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 Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Brown was obsessed with twin-tunnel vision. Newsom has a more realistic view

A potential grand compromise to settle a decades-long water fight has been obvious for years but blown off. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is forcing all combatants to consider it seriously.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Federal commission accepts MID, TID plan for river flows

A federal environmental analysis recommends relicensing the Don Pedro hydroelectric project and accepts a Modesto and Turlock irrigation district plan for well-timed flows to boost salmon in the Tuolumne River. The flows, combined with other measures to assist spawning and outmigrating young salmon, would commit less water to the environment than a State Water Resources Control Board plan that’s unpopular in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Oilfield wastewater disposal operation near Bakersfield closes under pressure from regulators, environmentalists

A controversial oilfield wastewater disposal operation east of Bakersfield has been shut down amid a years-long regulatory crackdown and opposition by environmental activist organizations. The Jan. 3 closure … puts an end to a practice regional water quality regulators say threatened to foul Bakersfield’s water supply through a slow process of underground migration.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

Wastewater company halts disposal at two sites of groundwater contamination

Valley Water Management Company, a non-profit company that disposes of wastewater for dozens of oil operators in California, has halted discharges at two facilities where environmentalists say wastewater contaminated groundwater resources. The closure stems from a lawsuit filed by Clean Water Action, the Center for Environmental Health, and the grassroots group Association of Irritated Residents in 2015

Aquafornia news Desert News

McCarthy calls for increased water allocations for California families and farmers

Congressman Kevin McCarthy led his California colleagues in sending letters to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation requesting a substantial initial water supply allocation to Central Valley Project contractors using authorities under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. Additionally, he and his colleagues from California also sent a letter to the California Department of Water Resources calling for an increase to the existing water supply allocation to State Water Project contractors given current hydrological conditions.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Newsom removes Felicia Marcus as chair of State Water Board

Felicia Marcus, whose push for larger river flows angered farmers and community leaders in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, won’t continue as chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board. Gov. Gavin Newsom named Joaquin Esquivel as chairman of the powerful water regulatory board. … Laurel Firestone, co-founder of the Community Water Center, was appointed as the replacement for Marcus. … Firestone has been an advocate for addressing wells contaminated with nitrates. 

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Top leader at Interior Dept. pushes a policy favoring his former client

As a lobbyist and lawyer, David Bernhardt fought for years on behalf of a group of California farmers to weaken Endangered Species Act protections for a finger-size fish, the delta smelt, to gain access to irrigation water. As a top official since 2017 at the Interior Department, Mr. Bernhardt has been finishing the job: He is working to strip away the rules the farmers had hired him to oppose.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Gov. Newsom should appoint a new chairperson to lead the state water board

The problem with Felicia Marcus is that she never stopped working for the environmental movement. Yes, she’s paid by the state to represent all Californians as chairwoman of the State Water Resources Control Board. Yet, she has utterly failed in her duties to the state, treating this job as an extension of her old one – attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Central Valley, Bay Area agencies sue State Water Board

An assortment of groups … joined the legal fray in courts over the State Water Board decision in December to reduce water diversions for farms and cities from the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. The emotions leading up to the Dec. 12 decision have touched off debate on what exactly could restore a severely impaired delta estuary and depleted salmon populations and what it will cost for Central Valley communities.

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Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

California Farm Bureau Federation files lawsuit to block plans for San Joaquin River

The California Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit to block by the State Water Resources Control Board’s plans for the lower river flow of San Joaquin River. In a press release, the Farm Bureau said that the Board’s plan , which was adopted last December, “misrepresents and underestimates the harm it would cause to agricultural resources in the Central Valley”.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump taps ex-California water lobbyist for Cabinet

President Donald Trump on Monday nominated David Bernhardt, the former top lobbyist for a powerful Fresno-based irrigation district, to run the Department of the Interior, raising renewed questions about whether he’d try to steer more California water to his former clients. … Bernhardt is a former lobbyist for Westlands Water District, which serves farmers in Fresno and Kings counties and is one of the most influential customers of the federal government’s Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news The Collegian

Valley agriculture and environmental experts discuss potential water exchange program

Agricultural and environmental leaders spoke at the Water Market Exchange Symposium in the Satellite Student Union on Jan. 24 to share their perspectives on a water market exchange program. The symposium featured speakers from water agencies, environmental interests, disadvantaged community interests and water market administrators.

Aquafornia news Grist.com

The ‘Erin Brockovich’ town is still toxic (and nearly abandoned)

The utility company was found liable for dumping hexavalent chromium (aka chromium-6), a carcinogen used to suppress rust formation at the Hinkley gas compressor station, into an unlined pond in the ’50s and ’60s. PG&E hid the crisis and misled the community on the effects of that specific type of chromium and its possible connection to health problems in the town. For those remaining in Hinkley, either by choice or by circumstance, to continue on, they need to know what’s going on with their water.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop step closer to state OK for river discharge

The City of Lathrop is one step closer to earning a permit that will allow for the discharge of treated wastewater straight into the San Joaquin River.  … Currently the City of Lathrop disposes of the effluent that is generated from the Lathrop Consolidated Treatment Facility by storing it in basins during the winter months, and then applying it to urban or agricultural landscapes during the summer months. 

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Nutria threat continues to grow in farm counties

The nutria invasion of California continues. Greg Gerstenberg, a biologist and nutria operations chief with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said 372 nutria had been trapped in the state as of Jan. 10. Bruce Blodgett, executive director of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Federation, wants farmers and others who maintain levees to be aware.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Water District lawsuit jeopardizes future projects

The Santa Clara Valley Water District made a grave miscalculation in suing the State Water Board over the Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. By alienating the remnants of the environmental community who have supported them in recent years, they are jeopardizing future projects and funding measures that will require voter approval.

Aquafornia news KGET

Symposium focuses on water conservation in Kern County

Making water conservation a way of life – that was the topic during a symposium, Tuesday, sponsored by the Water Association of Kern County. The discussion focused on the challenges of complying with new state laws that will set water conservation targets for homeowners and businesses.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Strange bedfellows: Harder praises Trump, Denham for work to keep water for farmers

When it comes to water, the lifeblood of the Central Valley, Democrats don’t have all the answers. So says freshman Representative Josh Harder, suddenly one of the most powerful Democrats in these parts. … “We need to make sure we’re all working together to advance the agenda of the Central Valley,” continued Harder, 32, of Turlock. “I was very encouraged to see some of the measures the Trump administration put forward on water.” 

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Opinion: Raising Shasta Dam won’t solve California water woes

More water storage projects will not solve the basic fact that the state’s finite amount of water is incapable of meeting all of the demands. This deficit has been created primarily by the transformation of a semi-arid area— the Central Valley — by an infusion of water from northern California.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Oakdale, South San Joaquin irrigation districts join water plan lawsuit

Citing what they say would be a disastrous decision for the region, the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts have joined with other members of the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority (SJTA) in a lawsuit challenging the state’s right to arbitrarily increase flows in the Stanislaus and two other rivers.

