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 Ag Alert

Opinion: Dry year intensifies focus on California groundwater

Groundwater aquifers are best understood and managed locally; therefore, the key to successfully implementing SGMA lies in maintaining local control, something Farm Bureau vigorously advocates. In addition, we have stressed that to reduce dependence on groundwater, we must expand surface water storage and recharge our groundwater aquifers when excess water is available….Unless March somehow makes up for the lack of rain and snow thus far this winter, we could see an increased dependence on groundwater this growing season.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Finding a balance between supply and demand to get to groundwater sustainability

The San Joaquin Valley has begun to grapple with implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Figuring out the math of balancing water supply and demand in ways that cause the least economic harm to farmers and local economies is challenging, and difficult tradeoffs are inevitable. We talked with Emmy Cattani, a fifth-generation farmer from Kern County, about some options.

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Zone 7 GM Pryor to appear on statewide water panel discussion

A trio of briefings on aging infrastructure and climate change from the State Water Project will open with a stakeholder panel discussion featuring Zone 7 Water Agency General Manager Valerie Pryor during the California Water Commission’s meeting on Wednesday (March 17), starting 9:30 a.m. The meeting agenda includes three briefings under Item No. 9 including an overview of the State Water Project and updates on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and the California Department of Water Resources’ “efforts to address issues related to aging infrastructure.”

Aquafornia news SJV Water

New director appointed to Kern County Water Agency

Longtime family farmer Laura Cattani was appointed to the board of the powerful Kern County Water Agency during a special meeting on Monday. She is the second woman to serve on the board of directors in the 60-year history of the agency, which is the second largest contractor on the State Water Project. Cattani will bring much needed diversity to the board, several directors said during Monday’s meeting, not only because she’s a woman, but also for her age. Cattani is 39.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Action News

Valley farmers assess impacts of recent storms

Storm activity has been bittersweet for Valley farmers. In some cases, hail has damaged crops, making them unusable, while snow and rainfall are helping Central California recover from a water deficit. … Eric Engelman inspected his almonds in Fresno County after the recent back-to-back storms brought heavy rain and even quarter-sized hail to parts of the Valley. For foothill communities like Coarsegold, they even brough snowfall. … It’s a detrimental part of the almond growing process to experience hail. Any damage that was done won’t be known until closer to harvest. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: As drought alarms sound, is California prepared?

We’re facing another very dry year, which follows one of the driest on record for Northern California and one of the hottest on record statewide. The 2012-16 drought caused unprecedented stress to California’s ecosystems and pushed many native species to the brink of extinction, disrupting water management throughout the state.  Are we ready to manage our freshwater ecosystems through another drought?
-Written by Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow, and Caitrin Chappelle, associate director, at the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Center.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: California’s new drought

As March begins to drag on with little precipitation in the forecast and few weeks left in California’s traditional wet season, we are in another dry year. This is California’s second dry year in a row since the 2012-2016 drought.  Statistically, California has the most drought and flood years per average year than anywhere in the US.  This statistical fact seems to becoming increasingly extreme, as predicted by many climate change models.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘We’re getting hit left and right’: Dwindling salmon runs to restrict 2021 commercial season

Dwindling Chinook salmon runs have forced the Pacific Fishery Management Council to shorten the commercial salmon fishing season. The Sacramento Valley fall-run Chinook salmon runs are projected to be half as abundant as the 2020 season while the Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast is slightly higher than the 2020 but is still significantly lower than the long-term average. During a press briefing on Friday morning, John McManus President of the Golden State Salmon Association said the added restrictions will deal a blow to commercial fishermen.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced

News release: Mercury control and mitigation research earns professor and student honors

Professor Marc Beutel and his graduate student Mark Seelos have been recognized for papers and a presentation on toxic mercury mitigation by the North American Lake Management Society. … In the winning paper … Beutel and his former Ph.D. advisor, UC Berkeley Professor Alex Horne, detailed what happened when an engineered oxygenation cone using pure oxygen gas was installed in the bottoms of very large reservoirs to protect fish health. The papers are based on their research at Camanche Reservoir and a fish hatchery downstream of the reservoir on the Mokolumne River.

Aquafornia news Vox

Drought in California – Why 77 percent of the Western US is abnormally dry

The Western US is in the midst of yet another dangerous dry spell. The drought has been building over the past year, and since November, a greater stretch of the West has been in the most severe category of drought than at any time in the 20 years that the National Drought Mitigation Center has been keeping records. … Ryan Jensen saw the impacts of California’s last major drought firsthand while working for the Community Water Center in the San Joaquin Valley. When residential wells ran dry, students had to shower in their school locker rooms. To keep toilets running, some rural households relied on hoses slung over fences from their neighbors.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR seeks public comment on draft California’s groundwater – Update 2020: Publication provides communities with information about their groundwater

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) released the draft California’s Groundwater – Update 2020, containing information on the condition of the state’s groundwater, which is especially important as California faces a critically dry water year. DWR encourages community members and water managers to review the publication and provide input.

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Aquafornia news UCLA Luskin

Blog: California households owe $1 billion in water bills, highlighting affordability crisis

For many Californians, water bills are piling up at unprecedented rates during the pandemic, exacerbating water affordability issues that disproportionately impact low-income residents and communities of color. A recent survey by the California State Water Resources Board, which was supported by research from the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation, shows the extent of water bill debt accumulation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Households owe a combined $1 billion in unpaid bills, which has increased substantially since the pandemic. The report finds that roughly 12% of Californians have overdue payments on their water bills. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: Groups sue over California county’s plan to drill oil wells

Environmental and community groups have sued a California county after the prime oil-drilling region approved a plan to fast-track thousands of new wells in a state that’s positioned itself as a leader in combating climate change. The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Monday approved a revised ordinance that could lead to approval of more than 40,000 new oil and gas wells over roughly 15 years. … The oil and gas industry faces challenges from California lawmakers and environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and contributing to climate change.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: The time has come for California to ban front yard lawns for new homes

The climate change cabal in Sacramento is ignoring some extremely low hanging fruit in their bid to protect us from ourselves. The reason they don’t see it is simple. It doesn’t involve raising taxes, rewarding corporations or disruptor greenies they align with, nor does it destroy jobs. The California Legislature needs to ban grass lawns for front yards as well as general commercial development for all new building projects.
-Written by Dennis Wyatt, editor of the Manteca Bulletin.​

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications

Farm Hands West: Michael reelected to San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board

Cannon Michael has been reelected as chairman of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority Board and Keith Murfield has announced his retirement as CEO of the United Dairymen of Arizona.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Groundwater session added to April 22-23 virtual Water 101 workshop

Learn from top water experts at our annual Water 101 Workshop about the history, hydrology and law behind California water as well as hot topics such as water equity, the Delta and flows, new federal administration and more. This year’s workshop, set for April 22-23, will be held virtually and feature a presentation devoted solely to groundwater.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Racial justice requires equitable access to reliable drinking water

Vice President Kamala Harris was right on point last year when she said that clean water is a fundamental human right. President Biden has put those words into action by signing an executive order establishing a White House council on environmental justice. Every Californian has a right to clean, reliable affordable drinking water.
-Written by Jose Barrera, California’s state deputy director for the League of United Latin American Citizens. 

Aquafornia news KQED

The San Francisco Bay once teemed with oysters. What happened?

There’s one type of oyster that’s indigenous to the San Francisco Bay, and that’s the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida). It’s named after Olympia, Washington, though these small, tangy oysters can be found up and down the west coast from Alaska all the way down into central Mexico. Olympias — or Olys for short — can still be found in the San Francisco Bay today. But scientists say pollution from agricultural runoff is too high for commercial fishing.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Implications of California’s water futures market 

In California’s Water Futures Market: Explained, Cora Kammeyer describes how futures markets operate generally and the particulars of California’s version. This new water futures market has attracted considerable attention and hyperbole. Here we explore the potential implications of this novel financial tool through the lens of California water supply reliability.  The water futures market opened on December 7, 2020, intended to improve the transparency of water trade prices and to enable participants to hedge their financial risk. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Late-winter storm brings needed rain, snow to California

A Pacific storm brought more much-needed rain and snow to California on Wednesday at the tail-end of a largely dry winter. Winter storm warnings were in effect in the southern Cascades, down the length of the Sierra Nevada and the mountains of Southern California, the National Weather Service said….The Sierra snowpack is an important contributor to California‘s water supply, but at the start of March its water content was about half the average normally recorded on April 1, when it is typically at its most robust.

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Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom should kill plan to drain state reservoirs

On the tail end of the second dry winter in a row, with water almost certain to be in short supply this summer, California water officials are apparently planning to largely drain the equivalent of the state’s two largest reservoirs to satisfy the thirst of water-wasting farmers. Gov. Gavin Newsom must stop this irresponsible plan, which threatens the environmental health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the water supply for about one-third of the Bay Area residents. We should be saving water, not wasting it. 

