California has pioneered some of the
toughest state environmental legislation to address environmental
issues. For example, laws focused attention on “instream uses” of
water to benefit fish and wildlife, recreation, water quality and
aesthetics. Among water-related issues, in general, are
climate change, toxic waste disposal, pollution and loss of
wildlife and habitat.
Also, the California Legislature was the first in the country to
protect rare plants and animals through passage of the California
Endangered Species Act in 1970.
After a year of extreme drought, massive wildfires, and even a
brief spate of record-breaking rainfall, Californians no longer
question whether the climate is changing—climate change is
here. The escalating crises add urgency to the issue of how
Californians manage their water. From November 15–17, the PPIC
Water Policy Center convened three expert panels (as part of
our annual water priorities conference) to discuss how we can
“seize the drought” to meet the challenges we’re already
Apply by Dec. 7 for our 2022 Water
Leaders class and be part of the cohort that will mark the
25th anniversary of California’s pre-eminent water leadership
program. The Water Leaders class, which started in 1997, is
aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California
water issues and building leadership skills by working with a
mentor, studying a water-related topic in-depth
and crafting policy recommendations on that topic
with your cohort.
In recent years, rising global temperatures and shifting
weather patterns have created water scarcity in many places. In
2020 and 2021, for example, California has experienced
record-breaking droughts and dry spells that have emptied river
beds and forced people to make some hard choices about water
usage. River’s End is a documentary that explores the root
causes of California’s water problems and the influence of the
agricultural industry in relation to them.
The Calif. Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the
release of the program guidelines and proposal solicitation
package to distribute $200 million in funding available through
the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program.
Designed to help communities facing the loss or contamination
of their water supplies due to drought, the Urban and
Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program aims to address
immediate drought impacts on human health and safety, protect
fish and wildlife resources and provide other public benefits,
such as ecosystem improvements.
Applications are now available for our yearlong Water
Leaders class. One of our most popular programs, the Water
Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper understanding
of California water issues and building leadership skills
with class members by studying a water-related topic in-depth
and working with a mentor. The deadline to apply
for 2022 is Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. Find the online
application form and other required items for your application
package here. Remember, this is a competitive program so make
your application your best effort.
It’s workplace giving season, the time of year when anyone in
the workplace can show their support for the organizations and
causes they love. All state, federal and private workplace
giving programs are now open, allowing donations through
payroll deductions. If you have come on one of our water tours,
participated in our Water Leaders program or are a loyal reader
of our Western Water articles or weekday Aquafornia water news
feed, you can now support us though a payroll deduction at your
workplace, whether it’s a federal or state agency or in
the private sector.
Algal blooms in rivers, creeks and
lakes are an increasing
occurrence in California, threatening human health and safety as
well as pets. Blue-green algal blooms (cyanobacteria) occur in
California during the summer months because hot temperatures
combined with low water levels stimulate growth. If there are
excess nutrients present in their environment, especially
nitrogen and phosphorus, algae populations grow at accelerated
rates, creating algal blooms.
Excess salinity poses a growing
threat to food production, drinking water quality and public
health. Salts increase the cost of urban drinking water and
wastewater treatment, which are paid for by residents and
businesses. Increasing salinity is likely the largest long-term
chronic water quality impairment to surface and groundwater in California’s Central
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an
overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada.
It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history
of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las
Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and
today’s water supply challenges.
This issue of Western Water examines that process. Much
of the information is drawn from discussions that occurred at the
November 2005 Selenium Summit sponsored by the Foundation and the
California Department of Water Resources. At that summit, a
variety of experts presented findings and the latest activities
from areas where selenium is of primary interest.