Topic: San Joaquin Valley

Overview

San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley stretches from across mid-California between coastal ranges in west and the Sierras on the east. The region includes large cities such as Fresno and Bakersfield, national parks such as Yosemite and Kings and fertile farmland and multi-billion dollar agriculture industry.

The federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project (about 30 percent of SWP water is used for irrigation) helped deliver water to the valley. Today, San Joaquin Valley crops include grapes, tomatoes, hay, sugar beets, nuts, cotton and a multitude of other fruits and vegetables. At the same time, water used to grow these crops has led to the need for agricultural drainage.

 

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Turning up heat on more dam storage

GAR Tootelian, a major agricultural chemical company, and Families Protecting the Valley are rolling up their sleeves to put up several hundred road signs calling for action to build more dam storage and the message is simple: Dam Water Grows Food.

Aquafornia news The Economist

Caps on groundwater use create a new market in California – a liquid market

During the drought of 2012-16 landowners pumped more and more groundwater to compensate for the lack of rain. Thousands of wells ran dry. As a result, California passed a law requiring water users to organise themselves into local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Parent raises concerns over unsafe water at Stockton school

Waverly Elementary School has levels of a chemical called TCP in its drinking water that are above state standards. The Linden Unified School District, which the school is part of, tests for water contaminants throughout the year and found that between April of 2018 and March of 2019 the water violated the drinking standard.

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Opinion: Bringing clean water home to Kern County

The State Water Project helped make Kern County the number one agricultural county in the nation and ensures Bakersfield always has a clean, high quality supply of drinking water while protecting our region against drought. The State Water Project reflects our past generation’s drive to make California the great state it is today.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

SGMA rollout coming along smoothly

The implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act has presented some challenges, however it appears the overall process is progressing smoothly overall. Supervising Engineering Geologist with the Department of Water Resources, Steven Springhorn noted that the stakeholders have been diligent in adhering to the timeline established by the regulation.

Aquafornia news ABC23 Bakersfield

Cal Water working on new regulation to keep water flowing when power goes off

Cal Water needs power in order to meet state and federal water quality standards. But meeting those standards got more difficult for Cal Water. The California Public Utilities Commission gave power companies the ability to turn off the power to prevent wildfires after last year’s deadly wildfires in Paradise, California.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Westlands strikes back at AG Becerra over studying Shasta Dam raise

Westlands Water District isn’t giving up on raising Shasta Dam… The district, stopped in late July by a Shasta County judge from conducting an environmental study on the impact of raising Shasta Dam, filed a petition with the Sacramento-based Third District California Court of Appeal on Monday to vacate the trial court’s injunction.

Aquafornia news The National Review

Opinion: The Trump obsession comes for California’s water

Tomorrow, the Golden State’s Democrat-run, veto-proof legislature returns from its summer break and is expected to quickly take up S.B. 1, the “California Environmental, Public Health, and Workers Defense Act of 2019.” It has been proposed for one reason: Donald Trump is president.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil regulators shortcut permit process, records show

Under U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and California regulations, when oil companies want to use “cyclic steam” blasting or steam flooding, they’re required to submit an “underground injection control,” or UIC, application to state regulators. But state employees said at least 12 ”dummy” project folders appear to have been used over the past several years to wrongly issue permits, including by high-ranking supervisors.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Groundwater trading program, first of its kind for Central Valley, is being designed

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District is working with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a web-based platform growers can use to sell or buy units of groundwater. … As groundwater use is restricted, growers may decided to fallow cropland and instead sell their groundwater allocations to other growers.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

News release: EDF and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District to build new groundwater trading market

Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District (Rosedale) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) announced a joint pilot project today to build the first online, open-source groundwater trading platform in the Central Valley in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Will free markets clean up California’s dirty water?

There’s no law of nature nor of economics that says water must be delivered by a government agency. Yet in California, nearly every drop of flowing water is under the boot of a public authority — local boards, state authorities and federal regulators.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Opinion: Farmers don’t need to read the science. We are living it

Many farmers probably haven’t read the new report from the United Nations warning of threats to the global food supply from climate change and land misuse. But we don’t need to read the science — we’re living it. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, there’s not much debate anymore that the climate is changing.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nutria infestation has Central Valley Democrat declaring war

Rep. Josh Harder has focused much of his first year in office on local issues such as water storage and the effects of almond tariffs on Central Valley farmers. Now he is training his attention on the nutria, a semi-aquatic rodent that has drawn the ire of environmentalists, farmers and local officials alike.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State agency hopeful Chevron’s massive Kern County spill is finally over

State regulators say they’re cautiously optimistic that a major release of crude oil from a Chevron well in Kern County — an episode that has continued for three months — is finally over.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Hard Rock casino could ease county’s water worries, officials say

As the Tejon Tribe casino makes its way through the regulatory process, concerns have been raised over the impact the complex will have on the county’s groundwater. However, county officials believe the casino may actually use less water than the farms that currently occupy the planned site just south of Bakersfield. But questions do remain …

Aquafornia news Lodi News-Sentinel

Opinion: Groundwater draft plan reaches milestone

An important but not widely-publicized local planning process reached a milestone with the July release of the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan for the Eastern San Joaquin Subbasin. This is the public’s first chance to see how groundwater in this region may be managed for the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Cox working on Friant-Kern Canal issue

It’s hard for U.S. Representative T.J. Cox to understand why the Friant-Kern Canal is just at 40 percent capacity. … Cox said funding is provided to maintain the Friant-Kern Canal that’s supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Government, but those reimbursements haven’t been coming.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

From trash to treasure: Years of work on Tuolumne River in Modesto have paid off

Instead of piles of trash, Larry Metcalf sees things like an older man who’s out every day picking it up. He’s also seen a big rise in people out on the trails, “and everybody seems to like it. … The trails are nice, the jumps are nice. They’re made for all-around riders.”

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Nutria a danger to California agriculture. Will $7 million proposal help?

Massive invasive rodents are chewing up wetlands in Merced and other counties. Area leaders say the problem needs more money to eradicate the animals, before they are out of control.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Appetite for California almonds still growing, but farmers feel squeeze from new water rules

In California, money does grow on trees. Almonds constitute a $5.6 billion industry, and 2.26 billion pounds were shipped from California last year to be roasted and salted, or turned into anything from frothy, barista-friendly almond milk to marzipan sold on the streets of Berlin.

