Stormwater runoff has emerged as a primary water quality issue.
In urban areas, after long dry periods rainwater runoff can
contain accumulations of pollutants. Stormwater does not go into
the sewer. Instead, pollutants can be flushed into waterways with
detrimental effects on the environment and water quality.
In response, water quality regulators use a range of programs to
reduce stormwater pollution including limiting the amount of
excess runoff and in some cases recapturing freshwater as well.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has put restrictions on
four pesticides to save endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead
species from extinction. The new mitigation measures, announced
Feb. 1, aim to protect 28 salmon species in Washington, Oregon,
and California from pesticide runoff and spray drift. The four
targeted pesticides are three herbicides—bromoxynil, prometryn,
and metolachlor—and the soil fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene. The
EPA put the measures in place after the National Marine
Fisheries Service found in 2021 that such restrictions are
needed to protect endangered and threatened salmon species. The
measures require no-spray vegetative buffers between waters
where salmon live and agricultural fields. They also require
retention ponds and vegetated drainage ditches. All of these
measures are intended to capture pesticides that otherwise
could seep into the water.
A program that installed green infrastructure in Los Angeles
alleyways got its first real test last month as massive storms
pummeled the region, bringing rain that overwhelmed much of
Southern California’s stormwater infrastructure. As Alissa
Walker writes in Curbed, thanks to the “green alleys” installed
as part of a 2015 project in South Los Angeles, “the resulting
stormwater had more opportunities to sink back into the earth:
filtering through a row of permeable pavers, directing to
pocket planters where creeping fig vines twirl up garage walls,
or vanishing into grates labeled ‘drains to groundwater.’”
Moldering houses, sodden with rainwater. Muddy back roads
awaiting bulldozers to clear away debris. Families without
flood insurance wondering how they will afford to repair their
wrecked homes and replace belongings. This is the reality for
many low-income and working-class residents in Santa Cruz and
Monterey counties, the bull’s-eye of a series of historic
atmospheric river storms that began on Dec. 26 and lasted
through Jan. 18. The storms dumped as much as 3 feet of water
in parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains, flooding homes, blocking
critical access roads and trapping communities. Across the
state, at least 21 people died in the deluges. The floodwaters
have receded, but one month later, residents are still
struggling to move forward with scant resources while
navigating bureaucratic labyrinths to procure promised federal
The State Water Resources Control Board will spend $34 million
for six projects to improve the water quality of the New River
and the Tijuana River along the U.S.-Mexico border. The New
River starts south of the city of Mexicali, and runs through
Calexico on the U.S. side of the border and through Imperial
County to the Salton Sea. The Tijuana River runs from Baja
California into San Diego. Both rivers are heavily polluted by
sewage, trash, industrial and agricultural waste, and other
sediment and pollutants.
Recent rains could mean a more flexible water budget for San
Diego as state authorities announced increased water deliveries
throughout California. The state will allocate additional water
deliveries to some 29 public water agencies, delivering 30
percent of requested water supplies after initially projecting
only five percent delivery. The areas receiving additional
water allocations include the Bay Area, central coast, San
Joaquin Valley and Southern California, including the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, according
to Maggie Macias, a representative of the California Department
of Water Resources.
The California Department of Water Resources, in light of
recent storms, is utilizing its lakes and reservoirs throughout
California to capture stormwater. This recently led to the
department’s announcement that the State Water Project will
likely be allocating 30% of DWR-managed water to go toward
communities that use these surface water resources. DWR
spokesperson Raquel Borrayo said managing the stormwater
capture means monitoring inflow and outflow to the lake to
An estimated 62 million gallons of sewage — or about 94
Olympic-sized swimming pools — spilled into the San Francisco
Bay during the storms in late December and January. Those
storms are now behind us, and officials say the water is now
safe. But now is actually the perfect time to unpack what went
wrong with our sewage system, and how we can better prepare our
infrastructure for the next big storm.
