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 The Washington Post

California’s Chinook salmon population is disappearing

For centuries, spring-run Chinook salmon, among California’s most iconic fish, would rest for weeks in these historically cold waters after their brutal upstream journey. Then they would lay eggs and, finally, perish to complete one of nature’s most improbable life cycles. No longer. What once was a place where life began is now one of untimely death. The creek is simply too warm, an astounding 10 degrees warmer than average in some parts of these spawning grounds.

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Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers shelve plan to fix state’s water supply canals

The major arteries of California’s water-delivery system are crumbling, but a proposal in the state Legislature to spend $785 million fixing them is dead for the year. The legislation, SB 559 was pulled off the table this week by its chief author, state Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), after an Assembly committee stripped the funding and made other changes to the legislation. Hurtado’s decision turns SB 559 into a two-year bill that could be revived next year.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California water suppliers cast 1st challenge to strict drought rules

Freshly cut off from their chief water supply, a group of California water agencies in one of the state’s most fertile farming areas sued on Wednesday to freeze the latest round of emergency drought rules. In a lawsuit filed in Sacramento County Superior Court, the suppliers argue they were denied due process when state regulators ordered thousands of landowners last month to cease diversions from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta due to drought conditions.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Reserve your spot for a virtual journey into California’s water hub

Join us next Thursday, Sept. 9, for an engaging online Bay-Delta Tour that will feature live Q&A with key experts on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state’s vital water hub and the West Coast’s largest freshwater tidal estuary. You’ll learn about Delta ecosystem restoration, impacts to ocean fisheries from changes in the Delta, agriculture and municipal water use and the Delta’s role in supplying water to Southern California. You’ll hear from farmers, fish biologists, water managers, people working on restoration efforts and more. 

Aquafornia news City News Group, Inc.

‘Valley District’ lowers property tax rate for constituents

After twenty years at or above the current level, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District Board of Directors voted to lower its property tax rate. Valley District, a wholesale water provider and State Water Contractor, is required to set a property tax rate each fiscal year for the debt service fund on its State Water Contract.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Explore California’s vital water hub during Sept. 9 virtual journey

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast, is a vital hub in California’s complex water delivery system as well as a rich farming region, an important wetlands area – and often, a source of conflict. Join us for an engaging online journey on Sept. 9 to go deep into the Delta and its 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s two large water systems - the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Merced County Times

Opinion: Dreadful drought can show us a thing or two about our past

Does time travel exist? Probably not, but let’s take a shot. The California drought may give us a unique chance to go back to 1955. That’s when the Folsom Dam was built, during they heydays of dam building from the 1950s to the ’70s. California, along with the rest of the United States, experienced major population growth with the “Baby Boomer” era following World War II. Agencies seeking to meet water demands constructed most of the major dams in California including Oroville, Don Pedro, San Luis, and Trinity Dams — all of which are over 2 million acre-feet.
-Written by Tom Frazier, a Merced writer, columnist, photographer and supporter of the arts.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

The face of California’s water world is changing

In California’s water world, long dominated almost exclusively by men, women are blazing a path — sometimes straight to the top. … Karla Nemeth [director of California’s Department of Water Resources] … said law and engineering backgrounds used to be strictly prioritized in water, but the field is opening up to other disciplines and collaborative skills. Nemeth, arguably one of the state’s most powerful water leaders, helms DWR, which manages California’s water resources, infrastructure and systems. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Grab your ticket for virtual journey into California’s water hub

Join us for a Sept. 9 virtual journey into California’s most critical and controversial water region in the state, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and learn how the drought is impacting water quality and supply. The Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals, supports the state’s two large water systems – the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project – and, together with the San Francisco Bay, forms an important ecological resource. 

