Topic: Salton Sea

Overview

Salton Sea

Southern California’s Salton Sea—approximately 232 feet (70 m) below sea level— is one of the world’s largest inland seas. It has 130 miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe.

The sea was created in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a series of dikes, flooding a salty basin known as the Salton Sink in the Imperial Valley. The sea is an important stopping point for 1 million migratory waterfowl, and serves as critical habitat for birds moving south to Mexico and Central America. Overall, the Salton Sea harbors more than 270 species of birds including ducks, geese, cormorants and pelicans.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Rep. Ruiz introduces Salton Sea bill in Congress to provide funding

HR 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act, would create an interagency working group called the Salton Sea Management Council to coordinate projects around the lake’s receding shoreline.

Aquafornia news KYMA News

Restoration projects at the Salton Sea

Restoration projects are finally coming to the Salton Sea and New River. Nearly $47 million dollars have been secured in California’s state budget for the next year to begin mitigation efforts at the Salton Sea and the New River.

Aquafornia news Salton Sea Authority

News release: Salton Sea Authority appoints new GM

G. Patrick O’Dowd, well versed in Salton Sea Authority leadership from past service as a Director on the SSA Board representing Coachella Valley Water District, will take the helm as Phil Rosentrater retires from the post where he has served since 2015. The Salton Sea Authority is a joint powers authority formed in 1993 to empower local entities to work in cooperation to revitalize the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Audubon California

Salton Sea project receives $700k for restoration of Bombay Beach wetland

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a grant of $700,000 to Audubon California towards the stabilization, restoration and enhancement of wetlands near the town of Bombay Beach, on the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Eastern Coachella Valley residents urge the state for action on the Salton Sea

On Sept. 30, we sent a letter to state officials requesting that restoration projects coming out of the Salton Sea Management Program consider impacts on nearby communities. We hope those officials will share in our vision of reforestation and green spaces around the Salton Sea, see the benefits of such projects in addressing the sea’s deteriorating environmental conditions, and act with the same urgency.

Aquafornia news Green Car Congress

Report says lithium from California’s Salton Sea can anchor US battery supply chain

Developing lithium from the Salton Sea in California can help anchor a multi-billion dollar domestic electric vehicle battery supply chain and inject thousands of jobs and billions of dollars into California’s economically disadvantaged Imperial Valley, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news Utility Dive

California’s Salton Sea offers chance for US battery supply chain, despite financial, policy challenges

Developing a lithium industry in California’s Salton Sea, an area that experts think could supply more than a third of lithium demand in the world today, could help set up a multi-billion dollar domestic supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom greenlights commission on Salton Sea lithium extraction

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law that orders the formation of a commission to study the feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Students kayak the Salton Sea to raise awareness about lake’s plight

Three Coachella Valley high schoolers kayaked across the Salton Sea Saturday to raise awareness about the social and ecological crisis unfolding as California’s largest lake continues to shrink and toxic dust from its shores pollutes the air.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Friday Top of the Scroll: California Democrats decry federal inaction in Congress’ first hearing on Salton Sea in 23 years

In a congressional hearing Thursday that starkly illuminated partisan divides, California Democrats called on the federal government to provide greater assistance in remedying environmental and public health crises at the Salton Sea. All but one GOP members were absent, and the one who did attend criticized the organizers for holding the hearing.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California filmmaker premieres new Salton Sea documentary

A new documentary — “Miracle in the Desert: The Rise and Fall of the Salton Sea” — takes a crack at the growing public health issue, drawing on archival footage to tell the tale of a lake that was largely forgotten by the government even before its shorelines began receding.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House panel to probe toxic wasteland in California lake

A House committee will meet Thursday to discuss the deteriorating public health crisis at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: A greater sense of urgency needed for crises at the Salton Sea

Responding to the lack of progress in 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered the California Natural Resources Agency to adopt a 10-year plan to implement projects to suppress the harmful dust and restore habitat. … But in the three years since the water board’s order, progress has been dismal, even though there is more than $350 million available to implement the plan.

Aquafornia news Western Water

The Colorado River is awash in data vital to its management, but making sense of it all is a challenge

Dizzying in its scope, detail and complexity, the scientific information on the Basin’s climate and hydrology has been largely scattered in hundreds of studies and reports. Some studies may conflict with others, or at least appear to. That’s problematic for a river that’s a lifeline for 40 million people and more than 4 million acres of irrigated farmland.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Have an idea to fix the Salton Sea? The state wants your input this month

The California Natural Resources Agency announced it will be hosting a new round of public engagement sessions in September to get input to assist in the development of wildlife habitat restoration and dust suppression projects for the Salton Sea Management Program’s 10-year plan.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: Community input sought for habitat restoration and dust suppression projects at Salton Sea

The California Natural Resources Agency has released a draft project description for the Salton Sea Management Program Phase I and announced a series of virtual public workshops for community input. The project description identifies habitat restoration and dust suppression projects to revitalize the environment and protect public health.

Aquafornia news KYMA News

Toxic dust from Salton Sea could complicate coronavirus recovery

Health experts say the Salton Sea poses a health risk to the residents who live around it, especially in the age of coronavirus. The lake’s continued evaporation is already making Valley residents sick, and it could make virus patients even sicker. Farms in Imperial County use less water from the Colorado River than ever before. That means less irrigation water drains into the Salton Sea. It’s rapidly shrinking.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Farmer Michael Abatti is fighting to the end in legal tussle with Imperial Irrigation District

Attorneys for farmer Michael Abatti on Monday filed a petition requesting that the California Supreme Court take up a case against the Imperial Irrigation District, continuing the battle for control over California’s Colorado River water allotment. This latest court filing calls on the court to rule that Imperial Valley farmers have a right to water ownership, which currently resides with the district.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California’s largest water body shrinking as goals remain unmet

California still hasn’t met habitat restoration and dust suppression goals for the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake that has long been plagued by a shrinking coastline, rising salinity numbers, insect infestations, and dying fish populations. State Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot acknowledged during a workshop Wednesday that “we’re coming from behind”…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California still hasn’t found analyst to study Salton Sea water import proposals

Long-term fixes for the ever-shrinking Salton Sea remain stalled as California Natural Resources Agency officials on Wednesday revealed they have been unable to find an analyst to study proposed solutions to a nearly two decades-old problem.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Opinion: Over a century of agriculture research and extension

