may be nearing the end. But it’s economics, not fish, that could be the demise of four dams at the center of the fight. The dams on the Lower Snake River — besieged by conservationists and biologists for killing fish — are now battered by falling prices for renewable energy, skyrocketing replacement costs for aging turbines and a growing tab for environmental mitigation.

Aquafornia news National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

News release: Winter outlook: Warmer than average for many, wetter in the north

Warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the U.S. this winter according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. … Drier-than-average conditions are most likely for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well areas of northern and central California.

Aquafornia news Axios

The water crisis U.S. cities don’t see coming

Aging water treatment systems, failing pipes and a slew of unregulated contaminants threaten to undermine water quality in U.S. cities of all sizes. … Still, with only a handful of exceptions, “water systems aren’t designed to focus on health, they’re focused on cost-containment,” says Seth Siegel, whose book “Troubled Water,” released this month, examines the precarious state of water infrastructure in the U.S.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

The lost river: Mexicans fight for mighty waterway taken by the U.S.

The Colorado River serves over 35 million Americans before reaching Mexico – but it is dammed at the border, leaving locals on the other side with a dry delta.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

BLM authorizes Swan Lake land use for pumped storage project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a right-of-way grant (ROW) Wednesday that allows for the construction of various facilities on 711 acres east of Klamath Falls, according to a news release. … The ROW grant is part of the Swan Lake North Hydro LLC proposal to develop a 393.3-megawatt hydropower generating facility…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

White House nears infrastructure permitting changes

The White House has begun reviewing a plan to change the way it issues environmental permits for infrastructure projects. If the proposal is finalized, it could speed up National Environmental Policy Act reviews for roads, bridges, ports, pipelines, power lines, Internet trunks, and water systems.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Aging dams, forgotten perils

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Critical U.S. infrastructure is dilapidated and unsafe. Regulation is week, and enforcement is weaker. Everyone agrees on the need for action, and climate change will only make the problem worse. but no one seems to do anything about it. Sadly, this has become a familiar story. Take dams for instance.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Groups oppose plans to dam Little Colorado River

Alicyn Gitlin, conservation coordinator for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, said the project would threaten an endangered species, interfere with the Grand Canyon’s already degraded hydrology and damage sites held sacred by two Arizona tribes.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

With no El Niño, how does California’s winter shape up?

Will we have a second straight year of big snows and periodically heavy rains? Or is California headed for the start of another drought?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hydro company proposes to dam Little Colorado River

Pumped Hydro Storage LLC is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to study the sites east of Grand Canyon National Park over three years. None of it will move forward without permission from the Navajo Nation. Navajo President Jonathan Nez said he’s been briefed by tribal economic development officials about the proposals — but hasn’t talked with anyone from Pumped Hydro Storage.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Chinook salmon flocking to revitalized San Joaquin River

A staggering number of Chinook salmon are returning to a California river that hasn’t sustained salmon for decades due to agricultural and urban demands, giving biologists hope that threatened fish are finally spawning in their native grounds without human help.

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Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Warm it up: Balancing the needs of sturgeon, salmon, and humans

How does one achieve temperature and flow targets for listed species with such different requirements, while also meeting the needs of human water users? A recent study sought to achieve an equitable solution by using a multi-objective approach to identify trade-offs and model an optimal dam release scenario to meet the needs of salmon, sturgeon, and humans…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Environmentalists push for removing dam along Colorado River

Environmental groups that have long pushed to bring down a huge dam along the Colorado River are suing the federal government, alleging it ignored climate science when approving a 20-year operating plan for the dam near the Arizona-Utah border.

