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.
The Sonoma County Water Agency, or Sonoma Water, began stream
maintenance activities in or near more than 50 streams
throughout Sonoma County this week to restore conveyance
capacity and maintain proper function of flood channels.
The California Climate & Agriculture Network called the State
Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program the most popular of
the Climate Smart Agriculture Programs, and the only program
that offered incentives for on-farm water conservation
Combat climate change, or clean up California’s water? Those
alarmed by the Legislature’s decision to dip into a greenhouse
gas fund to pay for clean drinking water may need to get used
to it: constitutional restrictions on spending that money are
set to expire in 2021. At issue is the decision to address one
environmental crisis—the lack of clean water for one million
Californians—with money set aside for fighting another: climate
While those in San Francisco worry about a large earthquake, in
Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, when residents think about
“the big one,” they should be thinking about a flood.
Fortunately, we know how to meet this challenge – starting with
these key steps.
Water is a complex problem on Earth: Some places get far too
little of it and some get far too much. That’s why NASA and its
international partners are tracking the flow of freshwater
across the world in hopes of improving access to it for the
billions of us who depend on it.
State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced Monday she
has secured a $15 million one-time investment of General Funds
for the southern Central Valley. The funds will address failing
water systems that deliver safe clean drinking water to
California’s most vulnerable communities.
Flume Tech seems like a rather simple solution to a problem
California has faced for decades. “We saw the state trying to
encourage a way to reduce their consumption, but there wasn’t
that feedback,” Flume CEO Eric Adler said. “No one really knew
how much water they were using.” The Flume device tells you
exactly that and about any leaks you aren’t aware of.
The Bureau of Reclamation once again revised its allocation for
westside farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, announcing Friday
it would provide 75 percent of its contracted amount of water.
The announcement is an increase of five percent from late May.
The 13 acres was part of a 56 acre parcel bought in 1966 for
$34,333 to establish land disposal for the municipal wastewater
treatment plant. Technology changes have eliminated the need
for the land to dispose of treated wastewater. Those changes
are what allowed the city to develop the 30-acre complex as
well as create a 29-acre parcel for an indoor waterpark…
Awash in precious snow and water that will help meet the
demands of the state’s 40 million residents, the wetness also
is forcing California to confront an even greater threat of
wildfire. The soaking spring nourishing the Jeffrey pines and
sagebrush is giving way to a desert dry as soaring heat
scorches the new growth into blankets of kindling.
Rivers around the world are struggling to cope with changing
weather patterns. … California is emerging from a six-year
drought1 that restricted water supplies and devastated trees,
fish and other aquatic life. Across the US southwest, extended
dry spells are destroying many more forests and wetlands. What
should river managers do?
For almost half of California’s communities, the engineering
studies supporting flood insurance rate maps are over 20 years
old. Less than 30,000 miles of the State’s 180,000 stream miles
have been mapped by the National Flood Insurance Program, and
less than 23% of the flood-mapped river miles are designated as
Up for debate will be a series of adjustments to water rates
and service fees charged for providing potable (drinking) water
service to more than 20,000 residential customers. If the
adjustments are approved, DSRSD officials estimate the average
single-family residential customer will see an annual increase
averaging about $40…
All options are still on the table in developing a wastewater
treatment system in Los Olivos, but the community needs to pick
one quickly — before the state takes over the decision,
according to the Los Olivos Community Services District.
Customers of the Fontana Water Company saw increases in their
water bills the past three years, and now even more increases
could be on the way. Earlier this year, San Gabriel Valley
Water Company filed a general rate case application with the
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase water
rates in Fontana by more than 20 percent over a three-year
Four years after Montebello voters rejected the idea of selling
the public water system, city officials want to take a second
stab at it, but this time they don’t need the electorate’s
approval. The city stands to get between $15.8 million and
$22.6 million from San Gabriel Valley Water Co. The difference
is based on whether Montebello leases or sells its water
The agreement on how to address dwindling reservoir levels
along the Colorado River comes after years of negotiation
between two nations, seven states, ten tribes, and the
countless internal interests involved. TPR presents the
following interview with Metropolitan Water District General
Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger discussing how a complex consensus
among the parties was finally reached…
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn’t
just strong—it’s imperative. And for the first time in more
than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from
California’s San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have
heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual
Construction has started on an underground water vault at
McKinley Park in Sacramento. The vault, which will be built
underneath the George “Butter” Cole baseball field, will hold
rain and wastewater during big storms when the combined sewer
system is at capacity. The goal is to reduce flooding.
The Bureau of Reclamation Friday issued updated Central Valley
Project South-of-Delta allocations for the 2019 contract year.
“I am pleased to announce that South-of-Delta agricultural
water service contractors’ allocations have been increased to
75% of their contract total because of May’s snow and rain
totals,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant.
Arizona’s been in a drought for nearly 20 years. So the city of
Phoenix has long worked to promote water conservation. Kathryn
Sorensen is director of Phoenix Water Services. … But as
climate change makes the region even hotter and drier, water
scarcity will get worse. And it will be critical for businesses
and residents to conserve even more.
The question of whether the Colorado River system is a reliable
source of water for the future was the topic of a presentation
held at the Washington County Water Conservancy District on
Thursday. … Utah is entitled to 23%, or about 1.4 million
acre feet under the compact. Utah currently uses 1 million acre
feet, Millis said. This leaves the state with 400,000 acre feet
to left to develop.
With a deadline to take action just weeks away, lawmakers and
the governor haven’t settled controversial issues regarding the
so-called wildfire fund: How much money does the state need and
what portion of that will come out of the pockets of
electricity customers? Lawmakers are looking to Gov. Gavin
Newsom to take the lead and provide answers to one of
California’s most high-stakes problems.