The University of California Desert Research and Extension Center (UC DREC) was established in 1912 and is the oldest research and extension center in the UC system. For the past 108 years, UC DREC has conducted innovative and relevant agricultural, natural resources, and environmental research and extension in arid desert regions.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

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

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

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Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Opinion: Facts show holes in Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District scores another win in court battle with farmer Michael Abatti

A California appellate court on Wednesday denied Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti’s request for a rehearing in his long-running legal fight with the Imperial Irrigation District over control of Colorado River water. The decision could likely spell the end to his legal challenges.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Lab

News release: Geothermal brines could propel California’s green economy

Deep beneath the surface of the Salton Sea, a shallow lake in California’s Imperial County, sits an immense reserve of critical metals that, if unlocked, could power the state’s green economy for years to come. These naturally occurring metals are dissolved in geothermal brine, a byproduct of geothermal energy production.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Can the Colorado River keep on running?

The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19 percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent. The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious trouble.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

Imperial Irrigation District files opening brief in lawsuit against Met

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

Aquafornia news The Intercept

When coronavirus struck the Salton Sea

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

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water examines state’s effort to preserve Salton Sea, California’s largest lake

The state of California, long derided for its failure to act in the past, says it is now moving full-bore to address the Salton Sea’s problems, with ambitious plans for wildlife habitat expansion and dust suppression.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Long criticized for inaction at Salton Sea, California says it’s all-in on effort to preserve state’s largest lake

Out of sight and out of mind to most people, the Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and surrounded by clouds of choking dust.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

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

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

Related articles:

Long Criticized For Inaction At Salton Sea, California Says It’s All-In On Effort To Preserve State’s Largest Lake
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Dust suppression, habitat are key elements in long-term plan to aid sea, whose ills have been a sore point in Colorado River management

The Salton Sea is a major nesting, wintering and stopover site for about 400 bird species. Out of sight and out of mind to most people, the Salton Sea in California’s far southeast corner has challenged policymakers and local agencies alike to save the desert lake from becoming a fetid, hyper-saline water body inhospitable to wildlife and surrounded by clouds of choking dust.

The sea’s problems stretch beyond its boundaries in Imperial and Riverside counties and threaten to undermine multistate management of the Colorado River. A 2019 Drought Contingency Plan for the Lower Colorado River Basin was briefly stalled when the Imperial Irrigation District, holding the river’s largest water allocation, balked at participating in the plan because, the district said, it ignored the problems of the Salton Sea.  

Aquafornia news KESQ News

The state budget includes $47 million for the Salton Sea. Here’s how it will be spent

California’s state budget includes $47 million to help the Salton Sea. The new budget was signed by Governor Newsom last month. … News Channel 3’s Madison Weil spoke with Phil Rosentrater, the executive director of the Salton Sea Authority, to see how the new funds will be used. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID seeks Salton Sea consideration in Colorado River water lawsuit

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Fast study could prove adding water will save the Salton Sea

History has proven that importing water is feasible. Water import projects started with the L.A. aqueduct from the Owens River, which was completed in 1913. As L.A. grew, more projects were engineered and built: the Hoover Dam in 1935, the Colorado River Aqueduct in 1941, and the State Water Project in 1973. These were costly. Compared to any one of these water projects, a Salton Sea Aqueduct to bring in ocean water would be relatively cheap and quite simple. 

Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

New funds to help restore the Salton Sea

Despite pandemic related fiscal challenges, work on the Salton sea still remains a priority. Especially for Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia, who helped get more than $47 million for New River and Salton Sea mitigation projects. “In the coming months, we’ll be breaking ground on the Species Habitat Conservation Plan that’s close to 4,000 acres of habitat restoration and air quality mitigation. So we’re seeing some work,” said Garcia. 

Aquafornia news Action News Now.com

California budget includes critical funding promised to the Paradise Irrigation District

The $202 billion budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom Monday evening includes the $7.3 million promised to the Paradise Irrigation District to help sustain it following the devastating Camp Fire. The funding is considered critical to providing clean water to residents for rebuilding efforts. The money was not included in the Governor’s May revise budget proposal but was included in the final spending plan.  

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Imperial County hits feds with pollution violation notice

As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado River water battle comes to a boil in California

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

Aquafornia news KESQ News

California legislature votes to keep funding for Salton Sea project in state budget proposal

The California legislature voted Monday to keep the Salton Sea in its budget proposal sent to Governor Gavin Newsom. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said he’s pleased the legislature found a way to allocate some funding for the Salton Sea despite the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Springs Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news 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 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 Inkstain.net

Blog: 2020 is a dry year on the Colorado River. What happens next year will be more important

This winter’s decent snowfall has turned into an abysmal runoff on the Colorado River, thanks to the dry soils heading into the winter, along with a warm spring. … Our bigger concern is what happens next year. Are we headed for a multi-year drought?

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Board of Supervisors should listen to experts to help Salton Sea

All nine Coachella Valley cities have passed resolutions for ocean water import to the Salton Sea to reduce salinity levels and restore the volume of water so the playa will not dry out and the toxic dust will not become airborne. Supervisors have refused to consider this solution to the problem

Aquafornia news Creative Boom

Blog: The Salton Sea: Melancholic photographs of the last days of a dying California lake

In her moving series, The Salton Sea, American photographer Debbie Bentley documents the last days of a dying California lake that used to be a popular holiday spot in the 1950s, attracting many of Hollywood’s stars.

Aquafornia news Cornell Chronicle

Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study

Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate and demand as a result of management practices and other factors.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: Let’s refill lakes Mead & Powell now

As of Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast for this year’s expected water supplies in the Colorado River is at 59% of average. That’s not good news. If that prediction proves true, this will be one of the driest water years since Lake Powell was constructed nearly 60 years ago.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Well-known Salton Sea origin story questioned by new research

Being born from an engineering miscalculation on the part of the California Development Company means the Salton Sea has been written off as an “accident” in histories inked on many pages, ranging from The Washington Post to the Daily Mail. But that framing is too simplistic, new research suggests, arguing that the sea’s formation was inevitable, regardless of the famous canal breach in 1905.