Aquafornia news Kern Valley Sun

Army Corps of Engineers speaks on dam failures

Anthony Burdock, Project Manager for the Isabella Dam Safety Modification Project, presented a program outlining catastrophic dam failures and how those failures were used to mold the dam safety regulations that now govern the nation’s dams, including Isabella Dam.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District stops work on Shasta Dam study after court loss

Following losses in court, a Fresno-based irrigation district has backed off its plans to do an environmental study on raising the height of Shasta Dam. The Westlands Water District announced Monday that it has stopped working on the report because it could not meet the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s schedule for the project.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Citizens advisory commission created in response to Oroville Dam crisis

The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting an inaugural public forum designed to address issues related to the Oroville Dam, according to a press release from the CNRA. 

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Two new Grand Canyon dams could be built by Phoenix company

A Phoenix company wants to build two hydroelectric dams less than five miles from the eastern border of Grand Canyon National Park, submerging several miles of the Little Colorado River and the endangered fish habitat it protects.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The Interior secretary wants to enlarge a dam. An old lobbying client would benefit

For years, the Interior Department resisted proposals to raise the height of its towering Shasta Dam in Northern California. The department’s own scientists and researchers concluded that doing so would endanger rare plants and animals in the area… But the project is going forward now, in a big win for a powerful consortium of California farmers that stands to profit substantially…

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

In major move, Utah pulls most hydropower out of Lake Powell pipeline

Utah’s proposed Lake Powell pipeline will cost less to build and be easier to permit under a decision announced Wednesday to cut major hydropower components from the controversial project that would move 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water to St. George.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

A river runs through them

A plan to remove four dams on the Klamath River – one of the most ambitious river restoration projects ever attempted – is either mocked or praised depending on the audience. It will expand salmon habitat or destroy a fishery. The only certainty is that lives will change forever.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: To avoid environmental genocide, Gov. Newsom must sign SB 1

I’m writing to express our tribe’s dismay at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that he plans to veto Senate Bill 1. … Vetoing this bill will green-light President Trump’s plan to divert even more water from our struggling rivers for industrial agriculture. Many well-respected fish biologists and environmentalists have concluded Trump’s attempt to ignore the best science and rewrite the rules will essentially be an “extinction plan” for Chinook salmon and other threatened fish.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How long before these salmon are gone? ‘Maybe 20 years’

Some 45,000 to 50,000 spring-summer Chinook spawned here in the 1950s. These days, the average is about 1,500 fish, and declining. And not just here: Native fish are in free-fall throughout the Columbia River basin, a situation so dire that many groups are urging the removal of four large dams to keep the fish from being lost.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Removing dams is key to fish recovery

Removing the four aging hydroelectric dams from the river would significantly improve ecological and geomorphic conditions throughout the Klamath watershed and play a key role in returning salmon to stable population levels.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Round Valley Tribes join two-basin solution effort for Potter Valley Project

The Round Valley Indian Tribes announced this week that they have signed an agreement to join with users of both the Eel River and Russian River to seek a “Two-Basin Solution” for the re-licensing of the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project, which diverts water from the Eel River into the Russian River.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: The Russian River: Managing at the watershed level

Water managers across the state face new and more extreme challenges as the climate warms—from balancing the sometimes conflicting needs of urban, agricultural, and environmental water users to reducing risks from fires, floods, and droughts. We talked to Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, about how his agency is approaching these challenges comprehensively, at the scale of the entire watershed.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Pyramid Dam modernization project kicks off: DWR assesses spillways this fall

Today, the California Department of Water Resources began assessment work on Pyramid Dam’s spillways in Los Angeles County as part of a statewide effort to reduce seismic and hydrologic risk to State Water Project facilities spanning 705 miles throughout California.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Groups work to restore fish populations

In the Sacramento River near Redding this spring, water districts, government agencies and others collaborated to construct the Market Street Gravel Project to benefit fish. … Reclamation District 108 Deputy Manager William Vanderwaal said that to complete the $429,000 project, 12,000 tons of gravel were placed into the river and developed as new spawning habitat for chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why SB 1 must ensure that CESA applies to the federal CVP

Now, some are arguing that the bill should be stripped of its longstanding provision applying the State’s own Endangered Species Act to the operations of the federal Central Valley Project. Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Hydropower giant Bonneville Power is going broke

