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 KUER Salt Lake City

A major drought is gripping the West. Still, there’s reason to be hopeful the water situation will improve

Concerning news about Utah’s extreme drought keeps coming. On Wednesday, Utah’s Department of Natural Resources said the drought continues to have “a stranglehold on the state,” despite wild weather swings that dumped rain in some areas. Washington Post Columnist David Von Drehle recently wrote an opinion piece about the drought gripping the West. He spoke with KUER’s Pamela McCall about the situation.

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Aquafornia news Western Farmer-Stockman

Blog: How to make water: Saving, reusing can extend resources

Low precipitation and heat continue to dry out the West. With nine of the 11 Western states recording average water year-to-date precipitations from 50%-to-80% of normal and record-breaking high temperatures, drought is literally a hot topic. When water is limited, the first thing to consider is how to better conserve the water that you have. Then, investigate alternative water sources.

Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR completes installation of emergency salinity drought barrier

After three weeks of round-the-clock work, the emergency drought salinity barrier (EDSB) was completed in late June. The barrier will help prevent saltwater contamination of water supplies used by millions of Californians who rely on Delta-based federal and state water projects for at least some of their water supplies.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Projection: Lake Oroville could reach record low by November

As drought conditions continue throughout Butte County, the Department of Water Resources is currently projecting that the surface water level of Lake Oroville could reach an all-time low of 640 feet above sea level by October or November. As of Thursday, Lake Oroville’s surface water level was 648.47 feet above sea level. When full Lake Oroville’s surface water level is 900 feet above sea level. Water operations manager for the Department of Water Resources State Water Project Molly White said precipitation events later this year will determine when lake levels will begin to rise.

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Aquafornia news Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: California drought – Dozens of communities are at risk of running out of water

In Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast, city leaders are rushing to install an emergency desalination system. In Healdsburg, lawn watering is banned with fines of up to $1,000. In Hornbrook, a small town in Siskiyou County, faucets have gone completely dry, and the chairman of the water district is driving 15 miles each way to take showers and wash clothes. So far, California’s worsening drought has been an inconvenience in big cities. But it’s already imperiling an alarming number of communities, especially between the Bay Area and the Oregon border, threatening the water supplies for more than 130,000 people.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Biden rallies public-private sector to thwart infrastructure hacks

Confronting the rise of attacks on major American infrastructure and industry, the White House released an executive order Wednesday in which President Joe Biden will ask companies to layer on more cybersecurity protections. The order follows up on a series of cybersecurity directives prompted this year when the nation suffered a series of fuel shortages after Russian-tied cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Report: Valley could see 6-9 degree temperature increase by 2100

Climate change projections show the Central Valley will see more hot, dry years like 2021, but also some dangerously wet years as well. This year has already seen high temperatures, drought and high fire risk for Central Valley residents, and Jordi Vasquez, environmental scientist for the California Department of Water Resources, said climate models show the Central Valley heating up 6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. … The biggest impact for Central Valley communities like Hanford will be water management, Vasquez said.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey County officials get earful about private desal projects

Advocates for public water systems on Tuesday jumped quickly on a request by a Monterey County supervisor to consider amending a law that currently allows only public ownership and operation of desalination facilities. The request came in the form of a board referral, an instrument allowing members of the Board of Supervisors to make requests to the county’s chief administrative officer for work by staff or additional information on a specific topic.

Aquafornia news UC Merced

News release: New AI institute expands UC Merced’s smart, sustainable agriculture effort

With a new $20 million federal grant, UC Merced becomes part of a multi-institutional research collaborative to develop artificial intelligence — or AI — solutions to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges related to water management, climate change and integration of new technology into farming. The new institute is one of 11 launched this year by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and among two funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

Regulatory pressure on California production has a global impact

Regulatory pressures on California agriculture can have a global impact on consumers. North American Regional Head of RaboResearch Food and Agribusiness for RaboBank, Roland Fumasi explained that the agriculture industry ultimately exists to meet the global demand for food. Restrictive policies enacted that put added pressure on agricultural production can potentially have a negative impact on billions of consumers that rely on California ag products. 

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Republican recall candidate Kevin Faulconer visits Fresno, offers plan for valley water

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer made a stop in Fresno on Wednesday to plead his case on why he’s a key candidate in the potential recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom.  Faulconer’s talking points during the visit consisted almost entirely of the state’s water woes as he stood outside the Department of Water Resources office in central Fresno, where he was accompanied by Fresno County Supervisor Buddy Mendes.  

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: The true tale of how IRWD set a standard for recycled water

Throughout the nation and around the world, purple pipes pulse with water that has gone down drains and been treated for reuse in landscaping, agriculture and commerce. Irvine Ranch Water District was the mastermind behind that color: leading the charge in the early 1980s to certify a standard for pipes carrying recycled water, to distinguish them from drinking water systems. But how did it happen? It’s a colorful story of IRWD leadership, creativity and humor — centered around an engineer who sees much of the world in neutral tones.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

$65M in fed bill for more water storage

Not a drop of new “moon shoot” water storage has been created in California for more than 40 years. It’s a point that isn’t lost on Congressman Josh Harder. Nor is the fact water issues facing the heart of the Northern San Joaquin Valley are interconnected with communities often hundreds of miles away from the 10th District that he represents in Congress. It is why the Turlock Democrat has pursued do-able water projects — including those outside of his district that would reduce efforts to try and commandeer water from the Stanislaus and Tuolumne watersheds to address fish flow, urban, and irrigation needs elsewhere — since taking office in 2019.

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Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: A long view of Sierra snow

In Spanish, Sierra Nevada means “snowy mountain range.” While the term “snowy” has generally been true for most of U.S. history, those mountains have seen less snow accumulation in recent years. This decline plays a role in water management and response to drought in California and other western states. Each spring and summer, meltwater runoff from Sierra Nevada snowpack helps replenish rivers and reservoirs, while also recharging the groundwater. In fact, snowpack accounts for about 30 percent of California’s water supply in a typical year, according to the California Department of Water Resources. 

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn | Attorneys at Law

Blog: California State Water Resources Control Board’s draft emergency regulations likely to lead to curtailment for Delta watershed water users

California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) is currently experiencing one of the driest years in recorded history.  The US Drought Monitor recently classified large portions of the Delta Watershed as being in a state of “Exceptional Drought,” while the remaining portions are in a state of “Extreme Drought.”  The California Nevada River Forecast Center also provides information that the to-date flows in nearly all streams in the watershed are between 20 and 40 percent of the annual average.  As a result, the water supplies for many users in the region are in jeopardy.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Long troubled Salton Sea may finally be getting what it most needs: action — and money

State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money. The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Will drought and climate change feed more extremism in the West?

It’s sometimes thought that worsening wildfires, droughts and farming conditions — products of climate change — will lead to more conflicts and extremism, including in the West. Imagine a repeat of lawless mobs confronting and terrorizing federal land managers, as occurred at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, and could happen again amid the Klamath Basin water crisis…
-Written by Stuart Leavenworth, LA Times’ California Enterprise Editor.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How California drought impacts beef, dairy cow ranches and prices

Jennifer Beretta has been working as a dairy farmer since she was 6 and knows some of her family’s 700 cows by name. One of her favorites, a Jersey named Harmony, has won top prizes at the Sonoma County Fair. … But business is business, and right now business is bad. California’s devastating drought has dried up most of the Beretta Family Dairy’s pastures, driven up the cost of feed and made milking cows unprofitable. The Beretta family has sold off more than 40 of its cows this year, and could sell more before too long.

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Aquafornia news Mercury News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water shortages and drought are California’s biggest environmental concern, new poll shows

After the two driest consecutive years in much of California in nearly half a century, reservoir levels are dropping. Lawns are brown. Water restrictions are increasing. And Californians are getting worried. Asked to name the environmental issue they are most concerned about, more California residents cited water shortages and drought than any other, according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan research organization in San Francisco.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Drought depleting Bay Area reservoirs, driving urgent need for conservation

The state’s severe drought is transforming the landscape of our streams, lakes and reservoirs as the supply of water is depleted day by day. The changes at Uvas Reservoir in the hills above Morgan are readily apparent. The waterline has receded significantly as the footprint of the reservoir shrinks. … According to the Santa Clara County Water District, Uvas is currently at roughly 20% of its total capacity – basically 80% empty. And a district spokesperson says the situation is bad at all of the county’s reservoirs.

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Aquafornia news Food & Wine

California faces water theft amid drought conditions

It sounds like the plot of a post-apocalyptic movie: Water thieves roaming scorched terrain in search of nature’s most precious resource. But in California, water theft is a massive reality with numbers that are hard to comprehend — and as droughts increasingly afflict the state, so does the extent of this illegal activity. Over 12 billion gallons of water have likely been stolen in California since 2013, John Nores — the former head of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marijuana Enforcement Team — recently told CNN.

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Aquafornia news KCBX

Beavers aid in climate battle, local experts fight to protect species in California

Wild beavers play a critical role in the fight against climate change by creating wetlands that combat drought and wildfire. The species is native to California — but unlike beavers in Oregon and Washington, they aren’t protected from being trapped and killed in the state. Beavers have existed in North America for millions of years, with large populations in the American west.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought reveals Gold Rush artifacts at Folsom Lake

In another vivid example of California’s ongoing drought and water crisis, the water level is so low at Folsom Lake that Gold rush era relics that typically are submerged are now visible on dry land. … For more than a century before the Folsom Dam was built, the current lake floor in Northern California was used for gold mining and farming. Settlements were destroyed when the reservoir was filled in the mid-1950s, but some old foundations and artifacts remain on the lakebed.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

With record-low inventory going into the pandemic, California tomatoes wither under drought and limited irrigation water

Tomato sauce is feeling the squeeze and ketchup can’t catch up. California grows more than 90 percent of Americans’ canned tomatoes and a third of the world’s. Ongoing drought in the state has hurt the planting and harvesting of many summer crops, but water-hungry “processing tomatoes” are caught up in a particularly treacherous swirl (a “tormado”?) of problems that experts say will spur prices to surge far more than they already have. The drought threatens to imperil some of Americans’ favorite ingredients — pizza sauce, marinara, tomato paste, stewed tomatoes and ketchup all hang in the balance.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Will Delta users sue again to stop California’s drought rules?