The rain in December and January is still paying off for
200,000 South Bay residents. The Sweetwater Authority, which
provides water to customers in Western Chula Vista, Bonita, and
National City, just opened a massive valve in the Loveland Dam
Thursday to send water to the Sweetwater Reservoir for the
second time in two months. “We might be able to capture
approximately 1.1 billion gallons of water,” explained Erick
Del Bosque, Sweetwater Authority’s Director of Engineering and
Operations. Del Bosque said that much water will save customers
roughly $5 million. The Loveland Reservoir is only filled with
rainwater and water runoff. Sweetwater Authority opened the
valve in Loveland Dam in November for more than two weeks to
send water to the Sweetwater Reservoir because it was running
dangerously low, at only 14% capacity.
After weeks of near-constant rain and flooding, California
is finally drying out—but hopefully not getting too dry,
because the state needs all the rain it can get to pull itself
out of a historic drought. This is California at its most
frenetic and contradictory: Climate change is making both dry
spells and rainstorms more intense, ping-ponging the state’s
water systems between critical shortages and canal-topping
deluges. A simultaneous solution to both extremes
is right beneath Californians’ feet: aquifers, which are
made up of underground layers of porous rock or sediments, like
gravel and sand, that fill with rainwater soaking through the
soil above. … In paleo valleys, those coarser sediments
are topped with perhaps just a few feet of soil, so they
readily channel water into the aquifer system—this is where
you’d want to refill.
The Sites Project Authority released findings from a new
analysis that projected Sites Reservoir could have diverted and
captured 120,000 acre-feet of water in just two weeks if the
reservoir had been operational from Jan. 3 through Jan. 15 and
would continue to capture water over the next few weeks as
flows continue to run high. … The project, which has
been in the works for more than 60 years, hopes to turn the
Sites Valley, located 10 miles west of Maxwell where Colusa and
Glenn counties meet, into a state-of-the-art off-stream water
storage facility that captures and stores stormwater flows in
the Sacramento River – after all other water rights and
regulatory requirements are met – for release in dry and
critical years for environmental use and for communities, farms
and businesses statewide to utilize when needed.
When San Francisco’s new Southeast Community Center opened in
October, the three acres of parkland included an expansive
landscaped bioswale that, in theory, would handle the water
running off even the most extensive storm. Less than a month
later, the theory was put to the test — and it passed with
flying colors. … The amount of runoff from the overall
site was 45% below what it would have been before the project
converted a former office site; on New Year’s eve, water
cascaded through the site and filled the retention basin, but
it never surged over its banks.
A gazillion gallons of stormwater have been rampaging down
rivers into the sea. But that uncaptured bounty hasn’t been
“wasted.” “Wasted water” being dumped in the ocean is an old
cliché that resurfaces whenever there’s a big storm in this
weather-eccentric state — or during the inevitable dry periods
when crops are thirsty and homeowners are told to shut off
their lawn sprinklers. But “wasted water” is a myth. Uncaptured
runoff flowing to the sea flushes pollutants out of rivers and
bays, helping to cleanse water for local domestic use. It also
saves many kinds of fish, including salmon, not only for
recreationists but for the coastal fishing industry. And it
deposits sand on beaches. -Written by LA Times columnist George Skelton.
The atmospheric river that fueled a string of heavy downpours
in California this month brought much-needed water to the
parched Golden State. But those billions of gallons of rain
also swept a form of pollution off roads into streams, rivers
and the Pacific Ocean that’s of rising concern to scientists,
environmentalists and regulators: particle dust created by car
tires. A growing body of research indicates that in addition to
being a major source of microplastic pollution, the chemical
6PPD, an additive that’s used to keep tires from wearing out,
reacts with ozone in the atmosphere to form a toxic new
substance scientists call 6PPD-Quinone. It’s killing coho
salmon and likely harms other types of fish, which exhibit
symptoms resembling suffocation.
