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
Land subsidence caused by groundwater pumping has been a problem
for decades in the San Joaquin Valley, but an increased reliance
on aquifers during the last decade has resulted in subsidence
rates in excess of a foot per year in some parts of the region.
University Business Center
A worst-case sea level rise increase of 10 feet to 12 feet by
the year 2100 would utterly transform Stockton as we know it
today. Climate Central, a New Jersey-based climate science
nonprofit, recently published maps depicting what
this unlikely, yet still “plausible,” scenario might look
A state agency has issued a notice of violation to Modesto for
discharging roughly 755 million gallons of partially treated
waste water in to the San Joaquin River in March because the
city’s sewer system had been overwhelmed by storms and rising
Knee-high tufts of grass dot the streets of Hardwick, a rural
neighborhood with a few dozen homes hemmed in by vineyards and
walnut and almond orchards in California’s agriculture-rich San
The water spread into every corner of the fields, beckoning
wading ibises and egrets as it bathed long rows of sprouting
grapevines. Several inches had covered the vineyard ground for
a couple of months. But rather than draining it, Don Cameron
was pouring more on.
The Manteca Unified School District must pay to fund local
levee improvements, just like any other property owner in the
area, an appeals court has found. One attorney says the
decision is good news for the small levee districts across the
Delta charged with protecting farms and cities from floods.
In a key ruling released Monday, a judge slammed the Oakdale
Irrigation District for skirting state law in last year’s
fallowing proposal. The district should have studied whether
shipping river water elsewhere might harm local groundwater
levels, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger Beauchesne said
in a decision issued nearly 11 weeks after a one-day trial in
It’s a race against time this spring as water roars out of
Central California’s dams and rumbles its way to the
lowest-lying areas of the western San Joaquin Valley,
communities where land is collapsing and water channels are
growing more unstable. State engineers are generating new maps
to understand where water is stagnating in spots it once flowed
freely, and to learn which communities are in the most danger
Modesto and Turlock farmers are thankful that record storms
have boosted to capacity Don Pedro Reservoir, which holds water
needed for crops. But excessive rain and snowmelt also have
washed huge amounts of debris into the Tuolumne River upstream
from the reservoir.
Last summer it was a jarring symbol of California’s historic
five-year drought. San Luis Reservoir — the vast lake along
Highway 152 between Gilroy and Los Banos, the state’s
fifth-largest reservoir and a key link in the water supply for
millions of people and thousands of acres of Central Valley
farmland — was just 10 percent full.
Carlos Arias is asked by many residents in the small town of
Del Rey, California, if the water is safe to drink. He is the
district manager of Del Rey’s community services district,
which is tasked with providing drinking water and other
services to its 2,000 residents. … Del Rey, in Fresno
County, is one of dozens of communities in the San Joaquin
Valley with wells that contain 1,2,3-trichloropropane.
To protect pond levees and its water treatment infrastructure,
the city of Modesto began releasing partially treated
wastewater into the San Joaquin River on Thursday afternoon.
… Working with the California Department of Water
Resources’ dam-safety division, there was a shared concern that
increased elevation in treatment ponds, combined with wind and
wave action, could erode levees, he [city Utilities Director
Larry Parlin] said.
Modesto appears to have bought itself some time before it may
have to release partially treated wastewater that poses a
public health risk into the San Joaquin River. The city’s sewer
system has been overwhelmed by the recent storms and rising
river water, and it is reaching its capacity to store the
The spillway gates opened at Don Pedro Reservoir at 3 p.m.
Monday, and over the next four or more days could nearly triple
the flow of the Tuolumne River as it comes through Stanislaus
County and Modesto.
A reported federal investigation that’s stalled part of a
California irrigation-drainage deal does not extend to the
small San Luis Water District in western Fresno and Merced
counties, a top district official said Wednesday.