Drought-plagued California is poised to bar thousands of farmers, landowners and others from pumping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed, a move that irrigation districts said exceeds the water board’s authority. The emergency rules would be the first time state regulators have taken such wide-reaching action during a drought to prevent diversions from the massive Delta watershed stretching from Fresno to the Oregon border.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Lake Powell and Lake Mead water levels drop to historic lows

The water level in Lake Powell has dropped to the lowest level since the U.S. government started filling the enormous reservoir on the Colorado River in the 1960s — another sign of the ravages of the Western drought. … The water level has plunged as the American West experiences what scientists are calling a “megadrought.” Too little water is coming into the lake, and too much is being sent downriver to maintain levels in Lake Mead, which is also at historically low levels. 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Extreme drought water crisis slams Oregon-California line

Ben DuVal knelt in a barren field near the California-Oregon state line and scooped up a handful of parched soil as dust devils whirled around him and birds flitted between empty irrigation pipes. DuVal’s family has farmed the land for three generations, and this summer, for the first time ever, he and hundreds of others who rely on irrigation from a depleted, federally managed lake aren’t getting any water from it at all. … [T]his summer there is simply not enough, and the farmers, tribes and wildlife refuges that have long competed for every drop now face a bleak and uncertain future together.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: California salmon wipeout is worse than you think

The news reports about the California salmon wipeout got a good chunk of the story right: Record-breaking heat waves made Northern California rivers too warm to sustain migrating Chinook salmon, and virtually all of the salmon in the Sacramento River this summer have died, or will die, before reproducing. Any eggs that were successfully laid, or the fry hatched from those eggs, are also likely doomed. So a generation of the rare and endangered winter-run Chinook, and the spring-run as well, are virtually gone.

Aquafornia news Patch

Livermore would get $20M under infrastructure bill

The House of Representatives approved a $715 billion infrastructure plan, and if the Senate passes it, it will mean $20 million for the Valley Link project to connect Bay Area Rapid Transit to the Altamont Corridor Express commuter train. … California would be a big winner under the proposed law. The bill includes more than $900 million for projects throughout the Golden State. They include bridges, bike lanes and express lanes … wastewater and drinking water projects and other infrastructure to prepare for rising sea levels.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Snow can disappear straight into the atmosphere in hot, dry weather

Creeks, rivers and lakes that are fed by melting snow across the U.S. West are already running low as of mid-July 2021, much to the worry of farmers, biologists and snow hydrologists like me. This is not surprising in California, where snow levels over the previous winter were well below normal. But it is also true across Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, which in general received a normal amount of snow. You’d think if there was normal amount of snow you’d have plenty of water downstream, right? … But another less studied way moisture can be lost is by evaporating straight into the atmosphere. 

Aquafornia news Mercury News

Photos: Drone views of EBMUD reservoirs as California faces extreme drought

After a very dry winter and spring, all of California is now in some level of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. One year ago, just 58 percent of California was in drought. In the East Bay, the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s reservoirs total system capacity is currently at 61% full, which is 73% of average. The district is in decent shape for now, but is encouraging its customers to conserve water as much as possible. … EBMUD has worked for decades to diversify its water sources, and if the drought gets worse next year, the district will look at purchasing water from other entities. 

Aquafornia news Fox 40

‘It’s been dropping fast all year’: Concerns rise over water levels at Lake Oroville

The drought is taking its toll on dams and rivers throughout California and there is no clearer example than at Lake Oroville where water levels have been dropping all year. … The Oroville Dam is the state water system’s tallest, but boaters and fishermen have witnessed the water level fall nearly 250 feet below average. State water regulators are required to release water to protect fish downstream. They are trying to preserve as much water as possible, but levels are dropping a foot a day.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Experts say climate change is to blame for unprecedented heat waves worldwide, and there’s no end in sight

New research says extreme weather events like the recent surge of summer heat waves across the U.S. are being spurred by the planet’s ongoing battle with climate change. In recent decades, many have become all too acquainted with record shattering heat waves that have put serious — and often deadly — pressure on communities around the world. … New research explores this new reality that many experts have been warning about for years.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Feds will prop up Lake Powell as it hits record low elevation

With water levels falling rapidly at Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border, federal officials are taking what could be the first of several steps to prop it up. This month the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started a six-month effort to raise the lake around 3 feet by the end of 2021 by releasing 181,000 acre feet of water from three upstream reservoirs. It comes as the lake just Sunday fell below its lowest level on record.

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Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale Water District seeks removal of reservoir sediment

The Palmdale Water District looks to take the next step in its years-long project to remove sediment from the reservoir behind the Littlerock Dam and increase its water storage capacity. On Monday, the Board of Directors will consider a $1.6 million contract with Aspen Environmental Group for work involved with the design, permitting and construction of the project over the next three years, with potentially two years after that. The Littlerock Reservoir Sed­i­ment Removal Project has been in the works for more than 25 years.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

City Council to consider partnerships with La Cumbre Mutual Water Company

The Santa Barbara City Council will discuss negotiating a water supply agreement with La Cumbre Mutual Water Company during their regular meeting Tuesday.  Due to water supply shortages exacerbated by drought conditions, officials from La Cumbre Mutual Water Company have asked the City to negotiate a long-term supply agreement tied to the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.  The Desal plant, which was constructed by the City in 1991, acts as a regional water supply for the City, the Goleta Water District and the Montecito Water District.

Aquafornia news Sonoma County Gazette

Opinion: Who’s bearing the water burden in Healdsburg?

How are we messaging to our summer guests about our Climate Emergency? About our town’s precious, empty Russian River watershed? Is this a teachable moment for these privileged travelers who come from places of Water Security? We should all be True Believers in Climate Change. Effective June 8, 2021, Healdsburg’s Stage Three mandatory conservation seeks a 40% reduction in water use citywide with additional, restrictive rules: 74 gallons per resident per day; No irrigation; Hand watering only; Planting is prohibited; $1,000 fine per day…the city means business! -Written by Brigette Mansell, former Healdsburg mayor. 

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

Cost of regulatory compliance more than triples in six-year period

A study tracking regulatory compliance costs in California was recently released, with striking findings. Researchers looked at data from 22 different farms of various sizes in the San Joaquin Valley between 2012 and 2018. During that timeframe, regulatory costs increased by 265 percent. Professor of Agribusiness at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and co-author of the report, Lynn Hamilton said several factors contributed to the significant increase. 

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

Audio: Harsh reality of California drought shown in no water=no crops campaign

The drought in California isn’t quite fathomable to all. In efforts to showcase the harsh reality producers are experiencing, Western Growers has a new campaign called “No water= No Crops.” In a series of videos, the campaign focuses on a few California producers who are struggling with the water shortages. Joe Del Bosque of Del Bosque Farms is one of the farmers in the campaign. He started out his planting year thinking he’d have enough water but that quickly changed as the dry water year encroached.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Podcast: What’s up with the fierce drought in the West

Today we launch Drought Week, a five-part series looking at how water shortages across the West are profoundly changing life. We’ll swoop around, from Oregon to the Sonoran Desert, from cities to national parks, from Joshua trees to lawns. To start Drought Week, it’s only natural — pardon the pun — that we take the bigger view first with our Masters of Disasters, the L.A. Times reporters who focus on natural calamities. So get your five-gallon buckets and put them next to you when you shower, ’cause things are serious right now.

Aquafornia news California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: Court ruling finds FERC 401 waiver not justified – important implications for California hydropower project licenses

On July 2, 2021, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued an important decision regarding Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, overturning an Order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  FERC’s Order had found that the state of North Carolina had unlawfully “coordinated” with the license applicant to delay the state’s certification that a new FERC license for the Bynum hydroelectric project complied with state water quality laws.  FERC found that North Carolina’s participation in the delay meant that the state had “waived” its authority under Section 401 to issue the certification.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California senators press Congress for $1 billion to prep for future drought

With rural wells running dry and reservoir levels dwindling amid the Western drought, California senators are pressing Congress for an infusion of cash to renovate the state’s collapsing drinking water system. But instead of new dams or desalination plants, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla want … to boost stormwater capture, groundwater recharge and water recycling efforts in the Golden State and throughout the U.S.

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Aquafornia news KCRW

‘Drought isn’t nature, drought is man,’ says journalist Mark Arax

Through fierce reporting and captivating prose, journalist Mark Arax paints a vivid and complex portrait of California and its water. Born into a family of farmers in Fresno, Arax has witnessed firsthand the cyclical nature of droughts and floods in the state. He delves into the history and future of agriculture and water in his 2019 book “The Dreamt Land.” Arax joins Evan Kleiman to talk about the lessons gleaned from the state’s fraught water history, and what they might mean for its present and future.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Another valley town on the brink of going dry

The small, rural community of Tooleville is on the brink of going dry after one of its two wells went down Friday morning. It’s the second community in Tulare County to suffer water problems in the last two months as California struggles through the grip of a devastating drought. The only well in the town of Teviston, also in rural Tulare County, broke down June 9 leaving residents there dry until the pump was fixed July 16.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Helix Water District moving forward with water shutoffs

Helix Water District, which provides water for much of East County, will reinstate late fees starting in August and renew water shutoffs on Oct. 1. The utility’s governing board voted 4-1 on Wednesday to support staff’s decision to bring back late fees and shutoffs for nonpayment. Customers suffering financial hardship had been given a grace period during the pandemic. The district currently has 546 accounts in arrears for a total of more than $470,000. Helix officials say that 475 of those accounts are residential.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

American Canyon calls for 20% water use cut

American Canyon is requiring residents and businesses to up their water conservation efforts from 10% to 20%, though it’s not yet ready to impose penalties. … While all five Napa County cities are taking water conservation measures, each is in a different situation when it comes to water sources. The south county city of American Canyon has no local reservoir and relies on State Water Project supplies that have seen a drastic cutback.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Club Magazine

Could Las Vegas’s grass removal policies alter the western US drought-scape?

Earlier this year, the Nevada legislature made turf removal a requirement in cases where grass exists for purely aesthetic purposes. The legislation, pushed by the water authority and signed by Governor Steve Sisolak, requires the removal of all decorative, or “nonfunctional,” turf in Las Vegas by 2026. Under this law, residents can keep their lawns, and parks can keep their fields. But that turf decorating medians and buildings must be converted to less water-intensive vegetation. Irrigating grass in the desert heat demands a lot of water. 

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

Hmong community protests outside Yreka courthouse over water restrictions

Members of Siskiyou County’s Hmong community rallied outside the county courthouse in Yreka on Tuesday over what they say is racist treatment by police and racist enforcement of water usage rights by the county. An ordinance passed in May aimed at curtailing illegal marijuana grows prohibits water trucks and other vehicles from carrying over 100 gallons of water on certain county roads. Rally organizers say the roads selected, primarily in the rural, unincorporated communities of Butte Valley and Big Springs, unfairly target the Hmong community who reside there.

Aquafornia news KTVL

Klamath Water Rights: Could there be a solution?

