Topic: Water Supply


Water Supply

California’s climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, makes the state’s water supply unpredictable. For instance, runoff and precipitation in California can be quite variable. The northwestern part of the state can receive more than 140 inches per year while the inland deserts bordering Mexico can receive less than 4 inches.

By the Numbers:

  • Precipitation averages about 193 million acre-feet per year.
  • In a normal precipitation year, about half of the state’s available surface water – 35 million acre-feet – is collected in local, state and federal reservoirs.
  • California is home to more than 1,300 reservoirs.
  • About two-thirds of annual runoff evaporates, percolates into the ground or is absorbed by plants, leaving about 71 million acre-feet in average annual runoff.
Aquafornia news SanTan Sun News

Unique water plant enabling Intel’s massive expansion

Intel’s Sept. 24 groundbreaking ceremony for the $20 billion expansion of the Ocotillo campus in Chandler brought out all the top officials. … But it’s unlikely any of them would have been there until Intel overcame one key issue to doing business in the desert: Water. It takes a lot of water to run a manufacturing plant. In addition to the potable water needed for a workforce of several thousands, they also need a lot of water for their cooling towers.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How San Diego has water despite a punishing drought

In many parts of California, reminders abound that the American West is running out of water. “Bathtub rings” mark the shrinking of the state’s biggest reservoirs to some of their lowest recorded levels. Fields lie fallow, as farmers grapple with an uncertain future. A bed-and-breakfast owner spends $5 whenever a tourist showers. But not in San Diego County. In this coastal desert metropolis, life has stayed mostly the same for residents already accustomed to conserving what they have long treated as a precious resource.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Virginia investor spends big on Kern farmland with access to banked water

In a sizable series of transactions that speaks to looming uncertainties in local ag, a Wasco farming family recently sold 2,400 acres in west Bakersfield — and with them, options to buy 45,000 acre-feet of water banked by the Semitropic Water Storage District — to a Virginia-based investment company drawn to California farmland.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sweetwater Authority hires new general manager after monthlong vacancy

Sweetwater Authority has selected its new general manager to manage the water agency responsible for about 200,000 customers in the South Bay.  Following a months-long vacancy, Carlos Quintero started his role on Sept. 27 following the Sweetwater governing board’s approval last month of a three-year employment contract with him. He has worked in the water industry for the past 24 years.

Aquafornia news Palm Springs Life

Carrie Oliphant is 1st female director of engineering for Coachella Valley Water District

Carrie Oliphant, a 20-year veteran of the Coachella Valley Water District, is the agency’s first female director of engineering, and working her way up, she says, has been “a really good experience” in a “very supportive environment.” Her job is a huge undertaking, as the century-old public agency covers more than 1,000 square miles and services 110,000 homes and businesses. 

Aquafornia news National Law Review

Are drinking water providers liable under RCRA for contaminants they didn’t introduce?

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently vacated a summary judgment previously granted to the city of Vacaville, California, in a citizen suit brought under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). California River Watch v. City of Vacaville questioned whether a drinking water provider could have RCRA liability as a transporter of waste due to the presence of a contaminant in the drinking water which was not introduced by the provider and which did not cause the drinking water to fail applicable federal and state drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Corning looks to expand water services

In an effort to expand Corning’s water services, the city is applying for a Small Community Drought Relief of $22,322,250 through the Department of Water Resources. Corning is applying for this grant to fund three wells and extend water mains and laterals within the municipality’s sphere of influence, which is to Viola Road west across Interstate 5, north to Finnell Avenue and east across Interstate 5. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Much-needed rain finally falling in the Bay Area; snow headed to the Sierra

Light rain started falling Sunday evening in the Bay Area, as a week of much-needed precipitation was forecast for the parched Northern California landscape. One to 2 inches of rain is expected to fall across the Bay Area over the next week, and even more could fall across the North Bay as a series of storms dives in from the northwest, said Rick Canepa, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. To the east, parts of the Sierra Nevada could see more than a half-foot of snow by Monday morning. 

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Scientists see a La Niña coming. What does that mean for the dry American Southwest?

The wet winter the American south-west has hoped for as it battles extreme drought and heat is increasingly unlikely to materialize as scientists now predict that a phenomenon known as La Niña will develop for the second year in a row. The weather system could intensify the worst effects of the drought … Different regions in the US will experience different outcomes. Washington state, Oregon, and even possibly northern California could see wetter conditions than normal, possibly causing problems if the rain comes as a deluge.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California records driest year in a century

In a year of both extreme heat and extreme drought, California has reported its driest water year in terms of precipitation in a century, and experts fear the coming 12 months could be even worse. The Western Regional Climate Center added average precipitation reported at each of its stations and calculated that a total of 11.87 inches of rain and snow fell in California in the 2021 water year. That’s half of what experts deem average during a water year in California: about 23.58 inches.

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Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Fort Bragg downgrades water emergency, no longer receiving water from Ukiah

Recent rainfall and the arrival of a desalination system are allowing Fort Bragg to reduce the city’s water emergency from a Stage 4 water crisis to a Stage 2 water alert. That means businesses and residents can ease up slightly on their water conservation efforts. The city was also able to pause receipts of water from the city of Ukiah since water deliveries were exceeding demand. Fort Bragg can meet that demand now without outside help.

Aquafornia news Newsy

Megadrought forcing farmers to abandon fields

Farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley are struggling with the megadrought. It is the most productive agricultural region globally, where farms grow 250 different crops on 17% of the nation’s irrigated land. … California regulators cut farmers’ water allotments by a third due to low reservoir levels.

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Aquafornia news North Bay Bohemian

Filmmaker Emmett Brenner focuses on California water stewardship

On a bright, blustery October day, a day that felt almost like normal fall weather, I had a conversation with filmmaker Emmett Brenner about his latest film, Reflection: A Walk with Water. In the film, Brenner and fellow environmental advocates walk the length of the Los Angeles Aqueduct to raise awareness about the misuses of water in California and the acute effects it’s having on the land.

Aquafornia news Patch, Murrieta, CA

$37M wastewater reclamation project in Murrieta completed

A celebration event held Wednesday commemorated the recent completion of a $37 million, three-year construction project at the Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility on Washington Avenue in Murrieta. Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Rancho California Water District, and Western Municipal Water District hosted the event. The three agencies are partners with the Santa Rosa Regional Resources Authority, which owns and manages the reclamation facility that serves portions of Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and surrounding communities.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

San Diego’s proactive measures for reliable water supply

Drinking water from this tap makes San Diego County Water Authority’s General Manager Sandy Kerl smile — and for good reason. Back in the drought of the ’90s, 95% of San Diego’s water came from one source, and they faced 30% cuts for 13 months. … Fast-forward 30 years later, and the San Diego County Water Authority has multiple streams of water sources in its portfolio, including the groundbreaking Carlsbad Desalination Plant that utilizes ocean water to provide the region with about 10% of its drinking water.

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Aquafornia news USA Today

Hackers targeting US water facilities hit California, Maine in 2021

The nation’s top civilian cybersecurity agency issued a warning Thursday about ongoing cyber threats to the U.S. drinking water supply, saying malicious hackers are targeting government water and wastewater treatment systems. Authorities said they wanted to highlight ongoing malicious cyber activity “by both known and unknown actors” targeting the technology and information systems that provide clean, drinkable water and treat the billions of gallons of wastewater created in the U.S. every year.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

As Lake Powell hits record lows, is filling a new drought pool the answer?

Two years ago, this unprecedented megadrought prompted all seven [Colorado River Basin] states to agree, for the first time, to a dual drought contingency plan — one for the upper basin and one for the lower. … But in the upper basin, though the states agreed to their own drought contingency plan, they still haven’t agreed on the biggest, most controversial of the plan’s elements: setting aside up to 500,000 acre-feet of water in a special, protected drought pool in Lake Powell.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Supervisors inch forward on allowing private ownership of desalination plants in Monterey County

The question of whether private ownership of desalination plants will be allowed in Monterey County remains unresolved, but supervisors on Oct. 12 voted 4-1 to direct county staff to prepare a study on overturning the 32-year prohibition on private ownership.  … The law has been thrust into the spotlight as Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp., a publicly traded, $11 billion Canada-based company, has proposed construction of what could be a massive regional desalination plant in Moss Landing. The project has the potential to produce 32,000 acre-feet of drinking water when built out.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

FWA awards contract to begin phase 1 of canal fix

Subsidence by groundwater extraction has all but led to a conveyance failure for parts of the Friant-Kern Canal. After years of vying for funding to fix its most impacted 33-mile stretch, the Friant Water Authority announced they have awarded a contract to Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini Joint Venture for phase one of the project. Brosamer & Waller, based in Walnut Creek, was awarded a $177 million contract to perform the construction aspects of the first phase of work to repair the Friant-Kern Canal along the significant stretch.

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Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Blog: Protecting water quality in Colorado

With the population of the United States doubling over the past 50 years, at least 40 states are now anticipating water shortages by 2024. … Consider the Colorado River basin. Located in the southwestern U.S. and stretching almost 1,500 miles from the Continental Divide to the Gulf of California, the Colorado River is a critical municipal water resource for nearly 40 million people throughout seven states.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Corporations are pledging to be ‘water positive’. What does that mean?

Microsoft, Facebook and Google have all pledged to replenish more water than they use in their direct operations by 2030. BP has set a target year for 2035, and Gap for 2050. These pledges are coming at a time of huge pressure on global water resources, exacerbated by the climate crisis. … The impacts of the water crisis on business are increasingly clear – threatening semiconductor production in Taiwan, scuttling plans for a brewery in Mexico and sending investors competing for water rights in the Colorado River basin.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Central Valley Project begins 2022 water year with 3.21 million acre-feet of storage

As severe drought conditions continue, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project began the 2022 water year with 3.21 million acre-feet of water—one of the lowest starting points in recent years. CVP major reservoirs include: Trinity, Shasta, Folsom, New Melones, Millerton, and the federal share of San Luis Reservoir—approximately 52% of a 15-year average. The water year begins Oct. 1 each year and ends Sept. 30.