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Blog: West faces catastrophic water and power shortages

Buried in an hours-long State Water Resources Control Board hearing recently was the admission that California experts overestimated the spring inflow by 800,000-acre feet. Put another way, the state banked on water that never came. That admission, coupled with public policy that favors environmental uses of water over human needs, led to California’s recent curtailment of the most senior of water rights – a private property right that once had value in California and threatens to ripple far and wide.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation and state of California announces negotiation with Central Valley Project Cross Valley contractors

The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources announced a public negotiation session with seven Cross Valley contractors on a long-term conveyance contract for delivery of federal Central Valley Project water through state-owned facilities. Reclamation, DWR, and the contractors have previously entered into successive, short-term interim renewal contracts pursuant to the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, which included both federal water service and state conveyance terms and conditions. 

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

California salmon: ‘Witnessing the Collapse’

A deeply troubled group of high-ranking state officials, tribal leaders, environmentalists and fishermen met July 27 to discuss the triple whammy that is threatening some species of Pacific salmon with extinction — a combination of record-breaking heat, drought and disastrous federal water policies — particularly those of the Trump administration, which drained mountain reservoirs of cold water, sending it to the Central Valley.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville at lowest levels since 1977

Lake Oroville reached the lowest levels since September 1977, measuring below 643.5 feet above sea level at 10 a.m. Tuesday. For comparison, when Lake Oroville is full, the surface water level is 900 feet above sea level. Increasing issues are arising from the low levels being seen at Lake Oroville. The Edward Hyatt Power Plant may be forced to close down for the first time in its history due to low lake elevation. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

LaMalfa, Gallagher, Nielsen criticize state leadership’s management of wildfires, water and other resources

Flanked by a hazy backdrop of Lake Oroville with the nearby Dixie Fire creating a smoke-filled sky, federal and state politicians representing the north state gathered above the Hyatt Power Plant at Oroville Dam for a press conference Tuesday to criticize, in their words, the state’s “gross mismanagement” of water, wildlands and power.

Aquafornia news International Business Times

Federal infrastructure bill can help California farmers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a drought emergency in most counties across the state while experts predict the current drought will end up being worse than the one we experienced between 2011-2017. That historic event was caused by nonstop hot and dry weather aggravated by climate change.  Increasing temperatures and fluctuating atmospheric patterns reduce rainfall and devastate farms across the Golden State especially because most farmers can’t rely on state or federal water projects to help supplement the lack of rainfall.

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Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

News release: Updated computer models released for key California water projects

The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) today released the next versions of two computer models that simulate operations of the State Water Project (SWP) and the Central Valley Project (CVP). Water managers use the models – CalSim II and CalSim 3 – to examine project operations under various assumptions for hydrologic conditions, project  facilities and regulatory requirements.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Editorial: Tormented rivers

Go 120 miles as the crow flies southeast of Manteca and you will find the headwaters of two of California’s most tormented rivers — the San Joaquin River and Owens River. The 183-mile Owens River starts from Glass Creek on the southern face of the 11,597-foot San Joaquin Mountain. Today instead of ultimately flowing into Owens Lake that just over 100 years ago covered 108 square miles and was teeming with aquatic life and migratory birds, the lake is a dusty shell of its former self.

Tour Nick Gray

Central Valley Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - November 4

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.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles

Northern California Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - October 14

Join us as we guide you on a virtual exploration of the Sacramento River and its tributaries and learn about the issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply.

All together, the river and its tributaries supply 35 percent of California’s water and feed into two major projects: the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Layperson's Guide to the Delta

Bay-Delta Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - September 9

This tour guided participants 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 SJV Water

State ponies up $200 million toward $2.35 billion repair bill for major canals

Several of the state’s key canals will get a sprinkle of state money this year and next toward fixing more than $2 billion in damage caused by sinking land from excessive groundwater pumping. On July 12, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a massive budget “trailer” bill, which authorizes actual funding for programs and services outlined in the state budget that was passed June 15. The trailer bill included $200 million for the Department of Water Resources to spend over the next two years on the California Aqueduct, Delta-Mendota Canal and Friant-Kern Canal. Together, repairs for those canals are estimated at $2.35 billion.