The Klamath water rights issue dates back decades and is as complex and nuanced as it is lengthy but when boiled down it seems to come back to one primal animal instinct that all living beings share: to ensure the survival of our spawn. For the Lost River and Shortnose Suckerfish in the Klamath basin, that continuum was disturbed somewhere along the line. The adult fish are healthy but aging while their spawn has been failing to thrive. Pending on their survival are the identity, traditions, culture, and livelihood of the Klamath tribes.

Aquafornia news KRCR - Redding

Happy Valley resident says their small farm is struggling with the water crisis

In the town of Happy Valley, residents are dealing with a crisis. California is experiencing an extreme drought, and Happy Valley says there is a meager amount of water left in the community. Coleen Wogoman, a resident of Happy Valley said their small farm, Wogoman’s Farm, is struggling to stay afloat as the lack of water striking hard for her family and their livestock. A mix of emotions is expressed from Wogoman as she looks upon her farmland and home for over 15 years.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Will the Drought Contingency Plan be enough to save Lake Mead? Maybe – for now

When the current drought began in 2000, the three Lower Basin states that take water from the lake (Arizona, California and Nevada) suddenly awakened to the problem. After several years of difficult negotiations, they agreed on a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) that, with previously agreed cuts, would bring the lake into balance.  Hoping the drought would lift before too long, the DCP negotiators agreed to spread the cuts over coming years in response to changing lake levels. However, as the drought continues and intensifies, the Drought Contingency Plan is looking more like a Drought Certainty Plan.
-Written by former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

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Aquafornia news Forbes

Let your profits flow with these top 5 water stocks

Water could be one of the biggest investing themes over the next several decades. An increasing global population is only going to cause demand for water to rise in the future. And, given the fact that water is a necessity of human life, demand for water should hold up extremely well, even during the worst recessions. Therefore, investors with a longer time horizon should consider water stocks.

Aquafornia news SJV Sun

Fixing sinking Friant-Kern Canal is unprecedented task. The latest hurdle? Scheduling payments.

After some negotiation, the Friant Water Authority Board of Directors will vote on a repayment contract with the Bureau of Reclamation regarding the repair of a portion of the Friant-Kern Canal.  The Friant Water Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation held its second round of negotiations Thursday morning, which was a two-hour process hammering out contract language in the repayment deal. … At the center of the issue is a 33-mile stretch of the Friant-Kern Canal that has lost over half of its original capacity to subsidence. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thousands of Central Valley farmers may lose access to surface water amid worsening drought

Forced to reckon with a worsening drought, California’s water regulators are preparing to forbid thousands of farmers from tapping into the state’s major rivers and streams. It’s an extraordinary step — and one that regulators didn’t take during the last drought, which was considered one of the worst on record. The State Water Resources Control Board on Friday released an “emergency curtailment” order that would cut thousands off from rivers and streams in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

After 20 years of drought, Western Slope ranchers face a choice — keep adapting, or move along

On the side of a dirt road in Gunnison County, a herd of cattle is cooling off in the water of an irrigation ditch.  Doug Washburn, range manager for Spann Ranches in southwestern Colorado, points at the hills surrounding the operation’s northern headquarters. … Colorado’s Western Slope is considered a climate hot spot where temperatures are increasing faster than the global average. This warming has contributed to more than 20 years of dryness, which scientists are calling a megadrought.

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Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Lake Powell level about to hit a historic low as West’s water crisis deepens

Lake Powell will soon hit its lowest level since Glen Canyon Dam started trapping the Colorado River’s water in 1963 — even with emergency releases of water from reservoirs upstream. The Bureau of Reclamation announced Thursday that the lake elevation will soon drop below 3,555.1 feet above sea level, the record set in 2005, back near the start of a 20-year dry cycle plaguing the Colorado River Basin….The increasingly dire situations at Lake Powell and its downstream partner Lake Mead illustrate the stress on the Colorado River system….

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water district restricts new landscaping for development

New development projects in most of Marin won’t have new landscaping irrigated with drinking water under drought restrictions imposed by Marin Municipal Water District this week. The Board of Directors voted Tuesday to approve the ban aimed at preserving the district’s dwindling reservoir supplies in the Mount Tamalpais watershed amid severe drought conditions. 

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Aquafornia news KCRW

Why LA’s fashion industry should worry about the drought

Manufacturing jobs in California have migrated overseas for years in a race to the bottom on wages and regulations. But now many industries face a new challenge: They depend on access to cheap endless water, and California’s future looks increasingly dry. Textile factory owners like [Sean] Zahedi are among the first to ask: Will we adapt or call it quits? Eighty-five percent of California is experiencing either extreme or exceptional drought conditions, the highest level there is on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale. Without water, Zahedi says, there’s no fabric.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Officials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems

Lawmakers and experts on Wednesday warned of gaping cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the nation’s critical water sector amid escalating attacks against a number of U.S. organizations. … [C]oncerns came during a committee hearing on cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure that zeroed in on concerns around water and wastewater treatment facilities. Cyber threats have soared in recent years, including recent ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure such as Colonial Pipeline, and the water sector has not been immune.

Aquafornia news ABC10 News

San Diego gets state funding for Ocean Beach Pier repairs, energy storage, Pure Water program

A windfall of state funding is coming to San Diego, including money for Ocean Beach Pier repairs, an energy-storage project at San Vicente Reservoir, and the city’s Pure Water program. Money from California’s state budget, signed last week, will fund the series of San Diego projects and programs.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News

Lawsuit: San Diego excess water fees

A class action lawsuit was filed against San Diego and its public utilities department on Wednesday, alleging that residential and commercial customers were overcharged in fees to make up for shortfalls from industrial wastewater dischargers.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Drought impacts: Tahoe likely to drop below rim in 3 months

After two consecutive dry winters, Tahoe’s lake level is sitting a little over 1.5 feet above its natural rim — a threshold the alpine lake is forecasted to drop below in the next three months. And while the rise and fall of Lake Tahoe’s water level is cyclical in the short-term (with evaporation and downstream flow offsetting spring runoff filling the lake each year) and the long-term (the lake has fallen below it’s natural rim over 20 times in the last century since data collection began), experts are concerned by the severity of the current drought and its impacts on water supply, wildfires and wildlife.

Aquafornia news NPR

Without enough water to go around, farmers in California are exhausting aquifers

A lot of the fruits, vegetables and nuts that you see in grocery stores come from California. Growing them takes a huge amount of water, which is a huge problem when the state is in the middle of a drought. California’s farmers are pumping most of that water from underground aquifers. They can’t keep doing that, though, especially as the climate changes. NPR’s Dan Charles has the story.

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Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Interior Secretary: Drought demands investment, conservation

Confronting the historic drought that has a firm grip on the American West requires a heavy federal infrastructure investment to protect existing water supplies but also will depend on efforts at all levels of government to reduce demand by promoting water efficiency and recycling, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Thursday. 

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Aquafornia news Ripon Advance

Valadao water amendments to appropriations bill nixed by Democrats

U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) last week introduced three amendments to the Energy and Water Development Appropriations fiscal year 2022 bill that aimed to alleviate California’s ongoing drought, but House Appropriations Committee Democrats voted down all three of them during a July 16 markup. The congressman’s first amendment would have extended California water storage provisions of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act for one year …

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Low water levels could force Oroville hydropower offline

A major California hydroelectric power plant could soon stop generating power amid worsening drought conditions. According to state water officials, the Edward Hyatt Powerplant at Lake Oroville could go offline as soon as August or September — a time frame that would coincide with a feared power crunch this summer. The plant, which opened in the late 1960s, has never been forced offline by low lake levels before.

Tour Nick Gray

Central Valley Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - November 4

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

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles

Northern California Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - October 14

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

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

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles

Bay-Delta Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - September 9

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

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lemoore says deadly water tank explosion was preventable

The city of Lemoore said Wednesday afternoon that a water tank explosion that killed one worker and injured another last month was “preventable.” Officials have said the tank lifted approximately 70 feet off the ground in the explosion, which occurred when methane gas ignited as welding was being done as part of a city project.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: This ‘infrastructure’ fix is simple – Pipe clean water to Native Americans

Much of the infrastructure talk in Washington these days focuses on large, complicated projects involving tunnels, bridges and highways. But there is a much more basic matter involving infrastructure that also merits attention: the need to provide clean water to the more than half a million Native Americans who lack the sort of water and sanitation services that other Americans take for granted.
– Written by Bidtah Becker, an associate attorney for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Anne Castle, senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment at the University of Colorado and former assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Interior Department.

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Aquafornia news KVOA

Southern Arizona starts to recover from exceptional drought thanks to strong monsoon start

Southern Arizona has been under the strongest category of drought since early last year. With a strong start to monsoon, the area should soon show a bit of recovery. It takes more than just a handful of good rainfalls to recover from such a bad drought. … The drought is one of the reasons why Pima County has had so many flash flood warnings this year. Soil that has not seen rain in a while is not as absorbent as regular soil, so heavy rainfalls over dry ground lead to flash flooding more often. This also causes problems on the roads.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

MWD has no systemic issues in handling worker complaints, report says

A powerful Southern California water agency accused by some employees of sexual harassment and other workplace violations “generally provides a safe and respectful working environment” for people of color, women and LGBTQ+ workers, a report on the agency concludes. The review of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California found no systemic problems in how the agency handles complaints of harassment, racism, retaliation and other alleged discrimination. 

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Aquafornia news North Bay Bohemian

Salmon suffer in a state of drought

Environmentalists say the San Joaquin watershed needs more water. So do state officials, who in 2018 ordered water users to give a large share of water back to the San Joaquin and its tributaries, notably the Tuolumne. But the fight to restore this ailing ecosystem has turned political, and environmentalists leading the effort are facing an unlikely foe the water service provider for one of the most liberal cities in the country.

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Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Fix aging water infrastructure, Senate told

California Farm Bureau, as part of a national coalition representing thousands of western farmers, ranchers, water providers, businesses and communities, urged leaders of the U.S. Senate to take action to address the shortcomings of aging water infrastructure. Citing an “acute and critical need” magnified by another all-too-familiar drought, the coalition sent a letter last week to Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo., of the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. It called for increased federal investment in water infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news KDVR - Denver

Secretary of Interior arrives in Colorado to address worsening drought and wildfire conditions

The Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, will visit Denver to address the worsening drought and wildfire conditions. The biggest area of concern is the deep drought on the western slope. Haaland will be in Grand Junction Friday talking about wildland fire preparedness and response. On Saturday, Haaland will be in Ridgeway discussing Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Not quite at 2015 level, but Tule River low

When it comes to the water year this summer, it could be referred to as a season on the brink. Tule River Water Master David De Groot announced on Monday water from the Tule River began to be run off over this past weekend. … De Groot said the water runoff will last 30 days through mid-August. He added the Tule River’s flow was just at 15.6 percent of normal …  the lowest level the lake will be at since the dire drought of 2014-2015.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

In historic drought year, water shortages predicted for these Shasta County communities

With the North State’s drought reaching historically severe levels, thousands of Shasta County residents from Happy Valley and Redding to Palo Cedro could face water shortages by the end of summer.  The lack of rain and snowfall this past year has left officials scrambling to find new sources of water to get through the dry season. …”We will absolutely, completely run out of water…. We will not have enough water to get through the year,” [Bella Vista Water District General Manager David] Coxey said.

