Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he’s
authorized the Department of Water and Power to shut off
service to nonessential businesses that continue to operate
despite the strict Safer at Home restrictions designed to slow
the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the latest move in an
effort to impose social distancing as coronavirus cases and
deaths surge across Los Angeles County and California.
The rules take the form of a state Fish and Wildlife Department
permit that will govern State Water Project deliveries from the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… But the permit does not
explicitly control the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central
Valley Project, which exports Delta water to San Joaquin Valley
farms. That means the two big government pumping operations
will likely adhere to different standards — possibly allowing
the federal project to boost deliveries at the expense of the
In an alert to state regulators, Southern California Edison,
which operates the power station, said an unexpected surge of
wastewater led to an “upset” at the treatment plant that
morning, triggering an alarm but allowing the sewage to flow
through a 6,000-foot pipe out into the ocean before workers
could turn off the pumps.
The $100 million Creek District project will improve streets,
add bridges and build a new park in the area adjacent to San
Marcos Creek, which goes through seasonal flooding during
rains. The Creek District project represents a milestone for
the city, which has struggled with annual flooding that has
limited access to the neighborhood during storms.
The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an
ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major
pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction
facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.
The nation’s largest treated water supply district is isolating
workers, reducing the number of on-site employees, and giving
its executive director broad powers, in the wake of
stay-at-home orders and health concerns over the coronavirus
pandemic. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California is also recasting technology upgrades to focus more
on laptop than desktop computers so that staff can work at home
during this outbreak and future emergencies.
Just three years after the 2011–2017 drought, one of the
severest in recorded history for the state, the driest February
in 150 years has spurred discussion of whether we’re in another
drought — or if the last one even ended. That’s bad news for
Los Angeles’ only newt, California newt, Taricha torosa, and
other newts in the Taricha genus, particularly in the southern
half of the state south of Big Sur.
Kolster’s latest book, L.A. River (GFT Publishing, 2019),
contains a series of images of the fifty-one-mile body of water
at various stages, from its headwaters in Canoga Park through
California’s biggest city to Long Beach, where it meets the
Pacific Ocean. For this project, Kolster used a
nineteenth-century photographic technique called the wet plate
collodion process, to striking effect.
Los Angeles International Airport received 1.73 inches of rain
Sunday, shattering the record for the day of 0.82 inches set in
2005. A record of 1.51 inches of rain fell in downtown Los
Angeles, breaking the prior record of 1.11 inches set in 1975.
… Another system is expected to move into Southern California
by Wednesday night, dampening the area through Thursday.
As of Friday, 10 workers are quarantined inside the Claude
“Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plan for the next three
weeks, monitoring and adjusting gauges and switches, watching
for leaks, and doing whatever is needed to safeguard San Diego
County’s only significant local source of drinking water. …
The “mission critical” employees will work 12-hour shifts,
sleep in rented recreational vehicles in the parking lot, and
be resupplied with fresh food left for them at the plant’s
The water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas
of North County have officially filed applications to detach
from the San Diego County Water Authority, an unprecedented
move with potential financial implications for almost all water
customers in the county.
Innovative efforts to accelerate
restoration of headwater forests and to improve a river for the
benefit of both farmers and fish. Hard-earned lessons for water
agencies from a string of devastating California wildfires.
Efforts to drought-proof a chronically water-short region of
California. And a broad debate surrounding how best to address
persistent challenges facing the Colorado River.
These were among the issues Western Water explored in
2019, and are still worth taking a look at in case you missed
Many of California’s watersheds are
notoriously flashy – swerving from below-average flows to jarring
flood conditions in quick order. The state needs all the water it
can get from storms, but current flood management guidelines are
strict and unyielding, requiring reservoirs to dump water each
winter to make space for flood flows that may not come.
However, new tools and operating methods are emerging that could
lead the way to a redefined system that improves both water
supply and flood protection capabilities.
It’s been a year since two devastating wildfires on opposite ends
of California underscored the harsh new realities facing water
districts and cities serving communities in or adjacent to the
state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t just level homes, it
can contaminate water, scorch watersheds, damage delivery systems
and upend an agency’s finances.
To survive the next drought and meet
the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability
law, California is going to have to put more water back in the
ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging
overpumped aquifers is no easy task.
Successfully recharging aquifers could bring multiple benefits
for farms and wildlife and help restore the vital interconnection
between groundwater and rivers or streams. As local areas around
California draft their groundwater sustainability plans, though,
landowners in the hardest hit regions of the state know they will
have to reduce pumping to address the chronic overdraft in which
millions of acre-feet more are withdrawn than are naturally
The southern part of California’s Central Coast from San Luis Obispo County to Ventura County, home to about 1.5 million people, is blessed with a pleasing Mediterranean climate and a picturesque terrain. Yet while its unique geography abounds in beauty, the area perpetually struggles with drought.
Indeed, while the rest of California breathed a sigh of relief with the return of wet weather after the severe drought of 2012–2016, places such as Santa Barbara still grappled with dry conditions.
New to this year’s slate of water
tours, our Edge of
Drought Tour Aug. 27-29 will venture into the Santa
Barbara area to learn about the challenges of limited local
surface and groundwater supplies and the solutions being
implemented to address them.
Despite Santa Barbara County’s decision to lift a drought
emergency declaration after this winter’s storms replenished
local reservoirs, the region’s hydrologic recovery often has
lagged behind much of the rest of the state.
Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.
Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.
This tour explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.
The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour.
3333 Blue Diamond Road
Las Vegas, NV 89139
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)