The Bonneville Power Administration, the independent federal agency that sells the electricity produced by the dams, is careening toward a financial cliff. BPA is $15 billion in debt, facing a rapidly changing energy market increasingly dominated by wind and solar and a desperate need to maintain aging infrastructure that’s expected to cost $300 million to maintain and upgrade by 2023.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource

Water users in the Colorado River Basin have survived the drought through a combination of water storage infrastructure and voluntary actions to protect reservoir storage and water supply. Adoption of drought contingency plans this summer, developed over years of collaborative negotiation, takes the next step by implementing mandatory action to reduce risk and protect limited water supplies.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

How Private Capital is Speeding up Sierra Nevada Forest Restoration in a Way that Benefits Water
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: A bond fund that fronts the money is expediting a headwaters restoration project to improve forest health, water quality and supply

District Ranger Lon Henderson with Tahoe National Forest points toward an overgrown section of forest within the Blue Forest project area. The majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada forest is awe-inspiring, but beneath the dazzling blue sky, there is a problem: A century of fire suppression and logging practices have left trees too close together. Millions of trees have died, stricken by drought and beetle infestation. Combined with a forest floor cluttered with dry brush and debris, it’s a wildfire waiting to happen.

Fires devastate the Sierra watersheds upon which millions of Californians depend — scorching the ground, unleashing a battering ram of debris and turning hillsides into gelatinous, stream-choking mudflows. 

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

Lake County throws hat in ring on Potter Valley Project

The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved an amended resolution Tuesday that will open the door for Lake County to join a group vying to take over responsibility for the Potter Valley hydroelectric project.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dead fish and starving whales: What Trump’s hidden report on water means to California

Federal scientists pulled no punches in their report: The Trump administration’s plan to send more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers would force critically endangered California salmon even closer to extinction, and starve a struggling population of West Coast killer whales.

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Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Fresno water district appeals ruling to stop work on Shasta Dam study

Westlands Water District says a preliminary injunction ordering it to stop work on an environmental impact report may prevent it from helping to pay for raising the height of the dam, according to the appeal filed last week.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Preparing California’s rivers for a changing climate

California’s rivers and streams have experienced enormous changes over the past 150 years, and a warming climate brings new challenges. We talked to Ted Grantham—a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about the state of the state’s rivers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

SMUD set to buy PG&E’s only hydroelectric powerhouse on the American River for $10.4 million

In a joint statement, the local utility providers announced that the Chili Bar Hydroelectric Project — a dam, reservoir, spillway and powerhouse that generates electricity north of Placerville on the South Fork of the American River — would be changing hands after SMUD’s board of directors voted Thursday evening to greenlight the purchase.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Could this be a ‘golden goose’ for Yuba County?

For five decades, PG&E paid for and operated the Colgate Powerhouse in exchange for the revenue generated by the hydroelectric generation. But now, instead of tens of millions of dollars flowing out to the utility, that agreement has expired and the revenue, potentially as much as $30 million per year, is flowing back into the Yuba Water Agency.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Cost, timeline for removing Klamath River dams updated

Removing four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River in Southern Oregon and Northern California is expected to cost just under $434 million and could happen by 2022, according to a new filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Environmental study out on $1 billion dam planned for San Jose

Environmentalists have raised concerns about the project’s costs, and the fact that it would submerge 1,245 acres of oak woodlands… But the Santa Clara Valley Water District, a San Jose government agency that provides water to 1.9 million Silicon Valley residents, says the reservoir is needed to store more water as insurance against California’s next drought.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California’s Shasta Dam project hits financial, legal snags

A plan to raise and expand California’s largest reservoir is on hold as federal officials look for partners to share in the $1.4 billion cost. The federal Bureau of Reclamation also must grapple with opponents who have sued, saying the Shasta Dam project violates state law.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Share our culture’: Yurok Tribe to offer canoe tours of Klamath River in 2020