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Aquafornia news GV Wire

In first Valley visit, U.S. senator gets pushed on farm water

Alex Padilla made his first official visit to the Central Valley as U.S. Senator, holding several discussions about water. Padilla, along with other elected officials, held a media availability at his only public event of the day — a tour of the Dos Palos water treatment plant. There, he spoke about the need to upgrade infrastructure for drinking water, as well as water for farmers. Padilla says the infrastructure bill being debated in the Senate will help with water, especially in underserved areas.

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Aquafornia news KQED

How California’s complex water delivery system robs its ‘rainforests’ of resources

[S]ome 95% of the Central Valley’s riparian woodlands, along with the conditions they evolved in, have already been sacrificed, mainly to make the Central Valley an agricultural powerhouse. The scattered remnants face multiple threats, including droughts and floods intensified by climate change; manipulated streamflows  that favor human over ecological needs; and shrinking aquifers left critically overdrawn by decades of unregulated groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Dealing with drought: Farmers challenged as water supply dwindles

The drought is here, and agriculture is scrambling. Water regulators have cut the amount that can be taken from lakes, rivers and streams. Farmers who ordinarily get that water either have to forgo planting some of their fields, or pump water from the ground, or a combination of the two. Farmers dependent on wells are also affected… Neither the state nor the federal water projects are delivering water for agriculture from Northern California to south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Aquafornia news Restore the Delta

Blog: Drought – Coalition opposes temporary urgency changes for CVP and SWP

A coalition of Delta-based groups has sent a formal Petition for Reconsideration to the State Water Board opposing the Board’s June 1 order to relax water quality standards for Delta operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project. The Temporary Urgency Change Order (TUCO) was issued by the Water Board on June 1, 2021 … The coalition’s petition shows that 4.5 million acre-feet of water will be delivered to state and federal water contractors (including about 10 percent for Central Valley wildlife refuges), based on Water Board information. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: How California’s leaders can end the salmon slaughter

Our leaders must take bold action to adapt to our new reality and create a system that can support healthy rivers and wildlife, communities with access to safe drinking water and a thriving agricultural economy. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re seeing today. The state’s water regulators are draining our reservoirs and depleting our rivers to deliver vast volumes of water to a small number of powerful agricultural interests during a historically dry year. Protecting fish and wildlife and water quality for Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta communities does not mean eliminating agriculture in the Central Valley. 
-Written by Rachel Zwillinger, water policy advisor for Defenders of Wildlife in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought makes conditions worse for California’s declining native fishes

California is home to 131 kinds of native fishes that require freshwater for some or all of their life-cycle. Most of these fishes are found only in California and most (81%) are in decline (Moyle et al. 2015, 2020). Thirty-two (24%) are already listed as threatened or endangered by state and/or federal governments. Declines are usually the result of fishes losing the competition with humans for California’s water and habitat (Leidy and Moyle 2021). This competition is heightened by the ongoing severe drought.

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Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

Water war breaks out as drought descends

As Santa Barbara County and the rest of the state enter another major drought crisis, a consortium of eight county water districts just sued the County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors, alleging the board is illegally interfering with the water agencies’ ability to use the State Water pipeline system to buy and sell water on the open market.  

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

Water Authority sues Santa Barbara County

The Central Coast Water Authority is suing Santa Barbara County over the management of the State Water Project.  The organization filed the lawsuit in Santa Barbara County Superior Court and called the suit “significant and unprecedented” in its announcement Monday. The Water Authority alleged in a news release that the County Board of Supervisors inserted itself into decisions about how to manage State Water supplies.

Aquafornia news The Santa Barbara Independent

News release: Central Coast Water Authority files legal action against Santa Barbara County regarding management of the State Water Project

The Central Coast Water Authority (CCWA) and its eight member cities and water districts has filed a significant and unprecedented lawsuit in Santa Barbara Superior Court against the County of Santa Barbara regarding management of the State Water Project. CCWA manages, operates and finances the portion of the State Water Project in Santa Barbara County.  

