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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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 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 Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Baley v. United States: Water users in the Klamath Project petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari

On March 13, 2020, water users in the Klamath Reclamation Project (Project) petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Baley, et al. v. United States, et al. (Baley). The decision denied the water users’ takings claims for the 2001 Project water shutoff on water law grounds.

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.

Aquafornia news Science

Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers

Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population… Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.

Aquafornia news Science

How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model

Chris Funk, climate scientist, and geographer Greg Husak at the UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center, practice what they call “humanitarian earth system science.” Working with partners funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, they have refined their forecasts over 20 years from basic weather monitoring to a sophisticated fusion of climate science, agronomy, and economics that can warn of drought and subsequent famines months before they arise.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Legal fight reopened over Kern River

The Kern River can’t seem to stay out of California’s courtrooms — even in a pandemic. … On Friday, April 9, North Kern Water Storage District unsuccessfully sought to have a Ventura County court slap a temporary restraining order on the City of Bakersfield to force it to hold 20,000 acre feet of water in Lake Isabella to sell to the ag water district later on.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Feds cut water to exchange contractors, wildlife refuges

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a water allocation update Monday and it had disappointing news for some San Joaquin Valley farmers, as well as wildlife refuges. The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors saw their allocation cut from February’s announced 100% to 75%, which is their contract minimum. Wildlife refuges likewise were reduced from 100% to 75%.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Western Water

With sustainability plans filed, groundwater agencies now must figure out how to pay for them

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years. Now, after submitting those plans to the state in January, groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) must figure how to pay for them.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Too big to dream? A landscape-scale approach to re-envision our floodplains in the Sacramento Valley for multiple benefits

How critical are Sacramento Valley floodplains for a vibrant fishery? A California Fish and Game Bulletin from 1930 gives us a clue. The report documents the Sacramento River commercial salmon catch declining from 6 million pounds in 1918 to less than 1 million pounds by 1927.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Price of reclaimed water still too high for ag

If you’re a Central Valley farmer and haven’t yet been hit up by someone about reusing crummy water for irrigation — just wait. Companies are springing up all over with the latest gizmo they believe will take nasty, salty water, mostly from shallow aquifers on the valley’s west side or oilfield produced water, and make clean “new” irrigation water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lawsuits vowed as feds, California take divergent water routes

The state recently got a new permit for water delivery operations from its wildlife agency. In the past, that kind of authority came from adhering to federal rules. Now, with a dispute between the state and federal government over water management and endangered species act protections, the state issued its own permit. Critics of the state’s move say they plan to file lawsuits.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Lawmakers urge Governor Newsom to reconsider incidental take permit

Several Congressional leaders sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom expressing disappointment in the decision to issue an incidental take permit for long-term operations of the State Water Project. … The letter was signed by Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Ken Calvert, Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa, and Paul Cook. 

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Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: A Social Science Strategy for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

In the fall of 2018, a six-member independent Social Science Task Force was charged by the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program to develop a strategy for strengthening and integrating social sciences into the science, management, and policy landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This document summarizes the findings and recommendations of the Task Force.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Dozens of ag groups ask for regulatory pause during pandemic

Nearly 40 industry groups representing various agricultural commodities are asking for a regulatory pause as California addresses issues related to COVID-19. In a letter addressed to Governor Gavin Newsom, the group highlights a concern that multiple state agencies are advancing the regulatory process without adequate input from stakeholders.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath Project water allocation could fall well short of demand

Farms and ranches in the Klamath Project will likely have far less water during the 2020 irrigation season than they did a year ago, with at least one forecast predicting water supplies will be less than half of typical demand.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Newsom accomplishes rare feat: A water plan no one likes

In the century-long “us-versus-them” mentality of California water, a plan released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Department of Water Resources last week achieved something perhaps never accomplished before in the Golden State’s water industry. It incited universal scorn.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Friant Division contractors getting more water

In a recent announcement from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Friant Division contractors will be receiving an increased water allocation. USBR has doubled the Class 1 allocation to 40 percent for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts for the 2020 contract year.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Arizona is sinking. The combination of groundwater pumping and warmer temperatures is shrinking aquifers and lowering water tables. … Today, where subsidence is worst, groundwater pumping isn’t even monitored, and big agricultural and anti-regulatory ideologues try to stymie any efforts to keep tabs on how much water is being pumped.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Quantifying surface water depletion from groundwater pumping

