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 Northern California Water Association

Blog: The pillars for sustainable water management in the Sacramento River basin

On Wednesday, March 3rd, the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) Board of Directors officially adopted our 2021 Priorities. The water leaders in this region look forward to working with our many partners in 2021 to cultivate a shared vision for a vibrant way of life in the Sacramento River Basin. We will continue to re-imagine our water system in the Sacramento River Basin as we also work to harmonize our water priorities with state, federal, and other regions’ priorities to advance our collective goal of ensuring greater water and climate resilience throughout California for our communities, the economy, and the environment. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Last chance to register for next week’s Water 101 workshop

There’s just one week left to register for our Water 101 Workshop, which offers a primer on the things you need to know to understand California water. One of our most popular events, this once-a-year workshop will be held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Southern California water agency looking to buy water during drought

With California in the throes of a second year of drought conditions, the mega-water agency of Southern California served notice Tuesday that it’s prepared to spend up to $44 million to buy water from Northern California to shore up its supplies. The board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which serves 19 million urban residents, authorized its staff to begin negotiating deals with water agencies north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where supplies are generally more plentiful.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Delta tunnel authority changes leaders as Newsom fights the recall by turning to billionaire champions of the project

The little-known Joint Powers Authority charged with getting the embattled Delta tunnel across its finish line recently changed executive directors, marking an exit for Kathryn Mallon, who had stirred controversy for her exorbitant pay and alleged pressuring of a citizens advisory committee to work through the most dangerous part of the pandemic. Meanwhile, as California Governor Gavin Newsom begins campaigning against the effort to remove him from office, he’s soliciting huge donations from the same south-state barons of agriculture who have promoted the environmentally fraught tunnel concept for years.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Southern California water price jumps 48% in 3 weeks as rainy season disappoints

Californians received a double dose of not so happy water news last month; cutbacks were made to water allocations and a key water price index surged higher. … The state’s Department of Water Resources has wasted no time in sounding alarm bells; officials have already announced 50 percent cutbacks from December 2020’s projected water allotments to State Water Project allocations for the 2021 water year. California residents were warned “to plan for the impacts of limited water supplies this summer for agriculture as well as urban and rural water users.”

Aquafornia news ABC30 Action News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California legislators want Gov. Newsom to declare state of emergency over water ‘crisis’

California’s hottest commodity could become even more scarce as state and federal officials announce water cutbacks on the brink of another drought. Now, state legislators are banding together to ask Governor Newsom to declare a state of emergency amid what they call a water crisis. … [State Senator Andreas] Borgeas authored a letter alongside the Assembly agriculture committee chair and several other state lawmakers to send to the governor. This comes after the California Department of Water Resources announced a 5% allocation to farmers and growers in late March.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Cal Coast News

SLO County supervisors open the door to water banking

A barely-noticed action early in March by the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors likely has placed greater control of the region’s water supply in the hands of a few individuals and private water agencies. On a split 3-2, north-south vote, supervisors on March 3 approved an amendment to the county’s contract with the state of California for deliveries from the State Water Project (SWP). An approval that creates the opportunity, some say, for a controversial practice called “water banking.”

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Q/A with Delta Conveyance Project Executive Director Tony Meyers

In the first episode in the Delta Conveyance Team Spotlight video series, [DWR] spoke with the project’s Executive Director Tony Meyers about his long and eventful career in engineering, including work on some of DWR’s most ambitious and significant infrastructure projects. In this excerpt, he reflects on the appeal of large-scale engineering projects and speaks about the importance of the Delta Conveyance Project in protecting the security of California’s water supply.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Managing water for multiple benefits – Why spring diversions on the Sacramento River are important

As we begin spring in the Sacramento Valley, the region illuminates – we see the brown landscape turn verdant, and the Valley bustles with activity as people share the hope of a new year and collectively cultivate a shared vision in the region for a vibrant way of life. With the dry year in Northern California, the water resource managers are working overtime to carefully manage our precious water systems including rivers, streams, reservoirs and diversions to serve multiple benefits. To effectively do this, water resources must be managed in an efficient manner, with the same block of water often used to achieve several beneficial uses as it moves through the region’s waterways. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Explore California’s water basics & the lifeblood of the Southwest during upcoming virtual events

Our two-day Water 101 Workshop begins on Earth Day, when you can gain a deeper understanding of California’s most precious natural resource. One of our most popular events, the once-a-year workshop will be held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23. California’s water basics will be covered by some of the state’s leading policy and legal experts, including the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in the state, as well a look at hot topics and current issues of concern.

Aquafornia news Restore the Delta

Blog: The dam problem for the Bay-Delta estuary

The dams that are built in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River Watershed protect thousands of people and billions of dollar’s worth of agriculture but they are far too old and far too many of them need repair. Some unnecessary dams are drying rivers and putting business in front of the environment.

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: Drastic measure to meet Delta outflow

For seven days in mid-March 2021, the Bureau of Reclamation substantially increased Folsom Lake storage releases. Roughly, the releases tripled in volume (Figure 1). The release of over 20,000 acre-feet of water is significant for a year in which Folsom storage is not much better than it was in the worst year on record – 1977 (Figure 2).1 With the release in mid-March, the lake level dropped 3 feet. Yes, there was rain in the forecast and a decent snowpack, but certainly no flood concerns. So why? The reason was to meet state water quality requirements for Delta outflow. Delta outflow increased from 7,000 cfs to 12,000 cfs for a few days (Figure 3).

