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 Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news KCET

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018. One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement…

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Blog: Energy companies have a great friend at Trump’s Interior Department: Their former lobbyist

Since he took the new post in July 2017, Bernhardt’s former clients have spent a lot of money trying to influence the Department of Interior. Seventeen of them have coughed up a combined $29.9 million to lobby the Trump administration since January 2017, according to a new report from the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen…. Bernhardt’s former client Westlands Water District, which has lobbied to weaken endangered species protections to divert more water for agriculture… has spent more than $1.5 million lobbying Interior and Department of Justice since 2017. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news San Diego Reader

Why San Diego farmers worry about water

In December, the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District voted to begin detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority in order to join Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District. Will those left behind pay more as others tap new supplies? Questions are flying in Valley Center, where farms are the main customers, even as avocado turf keeps shrinking.

Aquafornia news Aptos Times

Pajaro Valley to expand delivered water service area

The F-Pipeline Project will construct pipelines to provide supplemental water service to approximately 700 acres of coastal farmland on the seaward side of San Andreas Road. … The purpose is to further reduce groundwater pumping to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado River had a stellar 2019, but this year’s forecasts are below average

Right now, the April-July runoff is supposed to be 82% of average. That compares to 145 % of average in 2019, the second-best runoff season in the past 20 years, says the federal Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. Despite last year’s excellent river flows, most experts also say the Colorado still faces long-term supply issues…

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Opinion: Save the Chinook and Coho salmon

Every year since 2014, I have petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to end the widespread practice of irrigation, especially of cattle pastures, outside the legal irrigation season. So far, however, State Water Board staff have not taken effective action to end the illegal water use and the resulting degradation of Scott River stream ecosystems…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water leak reveals pot grow site in Southern California home

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were dispatched Monday when a person in the city of Perris reported they had not seen their neighbor for several days and a steady flow of water coming out of the residence was flooding yards.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

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

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

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Colorado River overcommitted on water availability

In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts. In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: 2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities.

Aquafornia news Food Safety News

Opinion: Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks

One of the particular challenges we’ve faced with the Produce Safety Rule is ensuring that our standards for agricultural water are protective of public health and workable for farms of all kinds and sizes. After we finalized the rule, we heard from the produce community that some of the requirements were too complex, costly, and unworkable…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage

A project in the Salinas Valley aims to remove contaminants like phosphate from the water at a lower cost using much less energy. … Partnering with the city of Salinas and the wastewater treatment facility, the project aims to remove phosphates efficiently and recycle water for groundwater recharge and irrigation water to farmers.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Over the next few weeks, all owners of any real property that overlies the watershed’s four groundwater basins, as well as users who take or could take water from the Ventura River, will receive a notification or summons about the court proceedings as part of an ongoing legal process and as required by the court.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Could more wolves mean more water for Arizona? Now is a good time to find out

What if I told you that this one simple trick could lead Arizona to more water, better grazing conditions and healthier, more diverse wildlife?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water

The governor’s apparent willingness to play into the hands of monied, agri-business players at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta remains the biggest mystery of his short tenure. It also threatens to trash his reputation as a strong protector of California’s environment.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California water cutbacks could take large area of farmland out of production

California is increasing regulations on groundwater. For many farmers in the state, it is a step too far. The law’s critics say it could lead to a loss of half a million acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley. As Kerry Klein of member station KVPR in Fresno reports, some farmers are so worried, they’re quitting.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

The nearly $4 million project, assisted with $3.4 million in state grants and a $1 million match from Pajaro Valley Water, is expected to further reduce groundwater pumping in the area, so as to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

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Aquafornia news Quartz

Drought is crippling small farmers in Mexico—with consequences for everyone else

This isn’t just a problem for Mexico. These growers are the custodians of rare varieties of maize that may hold the secret to more sustainable agriculture. If they lay down their tools, their crops could begin to vanish.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Rural development loan aids Sites Reservoir Project in California

In a recent exclusive interview, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Western Farm Press that the low-interest loan will help fund projects associated with the off-stream storage site in western Colusa County. … “The USDA is putting up almost $500 million in rural development funds,” Perdue said.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Don’t go into the tunnel

Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.

Aquafornia news WestSideConnect.com

Community workshop set on proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

The project will deliver water from the Delta-Mendota Canal to the reservoir, where it will be stored and released on a managed basis, according to a press release. The reservoir would allow water to be delivered into storage during wetter periods and held until needed in drier times for irrigation, groundwater recharge or beneficial wildlife uses, the release stated.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Proposed pump fee raise delayed

The recommended fee hike would have elevated the rate from a monthly $30 per-acre foot pumped to $75/acre-foot, according to IWVGA acting general manager Don Zdeba. It would turn the tables on the IWVGA ending 2020 fiscal year with $465,000 in the red to ending in the positive by $209,000.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

Blocked from Potter Valley Project planning group, Lake County interests look ahead

In August, the Lake County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution of intent to join this group, now being called the Two-Basin Partnership. But Lake County was recently denied entry, with the partnership citing “expediency” concerns and saying it would not admit any more members.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Progress on canal repairs sparks hope but funding questions loom

It was welcome news for Kern County farmers, but word last week that the process of fixing the Friant-Kern Canal has finally begun may have obscured the fact that a great deal of work lies ahead — including finding money to complete the job.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must change its approach to water, become more collaborative

We face an important opportunity to finally put the seemingly permanent conflicts that have defined water and environmental management in California behind us, but not if we let it drift away. This new era of opportunity springs from a common recognition that our ways of doing business have failed to meet the needs of all interests.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fishing groups sue federal agencies over latest water plan for California

The fracas over California’s scarce water supplies will tumble into a San Francisco courtroom after a lawsuit was filed this week claiming the federal government’s plan to loosen previous restrictions on water deliveries to farmers is a blueprint for wiping out fish.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

U.S. challenge to California water rules belongs in state court

Most of the Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging California water management rules affecting the San Francisco Bay Area has been paused indefinitely so a state court can consider parallel claims the government filed there. Both suits target changes the State Water Resources Control Board made to the “water quality control plan” covering the Bay Area and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Reclamation seeks to restore sinking California canal

Federal authorities are considering a plan to repair a California canal in the San Joaquin Valley that lost half its capacity to move water because of sinking ground. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Dec. 3 published an environmental assessment detailing plans to repair, raise, and realign the Friant-Kern Canal, which it began building in 1949.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers?