At the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Gilbert Barth, PhD, provided quantitative assessments of groundwater resources to address questions associated with water planning, and specializes in model development and calibration with a focus on quantifying changes between surface water and groundwater systems. He’s developed and applied models throughout the Western US for regional, interstate, and international deliberations.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Sites Project hires new executive director

The group leading the effort to build a new off-stream reservoir in Northern California recently hired a new executive director. The Sites Project Authority Board of Directors selected Jerry Brown, who previously served as general manager of Contra Costa Water District, overseeing the operations and management of a large water system with more than 500,000 customers.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation issues new three-year plan for Klamath River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has issued a new three-year operating plan for the Klamath River, dedicating more water for endangered salmon while avoiding a “worst case scenario” for farmers and ranchers. In exchange, a local tribe and fishing groups agreed to suspend a lawsuit filed against the agency in 2019…

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Frost advisory has farmers scrambling for frost protection for vineyards

Below freezing temperatures that swept through Sonoma County on Wednesday had local grape growers turning on their fans and sprinklers to protect the tiny buds that have emerged on vineyards across the region.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

California edges toward a water-short summer and fall

After a very wet and snowy early 2019, which pumped up the state’s reservoirs, California has averaged less than half of average precipitation and snowpack so far in its rain year

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: District sues to stop salty water exchange

The James Irrigation District in western Fresno County has sued the Westlands Water District over its plan to let farmers pump salty groundwater into the Mendota Pool in exchange for water from the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated San Joaquin Valley farmland

The report by David Sunding and David Roland-Holst, professors at University of California, Berkeley, estimates that one-fifth of cultivated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley will be permanently lost as groundwater plans take hold and water supplies are severely restricted.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Family’s 18-year fight with county over water rights tossed

Sealing a baffling fight over a ditch that involved dead cows, helicopters and a criminal trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that a California county didn’t trample a rural cattle rancher’s rights in its curious attempt to sabotage his water rights permit.

Aquafornia news WestSideConnect.com

Opinion: Immigration, water issues at forefront for valley ag

As a third-generation farmer and member of Congress for the past 15 years, I work every day to support California agriculture. … Ag and water issues are their top priorities. Top among them are creating a steady, skilled workforce and building a reliable water supply. Let’s take a closer look at the progress we’ve made the past year.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Fresno Irrigation District will begin water deliveries to growers on May 1

Recent storms delivering rain to the Valley floor and snow to the Sierra mountains have prompted Fresno Irrigation District to begin water deliveries to growers on May 1. … In a news release Thursday, FID officials said they anticipate a three-month water delivery season ending in July.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Cattle ranchers cope with dry pastures

California’s bone-dry February didn’t leave a lot of forage for Todd Swickard’s cattle—though mid-March rains should provide some help. … Swickard noted conditions on the hills were what one would expect in mid-April or later, with land gradually fading to brown and poppies everywhere.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Will the rush to develop our newest water source destroy more streams?

Now, Big Ag and the water agencies that do its water will want to also divert streamflow during the winter wet season. For folks who believe that any water “diverted” to the ocean is wasted water, winter storm and snow-melt high flows have become the target.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court

The case, titled Baley v. United States, was filed 19 years ago when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation re-allocated Klamath River irrigation water to threatened and endangered species. A favorable outcome would mean upwards of $30 million collectively in compensation for irrigators named in the case.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A reality check on groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley

This year marks a new phase in California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). At the end of January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their first 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. … This post addresses key questions about groundwater budgets.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Report predicts how water losses will hit SJ Valley

San Joaquin Valley farmers say they hope a newly released report will capture the attention of Californians about the potential impact of water shortages in the region. The report, released last week, said water shortages could cause 1 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland to be fallowed and cost as many as 85,000 jobs.

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Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

California district partners with other utilities to meet all of its customers’ irrigation needs

In a part of the country where freshwater supplies are often scarce, the Olivenhain (California) Municipal Water District is doing its part. The 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility recycles some 1 million gallons of high-quality effluent each day for irrigation and shares even more with neighboring communities.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Own up to bringing water to farmers and help put food on American families’ tables

While the current federal administration has prioritized ensuring food security in the long run, state leadership, current and in the recent past, has continually attacked farmers. An attack on our farmers is an attack on our food supply.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

If agriculture in the valley is going to survive, water leaders need to get cozy with new ideas and new allies. And, yes, that means environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Study: Fallowing cattle-feed farmland simplest way to alleviate western U.S. water shortage