Aquafornia news The Hill

Third-driest year reported in California

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has marked 2021 as the third-driest water year, a period marked from October to March, on record for the Golden State, potentially setting up another deadly wildfire season after last year’s record setting blazes. The department’s annual snow survey released this month recorded precipitation levels at 50 percent the annual average for the water year.  The dry conditions can also be seen in the state’s water supply, with the department reporting that California’s major reservoirs are at just 50 percent of overall capacity.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Ingrained

Podcast: Moving forward in a dry year

Tractors are working ground in the Sacramento Valley, as the 2021 rice season is underway. Whether it’s farmers, those in cities or for the environment, this year will pose challenges due to less than ideal rain and snowfall during the fall and winter. Jon Munger At Montna Farms near Yuba City, Vice President of Operations Jon Munger said they expect to plant about one-third less rice this year, based on water cutbacks. As water is always a precious resource in this state, rice growers work hard to be as efficient as they can. Fields are precisely leveled and will be flooded with just five-inches of water during the growing season. Rice is grown in heavy clay soils, which act like a bathtub to hold water in place. High-tech planting and harvest equipment also help California rice farms and mills operate at peak efficiency.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

CA Water Commission: Ensuring the reliability of the State Water Project, Part 1: Strategic Priorities and Programs

One of the California Water Commission’s statutory responsibilities is to conduct an annual review of the construction and operation of the State Water Project and make a report on its findings to the Department of Water Resources and the Legislature, with any recommendations it may have.  Having just finished the 2020 State Water Project review, the Commission has launched its 2021 State Water Project review with a theme focused on creating a resilient State Water Project by addressing climate change and aging infrastructure to provide multiple benefits for California. 

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

More water spending sought for West in infrastructure bill

As drought worsens in the West, a coalition of more than 200 farm and water organizations from 15 states that has been pushing to fix the region’s crumbling canals and reservoirs is complaining that President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure proposal doesn’t provide enough funding for above- or below-ground storage.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

LaMoreaux tapped for Palmdale Water District Authority

The general manager for a local water utility company joined the Board for the Delta Conveyance Design Authority. Palmdale Water District announced on Monday that Dennis LaMoreaux has been appointed as an alternate director for the Authority.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California is on the brink of drought – again. Is it ready?

California is at the edge of another protracted drought, just a few years after one of the worst dry spells in state history left poor and rural communities without well water, triggered major water restrictions in cities, forced farmers to idle their fields, killed millions of trees, and fueled devastating megafires. … Just four years since the state’s last drought emergency, experts and advocates say the state isn’t ready to cope with what could be months and possibly years of drought to come.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: How California stands to benefit from Biden infrastructure proposal

Perhaps more than any other part of the country, California stands to benefit from the $2.2 trillion proposal introduced last week by President Biden…. the sweeping plan would inject huge sums of money into wider roads, faster internet, high-speed trains, charging stations for electric cars, airport terminals, upgraded water pipes and much more. … The infusion is being seen not only as the path to a long-overdue upgrade of the freeways, dams and aqueducts that have long been California’s hallmark but also as a way to scale up and export the state’s ambitious climate policies.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

UC Merced study imagines solar panels atop irrigation canals

Placing solar panels atop Central Valley canals could get the state halfway to its goal for climate-friendly power by 2030, a new study suggests. And the panels could reduce enough evaporation from the canals to irrigate about 50,000 acres, the researchers said. They are from the Merced and Santa Cruz campuses of the University of California.  The idea has already drawn interest from the Turlock Irrigation District, as one of several options for boosting the solar part of its electricity supply.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news UC Irvine

Podcast: How drought and climate change threaten California’s water

Rain is scarce in much of California, and most of California’s people live in water-starved regions. And yet the state is, by some measures, the fifth largest economy in the world. How? Because during the last century, California has built a complex network of dams, pumps and canals to transport water from where it falls naturally to where people live. But climate change threatens to upend the delicate system that keeps farm fields green and household taps flowing. In this episode of the UCI Podcast, Nicola Ulibarri, an assistant professor of urban planning and public policy who is an expert on water resource management, discusses how droughts and floods have shaped California’s approach to water…

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: With San Francisco Bay on life support, Newsom withholds the cure

San Francisco Bay’s life support systems are unravelling quickly, and a wealth of science indicates that unsustainable water diversions are driving this estuary’s demise. Yet, with another drought looming, federal and state water managers still plan to divert large amounts of water to their contractors and drain upstream reservoirs this summer. Meanwhile, the state’s most powerful water districts are preparing yet another proposal to maintain excessive water diversions for the long-term. By delaying reforms that the law requires and that science indicates are necessary, Gov. Gavin Newsom encourages wasteful water practices that jeopardize the Bay and make the state’s water future precarious. 
-Written by Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist for SF Baykeeper.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

April Fools Blog: Looking for a new challenge? Retrain as a Delta Smelt

The Federal government is beginning a program for the unemployed to retrain as much-needed Delta Smelt.  Following a two-day course, candidates will learn to: Seek out turbid waters; Spawn in sand at secret locations; Surf the tides; Make themselves present for counting in mid-water trawls. Major California water projects and water users are preparing to hire successful graduates for 1-2 year non-renewable contracts. 

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: California and feds still plan to drain reservoirs & kill salmon

Updated water supply allocations announced last week would still drain upstream reservoirs in order to deliver 4.5 million acre feet of water to the contractors of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP), devastating fish and wildlife. This week, the fisheries biologists at the National Marine Fisheries Service projected that these planned operations are likely to result in lethal water temperatures that will kill 89% of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam this year. This mortality estimate is even worse than what was observed in 2014 and 2015, when salmon populations were devastated by warm water in their spawning grounds. 