Key California Ag Region Ponders What’s Next After Voters Spurn Bond to Fix Sinking Friant-Kern Canal
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Subsidence chokes off up to 60% of canal’s capacity to move water to aid San Joaquin Valley farms and depleted groundwater basins

Water is up to the bottom of a bridge crossing the Friant-Kern Canal due to subsidence caused by overpumping of groundwater. The whims of political fate decided in 2018 that state bond money would not be forthcoming to help repair the subsidence-damaged parts of Friant-Kern Canal, the 152-mile conduit that conveys water from the San Joaquin River to farms that fuel a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy along the east side of the fertile San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Science Daily

Study: Idled farmland presents habitat restoration opportunities in San Joaquin Desert

Most of the native habitat in California’s San Joaquin Desert has been converted to row crops and orchards, leaving 35 threatened or endangered species confined to isolated patches of habitat. A significant portion of that farmland, however, is likely to be retired in the coming decades due to groundwater overdraft, soil salinity, and climate change. A new study … found that restoration of fallowed farmland could play a crucial role in habitat protection and restoration strategies for the blunt-nosed leopard lizard and other endangered species.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Key California ag region ponders what’s next after voters spurn bond to fix sinking Friant-Kern Canal

Land subsidence from overpumping of San Joaquin Valley groundwater sank portions of the Friant-Kern Canal, the 152-mile conduit that conveys water from the San Joaquin River to farms that help fuel a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy. A plan to fix it helped sink the $8.8 billion Proposition 3 bond measure last November. Now San Joaquin Valley water managers are trying to figure out another way to restore the canal, not only to keep farmers farming, but to aid the valley’s overtaxed groundwater aquifers. By Gary Pitzer in Western Water.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Gov. Newsom unveils $144 billion budget

The budget specifically calls out funding for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water. It discusses the need to find a stable funding source for long-term operation and maintenance of drinking water systems in disadvantaged communities, stating that existing loan and grant programs are limited to capital improvements.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Santa Clara Valley Water District files suit challenging state plan

In an attempt to block the state’s plan to divert more water toward the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and away from the Bay Area, the Santa Clara Valley Water District has filed a lawsuit arguing the project could significantly reduce the local water supply. If the plan advances, the water district might have to spend millions of dollars to obtain alternate water supplies and pull up more groundwater.

Aquafornia news CalWatchdog.com

Blog: Despite record budget surplus, Gov. Newsom wants new water, phone taxes

Specific details have not yet emerged on Newsom’s plan, but it’s expected to be similar to a rejected 2018 proposal from state Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, to tax residential customers 95 cents a month to help fund water improvements in rural farming communities in the Central Valley and throughout the state. It would raise about $110 million to get clean water to what the McClatchy News Service estimated last year to be 360,000 people without such access. Others looking at the problem see it as much worse.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Gavin Newsom visits Stanislaus County to talk safe drinking water

A day after proposing a tax on drinking water, Gov. Gavin Newsom took a “surprise” road trip to meet with Stanislaus County residents in a community known for having unsafe wells. Newsom and his cabinet made their first stop at the Monterey Park Tract in Ceres, where he held a roundtable discussion with people who for years had to use bottled water for drinking and cooking because their community’s two wells were long-contaminated with nitrates and arsenic.

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Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Editorial: Water districts on Merced, Stanislaus, Tuolumne had no choice but to sue the state

The State Water Resources Control Board proved back on Dec. 12 that it wasn’t listening to a single thing anyone from our region was saying. By voting to impose draconian and scientifically unjustifiable water restrictions on our region, four of the five board members tuned out dozens of scientists, water professionals and people who live near the rivers.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: San Francisco sues state over potentially drastic water reductions

The city of San Francisco is not standing down in California’s latest water war, joining a lawsuit against the state on Thursday to stop it from directing more of the Sierra Nevada’s cool, crisp flows to fish instead of people.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: State should use science to decide Delta water flows

Jon Rosenfield: Last month the State Water Resources Control Board finally required increased flows from three San Joaquin River tributaries, as the first step in a process to update water quality standards for the San Francisco Bay estuary. The board opted for weaker environmental protections in order to reduce impacts to agribusiness and San Francisco, ignoring the potential for changed agricultural practices and investment in sustainable water use to ease or eliminate the impact of reduced water diversions.

Aquafornia news California Water Research

Blog: Environmental Groups Urge New Congress to Fund Seismic Fix at San Luis Dam

A coalition of environmental groups has called on California members of Congress to prioritize the San Luis (B.F. Sisk) Dam seismic remediation over federal funding for new California dams. San Luis Dam is in a very seismically active area. Independently reviewed risk assessments for Reclamation have shown that a large earthquake could lead to crest settlement and overtopping of the dam, which would result in large uncontrolled releases and likely dam failure.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Central Californians concerned about BLM fracking plan in five counties

Last month, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management released a scoping report on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas development on approximately 400,000 acres of BLM-administered public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate lands on tribal and privately held lands in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura counties.

Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

State breaks, shifts levees to restore natural floodplains

At the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers, a few miles west of Modesto, work crews removed or broke several miles of levee last spring and replanted the land with tens of thousands of native sapling trees and shrubs. It’s part of a growing emphasis on reconnecting floodplains to rivers so they can absorb floodwaters. This shift in methodology marks a U-turn from past reliance on levees to protect cities and towns.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Like fruit, vegetables, and almonds? Scientists have bad news

At the end of the last century, the Sierra Nevada captured an average of 8.76 million acre-feet of water critical to the nation’s largest food-producing region. By mid-century, a new study projects, the average will fall to 4 million acre-feet; and by century’s end, 1.81 million acre-feet. 

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel Discussion: Emerging legal issues in SGMA implementation

At the Groundwater Resources Association’s Western Groundwater Congress, a panel of experts discussed emerging issues as agencies work to develop their plans to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which became law in California in 2014.

Aquafornia news Madera Tribune

Contamination idles drinking water wells in Madera

Some drinking-water wells on the northeast side of Madera are being idled or abandoned because of fluctuating water levels and significant plumes of groundwater contamination by the agricultural chemical DBCP, a powerful pesticide suspected to cause sterility and cancer.