An important new study finds that irrigated crop production accounts for 86 percent of all water consumed in the western US — and of all the water used on western farms, by far the largest portion goes to cattle-feed crops such as alfalfa and grass hay. To alleviate the severe shortage of water in the region, study authors suggest rotational fallowing farmland could be a simple and affordable means of dramatically reducing water use in the region.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Cuyama Valley carrot growers get the stick

The Cuyama Valley is the driest agricultural region in the county; the valley floor gets just a little more rain than the Sahara. Yet for the past 75 years, this high desert region has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale — first alfalfa, and now carrots, a $69 million annual crop. … Now, to the rescue — belatedly — comes the state Groundwater Sustainability Act of 2014…

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: The fate of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is now “the law of the land (state)” and as such there will be restricted agricultural groundwater pumping throughout the San Joaquin Valley…

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District celebrates 100 years

The Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District celebrated its 100-year anniversary in February, according to a press release. The district’s water rights were established in 1883, one of the earliest and largest water rights on the Sacramento River, and it was formally organized on Feb. 21, 1920.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay Delta Committee: Update on the voluntary agreements post-Trump and an update on the State Water Project contract amendment for Delta conveyance

It was a busy time for California water issues last month when Trump visited the San Joaquin Valley, signed the Record of the Decision on the biological opinions which govern the operations of the state and federal water projects (along with another Presidential memo), which was promptly followed by the state filing of a lawsuit the next day. … So not surprisingly, the voluntary agreement was top of the agenda the following week at the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

UC Berkeley water report sinks California farm industry, says Valley assemblyman

The report done by University of California, Berkeley, economists Dr. David Sunding and Dr. David Roland-Holst shows that the California economy will suffer unless responsible, balanced water reforms are enacted in the effort to achieve groundwater sustainability goals in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: California’s inner-struggle for common sense on water

While this February could be the driest February on record, one year ago most farmers didn’t know when it would be dry enough to work their fields. This sums up the argument for additional water infrastructure for surface supplies…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Feds ink deal with water district tied to Bernhardt

The Trump administration on Friday awarded a permanent water delivery contract to the country’s largest agricultural district, brushing aside environmentalists’ concerns about California’s uncertain water future in the face of climate change. At issue is irrigation water that flows through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project to the Westlands Water District, a Rhode Island-sized agricultural powerhouse and former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump insider embeds climate denial in scientific research

An official at the Interior Department embarked on a campaign that has inserted misleading language about climate change — including debunked claims that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is beneficial — into the agency’s scientific reports, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. … The misleading language appears in environmental studies and impact statements affecting major watersheds including the Klamath and Upper Deschutes river basins in California and Oregon…

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Aquafornia news National Geographic

American beef demand is sucking Western rivers dry

New research shows that across the western United States, a third of all consumed water goes to irrigate crops not for human consumption, but that are used to feed beef and dairy cattle. In the Colorado River basin, it’s over 50 percent.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Price of water going up as the snowpack shrinks

Another block of water has been offered for sale in Kern County at $950 per acre foot. With a dry January and extremely dry February, California’s water outlook has worsened. And that has bumped the price of water for those who have it to sell.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Westlands Water District gets permanent U.S. contract for massive irrigation deliveries

The Interior Department on Friday awarded the nation’s largest farm water district a permanent entitlement to annual irrigation deliveries that amount to roughly twice as much water as the nearly 4 million residents of Los Angeles use in a year. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which runs the federal project, also signed permanent contracts on Friday with a handful of municipal districts that it supplies.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Without water we can’t grow anything’: Can small farms survive California’s landmark water law?

The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

Can carbon credits save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta islands and protect California’s vital water hub?

The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases tons of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. … An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Everything you need to know about California’s historic water law

This year marks the first big deadline for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), as dozens of agencies complete initial plans to protect overdrafted water resources. Here’s what you need to know:

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bernhardt fires back at Newsom over California water lawsuit

The future of the complicated network of waterways and canals that supplies millions of Californians with water daily could be murky at best, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt warned Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom in a letter Monday.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump promised CA farmers water. But he can’t overrule weather

Turns out President Donald Trump is no match for another California drought. Less than a week after Trump told San Joaquin Valley farmers in Bakersfield that he was taking bold steps to increase their water supply, his administration announced Tuesday farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may only receive about 15 percent of their contracted water supply for the upcoming growing season.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley seawater intrusion continues migrating deeper