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Aquafornia news KCRW - Santa Monica

Why Southern California has largely been spared by the state’s worst drought conditions

Los Angeles received less than half its average rainfall last year, most of the state is in a drought emergency, and Governor Gavin Newsom has asked all residents to reduce their water usage by 15%. But a stroll through any well-watered neighborhood in Southern California would suggest otherwise. … So far in Southern California, the golf courses are almost as green as they were when it rained a lot a couple years ago. Some Northern California communities have already issued mandates to cut back water use, and some homeowners have seen their wells run dry. 

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Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Pumped storage project gets seed money… now the work begins

A 500 MW pumped energy storage project proposed jointly by the City of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority received $18 million in the California state budget. The support will help fund the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility through initial design, environmental reviews, and the federal licensing process. The project … could generate revenue to help offset the cost of water purchases, storage, and treatment.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Michael Norris named as Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Area Manager

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the selection of Michael Norris as the Area Manager of its Lower Colorado Basin Region Yuma Area Office. He has served as the Deputy Area Manager for seven years. In his new capacity, Norris is responsible for delivery of Colorado River water to the Yuma area and Mexico, groundwater and salinity management, resource management, engineering and construction.

Aquafornia news Martin & McCoy and Culp & Kelly, LLP

News release: New report analyzes ten strategies and solutions for building climate resilience in the Colorado River basin

A new report issued today by seven environmental non-profit organizations examines ten strategies to bolster climate resilience and mitigate the impact of climate change in the Colorado River Basin, which is currently grappling with a historic megadrought. A crucial source of water for over 40 million people, the Colorado River is facing severe declines in stream flows and a looming federal shortage declaration as a result of a decades-long drought and increasing temperatures.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: New CA dams, water reservoirs move slowly as drought worsens

It doesn’t look like much now, a dry and dusty valley surrounded by the modest mountains of California’s Coast Range. These barren, brown hills an hour northwest of Sacramento will be the future home of Sites Reservoir, one of the few major water projects to be built in California since the 1970s. California taxpayers are helping pay for Sites, which would hold more water than Folsom Lake, through a $7.1 billion bond they approved during the 2014 election.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Drought has desperate ranchers asking: “Can I feed tomorrow?”

California may only be one year into the drought, but its toll feels much bigger to San Joaquin Valley livestock operators. … Andrée Soares, president of Star Creek Land Stewards, Inc [is] based in Los Banos on the west side of the valley but her animals are often spread up and down the state doing targeted grazing for fire prevention. Soares doesn’t know where her animals will be in the next few months or how they will eat. 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

S.F. embraces aggressive new climate change goals as drought, heat and wildfires engulf California

San Francisco set new, more ambitious climate change goals Tuesday, including getting to net zero greenhouse gas emissions produced in the city by 2040, as wildfires, drought and heat waves worsened by climate change plague California and floods in Europe grab headlines. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an update to the environment code that pledges the city will cut its greenhouse gas emissions to at least 61% below 1990 levels by 2030. 

Aquafornia news KCRW

It takes 400 gallons of water to grow a bread loaf, so don’t trash it, says ‘Eat Less Water’ author

Water is part of nearly every aspect of the farm-to-table supply chain. So how can people eat food that takes less water to grow, clean and prepare?  Florencia Ramirez, author of “Eat Less Water,” found that one way to cut water consumption is by buying organic and seasonal food, whether at farmer’s markets or your local grocery stores.  But even before making those trips, Ramirez says that the main priority should be cutting down on food waste because food that ends up in a landfill wastes a lot of water. 

Aquafornia news Washington Post

Opinion: The thirsty West’s dreaded water crisis is here

To grow up in the American West in the 20th century was to swing between inferiority and hubris. Our history books taught us that all great and elevated events happened back east. We should go there someday and study the monuments. At the same time, there was a sense — an understanding, as it turned out — that the East might be the past but the West was the future. … The Achilles’ heel, the hard ceiling on Western ambitions, was water, and everyone knew it. 
-Written by David von Drehle, Washington Post columnist.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water officials reluctantly agree to pay for buy-out study

Officials with the Monterey Peninsula water district begrudgingly agreed Monday to pay for a feasibility study requested by an intergovernmental body that has control over the future of the district’s plan to take over California American Water Co. The board of directors of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District during its regular meeting Monday approved up to $70,000 to pay for a study that was in effect ordered by the Local Agency Formation Commission…

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought in Utah town halts growth

The mountain spring that pioneers used to water their hayfields and now fills people’s taps flowed reliably into the old cowboy town of Oakley for decades. So when it dwindled to a trickle in this year’s scorching drought, officials took drastic action to preserve their water: They stopped building. During the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate market in their 1,750-person city boomed as remote workers flocked in from the West Coast and second homeowners staked weekend ranches. But those newcomers need water — water that is vanishing as a megadrought dries up reservoirs and rivers across the West. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

State water board considers resolution on racial equity

Racial equity may soon become a guiding principle at a powerful state agency that helps mediate water disputes and directs taxpayer investments in troubled Central Valley water systems. A draft resolution pending before the State Water Resources Control Board would condemn systemic racism, xenophobia and white supremacy while committing the agency to making racial equity, diversity, inclusion and environmental justice central to its work. 

Aquafornia news ABC 10 San Diego

San Diego homeowner: Removing a water meter in Mira Mesa could cost thousands

Jet Martin wanted to stop service to a water meter to save money for the homeowners in his Mira Mesa HOA. It turns out the city said doing that will cost thousands of dollars. … Martin’s HOA consists of 15 homes. There used to be sprinklers that watered a once-grassy area that sits between two houses. It was a space where residents in the HOA could sit, eat, and enjoy the outdoors. They stopped watering the grass a couple of years ago, but still pay a base fee to the city of nearly $30 per month.

Aquafornia news The Street

The water risks facing California: New index offers future price visibility

A new futures contract based on the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index provides longer-term visibility into the price of water, according to Roland Fumasi of RaboResearch. California is facing another dry summer in 2021, and for agricultural producers, that means a difficult growing season. … The situation has put a strain on the state’s traditionally fragile water resources, resulting in water price spikes for producers looking to sustain their crops.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Cultivating optimism as drought cripples the Colorado River

A historic drought has desiccated much of the American West, bringing reservoir levels to record lows and stoking fears of catastrophic wildfires across the region. We spoke with two members of the Water Policy Center research network and experts on the Colorado River: Dr. Bonnie Colby of the University of Arizona (she’s also a member of the Colorado River Research Group) and John Fleck of the University of New Mexico. Prepare to be surprised: we encountered some delightful optimism in this wide-ranging conversation.

Aquafornia news Treehugger

Blog: What is desalination? Overview and impact

Desalination is the process of converting seawater into potable water by removing salt and other minerals. Although rudimentary forms of desalination have been used since antiquity, only in the mid-20th century did industrial-scale desalination methods become widely available for water-insecure coastal communities around the world. Today, about 300 million people in more than 150 countries get water every day from some 16,000 desalination plants. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Teviston CA has a new pump in well, running water restored

After over a month of transporting water from nearby towns and delivering bottled water to residents, the rural Tulare County community of Teviston had running water again Monday. Teviston’s only well broke down in early June, leaving hundreds of residents without running water. Teviston Community Services District board member, Frank Galaviz, said that the well is “back online” in an interview on Monday with The Bee. … In total, Teviston residents went without running water for two to three weeks, said board President Martin Correa. 

Aquafornia news SLO Tribune

Opinion: Central Coast drought level changes due to rain, heat

I recently wrote about how the U.S. Drought Monitor increased the severity of the drought throughout the Central Coast from an Abnormally Dry (D0) classification in late February to an Extreme Drought (D3) level in June. On May 4, the entire Central Coast reached a D2 (Severe Drought) classification. I assumed that San Luis Obispo County would remain at this level through the summer since we had moved into our historically dry season of May through September.
-Written by John Lindsey, a meteorologist and a media relations representative for PG&E.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern River water rights case gets hearing date

Whether the Kern River truly has spare water and, if so, how much, has been left up in the air for more than a decade. Now, 11 years after the State Water Resources Control Board ruled the Kern River was not fully appropriated, it will finally start the process of getting at those two key questions: Is water available? How much? A status conference hearing has been scheduled by the board’s Administrative Hearing Office for Aug. 17 at 9 a.m., the board announced on Monday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Needles, California fights drought along the Colorado River

Rick Daniels lies awake at night worrying about a rusty contraption in a forlorn field, littered with discarded pipes and fire hydrants. It is the only water pump in Needles that meets state water quality standards, running 23 hours a day to keep up with demand, according to Daniels, the city manager. That’s a thin margin in one of America’s hottest cities, an urban speck in the desert near California’s border with Arizona. If this lone pump fails, 5,000 residents face the ultimate risk of taps running dry, as temperatures soar past 120 degrees …

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Illegal marijuana growers steal California’s scarce water

One day last spring, water pressure in pipelines suddenly crashed In the Antelope Valley, setting off alarms. Demand had inexplicably spiked, swelling to three and half times normal. Water mains broke open, and storage tanks were drawn down to dangerous levels. … It took a while for officials to figure out where all that water was going: Water thieves — likely working for illicit marijuana operations — had pulled water from remote filling stations and tapped into fire hydrants, improperly shutting off valves and triggering a chain reaction that threatened the water supply of nearly 300 homes.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water hookup suspensions spur housing debate

Marin water managers’ strategy to suspend most new water service hookups during the historic drought is drawing criticism from some who say little water will be saved with a policy that comes at the expense of the county’s poorest residents. Such a tradeoff would impact everyone from service workers to businesses to the elderly on fixed incomes, critics say. … Proponents of the hookup moratoriums say the county must live within its means with regards to water supply especially given the uncertainty of how long this drought could last.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Extreme actions underway to ensure Glen Canyon Dam can continue to generate power

The growing crisis on the Colorado River came into sharper focus last week when the Bureau of Reclamation began emergency releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to shore up Lake Powell’s declining levels, now at historic lows. The move will bolster Powell’s level by 3 feet in hopes of preventing it from dropping to a point where Glen Canyon Dam would not be able to generate electrical power, according to the agency’s Upper Colorado regional director Wayne Pullan.