California is by far the United States’ most populous state, as well as its largest agricultural producer. Increasingly, it is also one of the country’s most parched places. But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Politicians knew the inconvenient truth about the Colorado River 100 years ago — and ignored it

As conventional wisdom has it, the states were relying on bad data when they divided up the water. But a new book challenges that narrative. Turn-of-the-century hydrologists actually had a pretty good idea of how much water the river could spare, water experts John Fleck and Eric Kuhn write in Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. They make the case that politicians and water managers in the early 1900s ignored evidence about the limits of the river’s resources.

Aquafornia news CNBC

Christmas tree prices rise as drought and fire hit crops, farms close

Last year, the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, California, and burned a Christmas tree farm to the ground. The fire occurred just months after three other Christmas tree farms were wiped out in Northern California.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: It’s time to secure California’s water supply by raising Shasta Dam

Reliable water is critical to every aspect of the economy as more than 40 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown in the Central Valley, much of that using water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and its largest reservoir — Shasta Lake.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Salinas Valley farmers and county water agency settle lawsuit over reservoir operations

A recent settlement between Monterey County, Monterey County Water Resources Agency, and a coalition of Salinas Valley farmers brings an end to a protracted legal battle over reservoir operations during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How racism ripples through California’s pipes

And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston… Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water fight between Kern district, Kings River managers

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has given environmentalists much of what they presumably want as it released a 610-page draft Delta environmental report recently that calls for $1.5 billion in habitat restoration among other environmental projects. … But as much as they cheered the lawsuit announcement, environmentalists were aghast at the report because the state plan will allow some additional water for farms.

Aquafornia news KCET

Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley

By practicing careful and sustainable water management practices, the tribe has cultivated wild plants, including taboose, nahavita, as well as fruit trees and other vegetables. … However, starting in the mid-1800s with the arrival of European settlers making a claim to water rights in the Owens Valley, this once-lush area was transformed dramatically into a virtual desert in just decades.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater

California has told Napa County to form a local groundwater agency to ensure the underground reservoir that nurtures world-famous wine country is being kept in good shape. The county submitted more than 1,000 pages of documents to try to avoid that outcome.

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 Arizona Daily Star

Embattled water district an economic boon for Arizona, homebuilders’ study says

A district that recharges renewable water supplies to allow new housing development brings in about $13.4 billion a year in economic benefits, says a study written for a homebuilders’ group. …  The report goes against the grain of recommendations made over the years by academics, environmentalists and others to limit enrollment of new subdivisions in the district, saying that could cause a major economic setback for the state.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?

Lots of stories circulate about the unethical actions of Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom’s reluctance to fight Trump on water — stories about Bernhardt’s effort to get rid of scientists who concluded the new Trump Water Plan jeopardizes endangered species in the Delta. Then there’s his work to give Westlands a permanent water contract to irrigate poisoned selenium-ridden lands… What’s not being covered: the impact these projects will have on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, and Newsom’s reluctance to stop them.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’

The complaint filed in court on Nov. 19 asks the court to “impose a ‘physical solution’ amongst nine groundwater users in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin (“Basin”) to preserve and protect the Basin’s water supply, the investment-backed expectations of agriculture, and the economy that is dependent upon that supply.”

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Lemoore breaks ground on ‘life-changing’ drinking water project

City officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Lemoore to break ground on construction of a new groundwater treatment plant project. … The City obtains all of its drinking water from local groundwater resources that are challenged by naturally-occurring water quality issues. These issues include elevated levels of arsenic, iron, ammonia, total organic carbon and color…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Study: Increase in cannabis cultivation or residential development could impact water resources

Researchers in Canada and the U.S. investigated potential reductions in streamflow, caused by groundwater pumping for cannabis irrigation, in the Navarro River in Mendocino County, California… Reporting in the journal Environmental Research Communications, they note the combination of cannabis cultivation and residential use may cause significant streamflow depletion, with the largest impacts in late summer when streams and local fish species depend most on groundwater inflows.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Westlands nearing a permanent federal water contract. What does that mean?

Westlands Water District, Fresno-based agricultural water district, is set to convert its temporary, renewable water service agreements with the Federal government into a permanent contract. And while Westlands is the first of its class to make the switch, it certainly won’t be the last water agency to do it.

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Aquafornia news KQED Food

Wine moguls destroy land and pay small fines as cost of business, say activists

In Napa County, adjacent to Sonoma and the source of perhaps the most expensive cabernet sauvignon outside of Bordeaux, activists are pushing back against a steady conversion of woodland into new vineyards. Kellie Anderson, an independent watchdog who has harried local officials for years to step up enforcement of environmental laws, says the county’s planning department has ignored numerous violations by grape growers.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Five steps to eliminate nutria threat

Through financial support from various grant funding, CDFA is implementing a five-phase process for nutria eradication that consists of survey, knockdown, mop-up, verification, and surveillance. CDFW staff have been working the landscape by dividing areas into 40-acre grids to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Aquafornia news KCET

Video: Restoring the river with the Yurok, Hupa and Karuk

For the past two centuries, California has relied heavily on the natural resources of the North Coast region, exploiting its pristine watersheds for agriculture and its forests for timber. … Now the Yurok are working with local and state organizations to revitalize the forests, rivers and wildlife, a comprehensive feat requiring collaboration among community leaders up and down the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

‘They’re going to dry up’: Debate erupts over plan to move water from farmland to suburbs

A private company and the town of Queen Creek are proposing a water deal that would leave 485 acres of farmland permanently dry near the Colorado River and send the water used on that land to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb. The company GSC Farm LLC is seeking to sell its annual entitlement of 2,083 acre-feet of Colorado River water — about 678 million gallons — to Queen Creek for a one-time payment of $21 million.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Bel Marin Keys restoration an important move

The start of work on the restoration of the Bel Marin Keys wetlands is another example of efforts to bring back the miles of wetlands that, over the past century, have been lost to development, other encroachments and years of sedimentation buildup.

