Topic List: Agriculture

Overview

Agriculture

California has been the nation’s leading agricultural and dairy state for the past 50 years. The state’s 80,500 farms and ranches produce more than 400 different agricultural products. These products generated a record $44.7 billion in sales value in 2012, accounting for 11.3 percent of the US total.

Breaking down the state’s agricultural role in the country, California produces 21 percent of the nation’s milk supply, 23 percent of its cheese and 92 percent of all grapes. The state also produces half of all domestically-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables, including some products, such as almonds, walnuts, artichokes, persimmons and pomegranates, of which 99 percent are grown in California.

Overall, about 3 percent of employment in the state is directly or indirectly related to agriculture.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a per-acre-foot extraction fee proposed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to pay for mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by continuing overdraft, as well as to begin importing water necessary to balance the groundwater basin. A public hearing regarding the fee is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at city hall.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: US West faces reckoning over water but avoids cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip slightly in 2021. … Despite the dip, Lake Mead’s levels are expected to stay above the threshold that triggers mandatory water cuts to Arizona and Nevada, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for a future when the flow will slow.

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Aquafornia news NASA Earth Observatory

Blog: A third of the U.S. faces drought

As the United States moves into the last weeks of climatological summer, one- third of the country is experiencing at least a moderate level of drought. Much of the West is approaching severe drought, and New England has been unusually dry and hot. An estimated 53 million people are living in drought-affected areas.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation’s largest Dam Safety project moves forward

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation submitted the B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dams Modification Report to Congress. This is Reclamation’s largest project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act, and when complete, will modernize the structure to reduce risk to water supply and downstream communities in an earthquake.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Wineries worry about impact of water rules

A new statewide order affecting how wineries dispose of water could undermine existing regional solutions, winery owners and their advocates say, and would impose new costs as the wine business struggles with tasting room closures and other measures intended to assure employee safety.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

Blog: Regional San’s landmark recycled water program gets new name

Regional San’s landmark recycled water program—previously known as the South County Ag Program—has been rebranded. Now known as Harvest Water, the program will be one of the largest water recycling projects in California and will deliver up to 50,000-acre feet per year of tertiary-treated recycled water to an estimated 16,000 acres of farm and habitat lands in southern Sacramento County.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

In Colorado’s climate change hot spot, the West’s water is evaporating

This cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope — along with three counties just across the border in eastern Utah — has warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius, double the global average. Spanning more than 30,000 square miles, it is the largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48, a Washington Post analysis found. … The average flow of the Colorado River has declined nearly 20 percent over the past century, half of which is because of warming temperatures, scientists say.

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Klamath dam deal is in peril, but hope remains

FERC concluded that the nonprofit that was going to take ownership of the dams didn’t have the experience or expertise to oversee such a complicated project. PacifiCorp therefore needed to stay on as co-licensee. But if PacifiCorp couldn’t walk away clean, it lost a huge incentive for removing the dams at all. It might just as well stick with the status quo. Thanks, FERC.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Judge rejects conservative challenge to Trump WOTUS rule

A conservative legal challenge to President Trump’s definition of what waterways qualify for Clean Water Act protections was rejected Thursday by a federal judge.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration studies raising the height of Shasta Dam

The decades-long battle over an effort to raise the height of Shasta Dam took another turn Thursday when the Trump Administration released a new environmental report on the plan, just five years after completing a similar study.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Federal court dismisses Trump water rule challenge in Oregon

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association sued the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May for bringing non-navigable, small streams and wetlands under Clean Water Act protection in the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Judge Michael W. Mosman, ruling from the bench on a preliminary injunction sought against the water rule, dismissed the claims without prejudice.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.

Aquafornia news California Rangeland Trust

News release: Groundbreaking research into working landscapes

The study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, examined 306,718 acres of California Rangeland Trust’s conservation easements across the state to explore both the environmental and monetary value of preserving California’s open spaces.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Blog: Projecting the future trade of virtual water

Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region. Now research led by scientists at PNNL has projected that the volume of virtual water traded globally could triple by the end of the century.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Dam removal plan for the Klamath River hinges on billionaire Warren Buffett

Through three governors, California has set a path to tear down four aging dams on the Klamath River astride the Oregon border. It would be the biggest such removal project in the nation, done in the name of fish preservation, clean water flows and political consensus. But the undertaking is hitting a snag, one that Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to undo.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath Irrigation District scores victory in water rights case

Earlier this year, Reclamation released water from Upper Klamath Lake — impounded by the Link River Dam in Klamath Falls — to boost streamflows for coho salmon in the lower Klamath River. But the Klamath Irrigation District sued, claiming the bureau does not have an established right from the Oregon Water Resources Department to use the stored water.

Aquafornia news Wine Industry Advisor

New winery wastewater regulations could cost small and midsize wineries thousands every year

The California state water board is working on an update to a permitting process with water discharge requirements that make sure wineries are in compliance with water quality regulation and allows them a pathway to compliance. The new order will affect over 2,000 wineries that discharge winery waste to land for the purpose of disposal or reuse for irrigation and soil amendment.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation to invest $1.2M in updated science for Klamath Project

Among the projects, the bureau promises to update a 20-year-old assessment of streamflows in the lower Klamath River for Coho salmon and re-evaluate how water levels in Upper Klamath Lake are affecting the survival of endangered sucker fish. Farmers in the Klamath Project have long argued that flawed or outdated science is chipping away at the amount of water they receive each year to irrigate crops.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Fixing the Colorado River is tough. Good thing Arizona started early

The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102

John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam

Four years after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the flood risk for the Whittier Narrows Dam from high urgency to very high urgency, the U,S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a budget package that included nearly $385 million to fix the dam.