The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge
facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert,
was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10
years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the
San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water
Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of
After years of defending its proposed water grab from our
region’s rivers, the state Water Board chose to ignore all
science and impose orders to take the water anyway. Likewise,
until recently when Gov. Newsom wisely said “no” to the twin
tunnels, the state insisted on devastating the Delta by
stubbornly refusing to consider alternatives. And five years
after passage of the historic 2014 water bond, no new water
storage facilities have even started construction.
According to a report from the research group Equinox Project,
The Nonprofit Institute at University of San Diego, the average
daily water consumption increased from 84 gallons per person to
91 gallons per person. That’s an increase of 8.3 percent. It’s
still shy of the 119 gallons per day in 2007, but the usage has
been steadily going up since restrictions were lifted.
Here’s a safe prediction: Generations to come will be thankful
for everything done today to protect the Russian River. Here’s
another: Restoring and preserving the river’s health will
become more challenging and expensive each time action is
The Golden State is cursed with some of the finest weather and
richest soil on earth. Its luminous skies and airy loam have
been crucial to California’s transformation into our most
populous and agriculturally most bountiful state. But
capricious nature has withheld one essential resource needed to
sustain this dizzying growth—water. In his sprawling,
provocative book “The Dreamt Land,” journalist Mark Arax
examines California’s long-building water crisis with the keen,
loving, troubled eye of a native son.
The City of Lathrop has taken another step towards achieving
the long-awaited goal of being able to discharge tertiary
treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. With the
approval of the Lathrop City Council, the city is now in a
contract with Ascent Environmental to initiate the
environmental documentation necessary to acquire the permit to
discharge of water from the city’s water treatment plant into
the river – a move that could pay sweeping dividends to the
city in the future.
The proposed rule changes include an expansion of “categorical
exclusions.” These are often billed as tools that give land
managers the discretion to bypass full-blown environmental
studies in places where they can demonstrate there would be no
severe impacts or degradation to the land.
Blythe is on the California side of the Colorado River where
Interstate 10 crosses, with a freeway fast food/motel strip and
the sort of beleaguered economy you see in desert ag towns of
the Lower Colorado. Average per capita annual income here is
$16,329, just 55 percent of the state average, according to the
U.S. Census Bureau. I have a few different stories about why my
life is so entwined with the Colorado River. This is one of
Through the BCK Program’s SWPPP internship, which stands for
Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program, students are working
with industry professionals to study the problem of runoff
pollution leaving their school sites and prevent some of the
negative impacts it can have on the surrounding environment.
The Los Angeles River is on the verge of a new era. In the few
years since the flood control channel was reclassified as a
“navigable waterway,” the region has re-embraced its oddball
amalgam of concrete and nature, which winds roughly 51 miles
from the San Fernando Valley out to the ocean in Long Beach. A
$1-billion-plus plan to restore 11 miles north of Downtown LA
is (slowly) working its way through federal approvals.
Native California flora such as oaks, mugwort and monkeyflower
are vital in watershed habitats to filter pollutants and
prevent erosion. But theses species have often succumbed to
quickly spreading disease. When the San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission had to plant these natives in the Alameda
Creek Watershed, it took extreme measures to prevent infection,
but they were ineffective. So now, the commission is growing
its own native plants. If successful, the project could provide
a new model for restoring disease-ravaged ecosystems.
The agencies want ideas for actions needed now to help
California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising
temperatures, year-round wildfires, species declines, aging
infrastructure, contaminated water supplies and changing
demands for water. The input will help determine priorities and
identify complementary actions to ensure safe and dependable
water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the
state’s communities, economy and environment.
For the first time in nearly 40 years, the National Weather
Service’s flagship computer prediction model has received a
major makeover, which its leadership says will pave the way for
Two portions of channelized waterways within urbanized Southern
California will receive more than $4 million from the 2019-20
state budget adopted Thursday to restore natural features by
removing decades-old concrete barriers.
The states that share the river completed a drought plan
earlier this year that brings them closer to living within
currently available supplies, and a new round of negotiations
on long-term management of the river is due to begin next year.
However, a new report warns that planning for gradually
declining water supplies, as difficult as that is, may not be
enough to adequately prepare for the future.
The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency
unanimously approved a plan Thursday to assess a fee of $19.90
per acre-foot of groundwater use — about 326,000 gallons — from
the Santa Rosa Plain groundwater basin for three years. Through
2022, the agency’s major municipal groundwater member users —
namely the cities and towns that fall under the agency’s
jurisdiction, along with Sonoma Water — have agreed to pick up
the tab in place of individual groundwater users.
If the decommissioning goes through as planned (the latest
timetable aims for a drawdown sometime in 2021) it will be the
largest dam removal project in U.S. history, with major
implications for environmental restoration, the salmon fishery,
agriculture and local tribes. But a recent Federal Appeals
Court decision is having repercussions that extend far beyond
the Klamath River Basin.
An algal bloom in Black Butte Lake could be harmful and even
deadly if visitors or their pets swallow the water, the
California Water Board said Thursday. Regardless of the heat,
boaters, dog owners and other recreational users of the lake
are asked to be aware of the dangers in the water since harmful
algal blooms (HABs) were found in a recent water test.
California water regulators received a federal rebuke this week
over an incomplete water quality plan submission. Feeling the
irony, Tri-Dam Project partners, the Oakdale (OID) and South
San Joaquin (SSJID) irrigation districts, which hold senior
water rights on the Stanislaus River and are among over two
dozen agencies suing the State Water Resources Control Board,
were quick to comment.
Increasing Upper Colorado River Basin water use by just 11.5
percent would double the risk that the Upper Basin fails to
have enough water to meet its obligations under the Colorado
River Compact, according to a new modeling study to be rolled
out in a big meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, next week.
Governor Newsom has stated that he supports a single
tunnel—building on the planning and analysis for modernized
conveyance in the Delta done to date with an increased focus on
how to make the project work for the Delta communities. …
Under this direction, the Department of Water Resources (DWR)
will launch a new environmental review and planning process
toward the end of this year.