Aquafornia news AgWeb

Blog: California can keep the water flowing

California is in trouble. We can’t keep the lights on, the fires out, or the air clean. Worst of all, from my perspective as a farmer, is that we’ve failed to keep the water flowing. That may change, thanks to the Trump administration.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

Ambiguity exists in the language of the river’s foundational document, the Colorado River Compact. That agreement’s language remains unclear on whether Upper Basin states, where the Colorado River originates, are legally obligated to deliver a certain amount of water over a 10-year period to those in the Lower Basin: Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella water district approves $40 million loan for Oasis farm water pipeline

The Coachella Valley Water District on Monday approved taking on outside financing for what is believed to be the first time in its 101-year history for a $40 million pipeline to bring more Colorado River water to the region’s farmers, freeing up valuable groundwater for other uses.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Path To sustainability: Workshop covers plan for groundwater

Groundwater in Tulare County, especially in Porterville, has been a hot topic of discussion for quite sometime. As groundwater levels have begun to subside, a viable and woking plan to maintain the groundwater has been state mandated, and the implementation of this plan is set to be put in action by January 31, 2020. But what exactly is the plan, and who is at stake?

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Wanted: Big vision, small ego for water agency manager

Kern County Water Agency General Manager Curtis Creel will retire Dec. 7, leaving a very large and important hole to fill. The agency is the second largest contractor on the State Water Project and pays 25 percent of the bill for that massive endeavor, giving it a very big voice on most water issues.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Westlands contract shakes the waterscape

California’s perpetual, uber-complex conflict over water progresses much like the tectonic plates that grind against one another beneath its surface. In much the same way, interest groups constantly rub on each other in political and legal venues, seeking greater shares of the state’s water supply, which itself varies greatly from year to year. And occasionally, there’s a sharp movement that shakes things up.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Health of our families, communities depends on safe water

California took a historic step forward this summer with the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. This fund seeks to provide new targeted investments to end the state’s drinking water crisis, where one million Californians are impacted by unsafe water each year. Unfortunately, successful implementation of the fund is on a potential collision course with another California law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Trump EPA proposal guts restrictions on toxic herbicide linked to birth defects

At issue in the proposal posted yesterday by the EPA is the threshold level of atrazine, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S. Manufactured by Syngenta, atrazine is primarily used in agriculture as a weedkiller on crops. It is not authorized for use in the European Union, as the body said there wasn’t enough data to prove it wouldn’t have a harmful effect on groundwater.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Illegal pot farms on public land create environmental hazard

Two months after two men were arrested at an illicit marijuana farm on public land deep in the Northern California wilderness, authorities are assessing the environmental impact and cleanup costs at the site where trees were clear-cut, waterways were diverted, and the ground was littered with open containers of fertilizer and rodenticide.

Aquafornia news Redwood Times

Tribes’ water rights at Klamath River upheld by federal circuit court

Native American tribal water rights are guaranteed by the federal government to the extent that endangered species, like salmon in the Klamath River, aren’t placed in danger, according to a court decision on Thursday.

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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 San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: California must help kill sleazy Westlands water deal

The Westlands Water District has engaged in some sleazy maneuvers over the years, but this one, which threatens the Bay Area’s water supply, tops them all.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: ‘Science Be Dammed’: Learning from history’s mistake on the Colorado River

The problem in the 1920s was neither the lack of good science nor the inability of decision-makers to understand the basin’s hydrology. … In an era driven by politics of competition for a limited supply of river water and federal dollars, those decision-makers had the opportunity to selectively use the available science as a tool to sell their projects and vision for the river’s future to Congress and the general public.

Aquafornia news Seeking Alpha

Blog: Farmageddon in California: Why J.G. Boswell is set to benefit from California’s ‘catastrophic’ water law

This article will provide readers with a background on why the 2014 SGMA legislation was passed, and what the implications are for J.G. Boswell which has both surface and groundwater rights in California.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

USFWS regional director Paul Souza explains the biological opinions

Paul Souza is regional director of the Pacific Southwest division of the US Fish and Wildlife Service… At the November meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Mr. Souza gave a presentation on the recently released biological opinions for the long-term operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump’s Bay-Delta biops are a plan for extinction

As we continue to read through the biological opinions, here are detailed reasons why these biological opinions are a plan for extinction in the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Wildlife and water in U.S. forests are being poisoned by illegal pot operations

An unlikely coalition in California — including environmentalists, law enforcement agents, politicians, wildlife ecologists and representatives of the legal cannabis industry — have joined forces to try to reduce these illegal operations and the environmental threat they pose.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Some more water management truisms (Part II)

Here is part two of a partial collection of truisms on water management. These ideas seem obviously true, but still offer insights and perspective. Original sources are mostly unknown (but apocryphal citations are common). Any that I think are original to me, are probably not.