Next spring, the Yurok Tribe will begin its Redwood Canoe Adventure Tour and it will utilize six hand-crafted redwood canoes made using traditional tribal tools and techniques. … According to the tribe, it’s an opportunity you won’t find anywhere else in the world due to the unique relationship between the Yurok people and the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Big winter lifts McCloud to No. 1 for annual precip in state

In a weather anomaly verified for the first time, a weather station in Siskiyou County recorded the highest annual precipitation for California’s weather season. The weather station at Stouts Meadow, located at an elevation of 5,400 near the headwaters of the McCloud River, recorded 126.76 inches of precipitation for the season.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Sites Reservoir needed for reliable water future

A flexible, reliable water supply is essential to California’s economy and to the job creation and job security goals of California’s working families. … Of all the projects vying for California’s attention, the proposed Sites Reservoir in Northern California offers the most tangible benefits.

Aquafornia news GreenBiz.com

Ratings giant Moody’s buys big chunk of California climate-risk data firm

It is seen as a major move from one of the world’s biggest credit ratings agencies that could have a significant impact on how seriously climate risk factors are viewed by financiers. Based in California, Four Twenty Seven scores physical risks associated with climate-related factors and other environmental issues, including heat stress, water stress, extreme precipitation, hurricanes and typhoons, and sea-level rise.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Bringing climate projections down to size for water managers

Hydrologists are creating watershed-scale projections for water resources managers and tools that managers can use to plan for the effects of climate change.

Aquafornia news Sunset Magazine

California’s winter rains ended the drought—and now summer means epic rafting

We asked California rafting experts to tell us how winter and spring rain will affect summer rafting—and where you should head out on the water.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks comments on plan to ensure San Luis Reservoir water reliability

The Bureau of Reclamation and Valley Water released draft environmental documents for public comment on the San Luis Low Point Improvement Project, which addresses water delivery interruptions and proposes to maintain reliable and cost-effective water supply.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Trinity River restoration project a collaborative success

During a recent trip to the Trinity River, I learned about the many challenges facing its salmon and steelhead populations. … A holistic approach to habitat restoration doesn’t rely on a single silver bullet solution, but applies a comprehensive set of actions that rely on collaboration

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Trinity River restoration project a collaborative success

During a recent trip to the Trinity River, I learned about the many challenges facing its salmon and steelhead populations. … But there is hope and evidence of progress in realizing ecological benefits of the past. A holistic approach to habitat restoration doesn’t rely on a single silver bullet solution, but applies a comprehensive set of actions that rely on collaboration between local tribes, federal and state agencies, and local government agencies…

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: State appeals FEMA spillways reimbursement

In the appeal, DWR included updated reimbursement requests totaling an estimated $1.11 billion to cover costs of the Oroville spillways emergency response and emergency recovery efforts. Final costs won’t be known until all project work is complete, according to DWR officials.

Related article:

Aquafornia news St. George News

Army Corps of Engineers grants extension for Lake Powell Pipeline plans

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted Utah a 30-day extension to provide desired documentation and plans related to the Lake Powell Pipeline, according to state water officials.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Klamath dam removal will benefit fishing guides and anglers

As a small business owner who leads fishing tours for anglers from within and beyond the region, I understand that taking these dams out may lead to a short-term dip in business. But the long-term benefits of dam removal outweigh the near-term costs to my family and my livelihood.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: State water plan update worth just a yawn

The latest update of the California Water Plan was released this past week. You may not have heard the news. You may not even know there is a California Water Plan. And that’s just fine, because it doesn’t mean a darn thing.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Coalition of agencies, environmentalists sees future for aging dam

While California contemplates new dams for its thirsty future, it’s also thinking about taking out old ones. Along with advancing plans to demolish three dams atop the Klamath River, there’s a movement to rethink and possibly take out a water and power dam in the Mendocino County back country.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California cities ask Newsom to remove hurdles for PG&E assets