Senate Republicans lambasted the previous administration’s
water regulations as a federal power grab Wednesday in a
hearing on the new policy rolled out by President Donald Trump.
The Environmental Protection Agency revised the rule known as
Waters of the United States in December, following Trump’s 2017
executive order aimed at minimizing regulations and promoting
As part of the budget negotiations, lawmakers shelved Gov.
Gavin Newsom’s controversial “water tax” that would have raised
$140 million a year to help low-income communities finally
clean up their contaminated water systems. Instead, lawmakers
plan to fund the much-needed water cleanups with $100 million a
year in cap-and-trade dollars — money that is paid to the state
by polluters and which is legally required to be spent on
projects to reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for global
The Irvine Co. has followed through on plans to transfer 29
acres it owns on the south shore of Irvine Lake to the county
of Orange, but a dispute over what kinds of recreation to allow
and who should profit from it must be resolved before the lake
can reopen to the public.
The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies,
including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow
of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has
gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being
compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border,
according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water
The agreement was likely spurred by recent struggles to provide
assistance following hurricane events, especially Hurricane
Maria in Puerto Rico, and other infrastructure failures such as
those experienced at the Oroville Dam in 2017.
The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge
facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert,
was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10
years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the
San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water
Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of
The long-running Middle Creek Restoration Project, which is
designed to massively reduce sedimentation and nutrient load in
order to improve Clear Lake’s health, took another step forward
this week. … The contract provides $15 million – or $5
million per year for three years – for the purchase and
maintenance of properties as part of the Middle Creek Flood
Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.
Floating debris on the lake is common, but this year is worse
than most years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Agency
officials blame it on the high lake level. As the lake level
rises, the water picks up the wood and other debris along the
shoreline, forest service officials said. The wind and currents
in the lake can send huge rafts of logs, sticks, Styrofoam,
plastic bottles, articles of clothing, tires and other debris
into coves and boat launch areas.
Less water used in the home for showers, clothes washing and
toilet flushing means less water flowing out and pushing waste
through the sewers. That has resulted in corroded wastewater
pipes and damaged equipment, and left sewage stagnating and
neighborhoods stinking. … It’s a complex problem with no easy
San Mateo County officials are moving forward on a green
infrastructure plan that aims to transform the urban landscape
and storm drainage systems. The plan will help the county
transition from relying solely on traditional drain
infrastructure, which allows stormwater to flow directly into
drains and bodies of water, to a more environmentally friendly
model that disperses runoff to vegetated areas and collects it
for nonpotable uses.
The Northern California summer steelhead is closer to being
listed under the state’s Endangered Species Act as the state
Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously 4-0 on Wednesday at
its June meeting in Redding to review the species’ status over
the next year.
Californians have been doing an
reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive
the most recent drought when water districts were required to
meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable,
Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water
in the future.
Climate variability, competition for water from other users
including urban and environmental, and groundwater depletion
threaten the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. To face
these challenges, the irrigation industry must develop and
adopt innovative technologies and management practices that
optimize economic outcomes, while also minimizing environmental
A new law signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is designed to
provide legal protections to those who drill wells into
underground streams they are not legally entitled to tap. The
measure repeals existing laws that make it a crime when a well
owner “uses water to which another is entitled.” … Now, that
criminal penalty will be available only when someone knew they
were breaking the law.
Earlier this week, environmental activists and people who lack
access to clean water rallied on the capitol steps to urge
state lawmakers to act. Among them were longtime labor activist
Dolores Huerta and Susana De Anda, executive director and
co-founder of Community Water Center. She joins Insight to
discuss the issue of unhealthy water and its impact on
communities. UC Davis associate professor and faculty lead of
the Center for Regional Change, Jonathan London, discusses his
research on the regions and people who lack access to clean
Today subverted water is reappearing in inconvenient ways
because we have constrained the space it once had to ebb and
flow, and climate change is amplifying storms and droughts. To
cope, cities are increasingly funneling runoff into green
infrastructure such as permeable pavement and bioswales. But a
scientific research center, the San Francisco Estuary Institute
(SFEI), is proposing a more ambitious approach…
Championed by state and local water planners and decried by
conservation groups, the Lake Powell Pipeline project continues
to be a focal point for discussion among Southern Utah
residents. As to the current status of the pipeline project, a
public comment period connected to a permitting process
overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – more
commonly known as FERC – recently concluded.
Through the Airborne Snow Observatory program, NASA and
California’s Department of Water Resources use instruments
mounted on airplanes to create high resolution estimates of
snow water content for priority watersheds in the Western U.S.
The collected data helps determine the timing of the spring
melt, which has downstream effects on hydroelectric power
generation and planning for how much water can be held in
Many factors go into making political deals – ideology,
self-interest, expediency and emotion to mention just a few.
Logic rarely enters the equation, and if it does, it usually
dwells at the bottom in importance.
The newly-adopted regulations create a new statewide wetland
definition that expands to features not previously covered
under federal law and creates a new permitting program for
activities that result in the discharge of dredge or fill
materials to any Waters of the State. … At the recent
Nossaman Land Use Seminar, attorney and partner Mary Lynn
Coffee gave an overview of the new regulations.
A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky
Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the
southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening
to push rivers over their banks.
Like 90 percent of his neighbors, Doug Teeter lost his home in
last November’s Camp Fire. … Little has been done in
Teeter’s opinion to ensure the health of people living in the
Camp Fire burn zone, who are bathing in and in some cases
drinking potentially contaminated water.
The rate hikes follow an increase of nearly 20 percent over the
past two years. EBMUD officials said the average single-family
residential customer using 200 gallons of water a day will see
their bill rise by $3.62 per month starting on July 1 and
another $3.73 per month on July 1, 2020. … The water district
says it needs to increase its water rates in order to upgrade
its pipes and infrastructure.
Jason Mead at Wyoming’s Water Development Office says more dams
could help ranchers survive the coming droughts, but some
scientists say, building more dams might actually worsen
climate change. University of Wyoming soil scientist Jay Norton
says, dams that manage for flood control, for example, could
have a damaging effect.