Aquafornia news Outside Magazine

The West’s water shortage is fueled by human error

Five of the seven water-stressed western states along the Colorado River—Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming—don’t yet track how they use their limited water in any kind of systematic, accessible way, teeing up potential shortages as the region dries.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: New paper with Anne Castle on risk of Colorado River curtailments in Colorado, Upper Basin

Here’s the nut: Water supply in the Colorado River could drop so far in the next decade that the ability of the Upper Colorado River Basin states – Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico – to meet their legal obligations to downstream users in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Mexico would be in grave jeopardy.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Interior chief’s lobbying past has challenged the agency’s ethics referees

On the morning of Aug. 21, 2018, David Bernhardt, then the deputy interior secretary, wanted to attend a White House meeting on the future of a threatened California fish, the delta smelt — an issue upon which Mr. Bernhardt had been paid to lobby until he joined the Trump administration a year before. … “I see nothing here that would preclude my involvement,” he wrote ahead of the meeting…

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Aquafornia news KBAK

Underground water impacting farmland property value

Kern County is seeing a drop in agricultural property value. The water crisis plaguing the state is also affecting the value of farms here in Kern County. Michael Ming, Lead Appraiser for Alliance Ag Services, said groundwater sustainability efforts have proven to be a big challenge.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feds set to lock in huge water contract for well-connected Westlands Water District

Westlands has had water service contracts with the Central Valley Project since 1963. But they were subject to renewal, when the reclamation bureau could, at least in theory, renegotiate terms. In contrast, the so-called repayment contract the bureau now proposes to award Westlands would not expire, permanently locking in the terms, including the amount of 1.15 million acre-feet of water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Big California water district backs away from Shasta Dam expansion

The nation’s largest water agency signed an agreement that legally bars it from participating in a controversial plan to raise Shasta Dam, a move applauded by environmental groups that fiercely opposed the proposal out of fears enlarging the state’s biggest reservoir would swamp a stretch of a protected Northern California river and flood sites sacred to a Native American tribe.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Putting the ‘flood’ in Flood-MAR: reducing flood risk while replenishing aquifers

Flood-MAR is recognized as an emerging water management strategy that can provide broad benefits for Californians and the ecosystems of the state, including water supply reliability, flood risk reduction, drought preparedness, aquifer replenishment, water quality improvement, and climate change adaption.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Interior proposes coveted California water deal to ex-client of agency head

The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural water district that had employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lawyer and lobbyist. … Environmental groups say a permanent deal would let California’s water contractors forgo future negotiations before the public and environmental groups, further threatening the survival of endangered native fish and other wildlife that also need the water.

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 CALmatters

Opinion: Gavin Newsom must stand up to Trump’s water grab

In October, the Trump Administration released politically manipulated “biological opinions” under the federal Endangered Species Act that dramatically weaken protections for the Bay-Delta, endangered fish species and commercially valuable salmon runs. … However, in an uncharacteristically subdued response, the Newsom Administration stated that it “will evaluate the federal government’s proposal, but will continue to push back if it does not reflect our values.”

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmers urged to think big and small to survive groundwater cutbacks

The thinking started small and then grew much bigger at a gathering Tuesday in Bakersfield intended to provide a “survival toolkit” for farmers and water managers facing drastic restrictions on Central Valley groundwater pumping. … By the end of the day, however, isolationism gave way to calls for unity as speakers asserted that the only real solution was to increase the region’s water supply by as much as 10 million acre-feet per year on average by diverting water south from the Sacramento Delta.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California health: Can desalinated water help Kern County’s water needs?

If California goes into another drought and Kern County needs an extra supply of water, Santa Barbara is open to partnering with communities like Kern County. “We’re able to do exchanges with people, so you could in theory have someone in the Central Valley be a partner in desal,” said Joshua Haggmark, water resource manager for Santa Barbara.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water officials work to assist recharge projects

Flood-managed aquifer recharge involves moving floodwater from surface streams onto land where it could percolate into a groundwater basin. Though the concept sounds simple, it brings complications that include managing the floodwater, finding appropriate land to accept it and establishing rights to the water involved.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Trump administration plan allows Delta water managers to kill off winter-run Chinook salmon

Eight-hundred pages into the text of a lengthy new report, federal biologists have quietly granted government water managers permission to nearly exterminate an endangered run of Sacramento River salmon so they can send more water south from the river’s delta to farmers in the arid San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

California seizes $1.5 billion-plus in black market marijuana

Authorities seized more than $1.5 billion worth of illegally grown marijuana plants in California this year — an amount an industry expert said is roughly equal to the state’s entire legal market — as part of an annual eradication program, officials said Monday. … Law enforcement raids often find illegal farms that have dammed or diverted public streams and dumped dangerous pesticides including carbofuran, methyl parathion and aluminum phosphate…

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Aquafornia news IntraFish

Nordic Aquafarms given green light to pursue California land-based facility

The board of directors of land-based salmon producer Nordic Aquafarms approved the company’s proposed investment plans to pursue a land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) farm in Humboldt County, California… Nordic Aquafarms will receive financial incentives from a California county government to move forward with its land-based facilities in Humboldt County.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: With California’s water at stake, progress finally triumphs regress

Welcome to the Two States of California: one boasts one of the largest economies in the world while another is shamed with water rationing, third-world power outages, uncontrolled wildfires, an ever-expanding homeless population riddled with medieval diseases. This is the tale of the latter California and the continued alarmism about its water.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Economic analysis could undermine Trump rule repeal

When the Trump administration finalized its repeal of the Obama-era Clean Water Rule last month, it also quietly updated an economic analysis of the repeal’s costs and benefits. The 195-page final analysis is nearly 10 times longer … and estimates different costs and benefits of repealing the regulation.

Aquafornia news KEYT

San Luis Obispo County to conduct aerial survey of Paso Basin groundwater

The county of San Luis Obispo announced plans to map the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. … People who live in Creston, Shandon, and Whitely Gardens may see a low flying helicopter towing a large hexagonal frame when work begins.