Aquafornia news Fox 40 (Sacramento)

Diablo Grande community could run out of water next week

Nearly 800 residents in the Diablo Grande community could run out of water by the end of the week. Some residents were upset that their water rates could increase even as they’re asked to conserve. … Diablo Grande used to be a coveted community behind a private gate, but some residents feared it would be abandoned because of ongoing water problems.  

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Aquafornia news South Valley Water Association

Blog: SB 559 & Friant Canal Fix

It seems that every time there’s a proposal in the Legislature to help repair the Friant-Kern Canal, something goes wrong. It happened again last month. Senate Bill 559 would have directed state money toward repairing the Friant-Kern Canal, Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct, which are sinking due to land subsidence. The damage is hurting their ability to move water. But the bill got tripped up in the Assembly.

Aquafornia news Office of Gov. Gavin Newsom

News release: Governor Newsom announces appointments

State Water Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel and DWR Director Karla Nemeth have been appointed to the Western States Water Council. … Bianca Sievers, 31, of Sacramento, has been appointed Deputy Director for Special Initiatives at the Department of Water Resources. … 

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Fort Bragg, CA to launch desalination system

With funding from the California State Water Resources Control Board, the City of Fort Bragg is launching a desalination-reverse osmosis system that can treat up to 144,000 gallons per day. The system will treat water from the Noyo River, where saltwater intrusion during high tide can often render the water unsuitable for drinking.

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Water district bids $32 million for Highland property once slated for 3,600 homes

The 1,657 sloping acres of dry scrub and boulders in Highland that had been slated for 3,600 houses as part of the Harmony development is one step closer to being sold. The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 5 accepted a high bid of $31,815,000 from the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. The supervisors made the move on behalf of the Orange County Flood Control District, which owns the land. 

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Biden pursues reversal of rules for water projects

The struggle over management of water supplied through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta continues as the Biden administration seeks a reversal of rules put in place by agencies under the Trump administration. Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sent a letter to federal fisheries agencies and announced it is reinitiating consultation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service 2019 biological opinions related to the coordinated, long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. 

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Major milestone met to protect Mono Basin ecosystem

A major milestone in the effort to protect the Mono Basin ecosystem was reached last week. On October 1, 2021, the California State Water Board approved a comprehensive program to restore four key tributaries to Mono Lake, located in the Eastern Sierra near Yosemite. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will implement this program, as a condition of its water rights license to withdraw water for transport to its customers in the Los Angeles area. 

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

New research: Ancient water management techniques inspire current practices

This year witnessed one of the hottest and driest summers in recent history for Western Canada and the American Southwest. The resulting droughts adversely affected food supply and helped send meat prices rising three times faster than inflation. Despite the severity of these droughts, the worst may be yet to come. … [L]essons can also be drawn from low-tech solutions developed by ancient societies that flourished in arid climates.

Aquafornia news Food & Water Watch

News release: New analysis details immense scale of corporate water abuses in California

The national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch released “Big Ag, Big Oil and California’s Big Water Problem,” a report detailing for the first time California’s most egregious corporate water misuses. The piece pinpoints industrial agriculture as among the worst offenders, swallowing large portions of California’s water resources and exporting billions of gallons of water overseas through heavily irrigated crops like almond and alfalfa as well as dairy.

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Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

Blog: Q&A – Building the tunnel, part 1: Nothing boring about boring technology

There is absolutely nothing boring about a tunnel boring machine (TBM). Today’s TBMs resemble massive subterranean factories, capable of cutting through harder rock and against higher water pressures than ever before. TBMs can now operate in mixed ground conditions and in a host of other environments that would have been impossible as recently as the 1970s and 1980s.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Video: How much is water worth? Why a billionaire-owned stake in a California water bank could be worth more than $1 billion

How much is access to water worth? In this episode, we aim to answer that question by looking at the Kern Water Bank, one of California’s largest underground water storage facilities. From above, it looks a lot like a giant puddle. But underneath it has the capacity to hold the equivalent of roughly 500 of New York City’s Central Park Reservoirs. And, as one expert says, it’s the “absolute jewel” of California water banking. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Opinion: Covid rattled our food chain; climate change is a seismic shock

Stuart Woolf, a large almond and tomato producer, recently bulldozed 400 acres of almond orchards in central California — about 50,000 trees that under normal conditions would have produced $2.5 million of nuts every year for another decade. It’s a fraction of the 25,000 acres his family farms, but razing the land was a necessary triage — “Like cutting off your horribly infected hand to keep the rest of the body going,” he told me. Woolf plans to replace the trees with cover crops he’ll neither sell nor harvest, but will use to sequester greenhouse gasses in his soil.
-Written by Bloomberg columnist Amanda Little.

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Aquafornia news Stateline

Drought-stricken Western towns say no to developers

In the small city of Oakley, Utah, the drought conditions parching much of the West have depleted the natural springs that supply water to the community. During each of the past several summers, local leaders worried that quenching any major fire might empty the city’s water tanks. The city issued water-use restrictions this past April and residents cut back, but officials heard a consistent message from their constituents, said Mayor Wade Woolstenhulme. “If you guys are so low on water, why do you keep giving out building permits?”

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Aquafornia news Sonoma Sun

Opinion: Wake up and smell the cannabis, Sonoma County

Our severe drought prompted the county to lobby the state to decrease mandated new housing units due to water limitations. Yet at a recent supervisors hearing, Permit Sonoma identified no cumulative water impacts from cannabis grows whereas in reality the county failed to analyze this. The county should have done this six years ago while developing the original ordinance.
-Written by Deborah Eppstein, a retired scientist living in Sonoma County, and Craig S. Harrison, a retired lawyer living in Bennett Valley.

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Aquafornia news Daily Bulletin

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: How to beat the drought? Inland Empire water agency wants to make it rain

Programs from the drought-busting handbook practiced by Southern California water agencies include recycling water, building storm-water capture basins and offering cash rebates for replacing thirsty lawns with xeriscape landscaping. With the grip from a second year of drought tightening, a regional water-planning agency in the Inland Empire is moving ahead for the first time in its history with a more controversial program: cloud seeding. The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority Commission has approved a four-year pilot cloud-seeding project …

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: Tutor Perini Joint Venture awarded $178 million Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction project

Tutor Perini Corporation (NYSE: TPC) (the “Company”), a leading civil, building and specialty construction company, announced today that a joint venture comprised of the Company and Brosamer & Wall, Inc. has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $178 million by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, for the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Phase I project in central California, southeast of Visalia.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

NOAA report reveals historic dryness in Southwest drought

People who live in the Southwest know it’s been especially hot and dry the past couple of years, but a new government report shows those conditions are actually historic. Precipitation across multiple basins in six states from January 2020 through August 2021 was the lowest recorded since researchers started tracking with gauges in the late 1800s. Meanwhile, the 20-month stretch had the third-highest average daily temperatures since researchers started measuring with instruments.

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Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

Imperial to start turning off tap for residents 60 days due

Come Wednesday, Oct. 13, utility services for Imperial residents more than 60 days past due will start to be cut off, but the city will continue to offer public assistance services to help those who are behind in their bills, it was announced at the City Council meeting this week. Some 164 utility customers (water, sewer, and trash) are past due 60 days or more and will be affected this upcoming date, and more than 800 customers are 30 days past due…

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Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Kettleman in crisis: Poor Kings County town becomes intersection of I-5, 41, and zero water

While California’s severe drought has hit nearly every corner of the Golden State, it has delivered a crushing toll to communities that received little bounce back following the last drought that peaked seven years ago. Case-in-point? Kettleman City. Kettleman, perhaps best known to Californians as a Kings County stopover midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, serves as the junction of Valley residents traversing to the Central Coast via Highway 41 and metropolitan drivers roaring across Interstate 5.

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Aquafornia news Regional Water Authority

News release: Regional Water Authority receives national WaterSense® Partner of the Year Award for water-efficiency outreach

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today honored the Regional Water Authority (RWA) with the national 2021 WaterSense® Partner of the Year Award for its dedication to helping consumers and businesses save water, even with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This is the second WaterSense Award for RWA, which in 2016 earned a WaterSense® Excellence in Education and Outreach Award for its outstanding efforts to educate Sacramento-area residents about water efficiency and the WaterSense brand.

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Aquafornia news Los Vaqueros Reservoir JPA

News release: Los Vaqueros Reservoir Joint Powers Authority formed

The Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project (Project) passed a significant milestone today in officially filing agreements needed to form a Joint Powers Authority. This important milestone puts a group of Local Agency Partners one step closer to Project implementation. Los Vaqueros Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir that was originally built by Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) in 1998. 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County supervisors weigh well permitting amid drought conditions

Despite recent rains, severe to extreme drought conditions persist throughout Humboldt County. During the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, the county drought task force shared an update on local conditions and initiatives aimed at mitigating drought impacts. One of the main concerns brought up in previous drought-related discussions was permitting standards for water wells.

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Aquafornia news Streetsblog Los Angeles

Blog: Southern California doesn’t have to choose between housing and the environment

Amid a historic drought, the ever-present threat of wildfires and worsening heat waves, a little-known controversy is pitting environmental conservation against housing production, potentially threatening progress in building a thriving Southern California that can also withstand the challenges that are coming with climate change.

Aquafornia news GV Wire

Fresno Unified trustee moves into Westlands Water District gig

Fresno Unified Trustee Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas is embarking on a new career as the public affairs representative for the Westlands Water District, which identified her in its announcement Wednesday as Elizabeth Jonasson. Jonasson Rosas says she’s fine being identified either way.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Lake Shasta landslide knocks out water to hundreds in Jones Valley

A landslide along the shore of Lake Shasta, likely caused by the rapidly falling lake level, has knocked out water service to hundreds of Jones Valley area residents. Meanwhile, Shasta County Public Works Department officials are trying to repair water lines and pumps broken by the landslide, but they have hit supply ordering delays and shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. … The land above the pump station began to slump in September and work in the area was interrupted by the Fawn Fire, which burned in the area for more than a week…

Aquafornia news Friant Water Authority

News release: Reclamation awards construction contract for first phase of Friant-Kern Canal repairs

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation and Friant Water Authority announces the selection of a construction contractor to begin work on the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. Brosamer & Wall/Tutor Perini Joint Venture, based in Walnut Creek, was awarded a $177 million contract to perform the construction aspects of the first phase of work to repair the Friant-Kern Canal along a portion of the 33-mile stretch. This portion of the canal has lost more than half of its capacity due to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater extraction. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Mirror

Colorado River drought conditions spur calls for better water infrastructure

Experts in government, agriculture, water management and the environment stressed during a U.S. Senate hearing on Wednesday the danger that droughts fueled by climate change pose in the West, including the Colorado River Basin.  During a hearing before an Energy and Natural Resources Committee panel, witnesses said long-term solutions and an investment in water infrastructure are needed to combat the effects of climate change.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Climate change is here’: Mike McGuire calls for urgent action

As the Western United States navigates yet another historic drought year fueled by the ongoing climate crisis, environmental scientists are calling for immediate action. State Sen. Mike McGuire invited the North Coast community to a virtual town hall Wednesday to explore bold solutions that will be needed in the months and years to come.