Aquafornia news KCRA

Lessons learned from previous California drought helpful in ‘dry years’

As the rain season comes to a close across Northern California, water districts are keeping a close eye on rain totals that are below average, and water managers are explaining what another “dry water year” means for our region. According to California’s Department of Water Resources, or DWR, the state is well into its second consecutive dry year. That causes concern among water managers. However, it comes as no surprise. … With the memory of drought years between 2012 and 2016 not too distant, [DWR information officer Chris] Orrock explained how lessons learned from that time period are still being implemented.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Strong state oversight needed to ensure California’s wetlands are protected

When the first European explorers arrived in California’s Central Valley, they found a vast mosaic of seasonal and permanent wetlands, as well as oak woodlands and riparian forests. What remains of those wetlands are still the backbone of the Pacific Flyway; along with flooded agricultural fields, they support millions of migrating waterbirds each year. According to a just-released study from Audubon, tens of millions of land birds rely on the Central Valley as well… But today, the situation is dire. More than 90% of wetlands in the Central Valley – and throughout California – have disappeared beneath tractors and bulldozers. 
-Written by Samantha Arthur, the Working Lands Program Director at Audubon California and a member of the California Water Commission.

Related article:

  

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Water shortages and fires loom after a dry winter

The lack of rain and snow during what is usually California’s wet season has shrunk the state’s water supply. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, a crucial source of water as it melts over the spring and summer, is currently at 65 percent of normal. Major reservoirs are also low. Two state agencies warned last week that the dry winter is very likely to lead to cuts in the supply of water to homes, businesses and farmers. The federal Bureau of Reclamation also told its agricultural water customers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to expect no water this year.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news KCRA

Below-average winter prompts California water conservation

The second consecutive dry winter has prompted state water managers to reduce allocations to the state water project that supplies millions of Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The state Department of Water Resources announced this week that it will only be able to deliver 5% of the requested allocations following below-average precipitation across the state. That figure is down from the initial allocation of 10% announced in December. Many of the state’s major reservoirs are recording just 50% of average water storage for this time of year, and won’t see a major increase due to a snowpack that is averaging just 65% of normal, according to state statistics..

Relate articles:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Friday Top of the Scroll: Delta study predicts stronger floods and less water supply

[F]or those who live in the legal Delta zone – some 630,000 people – the braided weave of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers and their maze of associated wetlands and levees provides a place of home, community, and recreation. And, as a recent study by the Delta Stewardship Council shows, climate change is tugging on the watery thread holding it all together. … The council’s overview reveals a grim outlook for the millions of people that are tethered to the region’s water: drought similar to that experienced in 2012-2016 will be five to seven times more likely by 2050. This will result in more severe and frequent water shortages and, as the report bluntly states, “lower reliability of Delta water exports.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Drought is real and California is now facing water restrictions

State and federal water officials have delivered their most dire warning yet of California’s deepening drought, announcing that water supply shortages are imminent and calling for quick conservation. Among a handful of drastic actions this week, the powerful State Water Board on Monday began sending notices to California’s 40,000 water users, from small farms to big cities like San Francisco, telling them to brace for cuts. It’s a preliminary step before the possibility of ordering their water draws to stop entirely. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Anthropocene Magazine

Irrigation canals covered in solar panels are a powerful combination

Shading California’s irrigation canals with solar panels could reduce pollution from diesel irrigation pumps while saving a quarter of a billion cubic meters of water annually in an increasingly drought-prone state, a new study suggests. Pilot studies in India and small simulations have shown that so-called “solar canals” have lots of potential benefits: Shading the water with solar panels reduces water loss from evaporation and keeps aquatic weeds down. 

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: America’s drinking water future

In 2020 wildfires ravaged more than 10 million acres of land across California, Oregon and Washington, making it the largest fire season in modern history. Across the country, hurricanes over Atlantic waters yielded a record-breaking number of storms. While two very different kinds of natural disasters, scientists say they were spurred by a common catalyst – climate change – and that both also threaten drinking water supplies. As the nation already wrestles with water shortages, contamination and aging infrastructure, experts warn more frequent supercharged climate-induced events will exacerbate the pressing issue of safe drinking water.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Water use in California

California’s water use varies dramatically across regions and sectors, and between wet and dry years. With the possibility of another drought looming, knowing how water is allocated across the state can make it easier to understand the difficult tradeoffs the state’s water managers must make in times of scarcity. The good news is that we’ve been using less over time, both in cities and on farms. While there are still ways to cut use further to manage droughts, it won’t always be easy or cheap to do so. California’s freshwater ecosystems are at particular risk of drought, when environmental water use often sees large cuts. Watch the video to learn how Californians use water.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

State warns of possible water shortages

California farmers relying on State Water Project water were warned Monday to prepare for potential shortages by reducing water use and adopting practical conservation measures.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: The collaborative habitat creator

When Ann Hayden first joined EDF in 2002, shortly after finishing her own stint in the Peace Corps in Belize and graduate school where she studied environmental science and management, she was immediately thrown into one of California’s thorniest water debates: the restoration of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Bay-Delta, the hub of the state’s water supply. She hit the jackpot when she was hired by Tom Graff, founder of EDF’s California office and a renowned water lawyer, and Spreck Rosekrans, who garnered the respect of the water community for his ability to understand the state’s hypercomplex water operations.

Aquafornia news Gizmodo

Putting solar panels on California canals could solve two crises

A new analysis finds that covering water canals in California with solar panels could save a lot of water and money while generating renewable energy. Doing so would generate between 20% and 50% higher return on investment than would be achieved by building those panels on the ground. The paper, published Thursday in Nature Sustainability, performs what its authors call a techno-economic analysis, calculating the impacts and weighing the costs and benefits of potentially covering the thousands of miles of California’s open irrigation system.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: As drought alarms sound, is California prepared?

