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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Forest Restoration in the Sierra Nevada 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.

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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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah contributes more to study of Potter Valley Project purchase

The Ukiah City Council recently approved contributing another $50,000 to a local group’s effort to explore the possibility of buying the Potter Valley Project. … Sean White, the city’s director of water resources, described the dam facility as “essentially a diversion of Eel River water through a tunnel that provides major benefits to Lake Mendocino, which provides a significant amount of our water supply.”

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

The planet is losing free-flowing rivers

Only 37 percent of the world’s longest rivers remain unimpeded and free-flowing from their source to where they empty, according to a study published today in Nature. Free-flowing rivers are ecologically crucial — replenishing groundwater, bolstering biodiversity, and reducing the impacts of droughts and floods.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Excluding hydropower makes no sense

When California embarked on its quest to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a global model to stave off climate change, its first target was the state’s electric power industry. … But for purely political reasons, the list omitted two power sources that are both free of greenhouse gases and renewable: large hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants.

Aquafornia news Fox40

Civil engineers grade California’s infrastructure with a C-

Failing power lines and crumbling roads are just some of the major issues highlighted in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2019 report card. It’s an analysis that comes out every six years, grading 17 different areas of infrastructure including waterways, aviation and schools.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Four years after California’s largest dam removal, fish are back

Removal of the century-old dam is being watched closely around the country as a potential model… In 2016, the first year after it was removed, researchers found that no steelhead trout swam past its former site to a tagging location seven miles upriver. … So far this year, 123 steelhead have traveled upriver.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The California water model: Resilience through failure

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

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Many large Northern California reservoirs nearly full

We’ve made it through most of the prime water season and have had a few blockbuster winter storms. For many large reservoirs in California the mission for reservoirs switches from flood control to water storage and there isn’t much room left for storage. All major Northern California Reservoirs are more than 90 percent full and many will reach capacity in a month or so.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Changes were made to water flow out of Glen Canyon Dam. That led to more bugs in the Colorado River

Ted Kennedy sums up what he sees along the river in the Grand Canyon: “It’s buggy out there.” That is to say, an experiment to change the flow of water from a dam near the Arizona-Utah state line appeared to boost the number of aquatic insects that fish in the Colorado River eat. Scientists are hoping to better understand those results with a second bug flow experiment that started this month and will run through August.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Newsom says he has a fresh approach to California’s longtime water woes

At first blush, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest action on water seems fanciful and naive. But it has logic and conceivably could work. Newsom wants to reexamine practically everything the state has been working on — meaning what former Gov. Jerry Brown was doing — and piece together a grand plan for California’s future that can draw the support of longtime water warriors.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hydropower bill would sabotage California’s clean energy mandate, critics say

The Don Pedro hydropower project, just west of Yosemite National Park, has been churning out carbon-free electricity for nearly a century. … None of the electricity is counted toward California’s push for more renewable energy on its power grid. A new bill advanced by state lawmakers last week would change that — and it’s being opposed by environmental groups, who say it would undermine the state’s landmark clean energy law by limiting the need to build solar farms and wind turbines.

Aquafornia news Portland Business Journal

FERC approves Oregon pumped storage project

The $800 million Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, 11 miles north of Klamath Falls, would move water between two 60-plus-acre reservoirs separated by more than 1,600 vertical feet, pumping the water uphill when energy is available and sending it downhill through generating turbines when energy is needed.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Colorado River: NEPA looms over drought plan enthusiasm

Some lawyers say the Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, may be built on shaky legal ground and could be vulnerable to litigation — depending on how the Bureau of Reclamation implements it. One California water district has already sued to block it.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: Yuba Water Agency, DWR launch research to enhance reservoir operations

This research will supply information needed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to update the 1970’s-era water control manuals, which dictate the storm-season operations of both reservoirs. Yuba Water’s goal is to have a new water control manual approved about the same time the agency completes construction of a new, planned secondary spillway at its New Bullards Bar Dam, estimated for completion in 2024.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Opinion: Advocating for dam removal, and the fish

Here’s what we know. The lower Klamath dams and reservoirs do not provide multipurpose water storage, flood protection, or irreplaceable energy. What they do provide are major barriers to fish migration, toxic blue-green algae and fish disease (C. shasta). The dwindling fish populations are proof. We must move forward with removing the dams and restoring the Klamath to the free-flowing river it once was.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Some springtime reading on California water

California is a wonderful place to study water. So many interesting and important problems, thoughtful and insightful authors, and much to be learned. Here is a selection of readings (updated from a 2012 post) on California water.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Eel River: Feds eye protection for Northern California trout

A trio of federal wildlife management agencies said Friday that listing the Northern California summer-run steelhead on the Endangered Species Act may be warranted, but said more public input is needed before a final determination is made.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Public meetings will be held on State Water Project

The Department of Water Resources issued notice that it will seek an updated environmental permit to operate the State Water Project through a state-based approach in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. … Historically, DWR has received environmental coverage for its pumping operations through environmental parameters issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Court orders EPA to reevaluate Obama-era power plant wastewater rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled on Friday that the EPA’s 2015 power plant wastewater pollution rule was not stringent enough, siding with environmentalists. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan ruled in favor of various environmental groups that portions of the wastewater rule regulating legacy wastewater and liquid from impoundments were “unlawful.”