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 Arizona Public Radio

USBR forecasts “Tier Zero” shortage on Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections for the Colorado River’s water supply for the next two years. … Lake Mead is projected to fall into “Tier Zero” conditions for 2021 and 2022. That’s a new designation under the Drought Contingency Plan which requires Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take cuts in their water supply.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin

This report, “Scaling Corporate Water Stewardship to Address Water Challenges in the Colorado River Basin,” examines a set of key corporate water stewardship actions and activities, with associated drivers and barriers, to identify how the private sector could help tackle Colorado River water challenges.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates targets Salton Sea

On Monday, Lilac Solutions and the Australian company Controlled Thermal Resources announced they’re partnering to develop a lithium-extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The Australian firm is trying to build the area’s first new geothermal power plant in a decade, a project that would be far more lucrative if the super-heated underground fluid could produce lithium in addition to electricity.

Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

Leaders come together to tour public health crisis at Salton Sea

State and federal leaders came together to tour the Salton Sea and understand the impending health issues the public continues to face. NBC Palm Springs joined officials to get a glimpse of what is being done to help restore an area that was once a relaxing summer destination.

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Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

Leaders come together to tour public health crisis at Salton Sea

State and federal leaders came together to tour the Salton Sea and understand the impending health issues the public continues to face. NBC Palm Springs joined officials to get a glimpse of what is being done to help restore an area that was once a relaxing summer destination.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The dam truth about the Colorado River

If you followed the news about the Colorado River for the last year, you’d think that a political avalanche had swept down from Colorado’s snow-capped peaks and covered the Southwest with a blanket of “collaboration” and “river protection.” I won’t call it fake news, but I will point out errors of omission.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California Natural Resources Agency lays out Salton Sea mitigation goals

The California Natural Resources Agency this week released its Salton Sea Management Program annual report, which trumpeted the first completed dust suppression project and set ambitious goals for upcoming mitigation efforts. The report lays out an aggressive target of 3,800 acres on which the agency hopes to complete efforts to tamp down dust by the end of 2020 to catch up with its long-term benchmarks.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Climate change threatens Colorado River and the water supply for 40 million people

Climate change has dramatically decreased natural flow in the Colorado River, jeopardizing the water supply for some 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland, according to new research from the USGS. The decline is expected to continue unless changes are made to alleviate global warming and the impacts of drier, hotter temperatures.

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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 KPBS

Study: Toxic elements around Salton Sea could adversely affect nearby residents

More than dust-filled air could be plaguing residents around the quickly evaporating Salton Sea in Imperial Valley. University of California, Riverside research shows toxic aerosols could also be filling the air. The problem has to do with agricultural fertilizer in the Salton Sea wetland area.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

EPA loans Coachella water district $59 million for stormwater control project

The Coachella Valley Water District and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday signed an agreement for a $59.1 million loan to finance improvements to the district’s 134-mile stormwater system that drains into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: We must fix the Salton Sea. And, yes, water transfer is one hope

Tests are still finding such deadly pesticides as DDT, despite the ban of its use in farming during the 1970s. There are also untold amounts of ammunition from military testing as well as uranium left over from the Atomic Energy Commission for WWII-era testing. Proponents don’t claim sea water import is a perfect answer; just the most feasible means of containing these toxins as they are heavier than water.

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 Desert Sun

Opinion: We must focus on the most viable solutions for the ailing Salton Sea

Talk about the Salton Sea, its possible effects on the surrounding communities, and solutions is ofttimes heavy in emotion but lacking a grounding in fact and science. Here are a few facts that are often missed.

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 Food and Environment Reporting Network

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

Many of the people and businesses that once relied on the lake have left, driven away by the smell of dying fish or the fear of health problems. Those who remain — farmworkers, families, the elderly — are generally too poor to afford the rising cost of property elsewhere in the valley.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom wants $220 million more for Salton Sea action plan in new budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include an additional $220 million for the Salton Sea Management Program, a 10-year plan to reduce the environmental and public health hazards plaguing the communities that surround the fast-drying body of water.

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 KESQ TV

County board approves $350K to support Salton Sea rehab

The supervisors authorized the disbursal from the Coachella Valley Air Quality Enhancement Fund to help pay for the planned north end restoration of the 360-square mile lake, which will include the establishment of a lagoon to overlay exposed playa and mitigate the resulting atmospheric impacts.

Aquafornia news KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

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Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Friday Top of the Scroll: U.S. water chief praises Colorado River deal, sees challenges

States in the U.S. West that have agreed to begin taking less water next month from the drought-stricken Colorado River got praise and a push for more action Thursday from the nation’s top water official. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told federal, state and local water managers that abiding by the promises they made will be crucial to ensuring that more painful cuts aren’t required.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid the wasteland of the Salton Sea, a miraculous but challenging oasis is born

It came as a bittersweet surprise to biologists and government agencies monitoring the steadily shrinking Salton Sea’s slide toward death by choking dust storms and salt. Thousands of acres of exposed lake bed have become, of all things, the unintended beneficiaries of lush marshlands that are homes for endangered birds and fish at the outlets of agricultural and urban runoff that used to flow directly into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news 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 KUNC

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

Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

Dust kicked up from the West’s drying lakes is a looming health hazard

Matt Dessert does not want to sue San Diego, nor does he want to start a legal battle with the state of California. But the growing threat to Imperial County’s air quality may leave Dessert, an officer with the county Air Pollution Control District, with little choice.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial County declares Salton Sea emergency, demands California take action

Imperial County has had enough. That was the message from the county board of supervisors on Tuesday as they voted unanimously to declare a local state of emergency at the Salton Sea. And that may not be all: In addition to the action on the state’s largest lake, supervisors said they will likely seek another emergency declaration on the badly polluted New River — which flows into the Salton Sea — in two weeks.

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 The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial County seeks to declare Salton Sea emergency, wants disaster funds

Imperial County is seeking to declare a public health emergency at the Salton Sea … aiming to force Gov. Gavin Newsom and federal officials to free up emergency funds and take immediate action to tamp down dangerous dust.

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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 Los Angeles Times

Lithium will fuel the clean energy boom. This company may have a breakthrough

Efforts to extract lithium at the Salton Sea could unite environmentalists — who decry the destructive evaporation ponds used to produce the metal in South America — and national security hawks, who are loathe to rely on other countries for a mineral poised to play a key role in powering the U.S. economy.