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California proposes to transition away from toxic pesticides

California’s Governor broke new ground this year when he committed to “transition away from harmful pesticides.” His budget proposal to update fees charged on pesticide sales would generate new funding that could be used to offer better protections for farm workers, agricultural communities, and vulnerable ecosystems, as well as help farmers adopt more sustainable practices. … Pesticides remain a widespread drinking water contaminant, particularly in rural areas, and exposure to these pesticides has been linked to increased vulnerability to COVID-19.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Jared Huffman: Support is needed to help pay water bills

State residents have been struggling to keep up with their water bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, but government officials say help is on the way. Survey results from the State Water Resources Control Board released in late January estimate about 1.6 million or 12% of households across the state have not paid their water bills resulting in an estimated $1 billion in statewide household water debt. The average household debt is $500. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation selects Agricultural Water Conservation and Efficiency grant recipients totaling $1.65 million

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the selection of Semitropic Water Storage District and Bard Water District as the two recipients of the Agricultural Water Use Efficiency Grant Program for fiscal year 2020. Combined with Natural Resources Conservation Service support and local cost-share contributions, approximately $5 million in water efficiency improvement projects will be implemented during the next two years. The AWUE program works with NRCS to promote district-level improvements to increase on-farm water use efficiency and conservation projects. Reclamation is funding the two projects with NRCS support.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Plan to allow thousands of California oil wells approved

A plan to fast-track drilling of thousands of new oil and gas wells over the next 15 years in California’s prime oil patch was approved Monday by Kern County officials over objections by environmental groups….The ordinance came up for discussion as the industry faces challenges from lawmakers as well as ever-present opposition from environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and significant contributions to climate change.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications

Crowfoot calls for patience with voluntary agreements

Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said the Delta flows issue has been decades in the making and “it’s going to take some time to figure this out.”

Aquafornia news High Country News

Invasive mussels in aquarium supplies alarm wildlife managers

Zebra mussels — fingernail-sized mollusks named for their striped shells — are benign in their native Black Sea and Caspian Sea ecosystems. But they are disastrous almost everywhere else. Since they were first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1986, these rapid-spawning animals have infested every watershed in the Lower 48 except the Columbia River Basin….The mussel found in [a pet store in] Seattle came from the California distributor….

Aquafornia news University of Miami

Blog: Should water be traded as a commodity?

In times of drought, California’s Central Valley is full of farmers hindered by the lack of water. And this region, where the bulk of the nation’s fruits and vegetables are cultivated, is driving up the demand for water. Although many farmers without easy access to water often buy and pump it in from their neighbors, droughts often fuel massive price increases. And this often makes water so cost-prohibitive that it can discourage farmers from even planting crops. This predicament led a firm to recently list water as the newest commodity on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Now, water futures are traded daily. This helps farmers lock in a price for water, so they have a cushion if a drought threatens their crop revenues.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Managing water and crops with groundwater salinity – A growing menace

Salinity is an eventual threat to agriculture and groundwater sustainability in parts of California, and other irrigated parts of the world. Irrigation, lower groundwater levels, and natural conditions have dramatically increased groundwater salinity in parts of California over the last 150 years. Nearly two million tons of salt accumulates per year in the San Joaquin Valley (CV-SALTS), where 250,000 acres of irrigated land have been fallowed, 1.5 million acres are potentially salt-impaired (Great Valley Center 2005), with $1.2 – $2.2 billion/year losses by 2030 without management. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Jack Thomson (1922-2021): Farmer helped establish State Water Project, served on various local boards

[Jack Thomson] was a man who’d done for others his whole life — a founding member of the Kern County Water Agency who helped bring Northern Californian water to Kern County, a volunteer for countless local causes, the man neighborhood kids came to for help shearing their sheep before the county Fair — who even in his sunset years refused to stop working. … Thomson, former president of the Kern County Farm Bureau and one-time member of the California Water Commission, died Feb. 24 from kidney failure at age 98, his family said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Plan to allow thousands of California oil wells faces vote

After a state appeals court blocked Kern County’s effort to speed up new oil and gas drilling, officials overseeing the state’s prime oil patch have revised an ordinance that could permit tens of thousands of new wells over the next 15 years. The Kern County Board of Supervisors is poised to vote Monday on the plan that would streamline the permitting process by creating a blanket environmental impact report for drilling as many as 2,700 wells a year. … The county hasn’t been able to issue permits in a year and the industry is facing challenges from lawmakers as well as environmental groups for creating air and water pollution and for significant contributions to climate change.

Aquafornia news HortiDaily

Blog: Will California remain leader in U.S. agricultural production?

[A] new 18-chapter book, written by agricultural economists at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside, addresses issues such as labor, water, climate and trade that affect all of California agriculture. … Water, climate and trade pose challenges and opportunities for California agriculture. In the last decade, water scarcity and decreased water quality, along with regulations to address these issues like the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, have prompted farmers to use scarce water to irrigate more valuable crops, as with the switch from cotton to almonds. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will March rain help California winter drought conditions?

California, and Southern California in particular, is bone dry. The calendar says spring officially begins with the equinox March 20, but the meteorological winter — consisting of December, January and February — is already in the record books. In other words, the wettest months are over. Let’s take a look at where the Golden State stands.

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Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Dozens of environmental bills on California 2021 legislative agenda

California’s legislative session came to a wild ending in 2020 when the clock ran out on major bills. Key pieces of environmental legislation were among those that died on the floor, and conservationists are hoping 2021 brings a different story….Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, [proposed a climate resiliency bond that] would include $240 million for Salton Sea restoration, $250 million for groundwater management and $300 million for grants for clean and reliable drinking water.

Aquafornia news Well+Good

Unsafe drinking water is a wellness issue

When Malini Ranganathan, PhD, an associate professor at American University and interim faculty director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, conducted research in Exeter, a flourishing agriculture town in California’s Central Valley, she didn’t expect to see similar conditions to what she’d witnessed in India’s low-income housing areas. Residents in one of the world’s richest states were depending on bore water and water tankers to drink because tap water was unsafe. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

Friday Top of the Scroll: Megadrought worsens in the Western U.S., California

Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year. In fact, some scientists are calling the dryness in the West a “megadrought,”  defined as an intense drought that lasts for decades or longer.  Overall, about 90% of the West is now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the highest percentages in the past 20 years, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Aquafornia news KHTS

Garcia introduces bill aimed at improving California’s access to water

Congressman Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, introduced a bill Wednesday that would extend “critical water supply provisions” in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for the next seven years in an effort to improve California’s access to water. On Wednesday, Garcia introduced a bill that would enact a seven-year extension for “critical water supply provisions” in the WIIN Act, which became law at the end of 2016.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Valadao hopes to pump funding into water infrastructure

Despite taking two years off from Congress, David Valadao (R—Hanford) is getting back to work by introducing new legislation to help keep water flowing in the Central Valley. Early this month, Valadao introduced the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements, or RENEW WIIN, Act, a no-cost, clean extension of operations and storage provisions of the WIIN Act. The RENEW WIIN Act would extend the general and operations provisions of Subtitle J of the WIIN Act and extend the provision requiring consultation on coordinated operations of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. 

Aquafornia news The (Vacaville) Reporter

Online public meeting planned to discuss groundwater sustainability

A part of the natural water cycle, groundwater is an important element of California’s water supply, especially in the Central Valley, where one in four people rely on it entirely. It is an especially important resource in the Solano Subbasin, a geographic area that includes Dixon, parts of Vacaville, Elmira, Rio Vista, unincorporated Winters, Davis, the Montezuma Hills, Isleton, Sherman Island and Walnut Grove. And every quarter, the Solano Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Agency Collaborative, aka the Solano Collaborative, hosts a Community Advisory Committee meeting and will so again from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Restricted season likely with poor Sacramento, Klamath river salmon numbers

A forecast of relatively low numbers of Sacramento and Klamath River fall Chinook salmon now swimming in the ocean off the California coast points to restricted ocean and river salmon fishing seasons in 2021. State and federal fishery managers during the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s salmon fishery information on-line meeting on February 25 forecast an ocean abundance this year of 271,000 adult Sacramento Valley fall Chinook salmon, about 200,000 fish lower than the 2020 estimate.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: This year will likely be critically dry for California

The winter storms that dumped heavy snow and rain across California early in 2021 are likely not enough to negate what will be a critically dry year, state water officials believe. California’s Department of Water Resources on Tuesday recorded a snow depth of 56 inches and water content of 21 inches at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. The water content of the overall snowpack was 61% of the average for March 2 and 54% of the average for April 1, when it is historically at its maximum.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Improving the health of California’s freshwater ecosystems

California’s rivers, wetlands, and other freshwater ecosystems are in poor health. Water management practices, pollution, habitat change, invasive species, and a changing climate have all taken a toll, leaving many native species in dire straits. And the current approach for managing freshwater ecosystems is not working. In this video Jeff Mount, senior fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center, discusses the many benefits these ecosystems bring to California, and outlines a path for improving their condition to secure these benefits for future generations.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California’s wet season nears an end with big concerns about drought

A disappointingly dry February is fanning fears of another severe drought in California, and cities and farms are bracing for problems. In many places, including parts of the Bay Area, water users are already being asked to cut back. The state’s monthly snow survey on Tuesday will show only about 60% of average snowpack for this point in the year, the latest indication that water supplies are tightening. With the end of the stormy season approaching, forecasters don’t expect much more buildup of snow, a key component of the statewide supply that provides up to a third of California’s water.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Grant to help build Native American cultural center on San Joaquin River

The US Green Building Council Central California (USGBC-CC) has received a grant from the San Joaquin River Conservancy (Conservancy) to commence planning for a Native American and Environmental Resource Center at the San Joaquin River. The project will enable public access and create an Indigenous and Environmental Resource Center at the Circle V property located on the San Joaquin River, outside of Fresno in Madera County. The USGBC-CC received final approval for the grant funding as part of the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Fund and the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Fund of 2006 from the Wild Life Conservation Board.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: Bad news – CVP and SWP plan to drain CA’s largest reservoirs

The Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Water Resources plan to allocate approximately 5 million acre feet of water this year – as long as California allows them to effectively drain the two largest reservoirs in the state, potentially killing most or nearly all the endangered winter-run Chinook salmon this year, threatening the state’s resilience to continued dry conditions, and maybe even violating water quality standards in the Delta.