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Aquafornia news San Rafael, CA Patch

Proposed Marin water pipeline capacity scrutinized

If what is already a historic drought goes on much longer, a proposed water pipeline could help Marin avert disaster, but it likely won’t be enough, The Marin Independent Journal reports. The proposed $90 million, 8-mile pipeline that would stretch across the San Francisco Bay across the length of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge could potentially provide as much as 13.5 million gallons of water each day, according to the report.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Bay Times

Small California farms hurting during drought and water shortages

Farming has always been dependent on varying weather patterns. With a water shortage and fear of wildfires, farming has become an even riskier occupation. These circumstances are beyond their control and small farmers are having an especially tough time because they don’t have the many resources available to them that larger farms do. As the drought continues to worsen, many water-use limitations and regulations will be enforced upon all California residents and businesses—including mandatory water restrictions.

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Aquafornia news Water News Network

Blog: Dinner table lessons launch water industry careers

Jobs in the water and wastewater industry provide stable employment in meaningful careers, delivering a vital resource families and businesses depend on. With half of all current employees expected to retire in the next 15 years, recruitment efforts hope to fill many of these essential positions. Family ties provide a positive influence in filling these roles with the next generation of water professionals in several water agencies in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news TheHill

UN agency warns of looming global water crisis

Climate change is poised to result in a worldwide water crisis, and international institutions and governments have not done enough to prepare, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report determined that as of 2018, some 3.6 billion people did not have sufficient access to water at least one month every year. … The report follows a summer that, in the U.S. alone, laid bare the threat of climate change to water supply and infrastructure. Lake Mead and the Colorado River saw their first-ever federal water shortage declaration in August, two months after its water levels hit an all-time low.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Ag secretary talks about drought, trade, other Valley topics

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack talked Tuesday about Central Valley farmers’ role in a climate-safe future, and about families stressed by food costs. He took part in a Zoom call with Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, and leaders in California agriculture. Vilsack discussed his department’s response to the current drought and the barriers to exports of dairy foods, nuts, citrus and other products. And he plugged the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill now before Congress. It would improve roads, rail, ports and other modes of transportation, along with rural broadband and water supplies.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Star News

Opinion: New housing is not an issue in San Gabriel Valley water predicament

As our own editorial of Tuesday notes, about 50% of the water in California is for the rivers and their fishes. About 40% goes to agriculture. Of the remaining 10%, 5.7% is used by residences, mostly indoors, but a great deal of that for landscaping. If I were to replace my pride and joy, the 80-year-old Meyer lemon tree in our front yard, productive enough to supply the whole block with citrus, with a granny flat, that housing would use less water than that tree.
-Written by Larry Wilson, Pasadena Star News editor. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Applications open soon for Water Leaders program, which marks its 25th year in 2022

Applications will soon be available for our yearlong Water Leaders class, which will mark its 25th year in 2022, so now is the time to start polishing those resumes and seeking support from employers. One of our most popular programs, the William R. “Bill” Gianelli Water Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues and building leadership skills with class members by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Congress approves $80 million for Sites Reservoir

Congress approved a government funding bill last week that threw $80 million at the Sites Reservoir in California in order to keep the project on track. The project is meant to hold 1.5 million acre-feet of water for the state to be used during droughts for agriculture, community usage and environmental need, said a press release issued Tuesday by the organization behind the Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

As drought continues, state and federal experts call for water conservation

San Joaquin County communities are having their woes compounded as they struggle with the effects of one historic drought while still struggling with the effects of another. With constituents concerned about the ongoing drought and resources available, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, hosted a panel of state and federal experts to discuss the critical situation, its statewide effects and best water practices.

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Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

San Mateo Sunnybrae pipe project requires water runoff

A California Water Service project replacing 4,500 feet of old pipe and the subsequent dechlorination of the new pipes has led to water runoff in the Sunnybrae area of San Mateo, with Cal Water workers noting most runoff inconvenience should be done in a week. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Los Angeles shifts water supplies as drought hammers State Water Project

Cities in Southern California rely largely on water flowing through aqueducts from the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada. But some parts of the region, such as Ventura County and northwestern L.A. County, don’t have access to Colorado River water and depend entirely on the water that comes from the Sierra through the State Water Project. … Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an agreement on Tuesday, saying the city’s Department of Water and Power is assisting the region by taking less water from the State Water Project, helping to preserve those supplies so that other districts will get the water.

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Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

River District report highlights Western Slope concerns with state water-savings plan

The Colorado River Water Conservation District staff plans to present its own framework for a water-savings plan — separate from one the state of Colorado is developing — at its October board meeting. The Glenwood Springs-based River District undertook its own investigation of a plan — known as demand management — that would pay water users to consume less and send the saved water downstream to Lake Powell.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Drought: Marin requests reservoir water for rural residents

As the deepening drought threatens to dry up some West Marin wells in the coming months, the county government wants to tap into dwindling reservoirs to avoid a potential public health emergency. The county proposes to truck reservoir water for the next four months to an estimated 10 to 20 residences in areas such as Nicasio, San Geronimo Valley and Lucas Valley. The actual number of residents is not certain, county officials said, as qualification criteria are still being drafted. 

Aquafornia news KDRV - Medford

Feds put another $5 million toward Klamath Basin drought relief

The federal Bureau of Reclamation has pledged another $5 million toward drought relief in the Klamath Basin as farmers and other stakeholders in the region continue to grapple with a major shortage of water. Reclamation previously awarded $15 million toward the Klamath Project Drought Response Agency, and the additional $5 million will join those funds. KPDRA is tasked with distributing the fund to irrigators in Oregon and California who are without an external water supply due to the drought. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Locals support Central Valley town amid California drought

Ramon Chavez was a 7-year-old in Culiacán, Mexico, when his parents told him that they were traveling to the United States. He thought he was going to Disneyland. They ended up in Stratford. … Land sinks here, sometimes at nearly historic high rates of more than 1 foot per year, because of excessive groundwater pumping. Out of its four wells, Stratford can only rely on one — the others are unreliable and are unusable. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

A plan to connect two reservoirs moves along but questions arise around funding

As dry times become a greater concern, taking full advantage of wet times becomes a greater priority. This is the idea behind a long – conceived $150 million tunnel project that would connect two of [Monterey] county’s most important reservoirs [Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio], allowing the more common superfluous flows in one to fill the other. However, as the design moves toward a public unveiling, support for the massive project is uncertain. 

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

California City might alter water buys

The [California City] City Council, on Tuesday, discussed the possible benefits and pitfalls of ending its practice of purchasing supplemental water from the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency and relying solely on its own wells for water. Councilmember Kelly Kulikoff requested the discussion, speaking in favor of ending the relationship with the agency which supplies water from the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: How California can solve its growing water crisis

Here are the steps — starting with the least intrusive and least expensive — that state and local government need to take now to avoid the dystopia that Cape Town, South Africa, endured in 2018 when the faucets ran dry. … First, we should make conservation a way of life. Utilities must increase tried-and-true mandatory 20% conservation and water recycling from 2019 usage. … We also need to shift water retailer’s own incentives. While they will never say it publicly, water utilities do not like conservation, because selling less water means less revenue.
-Written by Steve Westly, a former California State Controller and founder of The Westly Group; and Gary Kremen, representing District 7 on the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors.

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Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

The Colorado River is in crisis. The Walton Family is pushing a solution

The first-ever official shortage on the Colorado River has intensified a debate over how to provide water for 40 million people across the Southwest and irrigate fields of thirsty crops like wheat, cotton and alfalfa. Few voices outside government are more influential than that of the Walton family, billionaire heirs to the Walmart Inc. fortune, who have long advocated water markets as a key part to solving the region’s woes. But some environmental groups say the Waltons drown out other, nonmarket approaches.

Aquafornia news World Economic Forum

Water scarcity in a warming climate: a story in four visuals

Water scarcity will be the biggest climate-related threat to corporate assets like factories within the next few decades … A lack of water is triggering violent conflict in places like India’s Northern Plains … Sydney will endure shortfalls within 20 years if the city continues growing at its current rate, according to a recent estimate, while residents of San Jose, California, (the “Capital of Silicon Valley”) are being threatened with penalties if they don’t cut their water use by 15%. Kenya’s drought has been declared a national disaster.

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Aquafornia news Voice of O.C.

Opinion: Housing and conservation can co-exist and a new tool makes it more possible

The future economic vibrancy of Southern California requires building an adequate housing supply that accommodates a growing population. This shouldn’t come at the cost of protecting natural lands and open spaces. A vibrant future also requires making sure that residents have the parks and clean air and water needed to support healthy communities. A project led by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is an important step in planning for the region’s future.
-Written by Melanie Schlotterbeck, a consultant for the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, a conservation organization based in Orange County.  

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Lake Mendocino level now about 75% of what water managers had hoped

The storage level in Lake Mendocino was on pace to drop below 15,000 acre feet on Saturday, meaning a quarter of the supply water managers had hoped to keep in store by Oct. 1 already has been released. The rapid shrinkage of the reservoir after two years of historic drought raises unsettling questions about the future for a range of consumers along the upper Russian River, whose supplies already are heavily restricted.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Kelly to chair Congressional hearing on drought in Western states

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly announced he will chair a congressional hearing on the ongoing drought in western states, including Arizona. Kelly will chair the Subcommittee on Water and Power, part of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on Oct. 6. The senator requested the hearing in August, after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared a shortage of the Colorado River for the first time.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Metropolitan Water District pays San Diego $36 million for ‘illegal’ water charges

San Diego’s largest water wholesaler has notched another legal win against its Los Angeles parent company over the cost of delivering Colorado River water. The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday that the powerful Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has agreed to pay about $36 million to reimburse the San Diego agency for what it has called “illegal water charges.” 