Protecting and restoring California’s populations of threatened
and endangered Chinook salmon and steelhead trout have been a big
part of the state’s water management picture for more than 20
years. Significant resources have been dedicated to helping the
various runs of the iconic fish, with successes and setbacks. In
a landscape dramatically altered from its natural setting,
finding a balance between the competing demands for water is
While crews kept up emergency levee repairs on Tyler Island on
Tuesday, the San Joaquin River woke up and stretched her arms,
finally reaching flood stage after languishing for several
years as a weed-choked, drought-diminished trickle.
The political terrain appears favorable for a
mega-million-dollar irrigation drainage deal, with Congress
still fully in Republican hands and California’s sprawling
Westlands Water District with influential allies. But there are
In the end, the much-maligned chloramines did their job. One
year after the city of Stockton began treating the north side’s
drinking water with the new chemical, levels of a
cancer-causing byproduct have plummeted nearly 70 percent, on
average, and are now well within federal standards.
Erin Brockovich parachuted into Stockton one year ago to
condemn the city’s use of a common method to treat the drinking
water. But sitting on a stage before a raucous crowd of 1,200,
in the heart of a region deeply opposed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s
proposed Delta tunnels, the celebrity activist won enthusiastic
applause when she accepted a new challenge.
As storms hit California and the Sierra Nevada snowpack keeps
building after years of punishing drought, water managers on
the San Joaquin Valley floor are replenishing groundwater
supplies while the getting is good.
Our water tours give a behind-the-scenes look at major water
issues in California. On our Central Valley Tour, March
8-10, you will visit wildlife habitat areas – some of which are
closed to the public – and learn directly from the experts who
manage them, in addition to seeing farms, large dams and other
For years, Rebecca Quintana had been a highly visible activist
in the fight for safe drinking water, speaking regularly with
reporters, rallying residents and helping to spark an
unprecedented United Nations inspection in northern Tulare
County. … Across a wide, rural swath of the San Joaquin
Valley, people have long been unnerved about drinking the
sporadically contaminated tap water.
The recent deluge has led to changes in drought conditions in
some areas of California and even public scrutiny of the
possibility that the drought is over. Many eyes are focused on
the San Joaquin Valley, one of the areas hardest hit by reduced
surface water supplies. On our Central Valley Tour, March
8-10, we will visit key water delivery and storage sites in the
San Joaquin Valley, including Friant Dam and Millerton Lake
on the San Joaquin River.
ARkStorm stands for an atmospheric river (“AR”) that carries
precipitation levels expected to occur once every 1,000 years
(“k”). The concept was presented in a 2011 report by the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) intended to elevate the visibility of
the very real threats to human life, property and ecosystems
posed by extreme storms on the West Coast.
The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil
trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over
the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells
around the city of 108,000 people. The chemical is
1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from
A Western appellate court that awaits reshaping by
President-elect Donald Trump will soon consider conflicts that
include: ▪ A challenge from water districts in
California’s San Joaquin Valley to a restoration plan for the
Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels could harm the quality of
Stockton’s drinking water to the extent that water rates would
need to be doubled or tripled, a city official testified on
Thursday. … [Bob] Granberg’s brief testimony on Thursday came
as the state board holds extensive hearings to determine if any
water users with legal rights — including Stockton — would be
harmed by the operation of the tunnels.
A plan to leave more water in streams feeding the San Joaquin
River will benefit Delta water exporters while letting the
government off the hook for failing to meet water quality
standards, San Joaquin County water wonks said Wednesday.
Westland Water District’s farmers generated $3.6 billion in
economic activity and created 29,000 jobs, according to a
recent economic analysis commissioned by the district. The
report, written by Pepperdine University public policy
professor Michael Shires, details Westland’s contributions to
the local and regional economy while also pointing out the
consequences of farming without a reliable water supply.
Seventeen water districts in the San Joaquin Valley and the
city of Fresno have filed a blockbuster claim for $350 million
against the federal government for not delivering water to
Friant Division contractors in the drought year of 2014.
Drive through rural Tulare County and you’ll hear it soon
enough, a roar from one of the hundreds of agricultural pumps
pulling water from beneath the soil to keep the nut and fruit
orchards and vast fields of corn and alfalfa lush and green
under the scorching San Joaquin Valley sun.
