Topic: State Water Project

State Water Project
Overview

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 Western Farm Press

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

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

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: San Luis Reservoir algal bloom at warning advisory

The Department of Water Resources urged people to avoid physical contact with the water at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County until further notice due to blue-green algae. Boating is allowed, but swimming and other water-contact recreation and sporting activities are not considered safe under the warning advisory due to potential adverse health effects.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: 2019 State Water Project review

At the May meeting of the California Water Commission, Assistant Executive Officer Jennifer Ruffolo presented the draft of the 2019 Annual Review of the Construction and Operation of the State Water Project for the Commission’s consideration and possible approval. Once approved, Commission staff will distribute the review to DWR and the Legislature.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Pyramid Dam modernization program team completes spillways investigations

As part of an effort to modernize Pyramid Dam located in Los Angeles County, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently completed assessments for the dam’s gated and emergency spillways. The Pyramid Dam Modernization Program is now entering the investigations phase, which includes structural and hydraulic analyses for the gated spillway and erodibility analysis for the emergency spillway.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Delta smelt on the verge: Efforts to save smelt have far-reaching impact

Two factors are believed to weigh heavily on the Delta smelt’s fate. The biggest is the reduction in fresh water in the Delta since water started flowing southward via the California Aqueduct in the 1960s. … The other threat to Delta smelt are larger fish particularly non-native striped bass and largemouth bass that were introduced to the Delta by man.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: The COVID crisis is slashing California’s state budget. What does it mean for water management?

Governor Newsom’s May Revisions to the 2020-2021 state budget reflect … a $54.3 billion budget deficit and propose $18 billion in cuts to state expenditures. … This blog post provides a short summary of the proposed budget changes and their impacts on California water management.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR unveils new benchmark toward reducing carbon emissions

The metric identifies the amount of carbon dioxide per acre-foot of water transported by the State Water Project. Water districts receiving water from the SWP can use this metric to understand the emissions of their water supply chains, and customers can better understand the ‘carbon intensity’ of the water they purchase.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State Water Project allocation increases to 20 percent

The State Water Project now expects to deliver 20 percent of requested supplies in 2020 thanks to above-average precipitation in May, the California Department of Water Resources announced. An initial allocation of 10 percent was announced in December and increased to 15 percent in January. Today’s announcement will likely be the final allocation update of 2020.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: An introduction to State Water Project deliveries

Most people in California receive some of their drinking water supply from the State Water Project (SWP). The SWP also supplies water to over 10% of California’s irrigated agriculture. The SWP and its service area span much of California, delivering water to 29 wholesale contractors

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR continues to protect native species and habitats during COVID-19

Danika Tsao and a team of surveyors have been working to complete pre-construction monitoring for the Grant Line Canal Barrier Project in San Joaquin County. The project is considered essential for agricultural water use along the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … The area of the Grant Line Canal is known for being a natural habitat for the Swainson’s Hawk, which is on the state’s threatened species list.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR wins outstanding project and leader awards from the American Society of Civil Engineers

The Oroville Dam Spillways Reconstruction Project and Department of Water Resources State Water Project Deputy Director Ted Craddock, were recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) with the Outstanding Projects and Leaders (OPAL) awards in Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water resources management: Developing a water budget

A water budget is an accounting of the rates of the inflows, outflows, and changes in water storage in a specific area; however, as simple as that might sound, developing an accurate water budget can be a difficult and challenging endeavor. To address this problem, the Department of Water Resources has developed a water budget handbook…

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Delta tunnel advisory committee compelled to work through the pandemic

Members of a committee designed to ensure Delta communities and tribal groups have their say in a proposed, life-changing tunnel project have been told to work through the coronavirus pandemic—or be left out of the process. Some committee members also claim that state officials misrepresented that fact to one of the most important commissions monitoring their efforts.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Opinion: After losing several key battles over water, Delta advocates see hope in the last option remaining: The law

The conflict over California water, often compared to a war, rather resembles a geological process. As along an earthquake fault, surface spasms come and go. The latest twitch is an injunction momentarily halting some Trump Administration water plans. But the underlying pressures are a constant. They never stop exerting themselves.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: Judge throws water on California bid to slow Delta pumping