Cities such as San Francisco want to buy assets from the bankrupt electricity provider to control the power supply for their communities. An amendment inserted late in the legislative process makes those purchases more difficult by subjecting them to the approval of state regulators.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Bald eagles booming in Oroville

It’s not unusual to spot the national bird flying around Lake Oroville every summer. What’s unusual this year is the amount currently calling Lake Oroville home. Environmental scientists from the Department of Water Resources Oroville Field Division are keeping an eye on seven nesting pairs of bald eagles, four of which are successfully raising a total of eight young eaglets.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

Blog: Cybersecurity fundamentals guide for water and wastewater utilities now available

The updated guide contains dozens of best practices, grouped into 15 main categories, that water and wastewater systems can implement to reduce security risks to their IT and OT systems. Each recommendation is accompanied by links to corresponding technical resources.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: An opportunity to restore fish abundance on the Eel River

The Eel River—once home to the state’s third-largest salmon and steelhead runs, all of which are now listed as threatened―may see the return of healthy fisheries in coming years. A unique opportunity to remove a dam that blocks fish from reaching spawning habitat has arisen. We talked to Curtis Knight, executive director of CalTrout, about the situation.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California refuses to enlist clean, cheap hydropower in fight against climate change. It makes no sense

For years, the people of the Northern San Joaquin Valley have been trying to get hydropower recognized for what it is: the original source of clean electricity. Our efforts have been stymied by people who feel entitled to decide what is, or isn’t, green enough. That’s why I have begun the process of modifying our state Constitution to recognize safe, abundant, carbon-free hydropower as a reliable source of renewable energy in our fight against climate change.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Rafting adventures on California’s rivers

Your perfect river might be one where you float gently along on inner tubes, or maybe your style is to careen through raucous rapids in an eight-person inflatable raft. No problem. California has got it all when it comes to river rafting, from gentle half-day float trips for first-timers and mellow family adventures to adrenaline-pumping, white water, multi-day thrillers.

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 Fox 26 News

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water. But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections

There’s a new twist in the California-Trump brawl in the state Legislature. It’s aimed at overriding the president’s power to weaken environmental protections. Put simply, any federal protections President Trump tried to gut would immediately become state regulations in their original, strong form.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In an era of extreme weather, concerns grow over dam safety

It is a telling illustration of the precarious state of United States dams that the near-collapse in February 2017 of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, occurred in California, considered one of the nation’s leading states in dam safety management.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Dam opening sparks moment to reflect

On the last Saturday in June, a road in Butte County was opened. That in itself isn’t anything unusual. Roads are opened and closed regularly around here. But it was the significance of this road that makes it a remarkable occurrence. It was the road over Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California needs to build Sites Reservoir. Here’s why

We need a broad portfolio of solutions that includes storage above and below ground, conservation, and other options such as traditional recycled and potable reuse to help ensure we can better manage this vital resource when the next inevitable drought comes along. … One part of that solution is the proposed Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Power plants create giant water battery

The Lake Hodges facility near San Diego, a relatively small 40 megawatt generating station, is one of 40 pumped storage facilities around the United States, and its operator says it is helping the state meet its ambitious goals. San Diego is planning a larger system at another site, the San Vicente reservoir, again using two water sources at different elevations.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty, six decades later

The original treaty was implemented before the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, the 1973 Endangered Species Act and a host of legal shifts that bolstered Indigenous rights… These hallmarks of change emphasize the need to include environmental protection and equity in an updated treaty.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Oroville Dam reopens to public after spillways rebuilt

Oroville Dam is officially back open to the public two years after it was forced to close due to the failure of the dam’s main and emergency spillways. People can now walk and bike the more than one-mile-long road across the dam crest. Public vehicles will still not be allowed.