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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 Associated Press

California governor asks Warren Buffett to back dam removal

Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed directly to investor Warren Buffett to support demolishing four hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news InterestingEngineering.com

How over-pumping of underground aquifers can cause land to sink

All the static and dynamic forces from the land and rock above start adding up and eventually that now-dry soil starts compacting down and down. While this may not seem like a big deal on a small scale, what we’ve seen in California (and other parts of the world too) is the dropping of the surface elevation over a period of years, often by hundreds of feet or meters.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news Arizona Department of Water Resources

News release: A user- friendly, one-stop shop for insight on AZ’s water resources

In many respects, the Arizona Water Blueprint – a data-rich, interactive map of Arizona’s water resources and infrastructure created by the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Arizona State University – could not have been rolled out at a better time. Research into Arizona’s varied sources of water is approaching an all-time high.

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

San Benito Foods sues Hollister over permit, claims extortion

In a court filing, San Benito Foods accused the Hollister City Council of “extortion of fees” for removing sludge from pond #2 at the city’s industrial wastewater treatment plant, which the cannery uses to dispose of its wastewater, and that it is in breach of an agreement between the city and the company.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in lawsuit against Met

Following the Imperial Irrigation District’s recent win on a monumental water case in California’s appellate court against Michael Abatti, the water district is back in court filing the opening brief against the other large water district is Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Vehicles burned in Mexico to protest US water payment

Demonstrators in northern Mexico have burned several government vehicles, blocked railway tracks and set afire a government office and highway tollbooths to protest water payments to the United States.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom asks Warren Buffett to remove California dams

Desperate to complete a historic but complicated dam removal on the California-Oregon border, Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed to one of the world’s wealthiest men to keep the project on track: financier Warren Buffett. Newsom dispatched a letter to Buffett and two of his executives Wednesday urging them to support removal of four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath River…

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Valley farmers look to Kern River tributary to replenish groundwater

A Kern County water agency is facing a wall of opposition against its plan to harvest up to 12,000 acre feet of water from the South Fork of the Kern River above Lake Isabella and bring it to valley farms and homeowners in northwest Bakersfield.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation invests in new science updates for Klamath Project

In response to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt and Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman’s recent visit with Klamath Basin ranchers, farmers, tribes and community officials, Reclamation is launching a new science initiative to inform Klamath Project operations.

Aquafornia news National Science Foundation

News release: Pesticides speed the spread of deadly waterborne pathogens

The U.S. National Science Foundation-funded study … found that agrochemicals can increase transmission of the schistosome worm in myriad ways: by directly affecting survival of the waterborne parasite itself; by decimating aquatic predators that feed on snails that carry the parasite; and by altering the composition of algae in the water, which provides a major food source for snails.

Aquafornia news Ingrained

Audio: Giants in the rice fields

Nearly 230 wildlife species depend on Sacramento Valley rice fields for food and a resting place, including the giant gartersnake, a threatened species. Although it has “giant” in its name, this creature is, at most, five-feet long. These snakes are heavily dependent on rice fields for their survival; having lost most of their earlier habitat – traditional wetlands…

Aquafornia news The Intercept

When coronavirus struck the Salton Sea

The community already beset by an environmental disaster is now facing a pandemic of the worst proportions. Residents and activists, who have long fought for more funding and pollution mitigation, say the area was already at a steep disadvantage for health care. Now the largely agrarian community has found itself in the middle of a perfect storm of environmental neglect, poverty, and the coronavirus.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Water right permitting options for groundwater recharge: Avoiding unintended consequences

Recharge is playing a growing role in maintaining groundwater as an effective drought reserve and in slowing or reversing the effects of years of unsustainable groundwater pumping. But implementing recharge projects is not easy. Water managers face a range of hurdles.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

At a meeting this month where the State Water Resources Control Board adopted its first spending plan for what was supposed to be a $130 million-a-year investment for the next decade, Chairman Joaquin Esquivel acknowledged that the economic downturn could set California back.

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Aquafornia news CBS Sunday Morning

Without water

Black and Latino Americans are twice as likely as White Americans to live without running water. Take East Orosi, a mostly Latino community surrounded by the fertile orchards of California’s Central Valley. To look around you’d think that water is pretty plentiful … and it is, for big agriculture. But in a neighborhood where most of those who work those fields live, there’s no central water main.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State Water Board has authority to implement temporary water curtailments without evidentiary hearing

The Third Appellate District has ruled that the State Water Resources Control Board has the authority to issue temporary emergency regulations and curtailment orders which establish minimum flow requirements, regulate unreasonable use of water, and protect threatened fish species during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

MID and TID reach key milestone on Tuolumne River fish flows

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated its support once again for the fishery releases proposed by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The action reaffirmed FERC findings in February 2019 that dismissed pleas from environmental and sport-fishing groups for much higher flows.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Klamath water arrives, saving 50,000 ducklings from certain death

More than 50,000 ducklings and other newborn waterfowl and shorebirds were saved from certain deaths this week after an emergency delivery of water to the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior may shift projects to former Bernhardt client

Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in the San Joaquin Valley … is seeking ownership of 1,034 miles of buried pipeline, multiple pumping plants and canals, and two field offices. The Bureau of Reclamation confirmed it is moving forward with the transfer.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Thursday Top of the Scroll: River agreements stall amid focus on Delta litigation

With state and federal administrations fighting in court about delta water operations—and with a pandemic and election year both underway—work has slowed on voluntary agreements meant to avoid severe cuts to northern San Joaquin Valley water supplies. At issue is the first phase of a State Water Resources Control Board plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Setting sustainable groundwater management criteria: It’s easy, isn’t it?

