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 The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and their struggle to remain connected to the most precious resource—water. This digital media project combines short documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created equal. Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Nearly 1,000 nutria are trapped in two Valley counties this year

It’s been a busy spring and summer for trapping nutria in Merced and Stanislaus counties. State Fish and Wildlife have caught nearly 1,000 nutrias along the San Joaquin River corridor and in the grasslands.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump makes water demand of farms priority for new office

President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. … The first priority set out by the executive order is increasing dam storage and other water storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the West in particular. That includes California’s Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest agricultural water district.

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Aquafornia news CNBC

Water has become a big issue for Big Tech. But Microsoft has a plan

Last month, Microsoft announced it would replenish more water than it consumes by 2030, focusing on 40 “highly stressed” basins where it operates. … Microsoft has provided a grant to the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, to work on software to better predict levels and accessibility in the drought-threatened Central Valley region of California.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Prospective Westlands water board members look past legal challenges to get water, focusing on innovation

Unbeknownst to many, some voters will pick five new members of the Board of Directors of the Westlands Water District. GV Wire had a chance to speak with two of those… Both offered insights into how Westlands can change its reputation, how farmers can change their approach, and what their biggest adversaries are in the fight for water.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Dos Palos receives $11 million in state funding to help with water issues

The City of Dos Palos is set to receive $11 million in state funding to address water issues that have plagued the community in recent months and previous years. City leaders say the grant funding will pay for the construction of a new water treatment plant and some improvements to the existing facility, which was built in 1969.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: A Craigslist for water trading? Learn how this new water management platform works

To inform landowners about their water budgets, Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District in Kern County partnered with EDF, Sitka Technology Group, WestWater Research and local landowners to co-develop a new online, open-source water accounting and trading platform. We asked general manager Eric Averett to answer a few questions about how the platform…

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Army Corps breaks ground on Success Dam enlargement project

On the heels of a historic drought, at the beginning of the implementation of historic groundwater legislation, and in light of potential flooding, Porterville will have more water in the future and a larger dam to prevent it from damaging the city below.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water accounting platform is working well in Kern County

A relatively new water budgeting platform appears to be working well for producers in Kern County. The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District has worked with multiple stakeholder partners to develop the Water Accounting Platform to help growers more accurately track water use.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: In California, Latinos more likely to be drinking nitrate-polluted water

Environmental Working Group analyzed California State Water Resources Control Board data on the San Joaquin Valley communities with nitrate levels in drinking water meeting or exceeding the federal legal limit. We found that almost six in 10 are majority-Latino. Latinos are also a majority in Valley communities with nitrate at or above half the legal limit, which is linked to increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has been all uphill. The water system that serves the rural Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012,

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern Canal fix stalled again after Newsom vetoes bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom put the final nail in the bipartisan bill’s coffin on Wednesday when he vetoed the legislation, arguing that the bill was too focused on one canal project: The Friant-Kern.

Aquafornia news UC San Diego

News release: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Multimillion dollar tunnel to increase water reliability

The SSJID board has been pursuing a replacement tunnel after sorting through options to substantially increase the reliability of water flows as well as reducing costly annual maintenance work that puts crews at risk. … The 13,000-foot tunnel is now projected to cost more than $37 million. SSJID would cover 72 percent of the cost and Oakdale Irrigation District 28 percent…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Farms over-pump Madera groundwater, private wells go dry

The land east of Madera has changed in the 25 years since Rochelle and Michael Noblett built their home… There are more houses, more irrigated agriculture and less grazing land. There’s also been a significant decline in water availability, as the level of groundwater drops below what some domestic wells can reach. That’s why the couple was shocked when the county allowed a new irrigation well and almond orchard … in the midst of the most recent drought, even as private wells were going dry…

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom vetoes Friant-Kern Canal fix bill

California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of the project.

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Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Hurtado makes splash as Newsom signs water bill

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature on legislation that will speed the permit process for low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking water for residents. Senate Bill 974 exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Happy 50th “Kern Riversary!” 1970 vote brought river into public hands

Fifty years ago this week, the Bakersfield City Council committed an audaciously historic act. On Monday evening Sept. 28, 1970, council members decided to sue Tenneco West for a slice of the Kern River.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Creek Fire: Water deliveries from dams might be affected due to evacuations

Among the people forced to flee the Creek Fire were workers who keep the vast network of hydroelectric dams running. Eric Quinley, general manager of the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District, worried some of his table grape growers might not get enough water in the future to finish up the growing season.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: DWR is suing everyone for a blank check for a Delta tunnel

In the middle of a pandemic, an economic recession, and everything else that 2020 is throwing at us, in early August the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) filed a lawsuit against every Californian to authorize spending an unlimited amount of money … for an as yet undefined Delta tunnel project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Study: Small farmers shortchanged by SGMA

When governor Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in September 2014, he said that “groundwater management in California is best accomplished locally.” With the first round of plans made available for public comment this year, it appears that, while the state certainly ceded control to local management agencies, those same agencies have prioritized the interests of big agriculture and industry over small farmers and disadvantaged communities.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news The Rolla Daily News

Research links sinking land to regions of high groundwater demand

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology … are using a form of artificial intelligence known as machine learning to map the sinking – called land subsidence – to help water policy officials make informed decisions. … To carry out their research, Smith and his Ph.D. student, Sayantan Majumdar, compiled hydrologic and subsidence data from satellites and ground-based GPS stations across the western U.S., including California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Dominos from the massive Creek Fire teetering over Central Valley farmers

When the Creek Fire erupted on Sept. 5 and chewed through the forest toward Southern California Edison’s Big Creek power system, little did anyone know how that might affect grape growers in Delano nearly a month later.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil extraction technique in the state that has been linked to hundreds of oil spills.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Feds release environmental review for Friant-Kern Canal project