As work gets underway on the state budget, the recent weather
events in California — which left more than a dozen people dead
and caused tens of thousands to evacuate their homes — have put
a spotlight on the state of water infrastructure. In the new
budget proposal he recently announced, Gov. Gavin Newsom
proposed $202 million to go toward flood protection. The
investments will be divided between urban flood risk reduction,
delta levees and Central Valley flood protection, according to
the plan. … The governor’s proposal isn’t the final product.
Legislators will hold hearings and work through the proposal.
Newsom’s office will release a revised plan based on the latest
economic forecast in May, and the legislature has until June 15
to pass the budget.
When Governor Gavin Newsom announced that all new car sales in
California would be zero-emission vehicles by 2035, many
activists celebrated the move. … But there was a word few
people mentioned in response to the news: microplastics. One of
the potential unintended consequences of the transition to
electric vehicles could be more microplastics. When rubber
meets road, tires shed small synthetic polymers less than five
millimeters in diameter. … “We ended up estimating that
stormwater was discharging about seven trillion [microplastics]
into the [San Francisco] Bay annually,” said Rebecca Sutton, a
senior researcher at the San Francisco Estuary Institute
(SFEI). Half of those particles come from tires. … These
tire particles are already in the air we breathe as well as the
San Francisco Bay and the groundwater that empties into
The recent onslaught of storms and the backdrop of relentless
drought might make Los Angeles residents wish we had an
old-school water czar to tap distant rivers. But the days of
having William Mulholland single-mindedly create a system to
quench Los Angeles’ perpetual thirst are long gone. … Still,
as Los Angeles residents watched the winter storms drench the
region with billions of gallons of water — most of which
rushed, unused, to the Pacific — it’s natural to wonder why our
water systems don’t capture that water to use when we need it.
… Adopted by voters in 2018 as Los Angeles
County Measure W, the program is building a network
of small, local rainwater- and runoff-retention projects,
anchored by several larger catch basins that together will
increase by at least a third the amount of water that seeps
into groundwater basins.
Environmental rules designed to protect imperiled fish in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have ignited anger among a
group of bipartisan lawmakers, who say too much of California’s
stormwater is being washed out to sea instead of being pumped
to reservoirs and aqueducts. In a series of strongly
worded letters, nearly a dozen legislators — many from
drought-starved agriculture regions of the Central Valley —have
implored state and federal officials to relax environmental
pumping restrictions that are limiting the amount of water
captured from the delta. … Since the beginning of
January, a series of atmospheric rivers has disgorged trillions
of gallons of much-needed moisture across drought-stricken
California, but only a small fraction of that water has so far
made it into storage.
When Kitty Bolte looked at her yard at the start of
California’s powerful winter storms, she saw more than half a
foot of standing water behind her house. At first Bolte, a
horticulturalist by trade, contemplated pumping it out onto the
street. But with the historic rains coming in the midst of a
historic drought, that seemed oddly wasteful. So instead, she
and her boyfriend decided to save it. They found a neighbor
selling IBC totes – large 330-gallon plastic containers
surrounded by wire – on Craigslist, and filled them up using an
inexpensive Home Depot pump. They also dragged some spare
garbage cans outside to sit under the downpour, gathering 800
gallons in all. … One inch of rain on a 1,000 sq ft roof
can result in 600 gallons of water – enough to water
a 4 by 8 ft food garden for 30 weeks. In her cisterns,
Dougherty collects much more – 2,000 gallons at a time that are
stored in large plastic vessels that can be closed off.
It seems like such a no brainer: Grab the floodwater inundating
California right now and shove it into our dried up aquifers
for later use. But water plus California never equals simple.
Yes, farmers and water districts can, legally, grab water from
the state’s overflowing rivers, park it on their land and it
will recharge the groundwater. But if those farmers and
districts want to claim any kind of ownership over that water
later, they can’t. Not without a permit. And permits are
costly, time consuming and overly complicated, according to
critics. Farmers and districts in some areas are taking flood
water independently in order to relieve problems for people
downstream. But there just isn’t a large-scale,
systematic way for water agencies and farmers to absorb the
current deluge and store it for future use, mostly because of
regulatory hurdles, critics say.