Aquafornia news Power Magazine

A clean sweep for invasive mussel biofouling

The rapid proliferation of the quagga mussel has major implications for power plant reliability. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installed a groundbreaking solution at Parker Dam in Arizona that virtually eliminated the invasive species from hydropower cooling systems.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

It will take as many as 13 water years exactly like this one to erase the impacts of long-term drought in the West, Colorado River District engineers say.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

Felt an earthquake on the Colorado-Utah border? It’s probably this federal facility

Since the turn of the 20th century, the Colorado River and its tributaries have been dammed and diverted to sustain the growth of massive cities and large-scale farming in the American Southwest. Attempts to bend the river system to humanity’s will have also led to all kinds of unintended consequences. In Colorado’s Paradox Valley, those unintended consequences take the form of earthquakes.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Plan to take over Potter Valley Project moves forward

This week, a partnership of multiple agencies spanning three counties along the Eel and Russian rivers will officially launch a plan to take over operations of the Potter Valley Project, a hydro-electric dam that affects the amount of water in each river.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

New agreement cuts water usage further if Colorado River levels keep dropping

The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, divided into plans for the river’s upper and lower basins, is the product of years of interstate negotiations, business transactions and political dealings. What, though, does it mean for Nevada and other Western states as a whole?

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Study: Small increases in Upper Colorado water use would cause big shortage risk

Increasing Upper Colorado River Basin water use by just 11.5 percent would double the risk that the Upper Basin fails to have enough water to meet its obligations under the Colorado River Compact, according to a new modeling study to be rolled out in a big meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, next week.

Aquafornia news Cloverdale Reveille

Coming together for the Potter Valley Project

Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma Water — announced  they will be signing a project planning agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego’s climate goals require more investment in energy storage

The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: DWR’s climate change vulnerability assessment

In order to address the impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

FERC finds Premium Energy’s application ‘patently deficient’

Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…

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 Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California needs Senate Bill 487 for watershed surveying

In my 40 years at the California Department of Water Resources, I have seen changes in climate that have convinced me that the full picture is changing and our extrapolation methods are losing value rapidly. This is especially true in extreme years, wet or dry – such as 2015, when the statistics are just not going to be accurate enough to meet our growing water management needs.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: The Colorado River’s biggest challenge looms

States that share the river’s water finalized a big agreement last month, but an even larger challenge determining the river’s future is just around the bend, expert John Fleck explains.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Are big dams renewable energy? California Democrats split

In an effort to combat climate change and reduce smog, former Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed a landmark law that requires California’s utilities to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030. But hydroelectric power from large dams doesn’t qualify as renewable, because of another state law, passed nearly 20 years ago, that aimed to protect salmon and other endangered fish. That’s not right, says State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County eyes role in Potter Valley project

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to investigate becoming a stakeholder in the Potter Valley project, a massive water development in the Eel and Russian river basins. … The idea is to protect the Russian River’s water supply for Potter Valley residents while mitigating the effects of the Scott Dam on Eel River fish populations.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Before there was a New Melones Dam: A look back at efforts to save the Stanislaus River

Members of Friends of the River and the Sierra Club are planning a presentation on a controversial episode in Mother Lode history, when activists unsuccessfully tried to prevent flooding of a raftable section of the Stanislaus River by rising water levels in New Melones Reservoir in the 1970s and 1980s. … The event is scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday this week at Tuolumne County Library, 480 Greenley Road in Sonora.

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 Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River deal: As states sign, long-term challenges remain

The Colorado River just got a boost that’s likely to prevent its depleted reservoirs from bottoming out, at least for the next several years. Representatives of seven Western states and the federal government signed a landmark deal on Monday laying out potential cuts in water deliveries through 2026 to reduce the risks of the river’s reservoirs hitting critically low levels.

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Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Interior Department pulls support from Klamath dam removal project

Recently-appointed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has rescinded a letter of support that Obama-era Interior Secretary Sally Jewell wrote in 2016. … Matt Cox is with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, the non-profit formed to implement the dam removal agreement. He says rescinding Jewell’s letter has no legal effect.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements. The money comes at a cost to California’s biggest undertaking — high-speed rail.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

The Drought Contingency Plan is done. Now what?