The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Last minute loan keeps drinking water projects afloat

Drinking water advocates had fretted the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, intended to help struggling water systems in mostly poor, rural areas, would fall victim to the pandemic-flattened economy. But a last minute loan from the Underground Storage Tank Clean-Up Fund will ensure SAFER receives its full $130 million — at least this coming fiscal year.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How California became ground zero for climate disasters

California is one of America’s marvels. By moving vast quantities of water and suppressing wildfires for decades, the state has transformed its arid and mountainous landscape into the richest, most populous and bounteous place in the nation. But now, those same feats have given California a new and unwelcome category of superlatives.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil: Companies profit from illegal spills; the state lets them

Along with being a global leader on addressing climate change, California is the seventh-largest producer of oil in the nation. And across some of its largest oil fields, companies have for decades turned spills into profits, garnering millions of dollars from surface expressions that can foul sensitive habitats and endanger workers, an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica has found….Under state laws, it’s illegal to discharge any hazardous substance into a creek or streambed, dry or not.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: 20-mile replacement canal is preferred fix for the sagging Friant-Kern Canal

A rapid-fire review of potential fixes to the Friant-Kern Canal favors building a replacement canal for 20 miles alongside the existing canal where land subsidence has caused it to sag, severely restricting water flow, according to final environmental documents released Friday.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Tule agency to charge farmers for pumping water

Farmers whose only access to water is pumping from their own well will get their first glimpse at what the state’s new groundwater management law will cost them next month. On Oct. 1, the East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency will hold a public hearing to discuss a groundwater extraction fee…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Almond growers are committed to finding water solutions that work for people, farms, and fish

Through research funded by the Almond Board of California we are exploring ways to recharge groundwater aquifers, be good stewards of the water that we all collectively share as a state, and even helping the salmon industry understand how agricultural land, like rice fields, could play a role in supporting salmon health.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Deep Creek Cemetery searches for water

The last few years have been dry for one of the oldest cemeteries in Tulare County. The well at the Deep Creek Cemetery has been parched since 2014 and now they are in talks with the Farmersville City Council to potentially connect to the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?

For decades, farmers in California’s Kern County have turned to wastewater from oil production to help irrigate their crops during extended dry spells. … But the use of the recycled water, a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction that is mixed with surface water for irrigation, has stirred controversy.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Evaporation adds up. How much? Google it – someday

There are lots of new water gizmos popping up these days but there’s only one Google. Which makes the massive tech company’s involvement in a proposed water measurement tool both intriguing and slightly suspicious to some agricultural water managers.

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Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California Supreme Court holds public agencies may not categorically classify groundwater well permit approvals as ministerial

In Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus, the Court held that the County may not categorically classify all groundwater well permit issuances as ministerial decisions. Such a classification exempts well permit issuances from environmental review.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

The project proposes to cover 3,600 acres near the town of Ducor with enough solar panels to … provide 100% of the power needed for 180,000 homes… The Tulare County Farm Bureau did submit a letter reminding the board of the law’s intent to preserve farm land and not to create solar farms, but ultimately agreed the project would give landowners with sparse access to irrigation water options to make their lands profitable.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun environmental review for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head. … TCP (trichloropropane) is a carcinogenic leftover from a nematode pesticide made by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical that was liberally applied to Central Valley farmland from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Cox introduces $800 million water bill

Rep. T.J. Cox, a Democrat who represents a portion of Southwestern Tulare County, introduced the Western Water Storage Infrastructure Act, an $800 million bill addressing surface and groundwater storage and water delivery. … The bill is designed to essentially replace funding authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, WIIN, Act, which has been exhausted.

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Aquafornia news The Packer

Opinion: Growers must solve California’s water challenges

I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues. Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps. The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news Modesto Irrigation District

News release: Documentary explores the past, present and uncertain future of San Joaquin Valley rivers and water supplies

“Until the Last Drop,” a feature-length documentary filmed along the banks of the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers is scheduled for virtual release Labor Day weekend 2020. In this probing film, Modesto Irrigation District along with Final Cut Media examine the rivers that have transformed the San Joaquin Valley, helped create cities and nourish the world.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Foster Farms accused of wasting water to kill chickens in drought-prone California

According to the 21-page complaint, Foster Farms’ Livingston, California, plant uses 3-4 million gallons of drinkable water daily, more than all the other water users in the rural city of 14,000 combined. The main reason, the Animal Legal Defense Fund argues, is Foster Farms’ water-intensive slaughter system.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Report: Sustainable for whom? The impact of groundwater sustainability plans on domestic wells

Studies estimate that 1.5 – 2.5 million Californians rely on domestic wells to meet their household water needs. But because domestic wells are often shallow, they are also often sensitive to changes in groundwater levels. As such, sustainable groundwater management has an important role to play in safeguarding the health and safety of residents and the achievement of California’s recognized Human Right to Water.

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Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

San Luis Reservoir, O’Neill Forebay open after California fires

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay are open in Merced County, after being shuttered by regional wildfires. However, state Department of Water Resources officials say that’s not an invitation to go in the water. DWR on Tuesday issued a harmful algal bloom warning advisory at the O’Neill Forebay, plus a caution is in effect for the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Environmentalists pledge to fight first local auction of federal oil leases since 2012

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity last week said it’s targeting a federal plan to auction in December seven parcels totaling about 4,330 acres in or near existing oilfields in the county. The CBD called the auction plan a “breathtakingly vicious” move by the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking at a time of wildfires driven by climate change in an area with some of the country’s worst air quality.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

The big kahuna of California water — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — has stopped taking supplies from one Kern County groundwater bank because the water is heavily tainted with a cancer-causing agent that is pervasive in Central Valley’s aquifers. While only one banking program has been affected so far, the emergence of this issue could have huge implications for water storage and movement in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Rebalancing agricultural and natural land