Seawater intrusion in the Salinas Valley continues to seep into the deeper aquifers, according to the latest Monterey County Water Resources Agency data, even as the overall rate of seawater intrusion continues slowing down.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Groups urge Newsom to work with feds on water

Farm groups are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to work with the federal government on water deliveries even as California followed through Thursday on its threat to sue to nullify biological opinions that could bring increases in surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Trump wading into California’s water policy with phony answer

President Trump believes he “got it done” in fixing California’s troubled and contentious water system. What he actually produced is another wrecking-ball delay and a lawsuit to try to halt his lopsided solution.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Senate committee shelves groundwater bill after debate

State senators heard impassioned pleas from supporters of proposed legislation that would make it easier for Arizona water regulators to limit well-drilling in farming areas where groundwater levels are falling. But in the end, the bill was set aside, its future uncertain.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”

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Aquafornia news Longreads.com

The ancient waterways of Phoenix, Ariz.

To understand this sprawling desert city, you have to understand its canals, whose routes Indigenous people dug as far back as A.D. 200.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California agriculture in 2050: Still feeding people, maybe fewer acres and cows

Water supply concerns, regulations, labor issues, tariffs, climate change, and other challenges have prompted some rather dire predictions about the future of California agriculture. We talked to Dan Sumner—director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about his research on California agriculture in 2050.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers

Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: It’s time for Gov. Newsom to take a firm stand to protect the Delta

It’s time for Gov. Gavin Newsom to own up on water policy. He can either play nice with a roughshod plan from President Trump to divert crucial water flows or craft his own blueprint that balances both wildlife and California’s economy.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Kern’s shift to specialty crops expected to accelerate

There are many reasons for the shift, from rising incomes overseas and a shortage of farm labor to scarcity of water for irrigation. But as expected, the bottom line is the bottom line: growers generally plant what sells best.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans

While Trump will be in town Wednesday to discuss agriculture issues with local farmers, as of Friday the Kern County Farm Bureau remained in the dark about the president’s visit, and the Kern County Republican Party similarly had not been informed of Trump’s plans. … A White House statement released to the media said Trump’s Bakersfield visit would focus on efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District beats Abatti contempt of court complaint

The Imperial Irrigation District has been found not guilty of a contempt of court complaint brought against it by farmer Michael Abatti as part of his contentious fight over water rights in the Imperial Valley.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Costa, Cox vote to OK subpoenas to probe Valley water boost

Reps. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and TJ Cox (D–Fresno) joined fellow Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee to grant wide-ranging subpoena power to the committee’s chair, Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.)… A key inquiry likely to be explored by Grijalva … is to dig into the Trump administration’s issuance of new biological opinions governing the Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump heads west, with California water in mind

President Trump will splash into California’s perpetually roiled water world next week when he drops by the southern San Joaquin Valley city that’s home to his biggest House booster and proximate to some of the state’s biggest dilemmas. With his expected visit to Bakersfield, Trump can affirm support for increased irrigation water deliveries, troll Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and reward House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in his hometown.

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Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Thursday Top of the Scroll: How SGMA could impact area farmers

By the most conservative estimate, 500,000 acres of agriculture land are expected to go fallow in the San Joaquin Valley as SGMA is implemented over the next 20 years, [David] Orth said, while some studies say it could be as much as 1 million acres. Since this process is just starting in the Sacramento Valley, it’s unclear how the area might be impacted, but in general, north of the Delta is in better shape.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

New bills focus on measuring groundwater pumping in rural Arizona

Both Republicans and Democrats are backing measures in the Legislature that would enable Arizona to start measuring how much groundwater is pumped in unregulated rural areas where aquifers have been rapidly declining.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Two valley congressmen have a say in whether House Dems probe water boost

Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the process that yielded the Trump Administration’s freshly-released biological opinions governing the federally-operated Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexican farmers take over dams to stop water payments to US

Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico and the United States are supposed to allow cross-border flows of water to each other, but Mexico has fallen badly behind and now has to quickly catch up on payments. … Mexico’s federal government dispatched National Guard officers to protect the La Boquilla dam Tuesday, but hundreds of farmers pushed and shoved them back hundreds of yards in a failed bid to take over the dam’s control room.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Owens Valley Indian Water Commission awards $100,000 to Big Pine Paiute Tribe to upgrade irrigation system