Aquafornia news Counterpunch

Opinion: When justice delayed means extinction: The case of the Delta smelt

The glaring light of extinction of the Delta smelt reveals decades of treachery and deceit by corporate agribusiness, metropolitan water districts, politicians and their collaborators in the resource agencies charged by law to protect wildlife species from extinction. The moral squalor that has permitted this crisis is contemptible.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In Napa Valley, winemakers fight climate change on all fronts

Wine producers are grappling with a maelstrom caused by a warming planet: heat waves, droughts, cold snaps, wildfires and more.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Democrats’ Bernhardt probe has California’s Cox in a tough spot

Freshman Democratic Rep. TJ Cox represents some of the farmers who would likely benefit from the additional water. … Facing what could be a tough reelection fight in 2020, Cox’s future in Congress could depend on whether Bernhardt’s former client gets what it wants.

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 Fairfield Daily Republic

Garamendi bill for extended life of Clean Water permit passes

A bill that will extend the life of water pollutant regulatory permits from five years to 10 years for local wastewater treatment and water recycling infrastructure projects has passed a key House of Representatives committee.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom must fight Trump’s Delta fish extinction plan

The Trump administration last week launched an attack on the health of San Francisco Bay and Delta and California’s salmon fishing industry with new rules allowing big increases in water diversions from this teetering, vulnerable ecosystem. … The new Trump administration rules replace prior ones that weren’t strong enough to protect salmon and other wildlife in the last drought. They only make the situation worse.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Trump’s gift to California

Amid horrific wildfires and rolling blackouts, the Trump Administration this week brought welcome relief to the Golden State by allowing more water to be sent to farmers and folks in the south. Will California liberals accept the deregulatory gift?

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Big benefits from fences on Olema Creek

The initiative, which the seashore facilitated in collaboration with ranchers, conservation organizations and regulatory agencies, began in 1999 and included three main types of best practices: fencing, hardened stream crossings and the creation of separate water systems for cattle.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: WOTUS lawsuits start long, muddy legal battle

Get ready for a surge of lawsuits over the Trump administration’s decision to walk back Obama-era protections for wetlands and streams. … The cases add a new dimension to what could soon be a complicated legal quagmire over the Obama administration’s WOTUS rule and the Trump administration’s efforts to both erase and replace the regulation.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Survival of the biggest

Most of the Klamath Basin suckers testing the waters of Upper Klamath Lake this summer in floating net pens are thought to have died during a federally-funded summer pilot project. When U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service visited the pens on the lake last week to release them into the wild, 10 of the 1,000 endangered fish were found alive…

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 settles on minor boost to ag water price

Zone 7 Water Agency directors have voted 5-2 to raise the price of agricultural water by 3%, a relatively minor hike that one vineyard owner said is affordable. … The 3% bump was in stark contrast to the 30% cost for 2020 recommended by staff, which referred to a study by consultant Raftelis about actual costs incurred by Zone 7.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: Back after more than a century

Almost 50 years after the Lahontan cutthroat trout was listed under the Endangered Species Act, agencies are investing in a game-changing, fish-friendly infrastructure project at Derby Dam to help bring back the legendary fish to the Truckee River. Announced on Sept. 11, 2019, construction of a fish passage structure will allow Lahontan cutthroat trout to complete their natural migration, swimming back and forth between Pyramid Lake and historic spawning grounds.

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 Reuters

Manure, trash and wastewater: U.S. utilities get dirty in climate fight

Nationwide, more than a dozen utilities have started developing renewable natural gas production through partnerships with farmers, wastewater treatment plants and landfill operators, while nine have proposed price premiums for customers who choose it as a fuel, according to the American Gas Association.

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 The Grass Valley Union

Reducing regulations for small farmers a priority for Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board heard from a panel of researchers and ranchers last week describing how the unique characteristics of upper watershed irrigated pastures may call for a separate set of regulations that would reduce the regulatory burden on Nevada County farmers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump rewrites Delta rules to pump more California water to Valley. Will Newsom fight him?

President Donald Trump’s administration rolled out an aggressive plan Tuesday to ship more water from the Delta to farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, a move that’s certain to trigger lawsuits by environmentalists concerned about endangered fish species.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘It’s where we come from’: The River People in Mexico left without a river

It was on the Colorado River that González, now 82, taught her children, just like her parents and grandparents taught her, to fish with canoes and traps made from willow trees which flourished on the riverbanks. Now, the river stops at the US-Mexico border and the lakes are dry and native vegetation is confined to reforestation projects.

Aquafornia news E&E News

A new target for federal action: PFAS-tainted food

A class of toxic chemicals known to have contaminated drinking water in many areas across the country is also presenting human health risks via another exposure method — our food supply. The contamination stems from treated sewage sludge — or biosolids — often used by farmers as a fertilizer for crops.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump team weakens Delta protections for California smelt, salmon

In a move that would boost water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and Southern California cities, federal fishery agencies are weakening decade-old endangered species protections for some of the state’s most imperiled native fish populations.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

New market would pay farmers for conservation practices

The initiative to establish an ecosystem marketplace began in 2017 with the Noble Research Institute, which started working on developing protocols to verify carbon sequestration and improved water quality…

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 The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Change in California water will prevent catastrophe, build a more resilient valley

Change is hard. It’s human nature to resist it. So it’s not surprising that some Central Valley farmers and water managers are raising alarm bells about the most sweeping change to state water law in a century, saying in a recent Fresno Bee series that the consequences will be “excruciating” and “catastrophic.”

Aquafornia news National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

News release: Federal action plan focused on improving water prediction for western U.S.