Aquafornia news HowStuffWorks.com

How the Salton Sea became an eco wasteland

California’s largest inland lake, the Salton Sea, lies in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. The lake, which is more than 50 percent saltier than the Pacific Ocean, is becoming more salt than water because it’s essentially evaporating. The lake and the area that surrounds it — once hotspots for tourism and wildlife — have essentially become ghost towns.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Eco-groups sue feds, allege Glen Canyon Dam plan ignores climate change

Lake Powell’s long decline may be on hiatus after this year’s snowy winter, but activists still are raising concerns that climate change could render Glen Canyon Dam inoperable. This time, they are taking their concerns to court, asking a federal judge to invalidate the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s 20-year operating plan for the towering dam..

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Next step? Make AZ a strong voice among Colorado River states

We now have an opportunity to build on the successful Arizona process that led to the DCP signing. Arizona is stronger together. And that will serve us well as we work toward the next step – maintaining a stable, healthy Colorado River system as we face a hotter and drier future.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: More Colorado River “grand bargain” buzz

There was more buzz this week at two big Colorado River Basin events about the idea of a “grand bargain” to deal with coming collisions between water overallocation and the Law of the River.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

As water sources dry up, Arizona farmers feel the heat of climate change

Farms in central Arizona will soon lose access to Colorado River water, impacting farmers, cities, and Native communities.

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 Inkstain.net

Blog: All I want is an accurate Colorado River map

I’ve spent half a day tormented by a problem that has already tormented me many times before in my career: Where can one find a Colorado River Basin map that is accurate? It seems like such a simple task, but as others have noted before, it is an ongoing problem. The list of problem areas is long, and many seem to have a strong political motivation.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource

Water users in the Colorado River Basin have survived the drought through a combination of water storage infrastructure and voluntary actions to protect reservoir storage and water supply. Adoption of drought contingency plans this summer, developed over years of collaborative negotiation, takes the next step by implementing mandatory action to reduce risk and protect limited water supplies.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Boost seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration with ocean water

There has been overwhelming support from the public for salt water import to make up for the fresh water that has been sold off. It is not a perfect solution, but a doable one.

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: ASU water policy expert addresses new drought plan for state

ASU Now spoke to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, about the cutbacks and what they will mean for Arizona’s agriculture and the state’s roughly 7 million residents.

Aquafornia news USC News

Blog: As Salton Sea shrinks, experts fear far-reaching health consequences

University of Southern California researchers are exploring how losing California’s largest lake could affect the respiratory health of people throughout the Imperial Valley and beyond.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: California must follow water quality rules in Salton Sea restoration

The intent of the Salton Sea restoration is to mitigate losses of habitat for wildlife as the Salton Sea shrinks. However, mitigating lost habitat by replacing it with something harmful does not result in any benefits to wildlife; in fact, it makes things worse by creating a new exposure pathway that subjects wildlife to contaminants.

Aquafornia news ColoradoPolitics.com

Salt impacting water quality throughout the West, but a ‘grand deal’ has improved it

The Colorado is the most significant water supply source in the West, but it carries an annual salt load of nine to 10 million tons, said Don Barnett, executive director of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum. … For the past 40 years, the the forum has been “silently working away” at improving water quality and lowering salt content on the Colorado, which supplies water to 40 million people in seven states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Colorado River water rights debated as climate change depletes supply

Rocky Mountain water managers worried about climate-driven depletion across the Colorado River Basin are mulling a “grand bargain” that would overhaul obligations among seven southwestern states for sharing the river’s water. This reflects rising concerns that dry times could turn disastrous.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

A desert oasis in western Imperial Valley

Known as the Ocotillo-Coyote Wells Aquifer, the presence and importance of this groundwater has long been known and utilized by the inhabitants and people traveling through the Valley.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Audio: Months after completing the drought contingency plan, we have to use it

Just a few months after completing the Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River states, water managers in the southwest will likely have to implement it starting in 2020. That’s according to new projections for the levels of key reservoirs in the southwestern river basin, and Arizona is first in line to take water cutbacks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Odor advisory issued for Salton Sea area; hydrogen sulfide leads to rotten-egg smell

Hydrogen sulfide is associated with the natural processes occurring in the Salton Sea, a non-draining body of water with no ability to cleanse itself. Trapped in its waters are salt and selenium-laden agricultural runoff from surrounding farms, as well as heavy metals and bacterial pollution that flow in from Mexico’s New River, authorities said.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Friday Top of the Scroll: First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be required to take less water from the Colorado River for the first time next year under a set of agreements that aim to keep enough water in Lake Mead to reduce the risk of a crash.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wet winter doesn’t end climate change risk to Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday will release its projections for next year’s supply from Lake Mead, a key reservoir that feeds Colorado River water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. After a wet winter, the agency is not expected to require any states to take cuts to their share of water. But that doesn’t mean conditions are improving long term.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Desert farmers trade water for cash as the Colorado River falls

With big western cities clamoring for a share of the river’s diminishing supply, desert farmers with valuable claims are making multimillion dollar deals in a bid to delay the inevitable. … But if the river’s water keeps falling, more radical measures will be needed to protect what remains. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Planning for a drier future in the Colorado River Basin

The recently adopted Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) was an important step toward addressing the Colorado Basin’s chronic water shortages, but more work is needed to prepare for a hotter, drier future. We talked to Doug Kenney, director of the Western Water Policy Program at the University of Colorado and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network, about managing the basin for long-term water sustainability.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Humanities grad students drive community engagement, public understanding through research

Ivan Soto has aspired to produce research with a positive impact on the public — not just to benefit the academic community. … His research examines the power dynamics of infrastructure and water politics through an environmental history of southernmost California’s Imperial Valley along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

County commits to cleanup of Salton Sea’s north shore marina

Riverside County supervisors Tuesday approved an aggregate $1.79 million in expenditures for a project to clear the Salton Sea north marina of dirt and debris to make the channel usable again by boaters who dock at the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Is that smell the Salton Sea? Humidity fosters stinky air in Palm Springs area

There’s an unmistakable smell in the air. One that creeps into the Coachella Valley during the hot, sticky days of summer. The sulfuric odor typically shows up when the mercury and humidity are high, and levels of hydrogen sulfide spike in the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: We must use Sea of Cortez water to save the Salton Sea

The solution lies in filling the sea with water. But what source would produce enough water to cover the lakebed (playa) years into future years? Where would we get such huge quantities of fresh or salt water? There is but one realistic source: the Sea of Cortez.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As Southwest water managers grapple with climate change, can a ‘grand bargain’ work?