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

PWD Board OK’s water transfer agreement

The Palmdale Water District Board of Directors unanimously approved an agreement for the District to provide water to a group of water agencies in western Kern and Kings counties, during wet years when the District has an excess supply. The District will be paid for the water transferred, with those funds then earmarked for water reliability projects to better ensure the District’s own supplies. The transfer is of water allocated through the State Water Project and delivered by the California Aqueduct. 

Aquafornia news

New research: Groundwater markets could promote solutions to the West’s water woes

Amid historic drought and changing rainfall patterns, a groundwater market in the California desert could serve as a template for the future of water management. When landowners overlying the Mojave groundwater system switched from open-access management to a cap-and-trade system, it helped stabilize their groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Foreign hand: The US has long been purchasing farmland abroad. Now that questionable practice has come home to roost.

Foreign companies … have been increasingly looking to the US to buy up farmland, often taking advantage of states’ lax regulations to invest in high-value crops like almonds and alfalfa and export them to places with limited water or land. 

Aquafornia news Palm Desert Patch

Giant California desert surf park ‘irresponsible waste of water’

The project is touted as a first-of-its-kind resort and recreational experience built around a surfing basin created by Kelly Slater Wave Company. The end result would be a master-planned resort community featuring a hotel, single-family residences, neighborhood and resort commercial development, and a nearly 17-acre wave pool for surfing. … At build-out, Coral Mountain Resort would use approximately 958.63 acre-feet of water — or 312,370,490 gallons — per year based on the residential indoor demand, non-residential indoor demand, and outdoor demands, according to city documents.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water situation bleak as new rainfall year begins

Thursday marks the final day of the water year in California, and it was one for the record books — and not just because much of the state saw less than 50% of average rainfall. … California received about 24 inches of water during the water year that began Oct. 1, 2020, according to the 8-station index. It’s 46% percent of the average, which is about 51.4 inches and is drier than any of the years that produced the last prolonged drought that began roughly in 2011.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: California debates mandatory water restrictions amid drought

With California’s extreme drought persisting and reservoirs declining to new lows, state officials said they will consider imposing mandatory water restrictions if dryness continues this winter. Gov. Gavin Newsom called on Californians in July to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%, saying state water regulators would track progress toward that target and decide whether additional measures would be necessary. Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said Thursday that bigger steps may be needed if the drought doesn’t ease this winter, and turning to statewide mandatory conservation measures will be an option.

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Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Planning guide for future water-related projects green lighted by Pasadena city committee

Pasadena’s Municipal Services Committee unanimously approved a 25-year planning guide for future water-related programs and projects in the city during its Tuesday meeting. The plan’s objective is to ensure the provision by the city of high quality and affordable water services to the public. The 2020 Water System and Resources Plan (WRSP), developed by the Pasadena Water and Power Department, (PWP) provides the City with a framework to evaluate future water supply programs and infrastructure investment.

Aquafornia news WaterNow Alliance

Blog: New report recommends financing and policy pathways for full scale adoption of localized water infrastructure

It is no secret that in order to tackle its ongoing and future water challenges spanning drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, the nation needs to significantly increase its investments in water infrastructure and management solutions. Facing ever-increasing stressors on water systems—aging infrastructure, drought, flooding, contaminated runoff—communities are looking for ways to build sustainability, create resilience to climate change, protect water quality, and equitably secure local water supplies for everyone.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Registration now open for the Foundation’s California Water Summit

Registration is now open for the Foundation’s Water Summit, hosted this year as an engaging virtual experience on the afternoon of Oct. 28, followed by an optional in-person reception during an open-air cruise along the Sacramento River. With the theme, Pivoting Today’s Pain into Tomorrow’s Gain, the online event will examine what’s being done to get through the drought now gripping California and highlight some of the innovative programs, projects and partnerships aimed at addressing the challenges. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte County supervisors back new water district

After a lengthy public hearing Tuesday, the Butte County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to support a proposed water district in the northwest county. The Tuscan Water District would cover 102,000 acres stretching from Butte Valley, north and west to the Tehama and Glenn county lines, excluding Cal Water’s Chico Division. The district name refers to the aquifer beneath the area. The area is almost entirely dependent on groundwater, and to meet the provisions of a recent state law, the amount that is pumped will have to be reduced.

Aquafornia news ABC 10 -Sacramento

California rice harvest impacted by drought

Another year of drought means another year of reduced harvest for California rice. Farmers slashed planting by 20% in the spring due to water shortages, which amounts to about 100,000 acres of idle rice fields. … Butler’s Sutter Basin Corp, in Robbins, cut production by 1,000 acres. The fallowed land was never planted, and the soil dried out in the sun. … Cal Rice spokesman Jim Morris said water issues have been among the challenges. He said cutbacks have impacts throughout the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Editorial: Fresno City Council should end lawsuit over Friant water

The headline on The Bee’s story was direct but wonky, and did not hint at the real drama that lay ahead: “Fresno City Council votes to sue water agency over costs to repair Friant-Kern Canal.” Ostensibly, city leaders said they were looking out for Fresno residents by refusing to pony up about $2.5 million to the Friant Water Authority to help fix a section of the canal between Porterville and Delano. Why, city fathers asked, should Fresnans have to pay to fix a section of canal that does not benefit them? Rather, that stretch of waterway helps farmers in Tulare County.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

New inspections in place after invasive mussels found

The first quagga in Castaic Lake was found by park visitor. It was dead but she says mostly likely had been recently alive. Over the next three weeks, DWR and California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff found decayed shells of three more dead quagga mussels along the shoreline. The discovery is problematic for a number of reasons. Castaic is a drinking water reservoir equipped with pumping machinery, pipelines and grates to catch debris.

Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: Drought makes its home on the range

Drought—a year with a below-average water supply—is a natural part of the climate cycle, but as Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm due to climate change, droughts are becoming more frequent, severe, and pervasive. The past 20 years have been some of the driest conditions in the American west on record.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Improving California’s water market

Water trading and banking are important tools that can help California bring its groundwater basins into balance by the early 2040s, as mandated by the 2014 Sustainable Water Management Act (SGMA). But the expansion of the state’s water market still faces some bottlenecks, including aging infrastructure and complex regulations. The stakes for preserving California’s groundwater are rising, however, as is interest in improving the state’s water market.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Here’s how much water Bay Area districts saved in the past year

Bay Area water agencies have saved nearly 10 times more water than the state average in the past year. Collectively, 58 Bay Area water districts saved an average of more than 10% in July 2021 compared with the same time last year, according to new statistics from the State Water Resources Control Board. That still falls short of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for 15% savings as the state battles another crippling drought. Though Bay Area agencies generally outperformed South Coast-area districts in water use reduction, some saved much more than others.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: CA must cancel San Joaquin County’s water right application

When the Water Forum Agreement was signed over 20 years ago, the occasion marked an unprecedented show of regional cooperation and an end to the water wars that had plagued the Sacramento region for decades. … Now, a decades-old application by San Joaquin County is threatening to ignite a new era of water conflict by petitioning California to take 147,000-acre feet of water from the American River — an amount of water equal to 15% of Folsom Lake when full.
-Written by Jessica Law, executive director of the Water Forum.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Lake Shasta water level so low docks are dry; it’s going to get worse

Recent rainfall hasn’t been nearly enough to make a dent in Lake Shasta’s precariously low water levels…. The drought has dropped Lake Shasta to its second worst level since the last bucket of concrete was poured for Shasta Dam in December 1945. … As of Tuesday, the lake was 24% full …

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula recycled water project moves forward

After months of handwringing over language in a contract allowing California American Water Co. to purchase thousands of acre-feet of water from a Monterey recycling project, some of the heavy lifting now begins. With the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District approving a contract last week and the board of Monterey One Water approving the water purchase agreement Monday night, the stage is now set for Cal Am to go before the California Public Utilities Commission to finalize the deal. 

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Water lawsuit settled in California involves Lower Basin’s biggest user

Two major California water agencies have settled a lawsuit that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect the Colorado River. The Imperial Irrigation district is the largest recipient of water from the river. That group reached a deal to store water in Lake Mead and join drought contingency efforts if dry conditions worsen and mandatory cutbacks are issued. Robert Schettler is a spokesman for the district.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A culture of innovation – Moulton Niguel

Moulton Niguel Water District is an award-winning water utility that serves over 170,000 customers in South Orange County and is known for its innovative conservation efforts. We spoke with the district’s general manager Joone Lopez and board president Brian Probolsky, who is also CEO of the Orange County Power Authority, a brand-new power choice aggregator that’s bringing renewable energy to Orange County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Bottled water, in most cases, comes from the tap

Since the start of the pandemic, thirsty Americans have drowned their sorrow in bottled water. Even before the coronavirus blew into all our lives, bottled water was, and has been for years, the No. 1 beverage in the United States, surpassing soft drinks as the choice of increasingly health-conscious consumers. The COVID-19 pandemic only accelerated things. According to a recent report from the International Bottled Water Assn., sales of bottled water exploded last year “as consumers stocked up in order to stay home amid the coronavirus crisis.”

Aquafornia news MSN

Pelosi says infrastructure bill will pass this week — but hedges on timing

The House last month voted for a Sept. 27 deadline to bring the bipartisan infrastructure plan to the floor. On Sunday, Pelosi didn’t specify when this week it would be voted on. … Along with the infrastructure bill, Democratic leadership is also hoping to push through the $3.5 trillion social spending package this week, in part to retain the support of progressives who might otherwise not vote for the infrastructure bill.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

State looks to consolidate small drinking water systems in Fresno

State drinking water officials have quietly targeted a dozen small, disadvantaged water systems in Fresno for possible state aid. But it could still take up to three years to get through the paperwork and start putting pipes in the ground. … The State Water Resources Control Board commissioned a feasibility study through Fresno State University’s California Water Institute to get a first glimpse of what it would take to have the small systems folded into the City of Fresno’s much larger drinking water system.