During the marathon hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd hinted the environmental groups’ requests for a ruling by May 11 will be a tall task. Not only is the case complex and involves dozens of parties, he said the chaos caused by the pandemic is impeding the court’s ability to move swiftly.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Delta Blues

The battle over water has been fought to a standstill, but there’s hope that science and technology will make voluntary agreements by all sides possible.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Water restrictions to be lifted Tuesday while pipeline repairs in Moreno Valley continue

Work to restore a damaged 9-foot diameter water pipeline in Moreno Valley continued Monday, May 4, and outdoor watering restrictions will be lifted for Western Municipal Water District customers starting Tuesday. … The reduced-use directive had been in place since Thursday after a contractor punctured the Santa Ana Valley Pipeline.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: April Delta conveyance project update

The California Environmental Quality Act scoping period concluded on April 17, 2020 after an extended 93-day public comment period. DWR is reviewing all submitted comments and will publish a scoping report summarizing the information this summer.

Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Lawsuits fly amid state, federal changes in California water delivery and use

Environmental groups in California on April 29 challenged in court the state Dept. of Water Resources decision not to include a proposed 40-mile tunnel in its most recent environmental assessment needed to reauthorize long-term operation of the State Water Project—a 700-mile system of dams and aqueducts that moves water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to areas in the south.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Why State Water Contractors sued California over restrictions on water deliveries

For us, better science is the only path that can achieve those two important goals. Unfortunately, as the state completed its new permitting effort at the end of March, a decade of research was largely ignored in favor of political objectives that impose unjustified restrictions on the State Water Project …

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Irrigation restrictions to be lifted Monday for some while pipeline repairs continue in Moreno Valley

The reduced-use directive was put in place after a contractor punctured the 9-foot-diameter Santa Ana Valley Pipeline on Thursday. The water flow in the line has been stopped while repairs take place, and the moves by the districts were to help ensure reserves are not depleted.

Aquafornia news E&E News

California agencies sue state as irrigation war escalates

California water agencies yesterday sued the state over endangered species protections they claim threaten their ability to provide water to more than 25 million residents and thousands of acres of farmland. … At issue is water shipped from California’s water hub, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta east of San Francisco, south via the State Water Project, a massive system of dams, canals and aqueducts.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom faces multiple lawsuits over California water compromise

From the moment he took office, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wanted to bring peace to California’s water wars. But now, more than a year later, most of the warring factions are united against his plan for governing the Delta. Three of the most powerful groups in California water sued the state this week over Newsom’s two-month-old plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: State’s low water allocation prompts frustration, suspicion

Is the State Water Project’s extremely low water allocation based on California’s fickle climate? Or politics? A growing chorus of frustrated water managers are wondering.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Dems call for state, feds to coordinate water rules

U.S. Representative T.J. Cox, Senator Dianne Fenstein and Represenatives Jim Costa, Josh Harder and John Garamendi on Thursday called on Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom to come up with a coordinated effort to manage the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point With An Uncertain End
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Voluntary agreement discussions continue despite court fights, state-federal conflicts and skepticism among some water users and environmental groups

Aerial image of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaVoluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state regulators.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR releases drought planning report

The Department of Water Resources has released a draft report with recommendations and guidance to help small water suppliers and rural communities plan for the next drought, wildfire, or other natural disaster that may cause water shortages.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California water supplier heading to court in state permit fight

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Tuesday voted to sue the state of California over a permit one state agency granted to another at the end of March. The permit is related to operations of the State Water Project, which serves 27 million people and irrigates 750,000 acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Lawsuits vowed as feds, California take divergent water routes

The state recently got a new permit for water delivery operations from its wildlife agency. In the past, that kind of authority came from adhering to federal rules. Now, with a dispute between the state and federal government over water management and endangered species act protections, the state issued its own permit. Critics of the state’s move say they plan to file lawsuits.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Lawmakers urge Governor Newsom to reconsider incidental take permit

Several Congressional leaders sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom expressing disappointment in the decision to issue an incidental take permit for long-term operations of the State Water Project. … The letter was signed by Representatives Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, Ken Calvert, Tom McClintock, Doug LaMalfa, and Paul Cook. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news East County Today

Antioch to receive $27 million settlement from California’s Department of Water Resources

The agreement pays Antioch $27 million, which guarantees that they will be able to utilize its 150-year old water rights and remain in the Delta for the long-term. The $27 million, in addition to $43 million in State grants and loans, completes the financing for the $70m Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Newsom accomplishes rare feat: A water plan no one likes