Aquafornia news The Press

New Delta tunnel project begins taking shape

Opponents of the twin tunnels breathed a collective sigh of relief in April when Gov. Gavin Newsom put a formal end to the California WaterFix project, but that action also called for the assessment of a single-tunnel project in the Delta. The first major step in that direction took place last week when the Department of Water Resources (DWR) initiated a series of negotiations with public water agencies that participate in the State Water Project (SWP)…

Aquafornia news Merced County Times

Groundwater Sustainability Plan up for public review

Over the past 18 months, the three Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) in the Merced Subbasin have worked together to develop a Draft Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) that is now available for public review and comment.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Broken bubbling system on Stockton waterfront contributes to growth of harmful algae

The city of Stockton is working to fix a broken bubbling system that has caused an overgrowth of harmful algae along the Stockton waterfront. People who work near the deepwater channel believe the green sludge is preventing others from playing on the water.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot.

While it may not be obvious to some, sustainable groundwater management is inherently connected to the long-term survival of the Delta. Not only does the state’s most significant groundwater use occur in regions that also rely upon water from the Delta watershed, reduced reliance on the Delta and improved regional self-reliance are central to many of the goals outlined in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

As summer heats up, remember to follow water conservation rules

People are watering their property during time periods when watering is restricted because of rising temperatures, Lemoore Utilities Manager John Souza said. “There have definitely been some violations this summer,” Souza said.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Podcast: Speaking Of Water with Peter Gleick

I’m here with Dr. Peter Gleick, co-founder and president emeritus of the Pacific Institute. Peter serves on the Circle of Blue Board of Trustees from his base in California, where Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a bill directing some $130 million to improve access to clean drinking water for many state residents.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California farmers are planting solar panels as water supplies dry up

The silvery panels looked like an interloper amid a patchwork landscape of lush almond groves, barren brown dirt and saltbush scrub, framed by the blue-green strip of the California Aqueduct bringing water from the north. … Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Three-way wrangle over plan to expand Shasta Dam

On Monday, the state of California and a coalition of fishing groups and environmentalists asked a judge to bar Westlands from completing a crucial environmental report in hopes of stalling the project. “Everything we see looks to be illegal,” said deputy attorney general Russell Hildreth. At issue is a stretch of the McCloud River that both sides agree would be inundated by the project.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Can we reuse polluted water? Yes, add bacteria

A team of scientists from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Colorado School of Mines (Mines) is developing a microbe-based system that could remove toxic compounds from oilfield produced water so it can be reused in other water-intensive sectors such as agriculture and energy production.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation seeks comments on plan to ensure San Luis Reservoir water reliability

The Bureau of Reclamation and Valley Water released draft environmental documents for public comment on the San Luis Low Point Improvement Project, which addresses water delivery interruptions and proposes to maintain reliable and cost-effective water supply.

Aquafornia news KCET

Spill draws attention to steam-based oil extraction

When the news broke, in the second week of July, that nearly 800,000 gallons of oil and water had spilled into a dry creekbed from an oil production facility in Kern County, it sounded rare and dramatic. But the spill was unique only in its magnitude. In the oil fields of the San Joaquin Valley, spills and seeps of oil, wastewater and oil-laced wastewater are as common as the wind storms that episodically blanket the Valley with dust.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Monday Top of the Scroll: Will California’s new water fund bring safe tap water to farm country?

In the state’s rural agriculture belt, many communities of color can’t drink the water in their homes. Fixing the problem may require more than money.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Are Manteca leaders preparing to sell city’s future down the river?

Water is key to everything in California. If you have control of water in sufficient amounts you control your destiny. There are three things on the horizon that city leaders had best pay heed before they buy into the PG&E model regarding critical and essential utilities and go for the money in the here and now while ignoring long term consequences.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Boil advisory in effect for some northeast Bakersfield residents

California Water Service announced a precautionary boil advisory for residents in northeast Bakersfield. Around 5 p.m. Saturday, the utility service received reports of low-water pressure, or none at all. Crews confirmed the issue was caused by malfunction in the computerized system that tracks tank levels and regulates the pressurized water system.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Panel: An update on how the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is working

Moderator Kathleen Schock got an update on how the work is progressing locally from Gary Serrato, executive director of the North Kings Groundwater Sustainability Agency, Christina Beckstead, executive director of Madera County Farm Bureau, and David Orth with New Current Water and Land.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Getting it right on water rights

If credibility were measured like rainfall, the Trump administration would be in the midst of a prolonged drought — as evidenced most recently in its handling of plans to send more water to California’s Central Valley.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water District launching water market pilot program

The newly formed water market would create a place where farmers in the Rosedale district can buy and sell water based on their needs. So if one farmer has too much for his crops in a certain year, he’d be able to sell it on the market to another who might not have enough.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Modernizing water infrastructure is crucial to achieving California’s energy goals. Here’s why

Thoughtfully implementing state law that requires local water users to bring groundwater use to sustainable levels within the next two decades will … result in withdrawal of large amounts of land from agricultural production and the loss of economic benefits. But we can repurpose those lands to support large scale storage and solar, as well as other renewable energy technologies that can help decarbonize our electric grid and create new jobs in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Consultant working on deal to pipe Manteca’s recycled wastewater to farm buyers along Delta Mendota Canal

Just how much Manteca’s treated wastewater is worth to agricultural users served by the Delta Mendota Canal that are often at the mercy of fish flows diversions and drought that reduces their Central Valley Project allocations may be determined in the coming year.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Stockton works to fix water channel air pumps

The city of Stockton’s underwater bubbler system designed to prevent algal blooms hasn’t been working for a little more than a month. … The aeration system, which was installed in 2006, pumps oxygen into the water to prevent stagnation. Stagnant water, combined with hot temperatures, can lead to the growth of algae.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

At Chevron oil spill, Newsom calls for greater industry oversight

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in the Central Valley on Wednesday for a firsthand look at one of the largest oil spills in California history, vowed to go beyond the state’s already aggressive efforts to curtail the use of fossil fuels and seek a long-term strategy to reduce oil production.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Chevron injected steam near well work before oil leak near McKittrick

Chevron records show the large, McKittrick-area oil leak … probably originated with an idle well being worked on at the same time the company was injecting high-pressure steam just 360 feet away, a combination that industry people say should not have been performed simultaneously in such close proximity and which possibly contributed to the release.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Water Blueprint proposes parallel waterway for the sinking Friant-Kern Canal

The Friant Water Authority is confident a parallel canal is the best solution. This new one will be built in a way that prepares for subsidence. A new canal would also benefit from the Ground Water Management Act of 2014, which will regulate how much and when water is pumped out of the ground, preventing what some believe is the main cause of subsidence.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

Groundwater depletion may cause domestic wells to dry out

A new study looked at more than half a century of well depth trends to gain new insights into the management of the critical resource. … The team found that, between 1950 and 2015, across most of the country, groundwater users are drilling wells deeper and deeper. But well depths did not increase everywhere … which means that, in some places, wells might dry up.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: A listening California should consult the real experts on water