Over the next 20 years, San Joaquin Valley farmers may need to temporarily fallow or permanently retire over half a million acres of cropland as California pushes towards sustainable groundwater use. … Below, the paper’s lead authors, Benjamin Bryant and Rodd Kelsey, discuss their research examining how conservation planning can guide the land use change being driven by SGMA to achieve multiple benefits…

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Legislature kills last-ditch bill with funding for Friant-Kern Canal

A bill that would have provided funding for the Friant-Kern Canal was abandoned by the California State Legislature on Sunday. It’s route to abandonment is a short, but confusing one centering on California’s wildfires

Aquafornia news E&E News

Farmers: California drainage project violates Constitution

Major California farmers last week revived a long-standing lawsuit challenging a politically tenuous federal irrigation drainage plan that has never been fully implemented.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Opinion: Why fixing the nation’s water crisis and combating a pandemic are linked

The San Joaquin Valley in California has the highest rates of drinking water contamination and the highest amount of public water systems with maximum contaminant level violations in the state. … The most recent contamination occurred in the city of Tulare, where local government buildings received a boil-water notice after a test of county wells found coliform bacteria.

Aquafornia news Restore the Delta

News release: Harmful algal outbreak worsens in SF Bay-Delta waters

The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has reported that a recent collection of water samples from cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms along the Stockton waterfront contain microcystins up to 220 times higher than the “danger” level. These extremely dangerous readings were found at 5 out of 6 testing sites along the Stockton waterfront.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Water Blueprint proposes a valley-wide sales tax to fund its irrigation water plan. Is it feasible?

Earlier this month, CSU-Fresno hosted the event “Funding Water Infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.” The majority of the event was focused on the so-called “Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley,” a high profile new investment plan for irrigation water. At the event, the Blueprint rolled out a proposed funding plan – the centerpiece of which is a proposed 0.5% special sales tax in the 8 counties of the San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: New $15.9b Delta tunnel cost estimate: Revisiting DWR’s 2018 analysis with updated costs shows it is a bad investment

Simply updating costs to this latest estimate ($15.9 billion in 2020 dollars is equivalent to $15 billion in the 2017$) reduces the benefit-cost ratio for State Water Project urban agencies from 1.23 to 0.92, and for agricultural agencies from 1.17 to 0.87. That’s a bad investment, but it is actually much worse than that.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Blue-green algae health concerns for humans and animals

Warm temperatures are here and when conditions are right, blue-green algae can rapidly bloom on the surface of reservoirs, rivers, creeks, lagoons, lakes and ponds. San Joaquin County Public Health and Environmental Health officials, and the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, are urging swimmers, boaters, and recreational water users to avoid contact with blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Water agency approves 7,000-percent cost increase

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority voted 4-1 to pass the replenishment fee despite significant public opposition. … Although residential users will see an estimated $24 per month increase, Searles Valley Minerals will see a 7,000-percent increase in water costs.

Related article:

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Summit reviews water needs of San Joaquin Valley

One expert at a virtual summit meeting on California’s water infrastructure said 1 in 5 acres will come out of agricultural production in the San Joaquin Valley by 2040.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Planning on playing in local waterways? Avoid the blue-green algae blooms

Public health officials are urging boaters, swimmers and recreational water users to be on the lookout for hazardous blue-green algae blooms as warm temperatures persist. San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department officials posted advisory signs at local marinas warning people to stay out of the water where toxic algae is present.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Bruce Babbitt: Gov. Newsom must clarify his Delta tunnel plan

Tunnel proponents say they do not expect to operate the tunnel at capacity, and it would be in use mainly to draw from the periodic storms that send more water through the Delta out to San Francisco Bay. But how much would that be? The usual answer is: we will leave that to the experts.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: CPUC proposal would increase water rates for low-income customers

Residents and small businesses in Visalia who were struggling, even before the economic shut down of COVID-19 to make ends meet, should be very concerned about a proposal the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering that would increase water bills for millions of Californians, including low-income customers who use the least amount of water.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Utility District starts water transfer to Westlands

With all permits in place, on Aug. 20 the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District announced the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights approved the temporary transfer of up to 2,000 acre-feet of GDPUD’s water to the Westlands Water District. The transfer of the water began Aug. 19 and is expected to continue until Sept. 23.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California says Delta tunnel project will cost $15.9 billion

After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento. That’s nearly as much as the old $16.7 billion price tag put on the larger, twin-tunnel plan…

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed single Delta tunnel could cost $15.9 billion

A single tunnel proposed to take water under the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to farms and cities in the south could cost $15.9 billion, give or take, according to an initial assessment discussed at the Delta Conveyance Authority meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

California to Friant-Kern Canal: “No $ for you!”

Any hope that California might kick in money to fix the sagging Friant-Kern Canal was killed Thursday when a bill that would have provided $400 million toward the effort was stripped of all funding.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Coliform bacteria shuts down water in Tulare County courthouse, jail

The Tulare County Civic Center is on a boil-water notice after a bacteria that commonly lives in human feces was discovered in the county’s wells.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

This Madera County community is running out of water — and the only well might fail

Residents of Fairmead, California worry they are on the brink of losing water service, as the town’s only community well shows signs it may fail before a new one can be built.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Kings of the river: Meet the water baron you (likely) haven’t heard of

You may have never heard of John Vidovich, but his impact on the day-to-day life of the average southern San Joaquin Valley farmer is difficult to be understated. Vidovich is the owner of Sandridge Partners, LP – a farmland investment firm that has undertaken more than 100,000 acres of Valley farmland.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Delivering dollars for Central Valley water

Water is the lifeblood of our region and there are immense challenges to providing and maintaining a reliable and resilient water supply for both farms and communities in the Central Valley. As your congressional representatives, we’ve been working together to bring resources back home to address our collective needs.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: New executive director named at Water Association of Kern County

The Water Association of Kern County Board of Directors has named Jenny Bertagna Holtermann as the new executive director.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces 30-day public comment period for Central Valley Project Friant Water Authority operation, maintenance and replacement contract

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday a 30-day public comment period for a 35-year contract renewal of the transfer of operation, maintenance and replacement activities related to Friant-Kern Canal and other associated works to the Friant Water Authority.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation’s largest Dam Safety project moves forward

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation submitted the B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dams Modification Report to Congress. This is Reclamation’s largest project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act, and when complete, will modernize the structure to reduce risk to water supply and downstream communities in an earthquake.