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

More than half of California in ’severe’ drought mode, 31% in ‘extreme,’ including parts of North Bay

Ninety-nine percent of the state is dry, according to ABC Seven News Meteorologist Mike Nicco. More than half of the state is in severe drought mode and 31% is in the extreme drought conditions which includes part of the North Bay. The Bay Area is abnormally dry right now, but that should have changed in January and February as they are typically our wettest months.

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Aquafornia news The Reporter

Congress passes Garamendi bill to expand National Heritage Area into Rio Vista

Approximately 62 acres of land in Rio Vista, including the former Army Reserve Center, have been incorporated into legislation by Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, to increase the boundaries of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta National Heritage Area. This bill, known as House Resolution 1230, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday and will move on to the Senate. The bill is an expansion of bicameral legislation by Garamendi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that was signed into law in 2019 to provide $10 million for community-based efforts to preserve the Delta’s cultural heritage as well as its historical landmarks. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘It’s a toxic blend’: where the kids are warned not to swallow the bath water

An invisible line splits the rural road of Avenue 416 in California’s Tulare county, at the point where the nut trees stretch east toward the towering Sierra Nevada mountains in the distance. On one side of the line, residents have clean water. On the other side, they do not. On the other side lies East Orosi, an unincorporated community of about 700 where children grow up learning to never open their eyes or mouths while they shower. They know that what comes out of their faucets may harm them, and parents warn they must not swallow when they brush their teeth. They spend their lives sustaining themselves on bottled water while just one mile down Avenue 416, the same children they go to school with in the community of Orosi can drink from their taps freely and bathe without a second thought.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Water Authority to split $44.4m among local agencies after win in legal battle with MWD

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors Thursday announced a plan to distribute a rebate of $44.4 million to its 24 member agencies across the region. They did so after receiving a check for that amount from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay legal damages and interest after a long legal battle. The money resulted from the water authority’s decade-long litigation in Superior Court seeking to compel MWD to set legal rates and repay overcharges. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Friday Top of the Scroll: More than 25m drink from the worst US water systems, with Latinos most exposed

Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants. Latinos are disproportionately exposed, according to the Guardian’s review of more than 140,000 public water systems across the US and county-level demographic data. … Texas, where millions of residents lost access to water and power during the recent storm, has the most high-violation systems, followed by California and Oklahoma. The average number of violations is highest in Oklahoma, West Virginia and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Opinion: The SFPUC is tarnishing SF’s record as an environmental leader

San Francisco has long been an international leader on environmental issues. However, water policy has been a stain on that record. … Many California rivers are overtapped by excessive pumping, but few are in worse condition than the Tuolumne River. In drier years, more than 90% of the Tuolumne’s water is diverted. On average, 80 percent of the river’s flow never makes it to the Bay. It’s not a surprise that the river’s health has collapsed. …
-Written by Bill Martin, a member of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter Water Committee, and Hunter Cutting, a member of the Sierra Club Bay Chapter’s San Francisco Group Executive Committee

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California must face water quality challenge in federal court

The Department of Justice can proceed with its claims that California violated state law when it changed its water quality control plan for the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system in federal court, the Ninth Circuit ruled. Granting a partial stay of the state law claims in federal court is allowed in limited circumstances, but the federal government’s actions here don’t amount to the type of forum shopping that justifies a stay, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Aquafornia news Responsible Investor

‘CalPERS is overlaying physical climate risk with water scarcity insights’: California’s Betty Yee on water risk

Today, Ceres’ Director of Water, Kirsten James is speaking to Betty Yee, who was first elected as California State Controller in November 2014 – a position that serves as the state’s chief fiscal officer. She also chairs the California Franchise Tax Board and serves as a member of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) Boards, representing a combined portfolio of nearly $500bn. She speaks about how her experience managing the world’s fifth-largest economy has shaped her thoughts on climate and water risk. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: California’s new futures market for water

On December 7, 2020, financial futures based on California water prices began trading. This post is a short introduction to these water futures. First, what’s a future? A future is a type of contract. It obligates the seller, who receives money, to provide some good at some future date, to the buyer, who pays money now to lock in the right to buy that good at that price. Humans have been using futures for thousands of years, primarily for agricultural products. But in recent years the futures markets have been expanding. 

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Magazine

Christy Smith appointed to Delta Stewardship Council

Former Assemblymember Christy Smith announced that she has been appointed by Speaker Anthony Rendon to serve on the Delta Stewardship Council. … The Council was created to advance the state’s coequal goals for the Delta – a more reliable statewide water supply and a healthy and protected ecosystem, both achieved in a manner that protects and enhances the unique characteristics of the Delta as an evolving place.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Farmworkers, climate and wildfires are the focus of new legislation in California

The California Legislature is planning an active session this year to make up for lost time in 2020.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts – Assessing climate change vulnerabilities

As Executive Officer Jessica R. Pearson identified in her December blog on the Delta Adapts initiative, “social vulnerability means that a person, household, or community has a heightened sensitivity to the climate hazards and/or a decreased ability to adapt to those hazards.” With an eye toward social vulnerability and environmental justice along with the coequal goals in mind, we launched our Delta Adapts climate change resilience initiative in 2018. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: A remembrance of George Basye

Many of my best days as a lawyer were spent driving through the Sacramento Valley and north Delta with George Basye (always in his Volvo).  As George neared his retirement, he wanted to ensure that I, as the successor to a number of his clients, understood the foundations of his client relationships.  George seemingly knew the history of every quarter section of land up and down the Valley.  He had a deep affection not only for the landscape but, most important to George, for the individuals and families who had settled and reclaimed the land and built the agricultural economy of the region.

Aquafornia news Interesting Engineering

“Water wars” – fights over a precious resource

Picture the desert landscape of a Mad Max movie populated with vigilantes devoted to acquiring not gasoline — but water. This scenario isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. “Water wars” describes conflicts between countries, states, or groups over the right to access water resources, usually freshwater. … As Los Angeles expanded during the late 19th century, it outgrew its water supply, and L.A.’s mayor, Fred Eaton, came up with the plan to divert water from the Owens Valley to L.A. via an aqueduct. 

Aquafornia news Far Eastern Agriculture

Follow the Food: Can agriculture overcome its own water problems?

For centuries, farmers have found ingenious ways of making the best of the water available, but access to fresh water is becoming more and more unpredictable. Extreme weather events and drought is as much of a threat, as flash flooding in farms and food producers. … In California’s Central Valley, a region that produces a quarter of the USA’s food and relies mostly on water pumped from underground, to irrigate the crops, is fast running out of its water supply. 

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Federal priorities for a secure water future in the West

Climate change will continue to impact the West, and particularly its water supply—the many impacts include longer and more damaging wildfire seasons as well as prolonged drought. Federal leadership and action are needed to address the climate crisis. With the 117th Congress now in session, Audubon is advocating at the federal level for funding and policy priorities that restore habitat, protect communities, and support birds through proactive water management and conservation.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News

Investments in California’s water may help lower costs during drought

Climate change and extreme weather events are forecast to further reduce water supplies in the American Southwest, and a new futures market could allow water users to recoup losses if the price of water spikes. The futures market is the first of its kind, allowing investors and farmers alike to bet on how much water in California will cost on a future date. Water users buy the futures contract to avoid risk and hedge against rising water prices affected by things such as droughts. 

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

California’s wet season hasn’t brought much drought relief and the outlook isn’t promising

California’s wet season has not brought much relief so far and the outlook is not promising. …Unfortunately, the outlook is not promising. Little to no precipitation is expected through the end of February. California, with the exception of far northern areas, will likely experience drier than average conditions during the March through May period, according to NOAA. Above-average temperatures are also anticipated for the southern half of the state this spring.