Tour Nick Gray

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 The Modesto Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown, Newsom send State Water Board letter requesting to delay Wednesday’s vote

Those who depend on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers for agriculture and drinking water may have received a reprieve Tuesday night. The State Water Resources Control Board was set to adopt a proposal to double the amount of water allowed to flow unimpeded down the rivers and out to the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta on Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Public meetings set to discuss planned blasting at Isabella Dam

More than a dozen years have passed since the U.S Army Corps of Engineers became concerned about water seeping through the auxiliary dam at Isabella Lake — not to mention the possibility of a massive earthquake leveling the earthen structure.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

What Would You Do About Water If You Were California’s Next Governor?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Survey at Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit elicits a long and wide-ranging potential to-do list

There’s going to be a new governor in California next year – and a host of challenges both old and new involving the state’s most vital natural resource, water.

So what should be the next governor’s water priorities?

That was one of the questions put to more than 150 participants during a wrap-up session at the end of the Water Education Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Environmental group sues to stop oilfield wastewater dumping at unlined pits in western Kern

The Center for Biological Diversity’s suit in Kern County Superior Court asserts the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board voted April 5 to allow the dumping to continue indefinitely despite a staff report concluding the practice contaminates local groundwater and makes it unsuitable for agricultural and municipal use.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blue-green algae at a dangerous level at San Luis Reservoir

The Department of Water Resources issued a warning on Friday for those visiting San Luis Reservoir in Merced County: Don’t go in the water. This is based on the potential health risks associated with cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, blooms that accumulate into mats of scum and foam floating on the surface and along the shoreline.

Foundation Event

Monitoring Land Subsidence in the San Joaquin Valley

Example of land subsidence in the San Joaquin ValleyLand subsidence caused by groundwater pumping has been observed in the San Joaquin Valley for decades. Increased reliance on aquifers during the last decade resulted in subsidence rates in excess of a foot per year in some parts of the region.

While subsidence was minimal in 2017 due to one of the wettest years on record, any return to dry conditions would likely set the stage for subsidence to resume as the region relies more heavily on groundwater than surface water.

Fresno State
Alice Peters Auditorium
Fresno, CA 93740
Announcement

Examine Key California Rivers on the Last Two Water Tours of 2018
Join us as we explore the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers; hear from farmers, water managers, environmentalists

Northern California Tour participants pose in front of Shasta Dam.The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers are the two major Central Valley waterways that feed the Delta, the hub of California’s water supply network. Our last water tours of 2018 will look in-depth at how these rivers are managed and used for agriculture, cities and the environment. You’ll see infrastructure, learn about efforts to restore salmon runs and talk to people with expertise on these rivers.

Early bird prices are still available!

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Interior Secretary Zinke visits reservoirs, signaling federal interest in water fight

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke paid a visit Friday to two reservoirs that are embroiled in an intense fight over water allocations in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. … Zinke was accompanied by Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, whose two amendments to block part of the state’s “water grab” passed the House of Representatives on Thursday. Zinke, along with Congressman Tom McClintock, sat at a picnic table to talk with media at Don Pedro.

Vexed by Salt And Nitrates In Central Valley Groundwater, Regulators Turn To Unusual Coalition For Solutions
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Left unaddressed, salts and nitrates could render farmland unsuitable for crops and family well water undrinkable

An evaporation pond in Kings County, in the central San Joaquin Valley, with salt encrusted on the soil. More than a decade in the making, an ambitious plan to deal with the vexing problem of salt and nitrates in the soils that seep into key groundwater basins of the Central Valley is moving toward implementation. But its authors are not who you might expect.

An unusual collaboration of agricultural interests, cities, water agencies and environmental justice advocates collaborated for years to find common ground to address a set of problems that have rendered family wells undrinkable and some soil virtually unusable for farming.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

As Decision Nears On California Water Storage Funding, a Chairman Reflects on Lessons Learned and What’s Next
WESTERN WATER Q&A: California Water Commission Chairman Armando Quintero

Armando Quintero, chair of the California Water CommissionNew water storage is the holy grail primarily for agricultural interests in California, and in 2014 the door to achieving long-held ambitions opened with the passage of Proposition 1, which included $2.7 billion for the public benefits portion of new reservoirs and groundwater storage projects. The statute stipulated that the money is specifically for the benefits that a new storage project would offer to the ecosystem, water quality, flood control, emergency response and recreation.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Groundwater overpumping boosts arsenic in California aquifer

In California’s agricultural heartland, the San Joaquin Valley, excessive pumping of groundwater has resulted in subsidence, damaging crucial infrastructure, including roads, bridges and water conveyance.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Dozens of water systems consolidate in California’s farming heartland

In California’s San Joaquin Valley, one of the most productive farming regions in the nation, an estimated 150,000 people are stuck living with contaminated drinking water. … The good news: Help is available to many of these small community water systems, provided they can merge with a neighboring utility that has clean water.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Why emergency drought assistance will be needed in California for years

With the help of emergency funding requested by Assembly member Joaquin Arambula (D-Kingsburg), whose largely rural district is in the [San Joaquin] valley, the emergency water supply program will likely continue another year at a cost of $3.5 million. Also included in the emergency relief efforts is $10 million to address failing domestic wells and septic tanks, and $10 million for the Drinking Water for Schools Program that funds treatment solutions for schools that struggle with contamination.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Recycled wastewater now flowing to San Joaquin Valley farms, wildlife

Wastewater recycling doesn’t have to be a fancy affair. Sometimes it can be as simple as building a pipeline. That is more or less the full description of the North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project. Only a year after starting construction, at a cost of around $90 million, the project is already delivering recycled urban wastewater to farms and wildlife refuges in California’s San Joaquin Valley, providing a reliable new water supply to a drought-plagued region.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley leaders won’t give up fight for Temperance Flat, despite water commission vote

Leaders from across the central San Joaquin Valley gathered Friday to promise people here they won’t give up the fight for Temperance Flat reservoir, one day after the California Water Commission decided to allocate minimal money to the project. But, project proponents said it was too soon to know exactly how they’ll proceed.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Temperance Flat Reservoir project far from key state funding despite San Joaquin Valley backing

The California Water Commission on Thursday put in serious doubt the future of building a reservoir at Temperance Flat in east Fresno County. Meeting in Sacramento, the commission appeared to be headed toward preventing the massive water storage project to move forward.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Pressure mounts to solve California’s toxic farmland drainage problem

Many Americans know the name Kesterson as the California site where thousands of birds and fish were discovered with gruesome deformities in 1983, a result of exposure to selenium-poisoned farm runoff. Thirty-five years later, it is one of the oldest unresolved water problems in the state.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Water board orders oilfield disposal pond operator to monitor pollutants

Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board members voted Thursday to require an oil wastewater dump site operator in McKittrick suspected of polluting nearby groundwater to install a network of wells monitoring contamination. That falls short of environmentalists’ demands for the board to shutter the operation.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Bundle Gary Pitzer

Statewide Water Bond Measures Could Have Californians Doing a Double-Take in 2018
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Two bond measures, worth $13B, would aid flood preparation, subsidence, Salton Sea and other water needs

San Joaquin Valley bridge rippled by subsidence  California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.

Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.

Tour

Central Valley Tour 2018

Central Valley Tour participants at a dam.

We ventured 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 Capital Public Radio

Around 100,000 San Joaquin Valley residents live without clean water; study suggests access is close

There are almost 100,000 San Joaquin Valley residents living without access to clean drinking water. This is according to a new UC Davis study, which suggests that permanent solutions aren’t that far away.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Critic’s ‘hobby’ is getting costly, flood agency says

Flood control officials are asking a judge to impose sanctions against an outspoken critic who they say has forced them to waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on litigation the critic referred to as his “hobby.”

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

East Porterville gets water, some regret it

Norma Sanchez took a quick break from watering her East Porterville front yard, bent the garden hose and reflected on years of being without reliable water.  Now, she has water, pressure and along with it problems with the new delivery system residents waited so long to get.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Not much snow, but a full water supply for Stockton

The Sierra snowpack may be next to nothing, but the Stockton area is set to receive another full supply of water from New Melones Lake, and there’s no reason to expect a shortage here this year, officials said. … While the Stockton area is getting its full share from New Melones, other federal water contractors are not as fortunate.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin Valley water users, cut off during drought, win a round in court

Thousands of water-right holders who were told to cease diversions during the last drought were deprived of due process, a judge found Wednesday, raising questions about how the state will handle future shortages. … At the center of the legal dispute was the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District near Tracy.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water allocation for westside growers is going to be a meager one for 2018

With the threat of another drought looming, west San Joaquin Valley farmers received some dismal news Tuesday about this year’s water allocation. The initial allocation from the Central Valley Project is 20 percent, the U.S Bureau of Reclamation announced on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

What a dry 2018 will mean to Stanislaus County farmers and homeowners

Irrigation season was delayed in 2017 as storm after storm kept farm and garden soil moist. Fast-forward to 2018, which has started out very dry and brought calls to fill the canals early. So are we back to serious drought in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, which endured one from 2012 to 2016?

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Crucial’ vote for north San Joaquin farmers

On Feb. 26, the farmers will make a pivotal decision: whether or not to tax themselves about $14 million over 30 years to build a new delivery system. Thursday, the League of Women Voters, the North San Joaquin Water Conservation District and county officials will host a public meeting to explain all of this at 6 p.m. at Jackson Hall, on the Lodi Grape Festival grounds.

Aquafornia news The Porterville Recorder

Phase II of East Porterville water project complete

A partnership of state and local agencies working to help homeowners affected by California’s multi-year drought finished connecting 755 homes to a safe, reliable, permanent water supply. All households participating in the East Porterville Water Supply Project have now been connected to the City of Porterville’s municipal water system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nunes memo made this congressman a national name. But his California district cares about water, not Russia

Here [Tulare], some business owners and workers said they still believe [Congressman Devin] Nunes can deliver on jobs. Farmers and growers tend to know him for water, not Russia.

Aquafornia news KBAK/KBFX Bakersfield Now

Hundreds of millions required to fix critical water infrastructure damaged by subsidence

There’s a $300 million problem with a major piece of water infrastructure that threatens the future of Kern County’s bountiful and profitable crops.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State scores Temperance Flat dam project at a big fat zero

An application for $1 billion of state bond money to build Temperance Flat dam east of Fresno scored a dismal zero from the California Water Commission on the cost-benefit ratio, potentially jeopardizing its construction. Supporters of the dam expressed shock and dismay and are blaming the commission staff for the low score. They’ve got company.

Announcement

Central Valley Tour Offers Unique View of San Joaquin Valley’s Key Dams and Reservoirs
March 14-16 tour includes major federal and state water projects

Get a unique view of the San Joaquin Valley’s key dams and reservoirs that store and transport water on our March Central Valley Tour.

Our Central Valley Tour, March 14-16, offers a broad view of water issues in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to the farms, orchards, critical habitat for threatened bird populations, flood bypasses and a national wildlife refuge, we visit some of California’s major water infrastructure projects.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Agricultural demand for water has Central Valley sinking fast

In a quiet agricultural community in Fresno County things have been sinking for a long time. California’s Central Valley subsidence problem was discovered decades ago, right around El Nido. Now, this town is more famous for its elevation than its population because agriculture’s demand for water here has sent pumps ever deeper into the ground, causing the valley floor to sink by dozens of feet.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

San Joaquin Valley’s canal continues to sink, price tag could rise

A 20-mile portion of one of the Valley’s largest waterways is sinking. It’s getting worse each month and while the water levels drop, the price tag rises.  Earlier this year, the Friant Water Authority reported measurements that showed a nearly 3-foot drop in the Friant-Kern Canal’s elevation in some places.

Tour

Central Valley Tour 2018
Field Trip - March 14-16

Central Valley Tour participants at a dam.

We ventured 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 Water Deeply

Pioneering practice could help California reverse groundwater depletion

Groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley – producer of half the state’s agricultural output – has averaged roughly 1.8 million acre-feet annually since the mid-1980s. Even before the start of the most recent drought in 2011, a few San Joaquin farmers recognized the dire need for sustainable water management and started individually pioneering a groundwater recharge practice that has since gained statewide traction.

Tour

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2018

Participants of this tour snaked along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration projects.

Fishery worker capturing a fish in the San Joaquin River.

The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.

Tour

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2017

The 2-day, 1-night tour traveled along the river from Friant Dam near Fresno to the confluence of the Merced River. As it weaved across an historic farming region, participants learn about the status of the river’s restoration and how the challenges of the plan are being worked out.

Announcement

Tour of the San Joaquin River is Almost Sold Out
Our final 2017 tour dives deep into river restoration

A few tickets are still available for our Nov. 1-2 San Joaquin River Restoration Tour, a once-a-year educational opportunity to see the program’s progress first-hand. The tour begins and ends in Fresno with an overnight stay in Los Banos. 

Announcement

Agricultural History and Habitat Restoration Come to Life on San Joaquin River Tour
Our two-day tour in November takes you into the heart of California's San Joaquin Valley

Explore more than 100 miles of Central California’s longest river while learning about one of the nation’s largest and costliest river restorations. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour on Nov. 1-2 will feature speakers from key governmental agencies and stakeholder groups who will explain the restoration program’s goals and progress.

Announcement

Explore Key California Rivers on the Last Two Water Tours of the Year
Join us as we meander along the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers

The Sacramento and San Joaquin are the two major rivers in the Central Valley that feed the Delta, the hub of California’s water supply network.