At a special meeting Monday, irrigation leaders will consider
selling more river water to buyers south of the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta, a tradition that has brought in millions of
dollars but also controversy to the Oakdale Irrigation
The city of Fresno wants to hire two national experts on
corrosion in municipal water systems to reduce the odds that
discolored-water problems now plaguing northeast Fresno will
repeat themselves when a new water treatment plant opens in
I [John Holland] drove out past Merced last year to see a dairy
farmer testing a new idea. He irrigated 40 acres of feed corn
with drip lines, which are much more common in orchards and
vineyards than annual crops.
Contaminants exist in water supplies from both natural and
manmade sources. Even those chemicals present without human
intervention can be mobilized from introduction of certain
pollutants from both
point and nonpoint sources.
Both the drought and high nitrate levels in shallow groundwater have necessitated deeper
drilling of new wells in the San Joaquin Valley, only to expose
water with heightened
arsenic levels. Arsenic usually exists in water as arsenate
or arsenite, the latter of which is more frequent in deep lake
sediments or groundwater with little oxygen and is both
more harmful and difficult to remove.
The federal government and farmers on the west side of the San
Joaquin Valley may be close to signing off on another
controversial deal to clean up toxic runoff which, if left
unabated, could threaten the downstream Delta.
Whiskeytown Lake, a major reservoir in the foothills of the
Klamath Mountains nine miles west of Redding, was
built at the site of one of Shasta County’s first Gold Rush
communities. Whiskeytown, originally called
Whiskey Creek Diggings, was founded in 1849 and named in
reference to a whiskey barrel rolling off a citizen’s pack mule;
it may also refer to miners drinking a barrel per day.
Participants of this tour snake along the San Joaquin River
to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most
expensive river restoration plans.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most
contentious legal battles in California water history,
ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government,
Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental
We ventured through California’s Central Valley, known as
the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface
water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square
miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25
percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits,
nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.
One of the nation’s leading experts in corrosion problems in
public water supplies said that despite considerable concern
over discoloration of water coming from galvanized pipes in a
growing number of northeast Fresno homes, “at present there’s
really no indication at all that there’s a lead problem” in the
city’s water under federal law.
Tania Ramirez stepped into her family’s front yard Friday
morning, leaned down toward a pipe protruding from the garden,
and twisted a spigot. For the first time in three years, water
came pouring out.
A former Fresno water plant operator used a private email
server and cell phone to hide complaints of discolored or
tainted water from his bosses, city officials said Thursday.
… The complaints also were not made public to the state,
which is required under state law.
Two recognized experts in drinking water contamination and
water chemistry – including the professor who led the
investigation into lead contamination in Flint, Mich. – are
working with the city of Fresno to find solutions to the
corrosion of galvanized residential plumbing in the northeast
part of the city.
The city of Fresno is banning the use of galvanized pipe for
plumbing in new construction and remodeling projects as signs
point to the venerable material as a prime culprit in concerns
over discoloration and lead contamination of water in homes
across northeast Fresno.
Fresno City Councilman Lee Brand, who is campaigning to be the
city’s next mayor, is proposing two major policy initiatives
after a large number of residents, almost exclusively in his
northeast district, have complained about discolored and
The chief of Fresno’s water operations has been placed on
administrative leave over discrepancies in the reporting of
water quality issues. … The action is related to an ongoing
controversy over problems with discolored water in several
hundred homes in northeast Fresno and issues of lead
contamination in water coming from residents’ faucets in
several dozen homes.
A vocal and growing number of residents in northeast Fresno are
convinced water from the city’s Surface Water Treatment
Facility is primarily responsible for corrosion in their pipes,
causing discolored water – and in several dozen instances, lead
contamination – to flow from their household faucets.
Fresno leaders will be sending direct-mail fliers this week to
every water customer in the northeastern area of the city,
substantially expanding the scope of an investigation into
discolored water coming from faucets in hundreds of homes as
well as lead contamination in about 40 homes.