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Aquafornia news East County Today

City of Antioch breaks ground on water project in Delta

On Friday,  the City of Antioch, along with local and State dignitaries, broke ground on their new and historic Brackish Water Desalination Plant. At a price of $110 million, the project was made possible with $93 million in funding from the State, and $17 million from the City of Antioch.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

News Release: MAGSA awarded $10 million grant to expand On-Farm Recharge Project

The McMullin Area Groundwater Sustainability Agency (MAGSA), a Groundwater Sustainability Agency in the Central Valley’s Kings Subbasin, has been awarded a $10 million grant by the State Water Resources Control Board through the Prop 1 Stormwater Grant Program to expand the existing McMullin On-Farm Recharge (OFR) Project located near Helm in Fresno County.  The Project is identified in MAGSA’s Groundwater Sustainability Plan and is a key element in a vision developed by MAGSA to achieve groundwater sustainability under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) through innovative approaches in groundwater banking and crediting.

Aquafornia news KMPH

Lack of rain could potentially impact crops in the Central Valley

Crops are now blooming here in the San Joaquin Valley, which marks the beginning of harvest season for farmers. As a drier-than-usual wet season continues to unfold, many are worried about how current drought conditions will impact this year’s crop.

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Aquafornia news The Porterville Recorder

Monday Top of the Scroll: Hurtado reworks bill to help Friant-Kern, but also state as a whole

As she promised, State Senator Melissa Hurtado has reintroduced legislation that would provide fund to improve California’s water infrastructure, including the Friant-Kern Canal. On Friday, Hurtado, a Democrat from Sanger whose district includes Porterville, introduced the State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 that would provide $785 million to restore the ability of infrastructure such as the Friant-Kern Canal to deliver water at their capacity. The bill would also go to fund other infrastructure such as the Delta-Mendota Canal, San Luis Canal and California Aqueduct. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater salinization in California’s Tulare Lake basin, the ABCSAL model

Lower groundwater levels can prevent drainage of water and salts from a basin and increase aquifer salinity that eventually renders the groundwater unsuitable for use as drinking water or irrigation without expensive desalination. Pauloo et al. (2021)  demonstrate this process for the Tulare Lake Basin (TLB) of California’s Central Valley. Even if groundwater pumping does not cause overdraft, it can cause hydrologic basin closure leading to progressive salinization that will not cease until the basin is opened by allowing natural or engineered exits for groundwater and dissolved salt. The process, “Anthropogenic Basin Closure and Groundwater Salinization (ABCSAL)”, is driven by human water management. 

Aquafornia news KCRA

Millions of steelhead to be released throughout Central Valley

Steelhead season is underway in the Central Valley as three major hatcheries are set to release over 1.1 million fish into the Feather, American and Mokelumne rivers later this month. Steelhead are the migratory form of rainbow trout that make their journey to the Pacific Ocean and return to freshwater streams. 

Aquafornia news Union Democrat

TUD board gridlocks on water supply, future availability

Tuolumne Utilities District will continue to process applications for new water hookups because its Board of Directors failed Thursday to reach a determination on future supply and availability. The TUD board held a special workshop Thursday to grapple with the oldest challenge in county history when it comes to water, but the big picture has not changed. The district relies on the South Fork Stanislaus River watershed that still provides a limited amount of runoff, an average of 104,000 acre-feet annually, and typically has access to less than one-quarter of that.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers propose ban on fracking by 2027

New legislation would ban all fracking in California by 2027, taking aim at the powerful oil and gas industry in a state already planning to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by 2035. … Environmental groups say [fracking] can cause significant harm to air quality and water supplies.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Ag Council president reflects on drinking water collaboration

Emily Rooney, president of the Agricultural Council of California, is a member of the advisory group for California’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) drinking water program. She spoke with Agri-Pulse about an unexpected coalition that helped bring about the 2019 law and why the issue is important to agriculture.

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Aquafornia news The Press

Delta study examines climate change effect

For the better part of the last two centuries, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been modified in any number of ways to meet the demands of Californians. But a new wide-ranging study looks at what might be the most serious Delta threat that doesn’t come in the form of an excavator – global warming. 

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: California’s climate change future is being written – in its waterways

Much like COVID-19 is changing our election practices and day-to-day business operations, climate change could change your water rights, according to the State Water Resources Control Board. In the past, I have eluded to the shift from historical facts used for analysis and forecasting to a fear-based guessing game that allows an unelected bureaucracy backed by a one-party-rule elected body to usurp your property rights.
-Written by Wayne Western, Jr. the Sun’s Agriculture Pulse contributor, writing on the San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural community and water issues. 

Aquafornia news Growing Produce

Labor and water dominate California fruit growers’ concerns

Growers all over the U.S. are concerned about labor, and those in the Golden State are no exception. The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) announced the results of their “Top Issues Survey” for 2021, and labor- and water-related issues were prominently featured. CFFA members were recently surveyed to rank the top issues for the association to focus its efforts on this year.

Aquafornia news CapRadio.org

California now has a futures market for water. Some farmers are skeptical

Investors, farmers, and Reddit users can now all hedge bets on the price of water in California thanks to the launch of the first water futures market in the country late last year. It represents a new financial outlook on water in California — one driven by the market. Since its launch Dec. 7, the futures the market has seen 180 trades — equivalent to over 550 million gallons of actual water. But the water futures market has nothing to do with the movement of real water: it’s just about money.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Double blast of lawsuits fired at proposed Kern groundwater bank

A major water banking proposal northwest of Bakersfield that won coveted Proposition 1 funding in 2018, was hit by two lawsuits earlier this month, one claiming it is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing intent on selling Kern River water to southern California. The City of Bakersfield and the Kern County Water Agency filed separate complaints Feb. 2 against the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project seeking to have the project’s recently approved environmental impact report deemed inadequate. … 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Local ag looks to spotlight its climate-friendly profile

The Kern County Farm Bureau issued a “call to action” this week asking local growers and ranchers to participate in a series of upcoming meetings that will influence the role California’s agricultural lands will be expected to play, or continue to play, in fighting climate change.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Report makes case for funding longer-range weather forecasting

Sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts could someday give western water managers as much as a two-year head start in planning for either a wet or dry winter. The scientific methodology already exists for what is known as S2S precipitation forecasting, but putting it to work requires improving weather and climate models and buying enough super-computer time to run the models to test them. Now, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report could spur Congress to approve the $15 million annual investment necessary to translate S2S forecasting from concept to implementation through pilot projects in the West.

Aquafornia news Ag Information Network of the West

Understanding the water consumption of treenut orchards

Tools such a SWIIM–which stands for Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management–provides a new standard in water measurement that allows growers to receive an accurate accounting of the water both delivered and consumed by their orchards. … And, of course we are talking about SGMA, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern County Water Agency director Bruce Hafenfeld dies at 73

Bruce Allen Hafenfeld was born June 12, 1947, Orange CA. to Bernard Norman Hafenfeld and Barbara Jane Crosier. He went to be in the arms of the Lord January 19, 2021 with his family by his side after losing a valiant fight against Leukemia. He attended St. Joachim Catholic School, Costa Mesa High School, Orange Coast Junior College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal science in 1968.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: To counter the worsening drought, California needs healthy soils

California is in the early stages of a severe multi-decadal drought, exacerbated by the climate crisis. As Dan Walters pointed out in his recent commentary, we must move quickly to prepare for water shortages and wildfires. A potent strategy to improve the state’s water storage capacity involves an ancient technology so ubiquitous that it is often overlooked: soil. The urgency of California’s drought and wildfire risks require that we invest in soil health now.
-Written by Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, and Torri Estrada, executive director of the Carbon Cycle Institute.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

While farms and cities make good water partners, they’ll keep their options open

Coastal cities and farming regions can maximize supplies by teaming up. And it could help with critical infrastructure funding and upgrading water trading policies.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Water wars heat up in California

Water makes the world go ‘round, and a major player in California’s breadbasket doesn’t want to part with more than they have already. The city of Bakersfield, and the Kern County Water Agency are suing nearby water districts over their plan to skim water from Kern County sources for transport to other parts of the state — water that county officials say they need for themselves. The Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project is a $246 million dollar water storage project planned for California’s south San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Bay Area weather: Rain returning Thursday and Saturday

A storm is forecast to bring rain to the Bay Area on Thursday Feb. 11, 2021. After a stretch of sunny, dry weather, the first significant rainfall is heading to the Bay Area since an atmospheric river storm pummeled Northern California two weeks ago. A new storm is forecast to roll in Thursday night, forecasters said Tuesday. It won’t be anywhere near as big as the late January storm that triggered landslide warnings and evacuations in Santa Cruz County communities, and washed out a big chunk of Highway 1 in Big Sur.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: California American Water invested more than $68 million in infrastructure improvements in 2020

California American Water recently announced its end-of-year investment total and system improvements for 2020. More than $68 million total was invested on system upgrades and various improvement projects in the communities we serve throughout the year. These improvements come despite the complications and challenges posed by COVID-19 public health emergency.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Earthquakes and climate change threaten California dams

Although the 1971 San Fernando earthquake and the near failure of the Lower Van Norman Dam have given rise to construction improvements … the overwhelming majority of California dams are decades past their design life span. And while earthquakes still loom as the greatest threat to California’s massive collection of dams, experts warn that these aging structures will be challenged further by a new and emerging hazard: “whiplashing shifts” in extreme weather due to climate change.