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: California’s new drought

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

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

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

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

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Sierra Nevada Conservancy

Blog: Megafires create risks for water supply

The forested watersheds of the Sierra Nevada are the origin of more than 60 percent of the state’s developed water supply. Sierra Nevada megafires that kill all, or nearly all, vegetation across large landscapes pose serious risks to this system. In the immediate aftermath of a fire, high-severity burn areas lack vegetation to stabilize soils. … The resulting sediment enters nearby creeks and rivers, degrading water quality and adversely affecting regional aquatic habitats.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

This year’s California commercial salmon season could be half the size of last year’s

The California commercial salmon season, due to start May 1, will be only about half as long as last year’s season, after the Pacific Fisheries Management Council settled on three proposals for the dates and months fishing can take place this season. The main reason for the shorter season is the smaller number of adult Sacramento River salmon expected to be in the ocean this spring and summer. While commercial fishing boats were permitted to go out for 167 days total last year, the three proposals for the 2021 season would only allow fishing for a total of 78 days, 94 days or 104 days. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area salmon season is expected to be much shorter this year, bringing higher prices

Bad news for salmon lovers: The quantity of fish in Bay Area coastal waters this year is expected to be far lower than in 2020. And fewer fish means less work for local fishers and fewer salmon in stores. The number of adult king salmon from the Sacramento River fall run is projected to be 271,000 this spring and summer, compared with last year’s estimate of 473,200….The limited season reflects a downward trend in the population of king salmon, also known as chinook, over the last decade because of drought and state policies that have limited the amount of water allotted to the parts of the Sacramento River basin where the fish spawn and juveniles spend their early months. 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom should kill plan to drain state reservoirs

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

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

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Sex misconduct at MWD hints at deeper problems

What does sexual harassment have to do with our water supply? Far more than you might think. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California imports, stores and sells the drinking water used by nearly half of the people in this state. As a consequence, the MWD is at the center of the state’s battle with ongoing drought, the agricultural sector’s demands for irrigation water and the degrading natural environment’s inability to sustain iconic species such as migrating salmon.

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Santa Barbara County extends state water contract to 2085

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to approve an extension of the county’s state water contract for 50 years, saying it would ultimately save ratepayers money. … Eight water agencies in Santa Barbara County, from the Carpinteria Valley to the City of Santa Maria, presently import water through the California Aqueduct. By 2035, their ratepayers will have paid off the $575 million construction debt for the pipeline that county voters approved in 1991 on the heels of a six-year drought. It extends from the aqueduct in Kern County to Lake Cachuma.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Valadao hopes to pump funding into water infrastructure

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news NRDC

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

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

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Water security vs. water marketing: Should state water supplies be sold outside the county?

It’s not long ago that Lake Cachuma, the main water source on the South Coast, was in danger of going dry in a seven-year drought. Water agencies from Carpinteria to Goleta spent millions of dollars scrambling to buy surplus state aqueduct water from around the state to avert a local shortage. They did so not only because their groundwater levels were plunging and Cachuma was failing, but because their yearly allocations from the aqueduct had dropped to zero. Yet on Tuesday, the water managers serving Santa Maria, Buellton, Guadalupe, Santa Barbara, Goleta, Montecito and the Santa Ynez and Carpinteria valleys will ask the County Board of Supervisors to grant them the right to sell their state water allocations outside the county — not permanently, but potentially for years at a stretch.

Aquafornia news KPBS

State water project takes aim at restoring Salton Sea, alleviating health risks

California is spending more than $200 million to keep an unfolding ecological crisis from getting worse. The state wants to stabilize habitat along the southern bank of the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake. That is good news for nearby residents concerned about their health, but the restoration could also affect everyone who draws water from the Colorado River. At issue is the wide swaths of exposed lakebed that have been uncovered as the thirsty lake’s water evaporates in the desert air. The lake bottom is typically a deep layer of fine silt. When covered by water, it poses no risk. But once exposed to the air, and whipped up by the region’s strong winds, the dust becomes a major health risk.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Magazine

Christy Smith appointed to Delta Stewardship Council

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

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Texas lessons for future California natural disasters

Consider California’s water systems. That they are not designed for what is coming seismically is no secret. Southern California still imports most of its water, and all of that imported water has to cross the San Andreas fault to get to us. None of those crossings has been engineered to work after the San Andreas breaks, and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has estimated that it will take 18 months to repair all of them.
-Written by seismologist Lucy Jones, the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society and the author of “The Big Ones.”

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Delta adapts – Assessing climate change vulnerabilities

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Red alert sounding on California drought, as farmers get less water

A government agency that controls much of California’s water supply released its initial allocation for 2021, and the numbers reinforced fears that the state is falling into another drought. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Tuesday that most of the water agencies that rely on the Central Valley Project will get just 5% of their contract supply, a dismally low number. Although the figure could grow if California gets more rain and snow, the allocation comes amid fresh weather forecasts suggesting the dry winter is continuing. The National Weather Service says the Sacramento Valley will be warm and windy the next few days, with no rain in the forecast.

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news The Porterville Recorder

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

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

Aquafornia news The Press

Delta study examines climate change effect

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

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Water District to host informative meeting on fire

A local water utility company is set to share information about how the Littlerock Creek watershed was adversely affected by the Bobcat fire. Palmdale Water District will host a free, virtual event at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 and provide information to the public about what steps are being taken to mitigate the damage. Much of the watershed has been burned and there is concern that potential heavy debris flow will create excessive sediment in the Littlerock Reservoir and affect water quality.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog Q&A: How is the Delta conveyance project financed?