Water managers on the Colorado River are facing a unique moment. With a temporary fix to the river’s scarcity problem recently completed, talk has begun to turn toward future agreements to manage the water source for 40 million people in the southwestern U.S. … Some within the basin see a window of opportunity to argue for big, bold actions to find balance in the watershed.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: Drought contingency plans embrace water marketing

The state drought plans move gingerly toward encouraging transfers of water by using clever euphemisms that avoid any mention of water marketing. … These euphemisms are tools that usher in a new frontier in western water law that will increase resilience in the face of droughts, floods and forest fires fueled by climate change.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

It will take as many as 13 water years exactly like this one to erase the impacts of long-term drought in the West, Colorado River District engineers say.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Mexican waters eyed as source to save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Utah, other states urge California to sign 7-state drought plan for Colorado River

Most of the seven states that get water from the Colorado River have signed off on plans to keep the waterway from crashing amid a prolonged drought, climate change and increased demands. But California and Arizona have not, missing deadlines from the federal government.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Opinion: ‘Black Swan’ water planning in the Colorado River Basin

The states that share the river completed a drought plan earlier this year that brings them closer to living within currently available supplies, and a new round of negotiations on long-term management of the river is due to begin next year. However, a new report warns that planning for gradually declining water supplies, as difficult as that is, may not be enough to adequately prepare for the future.

Aquafornia news WSIL TV

Herrin, Ill., plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken area

Steve Frattini, mayor of Herrin, Ill., went to a water conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought. So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The water is from the city’s wastewater treatment plant … The Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be used to transport the water… Initially, Frattini said the water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern California, a sea that’s been drying up for years.

Aquafornia news Inkstain

Blog: What the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan means in practice

I ran down a quick summary this morning of the relevant data, comparing recent use with the cuts mandated under the DCP. It shows that, at this first tier of shortage, permitted use is less than the voluntary cuts water users have been making since 2015. In other words, all of the states are already using less water than contemplated in this first tier of DCP reductions.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: We were warned 150 years ago about our water shortage. We have to do better

The Colorado River — of which the Green is the biggest tributary — is the main water source for 40 million people. It’s already overallocated, and climate change is predicted to shrink flows by up to 50 percent by the end of the century. We’re finally coming to grips with those forecasts and beginning to heed Powell’s century-and-a-half-old warnings. But it’s taken drought and desperation to get us there, and we have to do better.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

The Drought Contingency Plan is done. Now what?

After months of tense, difficult negotiations, a plan to spread the effects of anticipated cutbacks on the drought-stricken Colorado River is nearing completion. On Monday, representatives of the seven states that rely on the river will gather for a formal signing ceremony at Hoover Dam, the real and symbolic center of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea: Ideas abound to fix the California lake. Will any work?

Many have gazed across its shimmering expanse and seen an idea just as big to fix it. … So far, with the exception of geothermal energy, none have seen the light of day. But with new interest in Sacramento, the rough outlines of immediate, medium range and long-term plans to protect public health and restore wildlife are taking shape.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Opinion: One good year does not end a drought

It takes more than one wet year to not only refill reservoirs but also recharge aquifers and return moisture in parched soils to normal levels. … All this upstream snowpack and rain is predicted to boost Powell to 47% of capacity by the end of the year, another three or four feet, but there’ll still be plenty of the “bathtub ring” visible. It’s been 36 years since Powell was full. It’s not likely it’ll ever fill again.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Latinos rely heavily on Colorado River water amid plans for cutbacks

This river provides water for one-third of Latinos in the United States. Latinos make up the bulk of agricultural workers harvesting the produce this river waters. We boat, fish, swim and recreate along its banks. We hold baptisms in its waters. Therefore, it is critical to engage the growing Latino population on water-smart solutions.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What does the Colorado River drought plan mean for California?

The DCP … provides assurance against curtailments for water stored behind Hoover Dam. This is especially important for the Southern California water agencies, whose ability to store water in Lake Mead is crucial for managing seasonal demands. Some significant challenges must still be addressed, however.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Western Water News

Friday Top of the Scroll: With drought plan in place, Colorado River stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. … But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Talks are about to begin on a potentially sweeping agreement that could reimagine how the Colorado River is managed

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Mohave Valley Daily News

Bureau of Reclamation projects Lake Mead to stay above shortage trigger

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the snowpack in the Upper Basin is nearly 140% above average as of April 15 and it forecasts that seasonal inflow to Lake Powell will be at 128% of average. … “These developments may lessen the chance of shortage in 2020,” Terry Fulp, BOR’s Lower Colorado regional director, said in a prepared statement.

Aquafornia news Western Water

With Colorado River drought plan in place, stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multi‐year drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Checking the water jug that is Lake Powell

The giant reservoir, formed by Glen Canyon Dam, was under 40 percent full the last week of April. And a lot of water is still being released from the reservoir, more demands on the water are expected, and the water supply above the reservoir, in the sprawling Colorado River system, is expected to decrease.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Water is an economic issue, not just an environmental issue

DCP puts safeguards in place to help manage water use now and better deal with a potential shortage. Utah, Arizona and the five other Colorado River basin states wisely chose to include conservation measures in the DCP — and shared in their sacrifice to avoid costly litigation and imposed cuts. Congress and the states should be commended for this bipartisan, collaborative process.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District threatens Coachella Valley withdrawal

“3.1 million acre-feet of the (Imperial) Valley’s entitlement to Colorado River water is now up for grabs in Sacramento and it ought to concern all of us,” IID Board President Erik Ortega said Tuesday afternoon in El Centro. “That’s why I’m calling today for the general manager to bring back to this board a plan for the divestment of IID’s energy assets in the Coachella Valley.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California and Imperial Irrigation District near Salton Sea projects agreement

Imperial Irrigation District general manager Henry Martinez and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot have reached an agreement in principle that the state will be responsible for construction and maintenance of more than 3,700 acres of wetlands aimed at controlling toxic dust and restoring wildlife habitat. In exchange, the water district will sign easements for access onto lands it owns that border California’s largest lake.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Colorado River: NEPA looms over drought plan enthusiasm

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

Aquafornia news KESQ

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Salton Sea pelican population declining at startling rate

A new report paints a grim future for birds that rely on the Salton Sea habitat. Audubon California-released report uses bird-monitoring data from several different sources to show just how the destruction of the Salton Sea ecological habitat has decimated the populations of both pelicans and cormorants endemic to the area.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda

One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot is now charged with executing. In a Western Water Q&A, Crowfoot discussed what he expects to tackle, including scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and finding ways to make California more resilient to the extremes of drought and flood that are expected to come with climate change. 