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Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Diverse bills take on rising sea level

The flood of state bills addressing sea level rise this year is surging faster than the ocean itself, as legislators recognize the urgent need to prepare for the consequences expected in the decades ahead. 

Aquafornia news 23 ABC News

City officials to discuss revisions to oil zoning for local gas, oil permitting

Oil and gas remain an important topic in Kern county and come Thursday, county officials are expected to discuss revisions to a zoning ordinance focused on oil and gas local permitting. This is an ordinance that’s years in the making and its faced challenges along the way. The initial review was approved by the board of supervisors back in 2015, but last year after a court ruling it was challenged, so now the county’s planning commission is revisiting this topic once more. … However, advocates against the proposed ordinance say they are concerned with environmental impacts of the air, water, and noise concerns that may follow if the ordinance is approved.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Citing support for a grand bargain, Water Board member calls it quits

State Water Board Member Tam Doduc believes the board will approve a Bay-Delta Plan that includes voluntary agreements with agricultural water interests.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Water systems in Fresno, Tulare counties in financial crisis

Unpaid water bills are piling up during the pandemic, as small water providers in the central San Joaquin Valley teeter toward a financial crisis that could affect drinking water quality and affordability. More than 76,000 customers in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties are behind on their water bills for a total debt of more than $15 million — according to the results of a state survey of just a fraction of community water systems. In reality, the collective debt is much larger. Small community water systems, many already on shaky financial footing, may need a bailout to keep safe and drinkable water running at a price affordable to customers.

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Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Water America’s crops challenge

Reclamation maintains and operates over 8,000 miles of water distribution systems that use, among other means, reservoirs and canals to store and deliver water. Water lost to seepage reduces the efficiency of the water delivery to the users and can cause undermining/erosion, subgrade soil migration, adverse vegetation growth, and even canal failure….This prize competition seeks innovative solutions that can reduce the costs and burdens associated with installation and maintenance of seepage reduction methods, and improve durability in a range of climatic conditions.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Building resilience for cities and farms with water partnerships

Moving from competition to cooperation can help solve water problems facing farms in the San Joaquin Valley and cities in Southern California, and better prepare both for a changing climate. At a virtual event last week, PPIC research fellow Alvar Escriva-Bou summarized a new PPIC report showing how cooperative investments in new supplies and water-sharing agreements can help address both regions’ needs.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Despite storms, San Joaquin County, Sierra still in drought

Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop may not see any more rain until March. The long-range forecast by Accuweather based off of National Weather Service modeling underscores the fact California isn’t out of the woods when it comes to the potential for 2021 being a drought year even with the recent heavy storms that dumped significant snow in the Sierra. The rest of the month is expected to see weather that has daily highs in the mid-60s to the low 40s with no rain anticipated until March 1.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In California, a warming climate will help a voracious pest—and hurt the state’s almonds, walnuts and pistachios

California almond farmers enjoyed record-breaking harvests over the last five years, after production dipped in the wake of 2014’s historic drought. That year a chorus of headlines vilified almonds for sucking up a gallon of water per nut, though irrigation efficiency has been improving.  Now, as global temperatures rise, a caterpillar barely the size of a paper clip may threaten California’s position as the world’s leading producer of almonds, walnuts and pistachios. 

Aquafornia news AgNetWest

Winery wastewater guidelines impact half of all California operations

A new set of winery wastewater guidelines will be imposed on a statewide basis. The State Water Resources Control Board recently adopted a general order regulating how wastewater will be processed and discharged. … While the wine industry is concerned with water quality issues, there is some concern that a statewide mandate may not be the best approach to the issue. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save the date for our virtual Water 101 workshop in April

Curious about water rights in California? Want to know more about how water is managed in the state, or learn about the State Water Project, Central Valley Project or other water infrastructure?  Mark your calendars now for our virtual Water 101 Workshop for the afternoons of April 22-23 to hear from experts on these topics and more.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Opinion: Salmon dwindling while SFPUC fiddling

While wetter streets and a greener White House may offer San Franciscans some hope for the future, the situation remains dire for salmon in the Tuolumne River. … [I]t’s hard not to feel that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water policies are partially to blame. Californians are significantly reducing or eliminating dependence on river water. But the SFPUC continues to side with agricultural users to fight limitations on the water it takes from the Tuolumne. 
-Written by Robyn Purchia, an environmental attorney, blogger and activist

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Rural Valley cities secure permanent water supply in deal with Feds

Three rural Valley cities finalized deals with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to cement permanent access to water from the Central Valley Project on Monday, the Federal bureau announced. The cities of Avenal, Coalinga, and Huron converted their water contracts with Federal water authorities along with Firebaugh-based Pacheco Water District and Panoche Water District, and Los Banos-based San Luis Water District.  

Aquafornia news Kingsburg Recorder

Valadao introduces critical California water legislation

U.S. Representative David G. Valadao introduced the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements, or RENEW WIIN, Act, a no-cost, clean extension of operations and storage provisions of the WIIN Act (P.L. 114-322). 

Aquafornia news KQED

California environmental officials switch to offense as Biden takes charge

Sacramento, at least, is excited about Washington’s new climate direction. Jared Blumenfeld and Wade Crowfoot head California’s environmental protection and natural resources agencies, respectively. Last week, they discussed with KQED’s Kevin Stark what the change from the Trump to Biden administrations might mean for California. … The president’s order to triple protected land and waterways across the country should also infuse the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management with badly needed funds. 

Aquafornia news Globe Newswire

News release: $2M seed funding round empowers AQUAOSO to further its water risk mitigation tool set for agricultural lenders and landholders

According to the U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment of Global Water Security, by 2030 humanity’s “annual global water requirements” will exceed “current sustainable water supplies” by 40%, highlighting the importance of building a water resilient future.

Aquafornia news KALW

One Planet: California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places

On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we are speaking with Sacramento Bee environment reporter Ryan Sabalow about his five part investigation, Nothing Wild: California’s relationship with the animal kingdom is broken. Can it be fixed? Invasive grasses are causing fires to explode, thousands of water birds are dying miserable deaths, and the sage grouse is at risk of disappearing forever. Sabalow explores California’s ecological crisis and our relationship with its wild places.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

A surge from an atmospheric river drove California’s latest climate extremes

Flooding rains and record snow in California last week marked another extreme swing of the state’s climate pendulum. The widespread downpours triggered mudslides that damaged homes and roads near some of the huge fire scars from last summer, and also brought some of the water the state will need to end a months-long hot and dry streak and douse a record-setting wildfire season that extended into January. ….It could get worse. Stronger atmospheric rivers are part of California’s “whiplash” climate future…

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton City Council to revisit potable water project

The Pleasanton City Council will revisit the subject of potable water and the city’s regional efforts to study water supply alternatives at its Tuesday night online meeting, starting 7 p.m. In November, the council asked city staff to make recommendations on continuing “to participate with regional agencies on studies of water supply alternatives including potable reuse and $300,000 in funding from the city’s Capital Improvement program.”

Aquafornia news ABC7 KRCR

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: DWR secures additional $300M for Oroville Dam spillway repairs

The California Department of Water Resources has secured $308 million in funding to pay for reconstruction and repair work that has been done on the Oroville Dam’s spillways. The funds, released by FEMA, are in addition to the $260 million that the agency provided for repairs on the lower portion of the dam’s main spillway. Repair work on the damaged emergency and main spillways has been ongoing for nearly four years following February 2017’s spillway crisis. The $308 million announced Monday was at first rejected but later approved by FEMA following an appeal from the DWR last year.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After a snowy few days in Northern and Southern California, there’s more to come this week

After a particularly wet week, Californians shouldn’t hang up their snow shovels and raincoats just yet. Those in Southern California should expect 1 to 8 inches of snow to fall in the mountainous areas of Ventura and Los Angeles counties between late Tuesday and Wednesday night, said Kathy Hoxsie, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, one-quarter to one-half of an inch of rain is forecast to fall, with 3/4 inches expected in the foothills, Hoxsie said. 

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

The 1862 Megaflood and the ‘finger of fate’

While Global Warming only intensifies weather conditions, the geological record shows that Megafloods have occurred in California every century or two, likely triggered by “atmospheric rivers” dumping a conveyor belt of drenching rains out of the Pacific. The last Megaflood occurred in 1861-62, flooding all western states, putting vast sections of California underwater for months, ruining a quarter of the state’s economy, and pushing California into near-bankruptcy.

Aquafornia news California Office of Enviornmental Health Hazard Assessment

News Release: The Human Right to Water in California data tool

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announces the release of its final Human Right to Water Framework and Data Tool (CalHRTW 1.0)—comprised of an interactive web tool and report, Achieving the Human Right to Water in California: An Assessment of the State’s Community Water Systems. In developing the Human Right to Water Framework and Data Tool, California becomes the first state in the country to develop a tool for measuring the progressive realization of the human right to water.  