A group of Assembly Republican lawmakers gathered on a levee on
the American River in Sacramento to call out the state’s
Democratic leadership for failing to invest in water
infrastructure to aid with flooding and water
storage. Around 22 trillion gallons of rain will fall in
California according to estimates. However, state Assembly
Republicans blame the lack of infrastructure as the root cause
for why most of the water will go uncaptured. … In 2014,
voters supported a water bond that authorized billions of
dollars to go toward state water supply infrastructure and
water storage projects. Since then, no new reservoir or other
water project has been built.
Why Guy is getting many questions about why we can’t store all
the rainwater we’re getting. California is still officially in
a drought and we need water for drinking and agriculture and
other basic needs. Even though it’s been dumping rain like
watery gold, we can’t seem to store it all. We have reservoirs
and dams that do much of the water storage, but most of the
rain we’ve been getting is flowing into the Pacific Ocean. It’s
wasted. The rain is also falling so quickly that we can’t
store it and what we want to do with it is get it out of here
to clear our roadways and landscapes as soon as
possible. The best-case scenario is that we get a ton of
snow in the high Sierra that naturally melts as the weather
warms and disperses the water in doses to a thirsty state.
The Great Flood of 1862, seemingly lost in time, is the answer
to the question: What was the most destructive flood in
California history? Even as flood waters rise throughout the
state in January 2023 and President Joe Biden declared a state
of emergency on Monday, the event has created only a fraction
of the impact of the 19th century deluge. News reports from the
time describe a surreal scene: Entire towns were destroyed, and
farmland and plains turned into lakes as far as the eye could
see. Almost everyone in the state was impacted by the flood,
from victims who lost their homes to state employees who, in
the chaos and confusion, didn’t get paid for more than a
year. … San Francisco began flooding in December
1861, when steady rains drenched the city. The first week of
January dumped 12 more inches of rain in S.F., and one local
newspaper made Biblical comparisons.
The prevailing goal in Southern California has been to get
water that falls from the sky away from our roads and buildings
as quickly as possible. Much of the rain washes out to the
ocean — often carrying trash and other pollutants. The L.A.
Times reported up to 10 billion gallons poured into the Los
Angeles Basin in recent storms and only about 20% will be
captured. L.A. County has plans to double the amount
of rainwater currently captured every year and use it
to provide nearly two-thirds of the county’s drinking
water. Voters approved a new property tax in 2018
meant to raise up to $300 million a year to fund the capture
and treatment of stormwater.
On September 7, California’s State Water Resources Control
Board (SWRCB) approved initial requirements for testing
microplastics in drinking water, becoming the first government
in the world seeking to establish health-based guidelines for
acceptable levels of microplastics in drinking water. …
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles, less than five
millimeters in length, that occur in the environment because of
plastic production from a wide range of manufactured products.
… The SWRCB’s implementation of Senate Bill 1422, will now
require select public water systems to monitor for
microplastics over a four year period—a daunting task as there
is no EPA-approved method to identify the many types of
microplastics in drinking water, and no standardized water
treatment method for removing microplastics from the public
Last year was a good one for trash. Or, rather, for the
prospects of reducing it. For the last several years, lawmakers
have passed new laws aimed at curbing plastic, from the 2014
ban on single-use plastic grocery bags to restrictions on use
of plastic straws. But in 2022, they went big and broad,
enacting Senate Bill 54, a revolutionary law that will start
phasing out all varieties of single-use plastic in 2025 —
basically everything on the shelves of grocery and other retail
stores — through escalating composting and recycling
requirements on consumer products packaging. Most importantly,
the law puts the onus on the producers of the packaging to
figure out how to make it happen rather than on consumers or
state and local governments.