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Blog: Where does LA’s water come from?

Los Angeles is a pretty hot and dry place, and in fact, California is suffering from increasing impacts of drought, so how does the water we use every day get here? Let’s take the journey your water takes from the source to your mouth with these 5 things to know:

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: New resource page keeps you up-to-date with drought gripping West

For anyone trying to keep up with the unfolding drought in California and the West, the Water Education Foundation has created a special resource page that offers links to real-time reservoir data and water supply forecasts, an ongoing newsfeed to help you stay up to date on the latest news and tips so you can help conserve the region’s most precious natural resource.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Southern California’s biggest water agency has new leader

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has hired Adel Hagekhalil as its next general manager, following a bitter power struggle over the future of an agency that delivers hundreds of billions of gallons each year from the Colorado River and Northern California to a region that otherwise wouldn’t have nearly enough water to support 19 million people.

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Aquafornia news Press Telegram

Battle over Southern California water czar is clash between old vision and new, observers say

The most important thing to understand: If you’re reading this, you live in a desert. And you can live in this desert because politicians, scientists and engineers have moved mountains, almost literally, to bring you life-giving water. The latest brawl in Water World plays out on this backdrop, and what comes out of your tap may well depend on the result. Will it come from recycled waste water? Desalination plants? A giant tunnel or two under the Delta? The answers will, in large part, depend on who’s chosen to lead the gargantuan Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water to 19 million people from Ventura County to the Mexican border. 

Aquafornia news SF Gate

Two California districts have America’s best tasting tap water, but they’re not in the Bay Area

San Franciscans are pretty proud of their tap water.  Sourced from the Hetch Hetchy watershed in Yosemite National Park, the complex supply system of reservoirs, tunnels, pipelines, and treatment systems stretching from the Sierra to San Francisco is uniquely almost entirely gravity fed. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission even boasts on its site that their water is “among the purest water in the world.” So the 2.7 million residents who benefit from the supposed crème de la crème of tap water may be surprised to learn that the water coming out of the faucets in SoCal has been named the best tasting tap water in America, on qualities including odor and “mouth feel.”

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Aquafornia news Senator Bill Dodd

News release: Senate approves Sen. Dodd’s water project bill

Facing a statewide drought that is rapidly draining reservoirs and agricultural supplies, the bipartisan California Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to streamline improvements to the state’s outdated central water delivery system. … California’s 60-year-old water delivery system, known as the State Water Project, serves more than 27 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland through its 700 miles of aqueducts, canals and pipelines. It is the largest state-owned and operated water system in the world. 

Aquafornia news Senator Melissa Hurtado

News release: Hurtado releases statement after the State Water Resiliency Act passes Senate 34-1

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) released the following statement after her bill, Senate Bill 559—The State Water Resiliency Act – passed the Senate 34-1 … The State Water Resiliency Act of 2021 will allocate $785 million to repairing vital water delivery systems that provide drinking water to communities throughout California and water to sustain the state’s leading agricultural economy. The funds would go to fixing the Friant-Kern Canal, the Delta-Mendota Canal and major portions of the California Aqueduct…

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Installing solar panels over California’s canals could save 65 billion gallons of water a year

Demand for solar power is growing. And recent research suggests that people should consider installing solar panels not only on fields and rooftops, but above waterways as well. Brandi McKuin of the University of California, Santa Cruz, says canopies of solar panels can be installed over canals. The approach would generate clean energy, and by shading the water, reduce evaporation. Her research estimates that covering California’s 4,000 miles of open canals with solar panels could save about 65 billion gallons of water a year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Tensions erupt at Metropolitan Water District amid drought

Southern California’s biggest water supplier has chosen a new general manager — but the selection isn’t yet final, and the fiercely contested vote is exposing deep disagreements within the powerful agency as a severe drought grips the region. The Metropolitan Water District’s board of directors voted this month to select Adel Hagekhalil to lead the agency, The Times has learned, replacing longtime head honcho Jeff Kightlinger, who is retiring. Hagekhalil runs L.A.’s Bureau of Street Services and was previously second-in-command at the city’s sanitation department.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