The Natural Resources Agency, California EPA, and California Department of Food and Agriculture want the public’s input on how best to manage and deal with an uncertain water supply in the future. It seems every new administration in Sacramento must deal with water issues in California that never seem to get fixed.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Special report: The Central Valley’s trashed-out rivers

The Kings River is littered with trash, both in the water, and in the wooded areas surrounding the river. We all know people litter, and that can get caught in the River — but the Kings is also tarnished by shopping carts piled up high, countless tires stacked to form rubber walls, and even a truck, submerged in the same water people swim in.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After 800,000-gallon spill, Chevron site is still leaking oil

On the same day Sen. Dianne Feinstein chastised Chevron Corp. for keeping an 800,000-gallon spill outside Bakersfield “under wraps,” California officials confirmed Thursday that the site was once again seeping a hazardous mix of oil and water.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at danger level: Public urged to avoid water contact

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. DWR increased the advisory from warning to danger after detecting an increased amount of microcystins.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Friday Top of the Scroll: LA’s Kern County sludge farm to stop receiving free Bakersfield water

For around 20 years, Los Angeles has shipped a large portion of “biosolids” from its toilets to fertilize a farm it owns just west of Bakersfield. Bakersfield, in return, has been providing an annual load of 18,000 acre-feet of free water to the farm. However, after passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the value of treated wastewater increased.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Salmon study may foil Trump’s plan to boost water deliveries to Central Valley farms

Federal biologists worked frantically this year to meet a deadline to assess the environmental impacts of Trump administration plans to send more water to Central Valley farmers. But the biologists’ conclusion — that increased deliveries would harm endangered Chinook salmon and other imperiled fish — would foil those plans.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Ties between the Delta and groundwater sustainability in California

Groundwater overdraft is a major problem globally and has been a persistent and growing problem in California for decades. This overdraft is predominantly driven by the economic value of water for agricultural production and cities.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Clovis secures its future growth with FID water deals

The Clovis City Council has approved landmark water deals with the Fresno Irrigation District that officials say will secure the city’s growth for decades to come. According to the Clovis General Plan, the city expects 280,000 residents in 2083 — 2.5 times its 110,000 population. Plans call for Clovis to grow northeast and southeast.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

SGMA sharpens focus on conjunctive use

Requirements to balance supplies in California groundwater basins have refocused attention on how best to achieve recharge, and on what’s known as the conjunctive use of surface and groundwater supplies. Some irrigation districts have been recharging groundwater in that manner for years or even decades.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

California’s 2019-2020 budget has millions for water projects and healthcare programs

Brokered in large part by rookie state senator for California’s 14 Senate District, Melissa Hurtado, the southern portion of the Valley has gained tens of millions of dollars of investment in drinking water, asthma mitigation, aging and disability resource centers and Valley Fever research.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton biofuel firm fined $401K for dumping industrial wastewater into city sewers

American Biodiesel also admitted to tampering with monitoring devices and methods that are designed to detect clean water standards. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, employees’ tampering was done with the purpose of underreporting acid and pollutant levels and volumes that otherwise would have exceeded figures allowed by the city’s regulations.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Monday Top of the Scroll: Administration sidelines federal biologists who could stand in way of more water for Calif. farmers

Just days before federal biologists were set to release new rules governing the future of endangered salmon and drinking water for two-thirds of Californians, the administration replaced them with an almost entirely new group … to “refine” and “improve” the rules, according to an email obtained by KQED. Environmental groups said the Department of  Interior is interfering with the science…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Work continues to reinforce Lathrop levees

While elected officials in Sacramento work to secure funding to ensure that the levees along the San Joaquin River are reinforced to be able to withstand a 200-year flood, the City of Lathrop has been performing the work necessary to continue development within the floodplain while that work is completed. … The city has received financial backing from a number of developers that don’t want to see development stop until the costly repairs are mad.

Aquafornia news ABC30

CDFW officers bust large marijuana grows that threatened South Valley bird habitat

Amid the vital habitat for wildlife, officers found that the suspects were using pesticides and fertilizers, including a 55-gallon drum of Roundup, and had an open trash pit and water pit used for premixing chemicals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Feds seek comment on tweaks to California water operations

Seeking to implement updated scientific methods to its operations in the Golden State, the Bureau of Reclamation released a draft environmental impact report on the coordinated operations between the federal Central Valley Project and California’s State Water Project on Thursday.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Groups urge Newsom to fire oil and gas regulators, citing conflicts

Two consumer groups are calling on California’s governor to freeze all new oil drilling permits and to clean house at the agency that issues them, after the organizations uncovered records showing that top state regulators and engineers held investments in Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Valero and other petrochemical giants.

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Aquafornia news KALW

The town that refuses to die

When drinking water gets contaminated, there’s usually a polluter to blame. Most likely it’s the fault of big industry spewing out toxic fertilizers or synthetic chemicals. But in nearly 100 communities in California, this isn’t the case. They have water that is contaminated with a naturally occurring chemical: Arsenic. Allensworth, California is one of those communities.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water. But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Communities still gaming out what the future of groundwater will be

To better understand groundwater markets, attendees at the meeting played a groundwater market game, which was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Michigan to teach players about the challenges of managing scarce groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Friant Dam operators release water into San Joaquin River, Millerton Lake at capacity

A massive flow of fresh water is being released from Friant Dam on Tuesday as Millerton Lake reached capacity. … Officials are releasing 1,700-1,000 cubic feet per second into the San Joaquin River. Stroup said Millerton Lake has received above average snow melt forcing them to release the water to make room for more run off.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them

Water systems, especially in rural areas, can report much higher levels of lead than the EPA cutoff. In 2017, for example, an elementary school in Tulare County, California, home to agricultural laborers, reported lead levels of 4,600 ppb. The school distributed bottled water to its students and replaced its well.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bill to fix Friant-Kern Canal continues forward progress

The bill that will provide support for necessary repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal is continuing to make forward progress in the California legislature. Senate Bill 559 (SB-559) … was voted through the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee in the Assembly on July 2. The bill itself is seeking $400 million to make important upgrades and repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

South San Joaquin Irrigation District delivers prosperity

A bold move by farmers to form the South San Joaquin Irrigation District 110 years ago literally changed the economic fortunes of Manteca, Ripon and Escalon. And no way else did SSJID have as big as an impact as it did on Manteca.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Got surface water? Groundwater-only lands in the san joaquin valley

We estimate that nearly 20%—or 840,000 acres—of irrigated cropland in the valley has no access to surface water. … With groundwater cuts looming and no other water supply to fall back on, groundwater-only areas are on the front line of the effort to bring basins into balance.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Trump said water wars ‘easy’ to fix. What do farmers say now?