In the latest Delta Conveyance Deep Dive video, we take a look at the financing mechanisms that make the project possible, both now, in the initial planning stages, and in the future if the project is approved. It might not sound like the most exciting aspect of the project but it’s certainly one area where there’s a lot of public interest and concern. With a project of this scale (the most recent estimate of the total cost is around $16 billion) it’s not surprising that people want to know who’s footing the bill.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Earthquakes and climate change threaten California dams

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

Related articles: 

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Building resilience for cities and farms with water partnerships

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

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Can Newsom end California water wars now that Trump is gone?

Shortly after taking office two years ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom promised to deliver a massive compromise deal on the water rushing through California’s major rivers and the critically-important Delta — and bring lasting peace to the incessant water war between farmers, cities, anglers and environmentalists. … [C]oming to an agreement as promised will require Newsom’s most artful negotiating skills. He’ll have to get past decades of fighting and maneuvering, at the same time California is continuing to recover from the worst wildfire season in modern state history and a pandemic that has since killed more than 42,000 state residents.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

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

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

Aquafornia news Kingsburg Recorder

Valadao introduces critical California water legislation

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

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: How does DWR manage water allocations to the state’s public water agencies?

The business of water allocations – simply put, who receives water from the State Water Project (SWP) and who gets to decide how much – is the subject of two new episodes in the Delta Conveyance Deep Dive video series.  In Part One, State Water Operations Chief Molly White explains the operations and regulations that govern the process of allocating water to the state’s 29 Public Water Agencies and addresses the question of how the proposed Delta Conveyance Project would affect that process. 

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Serious dam issues, aqueduct sinking but we’ll have high-speed rail from Merced to Bakersfield

Has California overshot the runway? …  There was a time when our dams and aqueducts that allowed us to change the course plotted by nature by not letting water be restricted to water basins by physical barriers were considered a candidate for of their wonders of the world. When it came to freeways, we were the envy of the land. That was then and this is now. The list of aging infrastructure that needs addressing is staggering.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Delta conveyance project alternatives screening process

Selection of alternatives to evaluate in an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is an important component of public agency project planning and is typically a required as part of the environmental review decision-making process. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has initiated this process for the proposed Delta Conveyance Project and is currently preparing a Draft EIR in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Video: DWR Director Gianelli’s Legacy to the State Water Project

Known as an engineering expert, water community leader, and champion of the State Water Project (SWP), former Department of Water Resources Director William Gianelli served as DWRs third director from 1967 to 1973 and dedicated more than 30 years to public service in both the state and federal government. (Gianelli also was one of the founders of the Water Education Foundation, its second president and the namesake of the Foundation’s Water Leaders Program.) 

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority finalize plan to increase water storage in San Luis Reservoir

The Bureau of Reclamation and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority finalized the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report. This joint proposed project would create an additional 130,000 acre-feet of storage space in San Luis Reservoir, producing additional water supply for 2 million people, over 1 million acres of farmland and 200,000 acres of Pacific Flyway wetlands. 

Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: It is not a question of a Delta tunnel or local supply projects: Both are necessary for a secure water future

The Delta Conveyance Project is a necessary upgrade to ensure that our aging 1960-era State Water Project (SWP) infrastructure will continue to function into the future …  An emerging narrative that we have seen from project opponents is the false choice between either supporting the Delta Conveyance Project or supporting more local and regional projects to develop alternative or expanded water supply sources. These are not alternatives to each other. We can and must do both.
-Written by Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the State Water Contractors

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Growers see initial allocation of 10% for 2021 water year

While deciding the final allocation for growers who gather their water from the Friant-Kern Canal is months away, things early on are not looking good. The California Department of Water Resources announced on Dec. 1 an initial state water project (SWP) allocation of 10% of requested supply for the 2021 water year. Initial allocations are based on conservative assumptions regarding hydrology and factors such as reservoir storage. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California’s $16 billion climate-hardy water tunnel moves ahead

California’s plans to build a new tunnel to move water from the northern Delta to the thirsty, populous south of the state advanced a step Tuesday, when a key partner agreed to help fund some of the effort.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: ‘Carcass survey’ helps DWR learn about health of salmon species

After salmon spawn, or reproduce, it marks the end of their lifecycle. For the Department of Water Resources (DWR) it marks an important time for dissecting and studying salmon carcasses to learn about the species’ population and assess their numbers in the Feather River.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Dry start to winter prompts low California water allocation

California’s water managers on Tuesday preliminarily allocated just 10% of requested water supplies to agencies that together serve more than 27 million Californians and 750,000 acres of farmland. The state Department of Water Resources cited the dry start to the winter rainy season in California’s Mediterranean climate, in addition to low reservoir levels from last year’s relatively dry winter. Typically, winter snow supplies around 30% of California’s water as it melts.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Funding for the proposed delta tunnel could be slipping

The Metropolitan Water District likely won’t pick up the slack to cover planning costs for the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel. That’s a huge shift from MWD’s “all in” support of the previous tunnel project.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR calls for increased collaboration in climate change fight with “moving to action” plan

To adapt to intensifying extremes, federal, state, and local governments must be proactive in analyzing how climate change may impact California’s natural resources – as well as people and property. In a step to toward that goal, the Department of Water Resources released “Moving to Action”, a call for essential partnerships, planning, and collaboration with state, federal, and local agencies.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 to spend $2.8M on Delta Conveyance Project

In a 5-2 vote, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board approved the expenditure of $2.8 million as the agency’s share for the next phase of planning on the Delta Conveyance.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Delta Legacy Communities

Blog: Could damages from Oroville spillway cases bankrupt the State Water Project?