In the century-long “us-versus-them” mentality of California water, a plan released by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Department of Water Resources last week achieved something perhaps never accomplished before in the Golden State’s water industry. It incited universal scorn.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: In memoriam of DWR’s leader William Gianelli

William Gianelli, the Department of Water Resources’ (DWR’s) third Director, passed away at the age of 101 in Monterey, California on March 30. Known for being an engineering expert, water community leader, and champion of the State Water Project (SWP), Gianelli dedicated more than 30 years to public service in both state and federal government.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Monday Top of the Scroll: Blog: New state water regulations cause angst on all sides

A new set of water regulations aimed at protecting California’s native fish came down from the state earlier this week to near universal condemnation from both agricultural and environmental water folks. The regulations are contained in a 143-page “incidental take permit” issued by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife …

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California’s new Delta water rules don’t end conflict with Washington

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 state project.

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Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

Tunnel tussle

The nature of Butte County’s concerns over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s scaled back Delta tunnel project was made clear last Tuesday, when Supervisor Debra Lucero questioned a staffer from the state Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Follow her lead: Cindy Messer

Cindy Messer considers one of her greatest professional accomplishments also the toughest experience in her 23-year career. Messer was sworn in as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources the day after the Oroville Dam crisis began in February 2017… But within months, her boss retired, and she became acting interim director for the recovery phase.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

Besides reviewing and making final determinations on submitted plans that show how local agencies will manage their groundwater basins for long-term sustainability, DWR staff provide essential resources to local water agencies to help them better understand and manage their local basins. … Below are some examples of DWR staff contributions to groundwater management…

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: DWR CEQA proceeds with tunnel proposal independent experts deem “impractical”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is soliciting public comment on the scope of environmental review for a revised Delta tunnel project despite prior findings of independent technical experts that a key project proposal is “impractical,” stating that it “does not recommend” further study.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

State water contractors pick sides in lawsuit over Trump’s water boost

Because the State and Federal water managers coordinate operations of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, the State Water Contractors argue that dumping the biological opinions governing those operations and restarting the process would create “uncertainty in water supply availability, potentially affecting the [State Water Contractor] members’ water supplies from the SWP.”

Aquafornia news Benicia Herald

Delta residents speak out against Newsom’s controversial tunnel project

Over the past month, DWR has been holding scoping meetings in the Delta and select locations throughout the state. At meetings in Walnut Grove, Stockton, Clarksburg and Brentwood, a diverse group of farmers, fishermen, elected officials, climate/social justice activists, economists and engineers came out in force to oppose what is often referred to as the “boondoggle” project.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Why California should support Delta tunnel proposal

If our state wants to remain economically competitive, it must re-engineer the troubled estuary that serves as the hub of California’s elaborate water-delivery system — the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The best and most viable way to do this is via the single Delta tunnel project proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is the Sacramento splittail an endangered species?

The Sacramento splittail is a lovely, silvery-white fish that lives primarily in Suisun Marsh, the north Delta and other parts of the San Francisco Estuary (SFE; Moyle et al. 2004). The name comes from its unusual tail, in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower lobe. It is a distinctive endemic species that for decades has fascinated those of us who work in Suisun Marsh.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Delta tunnel plan draws strong protest by Native Americans

The message was loud and clear for state water officials at a public meeting Monday evening in Redding: Don’t send any more water south through a proposed Delta tunnel project. A group of more than 100 Native Americans rallied on the lawn of the Redding Civic Auditorium before they marched into a scoping meeting held inside the Redding Sheraton Hotel across the street.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Don’t be salty: Operating the Suisun Marsh tidal gates to benefit Delta smelt

As Delta smelt continue to decline throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, novel approaches are being implemented to open up additional habitat for these imperiled fish. … The Department of Water Resources, in collaboration with other stakeholders, has been conducting a pilot research study to investigate how operational changes at the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates affect Delta smelt habitat conditions.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

San Diego Water Authority votes to largely end 10-year legal battle with MWD

The San Diego County Water Authority‘s board voted to largely end a decade-long legal battle with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California after securing over $350 million in concessions.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta conveyance update: Tribal engagement in the Delta conveyance process

At the February meeting of the California Water Commission, commissioners heard an update on the Delta conveyance project, and a presentation on tribal engagement with the Delta conveyance process.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Press

East County residents weigh in on Delta Conveyance Project

A rally before the start of the Department of Water Resources’(DWR) public scoping meeting for the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP) set the tone for the event — residents of East County were in no mood to consider another tunnel project in the Delta.