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Aquafornia news Property and Environment Research Center

Blog: Trading water, saving water

Today, as a water economist, my job is to help customers stretch their limited water resources. This means managing supplies wisely and getting a handle on collective demands. Fortunately, one of our available tools is an old one: water markets that can help reallocate the resource to the places it’s needed most. I’ve learned a lot more about water and water markets since I was a second-grader determined to help fish in the San Francisco Bay. One lesson is that even well-intentioned water markets can have bad outcomes if poorly designed or executed, as was my first water transfer.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces contract repayment negotiations for the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project

The Bureau of Reclamation and the Friant Water Authority scheduled a teleconference contract repayment negotiation session for costs of extraordinary operation and maintenance work on the Friant-Kern Canal Middle Reach Capacity Correction Project. The date and time of the teleconference-only negotiation session are: July 22, 2021, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. PDT Call 1-202-640-1187 and, when prompted, type in participant passcode 523 487 550# The public is welcome to listen during the session and comment after the negotiations close. 

Aquafornia news Jfleck at Inkstain

Blog: Not just Mead: Powell will soon drop to the lowest level since filling in the 1960s

While the historic June 15 low for Lake Mead has drawn headlines – “its lowest level on record since the reservoir was filled in the 1930” – we’re about to hit a similar milestone upstream at Lake Powell that has received less attention, but may in fact be more important. It was co-author Eric Kuhn who drew this to my attention – I hadn’t noticed. He notes that sometime around July 24 give or take our eyeballing of the Colorado Basin River Forecasting Center graph, Powell will cross elevation 3,555 feet above sea level. That was the previous post-filling low, on April 8, 2005.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Feeling the California drought on my family farm

I can see my future: It’s dry, thirsty and bleak. On our farm, we live with drought daily, working with limited groundwater and learning to adjust and adapt, or to fail and abandon our fields. Water will determine a farmer’s survival. I farm organically outside Fresno, part of one of the world’s richest and most productive agricultural oases, providing, of course, that we have water. … A severe two-year drought is drying out the West and Southwest from Washington to California, Montana to Texas. Agriculture feels the impact with crops withering and production limited.
-Written by David Mas Masumoto, a farmer in Del Rey, California. 

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Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

Water districts vs. Santa Barbara County

Local water districts are suing Santa Barbara County, claiming that they should not be subject to restrictions over certain water sales and purchases. The districts claim that the county doesn’t deliver or pay for any water and therefore shouldn’t be able to dictate terms to them. The districts argue that the county’s imposition of restrictions ultimately hurts consumers. In response, the county claims that the oversight is needed to maximize the entire water supply for all consumers. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: California’s missing forecast flows in spring 2021 – challenges for seasonal flow forecasting

California’s 2021 water outlook became grimmer this spring as the state did not get fabulous February or miracle March precipitation. Unsurprisingly, spring streamflow forecasts from snowfed basins in the Sierra were far below average. For example, early April forecasts from California DWR called for April-July runoff to be between 59-70% of normal. Bad, but not terrible. Then came April, bringing little additional precipitation. To compound matters, April brought very warm temperatures for much of the state that led to rapid ablation (evaporation) of the Sierra snowpack. 

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

How water rights work in Colorado — and how it’s different during drought

Whether you’re a kayaker or an angler or a hard-core gardener in Colorado, we get that this water thing is confusing. … The drought and the overarching impacts of climate change have already generated multiple stories in 2021 and will be a big part of news coverage from here on out. We get reader questions along the way about the severity of the drought and what it means for Colorado residents — here are a few of those questions, and some answers from some key experts. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Drought: Marin vets options for desalination, water pipeline

Marin Municipal Water District announced Friday that it has found a potential vendor for temporary desalination plants and four Central Valley water suppliers that could transfer water to the county through a pipeline across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. The emergency water projects are being explored based on forecasts that the majority of Marin residents could run out of water by July 2022 if the upcoming winter is as dry as last year’s. The district serves about two-thirds of the county including 191,000 residents in central and southern Marin. 

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Megadrought poses ‘existential’ crisis in California and the West

The American West was once seen as a place of endless possibilities: grand vistas, bountiful resources and cities that somehow grew out of deserts. Now, manifest destiny has become a manifest emergency. A scorching drought made worse by climate change is draining reservoirs at an alarming pace, fueling massive wildfires and deadly heat waves and withering one of the most important agricultural economies in the country.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Folsom CA adds new housing despite drought, climate change

On the surface, the city of Folsom would seem to be water rich. Perched at the foot of Folsom Lake, where snowmelt funnels into the Sacramento Valley, the city taps into large intake pipes plumbed deep into Folsom Dam’s inner face to send cool water to nearby homes and businesses. That easy access is turning into a mirage. After two dry winters, the reservoir has shriveled to its second-lowest level for July in nearly 50 years. It’s lower than it was in July 2014 and July 2015, when the last drought was raging, California ordered mandatory water cutbacks, and Folsom residents had to swallow a 32% reduction in usage.

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Aquafornia news Outdoor Life

California’s drought is threatening salmon and waterfowl

Millions of waterfowl and other birds are going to have a tough year due to the ongoing drought in the West. Not only is there less water for ducks and geese, but the agriculture fields these migrating birds depend on for food will be significantly smaller, which means less waste grain. … That potentially can negatively impact Pacific Flyway waterfowl flights and hunting this year. Farmers report only 25 percent of the fields usually flooded in autumn will have water. With reduced water, ducks and geese are impacted. They concentrate more and diseases and bacteria can spread more readily, including bird botulism.

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Aquafornia news KQED

Drought-stricken California hasn’t mandated statewide water restrictions. Here’s why

After two consecutive dry winters and a series of early summer heat waves, the vast majority of California is gripped by drought. Water levels in reservoirs like Lake Oroville, Shasta Lake and Lake Mendocino are dangerously low. Wells in parts of the San Joaquin Valley and along the Russian River are drying up, and local water officials have mandated water restrictions up to 40% in some areas. Already, more than 85% of California is experiencing extreme drought conditions … and experts forewarn a third year of drought could be on the horizon if the state doesn’t see significant winter rain storms.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

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

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

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Aquafornia news GV Wire

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

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

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Aquafornia news CA Department of Water Resources

Blog: Downloading the facts from California’s first groundwater plan assessments

In June 2021, the Department of Water Resources released the first groundwater sustainability plan decisions ahead of the statutory deadline identified in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – commonly called SGMA.  The long-term planning required for SGMA will provide a buffer against drought and climate change and over time will contribute to reliable water supplies regardless of weather patterns in the State.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Cheap cybersecurity defenses exist, but they’re not reaching water utilities who need them

Super Bowl weekend was the headline event last winter in Tampa, Florida, where the mood was giddier than usual, given that the hometown Bucs had advanced to the championship. But two days before the big game, an incident just a few miles west of Raymond James Stadium temporarily stole the show. A hacker gained remote access to a water treatment plant in the town of Oldsmar. The intrusion on February 5 lasted only a few minutes — just long enough for the hacker to raise the concentration of lye in the water by a factor of 1,000. 

Aquafornia news KUNC

Colorado River basin reservoirs begin emergency releases to prop up a troubled Lake Powell

Emergency water releases from reservoirs upstream of Lake Powell are underway to preserve the nation’s second-largest reservoir’s ability to generate hydroelectric power. The Bureau of Reclamation started releasing additional water Thursday from Flaming Gorge reservoir in Wyoming. Additional water releases from Blue Mesa reservoir in Colorado and Navajo reservoir in New Mexico are planned to commence later this year. Emergency releases could last until at least December, and could extend into 2022. Lake Powell is projected to hit a record low in July. It’s situated on the Colorado River, a drinking and irrigation water source for more than 40 million people in the Southwest.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California drought – La Niña could dash hopes of desperately needed rain this winter

The punishing drought conditions afflicting most of California are expected to endure for months, climate experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said Thursday. There is a 60% chance, NOAA experts said, of a La Niña event this winter — conditions that would likely bring about a cool and very dry winter. NOAA climatologists presented a stark portrait of the fiercely dry conditions gripping a huge portion of the country: 46% of the contiguous U.S. is in a state of drought, they said.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Amid escalating drought, Bay Area residents slow to cut back on water use

With California descending deeper into drought, Santa Rosa is getting serious about water use. So are other communities that are increasingly urging residents to conserve, sometimes asking for water reductions, sometimes mandating them. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined the cause last week, issuing a statewide plea for voluntary savings. Still, amid the growing calls for conservation, the Bay Area’s initial response has been slow. Nearly a dozen of the region’s largest water suppliers that have sought cutbacks recently have come up short of their water-savings goals, according to water agency data reviewed by The Chronicle.

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Aquafornia news The Stanford Daily

California is heating up. Here’s what Stanford climate scientists say needs to happen

Temperatures are up, and Stanford researchers are worried the record highs don’t bode well for the future of wildfire and drought in California. Though mitigating the effects of climate change is the only long-term solution, the researchers said there are short-term adaptations communities can make to stay safe. This June, Stanford reached a high of 103 degrees Fahrenheit, with the Pacific Northwest recording widespread average highs over 100 degrees in the recent, record-breaking heatwave that enveloped the West.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: All together now? Differences in water shortage conditions across California 

California is back in a drought. You’ve heard it on the news, you’ve heard it from scientists, and they’re right — 100% of the state is in at least moderate drought. Yet, California Governor Gavin Newsom has yet to declare a statewide drought emergency, instead opting for county-level declarations — 50 of 58 counties have been declared so far this year. And if you look closer at what impacts different regions are facing, and how they are responding, you see important differences in water shortage conditions across the state.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado’s monsoon season is struggling to bring relief to rivers, ranchers and wildfires as the climate warms

The North American monsoon has returned to Colorado, and the rain has brought some much-needed relief to some of the driest parts of the state — after multiple back-to-back years of almost no summer rain. … Gov. Jared Polis has recently declared a drought emergency for the region and the rest of western Colorado. … The seasonal moisture from the tropics creates afternoon cloud cover that protects … drought-stricken creeks from baking in the sun. The rain helps lower the risk for wildfires. The timing of the monsoon is vital to Colorado’s ecosystem, which evolved on its schedule.

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Aquafornia news Fox 5 Las Vegas

UNLV study: Residential water use jumped more than a billion gallons during stay at home order

A study from UNLV shows some interesting results about how much water people used during Governor Steve Sisolak’s stay at home order in March 2020. Researchers at UNLV wanted to know the impact staying at home had on water use. Researchers looked at water bills from Henderson before the stay at home order and several months after the order was in place. The study found usage at home soared, outpacing pre-pandemic usage at homes, businesses and schools.