California could get 22 trillion gallons of rain in the coming
days. But what does that mean for the state’s drought? In a
perennial problem that even when California does get rain, much
of it runs off into the ocean or is otherwise uncollected. But
there’s new storm water technology that could help change that,
scientists say, as the decades-old discipline shifts to help
water managers collect rainwater, purify it and store it for
times of drought. Much of the new technology is often
referred to as “green infrastructure,” … To learn
more, The Washington Post talked with Andrew Fisher, a
professor of hydrogeology at the University of California in
Santa Cruz, and David Feldman, the director of the University
of California Irvine’s water institute.
A bomb cyclone hit California this week, knocking out power,
downing trees, dumping massive amounts of water. Now, that last
one, massive amounts of water – it’s interesting because all
that rain is hitting in a state that has been stricken with
drought. Some California residents are watching this precious
resource wash away and wondering, why can’t we save the water
for later, for times when we desperately need it? Well, Andrew
Fisher, hydrogeologist and professor at UC Santa Cruz,
attempted to answer that question in an op-ed for The LA Times.
And we have brought him here to try to answer it for us.
Professor Fisher, welcome.
The City of Rio Dell is experiencing an ongoing hazardous
materials spill as heavy rainfall infiltrates outdated sewer
pipes that were damaged during the 6.4 magnitude earthquake
that struck on December 20. An estimated 140,000 gallons
rain-diluted wastewater has spilled out of a manhole cover at
the end of Painter Street, near the city’s wastewater treatment
plant, and the spill is continuing at a rate of about 50
gallons per minute, according to Rio Dell City Manager Kyle
In a special message about California weather, the National
Weather Service said that another atmospheric river would
arrive in Northern California Friday night and bring the
“threat of heavy rain (and) flooding on Saturday, along with
1-2 feet of snow and “dangerous” mountain travel conditions.
But that’s just a warm-up: A “stronger” atmospheric river is
expected to arrive Monday and persist into Tuesday, bring more
precipitation and gusty winds.
The Los Angeles River roared to life this week as a series of
powerful storms moved through the Southland. In Long Beach, 3
feet of water shut down the 710 Freeway in both directions,
while flooding in the San Fernando Valley forced the closure of
the Sepulveda Basin. It was by all accounts a washout, but
despite heaps of water pouring into the area, drought-weary Los
Angeles won’t be able to save even half of it. The region’s
system of engineered waterways is designed to whisk L.A.’s
stormwater out to sea — a strategy intended to reduce flooding
that nonetheless sacrifices countless precious gallons.
The atmospheric river storm hitting California this week
presents a test for an experimental waste-capturing system
that’s intended to keep plastic bottles, diapers and other
trash from flowing into the Pacific. It has even captured a
couch. The solar-powered system, designed to work mostly
autonomously, was introduced in October at the mouth of Ballona
Creek near Playa del Rey.
Just days after rain left the city with flooding waters and
streets covered in debris, runoff is also leading to unsafe
swimming conditions along our coast. Right now, there are
currently four beach closures in our region: Imperial Beach
Shoreline, Tijuana Slough Shoreline, Silver Strand Shoreline,
and Coronado Shoreline. The San Diego Department of
Environmental Health and Quality warning beachgoers to stay
away until further testing. Along the Coronado shoreline
water contact warning signs line the sand, alerting beachgoers
to steer clear. … Ringing in the new year with moderate rain
and gusty winds has led to these south swell conditions and
urban runoff across the U.S. Mexico border raising bacteria
levels in ocean and bay water here at home.
Blasted by sun and beaten by waves,
plastic bottles and bags shed fibers and tiny flecks of
microplastic debris that litter the San Francisco Bay where they
can choke the marine life that inadvertently consumes it.
One of California Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade
Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within
weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that
Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.
That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach”
on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded
floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra
Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as
drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those
supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped
up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of
Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually
water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s,
Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it
derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
Farmers in the Central Valley are broiling about California’s plan to increase flows in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems to help struggling salmon runs avoid extinction. But in one corner of the fertile breadbasket, River Garden Farms is taking part in some extraordinary efforts to provide the embattled fish with refuge from predators and enough food to eat.