The effort, particularly in California, amounted to a wholesale
re-engineering of the existing hydrology to suit the needs of
ranchers and farmers. It was “California’s irrigated miracle,”
as Mark Arax calls it in his new book, “the greatest human
alteration of a physical environment in history.” “The Dreamt
Land” is Arax’s exhaustive, deeply reported account of this
Nestlé, the world’s largest bottled water company, continues to
take millions of gallons of free water from the San Bernardino
National Forest two hours east of Los Angeles, 17 months after
California regulators told them they had no right to much of
what they’d taken in the past. And federal officials are
helping them do it, despite concluding Nestlé is drying up
springs and streams and damaging a watershed.
At an Arvada fire station, Gov. Polis signed into law House
Bill 1279, which bans certain kinds of foam used in
firefighting training. Such foam contains so-called “forever
chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in El Paso
County and elsewhere.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, though, a faint
fixed pattern becomes discernible among the randomness, a quiet
but strengthening note against a background symphony. Some
regions—California, the Mediterranean, Australia—dry out. It is
a small, almost imperceptible-to-humans drying, but it is a
pattern that no natural cycle can reproduce.
An attempt to restore the population of endangered Southern
California steelhead trout living in the Santa Ynez River is
being opposed by some jurisdictions that rely on the river and
Cachuma Lake for their water supply.
The Klamath River has seen its native fish populations plunge
and its water quality decline, in part because of four
hydropower dams built in its middle reach a century ago. In the
coming years, these dams will be removed, creating the largest
dam removal and river restoration project in the country. We
talked to Lester Snow, board president of the Klamath River
Renewal Corporation, about this effort.
After seven years of drought in California that drained
aquifers and brought many farmers to the brink, legislators in
Sacramento crafted a bunch of rules governing water usage.
Those rules, many of which kick in next year, cap how much
water farmers and cities can use. The regulations have caused a
lot of anger and panic in the farming community. But also…a
lot of innovation.
An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better
protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing
septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of
bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that
an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this
August and go into effect next year.
The Paradise Irrigation District is still working to restore
clean water to the ridge. So far, the district is making big
strides toward turning non-potable water into drinking water in
the town. The district put a call out for volunteers in the
Camp Fire burn scar that would be willing to let them test
their water for the first two weeks of June.
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Wednesday the 2019-20 state
budget will include $9.25 million for research to better
understand and forecast so-called atmospheric rivers, leading
to improved flood control and water retention in a state
grappling with the effects of climate change and chronic
A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to
make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut
important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say.
The rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump
that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to
prevent fires in California and other states.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer touted an infrastructure investment of
more than $700 million, the largest in the city’s history. A
large portion of that spending will fund construction of the
Pure Water program, which the city says will produce one-third
of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.
The Coachella Valley Water District board of directors voted
4-0 on Tuesday to increase domestic water rates by an average
of $1.82 per month, effective July 1. The final rate was lower
than the average $5.62 rate hike recommended by staff, who had
outlined the need for important upgrades to infrastructure,
including replacing miles of water mains and scores of
reservoirs requiring inspections and rehabilitation.
The Yurok Tribe recently became the first indigenous community
in the United States to be awarded the Equator Prize by the
United Nations Development Programme, which honors “innovative
nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment
and poverty challenges.”
A second plant, similar to Carlsbad, is being built in
Huntington Beach, Calif., with the same 50-million-gallon-a-day
capability. Currently there are 11 desalination plants in
California, and 10 more are proposed. … For decades, we have
been told it would one day turn oceans of salt water into fresh
and quench the world’s thirst. But progress has been slow. That
is now changing, as desalination is coming into play in many
places around the world.
Earlier this year, the seven states that rely on Colorado River
water signed a collective drought contingency plan. At a
conference last week in Colorado, Arizona Department of Water
Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said his state will take
about half of the water reductions under that plan when a
Water officials struck with the task of hammering out a plan to
manage Santa Clarita Valley groundwater are looking for seven
people to serve as the agency’s advisory group. … “We need
their input to move ahead,” Tara Bravo, spokeswoman for SV
Strategies, told the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater
Sustainability Agency board.
California is looking to scale up this strategy. The snowpack
that historically has supplied water into the dry spring and
summer is predicted to largely disappear with the climate
crisis. And its winter storms are predicted to grow more
intense. Water managers and scientists, led by the California
Department of Water Resources, are looking for the best places
to move water from winter storms underground for use during the
California’s largest farming region faces two linked
challenges: balancing groundwater supply and demand in
overdrafted basins, and addressing water quality in the
region’s aquifers. We talked to Ashley Boren, executive
director of Sustainable Conservation, about tackling these
issues in the San Joaquin Valley.
Less than a year after the Camp Fire became the deadliest blaze
in state history, California is once against facing a spate of
wildfires that threaten its residents and land. There have been
nearly 240 wildfires in California over the past week, causing
one evacuation and two power shut-offs while fire fighters and
utility companies attempt to prevent another catastrophe.
Domestic well users in some areas were greatly impacted by
additional agricultural groundwater pumping during California’s
2012-2016 drought… Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) should improve long-term
groundwater availability during drought for all system users by
requiring groundwater management to avoid significant and
unreasonable impacts of decreased groundwater levels.
With June marking the start of the boating season, Shasta Lake
has continued to see people out enjoying the water. One problem
that is raising concern is the amount of debris people are
finding on the lake.
Clean water is a human right, essential to good health and to
the resiliency of California. Yet, more than one million people
from every region of our state have unsafe water at home.
California is the fifth largest economy in the world, but for
far too long, the state has neglected the basic right to safe
The California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) continues its effort
to better educate urban water users about the issues the
agricultural industry is working to overcome. The coalition has
been shifting its focus to deliver information to a more select
group of consumers in order to have the most beneficial impact.