Aquafornia news Plumas News

Letter lets state know where Plumas stands on watershed concerns

Plumas supervisors reminded the state that the best way to protect natural resources is by not depleting them, especially when other natural resources are available, such as the Pacific Ocean. Supervisors encourage the state’s Natural Resources Agency to support developing technology to promote practical ways to use ocean water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration reverses itself, will pay California for Oroville Dam fixes

The state Department of Water Resources said Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to cover approximately $300 million in repair costs the agency had previously denied. … All told, the state now expects to be reimbursed for approximately $750 million of the $1.1 billion cost of the crisis…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Subsidence of the California Aqueduct in the San Joaquin Valley

Recently, the Department of Water Resources released a report to supplement the 2017 California Aqueduct Subsidence Study that addresses specific issues within a 10-mile-wide study corridor… At the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Ted Craddock, DWR Assistant Deputy Director of the State Water Project, provided an overview of the report.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Time to act is now on California’s water system

Access to reliable, clean drinking water should be a fundamental human right for all Californians. Unfortunately, many disadvantaged communities throughout the state lack access to clean drinking water, and our aging water delivery infrastructure threatens water reliability for millions of California residents.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Blog: One tunnel, same distrust

State water officials offered an early look at the downsized California WaterFix project earlier this month, and conservationists and far-traveling indigenous tribes say they still believe it has the potential to permanently alter life in and around the Delta.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

CEQA 101: Introduction to the Delta conveyance project CEQA process

Recently, the Department of Water Resources posted a short video providing an overview of the California Environmental Quality Act and the preparation of environmental documents for the Delta Conveyance Project. The video was narrated by Ken Bogdan, Senior Staff Counsel for the Department of Water Resources; this post is based in part on the video, with extra information added from internet sources and the Notice of Preparation.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Two valley congressmen have a say in whether House Dems probe water boost

Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the process that yielded the Trump Administration’s freshly-released biological opinions governing the federally-operated Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta tunnel EIR scoping comments: Finance drives operation, so feasibility study should come first not last

The EIR scoping meetings for the single-tunnel delta conveyance facility (DCF) began this week. My comments focus on two critical areas where DWR appears to be repeating their mistakes of their past despite the Newsom administration’s stated intention of taking a fresh approach

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California governor proposes new plan for managing water

California’s governor revealed a plan on Tuesday that would keep more water in the fragile San Joaquin River Delta while restoring 60,000 acres of habitat for endangered species and generating more than $5 billion in new funding for environmental improvements.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California canals damaged by sinking soil, groundwater pumping. New bills aim to help

Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

City Council approves water rate hike to fund water self-sufficiency projects

The Santa Monica City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan Tuesday that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club California

Blog: Letter from Sacramento: Gavin Newsom’s muddy water policy

As I watch the way Governor Gavin Newsom is handling water policy, I have two thoughts. First, the governor is on a track that seems driven by adherence to some of Governor Jerry Brown’s worst water policies. And, second, he’s not getting good advice.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California water department must face reality of climate change

As we enter a new decade, California faces increasing environmental challenges caused by climate change, creating an uncertain future for our water resources. … It is time for California’s Department of Water Resources to implement water policy for the state that shores up our precious waterways and diversifies water supplies in the face of these imminent threats.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State Water Project allocation increases to 15 percent

On Friday, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced an increase in 2020 State Water Project (SWP) allocations to 15 percent of requested supplies, up from the year’s initial 10 percent allocation announced on December 2.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New water recycling projects to battle seawater invasion in Monterey Bay area

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Newsom’s Delta tunnel plan could work — but only as part of a more comprehensive water effort

The problem with the theory is that a delta tunnel (state officials like to call it a “conveyance”) would yield all those benefits only if it were one piece of a larger complex of projects, policies and agreements to keep water flowing through the overly depleted San Joaquin River and limit the volume and timing of water diversions. And those other parts of the puzzle simply aren’t there.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pledged to fix California water politics. Now he’s bogged down in the Delta

The Newsom administration appears to be a house divided on water, as competing interests pull it in opposite directions. The main flash point is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a threatened estuary and source of water for a majority of Californians.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Committee: The Newsom Administration’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio

At the January meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Conservation and Local Resources Committee, Nancy Vogel, Director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program at the Natural Resources Agency, gave committee members an overview of the draft resilience portfolio.

Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation approves rate increases, protest level not reached

The Santa Fe Irrigation District approved three percent water rate increases for the next three years at a Jan. 16 hearing. … The rate increases aim to help meet the district’s objectives to ensure equity across customer classes, encourage conservation and maintain financial stability as it faces challenges such as the rising costs of imported water.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: As water agencies balk at the tunnel’s price tag, DWR turns to a desperate ransom strategy

Since July, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Contractors have engaged in fruitless negotiations over how to pay for a single-tunnel Delta Conveyance Facility. On December 23, right before the holidays, DWR made their 6th proposal to the State WaterContractors with a major shift in approach.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must stand up to Trump on latest attack on Delta

Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. … These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors blast plans to move Delta tunnel project forward

Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct

State water officials are blaming almond and pistachio orchards for sinking the California Aqueduct before all the evidence is in, according to one western Kern County water district manager.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration seeks input on water plan

As Gov. Gavin Newsom and his administration attempt to establish a comprehensive and cohesive water policy for the state, officials are seeking public input on the draft water resilience portfolio released earlier this month. The document was issued in response to Newsom’s April 2019 executive order directing his administration to inventory and assess a wide range of water-related challenges and solutions.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Opinion: Imported water helps the valley endure another year of drought

Even though water districts and cities throughout the San Bernardino Valley rely on local rainfall and mountain runoff for about 70 percent of their water supply, local supplies are not enough. The region relies on Sierra snowmelt from Northern California to meet the remaining 30 percent.

Aquafornia news KCET

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018. One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Stewardship Council: Briefing on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary Report

At the December meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Caitlin Sweeney, Director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, briefed the Council on the 2019 update to the State of the Estuary report. She began with some background on the Partnership.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Newsom administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio puts California on course to climate resilience

While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Some Riverside residents warned to stop outdoor watering while treatment plant repairs take place

The Henry J. Mills Water Treatment Plant will be out of service for nine days and the Western Municipal Water District will not be able to import water, forcing the agency to rely on its reserves, officials said. The work began Friday, Jan. 10, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California crews will be fixing and modifying the facility until Jan. 19, according to the agency.

Aquafornia news Dana Point Times

Talking desalination dollars

South Coast Water District will gear up to undertake its next milestone for desalination: financing the project. On Thursday, Jan. 9, after press time, General Manager Rick Shintaku requested authorization from SCWD’s Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with Clean Energy Capital to conduct a cost analysis for the proposed desalination project.

Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Opinion: Dirty water – dirty politics

Who can deny the value of potable water to every living thing in this city, this county, this state? Four million residential and industrial customers in 43 cities in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and San Fernando Basins are dependent on multiple water sources – groundwater pumped from below them, by aqueduct from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley and recycled from wastewater treatment plants.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document’s proposed strategies. Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

Consistent with the science developed over the last three decades, the Newsom administration is pursuing comprehensive, watershed-wide solutions that address the numerous factors that limit the abundance of native fish in the Delta. These types of solutions are the ones that are most likely to achieve the state’s co-equal goals of the 2009 Delta Reform Act…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: A change of plans

Governor Newsom’s administration recently released a draft Water Resilience Portfolio plan… This plan also emphasizes diverse relatively precise policy initiatives for state agencies, often in support of local and regional water problem-solving and with some aspirations to bring state agencies together. It is a good read, clearly reflecting intense and diverse discussions over several months.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases

Department of Water Resources is preparing Oroville Dam’s primary spillway for use this winter season. The reconstructed spillway was completed this spring and used for the first time in April since the 2017 spillway crisis threatened 188,000 residents downstream.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Sierra Nevada snowpack begins 2020 in good shape

As of Thursday, the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack — a major source of California’s water supply — stood at 90% of its historical average. That’s the highest total in early January in four years, when it came in at 101% on Jan. 2, 2016.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water

The governor’s apparent willingness to play into the hands of monied, agri-business players at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta remains the biggest mystery of his short tenure. It also threatens to trash his reputation as a strong protector of California’s environment.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Department of Water Resources to conduct first snow survey of 2020

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is set to conduct the first snow survey of 2020 on Thursday. … The information is critical to the water managers who allocate California’s natural water resources to regions downstream.