On June 28, farmers gathered in Los Banos to ask questions of President Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue. GV Wire took the opportunity to ask growers if they believed Trump was doing enough to bring water to farmers. Generally, they said they like how things are progressing.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Friant water blueprint focused on counties south of Delta

An important blueprint for the success of farming in the Central Valley is being developed to present to California government officials. This blueprint outlines what must be done to get water to the eight counties south of the delta. The blueprint is a critical step to help keep farmers in business due to the pressure from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

After more than a decade, Lanare’s water is finally safe to drink

The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working

The experiment to super-energize water recharging efforts at Fresno’s Leaky Acres appears to be working. … Tommy Esqueda, then the director of Public Utilities, described the system to me as “putting ‘unique’ straws in the ground. The depth and spacing of these ‘straws’ are designed to maximize groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump’s pending rules on California water marked by missing documents and hurried reviews, say scientists

In their analyses, they write that the plan poses risks to threatened fish; that the process is rushed; that they didn’t receive enough information to provide a complete scientific review; and that the Trump administration may be skewing the science to make the environmental impact look less serious.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Why Modesto’s effort to plant 5,000 trees ended with rising costs and dead trees

Greg Dion, Cal Fire’s regional urban forester for the San Joaquin Valley, said Modesto used outdated research in calculating the cost of buying, planting and maintaining the 5,000 trees. … Modesto also started planting trees while the region still was in the grip of a devastating drought.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Hurtado secures $15M for area drinking water projects

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced Monday she has secured a $15 million one-time investment of General Funds for the southern Central Valley. The funds will address failing water systems that deliver safe clean drinking water to California’s most vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

City of Fresno supports safe drinking water fund – with a catch

Two Fresno City Councilmembers made an atypical move at a press conference today by throwing in their support for a clean water drinking fund—as long as it doesn’t involve a tax.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Homeowners near San Joaquin River fear rising water levels

Parts of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers are closed to recreation. But the high water levels don’t just mean people’s vacations are getting cut short. … Hilda Warren lives near the river and says she’s starting to get worried, watching the water levels rise day by day.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Fracking: Inside a BLM report, environmental impacts, and the public’s response

This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t known about the technique’s impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley water agency might buy Central Valley farm

Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax millions of residential water users and others while California enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Canyon reservoir spurs some debate in Stanislaus County

Del Puerto Water District and Central California Irrigation District have developed the reservoir project without many public concerns rising to the surface. That was until Patterson city staff members showed up for Wednesday’s meeting. Maria Encinas, a city management analyst, asked about a risk assessment for adjacent communities like Patterson. A failure in the dam on Del Puerto Creek, on the west side of Interstate 5, would appear to flood part of the city of 23,700, including perhaps the downtown area in Patterson.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland

The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a move that could create a promising new water source — or spark a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be a priority for this legislative session

It is hard to fathom how the fifth-largest economy in the world can settle for letting public water systems serve up contaminated water. How will our economy continue to grow and how will we attract new businesses and new workers if the state can’t provide a basic human need?

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project

The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

California agriculture & water history plays out in Traver

The history of Traver, preserved in many books and archives, is a study in land development, agriculture and irrigation. It started when a civil engineer named Peter Y. Baker conceived a plan to convert thousands acres of rangeland in northern Tulare and southern Fresno counties into fields of wheat by diverting water by canal from the Kings River.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bureau of Reclamation bumps Westside water allocation to 70 percent

The Bureau of Reclamation updated its 2019 allocation for the Central Valley Project South-of-Delta, increasing the westside water allocation to 70 percent of the contract total. Said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant: “The late storms provided an added boost to the already above average precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still about 150% of average for this time of year.”

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Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Public hearing on fracking in Valley not recorded – ‘I feel like the process is rigged’

The majority of the dozens of commenters at the meeting spoke out against the analysis and the prospect of increased fracking in the region, expressing concerns about air pollution, drinking water quality, and climate change. … Tempers at the meeting also flared for what many attendees viewed as a lack of accountability from the BLM. The agency did not record the meeting, instead inviting attendees to submit written comments online, electronically, and only in English.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Senate rejects proposed tax on water bills

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: What’s behind California’s lawsuit against Westlands, raising Shasta dam?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

City to reluctantly extend water line to rural park

City water will be flowing to yet another community living in county jurisdiction with the state forcing the City Council’s Monday action to supply water service to the privately owned Ceres West Mobile Home Park. … The park, which was approved by the county in 1969, had limited options to supply drinking water to its residents because water from an on-site well exceeds state limits for arsenic and nitrates.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cow manure: An unexpected climate solution

In 2016, California became the first state to pass legislation regulating dairy methane, requiring the farms to cut their manure emissions 40% by 2030. … Enter Neil Black. Black’s company builds multimillion-dollar projects at the state’s largest dairies to capture the gas.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Before there was a New Melones Dam: A look back at efforts to save the Stanislaus River

Members of Friends of the River and the Sierra Club are planning a presentation on a controversial episode in Mother Lode history, when activists unsuccessfully tried to prevent flooding of a raftable section of the Stanislaus River by rising water levels in New Melones Reservoir in the 1970s and 1980s. … The event is scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday this week at Tuolumne County Library, 480 Greenley Road in Sonora.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Activists speak out against fracking on federal land in California

Kern’s oil industry took a pass Tuesday on a public hearing focused on the environmental impacts of fracking, handing the day to dozens of anti-oil activists who convened in downtown Bakersfield to rail against the technique and the threat of climate change. … The event was one of three hearings the BLM is hosting as part of its plan to reopen federal land in California to oil production.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s dairy industry faces water quality challenges

Contaminated groundwater is an ongoing problem in some of the state’s poorest rural communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. One big threat is nitrate, caused mainly by many decades of crop fertilization with chemical fertilizers and dairy manure. We talked to Anja Raudabaugh of Western United Dairymen about what can be done to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘Flint Is everywhere’: California farmworkers confront a tainted water crisis

Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements. The money comes at a cost to California’s biggest undertaking — high-speed rail.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Bureau of Land Management to hold meeting on White House proposal to expand oil drilling, fracking

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield office is set to hold a meeting Tuesday over a White House proposal that would expand oil drilling and fracking on more than a million acres of public land across the state. … The proposal includes 40 new wells over the next 10 years on roughly 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate — land where the surface is owned privately, but the mineral rights beneath the ground are managed by the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Madera Tribune

Council ponders building 2.5 million-gallon tank

A presentation to the Madera City Council Wednesday evening focused on current water usage, projected peak water demands and highlighted the immediate need for a new 2.5 million-gallon concrete water storage tank to meet the water needs of today’s users and also to meet required fire-flow targets. The estimated cost of the project is more than $18 million…

Aquafornia news High Country News

Can small-scale farmers grow a healthier California?