Our last two water tours of 2017 will take in-depth looks at how these rivers are managed and used for agriculture, cities and the environment. You’ll see infrastructure, learn about efforts to restore salmon runs and talk to people with expertise on these rivers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Kern County agrees to stop challenging Los Angeles over dumping of treated human waste

Kern County has agreed to stop challenging the City of Los Angeles over its practice of dumping treated human waste on Kern County farmland, capping a bitter legal battle that has spanned more than a decade.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Billionaire helping to get funds for San Joaquin Valley clean water

Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire and environmentalist, promised his support Tuesday for a proposed safe and affordable drinking water fund to help communities with contaminated water in the San Joaquin Valley. … Steyer met with about a dozen water advocates at the nonprofit Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability in downtown Fresno who urged him to throw his clout behind Senate Bill 623. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California’s biggest drought success story came with a high cost

East Porterville took by far the hardest hit in the [San Joaquin] valley during the drought, state officials say. … The State Water Resources Control Board has responded with $35 million to connect East Porterville’s 300-plus dry homes to Porterville’s system. Another 400 homeowners who didn’t lose their wells have opted into the Porterville hookup to prevent future water problems.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Pollution from Geer Road dump threatens drinking water

Stanislaus County will try a new groundwater treatment system to keep the former Geer Road landfill from polluting the Tuolumne River and nearby wells. The county will pay a Southern California contractor $1.74 million to build the groundwater extraction and treatment equipment at the old landfill on the north side of the Tuolumne River, about a mile northeast of Hughson.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta survives latest ‘test’

The engineers who scrambled to prevent Delta farms from flooding this year have long insisted that the levees surrounding those low-lying islands are not as fragile as they’re sometimes portrayed to be.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Clean water plan for long-suffering San Joaquin Valley towns derailed

Fresh Sierra mountain snowmelt would make a better drink of water for rural Tulare County folk who currently rely on wells tainted by fertilizers, leaky septic systems and decades-old pesticide residues. Nobody argues with that here in California’s San Joaquin Valley. The problem is obtaining even a tiny fraction of the average 1.7 million acre-feet of Kings River snowmelt that heads mostly to farm fields each year.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

As Kings River recedes, evacuees assess flood damage amid work to close levee breaches

The flooding is the result of more than a week of high temperatures that have rapidly melted mountain snow, filling Pine Flat Reservoir and prompting the Army Corps of Engineers to send a surge of water into the Kings River to make room for more runoff behind the dam. The river surge tested levees along the Kings in a way some residents has never expected.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Isabella Lake brimming with water, highlighting dam risks

This weekend the water level in Isabella Lake is expected to reach — and maybe even exceed — the restricted pool allowed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. And that means it might be time for residents who reside below the lake’s troubled dam to review their risks.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

A field guide to aiding salmon (as preferred by San Francisco and other Tuolumne River diverters)

To no one’s surprise Tuesday, the Turlock Irrigation District board endorsed Tuolumne River fishery improvements that do not involve boosting reservoir releases. Directors voted 5-0 to support a proposal made by San Francisco in response to a state effort to sharply increase flows for salmon and other native fish on this and nearby rivers.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Sobering’: How sea level rise could swamp Stockton

A worst-case sea level rise increase of 10 feet to 12 feet by the year 2100 would utterly transform Stockton as we know it today. Climate Central, a New Jersey-based climate science nonprofit, recently published maps depicting what this unlikely, yet still “plausible,” scenario might look like. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State puts Modesto on notice over waste-water discharge

A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising river water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

For some Californians, effects of punishing drought not over

Knee-high tufts of grass dot the streets of Hardwick, a rural neighborhood with a few dozen homes hemmed in by vineyards and walnut and almond orchards in California’s agriculture-rich San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

One key way soggy California could save water for the next rainless days

The water spread into every corner of the fields, beckoning wading ibises and egrets as it bathed long rows of sprouting grapevines. Several inches had covered the vineyard ground for a couple of months. But rather than draining it, Don Cameron was pouring more on.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Appeals Court: School district on hook for flood projects

The Manteca Unified School District must pay to fund local levee improvements, just like any other property owner in the area, an appeals court has found. One attorney says the decision is good news for the small levee districts across the Delta charged with protecting farms and cities from floods.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District loses hard-fought fallowing lawsuit

In a key ruling released Monday, a judge slammed the Oakdale Irrigation District for skirting state law in last year’s fallowing proposal. The district should have studied whether shipping river water elsewhere might harm local groundwater levels, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne said in a decision issued nearly 11 weeks after a one-day trial in January.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Melting snowpack and sinking land threaten San Joaquin Valley communities with flooding

It’s a race against time this spring as water roars out of Central California’s dams and rumbles its way to the lowest-lying areas of the western San Joaquin Valley, communities where land is collapsing and water channels are growing more unstable. State engineers are generating new maps to understand where water is stagnating in spots it once flowed freely, and to learn which communities are in the most danger of flooding.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Rain, snowmelt have filled Tuolumne River with debris

Modesto and Turlock farmers are thankful that record storms have boosted to capacity Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds water needed for crops. But excessive rain and snowmelt also have washed huge amounts of debris into the Tuolumne River upstream from the reservoir.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stunning turnaround: Once-empty San Luis Reservoir now full

Last summer it was a jarring symbol of California’s historic five-year drought. San Luis Reservoir — the vast lake along Highway 152 between Gilroy and Los Banos, the state’s fifth-largest reservoir and a key link in the water supply for millions of people and thousands of acres of Central Valley farmland — was just 10 percent full.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

EPA says Fresno water complies with federal lead rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified the city of Fresno that its water system continues to comply with state and federal rules over lead in the drinking water supply.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California set to regulate carcinogen in water for decades

Carlos Arias is asked by many residents in the small town of Del Rey, California, if the water is safe to drink. He is the district manager of Del Rey’s community services district, which is tasked with providing drinking water and other services to its 2,000 residents. … Del Rey, in Fresno County, is one of dozens of communities in the San Joaquin Valley with wells that contain 1,2,3-trichloropropane.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Modesto releasing partially treated wastewater into San Joaquin River (with audio)

Modesto has started releasing wastewater that has not been disinfected into the San Joaquin River. The recent floods are to blame.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto begins releasing partially treated wastewater into San Joaquin River

To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure, the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon. …  Working with the California Department of Water Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director Larry Parlin] said.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto works to stem river water from overwhelming sewer system

Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the wastewater.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Big test still to come as San Joaquin River keeps rising

Splashes of sunshine and some modest bits of good news cast San Joaquin County’s flooding problems in a slightly more optimistic light on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Turlock Irrigation District hopes to prolong spillway releases; Tuolumne River over flood stage

The Tuolumne River in Modesto, struck by a surge of water from the Don Pedro Reservoir’s spillway, rose above the flood stage Tuesday, though it did not result in major flooding.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin River levee break forces 500 out; Don Pedro spillway opens