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

“It is not a hole,” says Bureau of Reclamation after viewer takes photo of Shasta Dam

The area manager of the Shasta Dam, Don Bader said the image is not a hole in the dam, but a spall, which is a small fragment or a chip, that has broken off of a larger solid body.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Irrigation district leader in Turlock will retire

Casey Hashimoto, general manager of the Turlock Irrigation District since 2010, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of 2019. The leader of one of Stanislaus County’s largest water and power providers disclosed his plans at the morning board meeting. Hashimoto, an electrical engineer, joined TID in 1985 and was an assistant GM for 10 years.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Congress passes Colorado River drought plan

A bill that would authorize the federal government to enact a drought plan for Colorado River basin states in times of shortage has passed Congress and is on its way to the White House for the president’s signature. … Its aim is to protect water users from deep losses and keep the reservoirs and river healthy.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

Counties scramble to meet deadline after PG&E abandons Eel River power and water project

PG&E’s announcement it would no longer seek a new license to operate the complex set FERC’s “orphan project” process in motion… Prospective licensees have until July 1 to file applications with FERC. … A new licensee must be able to pay for the continued maintenance and operation of all project facilities and be capable of monitoring and complying with regulatory requirements arising from the project’s impacts.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: After near-disaster, Oroville Dam spillway about to face its first big test

Officials predict they might need to open the gates to move water that accumulated during the wet winter season from the reservoir down into the Feather River. … Amy Rechenmacher, an associate professor of engineering practice at USC, said the spillway’s use is going to be a big test for the agency and engineers who worked on the project.

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Rafters, farmers, environmentalists all hope to benefit from Don Pedro relicensing

Whitewater rafting businesses are holding out hope of getting a safe landing area near the Ward’s Ferry bridge over the Tuolumne River, as a condition of relicensing the Don Pedro hydroelectric project. At a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hearing Tuesday in Modesto, speakers said an existing takeout for rafts on the Tuolumne, upstream from Don Pedro Reservoir, is under water because of dam operations. And the options for getting boats out of the water are not safe.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Approve the Colorado River Plan as a model for climate resilience

In the coming days, Congress will begin committee hearings on unusually concise, 139-word legislation that would allow the secretary of the interior to implement the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP. … This agreement marks a watershed moment in building our country’s resilience to climate change.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Lake Mead crisis is about more than a lack of water

What image comes to mind when you think of Lake Mead? For most, it’s likely the infamous “bathtub ring,” a troubling sign of the depleted water supply in this life-sustaining reservoir. But while this is one of the most frequently deployed images associated with the decades long “drought” in the West, do we really see it? Does it make an impact that’s strong enough to shift our perceptions and motivate us to alter our personal water consumption?

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

City of Napa to look into joint water study of reservoir areas with county

To better understand how vineyard and housing development could affect its Upvalley water sources, the city of Napa may join forces with the county on a study of runoff and inflow into Lake Hennessey and Milliken Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Coding teams step up to solve dam problem

Dozens of computer coding teams from around San Joaquin County were tasked to create an app in roughly seven hours. The issue: following the destruction caused by the malfunction of the Oroville Dam in February 2017 and the evacuation of more than 180,000 people, could there be an app that can track dam leakage, seismic activity and other structural impacts and communicate with the appropriate individuals to help deter another disaster?

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

State environmental group wants old Scott Dam on Eel River removed to help salmon and steelhead

A state environmental group is calling for the removal of an old dam on the Eel River, contending it threatens the future of protected salmon and steelhead while acknowledging it is a key part of the North Bay’s water supply. Scott Dam, a 138-foot concrete dam erected in 1922, is one of five aging dams California Trout asserts are “ripe for removal” to benefit their natural surroundings and communities.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

Opinion: Dam removal report sparks hope for Klamath Basin Ag

It may be a unique situation when a dam removal might mean more water for farmers instead of less, but the Klamath Basin is a unique place. A report released last summer by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is leading more and more Basin farmers and ranchers to believe that dam removal may have something big to offer.