The consolidated Oroville Spillway cases are currently scheduled to go to trial in April of 2021. A large judgement for monetary damages could potentially bankrupt the State Water Project, according to filings by the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Lake Oroville needs and safety assessment released

The Department of Water Resources recently published a summary report of a comprehensive needs assessment of safety at Oroville Dam. It comes after the reconstruction of the spillways that were damaged and failed in 2017.

Aquafornia news Orange County Breeze

California Water Commission hosting water conveyance workshops in December, January

As it explores a potential state role in funding conveyance projects, the Commission seeks public input on criteria for assessing resilience, public benefits of conveyance, and financing mechanisms. The workshops are not associated with the proposal to improve conveyance through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

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

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

Tour Nick Gray

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

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

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

Click to register!

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

What’s that digging in the Delta?

Work crews have been busy this week along Twin Cities Road near Courtland. They are conducting core sampling, the first step in drafting an environmental impact report for a tunnel plan known as the Delta Conveyance Project.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Study: Estimates of salmon lost to Delta pumps outdated

Current estimates of young salmon lost to the south Delta pumps are based on a smattering of studies from the 1970s and should be updated, according to a new analysis. “They don’t represent current operations,” says Ukiah-based consultant Andrew Jahn, lead author of the analysis reported in the September 2020 issue of San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

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

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

What is the state’s role in financing conveyance projects?

On July 28, Gov. Newsom issued the final water resilience portfolio which calls for actions to meet California water needs through the 21st Century. Specifically, Action 19.4 directs the Water Commission to assess the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate. At their October meeting, commissioners began the work set out for them in the portfolio…

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: May-September Delta water temperature standard needed

To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water projects pay it almost no heed.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Pricey tunnel sparks talk of water sales

Getting water through a tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would be pricey. So pricey, some Kern County water districts were looking for an “off-ramp” by potentially selling their main state water supply out of the county. The request was shot down on Nov. 6 by the Kern County Water Agency, which holds the contract for state water on behalf of 13 area water districts.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Report: Oroville Dam safe, but still vulnerable

A team of experts released their findings Monday, concluding that no urgent repairs are needed right now on the Oroville Dam. The report goes on to say that the largest earthen dam in America is safe to operate. However, the Oroville Dam is not completely in the clear.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR certifies final EIR for Delta’s largest tidal habitat restoration project

The Department of Water Resources has moved one step closer to starting the Delta’s largest multi-benefit tidal restoration and flood improvement project… Lookout Slough is in unincorporated Solano County, near the border of Yolo County. It is adjacent to additional tidal restoration efforts, including Yolo Flyway Farms and Lower Yolo Ranch, to create a contiguous wetland restoration complex spanning 16,000 acres in the Cache Slough region of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta Tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging … the financing of a single tunnel that would be built under the Delta for 35 miles.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Scripps Institution scientists receive DWR climate science service award

The Department of Water Resources presented Climate Science Service Awards to four early-career scientists with the University of San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. These partnerships fuel innovations that help DWR and other water agencies respond to water supply and flood-risk management challenges…

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging the bonds after the bond sales are underway.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Castaic Dam spillway assessment begins

Assessments and evaluations of the Castaic Dam spillway in Los Angeles County began Wednesday as part of a statewide effort to reduce risks from major earthquakes or extreme weather events to State Water Project infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan committee discusses funding planning costs, how to account for project benefits, who is in and who is out

At Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Committee, staff continued preparing committee members for the upcoming decision on funding the planning costs for the Delta Conveyance Project which is anticipated to be before the full board in December.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR water flow experiment successfully increases habitat for endangered Delta smelt

By experimenting with how salty ocean water mixes with fresh water within Suisun Marsh, the California Department of Water Resources has found a way to improve habitat conditions for endangered delta smelt within the upper San Francisco Estuary.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: Water partnerships between cities and farms in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California each face growing water challenges and a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some water supplies.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project

Lobbing another hurdle at California’s $16 billion plan to tunnel underneath the West Coast’s largest estuary, environmentalists on Thursday sued to freeze public funding for the megaproject championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Led by Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, a familiar coalition of critics claim the cash-strapped state is pursuing a “blank check” for a project that isn’t fully cooked.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Joshua Basin will pay off pipeline debt soon

After nearly 30 years the Joshua Basin Water District will soon close out its payment agreement with the Mojave Water Agency for the Morongo Basin Pipeline. … The Morongo Basin Pipeline is a 71-mile underground pipeline built by the Mojave Water Agency that brings water from the California aqueduct in Hesperia to the Mojave River in south Apple Valley…

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is ecosystem change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta outpacing the ability of science to keep up?

Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean. Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive…

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local tribes, fishermen, conservationists call on Warren Buffet to undam the Klamath

Members of local tribes, fishermen and conservationists are calling on Warren Buffett to undam the Klamath. People across the country joined members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and Hoopa Valley tribes on Friday for a day of action to get the attention of Buffett, the owner of Pacific Power and the Klamath River dams…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in State Water Project

A team of scientists from the California Department of Water Resources are working with federal and state partners to embrace the challenge of overseeing the implementation of one of the most complex endangered species permits in California history.