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Aquafornia news - Phoenix

New estimates show Colorado River levels falling faster than expected

New projections show that Lake Mead and Lake Powell could reach “critically low reservoir elevations” sooner than expected, spurring experts to say that “bold actions” will be needed to change course. The Bureau of Reclamation report released Thursday shows an 88% chance that Lake Powell could fall below 3,525 feet by next August, a level that would endanger hydropower production, with chances Lake Mead will hit critical levels in the next few years.

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Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Water district asks court to halt Sage Ranch development

Challenging the city of Tehachapi’s Sept. 7 approval of the Sage Ranch project, the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District has filed a petition in Kern County Superior Court, claiming that the city violated multiple state laws in its approval of the planned development. … The water district has asked the court to set aside the city’s approval of the 995-unit residential subdivision near Tehachapi High School — and possibly some other subdivisions totaling an additional 450 units dating back as far as 2006.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Could LA water recycling be a miracle for parched West?

With severe drought strangling the West, the country’s largest water provider has embarked on a multibillion-dollar project that could help them cope with increasingly frequent shortages exacerbated by climate change. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California wants to recycle Los Angeles’ wastewater, creating a new supply stream that would significantly reduce the city’s reliance on imported water from Northern California and the Colorado River. It would mark a new paradigm in Western water infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water agencies settle dispute

Two years ago, a pact to safeguard the West’s shrinking water supplies took effect at a ceremony high above the Colorado River. On a terrace overlooking Hoover Dam, water officials from seven states that rely on the river had gathered to sign a deal in hopes of preventing reservoirs from falling to critically low levels. The audience that broke into applause included officials from major water districts across the West that supply water to Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. But notably absent from the May 2019 ceremony were representatives of California’s Imperial Irrigation District, the single largest user of Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Importing water for drought fix a huge project

Importing muddy water from the Mississippi River to save Arizona from drought could be as simple as landing a man on the moon. As droughts force local communities to find alternative solutions to water shortages, Arizonans could turn to importing flood water in the future. An interstate pipeline would be a lengthy project in terms of time and effort that in a race against time isn’t an immediate answer, rather a commitment that would test the resolve of the state Legislature and Arizonans. 

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Politics report: Water fights

If you haven’t read MacKenzie Elmer’s piece about steep water rate increases projected by the San Diego County Water Authority, we recommend you correct that. You can click here and it will take you there but don’t forget to come back. We also explained it thoroughly on the podcast. In the piece, Elmer took us through how because we’re using less water we will have to pay more.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Southern California has a water shortage emergency too

So Southern Californians didn’t decrease their water usage in July, despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for a voluntary 15% cutback? Well, of course not. The dusty lake beds, the dry spigots, the serious water-use cutback orders and the most frightening wildfires (so far, anyway) have been in Northern California, and that’s where Newsom focused his most dire warnings.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz County Water Resources Division names Sierra Ryan as manager

Santa Cruz native Sierra Ryan is taking the helm of the county Water Resources Division as it’s new manager — a role critical in protecting the region’s water quality, supply and sustainability. … Ryan hails from Live Oak, a place she said her family has had roots in since 1918. She left the Monterey Bay area to pursue an environmental studies degree at UC Santa Barbara, later earning a master’s in environmental sustainability at the University of Edinburgh.

Aquafornia news Temecula, CA Patch

‘Water banking’: Riverside County agencies join up

Water districts in Riverside County have joined with districts throughout the region to form a water banking program intended to provide access to stored supplies in the event of drought, it was announced Wednesday. … The Santa Ana River Conservation & Conjunctive Use Program — SARCCUP — involves a master compact … According to the agreement, SARCCUP will ensure up to 137,000 acre-feet of water is set aside in groundwater basins within the Santa Ana watershed, held in reserve for hard times.

Aquafornia news Active NorCal

Mysterious sunken boat revealed on the low shore of Shasta Lake

There have been plenty of historic structures revealed on Northern California reservoirs as water continues to shrink down to historically low levels. With multiple historic towns sitting under the water at Shasta Lake, there have been plenty to explore with this low water. One mysterious sunken boat is recently turning heads on lake, leaving many to wonder what it could possibly be. Jeremy Tuggle has been posting many of the historic sites uncovered on Shasta Lake, including the sunken boat near Bridge Bay Marina that certainly has a story behind it.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

Blog: Skywatching

For a year I have been tracking the progress of a Butte County proposal to form a new water district. Named “Tuscan,” a name that brims with ripe fruit and Italian luxury, the form of the proposed district promises a bountiful harvest to two large landowners—absentee corporations, in fact. It also promises to leave Butte County’s water coffers empty and its aquifers dry.

Aquafornia news Newsweek

California Mojave Desert town of 1,700 people could be left dry in water war

Trona, a town in California’s Mojave Desert, is at risk of being left dry amid an ongoing water war that erupted after legislation was passed in 2016 to sustain groundwater sources. The town, which lacks its own clean source of water, has been getting its water from wells located 30 miles away in the Indian Wells Valley for decades, The Los Angeles Times reported. The water is delivered through two pipelines to Searles Valley Minerals, a mining company that uses the water to produce soda ash, boron, and salt. 

Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

Valley Water hopes plan to expand wastewater purification can lead Santa Clara County out of drought

Could wastewater be the solution to our drought problems? Valley Water thinks so and they are doubling down on it by expanding their North San Jose advanced water purification center and planning on building a new plant in Los Atos to produce millions of gallons of purified drinking water. In the heart of Silicon Valley, Valley Water is technology to lead the county out of the drought.

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Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

Here’s how California’s drought is impacting Bay Area reservoirs

California is running out of water. That’s the harsh assessment by experts who say 90% of the state is dealing with drought conditions with the threat of mandatory statewide water restrictions looming. The most glaring indications of the drought in the Bay Area are the local reservoirs. The reservoirs during the last drought were relatively full and offered a temporary buffer to a major water shortage. That is not the case this time around.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Water District

News release: Orange County Water District partners on historic water storage program

The Orange County Water District (OCWD, the District) and regional water agencies worked together with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) to reach a historic agreement, the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Program (SARCCUP), to better prepare the region for future droughts and promote water use efficiency in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties—an area serving millions of customers.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Organizations teaming up to help small California farmers impacted by drought

For over three decades, Donald Sherman has been a local farmer growing vegetable crops. It’s no secret California has been dealing with the impact of the drought for several years, and Sherman says he saw this coming about 20 years ago. … He says that as small farmers, they don’t always have the resources to keep up when wells begin running dry, and they have to be mindful of how they use every drop of water.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Healdsburg leading the way in North Bay water conservation

Everyone in California has been asked to conserve water, but no one is doing it better than one community in the North Bay. Healdsburg has cut its water use in half. Lake Mendocino provides the bulk of Healdsburg’s water, and early in the summer there was talk of that lake simply running dry. Just the thought of that scared this city into an aggressive conservation plan. … Letting the park lawns die off was only part of the answer. To cut overall water consumption in half, Healdsburg set out to change the way residents think about their own water use.

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Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Sebastopol filmmaker highlights California water crisis in new documentary

Although the current outlook for our water supply is pretty grim in California, Sebastopol filmmaker Emmett Brennan hopes to inspire, not depress, audiences with his new documentary, “Reflection: A Walk with Water,” premiering at the Mill Valley Film Festival Oct. 14 and 15. Environmental devastation, from desertification and overdevelopment, was Brennan’s initial motivation to make the movie. But instead of focusing on the damage, he captures the efforts of people working to restore and promote healthy water systems, from Santa Rosa ranchers and Ojai farmers to L.A. greywater ecologists and Sonoma soil experts. 

Aquafornia news CNN

La Niña is about to take the Southwest drought from bad to worse

Though summer rainfall brought some relief to the Southwest, the unrelenting drought there is about to get worse with La Niña on the horizon, according to David DeWitt, director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. … La Niña is a natural phenomenon marked by cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator, which causes shifts in weather across the globe. In the Southwest, La Niña typically causes the jet stream — upper-level winds that carry storms around the globe — to shift northward. That means less rainfall for a region that desperately needs it.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: In climate talks, plans to keep planet from overheating should not ignore water

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on September 21 that his country would no longer finance coal-fired power plants abroad, making a high-profile commitment to move away from some forms of fossil fuel infrastructure less than six weeks before a pivotal global climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland. While climate campaigners applauded the carbon-reducing benefits of fewer new coal plants, the move comes with another, less obvious dividend: less strain on water. 

Aquafornia news Qatium

Blog: Qatium welcomes three new experts to its advisory board

Qatium is pleased to welcome international water experts Newsha Ajami, Jeffrey Kightlinger and Paul Fleming to its advisory board.  Qatium’s advisory board – composed of policy, technology and business leaders – is focused on steering and accelerating the digital transformation of the water industry.

Aquafornia news KBAK - Bakersfield

State allocates $50M to fund water conservation projects in agricultural centered areas

Today local lawmakers toured the Kern Water Bank to see drought impact firsthand. $50 million from the state budget is going to fund Assembly Bill 252, which calls for land repurposing all to focus on the drought and getting water flow back to where it matters. … Farmers are faced with the harsh reality of choosing to grow a crop on land that may not have enough water to maintain it or keeping up fallow land that will sit empty for the crop season.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: U.S. projections on drought-hit Colorado River grow more dire; California likely to get more cuts by 2025

The U.S. government released projections Wednesday that indicate an even more troubling outlook for a river that serves 40 million people in the American West. The Bureau of Reclamation recently declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River, which means Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will get less water than normal next year. By 2025, there’s a 66% chance Lake Mead, a barometer for how much river water some states get, will reach a level where California would be in its second phase of cuts. The nation’s most populated state has the most senior rights to river water.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water war threatens desert community amid California drought

On the northern edge of the Mojave Desert, a new trauma has awakened old concerns: What happens if a town’s water gets shut off? …Perched on the edge of a mostly dry salt lake, Trona has no source of clean water and for at least 70 years has relied on groundwater pumped from wells 30 miles away in the Indian Wells Valley….That source of water, however, is in jeopardy due to legislation passed seven years ago in Sacramento to protect aquifers throughout the state.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Dry years in California: Those in the arena

With the dry years in California there is the expected increased commentary on water issues. This commentary is across the board from all sectors, and ranges from very factual reports to significant hyperbole. As policy makers sort through all this commentary, a famous passage by Theodore Roosevelt referred to as “The Man in the Arena” may be helpful.