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Don’t go into the tunnel

Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Citizens committee files to stop Oroville Dam re-licensing, says DWR is untrustworthy

The Feather River Recovery Alliance has filed a motion to intervene with the Department of Water Resources’ pending application to re-license operation of the Oroville Dam. … The motion requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reopen the licensing process that was conducted over a decade ago, and prior to the community becoming aware of safety concerns at the Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fishing groups sue federal agencies over latest water plan for California

The fracas over California’s scarce water supplies will tumble into a San Francisco courtroom after a lawsuit was filed this week claiming the federal government’s plan to loosen previous restrictions on water deliveries to farmers is a blueprint for wiping out fish.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservation groups sue feds over California water project opinions

The complaint says the Trump administration did not fully consider scientific facts or logic, and arbitrarily concluded that the projects would not have a damaging effect on endangered fish species, including salmon and steelhead. … The projects at issue divert water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, primarily for agricultural and municipal uses.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

State is forecasting small water allocation

The California Department of Water Resources announced an initial State Water Project allocation of 10% for the 2020 calendar year. According to a DWR announcement, the initial allocation is based on several factors, such as conservative dry hydrology, reservoir storage, and releases necessary to meet water supply and environmental demands.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has given environmentalists much of what they presumably want as it released a 610-page draft Delta environmental report recently that calls for $1.5 billion in habitat restoration among other environmental projects. … But as much as they cheered the lawsuit announcement, environmentalists were aghast at the report because the state plan will allow some additional water for farms.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Aging Oroville Dam spillway gates draw concern

Despite increased maintenance of Oroville Dam since the spillway fell apart in February 2017, members of the community-led Oroville Dam Ad Hoc Group have expressed concern about the age and wear of mechanics within the spillway’s main gates, citing similar failures on dams of the same era.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam rebuild recognized for international engineering award

The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Oroville Dam rebuild as one of 10 outstanding civil engineering projects. Two runners-up and a winner will be chosen at the 2020 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement gala in Washington D.C. on March 13.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Wanted: Big vision, small ego for water agency manager

Kern County Water Agency General Manager Curtis Creel will retire Dec. 7, leaving a very large and important hole to fill. The agency is the second largest contractor on the State Water Project and pays 25 percent of the bill for that massive endeavor, giving it a very big voice on most water issues.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Public-funded Oroville Dam advertisement called ‘propaganda’

The latest public relations effort cost California water ratepayers $29,000 to produce an eight-page color advertising insert that ran in recent days in six Sacramento Valley newspapers including The Sacramento Bee. … Critics argue it’s inappropriate for a state agency to be spending public money on an advertisement that they say serves little purpose other than to try to make the government look good.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

USFWS regional director Paul Souza explains the biological opinions

Paul Souza is regional director of the Pacific Southwest division of the US Fish and Wildlife Service… At the November meeting of Metropolitan Water District’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Mr. Souza gave a presentation on the recently released biological opinions for the long-term operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Feather River Fish Hatchery meets salmon harvest goal; 12 million chinook eggs collected

This fall run, while late, is about average in terms of the number of fish coming up the river. And, in terms of their condition, Crawshaw said the fish are “very healthy” and “good sizes.”

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Trump’s Bay-Delta biops are a plan for extinction

As we continue to read through the biological opinions, here are detailed reasons why these biological opinions are a plan for extinction in the Bay-Delta.

Aquafornia news Victorville Daily Press

High on hydroelectricity

The Mojave Water Agency on Thursday cut the ribbon on its Deep Creek Hydroelectric Clean-Energy System, a project that produces electricity from California Aqueduct water and replenishes the groundwater in the Victor Valley.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gavin Newsom must stand up to Trump’s water grab

In October, the Trump Administration released politically manipulated “biological opinions” under the federal Endangered Species Act that dramatically weaken protections for the Bay-Delta, endangered fish species and commercially valuable salmon runs. … However, in an uncharacteristically subdued response, the Newsom Administration stated that it “will evaluate the federal government’s proposal, but will continue to push back if it does not reflect our values.”