MWD’s Jeff Kightlinger reflects on building big things, essential partnerships and his hopes for the Delta

When you oversee the largest supplier of treated water in the United States, you tend to think big. Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for the last 15 years, … discussed how his agency is poised to handle drought, the roadmap for sustainability on the Colorado River and why he believes practicality and necessity will pave the way for the completion of a Delta alternative conveyance facility for the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Facing a drought, California’s farmers make hard choices

In wetter times, these feathery beds of asparagus would produce generations of tender green spears, reaching for the vast San Joaquin Valley sky. [Last] Monday they were disked into the dry dirt, their long lives cut short by unreliable and expensive water. … With no guarantee of irrigation water this summer, Del Bosque and other California farmers are making tough choices, sacrificing one crop to save another. The strategy is part of a larger and longer agricultural shift here in the heart of California’s $50 billion agriculture industry: Low-value, high-water crops are disappearing from the Golden State.

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Aquafornia news Wall Street Journal

Drought imperils economy in California’s farm country

Sitting in a pickup truck on his almond farm 100 miles north of San Francisco, Tom Butler pointed to a withered grove he has been planning to bulldoze in order to save his little remaining water for younger trees. … California is gripped in severe drought just four years after emerging from the last one, forcing many farmers to scramble to find enough water. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has cut the water allocations for many to zero this year. Last year, when the latest dry spell began, the same farmers were allocated 20% of what they are contracted to receive annually.

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

State proposes to add funding for water goals

As more of California sinks into extreme drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom has asked the Legislature to appropriate billions of dollars to address critical water needs. In the “May revise”—an update to the budget proposal he initially submitted to the Legislature in January—Newsom proposes to spend nearly $3.5 billion on water supply and resilience projects, with total investment reaching $5.1 billion over multiple years. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State plans $30 million wall to stop saltwater intrusion into delta – drought fallout

In the latest chapter of California’s unfolding drought, state officials are planning to build a giant rock wall across a river in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to save the vital freshwater estuary from San Francisco Bay’s saltwater. The emergency measure is a page from last decade’s drought when the delta, a maze of sloughs and man-made channels east of the Bay Area, was at risk of becoming too salty to provide water to the nearly 30 million Californians who depend on it. As in 2015, the freshwater rivers that feed the 1,100-square-mile delta have gotten so low that they no longer counter the brackish flows that push in from the bay. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA conference: The decade of water resilience – Developing solutions for our water future

Last week, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) held their spring conference virtually.  Keynote speakers included Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of Natural Resources, and Karla Nemeth, Director of the Department of Water Resources.  In his speech, [Crowfoot] discussed the Newsom Administration’s priorities, calling this the ‘decade of resilience’, and giving three principles for going forward.  He also discussed the Voluntary Agreements.  Director Karla Nemeth gave the Thursday morning keynote speech, touching on the Department’s response to drought, SGMA implementation, the Delta Conveyance Project, and the water use efficiency regulations.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Irrigation districts look to transfers as water dwindles

With very little water to spare this drought year, water districts struggling with limited or no supplies look to their counterparts in other districts to negotiate water transfers to add whatever flexibility they can. Districts on the west side of the Central Valley, both north and south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, face the prospect of receiving no water from the Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news California Water Research

Blog: Delta Stewardship Council guts independent peer review in the Delta Science Program

The seven members of the Delta Stewardship Council were seated in 2010. The Council appointed ten prominent scientists to the Delta ISB. Over the next decade, the Delta ISB produced over 30 scientific reviews, averaging over 3,000 hours of work per year. But in 2020, the work of the Delta ISB stalled. The Delta Stewardship Council reduced funding for the Delta ISB by over 90%. 

Aquafornia news Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management

Blog: Captive breeding of Delta smelt: Worthy experiment or well-intended folly?