Aquafornia news Valley Water News

News release: Governor Newsom signs bill to allow Valley Water to select “best value” contractor for project to strengthen Anderson Dam

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a state bill on July 9 that will allow Valley Water to use a method known as “best value” to select a contractor for the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project. Under current California law, Valley Water must select the contractor with the lowest bid, regardless of their experience. But Assembly Bill 271, signed by Gov. Newsom and overwhelmingly passed by the California Legislature, authorizes Valley Water to use a method known as “best value” to select a contractor for the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project.

Aquafornia news Keep Long Valley Green

News release: Persistent and continuing air quality violations at Mono Lake due to dewatering

The Great Basin Unified Air Polution Control District‘s letter emphasizes how: The historical water diversions by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) from Mono Lake have lowered the lake level and caused the persistent and continuing violations of law regarding the PM10 standards. The only feasible solution is to allow the lake level to rise to inundate the emissive areas of the lake bed. Water savings from Owens Lake dust mitigation efforts would completely offset exports from Mono Lake. 

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Could meters be the key to conserving water in California agriculture? Watsonville growers explain

As he set goals last Thursday for the Bay Area to conserve water, Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged the lack of metering provides no sense of how much water is used by California agriculture. Growers in the Watsonville area in Santa Cruz County, however, are metered, and the meters have resulted in significant water conservation.

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Aquafornia news Earth Observatory

Blog: Sierra snowbank short on funds

Mountain snow is like a bank account for water across the western United States. Snow that falls on the Sierra Nevada, the Rocky Mountains, and other ranges becomes a natural reservoir that slowly melts each spring and summer and flows down into the river valleys. The resource managers of western states count on this allowance from nature to fill reservoirs with sufficient water for the typically dry months of summer and autumn. In 2021, those meltwater accounts have been turning up “insufficient funds.”

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Report: Colorado River ranch water savings hit 42 percent

Colorado’s high altitude hay meadows, a significant water user in the state, could be re-operated to yield more than 40 percent in water savings, according to a new report. The report is based on a major high tech research initiative to see if ranch-scale water conservation techniques, in which farmers are paid to voluntarily stop irrigating their fields temporarily, could produce enough saved water to help protect the Colorado River from unplanned shortages due to drought and climate change.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save the dates for our fall events, join our team, check out our drought page and moving sale

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Water Education Foundation … we are busy preparing to move to a new office near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, planning a blend of virtual and in-person programming for the fall and offering a sale on our beautiful water maps and guides so we don’t have to move them. We’re also looking to hire a programs and communications manager who is passionate about all things water in California and across the West. Resumes are due July 23.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Valley rivers going dry

Southern San Joaquin Valley Rivers are running at near historic lows — again. In fact, the Bakersfield City Council passed a resolution Wednesday officially declaring the Kern River as running at only 17% of normal, it’s second driest year since record keeping began in 1893. The driest year on record was 2015, the worst year of the 2012-2016 drought. The resolution notes the river is so low this year, the city won’t have any “excess” water to sell to local agricultural irrigation districts. This is the first time the City Water Resources Department has made such a resolution.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Water and transit infrastructure key topics in Kate Gallego meeting with President Joe Biden

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said water infrastructure and transit investments in Arizona were two key items discussed during a meeting with President Joe Biden on Wednesday. Gallego was part of a bipartisan group of three governors and four other mayors who met with Biden at the White House to build support for a proposed $1.2 trillion infrastructure package under consideration in the U.S. Senate…. The group also talked about… the state’s long-term drought and its effects on the Colorado River…  

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Wildfires, drought and record heat: Numbers reveal impact in the West

The American West is baking, burning and drying in intertwined extreme weather. Four sets of numbers explain how bad it is now, while several others explain why it got this bad. The West is going through “the trifecta of an epically dry year followed by incredible heat the last two months and now we have fires,” said University of California Merced climate and fire scientist John Abatzoglou. “It is a story of cascading impacts.” And one of climate change, the data shows.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: In California, who owns water rights is a mystery

As we careen deeper into drought, California will face increasing impacts to urban and agricultural economies, rivers and forests, and wildlife. In response, government agencies will need to determine how to allocate water among competing needs. Water users will scramble to buy and sell water — if they can — or reduce their use. But the current lack of information hobbles the ability to make difficult decisions about water management. For California to cope with persistent shortages, water rights data need to be accessible to decision-makers and the public.
-Written by Michael Kiparsky, director of the Wheeler Water Institute in the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment at UC Berkeley School of Law.

Aquafornia news Coachella Valley Water District

News release: CVWD opposes proposed IID fee

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) went on record today during Imperial Irrigation District’s (IID) Board of Directors meeting to oppose IID’s proposed fee to be charged to IID’s Coachella Valley rate payers.  CVWD is IID’s largest single power customer. IID and CVWD are party to the 1934 Compromise Agreement, and under that agreement, IID is obligated to charge Coachella Valley rate payers (including CVWD) the same rates as IID charges to rate payers within its district in the Imperial Valley. 

Aquafornia news The Milpitas Beat

Valley Water embarks on Anderson Dam project after years of unexpected delays

It started with a warning from state officials more than a decade ago that a major earthquake could cause the crest of Anderson Dam to slump, allowing water to cascade over the top and leave Morgan Hill underwater in mere minutes. Last week, the Santa Clara Valley Water District finally broke ground on the first phase of what has become a 10-year, $648 million project to retrofit the dam.  The district first started its planning process in 2012. 

Aquafornia news Kings River Conservation District

News release: KRCD board appoints David M. Merritt as general manager

Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) Board announced on July 13, 2021, the appointment of David M. Merritt as KRCD’s new general manager. … Mr. Merritt started his tenure with KRCD in 2010 as the Deputy General Manager of Power Resources. Through his leadership, KRCD successfully divested its gas turbine power generation facility, the Malaga Peaking Plant, in 2015. Mr. Merritt has further improved the long-term reliability of its Jeff L. Taylor Pine Flat Power Plant, which is a key KRCD asset. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

State should help fund local water resilience projects

On July 8, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded two earlier drought emergency declarations to cover 50 of the state’s 58 counties. In May, he directed state agencies to consider easing requirements for reservoir releases to conserve water upstream, and to make water transfers easier. Both are needed. Notably, the governor’s emergency proclamation did not impose water conservation mandates. Instead, Gov. Newsom is leaving water conservation to each region — a smart and necessary approach that incentivizes regional investments in water supply.
-Written by Sean Bigley, chair of the Sacramento Regional Water Authority Board, and Gary Croucher, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority Board.​

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Aquafornia news CNN

Arizona weather: Monsoon rains to hit drought-stricken region

The punishing heat wave continues in much of the West. However, for some in places in the Southwest including Arizona, the long-awaited monsoon will bring milder temperatures and rainfall. It may just arrive a little bit too fast, raising flash flooding concerns in the area. … Rainfall amounts of anywhere from a half inch to 1 inch are possible, said the National Weather Service in Phoenix. Upper-end amounts of 2 to 4 inches aren’t out of the question.

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Aquafornia news University of Nevada, Las Vegas

New research: Why remote work might worsen Southwest water woes

As concerns flare over record-low water levels at Lake Mead, a new UNLV study shows that COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders — and a subsequent societal shift to remote work — may be exacerbating the problem. The study, recently published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, found that Las Vegas Valley residential water use soared during the pandemic, outpacing even combined pre-pandemic usage across Southern Nevada’s three main property types (residential, commercial, and schools). 

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Prop 64 funded program protects fish and wildlife habitat statewide

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, in conjunction with their state and county partners, are preparing for the 2021 cannabis enforcement season. As authorized by Fish & Game Code section 12029, CDFW, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, or SWRCB, and the state licensing authority, established a watershed enforcement program to address environmental violations associated with unlicensed cannabis cultivation. The environmental impacts associated with illegal cannabis cultivation can have a detrimental effect on fish and wildlife and their habitats…

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Californians will adapt to living with drought, as we always have

Climate change is exacerbating droughts and accelerating the transformation and decline of California’s native forest and aquatic ecosystems. As a state, we are poorly organized to manage these effects, which need extensive focused preparation. We need to adapt (and we will make mistakes in doing so). Our human, economic and environmental losses will be much greater, however, if we manage poorly because of delay, complacency or panic.
-Written by Jay Lund, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of California at Davis. 

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Northern California farmers bracing for drastic water restrictions

Farmers are facing a water shortage right as we head into peak growing season…. Solano County farmer Spencer Bei shows us one of the wells his family uses to farm 15,000 acres. He says he is losing pressure now as he is pumping because he is pulling more from the aquifer due to a lack of surface water and no rain in sight. He is one of many farmers feeling the heat after the State Water Resources Board sent out letters to 4,300 water-right holders saying there was no longer enough water for them and that the remaining 2,300 with pre-1914 riparian rights could see even more restrictions soon.

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Aquafornia news Mountain View Online

Valley Water presents $16M check for small salt-removal facility

With drought on everyone’s mind, city leaders from Palo Alto and Mountain View held a brief summit on June 18 at the Regional Water Quality Control Plant to highlight a project that both cities hope will help make water consumption more sustainable for decades to come. Mayors Tom DuBois and Ellen Kamei met with Valley Water board member Gary Kremen at the Palo Alto facility to accept a $16 million check from the water district. 

Aquafornia news Sacramento News and Review

As drought hits Sacramento, officials make it rain cash for ditching lawns and converting landscapes

This could be a good time to downsize the lawn. Thanks to your water provider, you may get more cash for your grass. The reason? We’re in a drought – again. But this may be no ordinary dry spell. … Sacramento’s new rebates, which went into effect July 1, double the amount available for River Friendly Landscape conversions. Customers can receive up to $3 per square foot of turfgrass removed. That adds up quickly; a 10- by 10-foot block of gone lawn equals $300.