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation's Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: In the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, two groundwater sustainability agencies try to find their balance

Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems. The land is literally sinking…

In the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Two Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Try to Find Their Balance
WESTERN WATER SPECIAL REPORT: Agencies in Fresno, Tulare counties pursue different approaches to address overdraft and meet requirements of California’s groundwater law

Flooding permanent crops seasonally, such as this vineyard at Terranova Ranch in Fresno County, is one innovative strategy to recharge aquifers.Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Going against the flow, City Council member draws rebukes for position on water plan

When Palo Alto officials adopted a position in 2018 in support of the Bay-Delta Plan, which aims to protect the Yosemite ecosystem by restricting how much water cities can draw from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, they knew were swimming against the prevalent political tide. Prompted by water conservationists and environmentalists, the City Council went against recommendations from the city’s Utilities Department staff and its water supplier, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which relies on the Tuolumne River for much of its water. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The Monterey Peninsula’s water shortage could be solved with flow from the Salinas River. Why isn’t it?

In the driest years for Monterey County, the water available in the Salinas River is not enough to supply a single household. In the wettest year of the past three decades, 1995, there were 100,000 acre-feet of water available, more than the total urban usage in the county. Although the flow fluctuates wildly, the average amount is far more than what is needed, for example, for thirsty coastal cities desperate for housing. The water has been available for decades – the right to use it is protected, encouraged and even required by state law – but it’s been flowing into the ocean, a casualty of Monterey County’s political deadlock.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: California drought still looms despite latest ‘atmospheric river’

Six years ago, in the middle of a crippling drought, Californians were ordered to let their lawns turn yellow. They put buckets in their showers to conserve. Scofflaws had to attend “drought school.” Meanwhile, farmers throughout the Central Valley had to idle many of their fields. This week’s deluge left many Californians shoveling snow and splashing through puddles as an “atmospheric river” swept the state. More precipitation is in the forecast for next week. But experts worry that without repeated downpours over the next two months, the painful memories of the last drought could become reality again. 

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Aquafornia news CapRadio

Here’s what California lawmakers want to do to take action on climate change

Wildfires and smoke have ravaged large parts of California, sea level rise is threatening the golden coast’s viability and drought is looming in the future. … But for the first time in four years action on climate change is gaining momentum on the federal level — President Joe Biden signed multiple executive orders related to the crisis in his first week in office. Meanwhile California has held ground on climate policies as the Trump Administration rolled back environmental rules and regulations.  

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Atmospheric rivers and the future of California

Ten days ago the state set new heat records and brush fires broke out. Burn areas in the Santa Cruz Mountains rekindled. Then, over the last three days, a 2,000-mile-long filament of water in the sky burst over the areas that last week sat brown and smoking. Snow fell on peaks and even some lower hills in the Bay Area. The California Department of Water Resources Central Sierra snow measurement station jumped from 42 percent of average to 62 percent of average.

Aquafornia news Patch

City to trace mystery water at Concord Naval Weapons Station

In order to get a wetlands permit needed for development of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station to move ahead, the City of Concord will investigate the source of water unexpectedly found near the one-time airfield north of Willow Pass Road. The Concord City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to move $12,000 of previously approved loan money to aid in the study of where water is coming from on that land, located east of Olivera Road near the Pixieland Amusement Park.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Water Year 2021 – How are we doing?

We are now past the halfway mark in California’s normally wettest winter months, and the wet season to date has been anything but. Most of the state has received less than half of its average annual precipitation to date. Coming after a very dry Water Year 2020 these conditions are concerning. More precipitation will certainly occur in February and March, but will it be enough to erase the state’s large deficit?  

Aquafornia news KCRW

To understand food waste, follow a California strawberry along the supply chain

Nearly half of food grown in the United States gets thrown out. More food is tossed once it reaches a household fridge than at any other point in the supply chain. With every strawberry that doesn’t get eaten comes the wasted water to grow it, the wasted gas to transport it, the methane it emits while it rots, and crowded landfills.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farmers’ planting plans hinge on water, pandemic

As California farmers weigh decisions on what to plant and how much, lack of rainfall so far this winter has further clouded a 2021 crop outlook already complicated by market uncertainties created by the pandemic. With current precipitation levels looking even drier than the 2014-15 drought years, Kings County farmer Brian Medeiros said he’s already making decisions about what ground to fallow. 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Budgeting for agricultural sustainability and resiliency

Governor Newsom’s proposed budget includes funds for agricultural programs designed to build climate resilience and support farmers’ financial resilience and water security. We talked to Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) about progress on such programs, and what’s on the horizon.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Delano’s “big dig”

The state’s new groundwater law has prompted a lot of dirt movement in the Central Valley. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act passed in 2014 mandates that overdrafted water basins get their aquifers in balance — don’t pump out more than goes back in — by 2040. In order to get there without massive farmland fallowing, most valley water managers have been adding as many acres of recharge ground as possible. The Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District has been particularly aggressive.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kings River floodwater dispute goes to the state

A bid by Kern County farmers to take Kings River floodwater officially got underway Tuesday as state regulators hashed out procedures and next steps with the various parties. An initial hearing had been set for April 15, but may now be pushed back to July, depending on how Administrative Hearing Officer Nicole Kuenzi rules. 

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Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Tens of millions of western birds depend on these two regions during migration

Each spring and fall, an estimated 1 billion birds migrate through the Pacific Flyway, which snakes down from Alaska, along the West Coast of the United States and Mexico, and into South America. … Now new research reveals what has been long-suspected but never confirmed: California’s Central Valley and the Colorado River Delta are hotspots for North America’s migratory landbirds. 

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Plans call for raising Los Vaqueros Reservoir dam height

An expansion project [at Los Vaqueros Reservoir] started in 2010 and completed in 2012 raised the dam height 34 feet to 224 feet. It increased the storage capacity 60 percent to 160,000 square feet. It also expanded recreational uses and stepped up habitat protection. The surface covers 1,400 acres and has an elevation at capacity is 524 feet. Los Vaqueros is also where the next significant increase in California reservoir storage could be in place by 2028. The $915 million project will raise the dam 55 feet to 273 feet. It would increase storage from 160,000 acre feet to 275,000 acre feet.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Backers of higher Tuolumne flows welcome latest ruling

A federal agency has ruled that the state can continue to seek higher flows on the Tuolumne River than planned by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts. The Jan. 19 ruling drew cheers from environmental and fishing groups that have long sought larger releases from Don Pedro Reservoir into the lower river. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: San Francisco – Save the river you drink from

San Francisco rightly prides itself on being an environmental leader. Given this deep commitment to protecting the environment, the city’s water agency — the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission — should be a leader in smart, sustainable water policy. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. But Mayor London Breed now has a once-in-a-decade chance to turn the SFPUC in a new direction by appointing a progressive, visionary new general manager who reflects the city’s values. San Francisco’s Bay-Delta ecosystem and the Central Valley rivers that feed it are in steep decline…
-Written by John McManus, president of the Golden State Salmon Association, and Kate Poole, the water lead for the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A Swiss cheese model for fish conservation in California

California water issues are notoriously complicated by a massive diversity of users, ecosystems, applications and futures. Indeed, water in the Delta has been described as a “wicked problem” indicating that these problems cannot be ignored and defy straightforward characterization and solutions. Below we highlight how a Swiss cheese model might be applied to vexing long-term declines in native fish populations in California.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

New Westlands Water District board member appointed

It took only 15 minutes before the Westlands Water District Board of Directors voted to unanimously appoint Ceil W. Howe III to fill a vacancy, bringing bringing the governing body back to full strength. Ceil W. Howe III takes his oath of office after being unanimously appointed to the Westlands Water District Board of Directors on Tuesday. The board could have opted to proceed with a special election to fill the vacancy, but opted for the appointment instead.

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Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News Release: State Water Boards adopts new rule for winery wastewater processing and discharging

The State Water Resources Control Board adopted a general order for how wastewater is processed and discharged at winery locations in an ongoing effort to safeguard groundwater and surface water from wastewater discharges. The order protects groundwater and surface water quality while giving wineries the flexibility to select compliance methods that best fit their site-specific situation, including tiering the compliance requirements to the winery size and associated threat to water quality. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Conservation

News Release: Department of Conservation awards $1.5m in grants to support state’s groundwater management plan

The California Department of Conservation (DOC) today announced five watershed coordinator grants totaling $1.5 million to support regional sustainable groundwater management goals. The grants will go to organizations around the state within medium- and high-priority groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Foundation resources help you understand groundwater’s vital role in California
Special report on groundwater coming soon

To help you learn more about the importance of groundwater, the Water Education Foundation has an array of educational materials on this vital resource. And next week, the Foundation’s online magazine, Western Water news, will publish a special report examining how two local groundwater agencies are taking different approaches to achieve sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most critically overdrafted regions in the state.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Longtime Kern water leader leaving for private sector

Kern County’s water community had a shake-up Tuesday when longtime Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District General Manager Eric Averett announced he is leaving to take a private sector job. This comes on top of the pending retirement of another key local water manager. Richard Diamond, General Manager of North Kern Water Storage District, announced he will retire later this year. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Water games: Madera farmers set to test market

Madera County farmers are getting ready to play what could be the “game” of their livelihoods. The county groundwater sustainability agency will launch a groundwater market simulation, or game, next month as a way for growers to see if selling and trading their groundwater helps make the most of what will become a severely limited resource in coming years.

Aquafornia news Market Screener

California Water Service completes water infrastructure upgrade to support Stockton customers

California Water Service (Cal Water) has completed a multiphase infrastructure project in the Magnolia area of Stockton that will keep critical water infrastructure in the area safe and reliable. The upgrade will ensure customers, firefighters, and nearby medical facilities continue to have the water they need for their everyday and emergency needs.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Low income communities drowning in water debt, new California Water Board survey finds

Low income communities across the San Joaquin Valley and other regions of the state are being hit hard by rising water and utility debt according to a recent survey released by the California Water Board.  Michael Claiborne, an attorney with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, says residents are having to decide which essential service to pay for amid a global pandemic. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Will Kamala Harris champion water justice for California?

A month before she began campaigning for the second-highest political position in the United States, now-Vice President Kamala Harris briefly turned her attention to a small town with a big drinking water problem. “Utterly unacceptable that in 2020, we still can’t guarantee clean water to communities across America. It’s a fundamental human right,” Harris said in a July 9 tweet about the town of Earlimart in California’s Central Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Wired

The ongoing collapse of the world’s aquifers

A booming agricultural industry in the state’s San Joaquin Valley, combined with punishing droughts, led to the over-extraction of water from aquifers. Like huge, empty water bottles, the aquifers crumpled, a phenomenon geologists call subsidence. By 1970, the land had sunk as much as 28 feet in the valley, with less-than-ideal consequences for the humans and infrastructure above the aquifers. … All over the world—from the Netherlands to Indonesia to Mexico City—geology is conspiring with climate change to sink the ground under humanity’s feet.

Aquafornia news California Farm Water Coalition

Blog: Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction – We can change that

Recent fish surveys confirm what many biologists, ecologists, and water experts have known for some time – Delta smelt remain on the brink of extinction. Zero Delta smelt were found in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recent Fall Midwater Trawl Survey. Even the Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring Program, which is specifically designed to capture the tiny fish, only successfully caught two Delta smelt from September 8 to December 11, 2020.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water partnerships between cities and farms would help prepare for a changing climate

San Joaquin Valley farms and Southern California cities are facing different but equally daunting water challenges.  For Valley farmers, the requirement to achieve groundwater sustainability in coming years has heightened interest in expanding water supplies to reduce the need to fallow irrigated farmland. For Southern California, falling demands since the early 2000s have reduced water stress during normal and wet years, but a warming climate makes future droughts a major concern. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they jointly developed and managed some water supplies.
-Written by Alvar Escriva-Bou, a research fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California residents owe $1 billion in water debt. Shutoffs coming?

In a time of record-breaking unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Californians owe an estimated $1 billion in unpaid water utility bills. With reduced revenue, hundreds of water utilities are at high risk of financial emergency. The State Water Board estimates at least 1.6 million households have an average of roughly $500 in water debt — a crisis that could lead to a wave of families facing water shutoffs, liens on their homes or other collection methods. … Data show Black and Latino households are disproportionately affected. 

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Wildfire danger in January? In ultra-dry California, PG&E says safety blackout is coming

At the height of what should be California’s rainy season, PG&E Corp. is warning it might need to shut off power to thousands of customers to reduce the risk of a wildfire. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. said it could impose a “public safety power shutoff” … in portions of nine counties — Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Tuolumne counties. By Sunday, PG&E scaled back the planned blackout down by 15,000 customers to approximately 6,100 in Fresno, Kern, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties.

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Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Rudy Salas introduce legislation to maximize benefits of Sustainable Groundwater Management requirements

On Jan. 15, State Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Rudy Salas introduced Assembly Bill 252, which if approved would help alleviate the impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) on farmers and ensure that farmland taken out of production due to SGMA is reused to provide conservation, recreation, or other benefits to local communities. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Managing groundwater overdraft – combining crop and water decisions (without salinity)

California’s Central Valley produces much of the nation’s food, including about 40% of the country’s fruits and nuts and has the nation’s second most pumped aquifer system. Its drier southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley, has decreasing surface water supply reliability due to frequent and prolonged droughts, stricter environmental regulations, and growing competition among water users. Many farmers pump groundwater to provide their unsupplied water demand. The resulting groundwater overdraft has numerous impacts on the Valley’s agriculture and residents.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Secret Kern River talks underway

It’s hard to say what spurred “confidential mediation” over the Kern River that began last week. Could it be the relentless “Bring Back the Kern!” campaign by a group of young, Bakersfield residents? Could it be a sentence in a recent letter from the State Water Resources Control Board that said, in part, it “will schedule a hearing in the near future to address water availability with respect to the Kern River…”? Could it be both? No one involved in the mediation would say.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Blog: Sacramento Superior Court rejects State Water Board’s attempt to apply Water Quality Control Plan to waters not covered by the Clean Water Act

The Sacramento County Superior Court recently issued a final decision in San Joaquin Tributaries Authority v. California State Water Resources Control Board, finding that the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) is not authorized to adopt a state-level water quality control plan for waters that are not classified as waters of the United States. As a result, the State Board is prohibited from applying the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters and Enclosed Bays and Estuaries of California (Inland Surface Waters WQCP) to wetlands that do not meet the federal definition of waters of the United States.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Farm groups prod Biden, Congress on Western water

More than 200 farm and water organizations from 15 states are urging President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leaders to address aging Western water infrastructure in any economic recovery package. Groups including state Farm Bureaus, the Family Farm Alliance and Western Growers issued letters to Biden and lawmakers Wednesday saying existing canals and reservoirs were built more than 50 years ago and are in desperate need of rehabilitation. 

Aquafornia news Sourcing Journal

Experts dispel popular cotton statistics, say more context is needed

Throughout his research, Simon Ferrigno has seen the statistic range from 2,000 to 20,000 liters of water needed to make a T-shirt. Instead of numbers, Ferrigno said the focus should be on whether or not the water that’s used in the process can be cleaned and repurposed for other needs. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

San Joaquin River Parkway Trust acquires Sumner Peck Ranch

San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust has purchased another stretch of riverside land — an important piece of a puzzle needed for a 22-mile public-access regional park envisioned in north Fresno. The newly acquired Sumner Peck Ranch boasts oak forest and riparian vistas alongside acres of foothill vineyard, citrus, berries and landscaped event space. … Ranch roads and meandering trails cut through habitat used by deer, beaver, bobcat and migrating geese…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Clean water plans need more public involvement, activists say

The stage is finally set for years of talking to be translated into actual clean drinking water for potentially thousands of San Joaquin Valley residents. But activists fear the effort will flop before the curtain rises if more isn’t done to engage the people who are drinking that water. The issue is nitrate, which is  rife the valley’s groundwater and considered dangerous for infants and pregnant women.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Current drought conditions contributing to historically dry year

The local region’s current water year is shaping up to be one of the driest on record according to Turlock Irrigation District, with below-average rainfall amplifying California’s existing state of drought.  Data provided by TID Hydrologist Olivia Cramer during Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting showed that from September 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021, the Tuolumne River Watershed has so far received 5.55 inches of precipitation. Compared to TID’s historical average of 19.02 inches for those same dates, the recent 2020-2021 rainfall numbers account for just 37.9% of normal. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Valley irrigation district OKs plan to harvest mountain stream

A plan to bring water from the South Fork of the Kern River through Isabella Lake and down 60 miles to farm fields west of Bakersfield was unanimously approved by the Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District board of directors on Tuesday. If the environmental documents supporting that plan survive what is sure to be a barrage of lawsuits brought by other Kern River rights holders, Rosedale-Rio Bravo farmers could see South Fork water in their furrows as early as this spring …

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Valley groundwater may get (small) slice of state’s $15 billion surplus

The Governor’s proposal for how to spend California’s $15 billion surplus includes $60 million in direct grants to help replenish groundwater in the valley’s most depleted basins. The measure specifies the money is to be used in “critically over-drafted basins,” which lie mostly in the San Joaquin Valley. Water managers were pleasantly surprised, but not overwhelmed, by the amount.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: After decades of inequity, this woman is bringing long-overlooked voices to California’s land and water decisions

Vicky Espinoza is on a mission. Vicky is passionate about making sure rural, low-income communities and small-scale farmers have a say in land-use and water-management decisions in the San Joaquin Valley. 

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Kaweah Water Foundation to host safe drinking water public workshop series in January 2021

The newly formed Kaweah Water Foundation will be hosting a series of Safe Drinking Water public workshops in January 2021 for residents within Tulare County.  The workshops will focus on nitrates in the Kaweah area and short-term drinking water solutions for community water systems and domestic well users.

Aquafornia news The Porterville Recorder

ETGSA board approves settlement with Friant Water Authority

The Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency took another step on Thursday to contribute to all the funding that’s needed for much needed repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal. The ETSGA Board unanimously approved a settlement with the Friant Water Authority that oversees the Friant-Kern Canal at its meeting on Thursday. The board met in closed session to discuss the matter the resumed the open session of its meeting on Thursday to approve the settlement. 