Delta smelt have nearly ceased to appear in “pelagic” fish surveys carried out in their narrow geographic range in the upper San Francisco Estuary. As trawl-generated index values for delta smelt have declined over the past quarter century – understand there is no reliable estimate of the size of the delta smelt population — the chorus of voices advocating for captive rearing and releases of the species has grown louder. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State plans to order drought restrictions, but it doesn’t have good water data to do it

As California descends deeper into drought, state regulators are planning to do something they’ve done few times in modern history: order thousands of people, farms, and even cities and towns that hold historic water rights to stop drawing water from the rivers, lakes and ponds they rely on. The move is intended to make sure the dwindling flows in California’s waterways are reserved for those with the most senior water rights, as well as for fish and other wildlife. Many of those with lesser rights would have to turn to storage, groundwater or another source, if they have it.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento urged to cut water usage 10% during drought

Sacramento-area residents were urged Thursday to cut water usage by 10% as much of the state has been plunged into another severe drought. Just three days after Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the area officially in a drought, the Sacramento Regional Water Authority asked for voluntary conservation measures as its member agencies scramble to cope with drought conditions that seemingly worsen by the day.

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Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Drought forces California farmers to destroy crops

With the uncertainty of water, some Central Valley farmers are destroying their crops ahead of the summer season in order to survive. It’s impacting jobs and soon possibly the grocery shelves. Every crop at Del Bosque Farms is planted meticulously, and every drop of water is a precious commodity. Joe Del Bosque started the family farm in 1985. He grows melons, asparagus, cherries, almonds, and corn, but the drought brings a flood of concern.

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Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Editorial: Gov. Newsom must resolve California and Stanislaus water wars

Don’t be fooled. Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision Monday to declare drought in most of California, including here, is no reason for most farmers in Stanislaus County to break out the party hats. They know full well that words on a declaration will not generate an extra drop of water for their orchards and row crops. They also know that a drought declaration could take some power over the water we do have from our locally elected irrigation leaders — who represent institutions guiding us through periodic droughts for more than 100 years — and hand it to nonelected Sacramento bureaucrats.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Drought proclamation and infrastructure plan bring focus to managing water in a dry year

California’s water resources managers are proactively working with our various partners through the harshest dry year we have seen in recent memory….  We are encouraged that the Governor’s drought proclamation will bring important focus on our precious water resources and inspire balanced approaches that will allow water resources managers (state, federal and local) to creatively manage our limited water supplies this year for multiple benefits.   

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Conveyance and water rights; Considerations for conveyance across the Delta

At the April meeting of the California Water Commission, as part of their continuing work on examining the state’s role in financing conveyance projects that could help meet needs in a changing climate, the Commissioners heard from a panel of speakers about state policy considerations for conveyance and the cross-cutting issues of flood-managed aquifer recharge (flood-MAR), green infrastructure, collaborative partnerships and governance, and innovation. … Michael George, Delta Watermaster, … pointed out that it’s physically, ecologically, and economically impossible to squeeze water out of the Delta for export. 

Aquafornia news Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations

News release: Did BOR shift economic burden from water contractors to taxpayers?

On Monday May 3rd, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), the West Coast’s largest trade organization of small-scale commercial fishermen and women, signed on to a letter asking Representative Katie Porter (D – Ca 45th) in her capacity as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations and Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, to open an investigation into Reclamation’s manipulation of government cost accounting standards and its own longstanding criteria for allocating costs owed by Central Valley Project water and power contractors (Contractors).