After months of tense, difficult negotiations, a plan to spread the effects of anticipated cutbacks on the drought-stricken Colorado River is nearing completion. On Monday, representatives of the seven states that rely on the river will gather for a formal signing ceremony at Hoover Dam, the real and symbolic center of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Editorial: Oroville Dam is fine, despite what the internet says

Well, apparently we’re all about to die again. The internet says so. And while the internet often says we’re all about to die, and we don’t, for some reason people still unquestionably believe the next scare to come down the information highway. So it is with the latest local scare, involving the Oroville Dam spillway.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Fundraiser focuses on stopping Klamath dam removal

Halting plans to remove four dams on the Klamath River was the theme of a well-attended fundraising event hosted May 4 by the Siskiyou County Water Users Association. Guest speakers, including Congressman Doug LaMalfa, Siskiyou County Supervisor Brandon Criss, former Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams and Attorney James Buchal, author of “The Great Salmon Hoax” discussed problems they foresee with dam removal which they believe is far from a done deal.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

As PG&E dumps Potter Valley project, new suitors line up

California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, and Sonoma Water have officially put a foot forward to explore a planning agreement for the project’s future. The coalition is championing a “two-basin solution” that could mitigate the effects of the Scott Dam on fish populations in the Eel River while ensuring that the Russian River basin doesn’t lose its water supply, which Potter Valley residents have relied on for over 100 years.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What does the Colorado River drought plan mean for California?

The DCP … provides assurance against curtailments for water stored behind Hoover Dam. This is especially important for the Southern California water agencies, whose ability to store water in Lake Mead is crucial for managing seasonal demands. Some significant challenges must still be addressed, however.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

Groups reach agreement to find path forward for Potter Valley Project

California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission and Sonoma Water announced that they have entered into a planning agreement to explore pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project in the wake of Pacific Gas and Electric’s decision to withdraw from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing process for the project.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Rare ‘atmospheric river’ storms to soak California this week

Dig out that umbrella, and even the tire chains. It’s mid-May, but a series of rare, winter-like storms will soak the Bay Area and much of California through next week and bring up to 2 feet of new snow to the Sierra Nevada.

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Aquafornia news LAist.com

How LADWP uses two lakes to store energy like a giant battery

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has turned two big lakes into a monster battery capable of storing enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes. It involves using the excess wind and solar power L.A.’s renewable energy sites produce during the day to pump water from Castaic Lake uphill 7.5 miles to Pyramid Lake.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Coalition in Mendocino County forming to acquire Potter Valley Project

In Ukiah Thursday, at least two dozen people who depend on the Potter Valley Project for their farming operations gathered at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds to hear an update on the facility’s future. “New information to come shortly, and a lot of work still to do,” said Janet Pauli, chairwoman of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, a Joint Powers Authority that is exploring the possibility of acquiring the facility that Pacific Gas and Electric owns, but has essentially abandoned.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy

Up a remote canyon in the towering eastern Sierra, a Southern California company has an ambitious plan to dam the area’s cold, rushing waters and build one of the state’s first big hydroelectric facilities in decades. The project, southeast of Yosemite near the town of Bishop (Inyo County), faces long regulatory odds as well as daunting costs. But residents of the Owens Valley downstream and state environmentalists are not taking it lightly.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Storage is essential for California to achieve 100% green energy without blackouts

Counter-intuitively, the same environmental groups that have championed the state’s climate goals want to kill all pumped storage instead of evaluating each project on its own merits. … Come hell or high water, there is no way that we can get to 100% renewable resources, which, by nature, are intermittent and unreliable, without adequate storage.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California may go dark this summer, and most aren’t ready

The plan by PG&E Corp. comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts.

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With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Talks are about to begin on a potentially sweeping agreement that could reimagine how the Colorado River is managed

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.

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