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Fish in Tubes: The salmon cannon is just one place where fish go tubular

Firing live fish through the air may be rich fodder for late-night television, but there are a surprising number of situations where salmon and other fish sluice through tubes.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

After PG&E bankruptcy, Potter Valley Project’s future uncertain

A system that transfers and diverts water from the Eel River basin has been in Pacific Gas and Electric’s control for over 35 years, but the utility’s bankruptcy filing in January — coupled with its interest in either selling or abandoning the project — has Humboldt County officials intent on closely following what happens next.

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

Board of supervisors requesting mitigation dollars for Klamath dam removal

Still unconvinced Klamath River dam removal wouldn’t result in excessive silt at Crescent City Harbor, Del Norte County supervisors are asking the nonprofit organization behind the effort to set aside mitigation dollars. With a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors directed Community Development Director Heidi Kunstal to draft a letter to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation with its request.

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Momentum builds for public investment in California water-storage projects

It won’t arrive in time for this wet winter, but hopes are rising that Central Valley politicians will soon deliver on one of their top political goals in recent years: investment in California water storage. Bills introduced last week by Bakersfield Republicans in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., would redirect money from the state’s high-speed rail project toward a series of reservoir projects, as well as repairs to a canal serving Kern County farmers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Millions of Californians’ water bills could climb after Trump’s FEMA won’t pay $300M for Oroville Dam

Millions of Californians could end up with higher water bills after the Trump administration on Friday announced that federal emergency officials aren’t going to reimburse the state for $306 million in repairs to Oroville Dam stemming from the 2017 spillway crisis. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said federal taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for problems that existed prior to a massive hole forming in the dam’s concrete spillway in February 2017…

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Aquafornia news Statesman Journal

Oregon’s 90-year-old dam safety laws undergoing overhaul

Oregon’s dam safety regulations are getting an overhaul, for the first time in nearly a century. A bill pending in the Legislature would rewrite the laws governing construction, inspections and enforcement authority for hundreds of state-regulated dams. The bill would increase the state’s power to force owners of aging, dangerous dams to do maintenance and make repairs. And it would require state approval and oversight of all new dam construction and removal of old dams.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

A wet winter will likely lead to a whale of a year for hydro in California

Plenty of snow in the Sierra and lots of rain just about everywhere else in California have helped alleviate drought conditions across the state. But there’s also another positive byproduct of the wet winter — a likely boost in the amount of hydroelectricity in California’s energy mix.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Momentum builds for public investment in California water-storage projects

Bills introduced last week by Bakersfield Republicans in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., would redirect money from the state’s high-speed rail project toward reservoir projects, as well as repairs to Friant-Kern Canal. … The proposals by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and state Assemblyman Vince Fong seize upon a common frustration among many valley Republicans that billions of state and federal dollars dedicated to high-speed rail would be better spent on capturing water from wet years…

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Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: California water: The only real mistake is forgetting the past

Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Rules enacted a decade ago that were intended to protect California’s iconic salmon and Delta smelt populations aren’t working and federal agencies are now in the process of modernizing them, this time using much better science.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Rep. McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects

Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation  Thursday to repurpose federal funding for the high-speed rail project. The Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act would take funding from the high-speed rail project and use it for water infrastructure projects in California and the West… McCarthy’s proposed legislation is cosponsored by every Republican member of the California Congressional Delegation.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Feds give California $205 million more for Oroville Dam spillway restoration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved $205 million to reimburse California for the Oroville Dam spillway reconstruction costs, the state Department of Water Resources announced Thursday. … However, FEMA has notified DWR that it doesn’t think some of the reconstruction costs are eligible for reimbursement,

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water seeping down reconstructed Oroville Dam spillway

Water is starting to seep down the rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway. California Department of Water Resources officials said Wednesday this is common and will not affect the operation of the dam’s gates, which are not watertight. … Both spillways at the 770-foot earthen dam, the nation’s tallest, collapsed in February 2017, forcing nearly 200,000 people downstream to evacuate.

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Aquafornia news The Independent

Duck swallowed by giant glory hole ’survives 200ft fall’

The moment a lone duck was sucked into a 200ft-deep drain at a reservoir in northern California – and reportedly survived – has been captured on video. Known locally as the “Glory Hole”, the giant spillway is designed to capture excess water at Lake Berryessa reservoir in Napa County. Rick Fowler, the lake’s water resources manager, filmed the bird as it drifted towards the fast-swirling vortex and dropped down into the hole.