Aquafornia news The Atlantic

Erin Brockovich has not slowed down

Twenty years ago, Erin Brockovich was released, and the brash, unvarnished legal assistant turned activist at the heart of the film … had the surreal experience of becoming a household name almost overnight. “Let me be the first to tell you that life takes an interesting turn when your name becomes a verb,” the real Erin Brockovich writes in the introduction to her new book, Superman’s Not Coming.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration studies raising the height of Shasta Dam

The decades-long battle over an effort to raise the height of Shasta Dam took another turn Thursday when the Trump Administration released a new environmental report on the plan, just five years after completing a similar study.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unlikely source promises (a little) water for the Kern River

The City of Bakersfield is poised to ink a deal with Buena Vista Water Storage District that will provide at least some water in the riverbed through the main part of the city between April and June — even in drier years.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Lindsay to spend thousands to clean city’s water

Last week at the Lindsay City Council’s July 28 meeting, city services and planning director Michael Camarena presented a feasibility study. He noted that the city’s water system has been out of compliance with the Stage 2 disinfection byproduct rule for total trihalomethanes and five haloacetic acid maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Blog: Bridging the water access gap through COVID-19 relief

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, guidance around how to control the virus’s spread has become a steady drumbeat: Wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, and stay home. Implicit in these recommendations is the assumption that households have safe and clean running water and indoor plumbing.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Clean water advocates hoping to safeguard SAFER funding

The state is peppered with failing small water systems, many serving low-income communities without the resources to repair them. … That’s where the new Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program comes in.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, small California town takes on the oil industry

In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options. Escoto’s town—Arvin, California—had just granted an oil drilling and well-servicing company, Petro-Lud, a permit to drill four new wells near a neighborhood densely packed with young families and a park where children played soccer.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Work on enlarging Tule River Spillway to begin

Much needed work at Schafer Dam at Success Lake is finally set to begin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will begin construction to realign Avenue 146 and widen the existing Tule River Spillway at Success Lake in Porterville on Sunday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102

John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam

Four years after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the flood risk for the Whittier Narrows Dam from high urgency to very high urgency, the U,S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a budget package that included nearly $385 million to fix the dam.

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Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever

In a place like California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), Latinos account for 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they represent 42 percent of the population. Improving access to clean and affordable water even as the pandemic grows more urgent, is critical to reducing the types of burdens worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.

Aquafornia news InterestingEngineering.com

How over-pumping of underground aquifers can cause land to sink

All the static and dynamic forces from the land and rock above start adding up and eventually that now-dry soil starts compacting down and down. While this may not seem like a big deal on a small scale, what we’ve seen in California (and other parts of the world too) is the dropping of the surface elevation over a period of years, often by hundreds of feet or meters.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Valley farmers look to Kern River tributary to replenish groundwater

A Kern County water agency is facing a wall of opposition against its plan to harvest up to 12,000 acre feet of water from the South Fork of the Kern River above Lake Isabella and bring it to valley farms and homeowners in northwest Bakersfield.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Visalia prepares to clamp down on outdoor watering

Visalia’s groundwater has sunk by 7 feet since April, just one month into the summer season, and it’s not because people are home washing their hands more frequently and doing their dishes more often. … At its July 20 meeting, the City Council approved moving the city from Stage 1, its least stringent level of its water conservation ordinance, to Stage 3, just one level short of declaring a water emergency.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Forging connections to provide safe drinking water

Providing a reliable source of drinking water is a challenge for many small water systems in the San Joaquin Valley, where dropping groundwater levels, aging systems, and water quality problems are acute. … We talked to Laura Ramos and Sarge Green of Fresno State’s California Water Institute about this effort.

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Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Toxic algae blooms spark warnings along Stockton waterfront

The California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board said lab results from July 14 revealed high levels of a toxin called microcystins in scum samples from Mormon Slough, the downtown marina and Morelli Park Boat Launch that ranged from four to more than 20 times the state’s Tier 3 danger threshold.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State grants will enhance Tuolumne River fish near Modesto

New state grants totaling about $8 million will enhance fish habitat on the Tuolumne River, and better connect west Modesto residents to the waterway. The grants will continue efforts to restore spawning areas and floodplains for salmon, trout and other fish between La Grange and Modesto.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: California had a plan to bring clean water to a million people. Then the pandemic hit

At a meeting this month where the State Water Resources Control Board adopted its first spending plan for what was supposed to be a $130 million-a-year investment for the next decade, Chairman Joaquin Esquivel acknowledged that the economic downturn could set California back.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

MID and TID reach key milestone on Tuolumne River fish flows

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stated its support once again for the fishery releases proposed by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The action reaffirmed FERC findings in February 2019 that dismissed pleas from environmental and sport-fishing groups for much higher flows.