Owens Valley Indian Water Commission is pleased to announce the Commission awarded the Big Pine Tribe a $100,000 Agriculture Assistance Grant torepair segments of the Tribe’s irrigation system to ensure tribal members have access to water for agricultural and general purposes.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems. It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom softens his fight against Trump in California water wars

The governor’s newest proposal signals Newsom may be softening his fight against Trump, but opening another battle. Newsom may have traded a court fight with Trump for a legal battle with the very environmentalists the Democratic administration has seen as allies.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

District helps make desert bloom

The Coachella Valley Water District faces hefty challenges each day: providing water for more than 1,200 ag customers on 65,000 acres in a desert environment. The water district serves San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties and nine cities.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California canals damaged by sinking soil, groundwater pumping. New bills aim to help

Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California ag faces a decade of challenges

On the heels of a seemingly perpetual drought that has slowed surface water deliveries to a trickle and made water transfers complicated and expensive, Joe Del Bosque and other growers face new pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … The farm’s water costs have already more than doubled in the past 10 years…

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City of Ventura faces calls to drop legal action, water adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford student’s invention gives her a worldwide platform to advocate change

Kiara Nirghin, ’22, developed a unique polymer that can keep crops hydrated during dry spells. The innovative research has garnered her global recognition, including top honors at the Google Science Fair.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Whose water is being carried by Trump’s latest environmental rollback?

When a Healdsburg winery leaked thousands of gallons of Cabernet into the Russian River last week, the jokes flowed, too. … But the spill coincided with a more sobering blow to clean water, coming to light the day the Trump administration announced it was ripping up expanded protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater adopted by the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA re-approves key Roundup chemical

The agency is doubling down on its claims that the chemical, glyphosate, doesn’t pose a danger to humans despite thousands of lawsuits that attribute cancer to Roundup.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Dairy farmer in Turlock area fined over manure rules

The valley’s massive dairy industry routinely mixes manure-tainted wastewater into the irrigation supplies for corn and other feed crops. The state requires that the volume not exceed what the crops can take up as nutrients.

Aquafornia news Healdsburg Tribune

Cal fish and wildlife monitoring effects of Healdsburg wine spill

Despite the spill, California Department of Fish and Wildlife representatives say that there looks to be no immediate negative environmental impact.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City’s legal notices to Ventura River users to be discussed at meeting

The public will get an opportunity to hear from the city of Ventura on Thursday about why it has sent out thousands of notices and summonses to those who use, pump or own property in the Ventura River watershed. The process started years ago after Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city was taking too much water from the watershed, officials said.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

California unlikely to benefit from new Navigable Waters Protection Rule

It is doubtful that the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide any benefits to California’s farmers and ranchers. Because of rules that the State Water Board established last year, California is unlikely to be affected by the recent federal regulation that replaces the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers welcome new federal rule on water quality

Farmers and ranchers expressed support for a new federal rule to protect navigable waters under the Clean Water Act, saying the rule should offer certainty, transparency and a common-sense approach about how the rule would apply on the farm.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bill would block transfers of Colorado River water to Arizona cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Opinion: EPA’s new water rule is a mockery of science and the Clean Water Act

If the Trump administration’s own scientific advisory board, a host of biological societies, and scores of former government agency officials are disappointed, the rest of America should be fearful and angry.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump’s latest water policy exposes sharp divides

Democrats and environmental groups on Thursday admonished the Trump administration for issuing a rule they say sets protections for waterways back decades; however, it’s shaping up to be a huge win in GOP-leaning rural America as the Trump campaign eagerly courts farm country ahead of the 2020 election.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Researchers aim to cure valley’s salty soil with $2.5m grant from NSF

A new project out of UC Merced — funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation — seeks to address this problem by developing an innovative, environmentally friendly and economically feasible system to desalinate and reuse agricultural drainage water.

Aquafornia news Irish Tmes

Are almonds bad for the environment?