This pesky tendency of ours to get as nigh to water as
possible—and to construct our cities and infrastructure
accordingly—is what journalist Elizabeth Rush sets out to
chronicle and ultimately critique in Rising, her account of sea
level rise from the various sinking edges of our nation. And
nowadays, not falling in is becoming more and more difficult.
Facing an $81 million shortfall, the Coachella Valley Water
District’s board will vote on a potential rate hike Tuesday
that their staff says is necessary to replace badly corroded —
and in some cases leaking — pipes and other infrastructure. The
increase would cost the average residential or business
customer about $5.62 per month, but would only cover two years
worth of the projected deficit.
The $14 million effort, which is being led by Placer County
through a stewardship contract with the USFS, is aimed at
thinning the forest across both public and private land in an
area where the 2014 King Fire created concern when it
threatened two key reservoirs: French Meadows and Hell Hole
reservoirs. The fire burned so intensely in that watershed that
it impacted taste, odor and water treatment costs.
May was an extension of winter and the snowpack actually grew.
But June is here. Days are longer and temperatures are rising.
And that monster snowpack is about to come melting down the
slopes through rivers and streams with ferocity, pushing an
already fast water flow into a furious rage.
Ventura’s elected officials on Monday heard details about the
city’s current water situation, accepting a recommendation to
remain in a Stage 3 drought. … Monday’s action doesn’t mean
rates will go up — rates will remain the same through fiscal
year 2019-20, at least — but it means they won’t go down
either, as they would for some users were the city to leave the
A leaking dam that prompted evacuations in the Sierra foothills
during an intense rainstorm last year has been repaired and is
again storing drinking water for 2.7 million Bay Area
residents, San Francisco water officials said Monday.
While some people consider them a nuisance, beaver are called
“keystone species” or “grassroots conservationists” and are
considered vital to riparian habitats. … In areas where there
are beaver lodges vegetation and watersheds stabilize, and
downstream flooding and silt runoff is reduced.
The state issued a “no drinking” order for the 364 homes and
businesses because of elevated nitrate levels, a contaminant
linked to “blue baby” syndrome. Within a couple days, emergency
hookups to two neighboring agencies were in place, allowing
people to again drink the tap water. But that supply depends on
fire hoses that wind along roadsides – a connection all agree
has a short shelf life.
California legislative leaders agreed Sunday to spend $130
million a year to improve water systems in communities where
people can’t drink from their taps… To pay for it, the state
would tap a fund dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, a move that alarmed some environmental activists who
say its set up an unfair choice between clean air and water.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday filed a
comment letter opposing a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
plan to open up more CA CCD Kettleman hillsthan one million
acres of public lands in Central California to oil and gas
drilling, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
The Cobb Fountain is back up and running after being down for a
year because the pipes were stolen. The fountain that stands in
front of City Hall, was first dedicated in 1991 and since then
there have been several times when it has been out of
operation. Now it is back.
As the West faces more demand for water and less water
available to meet that demand, decision makers are working to
figure out how Colorado could implement recently signed
agreements to reduce water use in the Colorado River basin,
which includes the Yampa River.
Anderson Valley Unified School District on Tuesday held its
public opening ceremony to celebrate new gardens and rainwater
catchment systems designed to improve the district’s stormwater
pollution prevention infrastructure.
Ventura Water officials are recommending the city stay in a
Stage 3 Water Shortage Event, a position it’s been in for
nearly five years. … Stage 3 was first set by city officials
in September 2014, as the state was in the midst of a
years-long drought. It means the city’s projected
water supply is between 20% and 29% below a normal year’s
A new study analyzes patterns of urban irrigation and
vegetation health during extreme drought. Its findings could
inform urban water conservation and water infrastructure
development under climate pressures.
The people of Santa Clarita Valley are invited to weigh in on
water issues Monday afternoon, when members of the SCV
Groundwater Sustainability Agency is scheduled to meet.
Concerns about local water resources and, of course,
groundwater, are expected to dominate discussion.
This year, the planting season was repeatedly interrupted by
colder temperatures and exceptionally heavy rainfall. … The
reason for so much delay? Rice fields need enough time after
significantly wet storms to dry out for planting, and the types
of storms received this May came in waves close enough
together, with record amounts of water, to necessitate delayed
The city of Santa Maria is reconsidering its decision to
discontinue the fluoridation of the city’s water supply after
some residents pushed back on the move at a recent City Council
meeting. Santa Maria began fluoridating its water in 2004, but
stopped last year as a cost-saving measure. According to the
city’s 2018-19 budget, not fluoridating the city’s water saves
about $48,000 annually.
Despite all the rain locally, water rates could be going up for
more than 30,000 city residents served by Camrosa Water
District. According to a five-year water rate study released
last month, Camrosa proposes residential water rate increases
each year through July 2023.
The bankruptcy proceedings surrounding Pacific Gas and Electric
could pose a risk to the reliability of water supplies to
nearly 300,000 residents in parts of Placer and Nevada
counties, according to reports issued by the Placer County
Water Agency and the Nevada Irrigation District.
There is nothing new about political divisions in California.
Congested coastal cities skew from moderately liberal to
relentlessly progressive. Rural inland regions, with vast and
bountiful fields, range from independent to hardcore
conservative. But the state’s divided political tribes may have
found a unifying goal — safe, sustainable drinking water.
The San Francisco Peninsula city opened its $30 million sewage
sludge processing facility, replacing an incinerator operating
since 1972. As part of Palo Alto’s regional water quality
control plant, the project funded by California Water Board
loans is designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, eliminate a hazardous waste stream and reduce energy
The Russian River watershed was once a stronghold for Central
California’s coho salmon population, but Obedzinski says things
like extreme habitat loss and drought years have led to the
downturn. According to California Sea Grant, the state’s coho
has dwindled down to an estimated 15% of its population in the
This year, we are blessed with an abundant supply of snow
storage in the Sierra. But the inability to bank this bounty,
beyond our existing reservoirs, is a serious missed
opportunity. This wonderful wet winter will ironically elevate
political complacency around one of the state’s most vital
necessities – a reliable and sustainable water supply.