Aquafornia news CBS Sunday Morning

Without water

Black and Latino Americans are twice as likely as White Americans to live without running water. Take East Orosi, a mostly Latino community surrounded by the fertile orchards of California’s Central Valley. To look around you’d think that water is pretty plentiful … and it is, for big agriculture. But in a neighborhood where most of those who work those fields live, there’s no central water main.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: We need water in the Kern River

Some residents are petitioning to return water to our river. I urge every person who has ever walked on the Kern River bike path to sign their petition on Change.org…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Feinstein bill would fix SJ Valley canals

Feinstein’s Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act would authorize $800 million in federal funding to repair critical canals in the San Joaquin Valley damaged by land sinking from overpumping of groundwater, known as subsidence, and for environmental restoration.

Aquafornia news Fox40

Toxic algae blooms in and around Stockton worst they’ve ever been, Delta advocate says

Toxic sludge is collecting in corners, around boats and floating in patches through the Delta, turning the water bright green. “We’re watching it every year, with climate change becoming worse and worse,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla with Restore the Delta. Barrigan-Parrilla said this year’s bloom is the worst it’s ever been.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Central Valley could get federal aid for drinking water crisis. Will Trump support it?

Central Valley neighborhoods are a step closer to new money to fix broken water systems and access clean, safe drinking water — if the White House and Congress agree on an infrastructure package currently moving through the U.S. House of Representatives.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior may shift projects to former Bernhardt client

Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in the San Joaquin Valley … is seeking ownership of 1,034 miles of buried pipeline, multiple pumping plants and canals, and two field offices. The Bureau of Reclamation confirmed it is moving forward with the transfer.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Thursday Top of the Scroll: River agreements stall amid focus on Delta litigation

With state and federal administrations fighting in court about delta water operations—and with a pandemic and election year both underway—work has slowed on voluntary agreements meant to avoid severe cuts to northern San Joaquin Valley water supplies. At issue is the first phase of a State Water Resources Control Board plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmers doing more with less need help from above

Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based startup company, is one of several high-tech aerial monitoring companies helping California farmers, including those in Kern County, increase their production, while decreasing their demand for water. It is a logical marriage between agriculture and innovators in California’s Silicon Valley.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop seeks discharge of treated wastewater into San Joaquin River

The City of Lathrop wants to secure a permit that will allow for the discharge of treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. And last week they agreed to spend more than $400,000 to take steps towards achieving that longstanding goal.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Could “angel investors” buy a piece of the Friant-Kern Canal?

An investor funding proposal that could substantially increase the Friant-Kern Canal’s historic flow capacity is gaining interest among the Friant Water Authority’s member districts.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unpaid bills spiking at some water utilities

Several state legislators have asked the Governor to extend his order prohibiting water shutoffs for nonpayment to even the smallest water utilities.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: New study finds media coverage could discourage many from guiding groundwater use

Media coverage portrayed stakeholders as limited to major economic interests, such as agriculture, the study found. And while SGMA legislation requires disadvantaged communities to be a stakeholder in all planning documents, such communities were largely absent from newspaper reports.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds may cover half of Friant-Kern Canal fix

On July 6, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees the canal, finalized a feasibility report for Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Under section 4007 of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, the bureau’s report means up to 50% of the total project costs can be requested from the U.S. Department of the Interior and subsequently appropriated by Congress for construction.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: It’s time to deliver on the human right to water

California stands on the cusp of getting critical SB 200 funds flowing through communities that have waited too long for water justice and are also among those hit hardest by COVID-19 and the resulting economic loss and strain. Last week, the State Water Board adopted its implementation plan for the fund, also called the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program.

Aquafornia news Water Talk Podcast

Audio: Water reform in California institutional ecosystems

A conversation with UC Davis doctoral researchers Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos and Jess Rudnick about water governance, institutional reforms, equity, and participation in California.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Podcast focuses on new agriculture and California’s future

On a hot June evening, UC Merced Professor Josh Viers joined farm advocate and small farmer Tom Willey on his front porch near Fresno to talk about California’s water, disadvantaged communities, agricultural production and the future as part of the new “Down on the Farm” podcast that’s now available for all to hear.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Reclamation’s Burman urges cooperation on water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Landmark groundwater act enters a crucial period

Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the reliability of those water sources have come to light.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Opinion: State water board trying to drain away Merced County’s chief supply

Less than a week before Christmas in 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board held a single public hearing in our community. The topic? Draining our community’s water supply and sending it to the Bay Delta.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The water is contaminated. But California bottled water program isn’t helping Earlimart

The cost of buying cases of bottled water for cooking and drinking is adding up for residents of Earlimart, where a contaminated well became the main source of tap water for more than 8,000 people there in late May. The State Water Resources Control Board that is responsible for drinking water has a program to provide financial assistance for bottled water to help communities in crisis. It has not been available in Earlimart — and it is unclear why.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $11 million in grants for fish habitat restoration & enhancement projects

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $11 million in grants to five projects that will improve the habitat and chances of survival for native fish species within the lower San Joaquin River watershed.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Money to repair Central Valley canal in House bill. A large funding gap remains

South San Joaquin Valley farmers have a reason to celebrate this week: Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives appropriated $200 million to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. The bill also includes funding to repair the Delta-Mendota Canal and for two Northern California reservoirs.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

What happens when a drinking water system fails? Ask Earlimart

Residents in Earlimart, California, lost water service when a 50-year-old well on Mary Ann Avenue failed in late May. When it came back on, the main source of drinking water for more than 8,000 residents became a well contaminated with a chemical from banned pesticides. And most residents didn’t know. The Tulare County town’s water system is failing, in a lot of ways.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Ruling avoids additional CVP supply cuts

U.S. District Court Judge Dale Drozd of the Eastern District of California, who is based in Fresno, denied environmental groups’ request for an injunction that would have required the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the CVP, to reduce water allocations as needed to manage water temperatures in the Sacramento River below Shasta Dam. The groups sought more cold water for spring- and winter-run chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

GSA Summit: Lessons learned from the 2020 Groundwater Sustainability Plans: Perspectives from critically overdrafted basins