Aquafornia news Kern Valley Sun

Reservoir proposal above lake prompts concerns

A proposal for a new reservoir above Lake Isabella has surprised some residents who have expressed some initial concerns about the project’s impact on water flow on the Kern River. Premium Energy Holdings asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to build a “pumped storage” electric power plant above Lake Isabella.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Rain was only 4 percent of average in fall

Manteca-Lathrop-Ripon experienced its second driest fall since rainfall records started being kept in the mid-1800s.  The 0.9 inches of rain the South County received between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30 was 4 percent of average according to the National Weather Service’s Fall 2020 Climate Summary released on Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Federal funding bill boosts California water priorities

Members of California water and agricultural communities have been applauding a number of provisions related to water infrastructure within the omnibus funding bill President Trump recently signed into law. More than $200 million in the bill will go to repairing parts of the Friant-Kern Canal. Friant Water Authority CEO Jason Phillips attributed the provision to the work of several California lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and Senator Dianne Feinstein. Phillips said the funding allows the water agency to begin construction early this year.

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Aquafornia news ABC30.com

San Joaquin River access expands after local non-proft buys Sumner Peck Ranch

The San Joaquin River is the longest in Central California and now residents have a chance to see a part of it up close after the San Joaquin River Parkway & Conservation Trust acquired the Sumner Peck Ranch off Friant Road and its river-accessible property.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration advances plan to increase San Luis Reservoir water storage

The Bureau of Reclamation sent Congress the final feasibility report for the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. This marks an important step forward in returning water supply reliability to south-of-Delta farmers, local communities, and wildlife refuges.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water authority and GSA to settle on sagging Friant-Kern Canal resolution

The Friant Water Authority cleaned up some of the most important work in the last month of the year hashing out a legal settlement with farmers in southern Tulare County. Represented by the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) farmers agreed to contribute at least $125 million to repair the significant subsidence-caused sag in the gravity-fed canal that has cut water deliveries by 60%.

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Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Temperance Flat reservoir: Is Fresno-area dam project dead?

Backers of a $3 billion project to construct the tallest dam in California swear the project isn’t dead, despite the Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority returning money and canceling applications. After it became clear that the reservoir project on the San Joaquin River west of Auberry would not reach upcoming deadlines for studies and funding, Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority declined $171 million designated by the California Water Commission and withdrew its application for additional funding, according to a resolution signed by the Authority on Oct. 30.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Blog: Burning question: how to predict runoff after catastrophic wildfire?

After a record-setting season of catastrophic wildfires in California, no single fire in 2020 burned more than the Creek Fire in the Upper San Joaquin River watershed east of Fresno. The Creek Fire, the largest single-source fire in California history, ravaged nearly 380,000 acres from September to November. Now, with 35% of the watershed burned, hydrologists want to better understand what impact the Creek Fire may have on spring runoff – essential to the San Joaquin Valley’s water supply and to the welfare of a burgeoning salmon population.

Aquafornia news CounterPunch

Opinion: The new derivatives market in California water: disaster natural resources capitalism at work

The San Joaquin Valley, which can be regarded along with arid urban Southern California, as the table on which this game is to be played, has always rested on two absolute poles: every inch of farmland is for sale; and water runs uphill to money. This derivative market, far from “rationalizing” water distribution in the state, is going to disturb the magnetic field that is the Prime Mover and Original Cause of all economic activity in our region.
-Written by Bill Hatch, who lives in California’s Central Valley and is a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade of San Francisco. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Don’t fall for fossil fuel propaganda

The consequences of climate change do not impact all Californians equally, and here in the San Joaquin Valley, community members and agricultural workers are on the frontlines of the air pollution, water scarcity and increased heat that are inextricably tied to climate change.  Our health, well-being and future prosperity depend on enacting meaningful solutions to accelerate the transition off of polluting fuels.
-Written by Blanca Escobedo, a policy advocate for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Quest for water in the Kern River continues

The steady drumbeat of support to get more water flowing in the Kern River through Bakersfield continued Tuesday at the State Water Resources Control Board. During the public comment portion of the meeting three speakers from Bakersfield and Kern County’s political realm urged board members to finally hear — and grant — a decade-old petition by the City of Bakersfield to appropriate water on the river to run through the heart of town.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Proposed agreement could boost funds to fix Friant-Kern Canal

In what was hailed as a “landmark agreement,” farmers in an area of southern Tulare County blamed for sinking the Friant-Kern Canal from excessive groundwater pumping will chip in a hefty amount to help pay for a fix. How hefty could be decided by their payment choice.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Westside Connect

Work progressing on Newman water project

Work is proceeding on construction of a new well, booster pump station and million-gallon storage tank on the western reaches of Jensen Road north of the city [of Newman]. The $10 million project to upgrade Newman’s municipal water system has been in the works for about a decade.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Friday Top of the Scroll: Water managers urge patience after initial 10% allocation from State Water Project

The rainy season is still young, but that’s about the only consolation to be found in California’s initial estimate this week that farmers who get water from the State Water Project will only get 10 percent of their requested allocations next year. This marks the third consecutive year the initial estimate has been that low.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Challenge brought against proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

A coalition of conservation groups is working to prevent the development of a dam in the Del Puerto Canyon. The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in Stanislaus County] would reportedly store more than 80,000 acre-feet of water…. In a lawsuit filed on November 20, the plaintiffs assert that the project would negatively impact the habitat of several species.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: How private well owners in Madera, Fresno can shape water policy

It’s easy to understand why people who rely on private wells for their water can feel powerless about the future of their supply — wells pump water from underground aquifers shared by many neighbors.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit was requested after stories in The Desert Sun revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy” folders to approve new injection wells for several oil companies that do risky steam injection.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge: A wintertime treasure

While many people look towards the mountains for accessing beautiful nature, the San Joaquin Valley Floor is home to many amazing sights of nature and in particular, birds. Not only is Tulare County home to over 100 types of birds, it is part of the Pacific Flyway – one of the most important bird migration paths in the world.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water districts get millions for conservation projects

Five Tulare County water districts received a portion of $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture this month to help farmers better conserve water resources.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Environmentalists take aim at the Del Puerto Canyon dam project

The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in western Stanislaus County] would store 82,000 acre-feet of water for downstream agricultural users. The coalition said the dam would flood an “important cultural and recreation site for the surrounding community and destroying valuable wildlife habitat.”

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Look up: Helicopter will dangle electromagnet array over valley this week

If you look up into [San Joaquin] Valley skies this week and see a large, oddly shaped device hanging from a helicopter, don’t be alarmed. It’s part of a research project to map underground water supplies. Beginning Monday, flyovers are expected in areas west and south of Fresno – including Fowler, Kingsburg, Lemon Cove, Orange Cove, Orosi, Parlier, Piedra, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Woodlake.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Hatchery closes down again following three years of renovations

A Kernville hatchery that has served local anglers for almost a century will soon close down again 20 months after it reopened following three years of renovations. The Kern River Hatchery … must close for repairs Dec. 1 mainly because a 50-year-old pipeline that delivers water to the facility needs to be replaced…

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

The Kings River Conservation District, along with co-applicant Tulare Lake RCD, received this grant to help remove invasive species and debris from levees and riverbank along the Kings River, improve water flow, strengthen flood protection, increase carbon capture, and improve delivery of clean water to downstream users.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservationists challenge ‘destructive’ Central California dam project

A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would also flood important cultural and recreational sites for surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Tom Birmingham: Why restoring tidal marsh is good for SJ Valley farmers

Why would a public water agency that exists primarily to serve irrigation water to farmers on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties undertake an ecosystem restoration project in the Delta?

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Tour Nick Gray

Clone of Central Valley Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - November 19

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey 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.

This virtual experience focuses on the San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of the vast region, which is facing challenges after years of drought, dwindling water supplies, decreasing water quality and farmland conversion for urban growth. The tour gives participants an understanding of the region’s water use and issues as well as the agricultural practices, including new technologies and water-saving measures.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Sacramento fiddles while 31.7% of California is lacking in water supply

Two key projects that the bond measure was passed to help fund, Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir, have stalled. Without the public breathing down their neck in a severe drought, the state has managed to treat the reservoirs as back burner issues.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Department of Conservation awards grant for Kings River improvements

The Corcoran-based Tulare Lake RCD and co-applicant Kings River Conservation District, based in Fresno, were awarded $1,165,644 for the Kings River Conservation District Channel Improvement Project. With this grant, the partners will remove invasive species and debris from the 2,500 acres of levees and riverbank…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

The Kern County Water Agency board of directors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to pay $14 million over 2021 and 2020 as its initial share of the early planning and design phase for what’s now being called the Delta Conveyance Facility.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Comedian Paul Rodriguez leaving Hollywood to farm lemons in the Valley

Comedian Paul Rodriguez has been entertaining audiences since the 1980s. But the funny man who calls Fresno home has fallen on tough financial times. Thirteen years ago he carried the torch for Valley farmers. He was the leader of the California Latino Water Coalition in its fight for farm water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California is making progress on safe water for all, but work remains

A first-of-its kind law set up a new fund and program to improve access to safe and affordable drinking water in communities like East Orosi. … But according to a new report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the road ahead is long — and expensive.

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the city of Corcoran…