You don’t have to travel very far to get pure artesian water
sourced from below a dormant volcano in New Zealand. “We tap an
artesian aquifer, and we bottle at source in this amazing
beautiful area of New Zealand,” said Justin Mahy of Santa
Lomita began using more expensive imported water last month,
officials said, after the city discovered water from a
municipal well had almost three times the amount of benzene — a
cancer-causing chemical — than the state allows.
In a first-of-its-kind move, the Fox Canyon Groundwater
Management Agency agreed to pay up to $3 million to help
recharge overstressed groundwater resources in Ventura County.
The money will buy roughly 15,000 acre-feet of water, which
started spilling out of Santa Felicia Dam at Lake Piru on
For the deal to come together, Newsom had to abandon his
proposed $140-million tax on residential, commercial and
agricultural water users — money he said was needed for helping
communities without a reliable source of clean drinking water.
… Instead, lawmakers will spend $133.4 million on clean water
projects, with the lion’s share of the cash coming from
proceeds raised by the sale of greenhouse gas emission credits
— the centerpiece of California’s cap-and-trade program.
A much wetter than normal May coupled with conservation is
credited with Manteca using the least amount of groundwater
last month since 2003. Water from the South San Joaquin
Irrigation District surface water treatment plant provided 70
percent of the 380 million gallons used citywide in May. The
other 30 percent came from groundwater.
The season of toxic algae blooms is here. A helicopter crew
spread copper sulfate over Lake Skinner near Temecula on
Thursday, June 6, to combat a cyanobacteria bloom — also known
as blue-green algae — that had been producing some cyanotoxins
and unpleasant tastes and odors.
Transferring the canal to local control is likely good news for
the 500,000 residents of East and Central Contra Costa County
who depend upon the 48-mile-long canal for at least a portion
of their water supply.
In issuing the order, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board found that the cumulative effect of disposing
produced water at the Facility over many decades has created a
highly saline wastewater plume that is migrating to the
northeast, where it threatens higher-quality groundwater
designated as supporting municipal and agricultural uses.
County supervisors want to know why petroleum gases were
detected in samples drawn in 2017 from agricultural water wells
on the Oxnard Plain. With no answers available yet, they voted
unanimously to extend the moratorium to protect groundwater
The DA’s lawsuit alleges that Monterey Mushrooms’ growing
facility on Hale Avenue violated multiple Fish and Game and
Business and Professions laws from 2012 to 2017. Specifically,
the DA’s office states the facility allowed its farm production
waste and other wastewater to flow into Fisher Creek and its
tributaries, which border the north Morgan Hill facility.
Central Valley residents know their land is sinking. They’ve
seen cracks in their walls, holes in their roads, and soil
that’s started to slowly disappear below the foundation of
their homes. Though the agricultural hub is still reeling from
one of the worst droughts in California history, its encounter
with subsidence — the gradual caving in of land — is far from
Members of EPA’s Science Advisory Board grappled with whether
and how to weigh in on the Trump administration’s rollback of
clean water standards given the administration’s insistence
that the proposal is a question of policy, not science. “They
have the right to change the policy, but the science isn’t
right,” member Robert Merritt said.
Members of the Tuolumne Utilities District gave California
water leaders a tour focused on the challenges the county faces
when it comes to water supply, with hopes that it will bring
With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through
forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural
areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness
after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage
transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires. The first
formal deployment of its new “public safety power shutoff”
rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of
Butte and Yuba counties without power…
It can be difficult to precisely define a drought in a state
known for being hot and dry. … Arizona and the Southwest’s
standards for drought are far different from standards in other
parts of the country that may be wetter or have the capacity to
store large volumes of groundwater.
The US Navy is seeking ideas to improve water and energy
resilience for bases on two islands off the coast of
California: San Clemente and San Nicolas. … The Navy hopes to
collaborate with private industry “to develop holistic energy
and water solutions” on the islands, according to the white
The state has created a visual guide with photos to help users
recognize harnful algal blooms (HABs)… Direct exposure to a
HAB, if it is toxin-producing, can result in eye irritation,
skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, or cold and
flu-like symptoms. Pets can be especially susceptible, because
they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur
President Donald Trump has signed new disaster relief
legislation that will help victims of wildland fires, floods
and extreme weather, including: $1 billion to address
2018 and 2019 floods, which could provide critical support in
Lake, Glenn, Butte and Colusa counties; $349.4 million to
repair local drinking water systems – including the water
system in Paradise, destroyed by the 2018 Camp Fire.
Woodland’s water is cleaner and safer to drink than in the
past, according to the just-released 2018 Water Quality Report.
The report, presented to the City Council this week, shows
minimal levels of cancer-causing chemicals that were present
years ago when the city still relied on well water. Today the
city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which is
treated and delivered to homes and businesses.
Following through on its threats, on May 21 the group Save the
El Dorado Canal filed suit against the El Dorado Irrigation
District over plans to pipe the El Dorado Canal (also called
the Upper Main Ditch) in Pollock Pines. … The canal is seen
as a historical, environmental and recreational asset in the
community as well as a conveyance that protects and enhances
Americans consume more than 70,000 microplastic particles every
year from the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air
they breathe, according to a new study published in the journal
Environmental Science & Technology. Scientists warn that while
the health impacts of ingesting these tiny particles are
largely unknown, there is potential for the plastic to enter
human tissues and cause an immune response, as well as release
toxic chemicals into the body.