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s 3rd annual GSA Summit, a panel reviewed how the process went for the groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources earlier this year, focusing on four of the six sustainable management criteria: water levels, water quality, land subsidence, and interconnected surface waters.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate panel reviews bills to address irrigation, conservation

Senators met yesterday to consider a suite of legislation to address water problems in the American West, though little was revealed about what comes next for the bills.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Ranchers discuss challenges of drought on public lands

In a webinar hosted by the University of California, Davis, last week, three California ranchers shared challenges they face managing multiple-use public lands, and how they cope with drought.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Monterey Mushroom, Inc. to pay $1.2m for unauthorized wastewater discharges to tributaries of Elkhorn Slough

Between Jan.8, 2017 and April 19, 2017, the company discharged 4,634,245 gallons of process wastewater and/or polluted stormwater from two mushroom growing facilities located in Royal Oaks into the tributary. The wastewater contained ammonia, excessive nutrients, and suspended and floating material, which can harm water quality and aquatic habitat.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Court of Appeal holds that Imperial Irrigation District landowners only have a right to water service, not individual rights to district-held water

On appeal, the court held that the District’s water allocation methodology in the “equitable distribution plan” was reasonable and not an abuse of discretion, and that Abatti and the other farmers in IID only hold an interest in, or right to, water service.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Fields of gold: Sacramento Valley climate is ripe for producing quality olive oil

“We believe olives are California’s crop of the future,” said Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center. “Because as the water supply tightens up, either through state policy or extended drought periods, we’re seeing a longer, warmer season — olives are really well-suited to manage that more than other crops…”

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

More clashes in Mexico over repaying U.S. water debt

Farmers once again clashed with Mexican military forces Sunday to protest releases of water from a dam to repay a water debt owed to the United States. … Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico owes the United States about 415,000 acre-feet yearly that must be paid by Oct. 24. Mexico has fallen badly behind in payments from previous years and now has to quickly catch up on water transfers.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Could “angel investors” buy a piece of the Friant-Kern Canal?

An investor funding proposal that could substantially increase the Friant-Kern Canal’s historic flow capacity is gaining interest among the Friant Water Authority’s member districts.

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 Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves groundwater extraction fee hike

Local water users will pay higher groundwater extraction fees to close the gap between estimated and actual costs associated with the Groundwater Sustainability Plan required by California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The fee increase was approved on Thursday by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District retains control over Colorado River water in legal tussle with farmer Michael Abatti

The Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti have been locked in a years-long legal battle with as many twists as the river over which it has been fought. The saga might finally come to an end, though, after a California appellate court handed down a ruling on Thursday that found IID is the rightful manager of the portion of the Colorado River guaranteed to the Imperial Valley.

Related articles:

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 Bakersfield Californian

New petition demands water be put back in Kern River in Bakersfield

“The people of Bakersfield need a flowing river — with water in a thriving river parkway, quality of life in Bakersfield will be significantly improved,” says the petition, posted recently by local resident Jonathan Yates on Change.org.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. And while SGMA legislation requires disadvantaged communities to be a stakeholder in all planning documents, such communities were largely absent from newspaper reports.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California wineries take note: State water board releases draft general order for winery process water

On July 3, 2020, the State Water Resources Control Board released proposed requirements for winery process water treatment along with the draft California Environmental Quality Act Initial Study and Mitigated Declaration for public comment. The proposed order will apply statewide, and includes requirements to ensure winery operations will not adversely impact water quality.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds may cover half of Friant-Kern Canal fix

On July 6, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees the canal, finalized a feasibility report for Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Under section 4007 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, the bureau’s report means up to 50% of the total project costs can be requested from the U.S. Department of the Interior and subsequently appropriated by Congress for construction.

Aquafornia news Water Talk Podcast

Audio: Water reform in California institutional ecosystems

A conversation with UC Davis doctoral researchers Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos and Jess Rudnick about water governance, institutional reforms, equity, and participation in California.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: California almonds and salmon: Contrasts in sustainability

Earlier this year, the California Almond Board released a report regarding the acreage of almond trees that have reached bearing age and another with totals including young trees. These reports paint a stark picture of an unsustainable industry that threatens the Bay-Delta ecosystem and California’s salmon fishing jobs.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Understanding the human dimensions of social agro-ecological systems

This brown bag seminar was part of the selection process for a California Sea Grant Extension Specialist who will be hired jointly with the Delta Stewardship Council. … The candidate and presenter is Jessica Rudnick. Rudnick arrived at UC Davis in 2016 after completing her master’s in ecology and has since been a Ph.D. candidate at UC Davis.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Podcast focuses on new agriculture and California’s future

On a hot June evening, UC Merced Professor Josh Viers joined farm advocate and small farmer Tom Willey on his front porch near Fresno to talk about California’s water, disadvantaged communities, agricultural production and the future as part of the new “Down on the Farm” podcast that’s now available for all to hear.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID seeks Salton Sea consideration in Colorado River water lawsuit

The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton Sea is also considered.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Opinion: State water board trying to drain away Merced County’s chief supply

Less than a week before Christmas in 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board held a single public hearing in our community. The topic? Draining our community’s water supply and sending it to the Bay Delta.