Aidee Guzman is focusing on these small farms to find out whether, ecologically, this diversity has any positive effects on soil health. Her work won’t be published for another two years, but there is already a large body of research that explains how large monocropping operations strip soils of their nutrients and make them less capable of storing carbon… As she works, she is documenting a potential alternative to the industrial mega-farms of the valley and the West.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: A new water tax? California has a $21 billion surplus, use that instead

Clean water is important, and there are a million people in the Central Valley without access to it. But do we need a new tax to pay for it? Maybe we don’t. Just last week, a state Senate budget subcommittee eliminated Gov. Newsom’s recommendation for a water tax and replaced it with a $150 million continuous appropriation from the General Fund.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California record cherry crop, season at risk due to May rains

Bruce Blodgett is executive director of the farm bureau in San Joaquin County, California’s cherry bowl. The mid-May downpour and his windshield wipers told him everything he needed to know: His county’s record ready-to-pick yield of sweet cherries – one of San Joaquin’s most lucrative crops even amid the county’s winemaking renaissance – was in serious danger.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

Mark Arax: Chasing the water and dust behind the California dream

Mark Arax’s new book, “The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California,” explores how the quest to find and move water has always been essential to the California Dream. … He sat down with California Report Magazine Host Sasha Khokha.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Unsafe drinking water is bad enough: But what if you’re the one tasked with fixing it?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

NASA’s GRACE: What researchers have learned from water in motion

When you hear news about ice loss from Greenland or Antarctica, an aquifer in California that is getting depleted, or a new explanation for a wobble in Earth’s rotation, you might not realize that all these findings may rely on data from one single mission

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tribal groundwater rights and SGMA: A new underlying tension?

At the 28th California Water Policy conference held in April of 2019, a panel discussed how tribal lands and tribal representatives, as independent nations, can be integrated into SGMA implementation, what some of the obstacles to doing so are, and how those hurdles might be transcended.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

April water use up 8% in Manteca; growing faster than city population

Last month there was an 8 percent increase in water compared to April 2018. Meanwhile the population over the same time period went up 2,759 residents or just over a 3 percent increase. … Using a five-year yardstick with the city adding just over 9,000 residents since 2014, per capita water consumption is down by more than 10 percent from April 2014 to April 2019.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus leaders support bottled water as alternative for small water systems

Stanislaus County will ask the state to consider use of bottled water as a permanent alternative for small public water systems that are in violation of safe drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom administration is getting closer to water deals

With the administration’s leadership, representatives of farmers, cities and conservation groups are having productive negotiations on a complex package of actions that would increase river flows and improve fish habitats, collectively called a “voluntary agreement.” A possible final agreement is months away, but we are making progress.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom crafts smart water portfolio for California

In reality, the WaterFix could not increase water exports while protecting the Delta ecosystem. That’s because California’s snow and rainfall are highly variable, making it unlikely that existing supplies can meet increasing water demands reliably into the future. Plus, the science demonstrates that San Francisco Bay’s fish and wildlife need more water, not less, to flow from the Central Valley to the Bay.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

The massive snowmelt is coming. Are we ready?

Estimates vary, and can change as the water year progresses, but the Kern River basin, the rivers and streams that collect the water that flows into Isabella Lake and downstream toward Bakersfield, is estimated to be at 172 percent of normal, possibly more. And all that ice and snow is starting to melt, big time. Are local water managers ready?

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must make drinking water safe for all consumers

No family should have to live in a community in which the water that comes from their taps puts their children’s health at risk. Over the last several years, the state has authorized millions of dollars for emergency actions and one-time patches, but has shied from doing what’s necessary to sustainably solve this problem.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

CVP districts seek ways to enhance water supplies

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, may update its 65% allocation for south-of-delta agricultural contractors later this month. But Lon Martin, general manager of the Los Banos-based San Luis Water District, said landowners who are planting crops and must secure water for the remainder of the year “cannot wait until May and June to make decisions.”

Aquafornia news Physics World

Weighing water from space

By monitoring tiny changes to the Earth’s gravitational field, the GRACE satellites have been pinpointing the distribution of fresh water on our planet for almost two decades. But as Marric Stephens explains, a new follow-on mission is also helping with plans for a space-based gravitational-wave detector

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes

Newsom … said he would announce his administration’s detailed strategy on energy policy in the next few weeks. The governor was coy about core aspects of that policy, and declined to say if it would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, a process that uses drilling and large volumes of high-pressure water to extract gas and oil deposits.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

Contaminated tap water in California at center of debate between lawmakers

Lawmakers have said fixing contaminated water systems is costly but ongoing maintenance will be even more expensive. They say a constant funding stream is necessary.

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Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Residents reminded of water conservation rules

The winter was wet, and the memories of California’s record-setting drought years are receding. But as the weather warms and irrigation systems are once again operating, city officials remind local residents that Newman’s water conservation rules remain in effect.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Experts weigh in on the snowpack, and how a new water treatment facility benefits the valley

There’s a need to use the available surface water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs so the groundwater can replenish itself. That’s where the new Southeast Fresno Surface Water Treatment Facility comes in. … Michael Carbajal, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Fresno. says that before 2004, we used 100% groundwater to meet drinking water demand. “We’re hoping to get up over 50% meaning, 50% of our drinking water demand through surface water,” says Carbajal.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Congress needs to permanently fund land and water program to conserve public places

Have you visited Woodward Park recently? The 300-acre park in Northeast Fresno … exist thanks to a little known, but important federal program called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It was started 50 years ago with a simple yet brilliant goal: Take money from oil and gas drilling and put it toward the conservation of America’s public lands, parks and other outdoor places.