Hundreds of homes in northeast Fresno have discolored water –
and, in some cases, excessive levels of toxic lead – coming
from their faucets. And while homeowners clamor for answers
about why and what to do about it, those answers are in
painfully short supply.
Residents of El Porvenir, threatened with water shutoff in
August as their neighbors in Cantua Creek were last year, are
getting financial relief from the state. … In April, the
farmworker residents of the tiny western Fresno County town
rejected a higher water rate over five years that amounted to
about $5 a month the first year.
At least 80 homes have burned and 1,500 others are threatened
by a wildfire racing across Kern County that grew to 8,000
acres in less than 24 hours and quickly became the state’s most
destructive fire of the year.
The state announced plans to spend $10 million to begin
connecting unincorporated East Porterville in Tulare County to
the water system of neighboring Porterville.
… Statewide, officials said roughly 2,000 wells have run
dry during California’s most severe drought on record and
stretching into its fifth year.
For anyone who doubts that we’re still in a drought, San
Joaquin County’s groundwater “savings account” was even more
depleted this spring than last, despite improved rainfall over
the course of the winter.
A new era of groundwater management
began in 2014 with the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act (SGMA), which aims for local and regional agencies
to develop and implement sustainable groundwater management
plans with the state as the backstop.
SGMA defines “sustainable groundwater management” as the
“management and use of groundwater in a manner that can be
maintained during the planning and implementation horizon without
causing undesirable results.”
No fewer than nine government agencies and nonprofit
organizations have had a hand in helping the [East Porterville]
community, which drew international media attention for its
exceptional suffering in the fourth year of California’s
A judge declined Wednesday to halt the Oakdale Irrigation
District’s evolving plan to idle some farmland and sell water
not needed for that land. The district has not revealed – to
the public or its own board of directors – how its fallowing
program has changed, other than to say that previous
prospective buyers no longer are involved.
In a move that even Clovis city officials agree is unlikely to
bolster water conservation efforts, the city is changing its
water rate structure so that residents using less will pay
more. New rates will go into effect July 1 if the City Council
approves them Monday night.
The Oakdale Irrigation District expects to reap $13.75 million
selling Stanislaus River water to buyers from the Fresno area
and on the Valley’s drought-scarred West Side, according to a
sales agreement unanimously approved Tuesday by the OID
The 2016 irrigation season is rolling out on these warm April
days with close-to-normal supplies in parts of the Northern San
Joaquin Valley. In other parts, the drought of the past few
years has not eased much, and farmers face another year of
Farm water managers said new rules for managing underground
supplies are confusing and potentially expensive. … The
regulations are slated to go into effect June 1; the state
Department of Water Resources is taking public comment about
them until April 1.
An initial round of testing for toxic lead in north Stockton’s
drinking water has revealed levels far below federal standards
and nowhere near what experts found in Flint, Michigan. …
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich compared Stockton to
Flint during her visit here in early February.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants President Obama to order
an increase in water exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta to farms and cities to the south. … A dozen Republican
members of California’s House delegation sent a separate letter
calling on Obama to act.
Adding to the debate over Northern California’s winter
stormwater, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and congressional
Republicans asked President Obama on Thursday to increase the
volume of water pumped through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
to the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.
A Fresno jury has awarded a Madera County development company
$25 million in damages against Fidelity National Title
Insurance in a civil trial over the developer’s blocked access
to the San Joaquin River.
For two years, the students at Orange Center Elementary School
outside of Fresno have been told not to drink the water.
… This week US Senator Barbara Boxer, a Rancho Mirage
Democrat, introduced a bill to add lead-contaminated drinking
water to the federal government’s definition of a disaster,
allowing the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other
federal agencies to become involved in the Flint
Stockton is not the first city to attract controversy for the
use of chloramines, with flare-ups in Vermont, Washington and
San Luis Obispo County, among other places. … Federal,
state and local authorities, including the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, all say chloramines are safe at levels used in
Only one farmer showed up Tuesday to share thoughts on the
irrigation district’s controversial habit of selling river
water to outside buyers, although benefits from doing so became
the focus of a subsequent budget discussion.
San Joaquin County’s top health expert has no problem with the
city of Stockton’s switch to chloramines to treat the drinking
water. … His comments came one day after a town hall forum
featuring environmental activist Erin Brockovich attracted more
than 1,200 people to the Atherton Auditorium at San Joaquin
Local water activists Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla and Bill
Jennings spoke before [Bob] Bowcock and [Erin] Brockovich. Both
suggested to the audience there are more significant issues
facing Stockton and the region than chloramines, most notably
the proposed Twin Tunnels project in the Delta.
The recent addition of chloramines to treat Stockton’s drinking
water is not on Tuesday night’s City Council meeting agenda,
but a rally on the hot-button issue is scheduled nonetheless
late in the afternoon outside City Hall.
The state Department of Water Resources on Thursday released a
list of 21 groundwater basins and subbasins that are
overdrafted, causing land subsidence, chronically lowered
groundwater levels and, in the case of the Salinas Valley,
He’s [Nick Blom] a volunteer in an experiment run by UC
Davis that could offer a partial solution to California’s
perennial water shortages, and in the process, challenge some
long-standing tenets of flood control and farming in the
In an effort to restore California’s desperately depleted
ancient aquifers, scientists are testing an approach that
seizes surplus winter rain and delivers it to where it’s most
useful: idle farms and fields.
Over several years, the plan to put chloramines in north
Stockton’s drinking water was vetted in public by the City
Council and by a citizen oversight group. … But it was a
Facebook post late Saturday by renowned environmental activist
Erin Brockovich that turned a mostly non-controversial issue
into a firestorm of public outrage.
In the arid agricultural expanse of the southern San Joaquin
Valley, there was once water for miles in every direction.
Tulare Lake – once the largest lake west of the Mississippi
River – covered 600 square miles of land near Bakersfield and
provided life for waterfowl, fish and native Californians. …
Now, Steve Haze wants to bring water back to the parched basin.
A new law regulating groundwater use for the first time in
California is decades away from being fully implemented. But
already, it is clear how difficult it will be for local water
providers to comply.
In a classic Capitol Hill tradeoff, conservatives would get the
Clear Creek Management Area reopened to off-roaders while
liberals would secure new wilderness and wild-and-scenic river
designation for other federal lands.
Farmers are no strangers to struggle or drought. But this
four-year drought is different than others, they say. It’s more
widespread, touching nearly everyone who turns on the tap or
starts an irrigation pump.
Irrigation leaders complied with California open-meetings law
when they agreed to sell Stanislaus River water to Fresno-area
buyers at a Tri-Dam meeting in Manteca, an attorney
representing the Oakdale Irrigation District said in a written
response to a customer’s formal complaint.
Participants of this tour snaked along the San
Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s
largest and most expensive river restoration plans.
The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most
contentious legal battles in California water history,
ending in a 2006 settlement between the federal government,
Friant Water Users Authority and a coalition of environmental
Irrigation agencies in Oakdale and Manteca will reap $11.5
million selling Stanislaus River water to outsiders in coming
weeks. Sensitive to pressure from local farmers, government
officials and media, the Oakdale Irrigation District kept the
deal under wraps until Tuesday’s announcement.
More than 300 farmers, workers and elected officials from
throughout the Valley gathered Friday at Rojas Pierce Park in
Mendota to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to call a special legislative
session to deal with California’s water crisis.
Experts say people affected by the drought also face stress,
which can escalate to anxiety, depression and a host of other
mental conditions. Studies show those findings are especially
true for people who rely on water for economic survival, such
as farmers, and people living in rural areas with fewer options
for income and care.
The Eastside Water District board voted Thursday to ask its
farmers for $6 million for a groundwater recharge project. The
system would eliminate no more than 10 percent of the overdraft
in the 61,000-acre district, which straddles Stanislaus and
Merced counties southwest of Turlock Lake, but backers said it
would be a worthwhile start.
Clout can be defined in many ways. In California’s parched
Central Valley farmlands, it’s the ability to secure water. By
that measure, the giant Westlands Water District has just set a
whole new standard.