Aquafornia news The Press

Department of Water Resources calls for the community’s input

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently launched an environmental justice community survey to gather input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey, entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from communities that may be disproportionately affected by the proposed project.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news University of Texas

News release: Key indicators discovered of climate change’s impact on California water supply

In the new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists found that leading climate projections used by the state strongly agree that climate change will shift the timing and intensity of rainfall and the health of the state’s snowpack in ways that will make water management more difficult during the coming decades.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Raising Shasta Dam is an even worse idea than we knew

Reclamation has identified a significant seismic risk problem at Shasta Dam that may preclude the enlargement of Shasta Dam in a safe manner. … In addition … modeling disclosed by Reclamation to NRDC (see last page of this link) indicates that enlarging Shasta Dam would reduce the water supply for State Water Project contractors by an average of 14,000 acre feet per year.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta conveyance update: Preliminary cost and benefits, mechanics of opting out, and more

In December, the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors will be asked to support a motion to fund a portion of the planning costs for the Delta Conveyance Project. In preparation for the upcoming vote, staff began a series of presentations for the special committee on the Bay-Delta to prepare the directors for the vote.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: DWR is suing everyone for a blank check for a Delta tunnel

In the middle of a pandemic, an economic recession, and everything else that 2020 is throwing at us, in early August the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) filed a lawsuit against every Californian to authorize spending an unlimited amount of money … for an as yet undefined Delta tunnel project.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Meet Luna: DWR’s four-legged resource for protecting California’s waterways

Through a partnership with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division – DWR is able to provide funding for Luna, a seven-year-old German Shepard who is trained to protect her handler, apprehend suspects, and detect various threats to Delta species and environments.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR’s Division of Engineering receives international award for construction and collaboration

The Department of Water Resources’ Division of Engineering (DOE) has been named the International Partnering Institute’s (IPI) 11th annual Partnering Champion Award recipient for 2020.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Nursing salmon on flooded farms

In 2012 a team of salmon researchers tried a wild idea: putting pinky-sized Chinook on a rice field in the Yolo Bypass, a vast engineered floodplain designed to protect the city of Sacramento from inundation. … Now, after nearly a decade of testing fish in fields, a new paper in San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science outlines lessons learned as well as next steps in managing floodplains for salmon.

Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: California water managers need more flexibility to move water when & where it’s needed most

For this reason, public water agencies and DWR have publicly negotiated amendments to their long-term water supply contracts in order to better plan the future of their local water supply portfolios. … The State Water Contractors applaud this coordinated and collaborative effort, which provides flexibility for single and multi-year non-permanent water transfers and exchanges.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Bear Fire: Looking at Lake Oroville

A lot of area surrounding Lake Oroville that is sitting within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area was burned by the Bear Fire, also known as the North Complex West Zone. … The Department of Water Resources continues to monitor the fire and is actively working with CAL FIRE, local law enforcement, and California State Parks to ensure employee and public safety. DWR’s water delivery and other critical operations are ongoing with essential staff on site.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Firestorm devastates Butte County again as California burns

Less than two years after the most destructive fire in California history tore through Paradise, the same region was under siege from a second monster firestorm that quickly grew to more than 250,000 acres, sweeping through mountain hamlets and killing at least three people. … Across the state, 28 major wildfires have prompted more than 64,000 people to evacuate…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

San Luis Reservoir, O’Neill Forebay open after California fires

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay are open in Merced County, after being shuttered by regional wildfires. However, state Department of Water Resources officials say that’s not an invitation to go in the water. DWR on Tuesday issued a harmful algal bloom warning advisory at the O’Neill Forebay, plus a caution is in effect for the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In a California landscape defined — and divided — by water, a single issue unites people who live in the Delta: Digging in against the tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s never-ending water wars.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta conveyance: Independent Science Board discusses upcoming environmental review

The Department of Water Resources came to the August Delta Independent Science Board meeting to provide an overview of the Delta tunnel project including timeline and review process, as well as some thoughts on the board’s recent letter.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: New $15.9b Delta tunnel cost estimate: Revisiting DWR’s 2018 analysis with updated costs shows it is a bad investment

Simply updating costs to this latest estimate ($15.9 billion in 2020 dollars is equivalent to $15 billion in the 2017$) reduces the benefit-cost ratio for State Water Project urban agencies from 1.23 to 0.92, and for agricultural agencies from 1.17 to 0.87. That’s a bad investment, but it is actually much worse than that.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR, partner agencies, provide free water education resources for distance learning

The Department of Water Resources and partners are providing resources to support water education while many California families are dealing with the challenges of distance learning. These free materials include workbooks, posters, and activity guides for teachers, educators, and parents, as well as online programs such as Water Wednesdays.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Bruce Babbitt: Gov. Newsom must clarify his Delta tunnel plan

Tunnel proponents say they do not expect to operate the tunnel at capacity, and it would be in use mainly to draw from the periodic storms that send more water through the Delta out to San Francisco Bay. But how much would that be? The usual answer is: we will leave that to the experts.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California says Delta tunnel project will cost $15.9 billion

After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento. That’s nearly as much as the old $16.7 billion price tag put on the larger, twin-tunnel plan…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed single Delta tunnel could cost $15.9 billion

A single tunnel proposed to take water under the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to farms and cities in the south could cost $15.9 billion, give or take, according to an initial assessment discussed at the Delta Conveyance Authority meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Glen Canyon Dam tapped for emergency water releases to meet California power demands

For the first time in nearly two decades, the federal government tapped Glen Canyon Dam for extra power generating capacity this weekend, triggering emergency water releases as heat waves persisted across the West.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Water Authority awarded $44.4 million in long-running dispute with LA agency

A judge has awarded the San Diego County Water Authority $44.4 million in a final judgment of two lawsuits over rates paid to transport water supplies from 2011 to 2014. The award, announced Friday, included $28.7 million in damages and interest to be paid by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California…