Aquafornia news UC Agriculture and Natural Resources

Podcast: Water reform in California institutional ecosystems

A conversation with UC Davis doctoral researchers Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos and Jess Rudnick about water governance, institutional reforms, equity, and participation in California.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in petition to suspend DCP

Imperial Irrigation District made the first notable follow-up to its petition to hit the brakes on the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River with an opening brief filed Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: When the ground sinks, arsenic levels in drinking water may rise

To begin, what is arsenic? It is one of the basic chemical elements found in the periodic table that shows its relationship to other elements. Arsenic is dissolved from rocks by water in areas that have groundwater pools. If you have significant levels of arsenic in your water, it can cause cancer, heart disease, diarrhea and affect your skin.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Tribes critical of rushed meeting with federal officials

While farmers lauded Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman’s historic joint visit to the Klamath Basin on Thursday, area tribes expressed concern that their perspective on water issues had not been adequately heard.

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 Western Farm Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: Interior officials tour Klamath Basin, promise solutions

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman promised to seek a resolution to the decades-long water conflicts in the basin after meeting with growers, local water officials and other affected parties.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Money to repair Central Valley canal in House bill. A large funding gap remains

South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal and for two Northern California reservoirs.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

What happens when a drinking water system fails? Ask Earlimart

Residents in Earlimart, California, lost water service when a 50-year-old well on Mary Ann Avenue failed in late May. When it came back on, the main source of drinking water for more than 8,000 residents became a well contaminated with a chemical from banned pesticides. And most residents didn’t know. The Tulare County town’s water system is failing, in a lot of ways.

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmland values hinge on future water availability

Availability of water and the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act continue to be a main focus when California agricultural appraisers determine land values, particularly in water-short regions.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Opinion: Farmers need to serve on water district boards

William Bourdeau is executive vice president of Harris Farms in southwest Fresno County…. Bourdeau is very busy, but he does take the time to serve on different water district boards.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: We’ve stabilized the Colorado River – for now. But much tougher work lies ahead

We are preparing now for the tougher negotiations that lie ahead to develop new operating rules for the Colorado River. Last week, Arizona’s water community began work preparing our state’s vision of what Colorado River management should look like after the current set of rules expire in a little more than six years.

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Losing Carrizo

Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Appellate court upholds State Water Board’s drought emergency regulations and curtailment orders issued for Deer Creek

On June 18, 2020, the Third District Court of Appeal affirmed the lower court’s determination that the State Water Resources Control Board lawfully adopted emergency regulations and curtailment orders … in 2014 and 2015 during a period of severe and persistent drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Bolster our communities by investing in water

In California, especially in agriculture, water is often portrayed as an instigator of division. But this ignores an important lesson that COVID-19 has made even clearer — none of us are as healthy or resilient as we could be until everyone has safe and affordable water.

Aquafornia news Zocalo Public Square

Where Tulare Lake once was, a new telling of California’s history

All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The photographs of California Exposures tell a history of California, but not in the conventional sense.

Aquafornia news Audubon California

Blog: How Bowles Farming Co. supports people and birds – even during a pandemic

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the farm itself has become part of the landscape that millions of birds rely on. Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming Co., has partnered with Audubon over the last decade to support birds on his farm by restoring corridors and habitat, and finding new ways to manage crops to protect wildlife. You know a farmer is serious about birds when their Instagram includes highlights like the “Birds of Bowles Farming”.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

$71 million would be allocated for Friant-Kern Canal

The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year energy and water appropriations bill.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: How Friant Water Authority recaptured its water destiny

The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced to authorize significant funding for the project.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California still benefits from wet 2018-19

Reservoirs still relatively flush from the wet winter of 2018-19 have so far saved California from having to formally declare another drought, a veteran National Weather Service forecaster says.

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 Native News Online

Northern California tribes praise Supreme Court refusal to hear Klamath project case

American Indian tribes in California’s Klamath Basin praised Monday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court not to hear the Klamath Project irrigators’ Fifth Amendment water rights case, Baley v. United States. By not hearing the case, the Supreme Court upheld the Klamath Tribes’ treaty water rights as the most senior water rights in the Klamath Basin. These water rights are critical to protect the tribes’ fisheries and traditional way of life.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water recycling project promises supply for farms

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District is constructing the $375 million South Sacramento County Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program, or the South County Ag Program. As part of the wastewater provider’s $2 billion treatment plant upgrade, the district will construct new distribution pipelines to deliver recycled water from its to irrigation systems in southern Sacramento County.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

News release: UC Riverside wins $10 million to develop artificial intelligence for sustainable agriculture

The University of California, Riverside, has won a $10 million grant to develop artificial intelligence that will increase the environmental and economic stability of agriculture in the Western U.S.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

No-till saves water, increases yield

Standard tillage practices have been used throughout the San Joaquin Valley for nearly 90 years. Using similar inputs and amounts and pest management, UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist Jeff Mitchell’s team showed that a garbanzo and sorghum rotation in no-till yielded at least as well as in standard tillage. Sorghum yields were similar in no-till and standard tillage systems while garbanzo yields matched or exceeded no-till…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups challenge Trump water rollback

The suit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club, other environmental groups, and a number of tribes, argued the Trump administration erred in removing protections for wetlands and streams that result from rainfall.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Justices won’t wade into fight over Klamath water rights

Farmers won’t get paid for river water they lost out on during a drought in southern Oregon, because Native American tribes have water rights that rank above those of irrigators, stretching back to “time immemorial” — a ruling the U.S. Supreme Court refused to disturb on Monday.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: People, agriculture, and water in California

Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water. Agriculture and water together are a foundation for California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and environmental policies.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Sinking islands capture carbon credits

Encouraged by a recently vetted new method for creating carbon offsets from wetlands, a flurry of new climate adaptation projects on publicly owned islands strewn along the central Delta corridor aim to defend against sea-level rise, restore habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Scott River notice of water unavailability

With dry conditions resulting in low flows and threatening the survival of coho salmon, the State Water Board today sent notices of water unavailability to110 junior water right holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging them to stop diverting.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

According to scientists, Clear Lake is now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years

The most common complaint about Clear Lake is the algae. … Actually, the algae problem was a lot worse 40 years ago. Clear Lake is getting clearer. According to scientists the lake is now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years. There are also side effects from the clearer lake and that is aquatic weed growth.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer

The water agency is close to finishing a water transfer agreement with Westlands Water District. The agreement will call for selling up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings counties.

Aquafornia news CalTrout

Blog: A community effort to recover the Elk River

In recognition of the immense opportunity for recovery in Elk River, CalTrout, the North Coast Regional Water Board, and several project partners joined together to form the Elk River Watershed Stewardship Program. The purpose is to engage with the Elk River community to develop a landowner supported recovery plan to reduce nuisance flooding, address the severe sediment impairment, and rehabilitate habitat for native salmonids.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado River water battle comes to a boil in California

There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds seek input on Friant-Kern Canal fixes

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic drought from 2012-2017.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Politico

Video: America’s environmental future: The water solution

On Monday, June 15, POLITICO held a virtual deep-dive panel discussion on the policies and legislation needed at the state, regional and federal levels to meet the water needs of Western states and secure long-term solutions at a time when the attention and resources of local and state leaders are consumed by the pandemic crisis.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Getting to know incoming Yuba Water GM

The Yuba Water Agency will have a new leader beginning in July. Incoming General Manager Willie Whittlesey will continue shadowing current agency head Curt Aikens for the next few weeks before the transition becomes official.

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 The Desert Review

Fourth Appellate hears Abatti v. Imperial Irrigation District water rights case

The Fourth Appellate Court of California heard the Abatti parties vs. Imperial Irrigation lawsuit, Friday, June 12. The appeal was generated after Imperial County Superior Court Judge Brooks Anderholt ruled in Abatti’s favor of repealing the Equitable Distribution Plan in August 2017, which could ration agricultural water users by historical and straight-line measurements to deal with the longest drought in modern California history.

Aquafornia news Golf Course Industry

Counting every drop at Camelback Golf Club

Aaron Thomas arrived back in Paradise Valley just in time to christen the Ambiente Course, which proved a sort of launching pad for all manner constructive, on-course experimentation. … Thomas confirms the new design saves between 45 million and 55 million gallons of water annually, compared to pre-2013 levels. That is the platform from which Thomas has worked these past seven years. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans

Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious mud at one another over groundwater. And, in a rare break with tradition, they’re doing it in public. The fight has spilled out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.

Aquafornia news CalTrout

Blog: Ensuring flows for fish in the Shasta and Scott rivers

CalTrout and our partners have been working extensively with landowners to figure out ways to leave some of their water instream for the benefit of salmon. Often this means helping the landowner improve their on-ranch irrigation efficiency to decrease the amount of water needed maintain their agricultural operations.

Aquafornia news WineBusiness.com

Ninety percent of Napa vineyards certified as ‘fish friendly’

The Fish Friendly Farming Certification Program was designed to improve water quality and to restore and sustain habitat for federally-listed threatened species like Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. In a stunning victory for fish, farming and our environment, Fish Friendly Farming has already certified 90 percent of all Napa grape vineyards.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Key player on Colorado River issues seeks to balance competing water demands in the river’s upper basin

Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational industry and environmental protection takes expertise, leadership and a steady hand. Colorado has that in Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board since 2017

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation rescinds ‘Shasta-critical’ designation for CVP deliveries

Projected higher inflows to Shasta Lake caused the Bureau of Reclamation earlier this month to rescind its “Shasta Critical Year” designation after hydrologic conditions changed sufficiently. … For growers with senior water rights under the Exchange and Settlement contracts with the Central Valley Project, this means full allocation water deliveries will be forthcoming.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti square off in court

Water is power in California’s Imperial Valley, and a years-long fight over allocations from the Colorado River to the agriculture-heavy region landed back in court on Friday. Attorneys representing local farmers and the Imperial Irrigation District squared off in front of a three-judge panel at the state appellate court level over a water-rights lawsuit expected to be decided in 90 days.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Could the answer to groundwater resources come from high in the sky?

A new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Farmers to get more water, but not enough

Tulare County farmers will get more water than expected from a dry winter but far less than needed to avoid depleting an aquifer that is already drying up. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project announced the Friant Division … will receive 60% instead of 55% of its Class 1 water supply thanks to improved hydrologic conditions and the forecasted snowmelt runoff in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation confirms water supply to Klamath Project

Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project are breathing a sigh of relief after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday it will not further reduce this year’s water allotment, which is already less than half of demand. … On the other hand, tribal members that depend on ample salmon runs for their way of life argue the runs will continue to suffer in warm, low rivers without enough flow for them to migrate and spawn.

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Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Blog: California farmers leverage COVID-19 in bid for more water

While tens of millions of pounds of food has been destroyed or buried in the ground during the coronavirus slowdown, a band of California’s farmers is claiming they can’t produce enough food to feed Americans, and they’re using the pandemic as leverage to grab more of the West’s scarce water.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley water districts take aim at each other’s groundwater plans

There is no tougher playground than California’s water world. Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Cannabis Water Report moves forward; will be published in late 2020

As cannabis and hemp regulation expands globally, its impact on water resources is relatively unknown. However, a partnership between Resource Innovation Institute (RII), the Berkeley Cannabis Research Center and New Frontier Data will change that. The three organizations will publish The Cannabis Water Report in late 2020. The report will study water practices and usage rates across a range of cultivation methods and geographies and will offer strategic recommendations for governments and other stakeholders.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Delta dispute casts shadow on water supplies

With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state and federal governments on managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Lower Yolo Ranch restoration project appeal

The Solano County Water Agency has filed an appeal with the Delta Stewardship Council regarding the consistency determination submitted by Westlands Water District for the Lower Yolo Ranch Restoration Project. The letter points out that there are numerous existing agricultural and municipal water supply intakes in the Yolo Bypass Cache Slough Complex that will be impacted…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Some water restored for Klamath Basin farmers

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is backpedaling on a plan to further slash water deliveries to Klamath Basin farmers this summer, as the agency is reverting to an earlier allocation of 140,000 acre-feet. The bureau in May signaled plans to cut its allocation to 80,000 acre-feet as part of a three-year operating plan, initiated under an agreement with the Yurok Tribe.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation completes additional Central Valley Project contract conversions

The Bureau of Reclamation executed another set of congressionally-mandated contract conversions with Central Valley Project contractors pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. … These completed contract conversions include the City of West Sacramento and four contract assignments for Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

San Diego’s agricultural industry gets permanent water rate break

Avocado, citrus and flower growers, along with other farmers in the San Diego region of California, will soon have the option to choose a permanent reduced agricultural water rate in exchange for lower supply reliability.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Springs Sun

Opinion: Secretary Babbitt’s river plan doesn’t go far enough

When former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt suggested in a recent opinion piece that a portion of agricultural water rights on the Colorado River should be transferred to urban areas, it no doubt conjured up some strong emotions… But Babbitt’s proposal makes sense and he is right about the need to recognize the mismatch in population between the urbanized West and rural areas where most of the basin’s water is allocated.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Small, Central Valley community finally gets clean water

For years — too many, residents say — Seville households teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one altogether for residents in Seville.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State, feds in talks over water

California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects, a top state official says. The talks are proceeding after Gov. Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

In a dry year, Valley water sales get an extra dose of scrutiny

As California navigates a critically dry water year, many business-as-usual elements are getting a second look. One such transaction is a proposed water sale by the Merced Irrigation District. The district … filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board in March to transfer as much as 45,000 acre-feet of water to a bevy of water districts across the state.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Legislation seeks to address San Joaquin Valley canals

New legislation was recently introduced that will address several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water conveyance damaged by subsidence.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Daily Post

Opinion: Concerning the Colorado River

While Imperial Irrigation District has the largest right within California, it was not the Imperial Valley that was responsible for California’s overuse. That was the Metropolitan Water District. We are among the very oldest users on the Colorado River and have built a community, ecology, and way of life here in the desert dependent upon the waters of the Colorado that have sustained us since 1901.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In Nevada, investors eye underground water storage as a path to profits

Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity. They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water. … Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in the basin, less intent on building a new community than on supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest growing states.

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 SJV Water

Blog: Westlands Water District is again eyeing San Joaquin River water

Westlands Water District sent shockwaves through the Central Valley water world recently after it alerted several districts that it intends to apply for rights to flood flows on the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Saving the Colorado River doesn’t have to mean hurting farmers

The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply chains and bring decline to rural communities that have developed around irrigated agriculture.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: How California’s oil industry may help preserve agriculture in San Joaquin Valley

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County weighs fallowing program for Paso basin farmers

Paso Robles has an oversupply of wine grapes, according to growers and winemakers. That’s an existing problem that’s been exacerbated by COVID-19. … According to Jerry Lohr, owner of J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and some others in the wine industry, there’s never been a better time to talk about creating a fallowing program for the North County region, which overlies the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: 2,000 attend Klamath rally demanding answer to water problems

By the thousands, they rolled through the Southern Oregon countryside in tractors, hay trucks, log trucks, pickups and minivans, their hand-painted signs greeted by supportive passers-by who agreed with the message of Friday’s “Shut Down and Fed Up” rally: the water problems that for decades have plagued the region and its farmers must be resolved.

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Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Delta smelt on the verge: Efforts to save smelt have far-reaching impact

Two factors are believed to weigh heavily on the Delta smelt’s fate. The biggest is the reduction in fresh water in the Delta since water started flowing southward via the California Aqueduct in the 1960s. … The other threat to Delta smelt are larger fish particularly non-native striped bass and largemouth bass that were introduced to the Delta by man.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Blog: What’s at the heart of California’s water wars? Delta outflow explained

The latest dustup In California’s water wars, as noted in Dan Walters’ commentary, revolves principally around the federal government’s efforts to increase the amount of water supplied to farms and cities by the Central Valley Project, and a breakdown in cooperation between the state and federal government. It seems like everyone is suing each other. But what are they really fighting over?

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Dry year, court decision disappoint Klamath salmon advocates

The Yurok Tribe and commercial fishing groups tried to convince a federal court that an emergency motion to increase flow in the river was necessary for the fish species. But Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denied that motion last week. Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s vice chairman, says ocean conditions already are bad for the salmon.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: When life dries up: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time

The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000 acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The local water agencies served by the project say they may not have water to send to farms beyond next month.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water stakeholders try to compel reps for water funding

Last week a diverse coalition of 59 broad-based organizations, which collectively represents both California front-line communities as well as more than 450 California water agencies … urged the California congressional delegation to include funding for urgent water infrastructure and water affordability needs as part of the next federal stimulus package titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act …

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR continues to protect native species and habitats during COVID-19

Danika Tsao and a team of surveyors have been working to complete pre-construction monitoring for the Grant Line Canal Barrier Project in San Joaquin County. The project is considered essential for agricultural water use along the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … The area of the Grant Line Canal is known for being a natural habitat for the Swainson’s Hawk, which is on the state’s threatened species list.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

FDA: Grazing cows likely cause of E. coli outbreaks linked to Salinas Valley romaine lettuce

Outbreaks of E. coli illness that sickened 188 people who ate romaine lettuce grown in California probably came from cattle grazing near the farms, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a report released Thursday. … Investigators concluded that the illness was centered on ranches and fields owned by the same grower and that were located downslope from public land where cattle grazed.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocations

Following spring storms, the Bureau of Reclamation today issued updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors for the 2020 contract year. … The allocation for south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is increased from 15% to 20% of their contract total. Municipal and Industrial water service contractors south-of-Delta are now allocated 70% of their historic use, up from 65%, or health and safety needs, whichever is greater.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Imperial Irrigation District begins second wave of sheltering employees at work

Imperial Irrigation District, California’s third largest public power provider and the largest irrigation district in the nation, will be extending its voluntary on-site shelter-in-place program at designated critical facilities for a core group of employees. To keep employees safe and to ensure that the district’s water and energy systems remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, 32 district employees have been living and working at their job sites since April 25.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Imperial Irrigation District begins second wave of sheltering employees at work

Imperial Irrigation District, California’s third largest public power provider and the largest irrigation district in the nation, will be extending its voluntary on-site shelter-in-place program at designated critical facilities for a core group of employees. To keep employees safe and to ensure that the district’s water and energy systems remain operational during the COVID-19 pandemic, 32 district employees have been living and working at their job sites since April 25.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR helps locals by installing ‘eyes underground’

Unlike water production wells, monitoring wells do not remove groundwater, but instead use one or more small diameter pipes placed anywhere from 50 feet to 2,000 feet deep. The pipes house electronic equipment that continuously measures groundwater level information. Groundwater samples can also be manually collected from these wells to check for water quality.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Will groundwater sustainability plans end the problem of dry drinking water wells?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Sinking lands, damaged infrastructure: Will better groundwater management end subsidence?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news KOBI 5 News

Water crisis looming on Klamath Project

Water could soon be shut off to farmers in the Klamath Basin, triggering major financial losses. Klamath Project farmers began hiring, and ordering supplies based on Bureau of Reclamation forecasts of 140,000 acre feet of water. Gene Souza of the Klamath Irrigation District says that water allocation has changed.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Smaller Sites Reservoir makes it more likely

The decision to reduce the size of the planned Sites Reservoir might appear to be a setback, but it’s really a step forward. It makes it that much more likely the project will happen.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Drought, water shortages return to much of state

The return of drought to California has been widespread—58% of the state now experiences some level of dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor—with extreme drought concentrated in 4% of the state, primarily in the northwestern region of Siskiyou, Trinity and Humboldt counties.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Changing snowmelt threatens San Joaquin Valley ag, way of life

A new study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that about 50 percent of current runoff comes directly from Sierra snowmelt, and the Valley stands to lose between 13 percent and 50 percent of snowmelt runoff as the climate warms.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

‘A disaster on our hands’

The Klamath Project had already been anticipating an extreme shortfall in available water in 2020 but is now facing a possible water shutoff by or before July.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks input on proposed Friant-Kern Canal capacity fixes

The Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority seek public input on alternatives to repair a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal in California’s eastern San Joaquin Valley. This stretch of canal has lost over half of its original capacity to convey water due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: Judge throws water on California bid to slow Delta pumping

During the marathon hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd hinted the environmental groups’ requests for a ruling by May 11 will be a tall task. Not only is the case complex and involves dozens of parties, he said the chaos caused by the pandemic is impeding the court’s ability to move swiftly.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Crops grown with oilfield water OK’d by water quality board

The recycled oilfield water, blended with regular irrigation water, was tested for more than 140 chemical compounds. And 13 different crops — some grown with the oilfield water, some not —showed no uptake of potentially hazardous chemicals from oil production methods.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Term 91 curtailments expected; other water rights curtailments unlikely

During the May 5, 2020 State Water Resources Control Board Meeting, Staff and Board members provided an update on prospective water rights curtailments for 2020.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Delta Blues

The battle over water has been fought to a standstill, but there’s hope that science and technology will make voluntary agreements by all sides possible.

Aquafornia news KCET

Farmers hijack community water access despite groundwater act, activists say

These activists say farmers unfairly dominated groundwater sustainability meetings and ultimately steered the planning process in their favor. If the plans are accepted and implemented, they warn, farmers will keep pumping water at unsustainable rates. “All the plans we’ve looked at are going to cause wells to go dry,” said Amanda Monaco, the water policy coordinator for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability…

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Lawsuits fly amid state, federal changes in California water delivery and use

Environmental groups in California on April 29 challenged in court the state Dept. of Water Resources decision not to include a proposed 40-mile tunnel in its most recent environmental assessment needed to reauthorize long-term operation of the State Water Project—a 700-mile system of dams and aqueducts that moves water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to areas in the south.

Aquafornia news E&E News

California agencies sue state as irrigation war escalates

California water agencies yesterday sued the state over endangered species protections they claim threaten their ability to provide water to more than 25 million residents and thousands of acres of farmland. … At issue is water shipped from California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta east of San Francisco, south via the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, canals and aqueducts.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks public input on Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir project

The Bureau of Reclamation invites public input on the Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir Project, a proposed 82,000 acre-foot reservoir in the Coast Range in Stanislaus County, California. Del Puerto Water District and the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors Water Authority are sponsoring the project and propose to construct a reservoir located on Del Puerto Creek to develop additional water storage south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Customers at top of Imperial Irrigation District’s COVID-19 response

The situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve and is having a significant impact on our customers and community. IID is monitoring developments closely, and as an essential services provider, is open and well prepared to continue serving all its customers.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: State’s low water allocation prompts frustration, suspicion

Is the State Water Project’s extremely low water allocation based on California’s fickle climate? Or politics? A growing chorus of frustrated water managers are wondering.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Some Klamath Project irrigators protest Reclamation’s use of water

Some Klamath Project water users on Sunday and Monday protested the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s use of water at the Link River Dam, at one point voicing plans to stay near the dam until Reclamation followed Oregon water law.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey expansion environmental report rejected

A proposed Pure Water Monterey expansion at the center of a contentious debate over the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply hit a huge roadblock on Monday night, leaving its future in serious doubt.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump opens floodgates, and acrimony swamps California

On the campaign trail in 2016, President Trump swung into California’s agricultural hub and vowed to deliver more water to the drought-ridden state’s farmers. … Three years into his administration, Trump is now opening the floodgate to deliver on that promise, setting up the most intense water war between the federal government and California in the state’s history.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Measuring groundwater from 300 miles above

Although it isn’t perceptible to the human eye, changes in water mass around the world cause small fluctuations in Earth’s gravity field. This includes water in underground aquifers, which couldn’t be remotely monitored before NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath water allocation short of demand for farmers, ranchers

As expected, irrigators in the Klamath Project are getting less water than they will likely need this summer thanks to a combination of dry weather and more water being kept in-stream to protect threatened coho salmon.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Oregon Water Resources Dept. takes charge of Upper Klamath Lake

Oregon Water Resources Director Thomas Byler sent a letter to Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office manager Jeff Nettleton on Thursday, confirming it has taken exclusive charge of Upper Klamath Lake… The order said it prohibits U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from diverting stored water in Upper Klamath Lake through Link River for purposes of a 50,000 acre-feet flushing flow without a water right.

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Aquafornia news American Rivers

Blog: Clean water in a time of coronavirus: Tackling the crisis in California

In many areas of the Central Valley and Central Coast, decades of intensive agriculture has resulted in groundwater too polluted to drink, and wells that have gone dry from over-pumping. More than one million people in these regions lack a source of clean water in their homes. This is a hardship even in the best of times, but it puts communities at extremely high risk during this time of crisis.

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Some 1 million residents of California farmworker communities have relied for years on bottled water because their tap water is tainted with nitrate and other agricultural pollutants. Now, as stores ration water to prevent hoarding during the coronavirus crisis, these residents are relying on friends and family, or driving many miles to bigger towns in search of water

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water availability for San Joaquin Valley farms: A balancing act

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Reclamation begins Klamath River flushing flows for salmon health

The Bureau of Reclamation, in coordination with PacifiCorp, plans to increase flows below Iron Gate Dam to reduce the risk of disease for coho salmon in the Klamath River. Starting Wednesday, April 22, flows below Iron Gate Dam will increase from approximately 1,325 cubic feet per second up to 6,000 cfs.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: California should not build Temperance Flat Reservoir. The federal government should

With the realization that California has decades worth of opposition to building reservoirs on its record, it now makes sense to take the dam application, submitted and approved by them, to the federal government for help instead.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In new filing, Becerra seeks to halt Trump’s Valley water boost

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a motion Tuesday evening seeking to stop implementation of new Federal environmental guidelines aimed at boosting water supplies for the Central Valley and Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocation for Friant Division

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation updated the water supply allocation for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts for the 2020 contract year. The Friant Division provides water for 15,000 family farms and several cities in the Central Valley. … Given the current hydrologic conditions, Reclamation is increasing the Class 1 allocation from 40% to 55%; Class 2 remains at 0%.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

150 ag and water groups call for water relief

Two separate letters sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress highlight the importance of providing support for enhancing water management, particularly in light of the tumultuous conditions created by COVID-19.

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Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Changes in snowmelt threaten farmers in western US

The findings pinpointed basins globally most at risk of not having enough water available at the right times for irrigation because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the western United States.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Parties support request for Supreme Court review in water takings case

The case was filed in late 2001, the year there was an announcement that no water would be available for Klamath Project irrigation from Upper Klamath Lake. The plaintiffs claim that if the water is taken under the Endangered Species Act, the fifth amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires payment of compensation for the water right, a form of property, that has been taken.

Aquafornia news Gardnerville Record Courier

A dam site longer than anticipated

It has been 30 years since the last time a dam was seriously considered on the East Fork [of the Carson River] as a means to reduce flooding and increase water for agriculture and other uses. … The East Fork begins near the base of Sonora Peak in California. The river’s upper gorge was carved out by a 16-mile glacier coming off the 11,500-foot high mountain. It is one of only two major free-flowing rivers in the Eastern Sierra.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Dems call for state, feds to coordinate water rules

U.S. Representative T.J. Cox, Senator Dianne Fenstein and Represenatives Jim Costa, Josh Harder and John Garamendi on Thursday called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom to come up with a coordinated effort to manage the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California water war re-ignited

President Donald Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom may have set aside their incessant squabbling over most issues to cooperate on the pandemic, but they are poised for showdown over who controls the state’s vital water supply.

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