Aquafornia news Counterpunch

Opinion: When justice delayed means extinction: The case of the Delta smelt

The glaring light of extinction of the Delta smelt reveals decades of treachery and deceit by corporate agribusiness, metropolitan water districts, politicians and their collaborators in the resource agencies charged by law to protect wildlife species from extinction. The moral squalor that has permitted this crisis is contemptible.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Democrats’ Bernhardt probe has California’s Cox in a tough spot

Freshman Democratic Rep. TJ Cox represents some of the farmers who would likely benefit from the additional water. … Facing what could be a tough reelection fight in 2020, Cox’s future in Congress could depend on whether Bernhardt’s former client gets what it wants.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Delta group critical of federal move to change water priorities

An environmental group, highly critical of a federal agency’s newly proposed recommendations to protect endangered species in the Delta, states that they would seriously harm those species and their habitat. The new recommendations, released Oct. 22 by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, are to be used as guidelines for operating the federal pumping plant in the Delta.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Castaic Dam modernization program begins: DWR conducts stream release structure investigation

As part of a statewide effort to reduce seismic and hydrologic risk to State Water Project facilities, the California Department of Water Resources’ Castaic Dam Modernization Program begins this week with an assessment of a stream release structure at Castaic Dam in Los Angeles County.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom must fight Trump’s Delta fish extinction plan

The Trump administration last week launched an attack on the health of San Francisco Bay and Delta and California’s salmon fishing industry with new rules allowing big increases in water diversions from this teetering, vulnerable ecosystem. … The new Trump administration rules replace prior ones that weren’t strong enough to protect salmon and other wildlife in the last drought. They only make the situation worse.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Trump’s gift to California

Amid horrific wildfires and rolling blackouts, the Trump Administration this week brought welcome relief to the Golden State by allowing more water to be sent to farmers and folks in the south. Will California liberals accept the deregulatory gift?

Aquafornia news Politico

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump on everything — except water

California is providing health care to undocumented immigrants while President Donald Trump wants to build a border wall, and Gov. Gavin Newsom circumvented the White House with a side deal on auto emissions standards. But when it comes to water, Trump and California are closer than you might think.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

San Francisco Estuary health report offers mixed review

The health of North America’s largest estuary, the San Francisco Estuary, is showing some signs of improvement, but much of the historic damage caused to the massive watershed has either not improved or worsened, according to a new report.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump team weakens Delta protections for California smelt, salmon

In a move that would boost water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and Southern California cities, federal fishery agencies are weakening decade-old endangered species protections for some of the state’s most imperiled native fish populations.

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Aquafornia news ABC10.com

California’s Delta smelt are dying: How this affects the state’s water

The Delta smelt is such a small and translucent fish that it often disappears from view when it swims in the turbid waters of its home in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. However, it’s also been disappearing from the Delta entirely.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California to pay $12 million to Butte County for roads damaged in Oroville Dam crisis

The state Department of Water Resources and Butte County announced the settlement Tuesday, more than two years after spillways at the Oroville Dam crumbled and fell away during heavy rains. The repairs resulted in heavy truck traffic that damaged Butte County roads. Butte County sued in August 2018.

Tour Nick Gray

Northern California Tour 2020
Field Trip - October 14-16

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 Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The next big California vs. Trump fight is over water and endangered species

Just how far will Gov. Gavin Newsom go in his high-profile fight with the Trump administration over environmental protections? The next few months will provide an answer, as Newsom is forced to take a stand on Trump rollbacks in a long-contested battleground — the Northern California Delta that helps supply more than half the state’s population with drinking water and fills irrigation canals on millions of acres of farmland.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

To guard against drought, Santa Maria looks to acquire rights to suspended state water supply

Santa Maria and several other Central Coast Water Authority members are planning to claim an additional 12,214 acre-feet of state water that was set aside decades ago. The move — which would be funded by issuing a $42 million bond — would increase Santa Maria’s annual right to state water from 17,820 to over 27,000 acre-feet each year.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Newsom administration faces difficult tests on water this fall

While I’m deeply disappointed that Governor Newsom vetoed SB 1, the governor’s veto is also a troubling sign for several big tests on California water coming this fall…

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria residents could see water and sewer increases for the next 4 years

The proposed water rates include a fixed meter charge per month and a variable consumption charge per unit of water. The city says most single family residences will see about a $15 increase in January of 2020. … The last rate increase was approved by the city council five years ago, but he says a lot has changed since then.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Citizens advisory commission created in response to Oroville Dam crisis

The California Natural Resources Agency is hosting an inaugural public forum designed to address issues related to the Oroville Dam, according to a press release from the CNRA. 