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Aquafornia news NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

Blog: A long view of California’s climate

Deadly severe wildfires in California have scientists scrutinizing the underlying factors that could influence future extreme events. Using climate simulations and paleoclimate data dating back to the 16th century, a recent study looks closely at long-term upper-level wind and related moisture patterns to find clues.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Major milestone achieved at Thermalito pumping-generating plant in Oroville

This past December, DWR reconnected electricity to the Ronald B. Robie Thermalito Pumping-Generating Plant in Oroville, a major step towards returning the plant to full operation. A fire in November 2012 destroyed the plant’s operating capacity, requiring closure of the facility and its disconnection from the state’s electrical grid. …

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: As relicensing looms, aging dams face a reckoning

Dam by dam, owners of smaller hydroelectric projects around the West look at them with a cold eye as relicensing looms. Created with optimism a century ago, dams are now seen as fish-killers and river-distorters. New energy sources are getting cheaper. After decades of operation, owners approach relicensing knowing that, if they are to continue generating a single watt of electricity, they must fix the problems.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville continues to rise as Hyatt Powerplant releases stay steady

The state Department of Water Resources announced that releases from the powerplant were being increased from 1,750 cubic feet per second to 5,000 cfs. Ten-day projections show the lake reaching 835 feet on March 14, according to DWR. The department has said it does not anticipate that it will utilize the rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway anytime soon; however, crews have been making preparations in case its use becomes necessary. The spillway becomes usable once water reaches its gates at 813 feet, which should happen Tuesday morning.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Weekly

Peninsula cities seek more oversight on water projects

It’s a treasure that is all too easy for Palo Alto to take for granted — an abundant supply of pristine water that flows from the Sierra Nevada snowpacks and passes through the Hetch Hetchy system before splashing out of local showers and faucets. Palo Alto is one of 25 cities that belong to the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA), which manages the member cities’ supply agreement with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. … Even so, the cities don’t always know which projects they’re helping to fund.

Tour Nick Gray

Lower Colorado River Tour 2020
Field Trip - March 11-13

Explore the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour. 

Best Western McCarran Inn
4970 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Optimism still alive for Temperance Flat dam

Funding awarded for the new Temperance Flat Dam may have fallen short, but hopes for construction are still very much alive. Jason Phillips, Director of Friant Water Authority and alumni of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, has insight as to why those involved with the project are still optimistic.

Aquafornia news Crescent City Triplicate

Opinion: Greenough right to pump brakes on Klamath dam removal

It has occurred to me that the rush to remove the dams on the Klamath River is lacking in a whole host of ways, and I commend city Councilman Jason Greenough for being at least open to the notion that the dam removal might not be in the best interests of the community.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Follow our Lower Colorado River tour — and all our tours and events — on social media

Follow along on our water tour of the Lower Colorado River – and keep up with any of our tours and events – through our social media channels. We’ll post updates on our Twitter account @WaterEdFdn about people, issues and places as we travel along the Lower Colorado River from Hoover Dam to the Coachella Valley Feb. 27 through March 1.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Water transfer between reservoirs set to generate cost savings for South Bay customers

The water gushed from a valve near the base of the Loveland Reservoir’s dam at 146,300 gallons per minute, cascading into the Sweetwater River below. The impressive sight near Alpine … marked the start of an ongoing transfer of water from the Loveland Reservoir to the Sweetwater Reservoir, where the water will be treated by the Sweetwater Authority and later supplied to the water agency’s customers in National City, Chula Vista and Bonita.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Dr. Brad Udall: Is the Colorado River in crisis?

All eyes have been on the Colorado River recently with headlines across the west announcing the progress – or lack thereof – of the efforts of the seven basin states to reach agreement on the Drought Contingency Plan. So is the Colorado River in crisis? At the 2019 California Irrigation Institute conference, Dr. Brad Udall’s keynote presentation focused on answering that question.

Aquafornia news Ukiah Daily Journal

Potter Valley Project: Could the dam go but the diversions remain?

At a Town Hall Tuesday night, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) told the large crowd filling nearly every available seat in the Ukiah Valley Conference Center about a possible future for the Potter Valley Project that would remove the controversial dam, but preserve the water supply the Ukiah Valley has depended on for more than a century.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Whittier Narrows Dam repairs should be highest priority for Army Corps, says Rep. Grace Napolitano

Rep. Grace Napolitano, a Democrat with a district office in El Monte, sent a letter Wednesday, Feb. 20, urging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make safety repairs at Whittier Narrows Dam its highest budgetary priority in light of an assessment that the barrier could fail in the event of a very large, very rare storm.

