Topic: State Water Project

State Water Project

State Water Project

The State Water Project (SWP) is responsible for bringing drinking water to 25 million people and provides irrigation for 750,000 acres of farmland. Without it California would never have become the economic powerhouse it is today.

The nation’s largest state-built water and power development and conveyance system, the SWP diverts water from the Feather River to the Central Valley, South Bay Area and Southern California. Its key feature is the 444-mile long California Aqueduct that can be viewed from Interstate 5.

The SWP has required the construction of 21 dams and more than 700 miles canals, pipelines and tunnels. To reach Southern California, the water must be pumped 2,000 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains; it’s the highest water lift in the world.

Today, about 30 percent of SWP water is used for irrigation, mostly in the San Joaquin Valley, and about 70 percent is used for residential, municipal and industrial use, mainly in Southern California but also in the Bay Area. The SWP was built and is operated by the California Department of Water Resources.

To watch a slideshow about the SWP, click here.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Water costs divide City Council

The City Council is split on how much to raise water rates over the next five years to fund projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water. … Bi-monthly water and wastewater bills for single-family homes would increase by $23 on average under the lower rate structure and $36 under the higher rate structure.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: The power of modeling: Preparing for the future with data from the past

Computer models are in use every day, all around us. Car makers use them to test the safety of vehicles, meteorologists use them to predict the weather, and marketing professionals use them to analyze connections between people and products. Rooted in math and science and computer programming, models are also an important tool in water management…

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Opinion: Bringing clean water home to Kern County

The State Water Project helped make Kern County the number one agricultural county in the nation and ensures Bakersfield always has a clean, high quality supply of drinking water while protecting our region against drought. The State Water Project reflects our past generation’s drive to make California the great state it is today.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Ventura readies the spigot for state water

Ventura started paying for its right to state water in 1971. On Monday night, policymakers took the biggest step yet to being able to access it. The Ventura City Council voted 6-0 to approve a study certifying no major environmental impacts would result from building the 7-mile pipeline near Camarillo. The action means the city’s next move is hiring a consultant to draft the interconnection’s final design.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County sues state water agency over drilling for tunnel project

San Joaquin County has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court asking the state Department of Water Resources to abide by local drilling permit requirements to protect wildlife and water quality in accordance with California law.

Aquafornia news The Press

New Delta tunnel project begins taking shape

Opponents of the twin tunnels breathed a collective sigh of relief in April when Gov. Gavin Newsom put a formal end to the California WaterFix project, but that action also called for the assessment of a single-tunnel project in the Delta. The first major step in that direction took place last week when the Department of Water Resources (DWR) initiated a series of negotiations with public water agencies that participate in the State Water Project (SWP)…

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: What does groundwater have to do with the Delta? A lot.

While it may not be obvious to some, sustainable groundwater management is inherently connected to the long-term survival of the Delta. Not only does the state’s most significant groundwater use occur in regions that also rely upon water from the Delta watershed, reduced reliance on the Delta and improved regional self-reliance are central to many of the goals outlined in the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Plan.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Earthquakes can disrupt California water supply. We must prepare

An earthquake doesn’t have to happen in your neighborhood or city, or even your region, for it to have an impact, especially on Southern California’s water supply. According to UCLA Professor Jon Stewart, the three main water systems that bring water to Southern California each cross the San Andreas Fault at least once.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Summer road trips along the State Water Project

Are you planning a road trip this summer? Consider taking a detour to one of the many beaches along the California State Water Project (SWP) – you’ll find them teeming with fish, natural beauty, and fun ways to spend your vacation.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: California’s struggle for water certainty continues

For many years, federal “biological opinions” for delta smelt and winter run chinook salmon have dictated restrictions on operations of the pumps, reservoirs and canals of the federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project… Informed by a decade of science and on-the-ground experience with what we know has not worked, long-awaited new federal biological opinions are finally nearing completion.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: State water plan update worth just a yawn

The latest update of the California Water Plan was released this past week. You may not have heard the news. You may not even know there is a California Water Plan. And that’s just fine, because it doesn’t mean a darn thing.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at danger level: Public urged to avoid water contact

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae. DWR increased the advisory from warning to danger after detecting an increased amount of microcystins.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Opinion: The changing Delta’s challenges

Many Delta problems are worsening. Climate change is raising sea levels and temperatures, making floods and droughts more extreme and will likely further alter the mix of species. State legislation to end overdrafting of groundwater will increase demands for water from the Delta from farmers in the San Joaquin Valley struggling (mostly in vain) to find replacement water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Secretary Crowfoot talks about the water resilience portfolio, delta conveyance and more

Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot discussed the Governor’s water resilience portfolio and reiterated the Newsom administration’s support for modernized conveyance in the Delta. That was followed by a robust discussion that included Delta conveyance, water storage, emerging contaminants and PFAS, among other things.

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: MWD’s new chair, Gloria Gray, prioritizes reliability of supply & affordability

Industry veteran Gloria Gray took the helm at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In this interview, Gray shares how she plans to steer the largest water supplier in the nation through changing political priorities and climate conditions to continue safeguarding the future of California’s water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative listening session

The California Water Commission held the first listening session at its June meeting with a panel of water management experts offering their perspectives on what a climate-resilient water portfolio might look like.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Got surface water? Groundwater-only lands in the san joaquin valley

We estimate that nearly 20%—or 840,000 acres—of irrigated cropland in the valley has no access to surface water. … With groundwater cuts looming and no other water supply to fall back on, groundwater-only areas are on the front line of the effort to bring basins into balance.