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Environment report: Lawsuits are a weapon in major water conflicts

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts.

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Arizona’s top water official not worried yet about lawsuit involving drought plan

Arizona’s top water official says a lawsuit filed Tuesday by California’s Imperial Irrigation District could pose a threat to the newly approved multistate drought contingency plan. But Tom Buschatzke, director of the Department of Water Resources, said he’s not worried the plan will fall apart — at least not yet.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Secretive ‘harbor master’ steers Colorado River campaign

The Colorado River Sustainability Campaign has been an important behind-the-scenes player for environmentalists working on the waterway, which provides water to 40 million people. … When asked who funds his project, Sam Tucker listed five foundations. Those foundations’ grant databases showed that his campaign has received at least $8.6 million since 2016. … Almost half — $4 million — of the campaign’s money came from one source: the Walton Family Foundation. (Second of two parts.)

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How much hip can the desert absorb?

Should the state of California honor a commitment made in 2003 to restore the Salton Sea, despite moving water away from the area to thirsty coastal cities? Or should this artificial, long-festering sea be left alone to dry up entirely? While politicians have dithered, Bombay Beach’s atmospheric decay has drawn filmmakers, novelists and other artists who marvel at the thriving community hidden inside seemingly derelict properties.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID sues to halt Colorado River drought plan, says officials ignored Salton Sea

The petition, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges violations of the California Environmental Quality Act by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and names the Coachella Valley, Palo Verde and Needles water districts as well. It asks the court to suspend the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan until a thorough environmental analysis has been completed.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Grist.org

What drought? These states are gearing up to draw more water from the Colorado

There are at least six high-profile projects in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming that combined could divert more than 300,000 acre-feet of water from the beleaguered Colorado River. That’s the equivalent of Nevada’s entire allocation from the river. These projects are in different stages of permitting and funding, but are moving ahead even as headlines about the river’s dwindling supply dominate the news.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River’s biggest champion: Walmart heirs

An unlikely advocate seems to be around every bend of the Colorado River these days: the Walton Family Foundation. The $3.65 billion organization launched by Walmart founder Sam Walton has become ubiquitous in the seven-state basin that provides water to 40 million people, dishing out $100 million in grants in the last five years alone. … The foundation’s reach is dizzying and, outside the basin, has received scant attention. (First of two parts.)

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump signs bill endorsing Colorado River drought plan

President Donald Trump signed a bill Tuesday authorizing a plan for Western states to take less water from the overburdened Colorado River. The president’s signing capped a years-long process of sometimes difficult negotiations among the seven states that rely on the river. … Next, representatives from Arizona and the other Colorado River basin states who had a hand in crafting the deal are expected to meet for a formal signing ceremony.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Major conservation milestone: This water plan benefits 40 million Americans – and counting

Here’s something worth celebrating: In a rare bipartisan resolve to prevent a water crisis in the Southwest, Congress has authorized a plan to reduce consumption from the Colorado River – a major conservation milestone. It shows that when we work together as Americans, we can address some of the biggest challenges facing our nation today.

Aquafornia news KQED News

‘There’s so much here that’s still alive’: Young filmmakers document a dying Salton Sea

Massive fish-die offs. Dead birds. A toxic stench. Bryan Mendez and Olivia Rodriguez are dissatisfied that those sad facts are the only things most Californians ever hear about the Salton Sea, one of the largest inland seas in the world.  

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

After historic drought deal, Arizona returns to older water issues

Congress passed an historic Colorado River drought deal on Monday, which is now on its way to President Trump’s desk for his signature. That leaves Arizona back to wrestling with water issues that it mostly set aside during the two years it fixated on the negotiations for the Colorado River deal.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Garbage in, garbage out: Sacramento’s Salton Sea restoration plan

At its core, the ill-advised attempt to “restore” the Salton Sea is nothing short of environmental malpractice. It will inevitably fail at a very high cost to both wildlife and taxpayers, succeeding only in perpetuating a hazardous condition.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

IID: Salton Sea is first casualty of drought contingency plan

Responding to congressional approval of a Southwestern drought pact, officials from the Imperial Irrigation District said Tuesday the Salton Sea is the untested plan’s “first casualty.” … IID had refused to sign the plan because it wanted a “firm commitment” of more than $400 million in state and federal funds to resolve environmental issues at the Salton Sea.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea toxic bacteria triggers: Sewage, runoff and — surprisingly, sunlight

Hot weather is on its way, and with it, potentially toxic bacteria could bloom rapidly in California’s largest lake, the Salton Sea, and other waters on the receiving end of runoff from farms and golf courses or sewage spills. With temperatures across the desert expected to climb high into the 90s by Monday, experts say telltale signs will quickly appear.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Bombay Beach Biennale focuses artists’ energy in effort to save Salton Sea

The use of public art to bring about social change created the interactive art event called the “Bombay Beach Biennale” on the shores of the Salton Sea. Organizers hope to bring attention to the long-ignored environmental issue facing the region, once one of the premier tourist destinations in Southern California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea gains protections, IID board president says

Excluded from a Southwestern drought pact, the Imperial Irrigation District won a small victory on Tuesday when federal legislators included protections for the Salton Sea that were left out of previous drafts of the agreement.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Bills in Congress would implement drought plan in West

Two members of Arizona’s congressional delegation introduced legislation Tuesday on a plan to address a shrinking supply of water from a river that serves 40 million people in the U.S. West. Republican Sen. Martha McSally and Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva vowed to move identical bills quickly through the chambers. Bipartisan lawmakers from Colorado River basin states signed on as co-sponsors.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Sun