Aquafornia news Auburn Journal

Cautious Placer Water studies PG&E asset acquisition

Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy filing has spurred the Placer County Water Agency to voice concerns about the future of a key water supply.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Opinion: Sites Reservoir offers innovative water solutions

When operating, Sites Reservoir will provide significantly more water during drier periods, to become a new drought-management tool to address California’s water management challenges into the 21st century and beyond. Innovative and environmentally sound, Sites Reservoir will provide water to enhance the environment when it can provide greater benefits and provide a resilient and reliable supply of water for our communities, farms and businesses.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Colorado River drought: Dispute puts Arizona piece of deal in jeopardy

Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community said in a statement Thursday that a decision by House Speaker Rusty Bowers to move forward with a contentious water bill threatens the community’s plan to support the drought agreement. The Gila River Indian Community’s involvement is key because it’s entitled to about a fourth of the Colorado River water that passes through the Central Arizona Project’s canal.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Connecting the drops in watershed management

The interrelated nature of water issues has given rise to a management approach that integrates flood control, environmental water, and water supply. The Yuba Water Agency manages its watershed in this kind of coordinated manner. We talked to Curt Aikens, the agency’s general manager, about the lessons they’ve learned from this “integrated management” approach.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

It’s official: El Niño is back. Now what?

Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that El Niño — the periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, with weather consequences worldwide — has officially arrived. El Niño typically peaks between October and March, so it’s pretty late in the season for a new one to form. This year’s El Niño is expected to remain relatively weak, but that doesn’t mean this one won’t be felt — in fact, its cascading consequences already in motion.

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Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

Restoring the Colorado: Bringing new life to a stressed river

The Colorado River has been dammed, diverted, and slowed by reservoirs, strangling the life out of a once-thriving ecosystem. But in the U.S. and Mexico, efforts are underway to revive sections of the river and restore vital riparian habitat for native plants, fish, and wildlife. Last in a series.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Wheels keep turning in lawsuit to retain Klamath dams

The Siskiyou County Water Users Association received confirmation that its writ of mandamus, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals in November, 2018, has been scheduled for the docket early next month. The writ asks the court to compel the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rule on a motion the SCWUA filed in April, 2018, which attempts to stop the transfer of the dams’ ownership to the KRRC – the nonprofit formed to decommission them.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Editorial: IID rightly demands Salton Sea funds

The Imperial Irrigation District holds among the oldest and largest rights to water from the Colorado River and is using that as leverage to get what it sees as a better deal in current drought contingency plan negotiations involving states that draw from the river. Among the hardball tactics IID is putting in play: A demand that the federal government provide $200 million for efforts to bolster the beleaguered Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Tucson Sentinel

Late push for Salton Sea improvements complicates Colorado River drought plan

Arizona and California aren’t done finishing a plan that would establish how states in the Colorado River Basin will ensure water for millions of people in the Southwest, said the head of the agency running the negotiations. … One challenge comes from the Imperial Irrigation District, a water utility that serves the Imperial Valley in southeastern California. It hasn’t signed California’s plan because it wants $200 million to restore the vanishing Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Opinion: Market ignores Colorado river crisis at its peril

The Colorado river crisis ought to be upsetting markets. The U.S. waterway supports some $4 trillion in GDP and at least $1.3 trillion in stock value across seven U.S. states. The river was already virtually tapped out last century, and continuing troubles have now led the federal government to step in to help manage its water use. Yet investors have barely caused a ripple.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Scientists study Lake Powell sediments to see how climate change, humans are affecting the water

The coring project is the initial phase of a multiyear analysis in partnership with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the National Park Service and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The agencies have set aside $1.3 million for the study, about half going toward extracting the cores.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lawsuit claims corruption, racism, sexual harassment contributed to Oroville Dam crisis

Workers were patching Oroville Dam’s weathered concrete spillway, nearly four years before a massive crater would tear it open. Michael Hopkins, an employee at the Department of Water Resources, alleges he saw something he would never forget. A legally deaf woman was assigned to drive a truck down the spillway and listen for hollow sounds in the concrete as her colleagues performed what’s known as “chain drag testing,” Hopkins wrote in a declaration filed last week in Sacramento Superior Court.

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Aquafornia news LasVegasNow.com

Park Service still accepting suggestions to address low-water concerns at Lake Mead

In the event that water elevation decreases below 1,050-feet, officials have developed a plan to address operational needs. Due to the government shutdown, the public wasn’t able to provide comment on the low water plan for Lake Mead. So an extension has been provided through Feb.15.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Can utilities survive with ‘massive’ wildfire risks?

Extreme wildfires in California threaten more than homes in the Golden State. … Under California law, a utility is liable for property damage if its equipment caused a fire, regardless of whether there was negligence. Given that, some are asking whether utilities can survive in the nation’s most populous state.

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