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Sonoma County farmers feel widespread economic pain of drought and prolonged pandemic

The past few years have been rough for Sonoma County’s farmers and agricultural workforce. Wildfires, the COVID pandemic and crushing drought have made the process of shepherding a crop to maturity daunting – but so far, not impossible. … Mauritson [Farms] cultivates about 500 acres of premium wine grapes in the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and the Rockpile viticultural region near Lake Sonoma. Yields for 2021 are down 15 to 30%, Mauritson said, but the quality is superb.

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Aquafornia news ASU News

Simulating a sustainable future of water, energy and food in Phoenix

Phoenix is a rapidly growing metropolitan area in a desert. As the population increases, it will be more and more challenging to supply water, food and energy — three essential resources that are interconnected in complex and competing ways.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Potable water fill up stations open for dry well owners in Chico, Oroville

The Butte County Department of Water Resources has opened several locations for residential well owners who need water to pick up potable water in Chico and Oroville. Butte County said it will verify residents are using the water for household uses only. On July 20, the Butte County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming a local emergency due to increased reports of residential wells going dry from drought conditions. The proclamation has given the county increased access to resources to assist with dry wells.

Aquafornia news NPR

Book review: The complex and surprising history of humanity and water

NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with author Giulio Boccaletti about his new book Water: A Biography, which takes readers through the complex and surprising history of humanity and water. What is the one thing that has shaped the course of human civilization more than any other? Well, according to the author Giulio Boccaletti, the answer is water. The title of his new book is “Water: A Biography.” It travels over centuries, across continents to show how humans have built their lives around this fickle, precious resource.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

In California’s water wars, nuts are edging out people

Even if you’ve never heard of California’s San Joaquin Valley, you’ve likely benefited from its existence. Its nut groves, fruit and vegetable fields, and industrial-scale dairy operations contribute mightily to the US food supply. So it’s bad news for eaters that the valley has emerged in recent decades as a site of intensifying climate chaos; it’s reeling under the pressure of record heat, wildfire smoke, and its second historic drought in a decade. It’s even worse news for people who make the valley their home. Right now, many are worried about access to one of life’s necessities: drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Developing rural water leaders as drought and water scarcity intensify

An immigrant who left Mexico when he was young to make a new life in California. The owner of a small family farm who grew up in the Central Valley. A water utility operator who served in the Navy. These are among the diverse participants who graduated at the end of July from our fourth cohort of the Water Leadership Institute, a program developed to help rural communities more effectively participate in water decision-making and policy.

Aquafornia news Global Water Forum

Blog: Water Markets – Broadening the water governance toolkit

Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), which arguably has one of the world’s most mature water markets, serves as a useful case study to identify some complexities of a market-based approach to governing water. While it is a mature market on account of some two decades of implementation, this is not to imply that it is perfect – just that it is quite sophisticated in its governance arrangements. There remains much room for improvement however (see ACCC 2021). Its technical nature means that some nuances of how it operates cannot be fully explained in a brief article of this nature.

Aquafornia news Water Forum

Blog: Drought report offers sobering assessment and call to action

The Water Forum has been working closely with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to coordinate a response to drought conditions and reduce impacts to regional water supplies and the health of the Lower American River. We recently welcomed Kristin White, Operations Manager for Reclamation’s Central Valley Project, to provide an update on drought conditions in California and across the Western United States at the Water Forum Drought Plenary. What she shared was both stark and sobering. It was a glimpse into the problems facing federal and state water managers during this extraordinarily challenging water year.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Southwest U.S. drought, worst in a century, linked by NOAA to climate change

Human-caused climate change has intensified the withering drought gripping the Southwestern United States, the region’s most severe on record, with precipitation at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, a U.S. government report said on Tuesday. Over the same period, from January 2020 through August 2021, the region also experienced the third-highest daily average temperatures measured since record-keeping began near the end of the 19th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) drought task force.

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Aquafornia news Mountain Democrat

Future planning shows lower water demand

In 2013 the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors adopted an Integrated Water Resources Master Plan, since updated in 2015 and 2020. Meanwhile water demand has declined since 2013. Three factors affected that: 1. New conservation trends; 2. The 2014-16 drought; 3. Slower development growth. In 2013 the master plan predicted water demand of 50,000-59,000 acre-feet of water. However, the most current estimate for 2025 is 34,740 acre-feet of demand.

Aquafornia news ABC 15 - Phoenix

Arizona counties, towns battle over Colorado River water rights

As Arizona’s population continues to swell by record numbers, cities and towns housing the transplants are looking for ways to increase their water supply. That search has pitted the growing Town of Queen Creek against counties along the Colorado River. Cibola, Arizona in La Paz County sits near the border with California directly on the river. The population ranges from 250 to 350 people depending on the time of year according to La Paz County Supervisor Holly Irwin. She said the river gives life to the town’s two main industries of recreation and farming. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada town doesn’t have much, but it has lots of water

There isn’t much in Cal-Nev-Ari besides a cluster of homes, some businesses and an unpaved airstrip. But the town’s new dominant property owner believes the desert outpost might have something else: an underground river of sorts that doesn’t run dry. Jerry Tyler, president of mining firm Heart of Nature, told the Review-Journal last month that there appears to be something like a river flowing beneath the remote community south of Las Vegas and that it replenishes when water is pumped out.

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

We can grow coffee in California. But should we?

Coffee farming in California has been something unheard of—an anomaly at most—as coffee is traditionally grown in tropical, humid climates throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. But [Chris] Bailey is part of an emerging group of growers who in recent years have been populating the state’s southern region under a brand named FRINJ coffee. … At the same time, the entire state is currently plagued by water scarcity … 

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California water agencies resolve Colorado River dispute

Two major California water agencies have settled a lawsuit that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect a river that serves millions of people in the U.S. West amid gripping drought. The Imperial Irrigation District, the largest single recipient of Colorado River water, sued the Metropolitan Water District twice in the past two years. The agencies announced Monday they have reached a settlement that resolves both lawsuits.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Amid drought, billionaires control a critical California water bank

Water prices are soaring in California’s Central Valley, where a quarter of the nation’s food is grown. As the West Coast’s megadrought worsens, one farming company has long been scrutinized for its outsized role in the arid region’s water supply.  Wonderful, the closely held company owned by billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, can buy up huge amounts of water whenever it needs more. Most of the Resnicks’ water comes from long-term contracts and other water from land rights they have from the farms they own.

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Opinion: Governor must integrate justice into state water policy

California must change how it allocates water to give tribal communities and communities of color an equal voice. Today, that’s not the case. Nowhere are water policy inequities clearer than in the Bay-Delta “voluntary agreement” process – a Newsom administration effort where water agencies reach agreement to restore habitat and the amount of water to release water from dams through rivers and into the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta estuary.
-Written by Caleen Sisk, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, located in Northern California, and Barbara Barrigan-Parilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. 

Aquafornia news Mountain Counties Water Resources Association

News release: Mountain Counties Water Resources Association names executive director

The Mountain Counties Water Resources Association (MCWRA) Board of Directors has selected Justin Caporusso to serve as the organization’s Executive Director. The selection was made following a widespread recruitment effort to fill the role vacated by John Kingsbury after his retirement earlier this year. Justin will assume his responsibilities on October 1, working closely with Interim Executive Director Jim Branham to ensure a smooth transition.

Aquafornia news Brown and Caldwell

Q&A with Prabhakar Somavarapu of Regional San and SASD

Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District (Regional San) and Sacramento Area Sewer District (SASD) serve a 400-square mile service area, providing public infrastructure and municipal services to protect and enrich the daily lives of more than 1.6 million Sacramento County residents. Over his career, Prabhakar Somavarapu, former general manager of both districts, oversaw one of the largest infrastructure projects in Sacramento’s history, the $2 billion EchoWater Project…

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Thirsty for Justice

Water contaminated with dangerous nitrates and arsenic. Failing pipelines and wells running dry. Families spending their hard-earned money on bottled water because they can’t trust the tap. Susana De Anda has come across all this and more in California’s San Joaquin Valley. It’s part of what she calls the state’s “huge secret” — the fact that more than 1 million Californians lack access to safe drinking water.

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Aquafornia news KTVU

San Francisco and other water districts sue California over drought restrictions

San Francisco and several Central Valley irrigation districts with water rights dating back more than a century are suing the state for forcing water restrictions, as California deals with a worsening drought. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month by the San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, claims the State Water Resources Control Board does not have the authority to tell those with the most senior rights to water that they can’t draw it from the Bay-Delta reservoirs, rivers and streams, even in the case of drought.

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Aquafornia news Mercury News

California water: See drought’s impact on huge California reservoir

The California drought has been brutal over the past few years, but to see just how devastating it has been, you need to see before-and-after pictures side by side. Bay Area News Group photojournalist Nhat V. Meyer went out to the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County this week and took pictures in approximately the same places that he did in January 2019. The reservoir is one of the largest in California. The results are startling. It shows how California’s reservoir water levels are way below what they should be at this time of year.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The remote work trend should help open up vacant office space for housing, but water is in the way

[I]n June 2019, Monterey City Council voted 4-1 to rezone commercial properties along the south side of Garden Road so that they can be converted into multifamily residential units. In so doing, the city would have a better chance of meeting the state-mandated goal of adding 650 housing units by 2023. But given the chronic water shortage on the Monterey Peninsula, that plan has faced a challenge from the start. 

Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Fresno votes to fight share of Friant-Kern Canal repairs, possibly jeopardize water supply

Following months of hydrologic saber-rattling, Fresno lawmakers voted 4-2 to sue Friant Water Authority over a request for payment to fund repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal in the south Valley. The legal brinkmanship, which centers on a relatively small sum – roughly $2.5 million, could have far-reaching consequences by putting the water supply of California’s fifth-largest city in jeopardy. During Thursday’s Fresno City Council meeting, Fresno City Attorney Doug Sloan announced the body voted to approve litigation seeking declaratory relief from the cost-sharing measure proposal to fund subsidence repairs.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Revised repurposing farmland bill on Governor’s desk

After much wrangling over how lost farmland could be used for other purposes — and what purposes they could be — growers who lose farmland should now have a chance to receive the help they need to use their land for other plans. The end result is a bill that has passed the state legislature that keeps much of the provisions of the original bill and also contains $50 million to help farmers use lost farmland for other purposes.

Aquafornia news High Times

Judge rules county can’t stop water deliveries to Hmong weed farmers

A Northern California federal judge ruled this month that Siskiyou County officials cannot stop trucks delivering water to Hmong unlicensed cannabis growers, writing that the ban raises “serious questions” about their right to be free of racial discrimination.  In a decision handed down earlier this month, Chief U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller wrote that preventing the deliveries to the Mount Shasta Vista subdivision in the Big Springs area of inland Northern California also leaves the families living there without a source of water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

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Aquafornia news City News Service

LA County supervisors OK stormwater-capture projects for Measure W funding

Four LA Sanitation and Environment stormwater capture projects were approved for funding on Wednesday, Sept. 15, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  The board approved the projects for a total of $50.7 million in funding through the Los Angeles County Safe Clean Water 2021-22 Regional Program, which is financed by revenues from Measure W, the parcel tax measure approved by voters in 2018 for projects increasing the water supply, improve water quality, protect public health and provide community enhancements. 

Aquafornia news County of Sonoma

News release: Two-basin partnership requests more time to address regional water crisis

The Two-Basin Partnership, comprised of California Trout, the County of Humboldt, the Mendocino County Inland Water & Power Commission, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and Sonoma County Water Agency, on September 2 asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow additional time to re-evaluate the proposed plan to take over the Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project (Project).  The Partnership specifically requested that the time delay continue until May 31, 2022, at which time the Partnership will provide further notice regarding its plans.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Dangers of pulling more water from Central Valley are obvious

For the Marin Municipal Water District directors to suggest we build a $65 million pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to harvest water from the Central Valley tells me they are walking around with blinders on. We can’t keep expecting to get water from somewhere else. You don’t have to go far to see the impacts of the drought in the Central Valley. The water is so low at Lake Oroville, the hydro plant may have to close.
-Written by independent filmmaker Kristi Denton Cohen, a Mill Valley resident. 

Aquafornia news Village News

Opinion: California lawmakers waste water

Here we go again. We are being told California water supplies are at risk and we need to start using less water under threat of more mandatory water use restrictions. In 2019, we had one of the wettest years on record. At the end of the 2019 water year, major water storage reservoirs in California were at 125% of average capacity. That was just two years ago. In 2019, California had enough rainfall and snow pack to satisfy several years of water supply demands if we had dams and reservoirs of sufficient capacity to capture this life-giving resource.
-Written by Steven Smith, Village News contributor.

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Aquafornia news Farm Progress

Colorado River can no longer sustain Western thirst

Back when the Colorado River Compact was being negotiated about 100 years ago, water was not viewed as a problem. Officials deemed there was plenty to go around. Fast forward a century and the seven Colorado River Basin states – particularly the three lower basin states of California, Arizona, and Nevada – are using more than the system can sustain….Chris Harris, executive director of the Colorado River Board of California, says the basin states must grapple with the “new normal” of reduced flows in a river system once thought to provide ample water for the West….Harris says it’s not just the sustainability of the Colorado River system that needs addressing, but the wider Western water reliability of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) and California’s State Water Project (SWP).

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Aquafornia news ABC7 San Francisco

California drought: Marin County’s reservoirs dip to just 36% capacity

With 88% of California in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, counties across the Bay Area are preparing for what could be several more dry years to come. The Bay Area Council hosted a panel Thursday to discuss the current conditions, and solutions. … Reservoirs across the Bay Area, which supply water for millions of residents, are increasingly depleting. In Marin County, images of the Nicasio Reservoir show it shockingly low.

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Aquafornia news UC Davis Magazine

Blog: Who is to blame for California’s drought?

Social media users are playing the blame game when it comes to California’s drought. Read enough comments online and you’ll see many similar responses blaming the state government for its management of water: California should have more water storage. California dumps water into the ocean. Northern California sends too much water to Southern California. UC Davis experts said those assertions are incorrect.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water transfers helped farmers survive this year. Now, all eyes are on the coming water year

Water transfers, trades and sales doubled this year as drought left San Joaquin Valley farmers scrambling for supplies. … [Sam Boland-Brien, program manager at the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Water Rights] said he’s seen about twice the amount of transfers this year compared to an average water year. 

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Drought on Mendocino Coast: State Water Board amends curtailment orders to expedite water deliveries

To expedite the delivery of much-needed drinking water to coastal Mendocino County residents whose wells have gone dry, the California State Water Resources Control Board has amended its previous curtailment orders to allow the city of Ukiah to draw water from the Russian River for emergency supplies. 

Aquafornia news CNN News Wire

The West’s historic drought in 3 maps

More than 94 percent of the West is in drought this week, according to the US Drought Monitor, with six states entirely in drought status: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Parts of the West saw record-setting rainfall that brought some slight relief to the region, but most areas remain dry. Against the backdrop of climate change-fueled drought, wildfires have charred nearly 6 million acres of vegetation across the region. Fire experts say that dry and windy conditions create a prime environment for wildfires to spark and spread.

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Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Opinion: Adding needed homes won’t unduly burden water systems

The availability of potable water is not a reason to oppose development in drought-threatened California. The view that water should limit development is one of the false claims made by Not-In-My-Back-Yard organizations that want to stop the future. The NIMBY mantra that new development poses risks to the environment, that we will run out of water, is wrong. Less than 5 percent of annual water supply is used inside residences. There are many NIMBY organizations making these false claims, some with longstanding national stature.
-Written by Jim Larimer, a resident of Miramar.​

Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Surface water plant operational by June 2023?

Currently every drop of water that comes out of faucets in Ceres comes straight out of the ground. But come June 2023, some of that water will be directly piped from the Tuolumne River after it’s been treated. Construction is about 25 percent completed and running $1 million under budget, a manager of the project told the Ceres City Council on Monday evening. … Ceres will ultimately receive up to 15 million gallons of water per day while Turlock takes 30 million gallons. Two additional phases will increase the plant’s capacity to produce 45 million gallons per day for the two cities.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s water outlook slightly improved, but West remains in grip of long-term drought

Utah’s drought-induced water crisis has softened somewhat after a string of monsoons, but the state’s water supplies are far from safe, with reservoirs across the state falling below 40% full, state officials told lawmakers Tuesday. Only a massive snowpack this winter can assure adequate supplies going into next year, and even then, Utah’s water future remains uncertain in the face of long-term drought and climate change. In July the entire state was in extreme or exceptional drought and Utah’s two largest lakes hit their lowest levels ever.

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Aquafornia news Roll Call

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In response to Western drought, a flood of legislation

Las Vegas visitors can still snap selfies with the mermaids swimming among tropical fish in the Silverton Casino’s massive aquarium and gaze at the colorful dancing water displays of the iconic Bellagio fountains — for now. But southern Nevada and much of the American West are struggling to cope with a worsening drought that has strained municipal water supplies, agricultural operations and wildlife populations.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Farmland repurposing program awaits Gov. Newsom’s OK

A bill that would have created a program to help farmers find new life for farmland idled by coming groundwater restrictions had its own phoenix moment last week in the Legislature when it was simultaneously killed and reborn — this time with money. AB 252, authored by Assemblymembers Robert Rivas (D-Salinas) and Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), died in the state Senate last week but much of its content was reborn in a budget bill with $50 million attached.

Aquafornia news Good Times Santa Cruz

As drought worsens, local agencies seek ambitious water solutions

Various climate models differ on whether our area will get slightly wetter or drier with rising temperatures. But they have one prediction in common: greater extremes.  Dry years will be drier. Rainfall could come all at once in a few large storms rather than spread across a season. … With this in mind, water managers are designing and implementing projects to capture, store and access clean water. Some irrigation for crops in the Pajaro Valley might soon come from lake water rather than groundwater. A project in Soquel will use recycled water to replenish a groundwater basin. Another project in Santa Cruz will inject excess runoff from winter storms into wells. 

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Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Could climate change put an end to Arizona’s alfalfa heyday?

It’s always alfalfa season in Arizona. In most other parts of the country, the perennial crop grows tall enough to harvest just a few times a year. But in the sun-drenched Southwest, the irrigated fields allow the crop to grow year-round, to the tune of 8.5 tons harvested for every acre and $397 million a year. All farmers need to do is add water. At least that’s been the case for the many decades that alfalfa has boomed and bloomed in the Arizona desert, providing feed to the region’s megalithic dairy industry. Now, accelerating climate change and depleting water availability could change this.

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Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Water begins flowing to the coast due to new county program

Water has begun trickling from Ukiah to Fort Bragg, and the county’s main task going forward is to scale up hauling to meet demand. The city of Fort Bragg announced Sept. 9 that it had received its first 5,000-gallon delivery of water from Ukiah and is expected to receive 10,000 gallons per day that will allow Fort Bragg to resume outside water sales after halting them in mid-July. The two certified water haulers on the coast can resume their water sales, too…

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: California budget — funding for fish, water, & people

The California Legislature released the final budget language late on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. CalTrout remains critical of the unnecessary delay in releasing critical budget items like emergency drought funding, wildfire relief, and climate resilience packages. As water curtailment orders go live throughout the state, the legislature is still waiting to officially approve these critical funding packages to combat the effects of climate during this year’s especially dry drought conditions.

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Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Opinion: Biden just handed a bone to big almond

To fill the post of chief agricultural negotiator at the United States Trade Representative’s office, the Biden administration dipped into California’s hot, dusty, drought-plagued San Joaquin Valley and plucked out an almond-industry lobbyist. … Biden is favoring the $6 billion almond industry at a particularly fraught time in its history. The ever-expanding groves of California’s Central Valley churn out nearly 80 percent of the globe’s almonds.
-Written by Mother Jones reporter Tom Philpott. 