At the Groundwater Resources Association Third Annual Groundwater Sustainability Agency Summit held online in June, a panel of managers from four of the critically overdrafted basins reflected on the hard work of developing and adopting a groundwater sustainability plan.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

A big rat in Congress helped California farmers in their war against invasive species

California Rep. Josh Harder needed a way to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pay attention to his speech about invasive species during a meeting in February. So he brought in a hefty rat carcass and laid it on the table next to him. The taxidermied rat … convinced the House to unanimously pass a bill that supports eradication efforts in states infested with nutria, large rodents also known as swamp rats that are native to South America. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

More funds may flow to Friant-Kern Canal fix

More federal funds may be flowing to fix the Friant-Kern Canal. On June 22, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) sent a letter to Congress requesting $134 million for water storage projects be funded through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. More than half of the funding, $71 million, was requested for preconstruction and construction of the Friant-Kern Canal Capacity Correction project.

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

River treatment plant for Turlock and Ceres gets final OK

A vote Monday was the final approval for a Tuolumne River treatment plant serving Turlock and Ceres. The $202 million project, discussed off and on since the 1980s, will reduce the cities’ dependence on groundwater. Both have already approved the sizable rate increases that will cover most of the cost.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Moving Forward Act provides funding for Central Valley water, Friant-Kern Canal

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has approved H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act. The legislative package would provide $1.5 trillion for the nation’s infrastructure needs. Included in the bill is funding for Central Valley water needs and Friant-Kern Canal repairs. The package is expected to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives next week.

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Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Worker doing maintenance atop iconic Fresno State water tower dies

A man working atop the iconic Fresno State water tower died after being rushed to the hospital on Thursday after being overcome with heat, eventually going into cardiac arrest. … The man, 27-year-old Jason Peters of Palm Coast, Florida, was one of three divers scheduled to do maintenance work on the inside of the water tower on the Fresno State campus.

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Turlock won’t bail on Ceres & joint surface water plant

The Turlock City Council was entertaining thoughts of backing out of the project, which would have left only Ceres undertaking the project to deliver treated Tuolumne River water to homes. Last week the council voted unanimously to proceed with the project. The two cities form the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority which is expected to award a design-build contract to CH2M Hill Engineers, Inc. this month.

Aquafornia news Zocalo Public Square

Where Tulare Lake once was, a new telling of California’s history

All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The photographs of California Exposures tell a history of California, but not in the conventional sense.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Bolster our communities by investing in water

In California, especially in agriculture, water is often portrayed as an instigator of division. But this ignores an important lesson that COVID-19 has made even clearer — none of us are as healthy or resilient as we could be until everyone has safe and affordable water.

Aquafornia news Audubon California

Blog: How Bowles Farming Co. supports people and birds – even during a pandemic

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the farm itself has become part of the landscape that millions of birds rely on. Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming Co., has partnered with Audubon over the last decade to support birds on his farm by restoring corridors and habitat, and finding new ways to manage crops to protect wildlife. You know a farmer is serious about birds when their Instagram includes highlights like the “Birds of Bowles Farming”.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Water service restored in Dos Palos after algae outbreak

Water service has been restored to residents in the City of Dos Palos but a boil water notice remained in effect Wednesday. According to City Manager Darrell Fonseca, utilities engineers worked to get the plant’s system up and running and at 7:43 p.m. Tuesday night. Sufficient pressure was achieved , allowing the city to supply water at lower-than-average water pressure to residents.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Firefighters rescue 3 inspectors from 120-foot Fresno State water tower

Three divers were rescued from the Fresno State water tower Wednesday after Fresno Fire says one of them became unresponsive due to heat exhaustion. The three divers were taking part in a regular inspection and cleaning of the tower…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Central California town without water for days due to algae

Residents of a town in central California won’t have water for several days after the town’s water treatment plant became clogged with algae, officials said. The water outage in Dos Palos started Monday, when the city declared a water emergency and urged the town’s 5,000 residents to use only boiled tap water for drinking and cooking to avoid stomach or intestinal illness.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: A Trojan horse with a state water grab inside

With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in 2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: How Friant Water Authority recaptured its water destiny

The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced to authorize significant funding for the project.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000 domestic wells over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

No-till saves water, increases yield

Standard tillage practices have been used throughout the San Joaquin Valley for nearly 90 years. Using similar inputs and amounts and pest management, UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist Jeff Mitchell’s team showed that a garbanzo and sorghum rotation in no-till yielded at least as well as in standard tillage. Sorghum yields were similar in no-till and standard tillage systems while garbanzo yields matched or exceeded no-till…

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Revealed: Millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay, a landmark Guardian investigation has found. Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.

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Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Water may not flow in Dos Palos for 3 days due to algae problem

The City of Dos Palos is shutting down water for its residents for at least three days to treat after its water treatment plant became clogged with algae. The city says water is currently being used faster than it can be treated and sent out, so residents should prepare for water to stop flowing.

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Aquafornia news Capital & Main

Gavin Newsom hands out fracking permits to connected driller

On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19 pandemic…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

CEMEX wants to mine San Joaquin River north of Fresno

Saying in a project description that there is a demand for high-quality construction supplies, … the company proposes to modify the cement plant and quarry on Friant Road and use explosives to mine hard rock that sits below the gravel, sand and rock that’s currently mined a half-mile from the river. … But, the project is at odds with the vision of organizations like San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust that prioritize recreation over industry for future use along the river…

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide Public Utility District moving ahead with water transfer

The water agency is close to finishing a water transfer agreement with Westlands Water District. The agreement will call for selling up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands, the largest agricultural water district in the United States, made up of more than 1,000 square miles of farmland in western Fresno and Kings counties.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos

A high level of algae in the California Aqueduct has caused problems over the past several days in Dos Palos. City Manager Darrell Fonseca explains, “Our siphon intake at the aqueduct clogged, and that reduced our water supply, and then as we did receive the water it takes longer to treat at the plant… but it also meant reduced pressure to a lot of residents, and for a while, no pressure at all.”