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In an era of extreme weather, concerns grow over dam safety

It is a telling illustration of the precarious state of United States dams that the near-collapse in February 2017 of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, occurred in California, considered one of the nation’s leading states in dam safety management.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

The earthquake risk no one’s talking about

San Diego faces a hidden earthquake threat — to its water supply. A quake, even one so far away that nobody in San Diego feels it, could force mandatory water-use restrictions. That’s because most of San Diego’s water comes from hundreds of miles away through threads of metal and concrete that connect us to distant rivers and reservoirs.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Let rivers flood: Communities adopt new strategies for resilience

In 2016 California’s rainy season kicked off right on schedule, at the beginning of October. … By February there was so much water filling Northern California’s rivers that Oroville Dam, the tallest in the country, threatened to break after its spillway and emergency spillways both failed. It was a wake-up call. In just a few months California had gone from five-year-drought to deluge, ending up with the second wettest year on record for the state.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Slap and go: Battle over state’s eminent domain plan for the Delta was reignited

The standoff between Sacramento County and the California Department of Water Resources over the Delta’s future took a twist in June, moving from quiet canals and pear orchards along the river to a courtroom in the central city. That’s where county officials were granted a temporary restraining order against DWR to halt what they call risky and illegal drilling.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Dam opening sparks moment to reflect

On the last Saturday in June, a road in Butte County was opened. That in itself isn’t anything unusual. Roads are opened and closed regularly around here. But it was the significance of this road that makes it a remarkable occurrence. It was the road over Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Civil grand jury dives into Cachuma water disputes, ‘outdated’ contract

A civilian watchdog panel called has upon several agencies to clear up muddy communications to help end spats among members receiving and distributing water as they move toward another 25-year deal for Lake Cachuma water.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Oroville Dam reopens to public after spillways rebuilt

Oroville Dam is officially back open to the public two years after it was forced to close due to the failure of the dam’s main and emergency spillways. People can now walk and bike the more than one-mile-long road across the dam crest. Public vehicles will still not be allowed.

Aquafornia news Governor's Office

News release: Gov. Newsom announces appointments

Governor Gavin Newsom today announced several appointments, including the reappointment of several of the state’s top water policy officials.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

Council awards bid for long-discussed desalter

The facility would serve two main purposes. In addition to weaning Camarillo customers off imported water from Calleguas Municipal Water District, it would also help filter out the everincreasing amount of salt found in the plumes of water beneath much of the eastern half of the city.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: DWR’s climate change vulnerability assessment

In order to address the impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Opinion: Delta smelt are poor swimmers

Delta smelt are poor swimmers. When they have to swim against voluminous outflows, they struggle. They also lack endurance for distance and swimming against currents. This was the result of the taxpayer-funded swim performance test conducted more than 20 years ago. Why is this important?

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A water portfolio planning report card for California

Governor Newsom recently called for a state portfolio of actions to manage water under rapidly changing climate and other conditions. This post reviews the state of water portfolio planning in California today.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project

The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Butte County concerned over lake levels

There are more concerns over lake levels in Oroville as Butte County leaders take initiative to explore alternative options for safety measures. The Department of Water Resources (DWR), a leg of the State Water Project, manages the Oroville Dam. On Wednesday, DWR officials remained adamant in saying they have no plans to release water from the Oroville Dam spillway.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Evaluating landscape effects of turf replacement

As part of efforts by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to assess its 2014-2016 turf replacement program during the California drought, we evaluated how yards changed after converting a lawn through a MWD rebate in LA County. We also evaluated trends in participation across cities.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

August tour examines lurking threat of drought along the California coast

On our August Edge of Drought Tour, we’re venturing into the Santa Barbara area to learn about the water challenges and the steps being taken to boost supplies. The region’s local surface and groundwater supplies are limited, and its hydrologic recovery often has lagged behind much of the state despite the recent lifting of a drought emergency declaration following this winter’s storms.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Dispute over Desert Hot Springs groundwater picks up steam in latest report

Mission Springs Water District alleged that Desert Water Agency, which also provides water to more than 100,000 Palm Springs and Cathedral City residents, made a board decision that violated a previous settlement between the two agencies. … Last month, the issue over groundwater management in Desert Hot Springs picked up steam when a study group formed by Mission Springs published a 16-page report that lambasted Desert Water Agency’s actions…

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Editorial: Oroville Dam is fine, despite what the internet says

Well, apparently we’re all about to die again. The internet says so. And while the internet often says we’re all about to die, and we don’t, for some reason people still unquestionably believe the next scare to come down the information highway. So it is with the latest local scare, involving the Oroville Dam spillway.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Valley Water’s farm subsidy to remain, for now

Like everyone else in Santa Clara Valley who uses wells, farmers will see their groundwater production charges go up 6.8 percent this year. But unlike the others, they’ll continue to receive substantial subsidies. In approving the increased charges for well users, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board left intact for at least two years the current structure that allows farmers to pay only 6 percent of the amount residents and businesses pay.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Key conflicts roil California’s ever-evolving waterscape

The big conflicts are deeply interconnected and appear to be reaching their climactic phases. How they are resolved over the next few years will write an entirely new chapter in California’s water history, changing priorities and perhaps shifting water from agriculture to urban users and environmental enhancement.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Interview with Wade Crowfoot: Implementing Newsom’s “One California” portfolio approach for water

When asked about his priorities, California’s recently appointed Natural Resources Secretary quickly rattles off a range of topics: climate change; strengthening water supply resilience; and building water capacity for communities, agriculture, and the environment, among them.

Aquafornia news

Opinion: Drought recovery in Carpinteria

Because of the wet weather this winter, the district is proposing to lower its Stage Two Drought Condition to a Stage One Drought Condition, which would lift many mandatory drought water-use restrictions.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom crafts smart water portfolio for California

In reality, the WaterFix could not increase water exports while protecting the Delta ecosystem. That’s because California’s snow and rainfall are highly variable, making it unlikely that existing supplies can meet increasing water demands reliably into the future. Plus, the science demonstrates that San Francisco Bay’s fish and wildlife need more water, not less, to flow from the Central Valley to the Bay.

Aquafornia news

How LADWP uses two lakes to store energy like a giant battery

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has turned two big lakes into a monster battery capable of storing enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes. It involves using the excess wind and solar power L.A.’s renewable energy sites produce during the day to pump water from Castaic Lake uphill 7.5 miles to Pyramid Lake.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo to use Nacimiento water to generate electricity

The California Energy Commission is offering the city of San Luis Obispo a $3 million loan to build a 261-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system as well as a 264-kilowatt hydroelectric generation system — both located at the city water treatment plant on Stenner Creek Road behind Cal Poly. By generating its own power at the treatment facility, SLO could earn savings of $266,863 annually compared to its current power bill.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Newsom says he has a fresh approach to California’s longtime water woes

At first blush, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest action on water seems fanciful and naive. But it has logic and conceivably could work. Newsom wants to reexamine practically everything the state has been working on — meaning what former Gov. Jerry Brown was doing — and piece together a grand plan for California’s future that can draw the support of longtime water warriors.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Santa Maria residents asked to reduce usage of water softeners

Santa Maria residents are being asked by the city to cut down on the amount of water softeners used through the end of the year. City officials say the city will begin delivering better-quality municipal water with a lower mineral content. … Using water softeners in addition to this new municipal water could be damaging to pipes and fixtures. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Newsom offers a new approach to California’s water issues

By rejecting the twin tunnels proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent an important message that new thinking is required to address California’s complex water issues.

Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: Beyond the Pumps: Can We Study Flow Needs?

Every day during the winter and spring, pumping operations for the state’s two largest water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are fine-tuned to comply with detailed regulations via the Endangered Species Act.  These same regulations provide no similar guidance on what flows are appropriate through the Delta and out to San Francisco Bay during this critical time in the lifespan of species such as salmon.

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gavin Newsom brings different view to Delta water issue

By rejecting the twin tunnels proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent an important message that new thinking is required to address California’s complex water issues.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump administration on water supplies, fish

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Environment report: Lawsuits are a weapon in major water conflicts

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Public meetings will be held on State Water Project

The Department of Water Resources issued notice that it will seek an updated environmental permit to operate the State Water Project through a state-based approach in partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. … Historically, DWR has received environmental coverage for its pumping operations through environmental parameters issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State treasurer announces sale of $299.6 million in bonds for State Water Project

California State Treasurer Fiona Ma announced the competitive sale this week of $299.6 million in California Department of Water Resources water system revenue bonds to refinance certain State Water Project capital improvements, including a portion of the costs of the Oroville Dam Spillways Response, Recovery and Restoration Project.

Related news:

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Trump administration’s cold water war with California turns hot

Federal and state water managers have coordinated operations of the CVP and the parallel State Water Project for many decades. … But this intergovernmental water policy Era of Good Feeling (relatively speaking) has come to a sudden and dramatic end with the ascension of the Trump Administration.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

As two Ventura projects move forward, elected officials to study CEQA

Currently, the city has two significant environmental impact reports, which CEQA requires, making their way through the development process. One is for a plan to build a 7-mile pipeline to tap into Ventura’s long-held investment in state water. … The other project would capture effluent from Ventura’s wastewater treatment plant, treat it and turn it into drinking water.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Full water allocations hard to reach despite storms

Even as winter and early-spring storms have filled reservoirs to the brim and piled snow on Sierra Nevada mountaintops, state and federal officials say they’re limited in how much water they can send south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Longtime DWR engineer John McClurg dies; Services set for April 20

John O. McClurg, 93, passed away peacefully on March 22, 2019, in Carmichael, California. … In January 1952 John received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from USC and went to work for the California Department of Water Resources in its Ventura County field office.

Tour Nick Gray

2020 Clone of Central Valley Tour 2019
Field Trip - April 3-5

Venture through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Groundwater Education Bundle Gary Pitzer

Imported Water Built Southern California; Now Santa Monica Aims To Wean Itself Off That Supply
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Santa Monica is tapping groundwater, rainwater and tighter consumption rules to bring local supply and demand into balance

The Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF) treats dry weather urban runoff to remove pollutants such as sediment, oil, grease, and pathogens for nonpotable use.Imported water from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on imported water.

Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s, Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Board extends water contract

In a step to secure water supplies well into the future, the Palmdale Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved extending the contract for water imported from Northern California for another 50 years, to 2085. The contract with the state Department of Water Resources for State Water Project water … accounts for 50% or more of the district’s water supply. It is becoming especially important as a result of the court settlement that sets limits on groundwater pumping for the Antelope Valley.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

Water district weighs raising taxes or raising water bills

A long-standing feud over who should pay a $650 million bill for state water infrastructure reared its head Tuesday, as board members of Santa Clara County’s regional water district weighed whether to raise water bills or ramp up reliance on property taxes.

Aquafornia news The Independent

Zone 7 eyes two drought water projects

Zone 7 Water Agency directors have voted to renew their participation in two water storage projects so that the water wholesaler can continue to plan for more alternative water sources during droughts. The board voted unanimously to participate in phase 2 of the Sites Reservoir project, a JPA formed in 2010 to create a reservoir 75 miles northwest of Sacramento. … Also, by a unanimous vote, directors committed up to $355,000 for a second phase of participation in the expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir in southeastern Contra Costa County.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

He’s ‘famous’ for measuring California’s snow. Now, he’s retiring after 30 years — sort of

A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news. … For 30 years, you might have seen Gehrke on TV, the guy trudging through snow with a measuring pole, talking about how deep the pack is each winter on the evening news. He retired from his post as the state’s chief snow surveyor in December, but he’s not letting go of his snowshoes and skis anytime soon.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Newsom inherits California water strife from Jerry Brown

As his term as governor drew to a close, Jerry Brown brokered a historic agreement among farms and cities to surrender billions of gallons of water to help ailing fish. He also made two big water deals with the Trump administration. It added up to a dizzying display of deal-making. Yet as Gavin Newsom takes over as governor, the state of water in California seems as unsettled as ever.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Daily Bruin

UCLA researchers suggest water crisis prevention techniques in paper

The paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Management, suggests that eliminating outdoor landscaping and lawns could reduce water waste by 30 percent. It recommends importing water only when Los Angeles is not in a drought, to build a surplus of water for dry years. The paper also argues that groundwater basins that catch stormwater could be used to recycle water. However, making these improvements would require the cooperation of more than 100 agencies.

Aquafornia news California Water Research

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

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Climate change effects on the State Water Project and Central Valley Project

In the latter half of 2018, both the federal and state governments released new climate change assessments that outline the projected course of climate change and its potential effects on water resources. At the December meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Department of Water Resources and the Delta Stewardship Council were on hand to present an overview of the newly released assessments.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Delta tunnels, diversity are focus of new California water leader

Gloria Gray became chairwoman of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Jan. 1 and made history, though not for the first time. She has two big goals: seeing through a controversial public works project to build two new California water tunnels and ensuring her agency is represented by a more diverse group of people.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Western droughts hurt fight against climate change

A new study out of Stanford University finds that 10 percent of the total carbon dioxide spewed from California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho for power generation this century is the result of states turning to fossil fuels when water was too sparse to spin electrical turbines at dams.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

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

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

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Big Northern California water deals will trickle down to San Diego

Prompted by the collapse of fish populations, the State Water Resources Control Board is trying to prevent humans from totally drying up these rivers each year. The regulators’ lodestar for how much water the rivers need is the amount of water a Chinook salmon needs to migrate.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

FERC panel finds deficiencies in Oroville Dam safety reviews

Dam inspectors overlooked technical details during safety evaluations that could have identified structural problems with the Oroville Dam spillway before it broke during heavy rains in February 2017, according to an assessment ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC assembled an independent, six-person panel to assess the safety inspections that are required every five years for the roughly 2,500 hydropower facilities that FERC regulates.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Department of Water Resources announces initial State Water Project allocations

Despite the last few storms that brought the North State much needed rain, this water year has been relatively dry, and those conditions are reflected in the Department of Water Resources’ initial State Water Project allocations.