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Aquafornia news Fox 40

Drought exposes abandoned Gold Rush village in Folsom Lake

As the waters of Folsom Lake recede to levels rarely seen, the remnants of a long-ago abandoned, flooded Gold Rush village are reemerging. Visitors can now see building foundations, bricks, broken pottery and rusty nails that were all once part of Mormon Island. The town was settled in the late 1840s by prospectors. By 1853, it had a population of more than 2,500 settlers, according to California archives. What was left of the town got flooded in 1955 when Folsom Dam was built.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Drought reduces projected almond crop in Central Valley

The worsening drought forced a 13% cut in the projected almond crop in California. The U.S. Department of Agriculture now expects about 2.8 billion pounds from the August-October harvest. The initial estimate in May was for a record 3.2 billion pounds. Some growers have opted to strip nuts from branches so their trees can get by with less irrigation this summer, Monday’s report said. Water is especially short in parts of the western and southern San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: How Southern California became the land of swimming pools

Here we are, living 25 miles, five miles, even a scant hundred feet from that splendid dunk known as the Pacific Ocean, and what are we known for the world over? Swimming pools. By one calculation from five years ago, there are a quarter-million private swimming pools in Los Angeles County. … Our stories wouldn’t be our stories without swimming pools as image and metaphor. In “The Graduate,” Benjamin Braddock bastes in his parents’ pool in Pasadena, worrying about his future. … The crowded, chlorinated deep-end water in “Boogie Nights” memorializes porn, pools, and the 1970s San Fernando Valley, the suburban birthplace of a pool paradise …
-Written by Patt Morrison, a Los Angeles Times columnist.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Severe drought threatens Hoover dam reservoir – and water for US west

[S]ince 2000, scientists say the river’s flow has dwindled by 20% compared to the previous century’s average. This year is the second driest on record, with the flow into Lake Mead just a quarter of what would be considered normal. … In June, the level of Lake Mead plunged below 1,075ft, a point that will trigger, for the first time, federally mandated cuts in water allocations next year. The Bureau of Reclamation expects this historic low to spiral further …

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Aquafornia news Foreign Policy

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The American west’s climate hellscape is just a preview

For the past few weeks, the American West has been confronting a hellish climate nightmare of scorching heat waves, a severe drought, and raging wildfires. And it’s not just the West—or even the United States. In typically chilly Siberia, ground temperatures reached a blistering 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The Middle East has been gripped by a searing heat wave and a drought that has especially hammered Syria. In late June, a small Canadian village was almost completely consumed by wildfire. China is also bracing for another year of extreme weather… 

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Aquafornia news Eos

U.S. data centers rely on water from stressed basins

Thanks to our ever increasing reliance on the Internet, the amount of data online is skyrocketing. The global data volume is expected to grow sixfold from 2018 to 2025. It might seem like that information is swirling in the cloudy sky, but it’s stored in physical data centers. Landon Marston, an assistant professor at Virginia Tech, recently noticed news articles addressing the growing energy requirements of the data center industry. As an expert in water resources engineering, he wondered how those energy requirements translated into water consumption. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Illegal pot farms have invaded the California desert

[The] hot, dry, unforgiving climate [of the Mojave Desert] has attracted more than a thousand marijuana plantations that fill the arid expanse between the Antelope Valley and the Colorado River. It’s an unprecedented siege that has upended life in the remote desert communities and vast tract developments that overlook Joshua trees and scrub. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. Longtime residents say they feel less safe, claiming black-market growers act with impunity by carrying weapons, trading gunfire with rivals and threatening those who wander too close to their farms.

Aquafornia news Center for California Water Resources Policy and Management

Research analysis: An overview of the listing process under the California Endangered Species Act

The California Endangered Species Act (CESA) is one of the most impor- tant legal tools available to the Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect the State’s wildlife resources. … Listing decisions can be the difference between persistence and extinction of a species. They can also cause severe economic disruption and, for this reason, should in our view be made with due deliberation and based on the best available scientific information.

Aquafornia news Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management

New research: Approaches to planning water resources

Water resource problems and management are complex, confusing, and controversial for participants in technical, policy, and public water deliberations. A thoughtful planning approach can reduce confusion and structure controversies. This paper attempts to summarize and organize various technical approaches to water resources planning. This paper summarizes the basic approach of rational planning, followed by brief reviews of requirements-based, benefit-cost-based, multiobjective, conflict resolution, market-based, and muddling through approaches to planning.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Key players in California water confront drought, fish and more at Modesto summit

A key message emerged when California water leaders gathered in Modesto: Stop grumbling about drought, and get cracking on real fixes.  Rep. Josh Harder, R-Turlock, convened the Thursday afternoon summit at the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau.  Several speakers called for new reservoirs and groundwater recharge to hold wet-year surpluses for use in dry times like 2021. The manager of a West Side irrigation district invited others to follow her lead in using water recycled from city sewage plants. 

Aquafornia news ABC 10 San Diego

In-Depth: California drought could make housing crisis worse

As California enters another period of drought, experts say the dry spell could make an already difficult housing market even worse. … Some housing experts say about 20,000 homes need to be built in San Diego every year. Building more houses requires more water. … [Dr. Norm Miller, a Real Estate Professor at USD] believes San Diego already has enough water to build that many new homes. But he thinks the State and Federal Governments need to make housing a priority over other water users, like agriculture.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: California isn’t running out of water; it’s running out of cheap water

A California water myth which becomes especially pernicious in droughts is that California is “running out of water”. Viewing California’s supply and demand pressures in terms of fixed water requirements perpetuates this myth and invariably places undue attention on building additional supply infrastructure. Instead, managing water as a scarce resource suggests a balanced portfolio of water trading, investments in conveyance, smart groundwater replenishment, and demand management. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Bill aims to spend billions to fix nation’s aging dams

Lawmakers in Congress on Friday introduced a bill that would pump tens of billions of dollars into fixing and upgrading the country’s dams. The Twenty-First Century Dams Act, introduced by Democratic U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster of New Hampshire, proposes to spend nearly $26 billion to make the repairs that would enhance safety and increase the power generation capacity of the country’s 90,000 dams. It also calls for removing any dams that have outlived their usefulness.

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Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Diamond Valley Lake: SoCal’s largest water reservoir filled to 80% capacity despite drought

Southern California’s largest reservoir is filled to more than 80% of its total capacity, despite the fact the state as a whole is in the second year of a severe drought. And Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet is proving to be a key asset in making up for the shortfall in water from other sources after another year of below-normal precipitation.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

In California’s interior, there’s no escape from the desperate heat: ‘Why are we even here?’

In Cantua, a small town deep within California’s farming heartland, the heat had always been a part of life. “We can do nothing against it,” said Julia Mendoza, who’s lived in this town for 27 years. But lately, she says, the searing temperatures are almost unlivable. … Global heating is driving stronger, longer heatwaves in the region, said Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, a climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a non-profit advocacy group. Researchers have been warning of such extreme heatwaves for decades, he said, but the barrage of heat surges that California and the western US have been alarming, he said.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fault system that produced 6.0 quake poses big dangers

While much of California’s earthquake risk has been historically focused on the San Andreas fault and places like Los Angeles and San Francisco, quakes are capable of causing significant destruction in the state’s Sierra Nevada and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta … UCLA experts warned in 2014 that a major earthquake sending destructive shaking to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could potentially destroy aging levees, causing flooding and drawing in saline water from San Francisco Bay — which would contaminate one of the state’s key water supply systems.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Can California dramatically cut water use again?

In the face of rapidly worsening drought conditions this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged all Californians to voluntarily cut their water usage by 15% — but what exactly does that mean for the average California household? The governor made his plea Thursday as he extended a regional state of drought emergency to 50 counties, comprising about 42% of the state’s population. For many, the talk of water reductions reminded them of the shriveled lawns, attenuated showers and water-bucket toilet flushing of the last devastating drought.
-Written by Julia Wick and Chris Kuo, of the Los Angeles Times.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Lake Mead, crucial water source in West, tips toward crisis

[A]fter years of an unrelenting drought that has quickly accelerated amid record temperatures and lower snowpack melt, [Lake Mead] is set to mark another, more dire turning point. Next month, the federal government expects to declare its first-ever shortage on the lake,  triggering cuts to water delivered to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico on Jan. 1. If the lake, currently at 1,068 feet, drops 28 more feet by next year, the spigot of water to California will start to tighten in 2023.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District outlines future plans

Slowly but surely, the San Lorenzo Valley community is rebuilding itself after the CZU Lightning Complex fire. Its water district is no exception. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District lost all of its water intake infrastructure at the Lyon Water Treatment Plant in Boulder Creek, built in 1994 with the purpose of treating surface water coming from many streams on the Empire Grade mountain. About 50% of the water stored at the plant was lost as well. All of the 1,600 acres of the watershed were affected by the wildfire.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Water customers in East Bay district urged to cut usage 10% as drought worsens

The Contra Costa Water District is asking customers to reduce their water use by 10% amid worsening drought conditions in California. The district’s Board of Directors on Wednesday voted unanimously to declare a Stage 1 water shortage level, which includes calling for 10% voluntary conservation … The district provides water to about 500,000 people in central and eastern Contra Costa County, from the city of Martinez to Brentwood. Its main source of water is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which conveys water allocated from the Central Valley Project through a contract with the federal government.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: More housing and more drought calls for more thought

Although 41 of California’s 58 counties are in drought conditions, legislators are debating bills, such as Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill 10, that address the construction of housing to meet the state’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation. Between 2023 and 2031, the state mandate for the nine-county Bay Area is 441,000 units, representing an expected population increase of 1,102,500. The allocation for Los Angeles County is 1,327,000 housing units to accommodate an expected population increase of 3,317,500. The state’s propensity to accept the RHNA numbers ignores our drought conditions.
-Written by Rick Johnson, a retired 40-year veteran of the San Francisco water department. 

Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

IID pounds pavement to head off bill

Imperial Irrigation District officials are making a last-ditch effort to amend or kill proposed legislation that could fundamentally transform the governing board of the agency, Assembly Bill 1021. At the heart of the issue is how the bill could force the district — which provides water and power to virtually all of Imperial County, and electricity to part of the Coachella Valley — to add a seat representing energy ratepayers from a small section of southeastern Riverside County to the IID Board of Directors. 

Aquafornia news LA Department of Water and Power

News release: LADWP hires first-ever chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer 

As part of the ongoing initiatives to advance diversity and equity, Monique Earl has been named to lead the newly-created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  Earl will become part of the senior management team reporting to General Manager Martin Adams, and will be responsible for the oversight of policies, practices and programs designed to improve diversity and opportunities throughout LADWP and position the agency to better serve communities with the highest needs. 