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Turlock decides to move forward with surface water treatment plant project

Currently, 100 percent of the City of Turlock’s drinking water supply comes from groundwater. However, the drinking water supply is declining, contaminant levels are increasing and groundwater quality regulations have become more stringent. For the past 30 years, the City has been working on securing an alternate source of water — treated surface water from the Tuolumne River.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Under new groundwater plans, report estimates 12,000 domestic wells could run dry

Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as 12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040. Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up hundreds of millions of dollars.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Feds seek input on Friant-Kern Canal fixes

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic drought from 2012-2017.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Blog: Spring-run Chinook return to San Joaquin River despite low water year

If there’s one certainty in these uncertain times, it’s that nature is resilient, and one needn’t look further than the San Joaquin River as an example. For a second year in a row, and for only the second year in over 65 years, spring-run Chinook salmon have returned from the ocean to spawn in the river and bring forth the next generation.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Yettem-Seville tap into towns’ potential

Seville has clean water for the first time in five years and Yettem will be connected to joint system soon; county transfers governance to newly formed community services district

Aquafornia news San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Blog: Reach O levee work is underway!

Work has started on the Reach O levee improvements! The project will improve seepage and stability requirements within two miles of Eastside Bypass levees to allow for higher Restoration Flows.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater accountability sparks clash of Central Valley ag titans

Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious mud at one another over groundwater. And, in a rare break with tradition, they’re doing it in public. The fight has spilled out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: The past, present and future of California’s groundwater

The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014, granted the state official oversight authority of groundwater. … A new paper published in Society and Natural Resources, examines how the state’s ongoing involvement helped shape current policies by looking at the 120-year history of California’s role in groundwater management…

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

The $120m question: Paying for flood work

Existing residents in the 200-year-flood zone are not off the hook when it comes to paying for more robust protection. … That’s because fees assessed on new growth — homes, commercial and industrial concerns — being built in the flood zone only will cover a third of the bill.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Could the answer to groundwater resources come from high in the sky?

A new computational approach developed by scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer volume change from observed ground deformation.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Farmers to get more water, but not enough

Tulare County farmers will get more water than expected from a dry winter but far less than needed to avoid depleting an aquifer that is already drying up. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project announced the Friant Division … will receive 60% instead of 55% of its Class 1 water supply thanks to improved hydrologic conditions and the forecasted snowmelt runoff in the Upper San Joaquin River Basin.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion-PPIC: San Joaquin Valley’s big problem remains declining groundwater

In these extraordinary times, managing groundwater for long-term sustainability may not seem like a top priority. But in the San Joaquin Valley — where groundwater supplies have been declining for decades — excess pumping is a critical problem, with major implications for public health, jobs, the environment and local economies.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Blog: California farmers leverage COVID-19 in bid for more water

While tens of millions of pounds of food has been destroyed or buried in the ground during the coronavirus slowdown, a band of California’s farmers is claiming they can’t produce enough food to feed Americans, and they’re using the pandemic as leverage to grab more of the West’s scarce water.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Opinion: Special meeting to decide Turlock’s water future

Since it was founded in 1871, the City of Turlock has relied on well or ground water to meet the water needs of its citizens, farmers and businesses. Today, with the growth of Turlock to nearly 75,000 residents, successful farming, a growing local business community, Turlock needs more water and must move to surface water usage.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

State Water Board: Update on SGMA implementation

At the State Water Board’s meeting on June 2nd, Natalie Stork, unit chief for the Groundwater Management Program at the State Water Board, and Craig Altare, chief of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan Review section at the Department of Water Resources, updated the board members on how implementation is going so far.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Delta dispute casts shadow on water supplies

With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state and federal governments on managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley water districts take aim at each other’s groundwater plans

There is no tougher playground than California’s water world. Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.

Aquafornia news California State University

News release: Steady streams: Bringing safe water to California communities

Over the years, much attention has been given to California’s drought, but less is known about the more than one million Californians in more than 300 communities who don’t have access to clean drinking water. To address this crisis, CSU faculty and students are performing community assessments, conducting research and assisting local engineering projects, often with support from Water Resources & Policy Initiatives. Take a look at some of the CSU’s ongoing work.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation completes additional Central Valley Project contract conversions

The Bureau of Reclamation executed another set of congressionally-mandated contract conversions with Central Valley Project contractors pursuant to the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. … These completed contract conversions include the City of West Sacramento and four contract assignments for Westlands Water District.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: The great divide: California communities battle for rights to water

An ongoing struggle between two communities less than a mile apart illustrates the challenges California faces as it tries to deliver clean, affordable drinking water to more than 1 million residents without access to what the state has called a “basic human right.”

Aquafornia news WestSideConnect.com

Agencies investigate adding capacity in San Luis Reservoir

Two agencies are studying the feasibility of supplementing a seismic safety project planned for B.F. Sisk Dam with a second component that would increase the capacity of San Luis Reservoir. … While the dam safety project involves raising the crest of the earthen structure as much as 12 feet, as well as seismic reinforcements, it does not, in itself, increase capacity in the reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Small, Central Valley community finally gets clean water

For years — too many, residents say — Seville households teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one altogether for residents in Seville.