Artists are bringing new life to a town on the dying Salton Sea

Decay festers all around at the Salton Sea, the vast inland lake in Southern California that once hosted beauty pageants and boat races in its tourist heyday. … But new life is moving into the breach. At Bombay Beach, artists drawn by the cheap prices and surreal setting have been snapping up lots and crumbling buildings as gallery spaces.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Why this Drought Contingency Plan is no friend to the Salton Sea

The March 26 opinion piece by Tom Buschatzke and 13 other Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan proponents to persuade the public that the DCP is good for the Salton Sea would have been better served – and made more believable – by a show of good faith rather than a show of force.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Colorado River drought plan clears two early hurdles in Congress

A plan to divvy up cutbacks to Colorado River water in times of shortage has passed its first two tests in Congress. On Thursday, a House subcommittee endorsed the Drought Contingency Plan after questioning the state and federal officials who crafted it. Thursday’s approval came a day after a Senate subcommittee endorsed the plan. Next, lawmakers in both chambers will have to negotiate and vote on bills that would allow the federal government to carry out the plan.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona Sen. McSally promises swift action on drought plan

U.S. Sen. Martha McSally vowed Wednesday to take quick action on a plan to preserve the drought-stricken Colorado River, which serves about 40 million people in the U.S. West and Mexico. … The plans that have been in the works for years got a first congressional hearing Wednesday before a subcommittee that McSally chairs. The Arizona Republican said she’ll introduce a bill soon and expects strong support.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Critics see drawbacks in Colorado River drought deal

The agreement represents the first multistate effort in more than a decade to readjust the collective rules for dealing with potential shortages. … But even as the drought agreement has earned widespread praise as a historic step toward propping up the river’s reservoirs, Arizona’s plan for implementing the deal has also drawn criticism for relying on a strategy that some argue has significant drawbacks.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan is necessary now, groups say

In recent days, there have been contentions that the DCP has left a major factor out of the equation: the Salton Sea, California’s largest inland lake. But this simply is not the case. … The Imperial Irrigation District has yet to sign on to the DCP. The DCP has an on-ramp for IID’s participation if they change their minds. But with or without IID’s participation, the DCP will not adversely impact the Salton Sea…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Fair representation can boost Imperial Irrigation District’s leadership

I introduced AB 854 because the board of directors of IID, one of California’s most powerful municipal utilities, operates without representation from Riverside County ratepayers who make up 60 percent of their service territory. Moreover, according to The Desert Sun, Riverside County ratepayers provide IID with the majority of its revenue yet have no voice on how their municipal utility is managed.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Official declares drought plan done for Colorado River

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman commended Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming for reaching a consensus on the Colorado River drought contingency plan. Now the states are seeking approval from Congress to implement it.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KALW

One Planet: Climate change and the Colorado River

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, veteran environmental journalist Jim Robbins joins us to talk about his in-depth series headlined, “The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?”

Aquafornia news The Hill

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds sued over plan to drain more of Colorado River Basin

The Colorado River Basin was already running near empty before the Trump administration approved a new deal allowing additional extractions from one of its main tributaries. While the administration found the deal would not have a significant impact on the environment surrounding the river, a collection of environmental groups say in a new federal lawsuit that it will further deplete the river basin’s supply…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

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

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

Aquafornia news San Diego State University

Blog: The shape of water

SDSU researchers examine the effects of shrinking water supplies in the Imperial-Mexicali Valley: The problems there are as old as the urbanization of Southern California: insufficient water to meet community demands and ecosystem needs. The solutions, which could figure into future policy-making, are both increasingly high-tech and surprisingly personal.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Residents see zero progress at Salton Sea, but new officials say it’s time to turn the page

Another group of top state officials visited the Salton Sea this week to promise that this time, things will be different and progress will be made to restore the fast-drying water body. … Newly appointed water board chairman E. Joaquin Esquivel, who grew up in nearby La Quinta and fished in the lake as a boy, said he shares residents’ and longtime experts’ frustrations, and feels personally accountable to family members who still live in the area, as well as the communities around the lake.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Colorado River drought moves threaten life, health at the Salton Sea

There can be no more excuses for federal inaction. Yet shockingly I have learned from recent investigative reporting that the Trump administration is now pushing federal legislation that would eliminate public health and environmental protections for the Salton Sea and beyond as part of a federal drought plan for the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Western states finish Colorado River deal, ask Congress to sign off

Representatives of seven states finished a landmark agreement to shore up the dwindling Colorado River and signed a letter to Congress on Tuesday calling for legislation to enact the deal. The set of agreements would prop up water-starved reservoirs that supply cities and farms across the Southwest and would lay the groundwork for larger negotiations to address the river’s chronic overallocation…

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Water managers decry blind eye for shrinking Salton Sea

Residents and officials who packed a yacht club on the north shore of the Salton Sea on Tuesday vented their anger about what they perceive as unnecessary delays and obfuscations about the environmental and public health disaster unfolding here. The California Water Resources Control Board held the workshop at the North Shore Yacht and Beach Club to both inform the public and garner opinions of residents living in proximity to the sea, which is rapidly vanishing into the desert.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Now is California’s chance to save the Salton Sea

On Tuesday, March 19, the California Water Resources Control Board will hold a session on the North Shore to hear from state officials about their progress addressing the many issues related to the Salton Sea. This is a good opportunity for these officials to break through the remaining obstacles to progress at the Salton Sea and find a productive way forward.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Western drought deal is a go without IID as Salton Sea clean-up is stalled

It’s done. The Colorado River Board of California voted 8-1-1 Monday to sign on to a multi-state drought contingency plan, which, somewhat ironically, might not be needed for two years because of an exceptionally wet winter. The Imperial Irrigation District, a sprawling rural water district in the southeastern corner of California, refused to sign on until the federal government pledged to provide $200 million to clean up the Salton Sea, which has not occurred.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Climate change is negatively affecting waterbirds in the American West

Climate change is having a profound effect on the millions of migrating birds that rely on annual stops along the Pacific Flyway as they head from Alaska to Patagonia each year. They are finding less food, saltier water and fewer places to breed and rest on their long journeys, according to a new paper in Nature’s Scientific Reports.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Monday Top of the Scroll: Wet winter likely to keep Colorado River out of shortage next year