Aquafornia news E&E News

California drainage deal sinks into doldrums

An ambitious California irrigation drainage deal is now mired deeper than ever in legislative and legal limbo, alarming farmers, spinning government wheels and costing taxpayers money with no relief in sight. Though nearly four years have passed since the Obama administration and the Westlands Water District agreed to settle their high-stakes drainage differences, the deal remains incomplete. Progress, if there is any, can be measured in inches.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water supply and quality challenges in the San Joaquin Valley

Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, testified today (April 30, 2019) before the Assembly Subcommittee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, at a hearing on balancing water needs into the future in the San Joaquin Valley. Here are her prepared remarks.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

One of the most frequently recurring themes of last week’s business conference of California agricultural appraisers was the impact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is having on land values. … Another recurring theme was the tight availability of farm employees and the rising costs associated with those employees. One result has been the increase in plantings of nut crops, which require fewer people to tend and harvest.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Small fee would yield safe drinking water in California

We have a drinking water crisis in California—a crisis that has disproportionately impacted disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color for years. There is however hope as many voices, from many different people, with various political views, have now joined the fight to address this crisis.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers

It’s an exceptional year for Sierra snowpack — 150 to 200% in some places. Mountain snow is the main water source for agriculture on the Valley’s west side. But those farmers are getting just 65% of their allocation… Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says it’s frustrating that in a water year this good, some farmers still can’t get enough of it to grow food.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration unveils plan to open up 1 million California acres to oil drilling

A 174-page environmental report released by the U.S. Interior Department will expedite new extraction on roughly 1 million acres of Central and Southern California, primarily in the historical oil fields around Bakersfield and the deep petroleum deposits near Santa Barbara but potentially in the Sierra Nevada as well.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder water bill a bipartisan effort

As a full Tuolumne River flowed behind them, a diverse set of government leaders and water stakeholders gathered alongside Congressman Josh Harder Wednesday afternoon in Modesto to unite under one important cause: protecting water in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news KCET

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thick and Viscous: California oil production among the dirtiest in the country

A recent report from the California Water Quality Control Board found “multiple lines of geochemical evidence” indicating that “groundwater is mixing with oil field fluids.”

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

After 65 Years, Salmon Are Returning to the San Joaquin

Surviving an exhaustive maze of manmade barriers and hungry predators, a hardy group of salmon have beat the odds and returned to spawn in one of California’s most-heavily dammed rivers. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says for the first time in over 65 years, threatened spring-run Chinook adult salmon have returned to the San Joaquin River near Fresno to complete their life cycle.

Aquafornia news Wired

How the Blockchain Could Protect California’s Aquifer

In Solano County, near Sacramento, [Alex] Johnson is working on what he says could be a model for parched ag regions around the state. … Last month, working with IBM and a company called SweetSense, Johnson’s team began deploying simple, solar-powered sensors, originally developed to monitor creaky groundwater pumps in East Africa. The sensors will be used to detect how much water is flowing in real-time. … Farmers will use that data to trade their water on (what else?) a blockchain platform.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Josh Harder unveils water plan for Central Valley

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, thinks there is a better way to find water solutions for California’s Central Valley and to stop squandering water in wet years that’s needed in dry years. His bipartisan water legislation unveiled Wednesday promises federal support for storage and innovation projects to address shortages that too often plague Valley agriculture and communities.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump administration on water supplies, fish

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state.

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 Hanford Sentinel

Westlands officials disappointed by water allocation announcement

While all other Central Valley Project contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100% of their contract totals in recent months, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that agricultural districts South-of-Delta will receive only 65% percent of their historic water allocation. … In light of current hydrologic and reservoir conditions, Westlands Water District officials said this minor increase in water allocation is “astonishing.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

The 80 homes that make up Tooleville nestle against the mighty Friant-Kern Canal, thousands of gallons of fresh water flowing each day past the two-street town. But none of that water can help Tooleville’s decades-old problem of contaminated water, chronicled at the start of this decade in a three-part series by The Bee on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. Nearby Exeter might, though, giving a rise of newfound hope.

Aquafornia news Politico

Interior’s Bernhardt worked closely on matters he promised to avoid

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt began working on policies that would aid one of his former lobbying clients within weeks of joining the Trump administration, according to a POLITICO analysis of agency documents … Newly disclosed schedule “cards” prepared by Interior officials for Bernhardt show more than three dozen meetings with key players on California water issues, including multiple lengthy meetings on specific endangered species protections at the heart of his previous work.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Beloved Bloomingcamp Ranch near Oakdale could be closed due to water problems

The cider, the apple pies and the scenery are just some of the things that draw people to Bloomingcamp Ranch near Oakdale. Today, the business that’s served customers for more than 40 years faces an uncertain future because of state regulations that target small public water systems, the owners said.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California has farmers growing weeds. Why? To capture carbon

For some, like almond grower Jose Robles of Modesto, climate change was an afterthought, if that. That’s something they talk about in Sacramento, he says, not where he lives and works. But in December, the ground under Robles’ almond trees was a carpet of green, full of mustard plant and clover. … His neighbors really don’t understand it.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Legionnaires’ disease found in adjacent California prisons

Legionnaires’ disease bacteria that killed one inmate and sickened another is more widespread than expected in a California state prison, officials said Wednesday, citing new test results. Preliminary results found the bacteria in the water supply at a prison medical facility in Stockton and at two neighboring youth correctional facilities… The bacteria weren’t detected in the Stockton city water supply, though the city supplies water to the state facilities.

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Aquafornia news GVWire.com

West-side water ticks up to 65% of allocation. will it hit 100%?

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that it will supply South-of-Delta growers with 65% of their contracted water total. … Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), who is a grower and one of the top water policy experts in Congress, said that he expected the initial west-side allocation in February to be 50%, followed by a 75% revise.

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Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Blog: Temperance Flat Dam Could Minimize the Devastation of SGMA

If farmers cannot prove that they are replenishing the amount of groundwater as they are taking out, they are not going to be allowed to use the groundwater pumps. … Temperance Flat would provide additional storage opportunities—up to an additional 1.2 million acre-feet—and will allow farmers to have carryover water from year to year. This will carry the farmers through the dry years, and it will give the allowance to stabilize the groundwater condition.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Interior Secretary Bernhardt under investigation by inspector general

At least 11 Democratic senators asked the inspector general to investigate a range of claims against Bernhardt … The inspector general also received a request from Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, asking the office to examine whether Bernhardt played a role in the department’s handling of endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Delta…

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Effort to repair Friant-Kern Canal passes first hurdle

A bill moving through the state legislature looks to make repairs and enhancements to the Friant-Kern Canal. Senate Bill 559 was authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado, representing the 14th Senate District, and was co-authored by several other San Joaquin Valley lawmakers. The legislation recently advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water with a vote of 7 to 0.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Oakwood may send sewage to Manteca treatment plant

Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Fishy reasoning behind the state’s Stanislaus River water grab

Farmers, by trade, are experts in sustainability and by extension common sense. Growers along with 1.5 million Northern San Joaquin Valley residents could end up on the receiving end of an economic Armageddon perpetuated by the state Department of Water Resources on behalf of the threatened Chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Full water allocations hard to reach despite storms

Even as winter and early-spring storms have filled reservoirs to the brim and piled snow on Sierra Nevada mountaintops, state and federal officials say they’re limited in how much water they can send south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Turlock flushes water system after coliform detected

The city of Turlock reported that routine testing detected coliform bacteria in the city’s drinking water last month, triggering additional tests to make sure the water was safe to drink.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

David Bernhardt confirmed as Interior secretary despite ethics concerns

David Bernhardt, President Trump’s pick to the lead the Interior Department, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday amid persistent ethical concerns and doubts about his independence from the energy and water industry groups he long represented as a lobbyist.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: Activists seek a California fracking ban

Should the governor want to do away with fracking, he could issue an emergency order placing a moratorium on it. But the public hasn’t heard from Newsom on the issue as he has laid out his initial priorities, and his staff did not answer questions from CALmatters about his current leanings.