Related News Release:

As He Steps Aside, Tim Quinn Talks About ‘Adversarialists,’ Collaboration and Hope For Solving the State’s Tough Water Issues
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Tim Quinn, retiring executive director of Association of California Water Agencies

ACWA Executive Director Tim Quinn  with a report produced by Association of California Water Agencies on  sustainable groundwater management.  (Source:  Association of California Water Agencies)In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Camp Fire: Oroville Dam officials keep close watch on approaching blaze

Employees of the state Department of Water Resources, with the help of firefighting crews, were cutting brush and watering down landscapes around Lake Oroville to prevent the 117,000-acre blaze from damaging the reservoir’s infrastructure, including the 770-foot-tall Oroville Dam.

Tour Nick Gray

Central Valley Tour 2019

This tour ventured through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Trump wants to cut red tape, hasten water projects in West

President Donald Trump on Friday ordered the government to speed up environmental reviews and streamline regulations that he says are hindering work on major water projects in California and other Western states. Trump signed a memorandum aimed at helping the Central Valley Project and the California State Water Project in California, the Klamath Irrigation Project in Oregon and California and the Columbia River Basin system in the Pacific Northwest.

Related Article:

Related News Release:

Tour Nick Gray

Northern California Tour 2019
Field Trip - October 2-4

Explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape as we learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.

All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour participants will get an on-site update of Oroville Dam spillway repairs.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte DA jumps another hurdle for Oroville Dam lawsuit against DWR

Another attempt by the state Department of Water Resources to have the Butte County District Attorney’s lawsuit against the department thrown out was thwarted Friday. The civil suit stem from the Oroville Dam crisis and the alleged 3.4 billion to 5.1 billion pounds of debris which fell from the collapsing spillway into the Feather River in February 2017.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Big water moves mark Gov. Brown’s final months

Nearly six decades ago, shortly after becoming governor, Pat Brown persuaded the Legislature and voters to approve one of the nation’s largest public works projects, the State Water Plan. New reservoirs in Northern California, including the nation’s highest dam at Oroville on the Feather River, would capture runoff from snowfall in the Sierra, and a massive aqueduct would carry water southward to San Joaquin Valley farms and fast-growing Southern California cities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Local oversight group established for Oroville Dam

A local oversight committee will get to have a say as long-term changes are considered for the Oroville Dam, after Sen. Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher recently came to an agreement with the state Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam: Judge to determine where cases will be heard

A Butte County Superior Court judge will determine where lawsuits against the state Department of Water Resources for the Oroville Dam crisis will be considered in a written ruling. This comes as Judge Tamara Mosbarger heard arguments on Friday from plaintiffs and the defendant.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water issue could make splitting California into three states virtually impossible

Splitting California into three new states would scramble nearly every segment of government that touches residents’ lives, from taxes to Medi-Cal to driver’s licenses. … But of all the gargantuan tasks facing Californians should they choose to divide themselves by three — a proposal that has qualified for the November ballot — none is arguably more daunting than carving up the state’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte DA’s suit against Department of Water Resources moves forward

A lawsuit filed by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey against the state Department of Water Resources over environmental damages resulting from the Oroville Dam spillway crisis is moving forward in court. Butte County Superior Court Judge Stephen Benson overruled DWR’s demurrer, which is essentially a plea to have a case dismissed, through a written ruling filed on May 31.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Independent governance eyed for State Water Project

The Legislature created the Department of Water Resources in 1956 for the purpose of managing the State Water Project, then in its early stages of planning. … AB 3045 would create a new State Water Project Commission under the state’s Natural Resources Agency to run the project – the agency, whose secretary serves in the governor’s cabinet, has broad authority over DWR.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: State Water Project allocation rises to 35 percent

The California Department of Water Resources announced Monday this year’s allocation has been raised to 35 percent of full distribution, or 1.48 million acre-feet of water statewide. (One acre foot is enough to cover one acre of land with a foot of water.) As of last month, the agency planned to distribute only 30 percent of normal.


Bay-Delta Tour 2018

Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaWe traveled deep into California’s water hub and traverse the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay, and included a ferry ride.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

FEMA still deciding whether to reimburse DWR for Oroville Dam major repairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently told north state congressmen Doug LaMalfa and John Garamendi that the agency is still reviewing whether the state Department of Water Resources is eligible for further reimbursement to fix the Oroville Dam spillway.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam without Department of Water Resources?

A bill proposed by Assemblyman James Gallagher which would take the State Water Project out of the hands of the state Department of Water Resources passed unanimously on Tuesday through a legislative committee. Assembly Bill 3045 passed 15-0 through the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and is now headed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Assembly bill may take inspection authority away from Department of Water Resources

There are 34 storage facilities, 30 dams, 23 pumping plants and nine hydroelectric power generation plants that are part of the California State Water Project, and the Department of Water Resources is in charge of not only operating but also of inspecting all of them. Local Assemblyman James Gallagher says that’s a conflict of interest, and a bill he’s pushing looks to take some of that authority away from DWR.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

State Water Project allocations keep climbing

The nearly 30 contractors that are part of the State Water Project are expected to receive 30 percent of the water they have requested for 2018 – up from January’s estimate of 20 percent – according to the Department of Water Resources. DWR Director Karla Nemeth stated in a news release that late precipitation and snow in March contributed to the rise in projected allocations.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam phase two of construction expected to start May 8

While some construction continues at Oroville Dam, the bulk of work under phase two is expected to begin May 8, state Department of Water Resources officials said Wednesday in a monthly media update call. This comes as DWR submitted an updated 2017-2018 Lake Oroville operations plan on Tuesday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Division of Safety of Dams for approval.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California may use partially rebuilt Oroville Dam spillway

Oroville Dam operators said Tuesday they may have to release water over a partially rebuilt spillway for the first time since repairs began on the badly damaged structure last summer. Department of Water Resources officials said anticipated storms could trigger releases this week or next.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Sierra snowpack is heftier than it was a month ago, but still less than average

The storms of March may not have rained glory on the state, but they dropped enough snow on the Sierra to greatly improve the drought situation and, with another storm rolling in this week, water resources officials believe thirsty California will make it through the year.