A single almond takes about three and half litres of water to produce. Most almonds – an estimated 82 per cent – are grown in drought-afflicted California, where it constitutes a multibillion-dollar industry. The number of almond orchards has doubled in the last 20 years in California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District approves controversial land deal near Salton Sea for ‘inland port’

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted this week to approve an option to sell 2,880 acres near Niland and Calipatria to a Moreno Valley-based developer for the construction of an “inland port.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea projects rely on $4.75 billion bond measure, voter approval

After Imperial County declared a state of emergency at the Salton Sea, hoping to pressure California Gov. Gavin Newsom to take action, state officials responded with a letter this month promising the state would allocate $220 million toward Salton Sea projects in the upcoming year’s budget. That sounded like good news. But what the letter didn’t say was that those funds hinge on the passage of a $4.75 billion bond measure…

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Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Up to 96,000 gallons of wine spills at Rodney Strong Vineyards, most leaks into Russian River

The Russian River flowed with a cherry red tint Wednesday after tens of thousands of gallons of fresh cabernet sauvignon wine poured into the largest tributary in Sonoma County. The wine — enough to fill more than 500,000 bottles — spilled from a Rodney Strong Vineyards’ storage tank at the Healdsburg winery…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pledged to fix California water politics. Now he’s bogged down in the Delta

The Newsom administration appears to be a house divided on water, as competing interests pull it in opposite directions. The main flash point is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a threatened estuary and source of water for a majority of Californians.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S. food trade increasingly leans on unsustainable groundwater

Konar and her colleagues combined groundwater depletion data with county-level food trade data. They found that, between 2002 and 2012, unsustainable groundwater use increased by 32 percent in products traded domestically. The increase was 38 percent for exported goods. If groundwater is like a bank account, then this is deficit spending.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Desalination emerges as a possible solution for another Monterey County water challenge

The groundwater sustainability plan approved Jan. 9 features a slew of solutions like eradicating thirsty reeds invading the watershed, and proposed pumping limits that could lead to the fallowing of some farmland. Also envisioned are a “wall” against seawater and possibly a new desalination plant that would dwarf the project being pursued by the Monterey Peninsula’s water utility, California American Water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

At a panel discussion hosted by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, the panelists discussed how by spreading out and slowing down water across the landscape can provide multiple benefits year-round by allowing farmers to cultivate the land during the spring and summer, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife in the fall and winter months.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

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

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Supervisors extend state of emergency for marijuana-related problems

Siskiyou County supervisors last week supported Sheriff Jon Lopey’s assessment that illegal marijuana grows are detrimental to the health and well being of local residents and approved the extension of a local state of emergency through 2020.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Vineyards versus vernal pools: On Napa’s Atlas Peak, a neighbors’ dispute turns ugly

In another valley, the disagreement might have blown over without fanfare. But in Napa, which has been wrestling with tensions between viticulture and environmental preservation, the fight over Igor Sill’s vineyard took on a larger significance.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

NorCal’s Shasta and Scott River salmon runs below sustainable levels

The number of Coho salmon in Northern California’s Shasta and Scott rivers in 2019 was too low to sustain a viable population. That’s according to a just-released report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The most recent count identified only 334 Coho on the Scott, and 61 on the Shasta.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State senate candidates can’t escape the water wars. They disagree about high-speed rail

The territory encompassed by the 5th State Senate District has been a battleground for California’s complex water politics. So it’s not surprising the two Democrats and three Republicans running to succeed Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, who is terming out this year, might tap dance around questions regarding Tuolumne and Stanislaus river flows and water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bill would ban river water transfers to central Arizona

Under a new bill in the Arizona state Legislature, some water tied to land that borders the Colorado River could not be transferred into central Arizona. It comes after recent proposals to do just that.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump hails WOTUS overhaul as critics call for investigation

President Trump yesterday touted his repeal of key Clean Water Act regulations as more than three dozen current and former government officials called for an investigation into the scientific basis of his forthcoming replacement rule.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump withdraws water supply rule amid environmental rollbacks

Speaking to the crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin, Texas, Trump said he would be withdrawing the Water Supply Act proposed in the final days of the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Yolo Farm Bureau honors water manager as Agriculturalist of the Year

Tim O’Halloran, who has served as general manager for the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, was recognized by the Farm Bureau as the Agriculturalist of the Year.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors blast plans to move Delta tunnel project forward

Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct

State water officials are blaming almond and pistachio orchards for sinking the California Aqueduct before all the evidence is in, according to one western Kern County water district manager.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must stand up to Trump on latest attack on Delta

Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. … These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Weed and water woes in the legendary Emerald Triangle

In the early days, these pot farms were small and scattered. But in recent years the industry has intensified. A wave of newcomers planted larger farms, using greenhouses and artificial lights to extend the growing season and yield up to three marijuana crops in a single year. The cannabis boom has polluted waters with fertilizers, fuels and pesticides, triggered erosion that buries the rocky habitats where salmon and trout spawn and grow, and drained streams of water in the dry season.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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