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Monitoring stations in the Feather River watershed inform statewide water supply

Every year, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) relies on data from monitoring stations strategically located across California to provide information that will aid the decision-making process regarding the flood control and water supply operations of California’s State Water Project (SWP). The Feather River watershed, located in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada mountains south of Mt. Lassen, is a key location for collecting data. It is the largest watershed in the Sierra Nevada, covering 2.3 million acres or 3,200 square miles.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Today on Big Day of Giving consider supporting your favorite water nonprofit

At the Water Education Foundation, we focus on telling the complex story of water in California and the West because of its critical role in sustaining our lives, growing our food and nourishing our environment. As a nonprofit we rely on the generosity of people who value what we do – enhancing public understanding of our most important natural resource and catalyzing critical conversations to inform collaborative decision-making. Donate here to help us keep doing what we do, and join us for a virtual open house at 4:30 p.m. today.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Anticipating and addressing the impacts of the drought

California’s current drought is already off to a strong start, with some major challenges already looming just two years in. Compared to the drought of 2012‒16, the normally wetter Sacramento and North Coast regions have been hit much harder than the rest of the state. Beyond the local challenges this poses, drought in the Sacramento region is already having statewide implications, given its key role in supplying water to farms and cities further south. 

Aquafornia news California Farm Bureau

Blog: President’s message – Water investments would help to assure essential farming jobs

One thing that’s been re-emphasized, time and again, during the pandemic travails of the past 14 months: Farming is essential. During the coming few months, as California struggles through another drought, we’ll learn whether our elected and appointed public officials feel the same way. [A]n overarching, long-term problem needs to be solved to make sure farm employees can not just work safely, but can have jobs, period: water supplies.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County leaders pass local drought emergency resolution

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution proclaiming a local drought emergency. The vote on the resolution during Tuesday’s special meeting was unanimous. The resolution comes after Fresno leaders joined officials from three other Central Valley counties on Friday to declare a regional drought emergency and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide. Fresno County Chairman Steve Brandau said the drought “is a crisis that we are putting upon ourselves.” He said he’s not a water expert, but it has been “painful” for him to watch “as water flows out into the ocean unused for human resources.” 

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought declaration would trigger war over water supply

Experts say a statewide drought declaration … could bring significant consequences for the regulatory structure governing California’s complicated water-delivery system. Many farmers believe an emergency order could loosen environmental regulations and free up water supplies for them. Environmental groups fear the very same thing – that more of California’s dwindling water supply could be directed to farming at the expense of fish and wildlife.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Installing solar panels over California’s canals could yield water, land, air and climate payoffs

Climate change and water scarcity are front and center in the western U.S. The region’s climate is warming, a severe multi-year drought is underway and groundwater supplies are being overpumped in many locations. … About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. Covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Fund

Report: New tools to remediate California’s abandoned mine lands

Gold Rush communities celebrate their mining past but are largely unaware of the lasting impacts of that era. For more than 100 years public and private investors have purchased and developed land for public uses seemingly unaware of the presence and implications of the physical and chemical hazards found on abandoned mine lands (AMLs). As a result, residents of the Sierra Nevada’s Gold Country – the state’s headwaters – are living on top of and surrounded by abandoned mines. The toxic metals discharged by legacy mines continue to flow down river and deposit into the San Francisco Bay Delta …

Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir

Blog: Sites Reservoir – California’s drought insurance policy

Millions of people across our nation, and countless millions throughout the world depend on California’s farms and ranches for the food they eat every single day. California leads the nation as the country’s largest agricultural producer and exporter and serves as a vital link in the world’s food supply chain. However, a resilient and reliable water supply is essential to ensure that California farmers and ranchers can continue to provide a safe and reliable food supply to our nation and the world. The state’s water infrastructure is getting older and stressed beyond its capabilities …

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Opinion: Recall politics? No thanks, because the Delta keeps losing either way

Today’s commentary breaks my heart.  Why?  Because Restore the Delta is focused on water quality issues, flood control issues, future planning, and training the next generation of local water experts – for that is where hope exists.  We are focused on the future because in some ways we have become very cynical about any positive meaningful change to Delta management presently — from the lack of care at the highest levels of government, to local pockets of Delta communities that will not acknowledge the deterioration of the estuary before their eyes.