Central Valley Tour 2018

Central Valley Tour participants at a dam.

We ventured through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

March storms have raised Lake Oroville

State Parks workers were pulling cable up a launch ramp at Bidwell Marina Thursday because the water level in Lake Oroville is on the rise. March’s storms have brought the lake level up almost 13 feet since the start of the month, according to the Department of Water Resources website.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Amid rains, drought fears loom

After a historically wet season last year, relatively little precipitation has fallen this year in California during two of the three historically wettest months. Officials are urging stricter water conservation and caution drier months ahead. After last week’s rains, the Sierra snowpack — a critical factor in water availability — climbed to just 39 percent of normal.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Storm leaves California with below average snow

California water officials tromped through long-awaited fresh snowdrifts in the Sierra Nevada mountains Monday, but a welcome late-winter storm still left the state with less than half the usual snow for this late point in the state’s important rain and snow season.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Even after storm, California’s Sierra snowpack below average

The storm that wrought avalanches at ski resorts and whiteouts on mountain roads last week was so fierce that California water officials postponed their much-anticipated monthly survey of snow depth, setting the stage for potentially better news this week.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Welcome snow slows California’s plunge back to drought

Welcome drifts of fresh snow await California’s water managers on their late-winter survey of the vital Sierra Nevada snowpack Monday after a massive winter storm slowed the state’s plunge back into drought. The storm piled snow by the foot in the mountains, forcing Department of Water Resources officials to postpone the measurement for a few days.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

New state law promotes dam safety, just not here in Tulare County

Dams and reservoirs under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Water Resources will be inspected more regularly thanks to a new law Gov. Jerry Brown signed this week. What does this mean for Tulare County’s reservoirs and aging dams, Kaweah and Success?

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Locals in Oroville Dam class action lawsuit explain their losses

Locals who lost business or saw their property value decrease because of the Oroville Dam crisis are anxious to be reimbursed through a class action lawsuit filed last week. … There is a variety of plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, including a child care facility, a water ski shop, a ranch and a ministry. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Oroville Dam neighbors want answers on repairs and operations

A year ago, nearly 200,000 Northern California residents were alarmed by an alert from the state Department of Water Resources informing them of the potential failure of the auxiliary spillway at the Oroville Dam. … Everything department officials do at the Oroville Dam affects our [state Sen. Jim Nielsen] community — from the water level to the outflow.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California gauges snowpack amid dry winter

Amid record-setting heat in the state’s south, California’s water managers will measure the Sierra Nevada snowpack, which supplies water to millions. Department of Water Resources officials will trek to the mountains Thursday to check the snow depth, one gauge of the state’s water supply.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California now facing cascade of litigation over Oroville Dam

More than 40 farmers and business owners in the Oroville area sued the state Wednesday over the effects of the Oroville Dam crisis, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Dry winter means less water for many California districts

The Department of Water Resources said Monday it currently expects to provide customers of the State Water Project with just 20 percent of their requested amounts.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Grant Davis reinstated as head of Sonoma County Water Agency after brief tenure in Sacramento

After a 5-month stint running California’s Department of Water Resources, Grant Davis was reappointed Tuesday to his prior job as general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency. The Board of Supervisors, acting as directors of the Water Agency, unanimously agreed to reinstate Davis, commending him as a trusted leader with a proven track record in the area.


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

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

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New state water chief is married to Southern California water strategist

Critics who say state water policy tilts too far toward Southern California got additional ammunition last week, when Gov. Jerry Brown named a new director to run his Department of Water Resources. New DWR Director Karla Nemeth is married to Tom Philp, an executive strategist with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Oroville Dam spillway built on crumbling rock, warned contractor that built it

An investigation into last winter’s near catastrophe at Oroville Dam uncovered a litany of problems with how the dam was built and maintained, but one of them stands out: Even as workers built the dam, they were raising alarms about the eroded, crumbling rock on which they were directed to lay concrete for the 3,000-foot-long main flood control spillway.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville sues DWR for dam spillway break, alleges discrimination

The city of Oroville filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Water Resources Wednesday which alleges fabricated maintenance reports, racial discrimination and decades of mismanagement led to the Oroville Dam spillway failure last February.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville dam lawsuit: Racism, sexual harassment, theft at state water agency

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against the state water agency in charge of the Oroville Dam not only alleges mismanagement and disregard for the public’s safety, but also a toxic work environment rife with racism, sexual harassment and theft.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

BREAKING NEWS: Brown administration working to scale down $17 billion Delta tunnels project

Faced with a shortage of money and political support after seven years of work, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration is working on a plan to scale back one of his key legacy projects, a $17 billion proposal to build two massive tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to make it easier to move water from Northern California to the south.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Hardly any California snow but not in drought again, yet

The grassy brown Sierra meadow where California’s water managers gave the results of the winter’s first manual snowpack measurements Wednesday told the story — the drought-prone state is off to another unusually dry start in its vital winter rain and snow season. “We would like to have had more snow,” Grant Davis, head of California’s Department of Water Resources, told news crews gathered in this mountain field, bare of all but a few crusty dots of old snow.


Central Valley Tour 2018
Field Trip - March 14-16

Central Valley Tour participants at a dam.

We ventured through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

State sets initial water allocation of 15 percent

The state Department of Water Resources on Thursday, Nov. 30, announced an initial water allocation of 15 percent for most of its State Water Project contractors for 2018. The low percentage is a conservative figure, which is typical of the department’s early season forecast.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Phase two of Oroville Dam spillway construction may be more challenging, contractor says

Phase two of construction at Oroville Dam — with work on both spillways — might prove more challenging than the first feat, the contractor’s project director said in a media call Thursday. … DWR [California Department of Water Resources] will hold two community meetings next week.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Oroville mayor lashes out over dam communications

Oroville’s mayor said Thursday she knew about cracks in the replacement spillway at the troubled dam nearby and is not concerned, but heaped criticism on state water officials for failing to communicate with her town. Linda Dahlmeier said the Department of Water Resources should have proactively communicated that cracks were expected but has instead created a “firestorm” in a community that was rattled by sudden evacuation orders last February.