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Kern County farmers say water infrastructure is needed

On Aug. 3, the State Water Resources Control Board completely eliminated 2021’s surface water supplies for farms in much of the state. It has impacted farmers like John Moore III, who grows pistachios at Moore Farms in Arvin. … While California is prone to drought, the last reservoir in the state was completed in the 1980s. The state’s population has grown tremendously since then. Moore says the state wouldn’t be in this situation if more infrastructure was built.

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Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Report: Draft – Review of Water Supply Reliability Estimation Related to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Reform Act of 2009 mandates the balancing of coequal goals for the Delta: providing a reliable water supply for both the Delta and California and protecting, restoring, and enhancing the Delta ecosystem and the Delta as an evolving place. This review by the Delta Independent Science Board (Delta ISB) presents findings and recommendations on the science and practice of estimating water supply reliability with a focus on the Delta.

Aquafornia news Nature Climate Change

Opinion: Climate change and the future of western US water governance

Water management in the western United States is rooted in an adversarial system that is highly sensitive to climate change. Reforms are needed to ensure water management is efficient, resilient and equitable moving forward.
-Written by Dylan R. Hedden-Nicely, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Native American Law Program, University of Idaho College of Law.

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus Courier

Petaluma enters Stage 4 water emergency amid drought concerns

The Petaluma City Council on Monday night declared a drought emergency, ratcheting up restrictions on residents’ water use in the city’s latest effort to conserve the region’s dwindling water resources. In a 6-1 vote late Monday night, the council approved a resolution for the Stage 4 emergency. The move calls for a 30% mandatory water reduction goal for city water customers, up from the previous goal of 25%. 

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Aquafornia news KQED

Central Valley farmers weigh in on California’s historic drought

Unless you have a personal connection to the Central Valley or work in agriculture, chances are you haven’t been able to speak directly to a farmer about how they’re experiencing this year’s historic drought. Recently on  KQED Forum, three farmers from the Central Valley, where roughly 40% of the nation’s fruits, vegetables and nuts are grown, shared just how little water they have to work with, how they’re adapting, and what the drought means for their industry long term.

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Aquafornia news Water News Network

News release: Water infrastructure project to begin in Poway

Construction will start soon on the first of three projects to increase the reliability of drinking water for Poway water customers now and generations to come. Two water storage tanks will be built as part of a temporary bypass project. During construction access to some amenities at Lake Poway will be impacted. The ballfield at Lake Poway will be closed beginning Monday, September 20 for the construction of two tanks, each with the capacity to store 1.4 million gallons of treated water. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Infrastructure bill includes billions for Western water projects

A $1 trillion infrastructure bill that received bipartisan support in the Senate last month includes billions of dollars for Western water projects and programs. The Biden administration has called the infrastructure bill, which includes $8.3 billion for Western water infrastructure, “the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.” Of the $8.3 billion dedicated to Western water, $450 million is set aside for a competitive grant program to fund large-scale projects that advance water recycling….That program could help pay for a massive recycling project in California that would leave Nevada with access to more water in Lake Mead.

Aquafornia news KCBX - San Luis Obispo

Nacimiento Reservoir low but officials say San Luis Obispo remains water-secure

Officials say the City of San Luis Obispo is water-secure for now, despite several years of drought conditions. The City of San Luis Obispo relies on water from Santa Margarita Lake, Whale Rock Reservoir and Nacimiento Reservoir. Mychal Boerman is Deputy Director of Water for the city. He said Nacimiento’s water capacity is at 13 percent, due to low rainfall years and continuous use of the reservoir for Salinas Valley farming.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County CA towns unable to solve drinking water crisis

The longer it takes for two new wells to be dug in Cantua Creek and El Porvenir in western Fresno County, the deeper in debt the towns are mired. Now, with the drought, those well projects are in a race against dropping groundwater levels as farmers, cut off from surface water supplies, are leaning more heavily on the aquifer. The well projects started in 2018 and aren’t scheduled to be completed until sometime next year.

Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Deeper droughts possible in Southwest, scientists warn

The Colorado River Basin is enduring two decades of drought, and water shortages are on the horizon. But scientists say this isn’t the worst-case scenario. The region has undergone longer, deeper droughts in the past. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with paleoclimatologist Matt Lachniet of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas about how knowing the past can help us plan for a warmer, drier future.

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Aquafornia news KQED

California’s sustainable farms, models for agriculture in warming world, need help surviving it

The bustle of birds and insect pollinators is the first thing you notice at Full Belly Farm in Guinda, about 100 miles northeast of San Francisco in the Capay Valley, where Judith Redmond and her partners started farming four decades ago. … Farmers have always labored at the mercy of the elements, but climate change has brought overlapping calamities of wildfires, drought, prolonged heat waves and power outages. 

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Aquafornia news Riverbank News

Irrigation districts join in State Water Board lawsuit

The Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts have joined in a lawsuit challenging the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to prevent the two water agencies from diverting and storing Stanislaus River runoff in Donnells, Beardsley, New Melones and Tulloch Reservoirs. The state water board, in an emergency drought order issued Aug. 20, declared that OID, SSJID and 4,500 other water rights holders in California must immediately stop diverting water due to unprecedented drought conditions.

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Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Emergency water starts flowing to Mendocino Coast communities

Emergency water shipments have begun making their way to desperate consumers on the Mendocino Coast, a result of collaborative efforts by county and city officials from Ukiah and Fort Bragg. But the rollout is starting slowly, and Mendocino County officials are still working to recruit haulers with the right kind of tankers to meet the demand. Only one truck hauling 5,000 gallons a trip is working at the moment, with enough time in a day to make two deliveries from the water source in Ukiah to Fort Bragg, according to county Transportation Director Howard Dashiell.

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Aquafornia news SF Gate

Amid California drought, Santa Clara County’s water conservation isn’t going well

One of the largest water districts in the San Francisco Bay Area is falling dramatically short of water conservation goals amid extreme drought conditions across California. Santa Clara Valley Water declared a water shortage emergency in June with its reservoirs reaching historically low levels, requiring customers to reduce water use by 15% compared with 2019 levels. In July, the district fell short of the goal with residents only reducing water use levels by 6% compared to 2019 levels, according to newly available data first shared by the San Jose Mercury News.

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Aquafornia news El Paso Matters

Western rivers and the binational climate challenge

Both the Rio Grande and Colorado rivers shrunk in 2021, another bad water year in a two-decade megadrought brought on by a warming Western United States.  Demands on the rivers — from growing cities, agriculture, wildlife and international treaties — are hitting the reality of a reduced supply of water in both rivers. In August, federal officials declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River lower basin, triggering a plan to reduce water usage in several states and Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Poway water rates: Customers could pay more for water under new proposal

Residents and businesses in Poway soon could be paying more on their water bills. Poway City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to set a public hearing on a proposed four-year rate increase for water, recycled water and wastewater rates. It comes as the city grapples with how to deal with the future of water for its residents, challenged by rising costs to import water and the need to pay into capital improvement projects.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: 2020 annual report recaps water education efforts in California and the West amid a global pandemic

The Water Education Foundation’s just-released 2020 Annual Report recaps how, even in the midst of a global pandemic, we continued educating about the most crucial natural resource in California and the West – water. The annual report takes readers along to see the array of educational events, trainings and articles we produced last year, including engaging virtual water tours that educated participants on pressing water issues and allowed them to interact with each other and a wide range of experts offering different viewpoints.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmers face mounting stress amid hard times

California farmers and ranchers have no shortages of stress this year. They face drought and water supply cuts, devastating wildfires and pandemic impacts. There are also labor shortages and financial pressures from fluctuating commodity prices or trade disruptions. These impacts inspire serious discussions in agricultural communities about looking after farmers’ mental health.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

State’s curtailment orders draw lawsuits from Modesto-area water users and San Francisco

The state’s curtailment of river diversions has drawn lawsuits from eight irrigation districts in and near Stanislaus County, along with San Francisco.  The three filings claim that the State Water Resources Control Board exceeded its authority with the Aug. 20 orders. The plaintiffs also said they did not get enough chance beforehand to make their cases for continued diversions.

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Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Save water, eat more plants

If you could save gallons of water, improve your health, and leave our Earth a little healthier, would you do it? If your diet is mainly meat-focused, you can effect big changes by beginning to transition to a diet that is plant-based. This is because pound for pound, meat has a much higher water footprint than vegetables and legumes.
-Written by Georgi LaBerge, board member of Sustainable San Mateo County and CityTrees and the former mayor of Redwood City.

Aquafornia news ABC 10-Sacramento

California drought: Dangerously low water levels at Shasta Lake

Dangerously low water levels at Shasta Lake were captured on drone video by ABC10 reporter John Bartell and photojournalist Tyler Horst on Tuesday.  Shasta Lake is California’s largest reservoir, capable of holding 4,552,000 acre feet of water. Right now, it has 1,186,057 acre feet of water stored. Breaking that down into percentages, the reservoir is at 26% capacity and 42% of average for this date.

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Aquafornia news American Society of Civil Engineers

Blog: Desalination offers great promise, requires further research, panelists say

With much of California and other western U.S. states experiencing significant drought, the need to pursue further advancements in desalination has never been greater. This was a central theme of an Aug. 11 webinar, titled “Discussion on Desalination — Treatments, Research, and the Future,” conducted by the WateReuse Association. Historically, desalination has been viewed as a separate component within the water sector, but that perception is changing, said Peter Fiske, Ph.D., the executive director for the National Alliance for Water Innovation and one of three presenters featured during the webinar. 

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Projects on Colorado keep coming despite shortage

The Bureau of Reclamation recently declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, but that hasn’t stopped states from proposing new water projects. Just about every drop on the Colorado River is accounted for. But climate change has reduced the amount of water in the system. Gary Wockner is with Save the Colorado, a conservation group that is tracking new projects.

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Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Ukiah plans to resume drawing water from Russian River to help coast

The city of Ukiah has been relying primarily on groundwater, recycled water and conservation to get through the drought and hasn’t been exercising its right to water from the Russian River, which is experiencing historic low flows. That’s about to change now that the city has agreed to help the coast through the drought.

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