The Action Plan identifies four areas for improvement: enhance weather forecasts to improve water prediction; improve and expand the use of water forecast information to benefit water management outcomes; improve science and technology for water prediction; and implement integrated water availability assessments at national and local basin scales.

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 KESQ TV

Aerial view shows environmental disaster at the Salton Sea

Audubon California’s Salton Sea Program Director Frank Ruiz served as the guide for this trip. Ruiz says the Salton Sea is receding at an alarming rate, about 6-inches a year, exposing toxic lake bed which is evident from the air.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

PG&E outage slows ag to a crawl

The forced blackout imposed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to reduce fire danger amid high winds has slowed agricultural activities in some parts of California to a crawl as shuttered processing facilities have caused a backup in harvests.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Agencies release Delta-conveyed water transfer environmental reports

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority announced the environmental reports, which “analyze potential impacts of approving water transfers to increase water reliability for those suffering shortages during dry times.”

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Long-term projections show insufficient groundwater in Pinal County, Arizona

Arizona’s top water official presented new long-term projections Friday showing that Pinal County doesn’t have enough groundwater to provide for the fast-growing area’s cities, farms and many planned subdivisions over the coming decades.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Newsom’s veto of Delta water bill best for California residents, farms

Agriculture is part of what makes our state’s economy strong and helps provide for all our families, which is why it is crucial that we do absolutely everything we can to protect our state’s farms and allow them to operate without the fear of major obstacles. California agriculture nearly faced such an obstacle with Senate Bill 1, which would have placed harsh regulations on water pumping from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Tour Nick Gray

Northern California Tour 2020
Field Trip - October 14-16

Explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape as we learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.

All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour participants will get an on-site update of Oroville Dam spillway repairs.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

We’re back, baby! Fresno top ag county once again

A big part of the reason for Fresno County falling short of the No. 1 ranking those years was due to California’s five-year drought that began in late 2011— the worst in the state’s recorded history — causing major water shortages in the western end of Fresno County that forced farmers there to limit their farming or let fields go fallow.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Reimagining our water system: Sites Reservoir as 21st century infrastructure

Building on the Governor’s call to “position California to meet broad water needs through the 21st Century” there are unique opportunities in the Sacramento River Basin to more effectively integrate 21st Century infrastructure into our multi-benefit water management approaches to help achieve resiliency.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Inside California’s Central Valley water crisis

California’s Central Valley is one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States… But a seven-year drought has threatened the viability of the valley’s farmland, and many rural communities have suffered greatly as a result. Joris Debeij’s short documentary When a Town Runs Dry offers a window into the front lines of the water crisis.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Groundwater governance Q&A with Anita Milman

An expert in water governance, Anita Milman’s research focuses on understanding the interplay of technical, institutional and social dimensions of water within governance processes. … Below, Milman discusses keys to successful groundwater governance, implications toward achieving water security and her research activities at Stanford. 

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

UC Cooperative Extension survey results on cannabis cultivation

A UC Cooperative Extension survey of California registered and unregistered marijuana growers will help researchers, policymakers and the public better understand growing practices since cannabis sales, possession and cultivation first became legal for recreational use.

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 The New Republic

Give rivers legal rights

Giving legal rights to a river helps compensate for the fact that the rights of those living along it are frequently being violated. Even with all the executive orders and legislation on the books, companies exploiting the environment rarely pay for its destruction in the way local communities do.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The next big California vs. Trump fight is over water and endangered species

Just how far will Gov. Gavin Newsom go in his high-profile fight with the Trump administration over environmental protections? The next few months will provide an answer, as Newsom is forced to take a stand on Trump rollbacks in a long-contested battleground — the Northern California Delta that helps supply more than half the state’s population with drinking water and fills irrigation canals on millions of acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A ‘chilling message’: Trump critics see a deeper agenda in California feud

President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: How groundwater management activities can affect water quantity and quality

The paper is intended to help groundwater managers avoid inadvertently contaminating water supplies as they change management practices to comply with California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. It focuses on natural contaminants such as arsenic, chromium, and uranium, as well as contaminants that can pose a threat to human and ecosystem health…

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Kaweah sets hearing for groundwater plan acceptance

Based on the most detailed data they have available, the East Kaweah has a supply of 125,000 acre feet per year of ground water available for use without threatening overdraft. However, Hagman notes that the East Kaweah has overdrafted their portion of the basin by 28,000 acre feet on average, per year.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

River flows are falling worldwide as groundwater is depleted

A new study released Wednesday says that diminishing groundwater is causing the level of streams and rivers to fall as well. Like the shrinking aquifers, surface water is critical to farms, towns and cities for everything from food to trade to energy production. … In watersheds such as California’s Central Valley, the Midwestern U.S.’s high plains, the Upper Ganges and the Indus in South Asia, groundwater is already being depleted.

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Aquafornia news National Law Review

California water permit warnings for commercial cannabis farmers

Although the Water Board made clear that they are not, at this time, issuing notices of violation, the letters serve as a shot across the bow to an industry that is beginning to appreciate the importance of compliance with environmental regulations and portends more significant enforcement efforts in the near future.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Appeals court dismisses Klamath groundwater dispute

The Oregon Court of Appeals won’t resolve a dispute over the impact of Klamath basin wells on surface waters due to newly imposed regulations in the area. The appellate court has dismissed the case because it’s moot and unworthy of review after the Oregon water regulators adopted different rules governing surface water interference from wells in the Upper Klamath basin earlier this year.

Aquafornia news Rich Pauloo

Blog: Race To The Bottom

There simply isn’t enough water in any given year to support all of the crops and livestock, so farmers and ranchers depend on groundwater pumped from deep, underground aquifers. Groundwater, like oil, is a limited resource, and in California it’s consumed at an alarming rate.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Reservoirs are booming. So what’s driving California’s water scare?