Aquafornia news NBC 4, Southern California

With winter on the way, most of California’s water reservoirs are looking good

California’s wettest months of the year are still to come, but the state’s largest water reservoirs already appear to be in decent shape. As of Nov. 27, most of California’s major reservoirs were above their historical averages for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Cracks found in new Oroville Dam spillway, but officials say don’t worry

Hairline cracks have been detected in sections of the newly reconstructed flood-control spillway at Oroville Dam. State and federal officials said they’re confident the cracks don’t pose a safety problem and don’t need to be repaired.

Northern California Tour 2018

This tour explored the Sacramento River and its tributaries through a scenic landscape as participants learned about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.

All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project. Tour participants got an on-site update of repair efforts on the Oroville Dam spillway. 

Tour Nick Gray

Bay-Delta Tour 2019
Field Trip - June 5-7

This tour traveled deep into California’s water hub and traversed the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s water system and is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. The tour made its way to San Francisco Bay and included a ferry ride.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to the State Water Project Land Subsidence Gary Pitzer

State Taking Steps to Manage Subsidence-Related Impacts to California Aqueduct
Department of Water Resources to spend $5 million for quick fixes, as it assesses longer-term repairs

For as long as agriculture has existed in the Central Valley, farmers have pumped water from the ground to sustain their livelihood and grow food consumed by much of the nation. This has caused the ground in certain places to sink, sometimes dramatically, eliminating valuable aquifer storage space that can never be restored.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam ready for rainy season, state Department of Water Resources says

The Oroville Dam flood control spillway has been fixed. … In addition, [state Department of Water Resources Director Grant] Davis said “repairs and updates” are already being made at some of the 93 other dams around California where the state ordered intensive inspections in the wake of the Oroville crisis.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California launches overall safety review at tallest US dam

California is launching an overall safety review of the nation’s tallest dam to pinpoint any needed upgrades in the half-century-old structure, water officials said Wednesday, launching the kind of overarching review called for by an independent national panel of experts in September following the collapse of two spillways at Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Assemblyman Gallagher survey: Respondents worry more about DWR than terrorists

Survey results largely showed that respondents weren’t happy with how things went down this past February at the Lake Oroville spillways and the events that followed. Most respondents expressed their concerns were with the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR: ‘Can’t say with certainty’ whether spillway ramp will reopen

The state Department of Water Resources intends to open the spillway boat launch ramp after construction at the dam is complete, but there is a possibility it will stay out of commission, according to a department official. The spillway boat launch is the largest on the lake, with up to 12 lanes when the water is high enough.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

DWR plans lower elevation for Oroville heading into flood season

With just more than two weeks until the initial reconstruction of the main spillway at Lake Oroville is supposed to be completed, the Department of Water Resources released operations plan for the reservoir for this coming flood season.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Rebuilding Lake Oroville spillways

In February, a huge hole opened in the Lake Oroville main spillway. The cause of the hole is still undetermined. … State and federal agencies devised a plan to quickly repair or replace the structures at the lake.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Quagga mussels prevented Los Angeles County water basins from drought recovery

For months, regional water officials were prevented from recharging drought-depleted water basins in the San Gabriel Valley and southeast Los Angeles County because they feared an infestation of an invasive shellfish that could destroy local ecosystems.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s reservoirs are full, but will this winter be wet?

Like every autumn, October is bringing cooler weather, changing leaves and pumpkins to fields across California. But unlike the past five years, when a historic drought gripped the state, there’s something new across the landscape: full reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam: What exactly will be done by Nov. 1?

Repairs to the Oroville Dam spillway are on track for the Nov. 1 deadline, state Department of Water Resources representatives say, but work will be far from over then.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Poor design, construction blamed in damage to Oroville Dam

Bad design and construction of the tallest U.S. dam a half-century ago and inadequate state and federal oversight since then led to a disastrous spillway collapse in February, an independent national team of dam safety experts said Tuesday as they urged tougher safety reviews nationwide.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Those green, wet spots on Oroville Dam aren’t worrisome, state insists

State dam operators have issued a new report that refutes troubling allegations raised by a catastrophic engineering expert who contends Oroville Dam may be dangerously leaking.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Commentary: Bureaucratic bungling on Oroville Dam bodes ill for future projects

Slowly – but surely – we are learning that the near-catastrophic failure of Oroville Dam’s main spillway wasn’t truly caused by weather, even though the state claims that in seeking federal aid for repairs. Rather, it resulted from poor engineering and construction when the nation’s highest dam was rising more than a half-century ago as the centerpiece of the State Water Project, and poor maintenance since its completion.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: An unconventional new captain for California’s water agency

California Gov. Jerry Brown last week appointed Grant Davis as director of the state’s Department of Water Resources. Davis, 54, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, brings an unusual resume to the job. … Davis assumes the DWR director’s job on Aug. 1, and Water Deeply recently talked to him about his plans.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County Water Agency manager named head of California Department of Water Resources

Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, was tapped Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown as the state’s new director for the Department of Water Resources, handing a veteran of North Bay politics and water policy a central role in Brown’s controversial bid to overhaul California’s water system with a $17 billion pair of tunnels under Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California reservoirs holding twice as much water as at the drought’s height

The Golden State’s system of 154 major reservoirs is holding 34,464,000 acre-feet according to the most recent June 12 state report with data pulled from an array of entities that own and manage these bodies of water, including the Department of Water Resources, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers and several city water departments.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Probe of spillway crisis to include DWR’s organization, staff

Not just concrete and rebar, but “human and organizational” factors that could have contributed to the emergency at the Oroville Dam spillway will be included in the investigation currently underway by an independent team of experts assembled by two national dam associations.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Enhancing California’s Water Supply: The Drive for New Storage
Spring 2017

One of the wettest years in California history that ended a record five-year drought has rejuvenated the call for new storage to be built above and below ground.