A Congress that has stumbled over a California water bill amid
record drought now faces a challenging new fight over
irrigation drainage. … In a federal court filing Wednesday,
the Justice Department provided both details and a roadmap for
the irrigation drainage settlement formally agreed to by
federal and Westlands officials the day before.
Strong market prices and increased production helped push
Madera County’s 2014 crop values to a record-high $2.2 billion.
… Hardest hit by the drought were field crops, including
cotton, corn, oat hay and wheat.
For years, an obscure team of water wonks has met each month in
a conference room at the California Water Service Co. offices
in downtown Stockton. Their charge: To protect the region’s
precious groundwater, an invisible natural resource as
little-known as those who guard it.
A top Interior Department official next Tuesday will sign a San
Joaquin Valley irrigation settlement with the Westlands Water
District, signaling the end of a long-running legal battle, but
marking the start of a hot new political fight.
In an annual lobbying ritual, more than 30 officials from eight
[San Joaquin] valley counties this week swarmed the hill in
search of federal support for an assortment of projects and
priorities. … What they got was a crash course in
congressional politics, circa 2015.
The state’s historic drought has hit the San Joaquin Valley
hard, with farm losses in the billions, an increase in health
issues and a decline in income, according to a Fresno State
study released Thursday.
Fresno County agriculture set a record in 2014, with crop
values reaching $7 billion for the first time. … The county’s
total value was just the third best in the state – behind
Tulare and Kern counties – as the drought continued to drag
down Fresno’s overall crop production.
The San Joaquin Valley now battles California’s epic drought in
cities as much as its nation-leading farm fields. From
Bakersfield to Modesto, people struggle to meet some of the
highest state-ordered cutbacks anywhere in California.
Fish concerns will force Tulloch Lake to drop sooner than water
agencies had announced in a milestone spring accord, while
construction work meant to ensure that 7,000 people won’t run
out of water for drinking and fire protection has not yet
The gutted cinder-block homes slated for demolition in the
western Fresno County town of Five Points are a haunting symbol
of [Diana's] Toscano’s struggle during one of the worst
droughts in California’s history: finding enough children to
keep the local Migrant Head Start Center from shutting its
Despite the drought, local farmers this year will get 44 inches
of water per parcel instead of 40, Oakdale irrigation leaders
decided Tuesday, because customers so far have used much less
Working with the nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises, the drought
relief program will furnish a tank and small pump to restore
water for homeowners with dry wells. … The costs are covered
by the $1 billion drought relief package approved by Gov. Jerry
Brown in March, officials said.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board ignored
its own staff recommendation and voted to let Valley Water
Management Co. continue disposing of excess wastewater by
spraying it on hillsides for another 21/2 years.
[Donna] Johnson is known as the water angel. … The
72-year-old is her town’s biggest advocate, sitting in on
drought funding meetings with county and state leaders,
shepherding reporters from around the globe so no one forgets
A vote Thursday secured the raw water supply for a treatment
plant proposed for Turlock, Ceres and south Modesto. … The
long-delayed project would reduce reliance on wells, as has
happened for 20 years with a similar plant for the rest of
California regulators are seeking a $1.5 million penalty from a
Tracy-area water district for allegedly illegally tapping the
delta for farmers and thousands of homes, marking a significant
escalation in the state’s push to get big users to go along
with drought-forced reductions.
Healdsburg’s Aaron Mandell wants to build a $30 million
desalination plant in the San Joaquin Valley that would use the
warmth of the sun to distill former irrigation water and reuse
it on thirsty farms. … “I think everybody is trying to
stretch the supplies every way they can,” said Jennifer Bowles,
executive director of the nonprofit Water Education Foundation
Fresno County supervisors want to lead an effort to get bond
money to build Temperance Flat Dam on the San Joaquin River
when funding becomes available in early 2017. … The county is
being pressed into action after the splintering of the Friant
Water Authority, said Supervisor Brian Pacheco.
Some of those concerned with the groundwater debate maintain
that flood irrigation of crops can be an effective way of
refilling aquifers. The University of California Cooperative
Extension in Stanislaus County is working on a pilot project to
test the theory.