Tuesday, we began a new “water year” in California. And so, this is as good of time as any to review the water year we are closing.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration surrenders to California, backs off on Delta water fight

The Trump administration has retreated on a plan to push more water through the Delta this fall after protests from California officials on the harmful impacts on endangered Chinook salmon and other fish.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Shasta Dam fight with water district ends in California

The Westlands Water District on Sept. 30 formally stopped its environmental review of a $1.4 billion U.S. Bureau of Reclamation plan to raise the 602-foot dam by another 18.5 feet. It is unclear what Westlands’ decision will mean for the future of the project…

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Blog: Four lessons from the front lines of California’s water wars

From mandatory drought restrictions to billions of dollars’ worth of drought-proofing projects, San Diego and the entire West has for years had a complicated relationship with its water – and it’s not going to get any easier or any cheaper any time soon.

Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Opinion: Trump administration makes right move in repealing 2015 water rule

Recently, authority over many streams, pools, and lakes in the United States reverted from the federal government to the states. The Trump administration repealed the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule, under which the federal government claimed authority to regulate virtually any body of water it wished.

Aquafornia news TheEcologist.org

Blog: Victory for defenders of Californian waterways

A coalition of river and coastal defenders have won a major victory against the State Water Resources Control Board, securing an order that requires the board to meet the statutory deadlines for its list of impaired waterways in California. The lawsuit focused on the board’s violations of the Clean Water Act and the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act…

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Newsom administration faces difficult tests on water this fall

While I’m deeply disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1, the governor’s veto is also a troubling sign for several big tests on California water coming this fall…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Resnicks set a record with Caltech gift, but altruism isn’t the whole story

Although the $750 million represents a personal gift to Caltech rather than a corporate gift from the Resnicks’ principal corporate entity, The Wonderful Company, they’re engaged through that company in some arguably unsustainable environmental practices.

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 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 Seattle Times

In California, orcas and salmon have become so scarce people have forgotten what once was. Will the Northwest be next?

If there is a hell for salmon, it probably looks like this. There were many more golf balls in the water than salmon this summer, whacked there by enthusiasts at Aqua Golf, a driving range on the bank of the Sacramento River. Below the surface, the gravel salmon need to make their nests had been mined decades ago to build Shasta Dam, 602 feet tall and with no fish passage. The dam cut off access to all of the cold mountain waters where these fish used to spawn.

Aquafornia news Marijuana Business Daily

California water board sends warnings to cannabis growers

The California Water Boards sent at least 270 letters to farmers in the Emerald Triangle, warning them to come into compliance with regulations or face possible fines and even the loss of their cultivation licenses.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Resnick explains $750-million gift to Caltech for climate research. ‘The kids are concerned’

It did not escape Stewart Resnick’s attention that, after some unusual winter weather in 2015, his pistachio crop took a 70% hit. He couldn’t miss it when, for several years, his heat-blasted oranges came in smaller and less prodigiously than in the past. California’s persistent drought could not be ignored, either, by the man reputed to be the biggest farmer in America.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How the Central Valley became the ‘Appalachia of the West.’ Now, new threats loom for economy

Water shortages, already the scourge of the Valley, are about to get worse. A powerful state law called the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will curb access to water and shrink agriculture’s footprint in the next two decades. Thousands of acres will be turned into solar-energy farms and other non-agricultural uses. The long-term effect of climate change, meanwhile, will squeeze water supplies even more.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California fights Trump over Delta water, fish, environmental rules

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife, in a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said the federal plan would harm the nearly-extinct Delta smelt and other species. The state said the plan would also hurt the mostly urban water agencies that belong to the State Water Project, which might have to surrender some of its supplies to compensate for the federal plan.

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 Guardian

Revealed: Trump’s Wildlife Service pick has ties to anti-animal protection groups

Aurelia Skipwith, who is already a top official at the interior department, formerly worked at the agrochemical giant Monsanto. New revelations show she also has ties to the Westlands Water District, a political powerhouse with a history of chafing against Endangered Species Act regulations that can interfere with farmers’ demands for water in California.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water year 2019 leaves reservoirs with good storage

California Farm Bureau Federation Senior Counsel Chris Scheuring said the strong 2019 water year should not distract from “the public-policy issues that never go away in California water.” Scheuring said he thinks water deliveries may remain good for the next year or two, but farmers should be prepared for another multiyear drought.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California ramps up efforts to combat invasive swamp rodents

One of the most recent threats to California’s environment has webbed feet, white whiskers, shaggy fur and orange buck teeth that could be mistaken for carrots. … The swamp rodents, called nutria, are setting off alarms in California.

Aquafornia news Davis Enterprise

Evolution of the modern lawn

Lawns cool the air, reduce urban heat-island effect, remove pollutants, and provide play spaces. … From a design standpoint, they make uncluttered views, provide background and contrast for flowers, and create our outdoor living spaces. Historically, lawns provided all those benefits at high cost, literally and environmentally.

Aquafornia news California Agriculture

Watering the Emerald Triangle: Irrigation sources used by cannabis cultivators in Northern California

An improved understanding of cannabis cultivators’ water use practices is a particularly pressing need. Given the propensity of cannabis growers to establish farms in small, upper watersheds, where streams that support salmonids and other sensitive species are vulnerable to dewatering, significant concerns have been raised over the potential impacts of diverting surface water for cannabis cultivation.

Aquafornia news Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

California’s chronic water overuse leads to sinking towns, arsenic pollution

When you walk through Jeannie Williams’s sunny orchard, you don’t notice anything wrong. But the problem’s there, underfoot. The land around her — about 250 square kilometres — is sinking. “It’s frightening,” Williams says. “Is the land going to come back up? I don’t know.”