California is sinking. Literally. Right before our eyes, even
as we struggle to see it. In parts of the state’s Central
Valley, the 50-mile-wide and 400-mile-long agricultural engine
of America immortalized by John Steinbeck and Joan Didion, the
earth is receding back into itself at a rate of more than a
foot per year. Why? The ceaseless drilling and pumping of water
to fuel a region that produces one quarter of the nation’s
Local officials plan to huddle over the next few weeks to pick
a strategy to control the region’s cross-border pollution
problem. … Since April, more than 110 million gallons of
sewage-tainted water has flowed into the Tijuana Estuary in the
United States and out to the ocean.
Assemblyman Adam Gray’s bill, which he calls the Inland
California Healthy Communities Act, would provide a good start
at the expense of a relatively few wealthy gamblers. … Smart
ones deduct gambling losses from state and federal income
taxes, costing California $320 million a year on the former.
That’s money we could keep by simply discontinuing state
deductions for wagering losses, Gray figures.
Dr. Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water
Resources, says while we would like to believe we are returning
to the days when California rain and snowfall averages were
normal more years than not, there is little or no indication
that is the case. … “We’ll never be in a place where we can
coast or just relax on water issues.”
In an effort to spur development of new residential
construction City Council approved a temporary reduction in
developer impact fees… The city will temporarily waive the
$1,649 water impact fee, $1,898 sewer impact fee and the $2,150
residential water connection fee.
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires protection of current and
potential drinking water sources, but when analysis shows a
groundwater basin is naturally oily and briny, it can be
exempted from the act’s requirements, according to the
Department of Conservation. The exemption means water that
comes up during oil production can be returned to the basin,
but the burden of proof for the groundwater condition is placed
on the oil companies.
Seven months ago, the California Camp Fire ravaged through
Butte County destroying thousands of homes and ruining crucial
infrastructure. Water is still unsafe to drink and toxic debris
is still waiting to be taken away.
Issues including agricultural trade, immigration reform and
water storage emerged as priorities as a delegation of Farm
Bureau leaders from California met with administration
officials and members of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Local leaders and representatives of several federal agencies
met Wednesday to look for a solution to the ongoing sewage
spills contaminating the Tijuana River Valley and the shoreline
from Imperial Beach to Coronado.
The water district would reroute an average 2.32 million
gallons a day of the about 8 million gallons a day of treated
wastewater otherwise discharged into the Monterey Bay Marine
Sanctuary. … Pure Water Soquel’s final product would then be
pumped back into underground aquifers, depleted due to decades
of overpumping, to replenish the Mid-County region’s major
As the sun sets on California’s solar farms, a backup energy
source deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains springs to life. The
huge system of reservoirs and turbines can store energy during
the day and then crank out electricity for 900,000 homes, using
just water and gravity. As the state tries to make wind and
solar work around the clock, officials want to build more like
it. It won’t be easy: such projects take years to develop, are
expensive and face stiff opposition.
Lake Powell is benefitting considerably from this year’s runoff
following a strong snow year in the Rocky Mountains. The lake
has risen 16 feet in the last month and is experiencing an
inflow of 128% the average.
At the spring conference of the Association of California Water
Agencies, a panel discussion brought together groundwater
managers in four critically overdrafted basins to discuss their
near-term goals and regional challenges in complying with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
The agency was incorporated in 1956 by Matthew P. Flynn and
eventually handed down to his son F. Patrick Flynn and later
grandsons Timothy and Thomas Flynn, who jointly negotiated this
week’s acquisition. … Four years ago, the brothers began
looking for a larger company to take over the business, citing
strict state water regulations and the rising costs of
infrastructure improvements as primary reasons for selling.
A coalition of California residents affected by unsafe drinking
water held a symbolic “water strike” at the Capitol on
Wednesday, pressing lawmakers to fund a plan that would clean
up their water sources.
After decades of insisting otherwise and before the U.S.
Supreme Court has had a chance to rule on the issue, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to limit its
interpretation of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) jurisdiction over
“Use it or lose it” is what state and federal water managers in
California are wrestling with as one of the biggest
precipitation years has the mountains packed with snow and
reservoirs loaded to the brim. For the state, water is liquid
gold that feeds many people, animals, trees, and industries.
But, if not well managed, it can also present great danger.
The law – the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA –
is beginning to bite. A 2019 study from the Public Policy
Institute of California predicted that at least 500,000 acres
of farmland will eventually be idled. To ease the pain,
engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy
source of water: The torrential storms that sometimes blast
across the Pacific Ocean and soak California.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is funding expansion of the
Sacramento Weir. The approximately $350 million project
involves widening the 1,950-foot weir an additional 1,500 feet
north. The weir’s 48 manually operated gates will remain
intact. The expansion is constructing a passive weir to
essentially allow excessive floodwaters to flow over the river
channels and into the bypasses — in turn widening the surface
area, which means the Sacramento Weir will be used less
frequently for more severe flooding events.
At the end of the legislative session last year, the
agriculture, environmental and business communities, as well as
a whole host of other stakeholders including the Water
Foundation, worked tirelessly to convince two-thirds of both
houses to vote for Senator Bill Monning’s drinking water bill –
SB 623. We could just about taste victory, but ultimately the
bill stalled without a vote.
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) is warning
water rights holders that failure to file their annual reports
will result in significant fines. Annual water use reports for
all appropriative water rights including permits, licenses,
registrations and certificates, were initially due on April 1.
According to the Board, only 57 percent of those with
appropriative water rights had filed the required reports for
2018 as of April 2.
The added water volume means crews contracted by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers are having to pull back from where they had
been working on the lake’s auxiliary dam, its service spillway
and the lake’s emergency spillway, said the corps’ project
manager, Anthony Burdock.
They say water is for fighting over, but one bill sitting on
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk proves that’s not always true. In
fact, Senate Bill 140 would make fighting over some water
impossible. … To protect against future over-pumping,
the bill would require the state to set aside 10 percent of
available water in those basins.
The county Board of Supervisors has voted to pour more
resources into Sativa Water District after the county Public
Works Department identified the extent of challenges facing
Sativa and the level of support required to stabilize the water
system and begin providing a more reliable source of clean and
clear water to its customers in Willowbrook and Compton until a
long-term service provider can take over.