Modesto is poised to take a big step Tuesday in its project to
send highly treated wastewater to drought-stricken West Side
farmers as soon as 2018, though the Turlock Irrigation District
remains a staunch opponent over concerns of how the project
will affect its groundwater basin.
One of the city’s more tranquil Delta settings would be the
scene of two years of intense construction work, and would have
a decidedly different look for decades into the future if a
plan to build a floodgate near the mouth of Smith Canal moves
Results of the most recent testing of recycled oil field
wastewater that Chevron sells to Kern County farmers for
irrigation showed no traces of methylene chloride, an
industrial solvent that had appeared in previous testing
conducted by a clean water advocacy group.
Madera County farmer Tom Rogers thought he knew a lot about how
to irrigate his family’s 175-acre almond ranch. But several
droughts, including the current four-year dry spell, made him
reconsider his approach on how to get the most out of his
ever-shrinking water supply.
With Gov. Jerry Brown imposing new mandatory water
reductions to respond to the statewide emergency, school
districts are grappling with how to adhere to those
requirements while continuing to meet the needs of students and
communities. … Some wells serving schools are drying up.
Valley cities — from the biggest to the smallest — have no
excuse for not having water meters by now. Water is no
different than gasoline or electricity: Consumers should pay
for precisely what they use, especially during this historic
Water will continue to flow to Mountain House under a deal
reached Monday, and a separate water sale pending approval
Tuesday would slake the community’s thirst for the rest of the
year, officials said.
Mountain House, an upscale community near Tracy, learned of its
precarious situation this month when the State Water Resources
Control Board issued a notice ordering the [Byron Bethany
Irrigation] district to “immediately stop diverting
The lawsuit, filed in Stanislaus Superior Court, challenges the
State Water Resources Control Board’s decision last week to ban
diversions by 114 different rights holders in the Sacramento
and San Joaquin river watersheds.
With water monitors like [Don] Wells on the prowl, Fresno is
taking a more aggressive tack than most cities in California’s
battle against the severe drought. In one month, Wells and his
water conservation team handed out 347 of the 838 penalties
issued by all the water districts statewide.
Nearly a year and a half after East Porterville’s first dry
well was reported, residents and experts say not having running
water and breathing increasingly dusty air is worsening their
pre-existing health issues and contributing to the development
of new ones.
Thousands of homes, businesses and apartments in the
drought-stricken central San Joaquin Valley lack water meters,
complicating efforts by city officials to reduce consumption as
mandated by the state. … By state law, all urban water
hookups in California must be metered by 2025, and the drought
is prompting some communities to speed up their programs.
Unlike the vast majority of communities in California, Mountain
House purchases all its water from a single rural irrigation
district. And that agency was covered by the state’s order
curtailing water rights for some of those who have held them
for more than century due to the state’s worsening drought.
San Joaquin County is once again eligible for millions of
dollars in grants to bolster the region’s water supply, after
landowners agreed to provide private well construction details
to the state, officials announced Wednesday.
The Stockton East Water District might send more water to
farmers than originally expected next month, despite the fact
that the reservoir on which the district relies has dwindled to
18 percent of capacity.
Yes, it will rain again someday. And when it does, and the
Calaveras River once more becomes a flowing stream, officials
want to give migrating fish their best possible chance at
journeying to prime spawning habitat below New Hogan Dam.
A glistening spectacle on the west Fresno County prairie could
be a rock star in California’s next drought. It’s a mirrored
solar array longer than a football field, collecting heat to
boil salt and other impurities out of irrigation drainage. …
The technology is among Valley water stories that The Bee will
tell this month in a weekly series.
The Fresno City Council on Thursday bought some much-needed
water and brought some unexpected peace to a dust-control
program. … Weeks of negotiations with the Friant Water
Authority and the federal Bureau of Reclamation led to a
Morada, located northeast of Stockton, is one of three small
towns in the county where water meters have been installed that
aren’t being used because of Proposition 218. The other two,
Acampo and Fairway Estates, surround Lodi.