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Aquafornia news Western Water

Often short of water, California’s southern Central Coast builds toward a drought-proof supply

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.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Often Short of Water, California’s Southern Central Coast Builds Toward A Drought-Proof Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Water agencies in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo counties look to seawater, recycled water to protect against water shortages

The spillway at Lake Cachuma in central Santa Barbara County. Drought in 2016 plunged its storage to about 8 percent of capacity.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.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

DWR Director Karla Nemeth on the department’s strategic plan, Delta conveyance

At the August meeting of the California Water Commission, Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources (DWR), spoke to the commissioners about the Department’s strategic plan and the work underway on the Delta conveyance project, which she noted nests into the strategic plan as a key feature of what needs to be done to modernize the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Demise of key environment bill could escalate California’s water wars

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds. The result may be the heightened regulatory uncertainty that opponents of the bill said they hoped to avoid…

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Newsom must keep his promise on California SB1

Whatever satisfaction might be gained by telling the president to pound sand is nowhere near as important as protecting the water supply of Modesto and thousands of farmers depending on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A fight with Trump that Gavin Newsom doesn’t want: Why he’s vetoing environmental bill

Newsom saw SB 1 as a mortal threat to something he’s been supporting since shortly before he took office: a tentative truce in California’s longstanding water wars. The truce revolves around the flow of water in and out of the Delta from California’s most important river systems, the Sacramento and San Joaquin.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Ventura sued over State Water Project environmental impact report

A nonprofit that advocates on behalf of water issues is suing Ventura for what it claims is a faulty environmental report prepared in anticipation of the city connecting to state water.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Pyramid Dam modernization project kicks off: DWR assesses spillways this fall

Today, the California Department of Water Resources began assessment work on Pyramid Dam’s spillways in Los Angeles County as part of a statewide effort to reduce seismic and hydrologic risk to State Water Project facilities spanning 705 miles throughout California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Newsom plan best to fix California water woes

We applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s efforts in leading discussions with the United States Department of the Interior, public water agencies and environmental groups to craft voluntary agreements that will restore the ecological health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta while providing California with clean, reliable water.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star-News

Opinion: Science shunned by Trump once more

When the salmon are healthy, the world is healthy. That means the waters are clean and fast-running and the bottom gravel is clean. It means the rivers … are pouring as they should into our oceans, bringing nutrients and sediments into the salt- and fresh-water interplay.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Droughts, tunnels & clean water: A conversation on California water policy

Recently, the Sacramento Press Club hosted a panel discussion on the future of California water featuring Secretary Wade Crowfoot, Metropolitan General Manager Jeff Kightlinger, and State Water Contractors General Manager Jennifer Pierre.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Two small agencies want a divorce from the San Diego County Water Authority. It could get messy

While there’s no court action yet, the Water Authority is gearing up for what in the water world amounts to a rare change in relationship status. After decades buying water from the Water Authority, Rainbow and Fallbrook want a divorce.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Legislature, rethink SB 1. It will hurt water management

If not amended, Senate Bill 1 will perpetuate California’s water and environmental troubles, not help to resolve them, as its proponents claim.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: August Delta conveyance update

The Department of Water Resources is continuing to work on the environmental planning and permitting to modernize State Water Project infrastructure in the Delta. This effort is consistent with Governor Newsom’s direction and support for a single-tunnel project to ensure a climate resilient water system.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Remarkable Suisun Marsh: a bright spot for fish in the San Francisco Estuary

Here we provide an updated account of Suisun Marsh fishes to show why the marsh is so important for conserving fishes in the upper San Francisco Estuary in general…and why we continue to be enthusiastic about working there.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Tour Nick Gray

Bay-Delta Tour 2020
Field Trip - September 9-11

This tour travels deep into California’s water hub and traverses 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 will make its way to San Francisco Bay and includes a ferry ride. 

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 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 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 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 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 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 Coastalview.com

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 LAist.com

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 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 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 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.

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