In a state that depends on large surface water reservoirs to help store water before moving it hundreds of miles to where it is used, a wet year after a long drought has some people yearning for a place to sock away some of those flood flows for when they are needed.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR answers public’s questions, listens to concerns

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the impact on your lives,” Bill Croyle told a crowd of more than 250 people at the Butte County Fairgrounds. Croyle, the acting director of the Department of Water Resources, answered questions and listened Thursday evening as people stepped up to a microphone and were heard during the first of the water agency’s community meetings about the Oroville Dam spillway disaster and evacuations.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Environmental groups demand transparency over Oroville Dam emergency spillway repair plans

A coalition of environmental groups that had warned Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway was fatally flawed long before it nearly washed away this winter is demanding that federal regulators open up dam repair plans for public vetting.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Oroville Dam managers made missteps in handling crisis

Late in the afternoon of Feb. 12, Sheriff Kory Honea was at the emergency operations center for the tallest dam in America when he overheard someone say something that stopped him in his tracks: “This is not good.”

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR announces Oroville Dam community informational meetings

The state Department of Water Resources has completed its schedule of community meetings it will be holding to provide information about the ongoing Oroville Dam spillway repairs.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

State will increase water deliveries to Southern California

State officials said Friday Southern California water agencies will soon get close to a full of allotment of water — 85 percent — following several winter storms that broke rain and snow records across the state.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

More rainstorms prompt the reopening of the damaged Oroville Dam spillway

State officials have reopened the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam as another set of rainstorms began moving across Northern California. … Water will continue pouring down the spillway for up to two weeks, depending on how much more rain falls.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite Oroville problems, state water allocations rise

The Department of Water Resources announced that contractors north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will receive full allocations this year. Those south of the Delta, including the giant Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, will get 85 percent of what they’ve requested.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Bids for Oroville Dam repairs top state estimates; $275.4 million the lowest

Blowing past state officials’ financial projections, three construction contractors submitted bids for the Oroville Dam repairs that begin at $275 million, the Department of Water Resources said Saturday. … DWR said it would spend the weekend reviewing the bids and declare a winner Monday.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam builders share insight on original construction

In their 70s and 80s now, some men who built the Oroville Dam still remember those tough days well, some 50-odd years later. Most of the people they worked with have since passed on, but some of the former construction workers who are living in Oroville have continued to meet up over the years.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

River running high as DWR opens space in Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is dropping about 4 feet a day and the Feather River is running high, as the Department of Water Resources empties space in the lake to absorb storm runoff and snowmelt.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Erosion hits key reservoir near Byron

A state reservoir at the starting point to ship Delta water to 23 million Californians has been damaged by heavy water flows this winter — which may trigger a temporary shutdown of the state’s giant water pumps.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Emergency repairs for facility used to ship water to Southern California

State officials say that it will take 30 to 45 days to repair damage detected this week at a key point in the state’s system for shipping water from the Delta to farms in the San Joaquin Valley and to cities from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville residents ready for use of spillway again

With water soon set to flow down the damaged spillway at Oroville Dam, some residents are cautiously confident in repairs and haven’t checked the newly minted evacuation plans yet.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Can California repair damaged Delta reservoir within 45 days?

State officials said Wednesday that Californians reliant on water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta won’t face supply shortages, even as crews shut down a massive pumping station that serves much of Southern California for at least a month to make repairs to its intake reservoir.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Just weeks after Oroville Dam crisis, damage found in another key California reservoir

California water officials, still struggling with fixes at Oroville Dam, will have to temporarily shut down the pumping station that delivers water to much of Southern California and Silicon Valley after discovering damage at another key state reservoir.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Damaged Oroville Dam spillway may need to be used by next week, state officials say

A damaged flood control spillway at the Oroville Dam may have to be used as early as next week as storm runoff and snowmelt continue to fill the massive reservoir on the Feather River, state water officials said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Lake Oroville crisis: An in-depth look at an unprecedented disaster

A wet winter brought to light problems at the nation’s tallest dam, which controls water delivered across California.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: DWR tells assemblyman dam repair cost estimated daily average of $4.7 million

Just how many people are out working at Oroville Dam in response to the spillway emergency and how much is it going to cost? Both reporters and elected representatives have struggled to get an answer to that question.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Hyatt Powerplant, spillway flows off again after test

The Hyatt Powerplant at Oroville Dam was turned off again Saturday after a successful test Friday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Massive debris pile emerges from water near troubled dam

Crews worked Tuesday to clean up dirt and debris from the base of Oroville Dam and biologists rush to save stranded fish after state officials shut off the flow of water from a damaged spillway at the Northern California lake.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Can Oroville Dam’s badly damaged spillway hold up through the rainy season?

For three weeks, Oroville Dam’s fractured main spillway and the surrounding hillsides have taken a nearly nonstop pounding. The stunning waterfall crashing down what’s left of the 3,000-foot concrete span has split the spillway in two and carved massive canyons on either side.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR wants to stop Oroville spillway flow, doesn’t know when it can

The Department of Water Resources plans to remove at least some of the debris at the bottom of the Oroville Dam spillway and study the structure, but just aren’t sure when they’ll have a chance to do that.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will the crisis at Oroville Dam become a catalyst for change?

Jeffrey Mount, a leading expert on California water policy, remembers the last time a crisis at the Oroville Dam seemed likely to prompt reform. It was 1997 and the lake risked overflowing, while levees further downstream failed and several people died.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Rain runoff may have undermined Oroville Dam’s concrete spillway, report says

Rainwater erosion alongside the Oroville Dam’s main spillway appears to have contributed to the heavy damage that prompted a crisis, forcing more than 100,000 to be evacuated from their homes, a report reviewed by The Times showed. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California officials rush to drain lake as new storms begin

Officials raced to drain more water from a lake behind battered Oroville Dam as new storms began rolling into Northern California on Wednesday and tested the quick repairs made to damaged spillways that raised flood fears.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Cracks may offer clues to California dam’s troubles

Six months before rushing water ripped a huge hole in a channel that drains a Northern California reservoir, state inspectors said the concrete spillway was sound. As officials puzzle through how to repair Oroville Dam spillway, federal regulators have ordered the state to figure out what went wrong.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

An ‘aggressive, proactive attack’ to prevent disaster at the Oroville Dam

With both spillways badly damaged and a new storm approaching, America’s tallest dam on Tuesday became the site of a desperate operation to fortify the massive structures before they face another major test. … In a sign of the progress made Tuesday, officials downgraded the evacuation order to a warning, allowing all evacuated residents to return home. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Engineers have known for decades that Oroville’s backup spillway was unreliable

Congressional representatives said Monday they were stunned to learn that Oroville did not have a backup spillway paved with concrete that could be safely used if the main one was damaged.