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Aquafornia news Science Magazine

Drought is not just about water. It affects air pollution, too

The severe drought that struck California from 2011 to 2015 had an obvious impact on rivers, forests, and wildlife. Now, a new study shows it also had some surprising effects on the state’s notorious air pollution, adding new wrinkles to the state’s efforts to clear the skies.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Delta Sustainability Map Gary Pitzer

Bruce Babbitt Urges Creation of Bay-Delta Compact as Way to End ‘Culture of Conflict’ in California’s Key Water Hub
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Former Interior secretary says Colorado River Compact is a model for achieving peace and addressing environmental and water needs in the Delta

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt gives the Anne J. Schneider Lecture April 3 at Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum.  Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona governor and secretary of the Interior, has been a thoughtful, provocative and sometimes forceful voice in some of the most high-profile water conflicts over the last 40 years, including groundwater management in Arizona and the reduction of California’s take of the Colorado River. In 2016, former California Gov. Jerry Brown named Babbitt as a special adviser to work on matters relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Delta tunnels plan.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

In bid for cleaner water, California seeks arranged utility marriages

The State Water Board was given the power to force a larger, better run utility to absorb a smaller neighbor that consistently fails to deliver clean water. They would like South Kern to connect to Bakersfield’s system, which serves high-quality water to 144,000 people. … The three sides have been in negotiations for two and a half years, a struggle between one of the largest cities in California’s Central Valley, state officials, and two tiny water suppliers that is the first significant test of the four-year-old statute.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Central Valley assemblymember calls out Water Board for claim that contaminating drinking water in disadvantaged communities is not “significant”

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) ripped the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant”. Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.

Aquafornia news The Porterville Reporter

Legislation to repair Friant-Kern Canal receives bipartisan support, advances to appropriations

The legislation, which received bipartisan support, will invest $400 million from the State’s General Fund towards the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the Central Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.

Aquafornia news Sanger Herald

State-ordered project will raise water bills

While the city struggles with the final phase of a state ordered rezone for affordable housing, it’s tackling the first phase of a possibly more complicated state ordered project based on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … Part of the increased cost would be for the purchase of water from Consolidated Irrigation District and part would go toward servicing a debt incurred for building the infrastructure and other capital costs associated with getting the project ready to go. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Irrigation district leader in Turlock will retire

Casey Hashimoto, general manager of the Turlock Irrigation District since 2010, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of 2019. The leader of one of Stanislaus County’s largest water and power providers disclosed his plans at the morning board meeting. Hashimoto, an electrical engineer, joined TID in 1985 and was an assistant GM for 10 years.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: State and federal experts discuss San Joaquin Valley’s water future

How can state and federal agencies help California’s largest agricultural region address its difficult water management problems? This was the theme of an event last week that brought together PPIC experts with top officials working on issues related to water, agriculture, and natural resources.

Tour Nick Gray

2020 Clone of Central Valley Tour 2019
Field Trip - April 3-5

Venture through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal government challenges the State Water Board’s amended Bay-Delta water quality control plan

The Amended Plan … has touched off a series of lawsuits due to its controversial unimpaired flow requirements for the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries … The Federal Government’s lawsuits challenge the Amended Plan by asserting that it fails to comply with CEQA and congressional mandates that control the operation of the New Melones Dam, which is part of the federally run Central Valley Project (CVP).

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Harder asks EPA for close review of Delta Plan

Political leaders from the valley are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to closely scrutinize new water quality standards proposed for the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. … “The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to the EPA misses the mark,” said Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, who joined almost a dozen congressmen, including conservatives Kevin McCarthy and Tom McClintock, in sending a letter to the EPA.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: Water board staff tries end run around negotiations

When the State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to adopt the Bay-Delta Plan, its members ignored the direction of former Governor Brown and current Governor Newsom to pursue voluntary agreements with our irrigation districts. Many saw this as an act of defiance by former Chair Felicia Marcus, the executive director, and many of the activist staff.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: A California tax to clean up toxic drinking water has lawmakers jumpy

The water tax will require a two-thirds vote in each house. Democrats have that and a little to spare. Still, the governor will need to use all his power of cajolery and coercion to win passage of any tax increase.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump’s pick for Interior Dept. continued lobbying after officially vowing to stop, new files indicate

A previously unreleased invoice indicates that David Bernhardt, President Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, continued to lobby for a major client several months after he filed official papers saying that he had ended his lobbying activities. The bill for Mr. Bernhardt’s services, dated March 2017 and labeled “Federal Lobbying,” shows, along with other documents, Mr. Bernhardt working closely with the Westlands Water District as late as April 2017, the month Mr. Trump nominated him to his current job, deputy interior secretary.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: California fixes a major problem with oilfield wastewater injection

A new rule goes into effect today that will help protect California’s groundwater. … The new standards for oilfield injection are some of the strongest in the nation. They require stricter permitting standards, regular mechanical integrity testing and routine pressure monitoring – all necessary ingredients for safeguarding groundwater.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmers welcome federal agencies’ suits on flows plan

Now that the federal government has filed its own lawsuits against an unimpaired-flows plan for San Joaquin River tributaries, farmers and other parties to the lawsuits wait to learn where they will be heard–and prepare for a lengthy court battle. California Farm Bureau Federation … filed its own lawsuit against the unimpaired-flows plan in February…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds accused of holding back on California fracking plans

Armed with a recent court ruling that climate change must be considered in decisions to open federal land to oil and gas drilling, conservationists shot the opening volley Thursday in what promises to be a protracted legal battle over the future of fracking and oil drilling in Northern California.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Former Gov. Jerry Brown’s days filled with grazing cows, drawing well water at Colusa ranch

Brown and former first lady Anne Gust Brown, in their first public appearance since he left office in January, spoke to about 100 attendees about the daunting challenges they face living on a self-sustaining farm: installing solar panels for power, collecting water from a well, and tending to an olive tree orchard.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration sues California to block water plan for fish

Turning the tables on California, the Trump administration sued Thursday to block the state’s ambitious plan to reallocate billions of gallons of river water to salmon and other struggling fish species. … The State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to reallocate the flows of the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. The move is designed to help steelhead and salmon by taking water from San Joaquin Valley farmers and a handful of cities.