-Written by Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, who serves on the Executive Committee at Large for Restore the Delta. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Water, drought, California and the West

In what may become an iconic image for drought-stricken California, Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on the parched bed of Lake Mendocino on April 21 to announce an emergency declaration for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. … [T]he reservoir was at a historically low 43% of capacity, the harbinger of what could be a devastating drought cycle not only for the Northern California counties that fell within his drought declaration, but for most of the state — indeed, the American West. 
-Written by Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times columnist.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Federal, state money aims to mitigate drought harms

As drought realities set in, money is flowing to water authorities to fix wells and watersheds. Fresno and Madera water sources will get their piece of $26 million in grants from the State of California’s Department of Water Resources, according to a press release from the agency. The money is intended to go toward overdrafted groundwater basins that communities rely on during times of drought. … Sixteen individual construction projects will be funded in the Central Valley. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: What can help get us through this drought

Living in California means living with droughts – there’s no getting around it.  The devastating 2014-15 drought resulted in water shortages for our communities, farms and the environment, prompting California’s water leaders and decision-makers to implement early planning, improved collaboration, added conservation measures and new local supply projects to help balance the water needs of people and fish in preparing for the drought that is currently before us. … Let’s improve storage and conveyance so we can better manage our fluctuating and unpredictable climate. 
-Written by Chandra Chilmakuri, assistant general manager of the State Water Contractors.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How dry is California? What should we prepare for?

California is in the second year of a drought. Governor Newsom this week made his first drought declaration. Just how dry is this drought, so far?  What are some likely implications?  And what might State and local governments do about it?

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Oroville Wildlife Area promotes migratory and native bird habitat

The nearly 12,000-acre Oroville Wildlife Area (OWA) in Butte County is a popular stopping place on the Pacific Flyway for migrating and native birds. After the Oroville Dam was completed in 1968, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) contracted with the then California Department of Fish and Game to operate the Oroville Wildlife Area for the preservation of fish and wildlife habitat. The OWA also includes DWR’s Thermalito Afterbay reservoir, a prime habitat for migrating waterfowl as well as several different Endangered Species.

Aquafornia news Westlands Water District

News release: Westlands Water District Board of Directors appoints Ryan Ferguson as president

During its regularly scheduled meeting yesterday, the Westlands Water District Board of Directors elected Ryan Ferguson to serve as president of the District. Ferguson succeeds Daniel Errotabere, who will continue to serve on the Board.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Virtual Water Summit – May 25

The Water Association of Kern County’s annual Water Summit is virtual this year but will still pack a punch of who’s who in the water world. The day kicks off with an update on water brought to the San Joaquin Valley via the federal Central Valley Project. The speaker will be Deputy Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton. Next will be an update on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and where the process is at this point. The speaker will be Steven Springhorn, Acting Deputy Director Groundwater Management Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Last call to learn from leading water policy and legal experts at Water 101 workshop

Time is running out to register for this week’s Water 101 Workshop, which offers a primer on California’s water history, laws, geography and politics. 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. California’s water basics will be covered by some of the state’s leading policy and legal experts, and participants will have an opportunity to engage with the guest speakers individually during live Q&A in breakout rooms.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Friday Top of the Scroll: Costa spearheads $800 million water infrastructure bill to restore key Valley canals

Congressman Jim Costa (D–Fresno) introduced a bill on Thursday that would provide over $800 million in funding to water projects in California. If the Canal Conveyance Capacity Restoration Act is enacted, $653 million in Federal funds will go to restore the capacity of three canals in the Central Valley, and $180 million will be used to restore salmon runs on the San Joaquin River. 

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Aquafornia news Fox40

Recreational waterways can still be dangerous despite drought conditions, officials warn

The Yuba Water Agency manages water storage and deliveries to downstream customers while having a hand in preserving fish habitats and recreational areas. Currently, the agency has already begun doubling its reservoir releases at a time when visitors to the river are also expected to go up. Due to the time of year, those releases from upstream reservoirs are dictated by irrigation needs of downstream growers. 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.”

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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 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 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 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?

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 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 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 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 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 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: 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…

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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.