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: Environmental consequences of pipeline, desalination plans must be considered

How can Marin County effectively address the severe drought we’re in? Right now, many are reasonably urging the Marin Municipal Water District to explore desalination and a water supply line on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Apparently our water district is proceeding expediently with this exploration, so they can implement those measures as quickly as possible if needed. However, we should recognize that with urgent competition for water throughout the southwestern U.S., these measures have uncertainties, will take time and require very large expense and energy use.
-Written by Tom Flynn, team lead at 

Aquafornia news KUNC

After decades of warming and drying, the Colorado River struggles to water the West

The Colorado River is tapped out. Another dry year has left the waterway that supplies 40 million people in the Southwest parched. A prolonged 21-year warming and drying trend is pushing the nation’s two largest reservoirs to record lows. For the first time this summer, the federal government will declare a shortage. Climate change is exacerbating the current drought. Warming temperatures are upending how the water cycle functions in the Southwest. The 1,450-mile long river acts as a drinking water supply, a hydroelectric power generator, and an irrigator of crop fields across seven Western states and two in Mexico.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: As California drought worsens, Newsom urges residents to cut water use

As a heat wave exacerbates California’s drought, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked residents Thursday to voluntarily cut their water use by 15% and extended an emergency drought declaration to nearly every Bay Area county. Those measures were the latest in a series of modest steps Newsom has taken to encourage Californians to conserve and to make it easier for state regulators to curtail use for farmers and water agencies. Newsom said urgent action is needed because conditions in the state “continue to devolve,” with sparse rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures — and a heat dome forecast to scorch the West Coast this weekend.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Silver tsunami” could open doors to California’s top water jobs

Job alert: The Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District, which serves nearly 30,000 acres of farms in Kern County, is hiring a new general manager. But what exactly does the general manager of an irrigation district do? It’s a question that isn’t easily answered, even by water executives themselves…. [Dale] Brogan managed the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District in Tulare and Kern counties for 28 years. He’s helping to fill the role at Shafter-Wasco until someone is hired on permanently. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette Newspaper

2020 wildfires could be boon for water allocation

Last summer’s catastrophic Creek Fire burned about 380,000 acres in the upper San Joaquin watershed, the largest fire in the Sierra Nevada’s history. The fire literally exploded, fed by strong gusty winds and 150 million dead trees the fire scorched 43% of the burned area “with high severity” said the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, a state agency. Altogether, about 36% of the upper San Joaquin watershed was burned—the same watershed that supplies nine dams and impounds water that feeds a million acres of farmland below, along the Madera and Friant Kern Canals. 

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Denver Water reduces diversions from Colorado River headwaters, keeps streams flowing on Western Slope

With a federal water shortage declaration looming for the Southwest, Denver Water is trying to help. Normally nearly 20% of the city’s water comes from Grand County, which is filled with streams that make up the headwaters of the Colorado River. In a normal year, 60% of the water in Grand County is diverted from streams high above Grand Lake and captured near Winter Park and sent to the other side of the Continental Divide for agricultural and municipal water supply, mostly on the Front Range. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento asked to cut water usage as California drought worsens

The city of Sacramento, invoking its water shortage contingency plan, asked residents Wednesday to reduce consumption by 10% as California’s drought intensifies. City Manager Howard Chan moved the city into Stage 1 of its contingency plan, which mandates a 10% cut by city government and a voluntary call to residents and businesses to do the same, according to spokesman Carlos Eliason. If additional measures need to be taken, they would require action by the City Council.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg

La Nina threatens to return and worsen drought in U.S. West

The possible return of La Nina threatens to give the drought-ravaged U.S. West another winter without much rain or snow. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center issued a watch for La Nina on Thursday, saying there’s a 66% chance the phenomenon will return for a second straight year some time in the November-January period. La Nina occurs when the equatorial Pacific Ocean cools, triggering an atmospheric chain reaction that can cause droughts across the western U.S. and roil weather systems globally.

Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Drug cartels stealing millions of gallons of water for illegal marijuana grows in Antelope Valley, officials say

Amid California’s ongoing drought, drug cartels have been stealing 2-3 million gallons of water a day to feed illegal marijuana grows in the Antelope Valley, officials said. Asked where the water was being stolen from, Rep. Mike Garcia, who represents the state’s 25th District, said: “Right here from our local aqueduct system. The California Aqueduct flows right through the Antelope Valley. They’re taking it out of wells. They’re stealing it from fire hydrants.”

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Aquafornia news Fox News

Western farmers fight for fairness, businesses amid drought ‘like Hurricane Katrina’

As the western United States continues to face a months-long bout with extreme drought, American farmers are feeling catastrophic effects to their livelihoods. … John Moore, a fourth-generation crop farmer from Kern County, California, highlighted the misunderstanding lawmakers have toward the agricultural community. In his mind, heeding to some Trump-era water policies would’ve changed the entire landscape of how farmers face droughts like these.

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Aquafornia news Eastern Municipal Water District

News release: EMWD projects receive federal funding

Two Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) projects have received preliminary federal funding allocations in appropriations legislation, thanks to the diligence of Representatives Ken Calvert and Mark Takano. In the House Appropriations Committee’s FY2022 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies legislation, EMWD’s Quail Valley Septic to Sewer program is slated to receive  $2.5 million from Congressman Ken Calvert’s (CA-42nd) request, and its Mead Valley Booster Station project received $1 million from Congressman Mark Takano’s (CA-41st) request.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Tonya Hart named Reclamation’s regional engineer for the southwest

The Bureau of Reclamation Tuesday announced the selection of Tonya Hart as the Regional Engineer of the Lower Colorado Basin Region. In this capacity, she oversees and provides direction for the Region’s engineering activities in Arizona, Southern Nevada and Southern California. Additionally, she oversees the operations and maintenance of Reclamation’s Boulder City campus. Hart most recently served as a Supervisory Civil Engineer in the Geotechnical Services Division of Reclamation’s Technical Service Center (TSC) located in Denver, Colorado. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Drought-stricken western districts plan new ways to store water

Driving through the Sacramento valley an hour north of California’s capital, most travelers notice nothing but a few cows grazing on grass scorched brown by the heat. But Jerry Brown, the executive director of the Sites Reservoir Project, sees the future of California’s water system….Sites is just one of hundreds of new projects being urgently pushed by districts, whose officials see that climate change is irrevocably changing their water equation.

Aquafornia news The Center Square

Fitch: low river levels likely to increase Arizona water bills

The expected water cuts from the Colorado River as a result of the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) will likely mean higher water utility rates, according to Fitch Ratings. The U.S. Congress passed the DCP in 2019 to protect water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead which provide water to Colorado River basin states. Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, and Mexico entered into the DCP, which mandates how water cuts will occur when the lakes drop to certain levels, called tiers.

Aquafornia news ABC 10

Sacramento offering more rebates for water conservation

If you’re a Sacramento homeowner, the city is now offering twice as much money for you to conserve water. According to a press release, the city’s Department of Utilities announced it is doubling its River Friendly Landscape rebates while funding is available. The program includes: Turf conversion, which doubled from $1.50 to $3 per square foot of grass replaced. Irrigation upgrades of up to $800 for new sprinklers or smart irrigation controllers. Installing a smart controller in the home. 

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Aquafornia news CNN Politics

Western governors make bipartisan plea as states battle record heat and drought

A pair of governors on Sunday called on the federal government for help and pushed for solutions as their states grapple with recording-breaking temperatures, drought and wildfires that officials have said is being driven by climate change. … The bipartisan plea follows a meeting last week between President Joe Biden and other Western governors during which he announced new federal response plans to help address the wildfire threats and extreme heat being driven by climate change. They include extending seasonal hiring, adding “surge capacity” by training and equipping additional personnel, and adding fire detection resources. 

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Aquafornia news ABC 15

Data centers consume millions of gallons of Arizona water daily

Massive buildings are sprouting from our desert landscapes, their footprints normally more than a million square feet. The structures are filled with computer servers processing and storing huge amounts of data. … Duff is the only city council member to vote no on a recently approved $800 million data center – rumored to be for Facebook – after discovering the facility would eventually use 1.75 million gallons of water every day for cooling their rows of servers once fully operational. This as state reservoirs like Lake Mead and rivers like the Colorado are so low that federal restrictions are likely to be triggered on Arizona’s water allocation as early as next year.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: ‘Megadrought’ along border strains US-Mexico water relations

The United States and Mexico are tussling over their dwindling shared water supplies after years of unprecedented heat and insufficient rainfall. Sustained drought on the middle-lower Rio Grande since the mid-1990s means less Mexican water flows to the U.S. The Colorado River Basin, which supplies seven U.S. states and two Mexican states, is also at record low levels. A 1944 treaty between the U.S. and Mexico governs water relations between the two neighbors. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Tribe becomes key water player with drought aid to Arizona

For thousands of years, an Arizona tribe relied on the Colorado River’s natural flooding patterns to farm….Now, gravity sends the river water from the north end of the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation through 19th century canals to sustain alfalfa, cotton, wheat, onions and potatoes, mainly by flooding the fields. Some of those fields haven’t been producing lately as the tribe contributes water to prop up Lake Mead to help weather a historic drought in the American West…. As Arizona faces mandatory cuts next year in its Colorado River supply, the tribes see themselves as major players in the future of water.

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Aquafornia news SkyHi News

Governor declares drought emergency for much of Western Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis formally declared a drought emergency Friday for almost two dozen western Colorado counties. Colorado’s Drought Task Force, Agriculture Impact Task Force and Municipal Water Task Force will remain active and responsive to local needs, a release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board states Friday.

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Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

3 tips to save water at Tahoe during drought, high demand

With drought conditions and a pair of record-setting heat waves already in the rearview mirror, saving water is key during high demand. In the face of record temperatures and the worst drought in decades, the South Tahoe Public Utilities District is offering three tips to save water as demand increases.

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Two federal decrees affect California water wars

The powerful interests who vie for shares of the state’s ever-changing water supply — dubbed “water buffaloes” — are adept at fending off political and legal assaults by their rivals and the outcomes of their clashes are often stalemates. That’s why it was surprising in June to see two game-changing decrees out of Washington, one from the new Biden administration and another from the Supreme Court, affecting two of the state’s most prominent water interests, Southern California’s Imperial Irrigation District and the San Joaquin Valley’s Westlands Water District.
-Written by CalMatters columnist Dan Walters.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona lawmakers flubbed a major opportunity to shore up our water

You’d think that spending $200 million to help shore up our shrinking water supply would be a monumentally good thing. And it could have been, if there weren’t so many stipulations on how that cash must be spent. Lawmakers plopped $160 million into a newly created drought mitigation fund – a hefty chunk of change that some have called “unprecedented.” They set up the fund, according to the budget bill, because “many regions in this state lack access to sustainable water supplies to meet their long-term water demands and need financial assistance to develop water supply and conservation projects.”
-Written by Arizona Republic columnist Joanna Allhands. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Budget trailer bills misused for renewable energy squabble

To understand a sharp-elbows squabble that’s developing behind the scenes in the state Capitol, one must first understand “pumped-storage hydro,” a way for electrical energy to be stored. In its simplest form, water stored in a reservoir is released to generate power as it flows into a second reservoir at a lower elevation. Later, when the electrical grid’s need for power diminishes, the water is pumped back into the upper reservoir so the cycle can be repeated when demand increases.
-Written by Dan Walters, CalMatters columnist.