California native Mayor Richard Bailey didn’t grow up in
Coronado. However, when elected to Coronado City Council in
2012 he became acutely aware of the decades long beach closures
in Coronado and Imperial Beach due to toxic waste flowing from
Tijuana into the Pacific Ocean.
Since our great awakening in the 1960s, the Bay Area has become
a proud leader in protecting our local environment, from the
redwoods and ridgelines to San Francisco Bay. … But some
wealthy developers don’t care, despite decades of being told,
“no, we won’t build on the Bay anymore.” With Donald Trump’s
help, Cargill Salt and luxury home developer DMB Associates
keep putting their profit above the health of our Bay.
I recently sat down with California water expert and Delta
Independent Science Board (ISB) member Jay Lund to talk about
some of the challenges and opportunities for scientists and
decision-makers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I am
pleased to share highlights from our conversation in this
month’s Delta Stewardship Council Chair’s blog.
Humboldt County could soon join a number of agencies around
California teaming up to license the Potter Valley Project, a
water development in the Eel and Russian river basins. The
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning
unanimously affirmed support for the coalition, which proposes
a “two-basin solution” to fix the various environmental
problems created by the enormous development.
State regulations, known as the Model Water Efficient Landscape
Ordinance (MWELO), include standards for landscape design and
irrigation efficiency that were last updated in 2015. While
hundreds of local jurisdictions have implemented the 2015
update (including Placerville, the county seat of El Dorado
County), the county government itself has not, although brisk
building activity has resulted in many new landscape
installations receiving county permits.
A California water district is disputing claims made in a
lawsuit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra that it is
violating state laws over a dam project. Westland Water
District, which covers Fresno and Kings counties, was
responding to the lawsuit filed over the Shasta Dam, the
potential heightening of which the attorney general strongly
In the 1960s a portion of the wetlands community of Devereux
Slough was filled in to make way for the Ocean Meadows Golf
Course. Now, with the help of grant funding from the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and multiple state and local partners,
permanently protected wetlands are being created within the
100-acre North Campus Open Space.
Recent rains and snow pack could force California’s Department
of Water Resources to release Oroville Dam’s main spillway as
early as next week. Currently, the 2019 snowpack for California
is now the fifth largest on record dating back to 1950,
according to DWR officials.
The Central District of California in the second phase of
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley
Water District et. al. issued a decision with massive
implications for water rights in the West. … In the second
phase of the case, the District Court determined that the Water
District has not harmed the Tribe with its groundwater pumping,
and therefore the Tribe cannot require the Water Districts stop
California water users have been consistently frustrated over
the seemingly endless water curtailments imposed on them. …
Unfortunately, the messages from the regulators, political
leaders, and media are not always consistent and the public is
often left uncertain and confused. We wanted to show just how
much water can be “lost” by California’s current water system
Parts of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers are closed to
recreation. But the high water levels don’t just mean people’s
vacations are getting cut short. … Hilda Warren lives near
the river and says she’s starting to get worried, watching the
water levels rise day by day.
Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the
availability of a critical resource… A new dashboard tool,
created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West
program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common
tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping –
to help plan for a more sustainable future.
Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk
during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be
the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County,
and we in the California almond community are all rooting for
the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed
in finding viable solutions and common ground.
The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its
embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a
federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided
with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry
groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and
Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.
An affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments has agreed to buy
the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California for more
than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the
matter. A transaction could be announced as soon as this week,
said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because
the matter is private.
Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino
County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma
Water — announced they will be signing a project planning
agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense
the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a
hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and
Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing
water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.
The marathon stretch of unsettled weather means the reservoirs
are brimming, the rivers are rushing, the waterfalls are
spectacular, and people are still skiing in fresh powder in
Tahoe. But perhaps the most noteworthy outcome is a remarkably
gargantuan snowpack blanketing the mountain range straddling
California and Nevada. Right now, it’s even bigger than the
2017 snowpack that pulled the state out of a five-year drought.
A Pleasanton company has an unusual idea to cool data storage
machines that they say uses a fraction of the energy and cuts
greenhouse gasses. But local environmentalists are against the
plan because of the possible impact it could have on San
First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the
county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on
agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later
this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide
sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another
several years to fully take effect.
May 24, 2019, marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of
John Wesley Powell’s ambitious expedition through the
canyonlands of Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, including the Grand
Canyon. … In a new USGS story map, readers can follow
Powell’s epic journey from a remote sensing perspective.
In order to address the impacts of climate change on the
state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources
(DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action
Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate
change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has
Hermosa Beach, partnering with neighboring cities, was supposed
to receive the money from the State Water Resources Control
Board to help design and build the Greenbelt Infiltration
Project … meant to help clean the Herondo Drain Watershed,
which has consistently had elevated levels of bacteria. But the
city put the funding in jeopardy in March when the council
voted to dissolve a deal with neighboring cities and instead
find a new home for the project.
This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR
reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and
does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have
responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback
explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t
known about the technique’s impact on the environment.
By the State Water Resources Control Board’s estimates, more
than a million Californians don’t have safe drinking water
flowing through the pipes into their homes. … As Gov. Gavin
Newsom prepares to send his revised $213 billion budget to the
legislature for approval, a trailer bill proposes that the
legislature appropriate $150 million a year to a Safe and
Affordable Drinking Water Fund.
The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority
are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate
more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their
proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water
from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to
pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.
The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network’s largest
conservation project to date is moving upstream. This month the
group secured over half a million dollars to complete the
second phase of its effort to improve habitat for endangered
salmon in Lagunitas Creek between the ghost towns of Jewell and
On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it
flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond
the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A.
Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this
expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the
key to understanding California.
California regulators have approved allowing utilities to cut
off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers
to avoid catastrophic wildfires like the one sparked by power
lines last year that killed 85 people and largely destroyed the
city of Paradise.