For the moment, Mother Nature is smiling on the Colorado River. Enough snow has piled up in the mountains that feed the river to stave off a dreaded shortage declaration for one more year, according to federal projections released Friday afternoon.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Colorado River: Reclamation drought plan would nix environmental reviews

As the Trump administration moves toward a drought contingency plan for the Colorado River, the Bureau of Reclamation is pushing legislation that would exempt its work from environmental reviews. That includes potential impacts on what has emerged as a major sticking point in the drought negotiations: Southern California’s Salton Sea, a public health and ecological disaster.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Cutting IID out of Lower basin DCP would just continue a long tradition in the Colorado River Basin

If, as being widely reported, the Colorado River basin states … ultimately decide to proceed with a Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan that cuts out the Imperial Irrigation District (IID), no one should be surprised. It’s simply continuing a long, and perhaps successful, tradition of basin governance by running over the “miscreant(s)”.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Salton Sea management effort lags as water continues to recede

Imperial Valley officials are reportedly close to finishing an important habitat restoration project at the Salton Sea. The remake of Red Hill Bay was supposed to be a model for a management plan around the shrinking lake, but the effort is two years overdue and still months away from completion. The Salton Sea needs a management plan because water is evaporating faster than it’s being replaced…

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water wars: Imperial Valley is being cut out of Western US drought plan

The Imperial Irrigation District is being written out of a massive, multi-state Colorado River drought plan at the eleventh hour. IID could sue to try to stop the revised plan from proceeding, and its board president called the latest development a violation of California environmental law. But Metropolitan Water District of Southern California general manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said attorneys for his agency, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and others in a working group are finalizing new documents to remove IID from the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

‘Mission-Oriented’ Colorado River Veteran Takes the Helm as the US Commissioner of IBWC
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Jayne Harkins’ duties include collaboration with Mexico on Colorado River supply, water quality issues

Jayne Harkins, the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission.For the bulk of her career, Jayne Harkins has devoted her energy to issues associated with the management of the Colorado River, both with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and with the Colorado River Commission of Nevada.

Now her career is taking a different direction. Harkins, 58, was appointed by President Trump last August to take the helm of the United States section of the U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees myriad water matters between the two countries as they seek to sustainably manage the supply and water quality of the Colorado River, including its once-thriving Delta in Mexico, and other rivers the two countries share. She is the first woman to be named the U.S. Commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission for either the United States or Mexico in the commission’s 129-year history.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: MWD vote moves Colorado River drought plan forward

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday sealed California’s participation in a landmark Colorado River drought management plan, agreeing to shoulder more of the state’s future delivery cuts to prevent Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels. With California signed on, the plan can move to Congress, which must approve the multi-state agreement before it takes effect. The MWD board took the step over the objections of the Imperial Irrigation District, which holds senior rights to the biggest allocation of river water on the entire length of the Colorado.

Aquafornia news KPBS

New project takes aim at controlling Salton Sea dust

The sandy playa that used to be underwater is now being baked by the sun and blown around by the winds that frequently scour the desert floor here. The dust is tiny and can easily get airborne. That is a public health crisis for a region already suffering from some of California’s highest asthma rates.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California water agencies fight over multistate drought plan

The Metropolitan Water District is positioning itself to shoulder California’s entire water contribution, with its board voting Tuesday on a proposal to essentially write out of the drought plan another agency that gets more Colorado River water than anyone else. That agency, the Imperial Irrigation District, has said it won’t approve the plan unless the federal government agrees to commit $200 million to address the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: The Drought Contingency Plan and how we got here

The Colorado River’s federal managers have projected that if dry conditions continue, they could be unable to deliver any water at all to downstream users (including Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, and San Diego) within five years. That’s the doomsday scenario that has led the Colorado River’s water managers and users to the cusp of adopting the Drought Contingency Plan, a temporary yet broad agreement to reduce water use and ensure that the reservoirs continue to provide a reliable water supply.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Colorado River states urge California to OK drought plan

California is now the lone holdout on an emergency drought plan for the Colorado River, and the other river states are turning up the heat to get the deal done. Representatives from Nevada and five other Western states sent a letter to California on Saturday urging water officials there to set aside their concerns and “and immediately and unconditionally approve” the so-called Drought Contingency Plan.

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Aquafornia news KPBS

Change at the Salton Sea is affecting bird populations

California’s largest lake has long attracted visitors. Many go there year-round to see thousands of birds congregating around the lake and its nearby habitats, but the lake is changing and that’s changing bird populations.

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

With no drought contingency plan approved, official turns to governors

With another deadline missed Monday, the head of the Bureau of Reclamation is now looking for the governors in the states in the Colorado River basin to tell her what they think she should do to keep water levels from dropping even lower. But there’s just two weeks for them to do that.

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Aquafornia news USA Today Network

Monday Top of the Scroll: Breaking impasse, feds will include Salton Sea in seven-state drought plan, IID says

Imperial Irrigation District officials announced at a special board meeting late Friday that the federal Bureau of Reclamation has agreed to their condition that the drought contingency plan package include restoration of the Salton Sea. They said federal officials will write a strong letter of support backing IID’s requests for $200 million in Farm Bill funding for wetlands projects around the shrinking sea, which is California’s largest inland water body.

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Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour Weekend

Artists fill the void left by California’s dying Salton Sea

California’s Salton Sea, the state’s largest inland body of water, formed when a dam broke. It stayed alive fed by agricultural water runoff. Today, it’s water supply is slowing, and the sea is drying up and losing its place as a fishing and recreation hotspot. But … the Salton Sea is finding new life as haven for artists.

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

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

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

Silverton Hotel
3333 Blue Diamond Road
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Editorial: Metropolitan Water District’s Colorado River offer hurts Salton Sea hopes

We hope the move by MWD — which in 2016 had played hardball of its own by linking its support of the Colorado River drought plan to federal and state support of a Delta water project — doesn’t again sidetrack true federal involvement at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Mountain snow still not enough to end Colorado River drought

Winter storms have blanketed the mountains on the upper Colorado River with snow. But even this year’s above-average snowpack won’t be nearly enough to make up for the river’s chronic overallocation, compounded by 19 years of drought and the worsening effects of climate change.

Commands