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Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Groundwater recharge project shows encouraging results

A pilot project banking groundwater in the Newman area is showing positive results. … The pilot project is testing the feasibility of increasing water storage by recharging groundwater aquifers, which can then be drawn upon in dry years.

As Deadline Looms for California’s Badly Overdrafted Groundwater Basins, Kern County Seeks a Balance to Keep Farms Thriving
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Sustainability plans required by the state’s groundwater law could cap Kern County pumping, alter what's grown and how land is used

Water sprinklers irrigate a field in the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County.Groundwater helped make Kern County the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has come at a price, however. Decades of unchecked groundwater pumping in the county and elsewhere across the state have left some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and protects groundwater for the long term, yet ensures that Kern County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Governor Newsom’s clean water tax a ‘moral imperative’ to some, a burden to others

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he will introduce a tax of up to $10 a month to water customers in order to fund safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities. Valley Public Radio has reported in the past about how many of those communities are right here in the San Joaquin Valley. To learn about Newsom’s plan, we spoke to Jonathan Nelson, policy director at the Community Water Center.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Editorial: California water tax plan is back — and Newsom’s version is the worst yet

This is a very worthy cause. But needed improvements can easily be paid for with the state’s multibillion-dollar budget surplus or with the billions in approved state water bonds. Imposing a first-ever tax on something as basic as water is a horrible idea.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Thursday Top of the Scroll: As deadline looms for California’s badly overdrafted groundwater basins, Kern County seeks a balance to keep farms thriving

Groundwater helped make Kern County the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has come at a price, however, as decades of unchecked groundwater pumping in the county and elsewhere in California have left some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and protects groundwater for the long term yet ensures that Kern County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton wastewater rates may be going up; public hearing set for May 21

Rate increases are being proposed in part to help pay for improvements to the Regional Wastewater Control Facility, which is set to go through the first phase of a modification project aimed at extending the life of existing amenities at the plant. The modification project will also improve working conditions for employees, and bring the site into compliance with national pollutant discharge standards.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Heavy snowpack makes Modesto-area rivers dangerous

Water levels and flows on area rivers are looking similar to conditions in 2017 when there were more than double the water rescues compared to average years. “Everyone should treat the river like a wild animal,” said Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Captain Jeff Frye. “Enjoy it from afar.”

Aquafornia news Fast Company

Can Silicon Valley make farming more efficient?

Field D-17 on the Bowles Farming Company’s ranch in California’s Central Valley is dry and unplanted when I visit it with Emery Silberman in the spring. … Mounted there, he shows me, is a small piece of equipment from a company called WaterBit that’s designed to provide more granular control of conditions in the field … to save on valuable resources like water and fertilizer.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater and agriculture: A comparison of managing scarcity and droughts in France and California

France and California face a common challenge of managing overdraft in intensively exploited aquifers. As of 2018, large areas of France and California have overexploited groundwater (see maps below). And both regions have passed landmark groundwater legislation, the Loi sur l’Eau et les Milieux Aquatiques (LEMA) of 2006 in France and the Groundwater Sustainable Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 in California.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Visalia’s new wastewater facility is greener, safer

The upgraded facility can now handle an average of 18 million gallons per day, with a wet weather flow capacity of up to 36 million gallons. There’s also room for growth, with the facility designed to accommodate up to an average of 22 million gallons per day with the addition of added MBR cassettes.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

A fix is proposed to address sinking land beneath the Friant-Kern Canal

Probably the least expensive option, estimated to cost $150 million to $250 million, would expand the canal’s upper portion — the part visible from the surface — from about 60 feet to as much as double that width, but only along the 25-mile problem section. … An alternative approach, estimated to cost about $400 million, would be to build a nearly identical canal adjacent to the existing one in the areas that have experienced the most subsidence.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

SB 559 would unblock Valley’s major water artery

A collection of legislators are taking another shot at getting state money to repair the canal carrying water to thousands of farms and several cities along the Valley’s eastside. … The bipartisan supported legislation will secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million in general funds to repair subsidence in the Friant-Kern Canal caused during the historic drought. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor pushes for fee to clean up tainted water

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to charge California water customers up to $10 per month to help clean up contaminated water in low-income and rural areas, but he will face resistance from some legislative Democrats hesitant to impose new taxes. … Newsom wants to combine it with fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers to raise about $140 million per year.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Government meddling in groundwater creates more problems

Move over global warming or cooling, California has a new environmental disaster called groundwater. And where there’s an emergency, we have ambulance-chasing regulators and lawmakers with bureaucratic fixes. Why are we having groundwater problems? It’s plain and simple: Groundwater is replacing surface water.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Reservoirs release more water in anticipation of snowpack

Water storage at New Melones Reservoir in southeastern Calaveras County is currently at 84 percent of its 2.4 million acre-feet capacity – 35 percent higher than its 15-year average for March… Although the dam’s emergency spillway has never been tested, Reclamation has been proactively releasing water in anticipation of snowpack runoff.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Why President Trump’s fast-tracked water allocations are raising alarm

The Trump administration has fast-tracked a process to deliver more water to farms. But an investigation by KQED reveals those changes are raising alarm among federal employees. In this interview, we speak with KQED science reporter Lauren Sommer about why, and what’s at stake.

Aquafornia news KGET

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State increases water allotment for local water agencies

Good news for state water contractors: The State Water Project allocation just doubled from last year’s estimate for the 2019 water year. The California Department of Water Resources announced that the allocation has increased from 35 to 70 percent for most state water contractors. The department transports state water to 29 contractors, including the Kern County Water Agency.

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Aquafornia news KMPH News

Battle to eliminate destructive nutria in California is three years away

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has been battling the destructive Nutria for two years. State biologists believe it will be another three years before they win the war against the pesky rodent. The nutria is considered a triple threat to Valley wetlands, agriculture and water delivery systems.

Aquafornia news KCLU

Oceanographer says not so fast with declaring drought over; groundwater recovery could take years

We’re having one of the best rainfall seasons in years, with drought conditions easing for much of the state. But one of the nation’s leading oceanographers says there’s much more involved before the impacts of the drought are completely gone, and that it could take years to replenish groundwater supplies.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Western droughts caused permanent loss to major California groundwater source

According to new research, the San Joaquin Valley aquifer in the Central Valley shrank permanently by up to 3 percent due to excess pumping during the sustained dry spell. Combined with the loss from the 2007 to 2009 drought, the aquifer may have lost up to 5 percent of its storage capacity during the first two decades of the 21st Century, according to … a new study published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

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