A 20-foot breach in a San Joaquin River levee that forced an evacuation order for a large swath of rural farmland was plugged by emergency crews late Monday, a levee engineer confirmed.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Don Pedro spillway opens, could nearly triple Tuolumne River flow in next few days

The spillway gates opened at Don Pedro Reservoir at 3 p.m. Monday, and over the next four or more days could nearly triple the flow of the Tuolumne River as it comes through Stanislaus County and Modesto.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Questions swirl around scope of federal probe into California water districts

A reported federal investigation that’s stalled part of a California irrigation-drainage deal does not extend to the small San Luis Water District in western Fresno and Merced counties, a top district official said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Endangered rabbits rescued as San Joaquin River floods

The flood on the San Joaquin River isn’t a catastrophe for humans — at least, not yet — but one of the region’s most charismatic endangered species is having a tough go of it.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Preservation and Restoration: Salmon in Northern California
Winter 2017

Protecting and restoring California’s populations of threatened and endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead trout have been a big part of the state’s water management picture for more than 20 years. Significant resources have been dedicated to helping the various runs of the iconic fish, with successes and setbacks. In a landscape dramatically altered from its natural setting, finding a balance between the competing demands for water is challenging.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tyler levee holds; San Joaquin River rises

While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms, finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Could Oroville Dam crisis happen here? Unlikely, operators of San Joaquin Valley dams say

The scenario that played out at the Northern California dam is unlikely to occur at Friant Dam near Fresno, said Duane Stroup, deputy area manager for the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California farmers hope Congress and Trump team can deliver irrigation drain deal

The political terrain appears favorable for a mega-million-dollar irrigation drainage deal, with Congress still fully in Republican hands and California’s sprawling Westlands Water District with influential allies. But there are complications.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

After controversy, Stockton’s water safer

In the end, the much-maligned chloramines did their job. One year after the city of Stockton began treating the north side’s drinking water with the new chemical, levels of a cancer-causing byproduct have plummeted nearly 70 percent, on average, and are now well within federal standards.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

One year later, Erin Brockovich’s twin tunnels promise mostly empty

Erin Brockovich parachuted into Stockton one year ago to condemn the city’s use of a common method to treat the drinking water. But sitting on a stage before a raucous crowd of 1,200, in the heart of a region deeply opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed Delta tunnels, the celebrity activist won enthusiastic applause when she accepted a new challenge.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Water managers try to bust California drought using ground game

As storms hit California and the Sierra Nevada snowpack keeps building after years of punishing drought, water managers on the San Joaquin Valley floor are replenishing groundwater supplies while the getting is good.

Announcement

Explore Diverse Wildlife Habitat on Central Valley Tour
See how water is managed in ecologically fragile areas

Our water tours give a behind-the-scenes look at major water issues in California. On our Central Valley Tour, March 8-10, you will visit wildlife habitat areas – some of which are closed to the public – and learn directly from the experts who manage them, in addition to seeing farms, large dams and other infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Worrying and still waiting for safe drinking water after cancer claimed her daughter

For years, Rebecca Quintana had been a highly visible activist in the fight for safe drinking water, speaking regularly with reporters, rallying residents and helping to spark an unprecedented United Nations inspection in northern Tulare County. … Across a wide, rural swath of the San Joaquin Valley, people have long been unnerved about drinking the sporadically contaminated tap water.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

San Joaquin Valley farmers disappointed with Trump pulling out of Trans-Pacific Partnership

Agriculture leaders expressed disappointment over President Donald Trump’s decision Monday to pull out of a 12-country trade deal that would have boosted exports from San Joaquin Valley farmers.

Announcement

Winter Rain Increases Flows on the San Joaquin River
March Central Valley water tour will analyze drought impacts

The recent deluge has led to changes in drought conditions in some areas of California and even public scrutiny of the possibility that the drought is over. Many eyes are focused on the San Joaquin Valley, one of the areas hardest hit by reduced surface water supplies. On our Central Valley Tour, March 8-10, we will visit key water delivery and storage sites in the San Joaquin Valley, including Friant Dam and Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River.

Aquapedia background

ARkStorm

ARkStorm stands for an atmospheric river (“AR”) that carries precipitation levels expected to occur once every 1,000 years (“k”). The concept was presented in a 2011 report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) intended to elevate the visibility of the very real threats to human life, property and ecosystems posed by extreme storms on the West Coast.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Clovis wins $22 million against Shell Oil over toxic drinking water

The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. The chemical is 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from making plastic.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

What’s ahead for West’s liberal appeals court, once Trump takes over?

A Western appellate court that awaits reshaping by President-elect Donald Trump will soon consider conflicts that include: ▪ A challenge from water districts in California’s San Joaquin Valley to a restoration plan for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Westlands Water District irrigation drainage bill set for House approval

California’s politically resurgent Westlands Water District is set to win House committee approval Wednesday of a big irrigation drainage plan that’s opposed by Northern California’s Democrats.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Twin tunnels: City of Stockton warns of harm to drinking water

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels could harm the quality of Stockton’s drinking water to the extent that water rates would need to be doubled or tripled, a city official testified on Thursday. … [Bob] Granberg’s brief testimony on Thursday came as the state board holds extensive hearings to determine if any water users with legal rights — including Stockton — would be harmed by the operation of the tunnels.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Wrong turn steers Chinook salmon into Turlock Irrigation District main canal

Wayward Chinook salmon found themselves trapped at a gate in the Turlock Irrigation District main canal east of Turlock, waiting for a ride to better breeding grounds.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Discolored water: Testing of Fresno pipes underway at Virginia Tech

A university professor in Virginia is conducting tests on pipe and water samples from Fresno in search of solutions to discoloration and lead contamination issues in tap water in northeast Fresno.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Poking holes in water plan

A plan to leave more water in streams feeding the San Joaquin River will benefit Delta water exporters while letting the government off the hook for failing to meet water quality standards, San Joaquin County water wonks said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Westland’s farmers major contributors to San Joaquin Valley economy, report says

Westland Water District’s farmers generated $3.6 billion in economic activity and created 29,000 jobs, according to a recent economic analysis commissioned by the district. The report, written by Pepperdine University public policy professor Michael Shires, details Westland’s contributions to the local and regional economy while also pointing out the consequences of farming without a reliable water supply.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Friant water contractors sue federal government for $350 million

Seventeen water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and the city of Fresno have filed a blockbuster claim for $350 million against the federal government for not delivering water to Friant Division contractors in the drought year of 2014.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Divided Oakdale Irrigation District board OKs $2 million water sale

On a 3-2 vote after a lengthy discussion about fears of eroding water rights, irrigation leaders agreed Monday to sell some Stanislaus River water in coming weeks.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Farmers say, ‘No apologies,’ as well drilling hits record levels in San Joaquin Valley