Aquafornia news KRON4 News

Governor Brown issues emergency order for Oroville Dam emergency spillway

Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency order on Sunday night to increase California’s response to the Oroville Dam emergency spillway possibly on the verge of breaking.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California dam water level drops after massive evacuation

Water levels dropped Monday at California’s Lake Oroville, stopping water from spilling over a massive dam’s potentially hazardous emergency spillway after authorities ordered the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people from towns lying below the lake. California Department of Water Resources officials are waiting for the light of dawn to inspect an erosion scar on the spillway at the Oroville Dam, the nation’s largest.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Sinking land causes California water chokepoint

Unchecked groundwater use is colliding with seesawing weather patterns to produce a new act in California’s long-running tragedy of the commons. According to NASA and European Space Agency data released on February 8, parts of the California aqueduct on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, near Avenal, sank more than two feet between 2013 and 2016 as farmers pumped records amounts of groundwater during the state’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Too much water: How Oroville Dam problems became a crisis

The mass evacuations underway below the Oroville Dam capped a week of frantic efforts to prevent flooding as America’s tallest dam reached capacity and its main spillway was severely damaged.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Oroville Dam — Feds and state officials ignored warnings 12 years ago

More than a decade ago, federal and state officials and some of California’s largest water agencies rejected concerns that the massive earthen spillway at Oroville Dam — at risk of collapse Sunday night and prompting the evacuation of 185,000 people — could erode during heavy winter rains and cause a catastrophe.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Gaping hole in Oroville Dam spillway keeps growing

A gaping hole in the spillway for the tallest dam in the United States has grown and California authorities said they expect it will continue eroding as water washes over it but the Oroville Dam and the public are safe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Damage to Oroville Dam’s spillway worsens as officials consider emergency measures

As storm runoff poured into fast rising Lake Oroville Thursday, the state resumed releases down the reservoir’s damaged spillway, creating dramatic scenes of muddy torrents gushing over the concrete chute. 

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Emergency release of water from Oroville Dam escalates from possible to likely, DWR says

With stormwater and snowmelt pouring into the reservoir faster than expected, the operator of the crippled Oroville Dam said it was likely water would have to be released from the facility’s emergency spillway as soon as Saturday – a last-ditch alternative that officials had been hoping to avoid.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

High water releases have eroded the base of Lake Oroville’s spillway

Faced with rising reservoir levels, state engineers on Wednesday were trying to figure out how much water they could send down Lake Oroville’s damaged spillway. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water to flow at Oroville Dam spillway despite damage

As a test run at the Oroville Dam spillway commenced Wednesday afternoon, the director of the Department of Water Resources said at a press conference in Sacramento he expected the bottom of the spillway to be eroded away by spring, with a replacement completed by fall.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Crater in Oroville Dam spillway will continue to grow, officials warn, as reservoir levels climb

State engineers gingerly began releasing water again through the damaged Oroville Dam spillway Wednesday in a controlled test to see how much water the scarred facility could handle, as reservoir levels continued to climb behind the critical flood-control structure.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Hole opens in Oroville Dam spillway amid heavy rains

Flows from one of California’s biggest supplies of drinking water were suspended Tuesday after a massive hole opened in the Oroville Dam spillway amid heavy rains.

Aquafornia news

River flows double Monday as wet weather sweeps through Sacramento

Water officials dramatically increased flows on the American and Sacramento rivers Monday to lessen the flooding risk ahead of big storms coming Monday and Tuesday night.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Storm, dam releases have rivers swelling

State and federal water managers ramped up water releases from Sacramento Valley dams Monday afternoon to make space for the water due to come from the storm that was expected to arrive overnight.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Water, water everywhere in California – and not enough reservoir space to store it

After five years of drought, could California really have so much rain and snow there’s no room to store all the water? … One month into an exceptionally stormy 2017, river flows though the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been so powerful that the massive pumps that ship north-state water to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley have roared at full throttle for weeks.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State increases estimate of amount of water it will deliver from Lake Oroville

State Water Project contractors will get 60 percent of the water they want this year due to the storms that have filled Lake Oroville and buffered the snowpack in the hills above.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought continues to shrink, federal government says

With major reservoirs nearly full, the Sierra Nevada snowpack well above average and flood warnings in place for some rivers, federal scientists reported Thursday a continued weakening of California’s drought. … Even as state officials urged caution, they announced Wednesday that cites [sic] and farms will receive at least 60 percent of the maximum amount of water they are contracted to buy in the coming year from the State Water Project, up from just 20 percent two months ago. 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

More Northern California water to flow to Southern California

Southern California can expect to see its reservoirs continue to rise this year after state water officials announced increased water deliveries from Northern California on Wednesday, Jan. 18.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

There’s still a lot we don’t know about blue-green algae toxins in California

No patterns, lots of blooms and more to learn. … For the first time, the state tracked outbreaks of cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae, confirming reports of blooms in approximately 40 different lakes, rivers, streams and other water bodies across the state, including Lake Elsinore, Pyramid and Silverwood lakes and lakes at the El Dorado East Regional Park in Long Beach.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

State Water Project customers will get bigger allocation due to winter’s wet start

California officials, acknowledging the wet start to winter, on Wednesday more than doubled the expected allocation of water from the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: California boosts water-supply projections amid wet weather

With the rainy season off to a strong start, California officials on Wednesday more than doubled the amount of water they expect to provide next year from the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Pyramid Lake infested with quagga mussels, Castaic Lake feared next –

Pyramid Lake is now infested with ecosystem-altering Quagga Mussels after state officials found six of the non-native freshwater mollusks Thursday in a tunnel that connects the lake with another body of water along the state’s water delivery system.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Reservoir levels rise in California with record October rainfall (with audio)

Rains have drenched Northern California, where most of the state’s largest reservoirs are located. The state had the second wettest October since the Department [of Water Resources] began keeping records in 1921.

Aquapedia background

Mojave River

Flowing into the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Mojave River exists mostly underground. Surface channels are usually dry absent occasional groundwater surfacing and flooding from extreme weather events like El Niño