Aquafornia news NetworkWorld

Startup lands $100 million to build floating data centers

Now while the idea of water cooling is hardly new, I was a little flummoxed at Nautilus’s strategy, especially since its first data center will be based in Stockton, California, a city repeatedly voted one of the worst places to live, and the Calaveras River that runs through the town is filthy. There’s a method to the madness, though.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

In a dry year, Valley water sales get an extra dose of scrutiny

As California navigates a critically dry water year, many business-as-usual elements are getting a second look. One such transaction is a proposed water sale by the Merced Irrigation District. The district … filed an application with the State Water Resources Control Board in March to transfer as much as 45,000 acre-feet of water to a bevy of water districts across the state.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State, feds in talks over water

California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions governing the management of their respective water projects, a top state official says. The talks are proceeding after Gov. Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Legislation seeks to address San Joaquin Valley canals

New legislation was recently introduced that will address several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water conveyance damaged by subsidence.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies

Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.

Aquafornia news Greenbiz.com

Here’s how California’s water laws were made

This is an excerpt from “Ruling the Waters: California’s Kern River, the Environment, and the Making of Western Water Law” by Douglas R. Littlefield, published in May 2020.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Westlands Water District is again eyeing San Joaquin River water

Westlands Water District sent shockwaves through the Central Valley water world recently after it alerted several districts that it intends to apply for rights to flood flows on the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: How California’s oil industry may help preserve agriculture in San Joaquin Valley

A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI International found that reusing oil field produced water that has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health risks.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

NRCS partnership to enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with American Farmland Trust to help enhance San Joaquin Valley water efficiency. The San Joaquin Valley Land and Water Conservation Collaboration is being made possible through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program from NRCS, in coordination with state and local partners.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Almond orchard recycling a sustainable and beneficial strategy for growing almonds

This practice entails on-site grinding of whole, removed trees and the incorporation of the wood chips back into the almond fields before the next replanting. … In terms of soil health, the [University of California] researchers found a 58% increase in soil carbon as well as a 32% increase in water holding capacity compared to conventional burning practices. Overall productivity of the trees increased by 20% as well.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

The gravity-fed Friant-Kern Canal that is key to survival for 15,000 east side San Joaquin Valley farms continues to be impacted by subsidence. Land near Porterville appears to be most worrisome where the land has sunk so much due to adjacent water pumping that the canal has lost 60% of its capacity. As of July 2018, it was estimated the canal is approximately 12 feet below the original constructed elevation.

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Aquafornia news Data Center Dynamics

Floating data center firm Nautilus secures $100m loan from Orion Energy Partners

The $100m debt facility will cover the costs of finishing projects including the Stockton data center which is expected online in late 2020. The barge-borne data center will use the company’s signature cooling system, cold water, and a system of heat exchangers that use the water surrounding the building as a reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: COVID-19 pandemic and need for clean water at rural homes

As the world continues to grapple with the most devastating public health crises in modern history, the San Joaquin Valley has been hit particularly hard, resulting in mass disarray. Small rural regions and underserved communities are now experiencing threefold the challenges that existed prior to the pandemic.

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years

For the first time in five years, Seville residents can safely drink and cook with the water that flows from their taps. The small agricultural community of about 500 nestled at the scenic base of the Sierra Nevada has been ground zero for Tulare County’s water crisis for more than a decade.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Ripon OKs groundwater JPA with SSJID, Escalon

The City of Ripon is now part of the South San Joaquin Groundwater Sustainable Agency. The Ripon City Council recently approved the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement, partnering with the South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Escalon.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water stakeholders try to compel reps for water funding

Last week a diverse coalition of 59 broad-based organizations, which collectively represents both California front-line communities as well as more than 450 California water agencies … urged the California congressional delegation to include funding for urgent water infrastructure and water affordability needs as part of the next federal stimulus package titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act …

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Tiny bugs can clean valley drinking water but at what price?

If you have a small, drinking water system in the Central Valley that’s full of nitrates, and there are plenty, a company has some bugs to sell you. Specifically, a company called Microvi is looking for a demonstration project in the valley to show that its “biological denitrification” process is feasible for small systems.

Aquafornia news Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide PUD approves water sale to Westlands Water District

Taking the opportunity to bring in some extra revenue, the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors approved the sale of up to 2,000 acre-feet of water to Westlands Water District at a price of $350 an acre-foot.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocations

Following spring storms, the Bureau of Reclamation today issued updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors for the 2020 contract year. … The allocation for south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is increased from 15% to 20% of their contract total. Municipal and Industrial water service contractors south-of-Delta are now allocated 70% of their historic use, up from 65%, or health and safety needs, whichever is greater.

Aquafornia news Plumas News

Agency petitions state water board for temporary change

South Feather Water & Power Agency proposes to transfer the water from July through November 2020 to participating agencies of the State Water Contractors and the Central Valley Project (CVP). The transfer would involve up to 5,000 AF of water previously stored in Little Grass Valley Reservoir under Permit 1267, and up to 5,001 AF of water previously stored in Sly Creek Reservoir under Permit 2492.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Will groundwater sustainability plans end the problem of dry drinking water wells?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

After rolling out $19b in cuts, Calif. seeks funds for Trump water lawsuit

On the same day Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $19 billion in budget cuts to his 2020-2021 budget, two of California’s environmental protection agencies filed a request to fund a lawsuit against the Federal government over its boost in water supplies sent to the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Why I’m visiting the California Capitol to testify on groundwater

My colleagues and I worked with Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), to craft AB 2642, which will create the Multibenefit Land Conversion Incentive Program… This new program will provide incentive payments to farmers and landowners who voluntarily repurpose their agricultural land to other less water-intensive uses for a minimum of 10 years.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Sinking lands, damaged infrastructure: Will better groundwater management end subsidence?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess pumping is a major challenge.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Central Valley Flood Protection Board: Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District feasibility study

The 2017 Central Valley Flood Protection Plan’s Investment Strategy looked at … retooling the Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District to provide a small continuous funding stream for ongoing expenditures of the flood management system. At the April meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, consultants discussed the upcoming feasibility study.

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