Drive through rural Tulare County and you’ll hear it soon enough, a roar from one of the hundreds of agricultural pumps pulling water from beneath the soil to keep the nut and fruit orchards and vast fields of corn and alfalfa lush and green under the scorching San Joaquin Valley sun.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District to consider $4 million water sale

At a special meeting Monday, irrigation leaders will consider selling more river water to buyers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a tradition that has brought in millions of dollars but also controversy to the Oakdale Irrigation District.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno wants to pay two experts to tackle its rusty-water problem

The city of Fresno wants to hire two national experts on corrosion in municipal water systems to reduce the odds that discolored-water problems now plaguing northeast Fresno will repeat themselves when a new water treatment plant opens in 2018.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Merced County flood control work initiated in World War II gets new Senate help

The United States was fighting World War II when lawmakers first wrote Merced County flood protection into law. It’s been there ever since.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Group studies new way of dealing with dairy wastewater

I [John Holland] drove out past Merced last year to see a dairy farmer testing a new idea. He irrigated 40 acres of feed corn with drip lines, which are much more common in orchards and vineyards than annual crops.

Aquapedia background

Contaminants

Contaminants exist in water supplies from both natural and manmade sources. Even those chemicals present without human intervention can be mobilized from introduction of certain pollutants from both point and nonpoint sources.  

Aquapedia background

Arsenic Contamination

Both the drought and high nitrate levels in shallow groundwater have necessitated deeper drilling of new wells in the San Joaquin Valley, only to expose water with heightened arsenic levels. Arsenic usually exists in water as arsenate or arsenite, the latter of which is more frequent in deep lake sediments or groundwater with little oxygen and is both more harmful and difficult to remove.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Fair deal or government giveaway? Farmers’ toxic drainage agreement nears completion

The federal government and farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may be close to signing off on another controversial deal to clean up toxic runoff which, if left unabated, could threaten the downstream Delta.

Aquapedia background

Whiskeytown Lake

Photo Credit: Jenn Bowles, Executive Director

Whiskeytown Lake, a major reservoir in the foothills of the Klamath Mountains nine miles west of Redding, was built at the site of one of Shasta County’s first Gold Rush communities. Whiskeytown, originally called Whiskey Creek Diggings, was founded in 1849 and named in reference to a whiskey barrel rolling off a citizen’s pack mule; it may also refer to miners drinking a barrel per day. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

East Porterville residents, tired of drought, say end is in sight

Five years of drought have left East Porterville residents exhausted. As of Monday, 628 homes countywide have dry wells and no county-supplied water tanks. … Residents say they see the end in sight.

Tour

San Joaquin River Restoration Tour 2017
Field Trip - November 1 & 2

Participants of this tour snake along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration plans.

The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history, ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government, Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental groups.

Eventbrite - San Joaquin River Restoration Tour

Central Valley Tour 2017
Field Trip (past)

Tour guests in front of Friant Dam

We ventured 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 The Fresno Bee

Expert: Red water part of galvanized pipe; some lead fears overblown

One of the nation’s leading experts in corrosion problems in public water supplies said that despite considerable concern over discoloration of water coming from galvanized pipes in a growing number of northeast Fresno homes, “at present there’s really no indication at all that there’s a lead problem” in the city’s water under federal law.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After years without water, taps are turned on in East Porterville

Tania Ramirez stepped into her family’s front yard Friday morning, leaned down toward a pipe protruding from the garden, and twisted a spigot. For the first time in three years, water came pouring out.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Wary residents hear Fresno’s update on water problems

A noted national expert in water-system engineering said Fresno still has considerable work ahead of it as it deals with persistent water problems in the northeast part of the city.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno water complaints were hidden from city officials, Mayor Ashley Swearengin says

A former Fresno water plant operator used a private email server and cell phone to hide complaints of discolored or tainted water from his bosses, city officials said Thursday. … The complaints also were not made public to the state, which is required under state law.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno enlists experts to investigate northeast water concerns

Two recognized experts in drinking water contamination and water chemistry – including the professor who led the investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Mich. – are working with the city of Fresno to find solutions to the corrosion of galvanized residential plumbing in the northeast part of the city.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Almonds lead all crops in Fresno County for gross value

Fresno County’s overall crop value fell to $6.61 billion last year from a high of $7 billion in 2014 as the region battled drought, lower commodity prices and production issues.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno advances ban on galvanized water pipes, tougher reporting rules

The city of Fresno is banning the use of galvanized pipe for plumbing in new construction and remodeling projects as signs point to the venerable material as a prime culprit in concerns over discoloration and lead contamination of water in homes across northeast Fresno.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lee Brand wants loans, rebates to aid Fresno residents with tainted water

Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, who is campaigning to be the city’s next mayor, is proposing two major policy initiatives after a large number of residents, almost exclusively in his northeast district, have complained about discolored and tainted water.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno places water chief on administrative leave; probes reporting discrepancies

The chief of Fresno’s water operations has been placed on administrative leave over discrepancies in the reporting of water quality issues. … The action is related to an ongoing controversy over problems with discolored water in several hundred homes in northeast Fresno and issues of lead contamination in water coming from residents’ faucets in several dozen homes.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno broadens notifications for discolored-water investigation

The pounding of a jackhammer rattled through an otherwise quiet northeast Fresno neighborhood Monday morning as plumbers dug up one resident’s water line.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno searches for answers on discoloration, lead in water

A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes, causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead contamination – to flow from their household faucets. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno expands investigation for lead, discoloration in city water

Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to every water customer in the northeastern area of the city, substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as well as lead contamination in about 40 homes.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Northeast Fresno water issues confound city, state investigators

Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water – and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers about why and what to do about it, those answers are in painfully short supply.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Residents in westside town get extra money to offset water bills

Residents of El Porvenir, threatened with water shutoff in August as their neighbors in Cantua Creek were last year, are getting financial relief from the state. … In April, the farmworker residents of the tiny western Fresno County town rejected a higher water rate over five years that amounted to about $5 a month the first year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

80 homes burned, 1,500 threatened in ‘extremely dangerous, extremely volatile’ fire in Kern County

At least 80 homes have burned and 1,500 others are threatened by a wildfire racing across Kern County that grew to 8,000 acres in less than 24 hours and quickly became the state’s most destructive fire of the year.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State: Dry California town soon to have running water return

The state announced plans to spend $10 million to begin connecting unincorporated East Porterville in Tulare County to the water system of neighboring Porterville. … Statewide, officials said roughly 2,000 wells have run dry during California’s most severe drought on record and stretching into its fifth year.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton port seeks grant for ditch project

Stockton port officials hope to turn a storm water ditch into a native plant wetland that will help clean the runoff before it reaches the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Is drought causing a health crisis in California?

For the first time ever, a survey tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control to assess public health in disaster settings has been applied to a drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County groundwater levels still falling

For anyone who doubts that we’re still in a drought, San Joaquin County’s groundwater “savings account” was even more depleted this spring than last, despite improved rainfall over the course of the winter.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Residents in Tulare County community open taps to clean water

Matheny Tract residents can finally open their taps to clean water. … In March, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Tulare to merge its water system with Matheny Tract under a new law.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Court blocks Oakdale Irrigation District fallowing program

A judge reversed course and decided that the Oakdale Irrigation District must address environmental concerns before implementing a new fallowing program.

Aquapedia background

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)

A new era of groundwater management began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management plans with the state as the backstop.

When fully implemented, SGMA is expected to effectively administer groundwater pumping, though it remains to be seen if some of the damage done to aquifers is irreparable. Without SGMA, however, there is no hope for management.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hope survives in East Porterville, even as wells continue to run dry

No fewer than nine government agencies and nonprofit organizations have had a hand in helping the [East Porterville] community, which drew international media attention for its exceptional suffering in the fourth year of California’s drought.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District wins first round in lawsuit over water sales, fallowed land

A judge declined Wednesday to halt the Oakdale Irrigation District’s evolving plan to idle some farmland and sell water not needed for that land. The district has not revealed – to the public or its own board of directors – how its fallowing program has changed, other than to say that previous prospective buyers no longer are involved.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water bank project in southern San Joaquin Valley nearing approval

It’s too late for the current drought, but an ambitious water bank project in the southern San Joaquin Valley would give farmers a supplemental supply in future dry spells. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Strawberry crop hit hard by rain in Modesto, Merced

Strawberries tolerate some moisture from light spring rains but soakings such as that from the storms the weekend of April 9 rotted nearly all of the strawberries that were ripe for the picking.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

New state law to bring arsenic-free drinking water to Tulare County community (with audio)

Many [Central] valley residents struggle to access drinking water—some don’t have enough, while others face contamination. Now, a new law allows the state to step in and help those in need.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water flows in Fresno, Visalia for recharge

For the first time in more than two years, water is flowing inside the Friant-Kern and Madera canals for groundwater recharge and farm irrigation.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District critics welcome class-action lawsuit over electricity subsidy

News of a class-action lawsuit against the Modesto Irrigation District brought similar reactions from its most frequent critics, all of whom said it’s about time.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Clovis water savers soon won’t benefit from lower rates

In a move that even Clovis city officials agree is unlikely to bolster water conservation efforts, the city is changing its water rate structure so that residents using less will pay more. New rates will go into effect July 1 if the City Council approves them Monday night.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District approves water sale worth nearly $14 million

The Oakdale Irrigation District expects to reap $13.75 million selling Stanislaus River water to buyers from the Fresno area and on the Valley’s drought-scarred West Side, according to a sales agreement unanimously approved Tuesday by the OID board. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

San Joaquin Valley’s irrigation supplies range from near-normal to dismal

The 2016 irrigation season is rolling out on these warm April days with close-to-normal supplies in parts of the Northern San Joaquin Valley. In other parts, the drought of the past few years has not eased much, and farmers face another year of scraping by.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

New groundwater rules confusing and costly, farm water managers say

Farm water managers said new rules for managing underground supplies are confusing and potentially expensive. … The regulations are slated to go into effect June 1; the state Department of Water Resources is taking public comment about them until April 1.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

So far, so good on Stockton water quality

An initial round of testing for toxic lead in north Stockton’s drinking water has revealed levels far below federal standards and nowhere near what experts found in Flint, Michigan. … Environmental activist Erin Brockovich compared Stockton to Flint during her visit here in early February.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Feinstein, House Republicans urge Obama to rev up Delta pumps

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants President Obama to order an increase in water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms and cities to the south. … A dozen Republican members of California’s House delegation sent a separate letter calling on Obama to act.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Feinstein, Republicans ask Obama for more water pumping from Sacramento Delta

Adding to the debate over Northern California’s winter stormwater, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and congressional Republicans asked President Obama on Thursday to increase the volume of water pumped through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Rio Mesa developer wins $25 million judgment in San Joaquin River case

A Fresno jury has awarded a Madera County development company $25 million in damages against Fidelity National Title Insurance in a civil trial over the developer’s blocked access to the San Joaquin River. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Don’t drink the water — Lead found in California schools

For two years, the students at Orange Center Elementary School outside of Fresno have been told not to drink the water. … This week US Senator Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage Democrat, introduced a bill to add lead-contaminated drinking water to the federal government’s definition of a disaster, allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies to become involved in the Flint response. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Pine Flat, Millerton lakes rise thanks to winter rains

Recent rains have dramatically increased the volume of water flowing into major central Sierra lakes and reservoirs that are vital to San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s largest water district, accused of misleading investors, settles with the SEC

A sprawling Central Valley water district run by some of the state’s wealthiest growers papered over its drought-related financial struggles and misled investors, federal regulators said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Erin Brockovich, Stockton ‘freak out’ over water treatment

Stockton is not the first city to attract controversy for the use of chloramines, with flare-ups in Vermont, Washington and San Luis Obispo County, among other places. … Federal, state and local authorities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all say chloramines are safe at levels used in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Scientists link oil and gas activity to earthquakes in California (with audio)

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, examined an area in the southern San Joaquin Valley along the White Wolf Fault.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Outside sales keep local water rates from skyrocketing, Oakdale Irrigation District says

Only one farmer showed up Tuesday to share thoughts on the irrigation district’s controversial habit of selling river water to outside buyers, although benefits from doing so became the focus of a subsequent budget discussion.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Top doctor: Chloramines pose ‘very low risk’

San Joaquin County’s top health expert has no problem with the city of Stockton’s switch to chloramines to treat the drinking water. … His comments came one day after a town hall forum featuring environmental activist Erin Brockovich attracted more than 1,200 people to the Atherton Auditorium at San Joaquin Delta College.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Stockton residents, Erin Brockovich voice concerns at meeting (with video)

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is in Stockton to warn residents about adding chloramine to the water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton water forum delivers mixed messages

Local water activists Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Bill Jennings spoke before [Bob] Bowcock and [Erin] Brockovich. Both suggested to the audience there are more significant issues facing Stockton and the region than chloramines, most notably the proposed Twin Tunnels project in the Delta.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water rally scheduled before Stockton City Council meeting

The recent addition of chloramines to treat Stockton’s drinking water is not on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting agenda, but a rally on the hot-button issue is scheduled nonetheless late in the afternoon outside City Hall.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Stockton is not Flint’

This city [Stockton] is a long way from Flint, Michigan — in distance and in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton water now being treated with chloramines

Water treated with chloramine disinfectant is coursing through north Stockton pipes, city officials confirmed Thursday.

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