And while there is no direct benefit to one farm’s voluntary actions, the belief is what’s good for the fish is good for the farmers.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply
originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water
supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests,
which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought,
wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
We headed into the foothills and the mountains to examine
water issues that happen upstream but have dramatic impacts
downstream and throughout the state.
GEI (Tour Starting Point)
2868 Prospect Park Dr.
Rancho Cordova, CA 95670.
As we continue forging ahead in 2018
with our online version of Western Water after 40 years
as a print magazine, we turned our attention to a topic that also
got its start this year: recreational marijuana as a legal use.
State regulators, in the last few years, already had been beefing
up their workforce to tackle the glut in marijuana crops and
combat their impacts to water quality and supply for people, fish
and farming downstream. Thus, even if these impacts were perhaps
unbeknownst to the majority of Californians who approved
Proposition 64 in 2016, we thought it important to see if
anything new had evolved from a water perspective now that
marijuana was legal.
California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
Sixty percent of California’s developed water supply
originates high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Our water
supply is largely dependent on the health of our Sierra forests,
which are suffering from ecosystem degradation, drought,
wildfires and widespread tree mortality.
Microplastics – plastic debris
measuring less than 5 millimeters – are an
increasing water quality concern. Entering the water as
industrial microbeads or as larger plastic litter that degrade
into small pellets, microplastics come from a variety of
Point sources release pollutants from discrete conveyances, such
as a discharge pipe, and are regulated by federal and state
agencies. The main point source dischargers are factories and
sewage treatment plants, which release treated
Problems with polluted stormwater and steps that can be taken to
prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as
“nuisance” runoff into a water resource is the focus of this
publication, Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a
Resource. The 16-page booklet, funded by a grant from the State
Water Resources Control Board, includes color photos and
graphics, text explaining common stormwater pollutants and
efforts to prevent stormwater runoff through land use/
planning/development – as well as tips for homeowners to reduce
their impacts on stormwater pollution.
This card includes information about the Colorado River, who uses
the river, how the river’s water is divided and other pertinent
facts about this vital resource for the Southwest. Beautifully
illustrated with color photographs.
This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past,
present and future of flood management in California’s Central
Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced
the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand.
Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from
California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood
Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they
discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood
protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic
flood management plan for the Central Valley.
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current
state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an
overview of the geography and history of the river, historical
and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of
the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater,
and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and
turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource
through various activities.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the
faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close
to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their
water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and
testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from,
how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality
are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water:
Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems
and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state.
This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12
about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to
clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and
prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The
video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference
between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is
not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The
teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that
homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.
The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to
Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of
California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the
authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a
faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of
California water rights.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water
For all the benefits of precipitation, stormwater also brings
with it many challenges.
In urban areas, after long dry periods rainwater runoff can
contain heavy accumulations of pollutants that have built up over
time. For example, a rainbow like shine on a roadway puddle can
indicate the presence of oil or gasoline. Stormwater does not go
into the sewer. Instead, pollutants can be flushed into waterways
with detrimental effects on the environment and water quality.
This printed issue of Western Water discusses several
flood-related issues, including the proposed Central Valley Flood
Protection Plan, the FEMA remapping process and the dispute
between the state and the Corps regarding the levee vegetation
This printed issue of Western Water discusses low
impact development and stormwater capture – two areas of emerging
interest that are viewed as important components of California’s
future water supply and management scenario.
Growth may have slowed in California, but advocates of low impact
development (LID) say the pause is no reason to lose sight of the
importance of innovative, low-tech management of stormwater via
incorporating LID aspects into new projects and redevelopment.
This printed issue of Western Water, based on presentations
at the November 3-4, 2010 Water Quality Conference in Ontario,
Calif., looks at constituents of emerging concerns (CECs) – what
is known, what is yet to be determined and the potential
regulatory impacts on drinking water quality.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.