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Farmers deal with climate change every day

Most farmers haven’t heard about the recent report from the UN, even though it deals with climate change and land use and features agriculture prominently. But we don’t need to read the science — we are living it.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Editorial: WOTUS has done more for trial lawyers than clean water

While farm and private property interests cheered, environmental groups last week bemoaned the Trump administration finalizing the repeal of the controversial “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, rule. We see little to cheer or jeer at this point, as the repeal is hardly the final chapter in a dispute that has stretched on for nearly 10 years.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Freshwater flows, reduced diversions help abate toxic algae

When water is diverted from rivers, the remaining water moves more slowly and warms more easily. Algae and bacteria thrive in warm, stagnant water and are more likely to grow in excess, increasing the chances of a HAB event.

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 CALmatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Demise of key environment bill could escalate California’s water wars

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds. The result may be the heightened regulatory uncertainty that opponents of the bill said they hoped to avoid…

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California farms, ranches strive to adapt as climate warms — it’s a matter of survival

Every degree of warming is expected to worsen what, in many ways, is already a crisis for the state’s multibillion-dollar agricultural industry. And a crisis here is a problem everywhere, given that California produces 50% of the nation’s fruits and vegetables and 90% of its nut crops.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

EPA confirms the agency is changing water policy

The Trump administration announced significant rollbacks of Obama-era EPA regulations. How could the policy change affect the environmental landscape, and what could opponents do to fight it?

Aquafornia news ABC30

Drought tolerant crop being studied in the Valley

Big research is happening at the Kearney Agriculture and Extension Center in Fresno County. Sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, is under a microscope.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Newsom must keep his promise on California SB1

Whatever satisfaction might be gained by telling the president to pound sand is nowhere near as important as protecting the water supply of Modesto and thousands of farmers depending on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

UC pot researchers working with ‘gray literature’

Here’s a weird fact: There is no industry standard for how much water a cannabis plant requires. Four gallons a day? Six? Growers are left to ask their friends, look at possibly-dicey web sites, and experiment for themselves. Growers of tomatoes or corn, meanwhile, can easily find such information by looking it up on the USDA’s web site, or asking their local extension representative.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature Magazine

Want to prevent California’s Katrina? Grow a marsh

Something is amiss on Sherman Island, a whale-shaped swath of farm and grazing land at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers. If you don’t know what ails the place, it might be hard to pinpoint the problem.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A fight with Trump that Gavin Newsom doesn’t want: Why he’s vetoing environmental bill

Newsom saw SB 1 as a mortal threat to something he’s been supporting since shortly before he took office: a tentative truce in California’s longstanding water wars. The truce revolves around the flow of water in and out of the Delta from California’s most important river systems, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Providing flows for fish

Because there are moral, aesthetic, and legal obligations to provide fish with water in streams, biologists like me often get asked the question “Just how much water do the fish need, anyway?” This, of course, is the wrong question…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Full water allotment helps Fresno County reach record crop value

Commodity prices across some crops, record cotton yields and ample water supplies combined to catapult Fresno County’s gross crop value to a record $7.88 billion in 2018, eclipsing last year’s figure by over 12 percent, and besting the previous record by nearly as much.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Will climate change mean less farming in the West?

The three-year Colorado River System Conservation Pilot Program (SCPP) started out modestly, with just 15 participating farms and ranches the first year, but grew quickly as farmers realized they could earn passive income for changing their irrigation patterns, turning off the water they diverted from the river earlier in the year when it carries more snowmelt, and—in a few cases—fallowing some fields all together.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Newsom plans to veto bill that would have blocked Trump’s rollback of endangered species protections

Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to veto a bill passed by California lawmakers that would have allowed the state to keep strict Obama-era endangered species protections and water pumping restrictions for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Newsom’s intentions … comes less than 24 hours after state lawmakers passed the sweeping legislation.

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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 Hakai Magazine

Bioreactors to the rescue in polluted California wetlands

Farmers clearly appreciate the yields that fertilizers facilitate, but many acknowledge that these chemicals are tainting the land and water. Enter the Central Coast Wetlands Group and the Coastal Conservation and Research, Inc. and their new bioreactor designed to process agricultural runoff, turning algae-bloom-triggering waste into benign nitrogen gas.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: Could “black swan” events spawned by climate change wreak havoc in the Colorado River Basin?

The Colorado River Basin’s 20 years of drought and the dramatic decline in water levels at the river’s key reservoirs have pressed water managers to adapt to challenging conditions. But even more extreme — albeit rare — droughts or floods that could overwhelm water managers may lie ahead in the Basin as the effects of climate change take hold, say a group of scientists.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

2018 was a record-setting year for Fresno County farmers

Fresno County farmers and ranchers shattered the yearly record for the value of what they produced by nearly a billion dollars in 2018. Despite below-average surface water supplies, their crops and livestock totaled $7.888 billion last year, according to the Fresno County Department of Agriculture’s annual report released Tuesday.

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 The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Newsom plan best to fix California water woes

We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts in leading discussions with the United States Department of the Interior, public water agencies and environmental groups to craft voluntary agreements that will restore the ecological health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while providing California with clean, reliable water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Water users fight California’s anti-Trump environmental bill

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from some of California’s most influential environmental and labor organizations, including some that helped get Gov. Gavin Newsom elected. But several of California’s water suppliers and agricultural interests … oppose the measure. This includes the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which has made SB 1 a top lobbying priority.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: On two critical water bills, we can hear praise and silence

Why would a Valley lawmaker who authored a bill to save jobs, irrigate farms, and ensure communities receive clean water, then vote to pass a different bill which denies all of that?

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Opinion: Science shunned by Trump once more

When the salmon are healthy, the world is healthy. That means the waters are clean and fast-running and the bottom gravel is clean. It means the rivers … are pouring as they should into our oceans, bringing nutrients and sediments into the salt- and fresh-water interplay.

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