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Status of Lake Oroville algal blooms

The California Department of Water Resources is reporting that algal blooms continue to be present in the West Branch and the North Fork of Lake Oroville. Sampling continues weekly…

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Delta tunnel plan poses threat to N. San Joaquin Valley

The COVID-109 pandemic isn’t slowing work aimed at moving arguably the most cantankerous water project ever proposed in California since voters overwhelmingly rejected the Peripheral Canal in 1982 — the Delta Tunnel Project. … The State Department of Water Resources is currently preparing an environmental impact report on the project. At the same time they are also seeking all required state and federal approvals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA conference: Chair Esquivel and Director Nemeth discuss their plans for 2020

At the ACWA’s virtual conference held last week, the second keynote speaker session featured Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources. Here’s what they had to say.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Ecosystem-based management in the Delta

The Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee is comprised of high-ranking members of 18 state, federal, and regional agencies… At the July 2020 committee meeting, members heard presentations on the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the state’s new Incidental Take Permit and how those programs utilize principles of ecosystem-based management.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California has a new plan to protect its water supply from climate change, but some say it’s based on old thinking

Water is a big deal in California, and climate change is threatening the precious resource. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom finalized a broad plan this week to help prevent future water challenges … The Water Resilience Portfolio outlines 142 actions the state could take to build resilience as the effects of warming temperatures grow.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Newsom lays out big dreams for California’s water future

Gov. Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar tunnel and build new dams. Newsom says the sweeping water portfolio will help the Golden State prepare for global warming by reinforcing outdated water infrastructure and reducing the state’s reliance on groundwater during future droughts.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 Water Agency to buy Napa’s surplus

Zone 7 Water Agency directors authorized General Manager Valerie Pryor to negotiate an agreement with Napa County’s water division to buy some of its surplus water this year — a move that could open doors for similar deals in the future. A need to meet local water demand for the next few years prompted Zone 7 to act at its regular meeting July 16.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR environmental scientist Veronica Wunderlich discusses her work with reptiles and amphibians

Veronica Wunderlich is a Department of Water Resources senior environmental scientist with a focus in herpetology – the study of reptiles and amphibians. Below, Veronica discusses how she got started in herpetology –she even had snakes as pets as a kid, her current work, and how to translate a passion and interest in wildlife into a career – “If you really love the creatures you work with, you will never regret working with them.”

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Phil Isenberg: Challenging conventional water wisdom

In five decades of public service Phil Isenberg has served as mayor of Sacramento, a member of the Assembly, a lobbyist, chairs of the Marine Life Protection Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, and, until 2016, the Delta Stewardship Council. … In a two-part oral history with Chris Austin, editor of Maven’s Notebook, Isenberg details the myths and complexities of California water politics.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

As state slashes budget, director for proposed Delta tunnel earns twice as much as the governor

Documents obtained by SN&R reveal that the director of the joint powers authority leading the Delta water diversion effort, under the supervision and current financing of the state Department of Water Resources, is getting paid $47,000 every month—twice as much as Gov. Gavin Newsom and significantly more than President Trump.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Water service restored in Dos Palos after algae outbreak

Water service has been restored to residents in the City of Dos Palos but a boil water notice remained in effect Wednesday. According to City Manager Darrell Fonseca, utilities engineers worked to get the plant’s system up and running and at 7:43 p.m. Tuesday night. Sufficient pressure was achieved , allowing the city to supply water at lower-than-average water pressure to residents.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: A social justice perspective of the Delta tunnel project

As California confronts increasing water challenges, the most equitable statewide solution from a social justice perspective is the single-tunnel project proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, known as the Delta Conveyance Project.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Central California town without water for days due to algae

Residents of a town in central California won’t have water for several days after the town’s water treatment plant became clogged with algae, officials said. The water outage in Dos Palos started Monday, when the city declared a water emergency and urged the town’s 5,000 residents to use only boiled tap water for drinking and cooking to avoid stomach or intestinal illness.

Related article:

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR relaunches its research vessel monitoring program after COVID-19 delays

After being docked for three months due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Department of Water Resources relaunched its research vessel monitoring program, the Sentinel. It was the first time since the 1970s that DWR didn’t have a monitoring vessel taking field samples in the waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Water may not flow in Dos Palos for 3 days due to algae problem

The City of Dos Palos is shutting down water for its residents for at least three days to treat after its water treatment plant became clogged with algae. The city says water is currently being used faster than it can be treated and sent out, so residents should prepare for water to stop flowing.

Related article:

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos

A high level of algae in the California Aqueduct has caused problems over the past several days in Dos Palos. City Manager Darrell Fonseca explains, “Our siphon intake at the aqueduct clogged, and that reduced our water supply, and then as we did receive the water it takes longer to treat at the plant… but it also meant reduced pressure to a lot of residents, and for a while, no pressure at all.”

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Delta dispute casts shadow on water supplies

With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state and federal governments on managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: Reimagine California’s big-water dreams

A note from another former colleague the other day prodded me into some rethinking — as with everything in this economic crisis, partly in light of the need for California to think small. By which I mean, think local.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: EcoRestore: 5 years, thousands of acres of restored habitat

This spring marked the fifth anniversary of the California EcoRestore initiative, a coordinated effort across state agencies to deliver 30,000 acres of restored fish and wildlife habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an immensely important landscape that five years ago only had 5 percent of its native habitat remaining.

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.

Related articles:

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 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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Related article:

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…

Related articles:

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.

Related article:

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 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 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 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.

Related articles:

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…

Related article:

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: