Topic: Water Supply

Overview

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 Maven's Notebook

Conveyance and water rights; Considerations for conveyance across the Delta

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

Aquafornia news KTAR.com

Gov. Doug Ducey signs historic water protection legislation

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed a landmark water protection bill Wednesday to ensure clean water in nearly 800 Arizona streams, lakes and rivers that are critical for everyday use. The legislation will preserve water quality, list protected Arizona waters and develop management practices that will protect the waterways.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Why this year’s Folsom Lake super bloom is so amazingly rare – and troubling

A spectacular super bloom of lupine flowers has exploded in and around Folsom Lake. Lupine flowers, which are native to California and commonly found around the state, tend to crop up every year. But this spring, experts say the super bloom that’s sprouted in the Sierra foothills reservoir 25 miles east of Sacramento is like nothing they’ve ever seen — and says a lot about the dire state of California’s deepening drought. …[B]right purple lupines that now blanket the reservoir in areas that normally would be underwater but are now fertile blooming ground because of historically low water levels.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

As surface water supplies dry up, California rice growers worry about ripple effect

California’s drought is impacting more than how you water your lawn, but also the way your food is grown on hundreds of thousands of acres in the Sacramento Valley. Growing rice is a multi-billion dollar industry that supports 25,00 jobs. … This year, a third of normal rainfall combined with hot weather and drying winds have [rice farmers] pumping more groundwater than usual and fallowing half his rice fields – meaning Durst won’t plant, and he’s not alone. … Industry leaders say this is the third time in forty years this kind of surface water supply reduction has happened – and it’s happened twice in just the last decade.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Wildfires are contaminating drinking water systems, and it’s more widespread than people realize

More than 58,000 fires scorched the United States last year, and 2021 is on track to be even drier. What many people don’t realize is that these wildfires can do lasting damage beyond the reach of the flames – they can contaminate entire drinking water systems with carcinogens that last for months after the blaze. … Since 2017, multiple fires have impacted drinking water systems … including the CZU Lightning Complex, Camp and Tubbs fires in California. Thousands of private wells have been affected too.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

No bear, but John Cox tells Fresno that he has the ‘beast’ in him to tackle Calif. issues

California gubernatorial candidate John Cox swung through Fresno on Thursday as part of his “Meet the Beast” campaign tour, holding a press conference at Machado Farms. … With the state once again in the midst of another drought, Cox said he would do something that Newsom has so far refused to: declare a state-wide emergency. Instead of a state-wide declaration, Newsom enacted an emergency in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. 

Aquafornia news KOBI-TV NBC5 / KOTI-TV NBC2

Siskiyou County residents protest over new water tank restriction ordinance

Residents in northern California rallied outside of Yreka City Hall Thursday to protest the County’s new ordinance aimed at curtailing illegal marijuana grow. On Tuesday, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors amended Chapter 4 of Title 3 – adding restrictions on water trucks using specific County highways. The restrictions largely target streets in the unincorporated communities of Butte Valley and Big Springs. … Protesters of the affected areas voiced their opposition to the bill – stating the Water Trucks are critical for their survival.   

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Garamendi’s bill bolsters federal financing for California water storage

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03) introduced legislation (H.R. 2979) making low interest federal financing available for reservoir and drought resiliency projects, with Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA-04) as the original cosponsor. This bipartisan legislation (H.R. 2979) would amend the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) of 2014 to make public water projects like the off-stream Sites Reservoir Project eligible for low interest, longer term federal loans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Drought-tolerant San Diego won’t go thirsty in the dry stretch ahead

San Diego takes droughts very seriously. That’s why the region is well-positioned to weather an extended dry spell with enough water.  Local officials don’t shrug at the drought conditions across the state that have triggered emergencies in a couple of northern counties. For one thing, the wildfire threat can be as dangerous here as anywhere. San Diego may be more drought-tolerant than in the past when it comes to water…

-Written by Michael Smolens

Aquafornia news AZ Big Media

Here’s how Arizona is preparing for 1st cuts to Colorado River allocation

Arizona is gearing up for the first-ever “Tier 1” shortage on the Colorado River in 2022, which will trigger significant cuts to the state’s annual allocation from its most important water resource. As daunting as it sounds, the vast majority of citizens and businesses will not be affected, state water leaders said during a Colorado River Preparedness briefing last week. Arizona is also well prepared to weather expected shortages the next few years, and is in the process of developing the next steps to protect and augment the river’s supplies as the drought persists, said the state’s top two water leaders.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency board finalizes water rate increases

Water customers with the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency can expect rate increases to kick in over the next five years, after board members voted in late April to approve the fees. The PVWMA serves coastal growers and farmers in south Santa Cruz and north Monterey counties through 21 miles of water pipelines running near Highway 1. The water, which is a blend of recycled water, groundwater and Harkins Slough Recovery well water, supplements farmer’s on-site agricultural wells. 

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah may spend $175,720 on algae control for recycled water system

At its next meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah City Council will consider a recommendation to spend more than $175,000 on a system to help control algae in its recycled water system, also called the Purple Pipe. According to the staff report prepared for the May 5 meeting, “due to high nutrient content and local climate, the water quality of recycled water within the storage reservoirs can become negatively impacted by algal blooms. Algae can become problematic once it is in the distribution system and lead to clogging of filters or irrigation equipment.” 

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Tehama County Supervisors approve groundwater monitoring station in Corning

A new groundwater monitoring station is coming to Corning’s public works yard on Gallagher Avenue just across from a warehouse that stores various road signs and equipment. Public Works Flood Control Manager Ryan Teubert presented the project Tuesday to the Tehama County Board of Supervisors. It consists of construction at the yard, which will be funded and performed by the California Department of Water Resources. 

Aquafornia news Colorado Basin River Forecast Center

Report: Colorado basin river forecast

Early May water supply volume forecasts are below to much below normal throughout the Colorado River Basin and Great Basin. Upper Colorado River Basin water supply forecasts range between 15-75% of the 1981-2010 historical April-July average. Great Basin water supply forecasts are 10-70% of average. … Many April-July volume forecasts fall in the bottom (driest) five on record….The Lake Powell inflow forecast is 2.0 MAF (28% of average), a 17% decrease from April….

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Hear experts address impact of two-decade drought on Lower Colorado River Tour

Hear directly from a range of experts offering a variety of perspectives on our May 20 virtual Lower Colorado River Tour as they put into context the 20-plus year drought on what is the most contested and meticulously managed river in the United States. Among the experts featured are farmers, tribal representatives, and managers from wildlife agencies, water districts, the Bureau of Reclamation and others who will discuss drought impacts, habitat projects, farming and restoration efforts at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations

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

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

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Entire Bay Area has gone from ’severe’ to ‘extreme’ drought levels in just 2 weeks

The drought situation in the Bay Area has officially gone from bad to worse. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the entire Bay Area is now in the “extreme” drought category, along with nearly three-quarters of California. According to the latest summary, precipitation in the state for the water year that began Oct. 1 is well below normal, in the bottom 10th percentile, and the greater Bay Area is “experiencing record or near-record dryness.” 

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Aquafornia news Orange County Water District

News release: Orange County Water District partnership with Army Corps Of Engineers brings increased water supply and ecosystem restoration to Southern California

More than a decade of collaboration between public agencies yields tremendous benefit to Orange County’s water supply following approvals by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) associated with the Chief of Engineer’s Report for the Prado Basin Ecosystem Restoration and Water Conservation Feasibility Study. For the Orange County Water District, this critical action increases water storage and habitat restoration behind Prado Dam.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Crisis on the Klamath

The federal government is strictly curtailing irrigation this year in an attempt to protect endangered fish important to Indigenous tribes. Farmers say this will make it all but impossible to farm, while tribal groups say the plan doesn’t go far enough to save their fisheries. In mid-April, a farming region in southern Oregon began to release water from the Klamath River into its irrigation canals. … [A]ccording to the federal government, it was an illegal maneuver that could further jeopardize the survival of multiple endangered species and food sources important to Indigenous tribes and fisheries in the region.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Reclamation halts water deliveries to Northern California farmers

More than a month after announcing it was suspending water deliveries to farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, the Bureau of Reclamation delivered equally bad news to farmers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Their water supplies, tabbed at 5 percent of their contracted amount, were not available for delivery via the Central Valley Project due to limited supply. 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Supervisors oppose water district applications

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the California Water Resources Control Board on May 4 formally opposing the Shandon-San Juan Water District’s (SSJWD) two recent applications for water from Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita Lake—a move that puts two partners on the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin at odds with one another.

Aquafornia news Record Searchlight

California drought forces trucking of young salmon to Pacific Ocean

California’s drought is forcing hatcheries to truck young salmon to the San Francisco Bay because the fish would otherwise likely die trying to swim on their own downstream to the Pacific Ocean. The Coleman National Fish Hatchery along Battle Creek in Shasta County plans to drive about 950,000 fall chinook salmon smolts in May to increase their chances of survival.

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Aquafornia news ABC10

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California falls further into extreme drought 

 A big change in drought conditions came out Thursday morning for all of California. With an update from the US Drought Monitor, 73% of California is now listed in Extreme Drought, the second most severe classification the US Drought Monitor utilizes. So far, 5% of California is listed as being in Exceptional Drought, which is the US Drought Monitor’s top-level drought designation. The increase to 73% is a significant jump from 53% in Extreme Drought from last week. This news comes on the heels of other drought changes, such as water restrictions for agriculture north of the Delta. 

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Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Colorado is examining water speculation, and finding it’s ‘all the problems’ in one

Melting snow and flowing irrigation ditches mean spring has finally arrived at the base of Grand Mesa in western Colorado. Harts Basin Ranch, a 3,400-acre expanse of hayfields and pasture just south of Cedaredge, in Delta County, is coming back to life with the return of water. … The ranch has the No. 1 priority water right — meaning the oldest, which comes with the ability to use the creek’s water first — dating to 1881.  … [The ranch's owners] have been accused of water speculation — which means buying up the ranch just for its senior water rights and hoarding them for a future profit.  

Aquafornia news Water and Wastes Digest

Arizona’s Gov. Ducey calls on Department Of Defense to address groundwater contamination

Gov. Doug Ducey has asked the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to address groundwater contamination near military installations in Arizona. In an Apr. 27 letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Gov. Ducey requested DOD to identify and treat water in Arizona contaminated in the areas surrounding four DOD installations and to prevent additional human exposure to per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from other DOD facilities in Arizona, which impact the groundwater. … These bases are located in the two most populous metropolitan areas in Arizona and each is surrounded by thousands of Arizonans who rely on clean groundwater for drinking water purposes.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

IWVGA to discuss Searles nonpayment of replenishment fee

The fate of Searles Valley Minerals may hinge on a special virtual meeting of the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority later this week, at least according to SVM’s Camille Anderson. The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. At it, the IWVGA will discuss how to respond to SVM’s non-payment of the authority’s groundwater replenishment fee. … The groundwater authority was formed in response to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, which requires all California basins to eventually achieve sustainability. The replenishment fee is part of the IWVGA’s long-term plan to reach sustainability, but has proven wildly controversial for some.

Aquafornia news Nasdaq

NQH2O: Nasdaq Veles Water Index April 2021 market update

If any doubt persisted over the first months of the year, it has now become clear that this past winter’s dry conditions will not be reversing anytime soon. With 88% of California classified as experiencing severe drought and no less than 53% classified as extreme, according to the California drought monitor, there is no question that conditions have worsened, confirming fears that another dangerously dry summer looms on the horizon. In fact, so troubling is the situation that on April 21, amid the barren backdrop of a greatly depleted Lake Mendocino, Governor Newsom issued a state of emergency declaration for Mendocino and Sonoma counties …

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Some rural California residents doubt they’ll ever get clean water

When Ramona Hernandez turns on her kitchen faucet in El Adobe, an unincorporated town just a few miles southeast of Bakersfield, the water that splashes out looks clean and inviting. But she doesn’t dare drink it. … Drinking the tap water in this tiny community of dusty ranches and unpaved roads could expose Hernandez to arsenic. So, for years, she and her husband, Gerardo, have shuttled twice a week to the nearby town of Lamont to load up on bottled water. At a cost of about $80 a month, it’s enough for drinking and cooking. 

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Garden Highway Mutual Water Company completes fish screen project

In our latest effort to ensure that our water management and farming practices both protect and enhance environmental benefits in our area, Garden Highway Mutual Water Company (Garden Highway) recently completed a project to screen its diversion on the Feather River. This project allows us to protect Chinook salmon and other fish species from entrainment while diverting water year-round to irrigate crops and to provide Pacific Flyway habitat during the fall and winter months. The project was a cooperative effort between Garden Highway, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Reclamation U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Family Water Alliance.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

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

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Anticipating and addressing the impacts of the drought

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

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Public health crisis looms as California identifies 600 communities at risk of water-system failures

A familiar scene has returned to California: drought. Two counties are currently under emergency declarations, and the rest of the state could follow. It was only four years ago when a winter of torrential rain finally wrestled the state out of its last major drought, which had dragged on for five years and left thousands of domestic wells coughing up dust. That drinking-water crisis made national headlines and helped shine a light on another long-simmering water crisis in California: More than 300 communities have chronically unsafe drinking water containing contaminants that can come with serious health consequences, including cancer.

Aquafornia news Grist

Western tribes already lacked water access. Now there’s a megadrought.

In 2021, access to running water and clean drinking water is a given for most Americans. The Census Bureau has even considered dropping a question on plumbing access from the U.S. census questionnaire. But many of the nation’s tribes still lack running water, access to clean water, and even flushing toilets. Native American households are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing, according to the U.S. Water Alliance, and more likely to lack piped water services than any other racial group. That problem is at an inflection point for the Navajo Nation and 29 other tribes in the Colorado River Basin, which stretches from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico.

Aquafornia news California Farm Bureau

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

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

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County leaders pass local drought emergency resolution

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

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought declaration would trigger war over water supply

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

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Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Congress, water sector signal optimism for major investment

On Thursday the U.S. Senate voted to pass S. 914, the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA). It is the first infrastructure bill approved by the Senate this Congress. The bipartisan, comprehensive clean water and drinking water infrastructure legislation will authorize strong annual water infrastructure investment to help boost total federal investment. In full, the legislation authorizes more than $35 billion for drinking water and wastewater resource development projects across the country …

Aquafornia news KYMA

Home Grown: Dispute over water rights possibly going to U.S. Supreme Court

In today’s Home Grown, a local lawsuit over ownership of the Colorado River water might be taken higher to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Michael Abatti versus the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) lawsuit has been ongoing in the valley, disputing over whether water rights belong to the landowners or if they are controlled by the IID. … Abatti won the lawsuit in Imperial County Superior Court, but Katie Turner, attorney with Sutherland and Gerber says it didn’t make it to the California Supreme Court.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area Democrats want to pass climate change laws. Can they deliver?

Now that Democrats have full control of Washington for the first time in a decade, Bay Area lawmakers want to make sure they don’t walk away empty-handed. For many of them, that means seeing green. After several years of historically severe wildfires, heat waves and recurring drought conditions, bills related to climate change are at the top of the agenda for many lawmakers with local ties. Some of the legislative proposals … would address the threats of extreme weather by allocating more money to reduce wildfire risks, strengthen water infrastructure and upgrade the electric grid.

Aquafornia news Ag Net West

State Senate lays out $3.4 billion drought relief package

California Senators have unveiled a $3.4 billion drought relief package to address the hardships created by ongoing dry conditions. The Senate Budget Plan on Drought, Safe Drinking Water, Water Supply Reliability, and Ratepayer Assistance would be the single largest investment to address drought challenges in California. During the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy hearing, the proposal was passed by a 4-0 vote. The proposal offers a comprehensive approach to drought relief, with funding designated for water supply projects, research, and water-use efficiency projects.

Related article:

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California district court finds species conservation is not one of Twitchell Dam’s “other purposes”

A federal judge’s decision rebuffed environmental groups’ effort to increase water flow from California’s Twitchell Dam, stating that wildlife conservation was not among the dam’s authorized purposes and that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) had no authority to modify the water releases for conservation purposes. U.S. District Judge André Birotte Jr. sided with defendants in San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper v. Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District, rejecting plaintiffs’ claim that by failing to release enough water to benefit protected steelhead trout, the Bureau and local water district were in violation of the ESA.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State develops tool and recommendations to support those most vulnerable to drought

With drought conditions returning to California, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has finalized a tool and recommendations to support those communities most at risk during drought. Historically, small water systems and rural communities that rely on private domestic wells have been hit the hardest by prolonged periods of dry conditions. To provide increased state support, DWR led a two-year process learning from stakeholder experiences about what puts small water systems and rural communities at higher risk of water shortages and what is needed to build their resilience to drought.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: How San Diego County’s water supply investments protect our economy and quality of life from drought

Increasingly ominous signs suggest that we are entering another multiyear drought in California. The State Water Project recently reduced projected water deliveries for 2021 from 10 percent of requested supplies to 5 percent, and on April 21, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a regional drought emergency in the Russian River watershed in Northern California. But it’s a different story in San Diego County.

-Written by Gary Croucher, chair of the San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors.

Aquafornia news White Mountain Independent

Drought intensifies forcing rationing of Colorado River water

The US Bureau of Reclamation last week warned water users to brace for a 500,000 acre-foot cut in water from the Colorado River as a historic drought continues to tighten its grip on the Southwest. The cutback comes on top of a 200,000 acre-foot reduction Arizona water users agreed to last year in an effort to put off this day of reckoning. The Central Arizona Project provides more than a third of the state’s water. The reductions will mostly impact farmers. The sparse snowpack this winter soaked into the ground during the hot, dry spring — producing little runoff.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California tribes call out degradation of Clear Lake

Seven years ago, after the fish died, Sarah Ryan decided she couldn’t wait any longer for help. California at the time was in the depths of its worst drought in the last millennium and its ecosystems were gasping. For Ryan, the fish kill in Clear Lake, the state’s second largest and the centerpiece of Lake County, was the last straw. Ryan is the environmental director for Big Valley Rancheria, a territory of the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians that sits on the ancient lake’s western shore. She and others raised alarms for several years about increasingly dire blooms of toxic cyanobacteria. 

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Napa prepares city water use curbs in pursuit of 15% consumption cut after dry California winter

Irrigation curbs, car washing restrictions and the shutoff of fountains may return in the city of Napa amid shrinking water supplies on the tail of a dry California winter. Tuesday night, the City Council is scheduled to vote on a “moderate water shortage” declaration intended to cut consumption by 15%. Approval would mark the return of water-use restrictions last rolled out in the mid-2010s when a six-year drought led California to mandate across-the-board cutbacks statewide. Napa’s actions would follow mandatory cutbacks imposed upvalley by the cities of St. Helena and Calistoga.

Related article: 

Aquafornia news The Conversation

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

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

Aquafornia news Brownstein Water

Blog: Bridging intention and outcomes

On March 24, 2021, the Groundwater Resources Association of California and California Groundwater Coalition hosted the virtual 2021 Groundwater Law & Legislation Forum, featuring a keynote address from California’s Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and updates on pending groundwater legislation, DWR’s SGMA implementation, and ACWA’s position on potential bond measures. One panel focused on the intersection of environmental justice, groundwater management and the role the legislative process can play…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s latest drought in 4 charts

California is grappling with drought again, facing many of the same conditions and challenges that were features of the 2012–16 drought—including stressed ecosystems, depleted reservoirs, hard-hit farms and rural communities, threats to urban water supplies, and the potential for extensive wildfires. Knowing what’s different and what’s similar to our last major drought can help us better prepare the most vulnerable sectors for ongoing dry times. To put this drought in context, this is only its second year. Historically, droughts have lasted up to six years. Our most recent one lasted five. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Monday Top of the Scroll: Pandemic lockdown exposes the vulnerability some Californians face keeping up with water bills

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt. Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Massive water pipelines, veganism: Your drought ideas

Stop eating meat. Build interstate pipelines. Turn sea water into drinking water. When our letter writers start making these suggestions in earnest, that’s how I know we’re beginning to feel the effects of another drought in California.
-Written and compiled by Paul Thornton, the Los Angeles Times’ letters editor.

Aquafornia news Mission Local

Blog: Putting Dennis Herrera atop the PUC is weird. But San Francisco is a weird town.

It’s been a week since Mayor London Breed tapped City Attorney Dennis Herrera to lead the Public Utilities Commission, a massive, billion-dollar entity providing San Franciscans — and, in fact, millions of nearby locals — with water and/or power. It’s been a week, and nobody seems to be saying it, so we’ll say it: This is weird. It would be weird if the mayor transferred a hypothetical general manager of the Public Utilities Commission — with a background touching on engineering and water and wastewater and sewage treatment and hydroelectric power generation and distribution — into leading the City Attorney’s office. The reverse is weird, too. 

Aquafornia news Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Northern California winemakers shift practices amid drought emergency

Following a winter with extremely low levels of rain, the area’s main sources of irrigation water, Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma, are in short supply. Drought conditions are not new for local growers, unfortunately. Many continue to adjust their viticultural practices to adapt to the ever-changing climate. … New plantings will have more spacing between rows to facilitate wider cross-arms, which will help promote shading … drought-tolerant rootstocks that are more capable of establishing deeper root systems quicker … 

Related article: 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water bill may open spigot for Biden infrastructure plan

Rarely has a routine water resources bill generated so much political buzz, but as senators hoisted the measure to passage Thursday the bipartisan infrastructure legislation served as a potential template for building consensus around President Joe Biden’s ambitious American Jobs Plan. The Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021 authorizes about $35 billion over five years to improve leaky pipes and upgrade facilities, and is widely supported by lawmakers and their states back home. This time, though, it could be so much more — a building block in Biden’s broader $2.3 trillion proposal to invest in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Experimental high spring flows in the Grand Canyon

Ever since I started working on Colorado River issues, I have wanted to travel through the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon by boat. I was skeptical of my chances given the highly coveted and limited number of permits, but this spring I was lucky enough to be invited on a private trip. For 21 days, we traveled through this remote stretch where the canyon walls tower up to 4,000 feet above the river in some places. We celebrated on the downstream side of big rapids and scrambled up forgotten side canyons. We spied great blue herons and merganser ducks on the river’s edge. We saw very few other people.

Aquafornia news Arizona Central

Arizona preparing for cutbacks on Colorado River water amid drought

With the Colorado River’s largest reservoir just 38% full and declining toward the threshold of a first-ever shortage, Arizona water officials convened an online meeting this week to outline how the state will deal with water cutbacks, saying the reductions will be “painful” but plans are in place to lessen the blow for affected farmers next year. Lake Mead’s decline is expected to trigger substantial reductions in water deliveries in 2022 for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. The largest of those cuts will affect Arizona, slashing its Colorado River supplies by 512,000 acre-feet, about a fifth of its total entitlement.

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Aquafornia news City of Roseville

News release: Federal funding bolsters water reliability efforts

Roseville is the recipient of $33 million in low-interest financing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. This funding will accelerate water supply planning and implementation under Roseville’s Water Future Initiative. … WIFIA program funding and utility operation funds will advance two critical efforts under Water Future. We will increase the number of groundwater wells and examine how we can expand water recycling over time.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Lake Pillsbury, there is no water to waste

Little is said about the role of Lake Pillsbury in our regional water system or the critical water it provides to fill Lake Mendocino. If anything, its importance to understated or not referenced at all in most media articles. Without Lake Pillsbury at the Eel River headwaters to control downstream flows, both the Eel and Russian Rivers and surrounding aquifers will intermittently dry up. … A strong movement is afoot to remove Scott Dam and eliminate Lake Pillsbury…
-Written by Frank Lynch & Carol Cinquini, Directors of the Lake Pillsbury Alliance.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Groundwater monitoring station planned for Tehama County

Water talk will be a big part of Tuesday’s Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting as plans for a new groundwater monitoring site in Corning are coming to fruition. Tehama County Public Works plans to sign a Permit to Use Land Agreement for a groundwater station in the Corning Public Works yard on Gallagher Avenue, should the board approve the request. Creating and maintaining the station will be a combined effort of Tehama County Public Works, the Flood Control and Water Conservation District and the California Department of Water Resources. According to the related agenda report, the station is expected to be in use for a minimum of 20 years. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Water wonk with Hill, Interior chops to lead Army Corps

President Biden’s pick this week to oversee the Army’s vast natural resources operation would bring to the job decades of water experience at the Interior Department and on Capitol Hill. The president tapped Michael Connor to be the Department of Defense’s assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, which oversees the Army Corps of Engineers and its huge network of dams and other projects. Connor would play a major role in some of the most controversial projects facing the Biden administration in the environmental arena, including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, as well as Clean Water Act permitting.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin drought brings echoes of 1976-77 water crisis

Swap this year and the period of Marin County’s worst-ever drought in 1976-77 and it might be hard to tell the difference. Water suppliers restricting use to conserve reservoirs. Ranchers preparing to truck in water as creeks and wells dry up. Talks of a potential water pipeline. And questions about the resiliency of the county’s water supply. During the 1976-77 drought, the Marin Municipal Water District was within 120 days of running out of water. The county’s savior was a 6-mile pipeline over the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge to pump in water from the East Bay.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Central Valley lawmakers push emergency drought declaration

More than a dozen Central Valley lawmakers and elected officials met on Friday to declare a regional drought emergency and urge Gov. Gavin Newsom to do the same statewide. Three state senators and three Assembly members joined the chairs of the boards of supervisors from Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties in a bipartisan news conference at Harlan Ranch in Clovis to call for action that the group said is necessary to divert a crisis.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Join us May 6 for a fun-filled virtual open house

Join us May 6 for our annual open house where you can test your water trivia knowledge, win prizes and meet the people behind our programs that foster a deeper understanding of California’s most precious natural resource – water. The Foundation’s open house will be held next Thursday via Zoom from 4:30–5:30 p.m. 

Pandemic Lockdown Exposes the Vulnerability Some Californians Face Keeping Up With Water Bills
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Growing mountain of water bills spotlights affordability and hurdles to implementing a statewide assistance program

Single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bills in San Diego County's Helix Water District can get a one-time credit on their bill through a rate assistance program funded with money from surplus land sales.As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Jobs were lost and household finances were upended. Even with federal stimulus aid and unemployment checks, bills fell by the wayside.

Aquafornia news Redlands Community News

Valley District wants to increase water storage behind Seven Oaks Dam

San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District supported construction of Seven Oaks Dam because the district believed it would not only provide flood control, but would capture precious drinking water for the benefit of Inland Empire water agencies. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which completed construction of the dam in 2000, has never been officially authorized to use the 550-foot-tall structure for anything other than flood control purposes. This project, which cost the tax payers $450 million in the late 1990s, has the capacity to hold at least 115,000 acre-feet in its reservoir, yet it is only authorized to provide “incidental water conservation.”

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Aquafornia news Tucson.com

Cuts to CAP water called “planned pain”

In a note of consolation for the pain some Arizona water users will feel if Central Arizona Project supplies are cut next year, state water leaders said Thursday: It will be planned pain. Federal officials have said it’s likely Lake Mead at the Nevada border will be low enough at the end of 2021 to trigger the first major cutback in CAP deliveries to the Arizona’s parched midsection. Arizona will lose 512,000 acre-feet of its CAP supply — almost one-third of the $4 billion project’s total supply, according to a 2019 drought contingency plan. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

First infrastructure package breezes through Senate

The Senate approved a $35 billion water infrastructure bill after defeating controversial amendments — marking the advancement of the first piece of a larger infrastructure package.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Facing droughts, California challenges Nestlé over water use

After another dry winter that threatens to worsen water shortages across California, state officials have accused a water bottling company of diverting too much water from forests in the San Bernardino area. The officials issued a draft cease-and-desist letter to the company last week – the latest development in a battle that has dragged on for years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Poseidon wins key seawater desalination permit

Poseidon Water won a key approval Thursday in its long quest to build a seawater desalination plant on the Orange County coastline. But the permit from the Santa Ana Regional Quality Control Board does not ensure that the $1-billion ocean desalter will rise on the grounds of an old power plant in Huntington Beach. Poseidon still needs a construction permit from the California Coastal Commission and, most critically, a binding deal with a public agency to buy 50 million gallons a day of purified seawater.

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

DWR awards Prop 68 grant funding to six SGMA projects

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is awarding funding support for six projects to address the impact of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). A total of $26 million in grant funding is being made available for the SGMA projects. The funding support comes from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. Sixteen individual construction projects within Critically Overdrafted Basins will take place through the six grant awards.

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Aquafornia news Pahrump Valley Times

Legislature approves Southern Nevada non-residential turf removal proposal

The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday to approve a non-residential turf removal proposal brought by Southern Nevada water regulators, who say it will save the water-shy Las Vegas Valley 12 billion gallons of water per year. With little debate from lawmakers, the Assembly voted 30-12 on Assembly Bill 356, sending the proposal to the Senate. Four Republicans — Glen Leavitt, R-Boulder City, Heidi Kasama, R-Las Vegas, Melissa Hardy, R-Henderson, and Jill Tolles, R-Reno — crossed party lines to vote with the 26 Democrats.

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Aquafornia news KCRA3

Sierra snow survey canceled due to impacts of dry weather, water supply also at risk

A lack of wet weather is taking a toll on the state’s water supply. Chris Orrock, a spokesperson for the California Department of Water Resources …  said while drought-like conditions are very common for the state, this year is worse than normal, especially considering back-to-back dry winters with little snow and rain. It is so dry, in fact, that DWR canceled Thursday’s snow survey at Phillips Station because there was not enough snow on the ground. 

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Shandon-San Juan Water District applies for Nacimiento and Santa Margarita lake water

A North County water district representing irrigated agriculture near Shandon is asking the state for allocations of Lake Nacimiento and Santa Margarita Lake water, which it proposes to pipe into the nearby Paso Robles Groundwater Basin. While pitched as a potential solution to the Paso basin’s overdraft, the proposal is already getting blowback from two county supervisors.

Aquafornia news Herald and News

KDD diversion continues, Reclamation could release more lake water in response

While most irrigators in the Upper Klamath Basin are enduring a spring without surface water, canals in Klamath Drainage District have been flowing since the middle of April. And KDD says no laws were broken to make deliveries to its customers. KDD opened the Ady and North canals on April 15, diverting water from the Klamath River to serve its patrons. The Bureau of Reclamation, whose operations plan for 2021 emphasized that no water deliveries be made to the Klamath Project prior to May 15, sent a letter to KDD asking them to immediately cease the diversions.

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Aquafornia news Water Foundation

Blog: Looming California Drought

This weekend’s rain in Northern California, while welcome, did little to address the dry conditions across our state. As the state’s recent dismal snow survey showed, we are in for tough times ahead. Less snow means lower reservoirs, less water in our rivers and streams, and more groundwater pumping. And that spells trouble, particularly for disadvantaged communities and sensitive ecosystems, which have historically borne the brunt of California drought in consequences like dry wells and salmon die-offs.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey Peninsula water district files complaint against Cal Am

Attorneys for the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District filed a complaint with state regulators Tuesday asking that California American Water Co. be forced to purchase water from the expansion of a recycling project because Cal Am is failing to meet a deadline for its part in increasing the local water supply, according to language in the complaint. Any decision by regulators is important because it will affect the ability of the Monterey Peninsula to generate an alternative water source. Cal Am in 2009 was hit with a state cease-and-desist order to stop over-pumping from the Carmel River basin.

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Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir

Blog: Sites Reservoir – California’s drought insurance policy

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

Aquafornia news Nevada Irrigation District

News release: NID board takes historic action – appoints new general manager Jennifer Hanson to head the district beginning June 1

The Nevada Irrigation District (NID) Board of Directors is pleased to announce it has unanimously appointed Jennifer Hanson as its new General Manager during today’s Board of Directors’ meeting. … Hanson will be NID’s 15th General Manager and its first female in the District’s 100-year history. Hanson comes to NID from the City of Lincoln, located in South Placer County, where she served as its City Manager. During her tenure as City Manager, Jennifer was responsible for the daily operations of the full-service City and for implementing the City Council’s strategic priorities.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Blog: Climate change-resilient infrastructure

When President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress tonight a common thread will likely run through much of his narrative: resilience. Beyond touting his administration’s accomplishments, Biden is expected to use the spotlight to pitch his $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, a wide-ranging infrastructure initiative that promises “every dollar” spent on rebuilding highways, airports, water systems and more will be used to “prevent, reduce and withstand the impacts of the climate crisis.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Newsom promises while the Delta dies

The West Coast’s most important estuary is dying, and Gov. Gavin Newsom has hastened its demise. As he took office two years ago, Newsom promised to generate voluntary agreements among farmers, environmentalists and government officials on the rules for allocating water that flows through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. … [C]onditions in the delta have grown so dire that in March the National Marine Fisheries Service estimated that high water temperatures could kill 90% of endangered winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River this year.
-Written by Jacques Leslie.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Navajo Nation wins revival of Colorado River water rights suit

The Navajo Nation can pursue its lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to secure water from the Colorado River for the reservation, the Ninth Circuit said Wednesday, reversing a lower court’s dismissal of the tribe’s breach of trust claim. The tribe doesn’t seek a judge’s determination of its rights to the river, which the Interior Department says would fall under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Instead, the tribe seeks an order for Interior to determine the extent to which it needs water, to develop a plan to secure… 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Arizona positioned to take on cuts in Colorado River supply

Water officials in Arizona say they are prepared to lose about one-fifth of the water the state gets from the Colorado River in what could be the first federally declared shortage in the river that supplies millions of people in the U.S. West and Mexico. Arizona stands to lose more than any other state in the Colorado River basin that also takes in parts of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California. That’s because Arizona agreed long ago to be the first in line for cuts in exchange for federal funding for a canal system to deliver the water to Arizona’s major metropolitan areas.

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Aquafornia news KCRA

Federal dollars available for California farmers, ranchers facing drought

Federal dollars are on the table to help farmers and ranchers during the drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a drought disaster in 50 California counties last month. Advertisement Grants are now available to help with costs associated with the dry conditions. After a winter with little rain and snow, California is dry. … Nicole Montna Van Vleck walked between two rice fields on Wednesday. One was newly planted and covered in water. The other was bone-dry.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

From dust bowl to California drought: a climate scientist on the lessons we still haven’t learned

California is once again in a drought, just four years after the last dry spell decimated ecosystems, fueled megafires and left many rural communities without well water. Droughts are a natural part of the landscape in the American west, and the region has in many ways been shaped by its history of drought. But the climate scientist Peter Gleick argues that the droughts California is facing now are different than the ones that have historically cycled through the Golden State.

Aquafornia news Water News Network

Blog: San Diego County’s climate future

Climate change and drought will impact San Diego County’s climate future, but regional water supply planning and adaptation measures will ensure a safe, reliable supply for the region. Water supply strategy was one of the key points participants learned about during a Monday panel discussion, “San Diego County’s Climate Future,” hosted online by the San Diego County Water Authority, Citizens Water Academy, Leaders 20/20 and San Diego Green Drinks.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Supreme Court tells IID to respond to Michael Abatti

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday instructed the Imperial Irrigation District to submit a response to California farmer Michael Abatti’s request that their longstanding legal battle be taken up by the nation’s highest court. Scott Harris, clerk of the Supreme Court, wrote to Jennifer Meeker, an attorney for the water and power district, to say that even though IID didn’t feel the need to answer Abatti’s petition, ”the Court nevertheless has directed this office to request that a response be filed.” This comes two weeks after Frank Oswalt, IID’s general counsel, said the district didn’t need to submit a response …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Stunning drone photos over Lake Oroville show drought emergency in Northern California

Stunning drone photographs of Lake Oroville help illustrate the drought emergency declared by Gov. Gavin Newsom in two Northern California counties. Water levels at Lake Oroville [the keystone reservoir of the State Water Project, which supplies water to 27 million Californians] have dropped to 42% of its 3,537,577 acre foot capacity. Conditions are particularly acute in Mendocino and Sonoma counties because the local water supply depends on rainfall in the Russian River watershed.

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Aquafornia news The Counter

Amid severe drought, Oregon farming region illegally diverts water from the Klamath River

In mid-April, a farming region in southern Oregon began to release water from the Klamath River into its irrigation canals. According to the local water authority, this was a standard move to jumpstart the farming season during one of the driest seasons in recent memory. But according to the federal government, it was an illegal maneuver that could further jeopardize the survival of multiple endangered species and food sources important to Indigenous tribes and fisheries in the region.

Aquafornia news Ag Information Network Of The West

Blog: Nasdaq Veles California water index

As water allocations are slashed due to low supplies, what options do farmers have? California Farm Water Coalition executive director Mike Wade says thousands of acres are likely to go fallow, but better solutions are needed. One tool that has just been created this past year is the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index. But Wade says it’s still too early to tell if this is truly going to be effective in helping growers manage their risk.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey venture moves a step closer to increasing area water supply

Monterey One Water officials on Monday moved closer to its goal of providing additional water for the Monterey Peninsula when it unanimously approved a key environmental report for its expansion project. The 10 members of the board of Monterey One Water all voted to approve an environmental document called a supplemental environmental impact report, or SEIR, that advances closer to the expansion of its regional treatment plant. … Monday’s action allows Monterey One to move closer to expanding its treatment facility — Pure Water Monterey — to increase the amount of treated water reintroduced to groundwater and consequently dramatically increase the Peninsula’s supply.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Water, drought, California and the West

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

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Aquafornia news Scientific American

Millions of groundwater wells could run dry

Millions of drinking wells around the world may soon be at risk of running dry. Overpumping, drought and the steady influence of climate change are depleting groundwater resources all over the globe, according to new research. As much as 20% of the world’s groundwater wells may be facing imminent failure, potentially depriving billions of people of fresh water. … Residents of California’s Central Valley are preparing for another arid summer and the rising risk of dry wells, The Fresno Bee reported yesterday. It’s a recurring pattern there. 

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle:

This beloved Marin winery is shutting down, citing California’s drought and climate change

After 21 vintages of making wine from far-coastal Marin County, Pey-Marin Vineyards is coming to an end. Wineries rarely close down entirely; more often, when an owner wants out, they sell. But Jonathan Pey, who founded Pey-Marin Vineyards with his late wife, Susan, in 1999, said that the extreme conditions of west Marin farming have simply gotten too punishing, in part due to climate change.  

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

California drought: As communities see water issues, some reuse gray water

It’s been years since the Bay Area has had to deal with drought conditions. While some counties look to instituting water-use restrictions, some communities look to creative ways to reuse water. When Ashley Shannon does a load of laundry, her garden and fruit trees get a super soaking. … Shannon is a Santa Clara Valley Water District employee who recently installed a gray water system on her washing machine. Outlet pipes that would normally send wash water to the sewer system were redirected to go outside and around her garden. Valves installed in the ground let the water seep out to irrigate her plants and trees. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

New law gives more money for water projects

Gov. Doug Ducey on April 21 signed a bill that provides larger grants for developing water projects in rural areas, but questions linger on whether there will be any money for them. House Bill 2388, sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, expands the amount of a single grant from the Water Supply Development Revolving Fund from $100,000 to $250,000.  The recipient water provider must be located in a county with a population of fewer than 1.5 million people.   While Griffin said the fund isn’t just meant for rural areas, some experts who work with water believe the benefits can greatly help many rural communities. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Cutbacks in water for central AZ farmers expected

Arizona may be facing its first official declaration of water shortage next year, a move that would trigger water cutbacks of 512,000 acre-feet — almost 20% of Arizona’s Colorado River entitlement — affecting mainly agricultural users.  The 24-Month Study on the Colorado River system, released this month by the Bureau of Reclamation, projects that in June water levels in Lake Mead will fall below 1,075 feet for the first time, which would put the state in a Tier 1 shortage.

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Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Drought – Bay Area water agencies ask – but don’t yet require – public to conserve more water

After back-to-back dry winters, two of the Bay Area’s biggest water agencies on Tuesday moved forward with plans to urge the public to reduce water use to avoid shortages this year. But for now, they are using a carrot rather than a stick, saying they have enough water to get by without resorting to fines, water cops and strict rules. The Santa Clara Valley Water District, based in San Jose, voted Tuesday night to double the amount of money it pays homeowners to replace their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping, from $1 a square foot to $2, and to expand the maximum amount it will pay per household from $2,000 to $3,000 under the conservation program.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

Competing fish needs spark Klamath legal dispute

The competing needs of different protected fish species are pitting the Klamath Tribes against the federal government in a court battle with legal implications for Oregon irrigators. The Klamath Tribes are seeking an injunction to scale back how much water the federal government can release from Upper Klamath Lake to the detriment of endangered sucker species that inhabit it. … The bureau has prioritized flows in the Klamath river to benefit threatened coho salmon, jeopardizing the survival of the suckers by allowing the lake to fall below levels needed to sustain them…

Aquafornia news ABC30 - Fresno

Valley farmers preparing for drought conditions to worsen

Hunter Farms in Atwater is bracing for a second straight year of drought. Scott Hunter grows almonds and pistachios but won’t plant as many pumpkins this time around…. Hunter hopes his surface water deliveries will be enough to keep the crops going. During the last extended drought, he had to pump groundwater as deliveries started to dry up. Scott is frustrated by the state’s inability to establish a stable water system for farmers and communities….

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Aquafornia news KTVU

Mayor nominates City Attorney Herrera to lead SFPUC

Mayor London Breed on Monday said she has nominated City Attorney Dennis Herrera to lead the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as general manager. … The SFPUC oversees the generation of clean power for the city’s buildings, residents and businesses through programs like CleanPowerSF, and also oversees the delivery of drinking water and the treatment of wastewater. The commission is tasked with providing oversight for the SFPUC’s rates and charges, services, approval of contracts and organization policies.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Environmental groups appeal federal court decision on Gross Reservoir Dam

While a decades-long battle over one major dam and river diversion in northern Colorado appeared to end last week, environmental groups signaled another fight will go on longer as they filed an appeal meant to undermine Denver Water’s Gross Dam expansion. The environmental coalition Monday asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a dismissal of their case by a federal district court and order a trial on the merits of their claims about the dangers of adding 131 feet to the height of Gross Reservoir Dam. They argue federal review agencies neglected species-protection laws and other guidelines when handing Denver Water a permit for Gross.

Aquafornia news Law.com/The Recorder

Blog: Water Board issues PFAS investigative orders to refineries and bulk fuel storage terminals

The State Water Resources Control Board issued investigative orders on March 11 to over 160 refineries and bulk fuel storage terminals in over 30 California counties, requiring environmental investigation and sampling for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “PFAS.” This most recent wave of PFAS investigation orders is consistent with California’s increasingly aggressive approach to regulating and investigating PFAS in everything from soil, groundwater, food packaging, and consumer products. 

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Editorial: Biden offers California a clear, clean water strategy

California’s continuing failure to adopt a comprehensive water strategy is exacerbating its looming drought crisis. For nearly two decades, the state has put its focus on dam projects and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta tunnel fiasco. The primary aim is creating new ways of diverting additional water to Central Valley farmers at the expense of the fragile, over-tapped Delta, which supplies about one-third of the Bay Area’s fresh water supply. There’s a better approach. President Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for $50 billion to ease the West’s drought crisis by heavily investing in water efficiency and recycling programs.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Historic’ drought forces water restrictions in NorCal, but restrictions could soon extend statewide

The Marin Municipal Water District on April 20 enacted a series of water conservation rules, including banning home car washes, no watering of outdoor lawns between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m., and no refilling decorative pools or fountains. A day later, California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency for the Russian River watershed in Mendocino and Sonoma counties. Marin County borders Sonoma. Newsom chose to make the declaration in those two counties only, rather than statewide, as some officials and farmers in the agricultural-rich Central Valley had hoped. But Newsom said a broader drought declaration could come as conditions change.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Drought-hit California orders Nestlé to stop pumping millions of gallons of water

California water officials have moved to stop Nestlé from siphoning millions of gallons of water out of California’s San Bernardino forest, which it bottles and sells as Arrowhead brand water, as drought conditions worsen across the state. The draft cease-and-desist order, which still requires approval from the California Water Resources Control Board, is the latest development in a protracted battle between the bottled water company and local environmentalists, who for years have accused Nestlé of draining water supplies at the expense of local communities and ecosystems.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Wave: Eastern Sierra News

The countdown to proposed LADWP pumping begins

With a snowpack at 20-percent of normal, as of April 1, Inyo County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power begin a month of discussion over the proposed pumping plan for the 2021-22 run-off year. LADWP intends to pump from 64,600 to 78,980 acre-feet of water from well fields in the Owens Valley. Inyo’s Water Commission will meet this evening at 6 p.m. for its initial discussion of the plan, laid out with proposed volumes from Laws to Lone Pine. 

Aquafornia news Vice Magazine

‘Everyone Loses’: The government is rationing water at the California-Oregon Border

Along the Oregon-California border, the Klamath River Basin is a crucial water source for Indigenous tribes, endangered species, and farmers. This year, though, there is simply not enough to go around.  The Western US is enduring another major drought, and the Klamath River Basin is at a historic low. This resulted in different groups being forced to compete and make their case for why water, now precious and scarce, should be diverted to their needs. It’s a stark reminder of the tough, no-win decisions that citizens will continue to face amid the worsening climate crisis. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: What can help get us through this drought

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

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

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

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

Aquafornia news Prescott eNews

Blog: Arizona groundwater explained

News of drought and climate change impacts on Arizona’s water supplies has become more alarming with the release of each new study. To prepare for a drier future, Arizona will need an informed public. For help in understanding the state’s water management situation, a brief new reference work is now available from the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Storm system brings snow to High Sierra, doesn’t make dent in rain deficit

A storm system is bringing rain to the Valley and snow to the High Sierra. Several inches of snow accumulation are expected by the time the storm is through. There was light snowfall in Shaver Lake Sunday evening, but not much was sticking.  … The National Weather Service in Hanford said even though this storm is bringing in snow in the High Sierra, it will not make a dent in the precipitation deficit we’ve been seeing.

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Aquafornia news KMTR

The fight for water around the Colorado River basin

The Colorado River cuts through the Grand Canyon, providing water for about 40 million people and 5 and a half million acres of farmland. To some, the water is as valuable as oil. In 1922, the seven U.S. states through which the river flows signed onto the Colorado River Compact, a water-sharing agreement that divvies up the river’s annual flow. The water must be shared equally between Upper Basin states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico; and the Lower Basin: California, Arizona and Nevada. There’s been infighting ever since.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Coastal Commission cosigns federal plan to kill native elk

On Earth Day, the California Coastal Commission conditionally approved a general management plan for a 28,700-acre federally owned park in the San Francisco Bay Area — a plan vehemently opposed by conservationists because it calls for killing native tule elk in an area where thousands of acres of federal land are leased to small dairy and cattle beef farmers. … Last year, an estimated one-third of one the tule elk herds died due to malnutrition, likely exacerbated by drought conditions which decimated the animals’ foraging habitat at Point Reyes. 

Aquafornia news Press Democrat

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘There’s just no water to waste:’ Sonoma and Mendocino counties brace for renewed restrictions as drought deepens

It has taken until the end of the second straight historically dry winter, but California and its vast network of urban and agricultural water suppliers, including those on the parched North Coast, are now ramping up to confront the drought that is tightening its grip on the state. Sonoma County supervisors are set on Tuesday to proclaim a drought emergency, becoming the first local government to take formal action on a burgeoning water crisis that Gov. Gavin Newsom highlighted Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

News release: Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) has approved approximately $33.5 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. A total of 30 stream flow enhancement projects were approved for funding at its April 22 meeting. The approved projects will provide or lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR awards $26 million in grants to support critically overdrafted groundwater basins

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today awarded $26 million in grant funding for capital project investments to improve water supply security, water quality and the reliability of domestic wells – advancing access to safe, affordable drinking water.   This funding provides important assistance for successful local implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which establishes a framework for managing the state’s groundwater resources and will help California be better prepared for longer, more severe droughts.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

As climate changes, researchers look to floods to save California from drought

California Governor Gavin Newsom declared drought in two counties Wednesday and predicted others would soon join. He bemoaned the prospect of another period of drought only a few years removed from a five-year drought that strained the state’s water resources.  A study published this week in Science Advances revealed one solution to the drought-like conditions and their increased frequency due to a changing climate is a counterintuitive one — floodwaters.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poseidon water plant permit discussion continued to next week

Both proponents and opponents of the controversial Poseidon Water desalination plant in Huntington Beach made their voices heard Friday in an all-day virtual meeting that continued well into the night. In the end, however, a decision by the Santa Ana Regional Water Board on whether to permit Poseidon’s $1.4-billion project will have to wait until at least [this] week. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday, with a third meeting on May 13, as necessary.

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Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Nestlé doesn’t have valid rights to water it’s been bottling, California officials say

California water officials on Friday issued a draft order telling Nestlé to ”cease and desist” taking much of the millions of gallons of water it pipes out of the San Bernardino National Forest to sell as Arrowhead brand bottled water. The order, which must be approved by the California Water Resources Control Board, caps years of regulatory probes and a public outcry over the company’s water pipeline in the San Bernardino Mountains, where opponents argue that siphoning away water harms spring-fed Strawberry Creek and the wildlife that depends on it.

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Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Can the Seven Oaks Dam near Highland increase San Bernardino Valley’s water supply?

The San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District is asking: Can an old dam learn new tricks? Specifically, the wholesale water district has its sights on the Seven Oaks Dam located near Highland that holds snowmelt and storm water runoff from the San Bernardino Mountains. As operators, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers typically releases the water in one flush, making it impossible for water agencies to capture any of the flow, explained Heather Dyer, CEO and general manager of Valley District. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Colorado River shortage looms amid scant snow and shrinking flows

The water level of Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, has dropped more than 130 feet since the beginning of 2000, when the lake’s surface lapped at the spillway gates on Hoover Dam. Twenty-one years later, with the Colorado River consistently yielding less water as the climate has grown warmer and drier, the reservoir near Las Vegas sits at just 39% of capacity. … The river’s reservoirs are shrinking as the Southwest endures an especially severe bout of dryness within a two-decade drought intensified by climate change, one of the driest periods in centuries that shows no sign of letting up.

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Aquafornia news CBS News

Demand for water is rapidly increasing as supply dwindles

Limited access to clean water remains a struggle for millions of Americans. And lack of water access is expected to become an even greater problem in the coming years across the U.S. and around the world. … To help boost water supplies in Southern California, water and sanitation officials are working on plans for the largest recycled water project in the nation.

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Aquafornia news Engineering News-Record

Feds rev up push to fix widespread PFAS pollution

The Biden administration and Congress are stepping up efforts to control the release and cleanup of poly and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in drinking water sources and elsewhere, joining states that have expanded scrutiny of the chemicals, which are used widely in manufacturing and are extremely persistent in the environment. EPA’s current “advisory” limit on PFAS in drinking water is 70 parts per trillion, but some states have set or proposed required levels from 6.5 to 20 ppt, including California … 

Aquafornia news Voice of OC

Will desalination come to Huntington Beach? A water board hearing happens today

Questions have been raised over California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s political maneuvers to push a controversial seawater desalination plant proposed for the Huntington Beach coastline. Critics say their concerns about the actual need for the project and its potential environmental effects remain. The company pushing it, Poseidon Water, remains steadfast in its intent to build a plant that would suck in 100 million gallons of seawater daily and make half of it drinkable….[The Regional Water Quality Control] board’s next hearing is scheduled for [Friday] April 23. If the board approves the permits, the project then goes for a final say from the state Coastal Commission. 

Aquafornia news Oakdale Leader

Conditions foil proposed OID, SSJID water release

An unseasonably dry March and lack of sufficient water supplies have foiled a proposed water release by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin Irrigation Districts that would have boosted Stanislaus River flows beginning this past week for the benefit of out-migrating salmon, and also supplied water to farms and communities in the San Joaquin Valley most vulnerable to extreme drought conditions. The plan would have sent up to 100,000 acre-feet of water down the river between April 15 and May 15 in what are known as “pulse flows” to help young salmon navigate their way toward the Delta and, eventually, out to sea. 

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: Nautilus Data Technologies proves data centers do not have to waste drinking water and energy

Typical data centers guzzle local drinking water to keep systems cool. By one estimate, traditional evaporative air-cooling annually consumes up to eight million gallons of water for each megawatt (MW) of energy needed to run the facility. Silicon Valley alone is home to 411 MWs of data center capacity – with those estimates, it would be more than three billion gallons of water wasted per year in one of the most drought-stricken areas of the country.

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Aquafornia news Roseville Today

PCWA acquires facilities in Auburn Ravine

The Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) has acquired five new miles of canal and associated facilities from South Sutter Water District (SSWD) after an agreement between the two agencies was approved by the PCWA Board of Directors. Located in the Auburn Ravine, the newly acquired Moore and Pleasant Grove canals have long served PCWA’s agricultural customers west of the City of Lincoln, who primarily grow rice and provide habitat for waterfowl and other species.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Chimney Hollow Dam near Loveland moving forward after settlement

A complex Front Range dam-building project that includes transferring water from the Colorado River will move forward this summer after Northern Water agreed to a settlement putting $15 million in trust for waterway improvements in Grand County.  Environmental opponents begrudgingly accepted the mediated settlement of their lawsuit against Northern Water’s Windy Gap Firming Project, which involves a menu of waterworks construction including Chimney Hollow dam near Loveland and rerouting the Colorado River around Windy Gap Dam near Granby.

Aquafornia news Fullerton Observer

Opinion: Why California’s first-in-world plan to monitor microplastics in drinking water matters

Given a growing body of evidence that many chemicals in plastics pose human health risks, Californians should welcome recently-passed legislation putting the state on path to be the first to track microplastics in tap water. Because plastics are highly resistant to biodegradation, instead fragmenting into ever smaller bits, eventually reaching micron and nanometer dimensions (there are 25.4 million nanometers in one inch)—they travel unseen in wind and waterways so that even the most remote regions of the globe, like the Arctic seabed and summit of Mount Everest, are contaminated with microplastics. 
-Written by Sarah Mosko. 

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Warm temperatures trigger unprecedented decline in Sierra snowpack’s water content

As extreme drought conditions continue to expand across the San Francisco Bay Area, a leading climate researcher issued a new warning Thursday of another sign that a water supply crisis is developing across the region. Dan McEvoy, a researcher with the Western Region Climate Center, told KPIX 5 he was startled to discover that several locations in Sierra had seen the biggest decline in snowpack’s water content on record for the time span covering the first three weeks of April…. [T]he snowpack in the central Sierra has declined significantly to just 37% of average. … Much of Northern California experienced temperatures 4-degrees above average for the period.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Storms to drench much of the Bay Area this weekend. Here’s what to expect

A burst of rain is expected to drench the Bay Area this weekend, bringing much-needed moisture to a parched region. The rains will likely be intense — but short-lived, tapering off to another stretch of warm, dry conditions by the middle of next week, meteorologists said. Showers were expected to start in the North Bay as early as Saturday evening, with steady rainfall pounding much of the Bay Area Sunday. Lingering showers were expected in the central coast through Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Drought brings threat of dry wells in San Joaquin Valley

Thousands of wells that bring water to San Joaquin Valley homes are at risk of drying up this summer, leaving families without running water for drinking, cleaning and bathing. While no one knows the extent of the threat from this second year of drought conditions, Jonathan Nelson with the Community Water Center says “the alarm bells are sounding.” Homes, farms and entire communities that rely on shallow wells as their only source of water are vulnerable to declining groundwater levels from dry conditions and agricultural pumping.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Join us May 6 for a fun virtual open house on Big Day of Giving

Join us May 6 for a virtual open house where you can test your water trivia knowledge, win prizes and meet the people behind our programs that foster a deeper understanding of California’s most precious natural resource – water. The Foundation’s open house runs from 4:30–5:30 p.m., when you will be able to bounce among chatrooms to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and join a fast and fun trivia contest hosted by our Programs Director Nick Gray.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: MID board should raise farm irrigation pricing

After two dry winters, the April 1 snowpack measurement, which is typically the deepest and highest in water concentration, is far below average at 59% according to the Department of Water Resources. … [T]o substantially decrease water demands the Central Valley needs to address agricultural water usage. The main problem with agricultural water use is pricing. … [It's] cheaper for farmers to use more water than it is for them to invest in water-efficient technologies. 
-Written by Caitlin Perkey, a masters of public administration student at California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock.

Aquafornia news Inverse

The primary source of water for 2.5 billion people is in danger

The Central Valley in California is a farming powerhouse, growing more than 250 crops and producing $17 billion of agricultural products every year to feed the world. The competing demands of both agriculture and a growing local population — along with droughts made worse by the climate crisis — have put a dramatic strain on the local wells supplying groundwater for both the farmers and rural residents. … In short: the wells are literally running dry. According to a new study, the same groundwater problem plaguing the Central Valley is occurring around the world, threatening the drinking water of billions of people.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: How solar panels over water could help fight climate change

Install photovoltaic panels atop canals, and avoid the land-use battles over habitat protection and rural community character that are a growing roadblock for the solar industry. Save water in a drought-prone state that can use every last drop. …But when I’d heard these ideas floated in the past, I’d also heard skepticism from the people who run California’s water systems…. Then a surprising thing happened….
-Written by Sammy Roth, a Los Angeles Times staff writer.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

White House steps up efforts to address prolonged drought in West

The Biden administration has launched a working group focused on addressing drought conditions in the West as the region continues to suffer from a long period of water scarcity. The group, which will be co-chaired by the departments of the Interior and Agriculture, will work with state, local and tribal governments on community needs in weathering drought, according to a news release from the Interior Department.

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Aquafornia news Santa Monica Observer

Opinion: California quietly slides into a drought while officials say to build for 1.34 million more thirsty residents

Los Angeles is currently at only 46% of average rainfall for the Water Year according to the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). … Drought is a condition to be expected a large percent of the time. So why did California’s State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) decide that the Southern California region should plan for an additional 1.34 million residents over the next nine years?
-Written by Alyssa Erdley.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Program will provide clean water to Turlockers impacted by nitrate-laden wells

Turlock residents impacted by nitrate groundwater contamination will soon be supplied with safe drinking water as the state seeks out more permanent solutions. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is leading the charge on a program which will provide bottled water deliveries or bottle-filling kiosks to six geographic zones deemed to have the most-serious groundwater contamination issues. The Turlock Subbasin has been identified as a Priority 1 zone by the board and is one of the two largest zones included in the program. 

Aquafornia news Bay City News Service

EBMUD seeks public input on water supply plan

The East Bay Municipal Utility District is asking for public input from residents of Alameda and Contra Costa counties for an update of its water supply plan, which is updated every five years. The plan assesses water supplies against expected water needs for a 30-year planning horizon. A virtual public comment meeting will be held April 29 and a virtual public hearing on May 11, during the regularly scheduled EBMUD board of directors meeting.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Water board committee recommends advancing Pure Water Monterey expansion

A committee for the Monterey One Water Board has recommended final certification of an environmental report crucial to the expansion of Pure Water Monterey, signaling increased momentum for the recycled water project. The five-member Recycled Water Committee of the Monterey One Water Board of Directors voted 4-0-1 on April 15 to recommend the board of directors certify the completed supplemental environmental impact report, or SEIR, needed for the expansion.

Aquafornia news CBS News

Experts say climate change threatens America’s food supply. Can farmers in the Mississippi Delta save it?

If the Midwest is the breadbasket of America, then California is its produce section. Two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts and more than one-third of its vegetables are produced in the Golden State. But California’s abundance is threatened by wildfires, extreme weather and chronic drought — the effects of climate change.

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Aquafornia news Grist

California’s water systems are in deep trouble

A new report is highlighting the gaps in California’s water infrastructure — and how much money the state will need to fix it. The report, published by the state’s Water Resources Control Board, found that 620 public water systems and 80,000 domestic wells are at risk of failing to provide affordable and uncontaminated water, a problem that California will need $4.7 billion of extra funding to solve. The report includes the first-ever analysis of the state’s domestic wells — a common water source for rural communities. Threats to these systems are often poorly understood due to lack of good data. 

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Pattern change will bring much-needed rain to California, West Coast this weekend

A weather pattern change will bring much-needed rain and mountain snow to parts of the drought-stricken West, including California, into the weekend. So far this month, the jet stream has often taken a huge detour northward over the eastern Pacific Ocean, effectively blocking Pacific storms from reaching the West Coast.

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Aquafornia news Westlands Water District

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

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

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: The Sacramento River – Ridgetop to river mouth multi-benefit water management

The dry year and reduced flows in the Sacramento River System are challenging the ability for water resources managers to serve water for cities and rural communities, farms, wildlife refuges, fish and recreation. Part of the challenge has been the inordinate focus on temperature management in the upper part of the river below Shasta Lake. As we have all seen countless times before, a focus on one species or in this case one aspect (temperature) of water management is not a path forward for the long-term, successful recovery of salmon…

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger

Blog: Citing potential water waste, court sides with California dam operators

A federal court has ruled that Best Best & Krieger LLP client City of Santa Maria and others are correctly not releasing more water from a dam above the City, as doing so would be in conflict with the dam’s Congressional purpose. … The lawsuit claims the defendants are violating the Endangered Species Act by not releasing enough water from Twitchell Dam on the Cuyama River, thereby not providing sufficient water for federal law-protected Southern California Steelhead trout to spawn.

Aquafornia news Eastern Municipal Water District

News release: Joe Mouawad selected as EMWD general manager

Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) Board of Directors today selected Joe Mouawad as EMWD’s next General Manager following a nationwide search. Mouawad has served in various leadership roles with EMWD for the past 15 years, bringing a wealth of internal experience to his new responsibility of leading California’s sixth-largest retail water agency. Mouawad is the eighth General Manager in EMWD’s 71-year history.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Trump-era Clean Water Act rule takes effect in Colorado on April 23, 2021, while Colorado public officials renew efforts to craft a state-level dredge-and-fill permitting program

Following a temporary delay in Colorado federal court, the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR) will now take effect in Colorado on April 23, 2021.  Under the NWPR, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers will no longer require permits for operations affecting certain categories of streams and wetland areas previously subject to the Clean Water Act.  

Aquafornia news Water in the West

New research: Using floodwaters to weather droughts

Floodwaters are not what most people consider a blessing. But they could help remedy California’s increasingly parched groundwater systems, according to a new Stanford-led study. The research, published in Science Advances, develops a framework to calculate future floodwater volumes under a changing climate and identifies areas where investments in California’s aging water infrastructure could amplify groundwater recharge. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom declares drought emergency – but only for Sonoma and Mendocino counties

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday declared a drought emergency for Sonoma and Mendocino counties, but resisted calls to issue a statewide proclamation — at least for now. Newsom’s emergency order primarily affects communities and water districts in the Russian River watershed, which includes the cities of Santa Rosa, Ukiah and Sebastopol. Some 360,000 people live in the area. 

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Learn about infrastructure and environmental restoration during Lower Colorado River Tour

Visit key infrastructure and environmental restoration sites along the lower Colorado River during our online tour May 20 of the iconic river as it weaves through the Lower Basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona. Our Lower Colorado River Tour starts at Hoover Dam near Las Vegas and stops at major agricultural regions, tourist destinations and key wildlife areas such as the Salton Sea and a wildlife refuge in Yuma, Ariz. resulting from a tribal-city partnership.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

AQUAFORNIA BREAKING NEWS: Gavin Newsom declares drought emergency on California coast

Gov. Gavin Newsom officially declared a drought emergency Wednesday in one of the driest regions of California, the Russian River watershed in Northern California. While the governor stopped short of declaring a statewide drought, the move makes various forms of drought assistance available for Sonoma and Mendocino counties and could allow the state to take swifter action on curtailing farmers and others from pulling water from the river.

Aquafornia news Science Times

Freshwater salt pollution: Is it threatening people and wildlife?

[A] study, titled “Freshwater Salinization Syndrome on a Continental Scale,” found at least a third of U.S. streams and rivers have become saltier over the last 25 years. On December 3, freshwater scientist John Olson of California State University, Monterey Bay, conducted a modeling study that validated these results, indicating that the future looks briny as well. The study is titled “Predicting Combined Effects of Land Use and Climate Change On River and Stream Salinity.” Salinization levels will likely increase by at least 50% in half of U.S. streams by 2100 if salt use persists at its current pace, according to Olson’s party. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Virtual Water Summit – May 25

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

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Drought spreads water shortages throughout state​

The 2020-21 California drought has led to significant water cutbacks, compelling farmers to fallow ground and public officials to respond with legislation intended to address the state’s chronic water shortages. Farmers in more parts of the state have learned in recent days just how little water they will have available to them this summer, as water suppliers from the Oregon border to the North Coast to the San Joaquin Valley announced low allocations.

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Aquafornia news Vox

This stunning timelapse shows the megadrought’s toll on the West’s largest reservoir

Just how bad is the drought in the Western US? The shrinking of Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, is a troubling indicator. The massive man-made lake, which straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada, is now only at 39 percent of its full capacity, down from 44 percent in April 2020. That’s equivalent to a 10-foot drop in the water level, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Reclamation. Which means mandatory restrictions on the amount of water surrounding states draw from Lake Mead could be triggered in the next few months.

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Aquafornia news VC Star

Ojai Valley water district to fill vacant board seat. Here’s how

Casitas Municipal Water District has set a May 3 deadline to apply for a vacant seat on its board. Former board member Angelo Spandrio resigned last month. Now, the rest of the board members plan to appoint someone to fill the seat for the remainder of his four-year term, set to expire in December 2022. Spandrio, of Ojai, announced his decision at a March 10 board meeting, saying he and his wife plan to move to Arizona.

Aquafornia news NRDC

Blog: The Bay-Delta salmon crisis that didn’t have to be

The state and federal agencies tasked with protecting our fish, wildlife, and natural resources are once again scrambling to avoid wiping out this year’s cohort of chinook salmon that spawn below Shasta Dam. If this sounds familiar, it is because this scenario is a repeat of attempts to “manage” Shasta operations in 2014 and 2015, which resulted in over 75% of the eggs and fry of endangered winter run chinook salmon being destroyed in both of those years, solely from the lack of sufficient cold water being released from Shasta Dam …

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Aquafornia news Capital & Main

The good news about climate change: there’s still hope

More than 20 years ago, aquatic ecologist Michael Bogan interned with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Bishop, east of the Sierra Nevadas. It was 1998, a wet year for California, and the idea of studying water in the desert lodged in his brain. Desert streams are approachable subjects, especially compared to, say, a massive and murky system like the Mississippi River, says Bogan, now a professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment: … For Bogan, studying those small systems over the past two decades has meant witnessing their decline.

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Rain forecast for this weekend — not a joke!

It won’t solve California’s drought problems, but it’s better than nothing. The first rain in a month could wet the Bay Area and much of Northern California this weekend, forecasters say, as a late-season storm from the Gulf of Alaska appears to be headed toward the region. Computer models show the rain will begin late Saturday in the North Bay, spreading across the wider Bay Area and Santa Cruz Mountains on Sunday. … The weekend system also could bring snow to the Sierra Nevada on Sunday.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Can dryland farming help California agriculture adapt to future water scarcity?

Large areas of California farmland, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley, face future restrictions on groundwater pumping to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Caity Peterson—an adjunct fellow at the PPIC Water Policy Center and a consulting agroecologist—about a joint research project* on the potential for dryland farming to reduce the amount of land needed to be retired from production to balance water budgets.

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Aquafornia news ABC4 Utah

The history of Earth Day and how to celebrate it during a drought

With a drought affecting the Western part of the country, here are ten simple ways to conserve water this Earth Day: Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth; Fix leaky faucets; Only run a fully loaded dishwasher or wash a full load of laundry; Take a shorter shower; Consider installing a water-saving shower head; Use a broom to clean your driveway instead of hosing it down; Find a use for water instead of pouring it down the drain…

Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Bill allows water district to select ‘best contractor’ for Anderson Dam retrofit

The state assembly on Monday unanimously approved a bill that would assist with the retrofitting of Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill. Assembly Bill 271, which was introduced and authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas, passed in the assembly April 19 on a vote of 71-0, according to Rivas’ office. The bill now proceeds to the state senate. The legislation builds on Rivas’ previous efforts to expedite the construction of Anderson Dam, which has been deemed seismically unsafe and is currently undergoing a significant retrofit.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Marin to be first big Bay Area water agency to push ahead with water restrictions

As drought conditions worsen across Northern California, the Marin Municipal Water District is about to become the Bay Area’s first major water agency to make the leap to mandatory water restrictions. The utility is expected to adopt a plan Tuesday that would require nearly 200,000 residents of southern and central Marin County to limit outdoor watering to one day a week as well as to stop washing their cars, refilling their swimming pools and power-washing their homes, among other things. Offenders could face fines of up to $250…

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Aquafornia news Good Day Sacramento

Free bottled water coming to thousands of homes with contaminated water

People in some Stanislaus and Merced counties are being warned if their water comes from groundwater wells, it could be contaminated with harmful amounts of nitrate. Now those homes could be receiving free bottled water as a solution. Some have already been buying bottles for years, to avoid getting sick. … At his Salida home with a water fountain flowing in his front yard, Jose Olagues can’t drink from the faucet in his own home. … Bottled water keeps him from becoming sick.

Aquafornia news Village News

Rainbow MWD places $1.3M in reserves

The San Diego County Water Authority was successful in its rate lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and the SDCWA provided a check to the Rainbow Municipal Water District for Rainbow’s share of the settlement. On March 23, the Rainbow board voted 5-0 to place the money into the district’s reserves rather than to attempt to provide refunds to each individual ratepayer.

Aquafornia news Orange County Water Association

Report: The role of asset management in support of OC Sanitation’s mission

Publicly owned treatment works in California have been observing a trend of permit requirements issued by EPA Region 9 and the State to develop and utilize an Asset Management Program as part of their NPDES/Wastewater Discharge Order. In the case of OC San, an Asset Management Plan has already been in place; however, with many of its major assets aging, the development of a more robust AMP became a priority for the agency.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Thousand Oaks plans $111 million of infrastructure projects

Thousand Oaks plans to upgrade much of its aging infrastructure over the next two fiscal years, with help from President Joe Biden’s recently enacted American Rescue Plan. … The proposed $111 million budget contains 132 projects, mostly infrastructure improvements. The 10 most expensive projects are, in millions of dollars: $19.9 — Converting an irrigation well at the Los Robles Golf Course to a treated drinking water source for municipal supplies, lessening the city’s reliance on more expensive imported water. 

Aquafornia news Daily Democrat

Lawsuit filed over Woodland Flood Risk Management Project

The Yolo County Farm Bureau as well as two former Farm Bureau presidents have filed a lawsuit against the City of Woodland and the Woodland City Council over the Woodland Flood Risk Management Project. The suit — which was filed on March 25 — is a Verified Petition for a Writ of Mandate and Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, or a way to get the judicial branch to reaffirm previous contracts. 

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

California’s McCloud River one of nation’s most imperiled

Last Tuesday, American Rivers released its annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers list for 2021. Because of a Trump-era proposal to raise Shasta Dam, the group named northern California’s McCloud River as the nation’s 7th most threatened river. Over the past century, California has engineered the structure of water capture and distribution in the state. … During the Trump administration, then Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt advanced plans to increase the height of Shasta Dam by 18.5 feet and to expand Shasta Lake by more than 200 billion gallons. 

Aquafornia news Red, Green, and Blue

Blog: Yurok and Karuk Tribes respond to Klamath Operations plan during severe drought

The Klamath River Basin is in a dire situation this year. The plan curtails irrigation diversions to less than 10% of demand while failing to meet the biological needs of salmon and other fisheries downstream. … Reclamation also announced $15 million in immediate aid to the Klamath Project through the Klamath Project Drought Relief Agency, an additional $3 million in technical assistance to Tribes for ecosystem activities in the basin, as well as funding for groundwater monitoring in the basin.

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Aquafornia news Daily Republic

Changes to Shasta water release designed to protect salmon

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will begin releasing warmer water from the upper layers of the Shasta Reservoir directly into the Sacramento River to maintain flows, while saving colder water for the winter-run Chinook salmon migration.

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Aquafornia news Jfleck at Inkstain

Blog: The April 2021 24-month study was a shocker, but is it too optimistic?

The release of last week’s Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study felt like very bad news for the Colorado River (See Tony Davis for details.). But a careful reading of the numbers, and an understanding of the process through which they are developed, suggests things are likely even worse than the top-line numbers in the study. The problem: the assumptions underlying the study do not fully capture the climate-change driven aridification of the Colorado River Basin.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Suisun Marsh fishes in 2020 – Persistence during the Pandemic

Suisun Marsh is central to the health of the San Francisco Estuary. Not only is it a huge (470 km2) tidal marsh in the center the northern estuary (Figure 1), but it is an extremely important nursery area for species such as splittail, striped bass, longfin smelt, and, formerly, delta smelt. Since January 1980, a team from The University of California, Davis, in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), has systematically monitored the marsh’s fish populations. The team had been sampling the fish and invertebrates every month with trawls and beach seines, with a nearly unbroken record. Then Covid-19 restrictions settled in…

Aquafornia news KUNC

With first-ever Colorado River shortage almost certain, states stare down mandatory cutbacks

The Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs are likely to drop to historically low levels later this year, prompting mandatory conservation by some of the river’s heaviest users. The latest Bureau of Reclamation reservoir projections, which take into account river flows in a given year, show a likelihood that Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada stateline will dip below the critical threshold of 1,075 feet in elevation in May and remain below that level for the foreseeable future. A first-ever official shortage declaration from the Department of the Interior is almost certain later this year.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation adjusts Sacramento River operations to benefit salmon amid drought conditions

Reclamation announced today that spring-time operations at Shasta Dam will adjust to benefit endangered winter-run Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River during this critically dry water year. … No additional water from Shasta Reservoir will be released during this temporary adjustment—only the withdrawal elevation and timing of water releases will change.

Aquafornia news The Mercury News

Alameda County Water District names next general manager

The Alameda County Water District board has promoted Ed Stevenson to serve as the district’s new general manager. The district, which provides water to roughly 350,000 homes in Fremont, Newark and Union City, announced that  Stevenson, a 24-year district employee, will take over after current general manager Robert Shaver retires on July 1 following 30 years of service. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Where are the lead pipes? Finding them may prove tough for EPA

Incomplete local record-keeping may stymie EPA efforts to locate the nation’s lead pipes to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of replacing them and improving drinking water quality, authorities say. A better way to reduce lead contamination in the nation’s drinking water, a former Environmental Protection Agency water chief says, is by enforcing an existing rule requiring utilities to replace some of their lead pipes every year. The Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, released March 31, calls for replacing all lead drinking water pipes throughout the U.S. to avoid lead contamination drinking water …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is California suffering a decades-long megadrought?

California has entered another drought. But depending on who you ask, the last one may have never really ended. Some researchers believe the region is actually more than two decades into an emerging “megadrought” — a hydrological event that is on par with the worst dry spells of the past millennium. Except this time, they say, human-caused climate change is driving its severity — and will make it that much harder to climb back out of.

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Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Water Authority fears Santa Barbara county at disadvantage by failing to approve amendments

Leaders of the Central Coast Water Authority fear that Santa Barbara County is at a disadvantage in obtaining state water because of the county’s failure to adopt an amendment to the State Water Project that allows local water districts to buy and sell water supplies outside the county. The CCWA is an umbrella organization for all of the State Water Project members in Santa Barbara County. 

Aquafornia news KRCR

Yurok Tribe: Klamath River salmon stock conditions dire, fishery canceled for 5th year

The Yurok Tribe said it’s sounding the alarm as culturally invaluable salmon edge closer to extinction. The Yurok also said it is canceling its commercial fishery for the fifth time this year. Tribal officials said past water management decisions and climate change have put Klamath river salmon stocks at risk. The tribe said it’s gravely concerned about the rapidly declining salmon stocks in the Klamath River Basin … Tribal officials said [Reclamation's] plan provides bare-minimum flows for imperiled Klamath salmon and sucker fish populations.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Another bill introduced to fund repairs for Friant-Kern Canal

After years of neglect, numerous measures to make sure much needed and overdue repairs of the Friant-Kern Canal are fully funded continue to be introduced. Congressman Jim Costa and Senator Dianne Feinstein were the latest to introduce legislation on Thursday that would help fund repairs for the Friant-Kern Canal. Along with Congressman Josh Harder they introduced a bill that has bipartisan support, the Canal Conveyance Restoration Act that would provide more than $800 million for repairs to three San Joaquin Valley canals, including the Friant-Kern Canal, along with restoring salmon runs in the San Joaquin River. 

Aquafornia news Truthout

Blog: The Southwest offers blueprints for the future of wastewater reuse

No country is immune from water scarcity issues — not even the world’s wealthiest country, the United States. The southwestern states, in particular, have faced frequent and ongoing droughts over the past two decades, and traditional water supplies are failing. … Our existing water supplies must go further, and the technology exists to make this happen — by turning wastewater into drinking water. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Bakersfield children’s book takes a trip down the Kern River

The successful Bakersfield children’s book series “Indy, Oh Indy” has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its sixth upcoming book, titled “The Mighty Kern River.” The book was inspired by a larger effort from the grassroots group Bring Back the Kern to raise awareness about Bakersfield’s mostly dry river and efforts to revive a more regular flow of water through town.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

OID and SSJID cancel large water sale to thirsty West Side

The worsening drought has canceled a large water sale to West Side farmers by the Oakdale and South San Joaquin irrigation districts. They announced Wednesday that their own customers will need the water, which had been declared surplus in early March. A revised forecast of Stanislaus River runoff scuttled the sale, which could have brought up to $25 million to the sellers.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Releases on the Trinity River to significantly increase flow this week

Restoration flows will begin tomorrow, April 16, on the Trinity River to help improve conditions after another critically dry water year. A flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River is brought forward by the Trinity Management Council each year. This week’s two-day schedule is slated to increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cubic feet per second.

Aquafornia news The Brentwood Press

State and local groundwater sustainability efforts make progress

While high-profile surface-water initiatives like WaterFix and the Delta Conveyance Project grab most of the headlines pertaining to water management in the state, efforts to make significant changes to the way groundwater is utilized have been underway since 2014. Now, the state and the local water agencies are seeking public comment on documents related to the management of groundwater. In 2014, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed a three-bill legislative package collectively known as the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) to better manage groundwater supplies over the long term.  

Aquafornia news The Signal

News release: SCV Water receives state PSPS grant

SCV Water, the Santa Clarita Valley’s water agency, received a nearly $250,000 California Special Districts Association Public Safety Power Shutoff program allocation from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). The allocation will be used to help fund the installation of a permanent generator at the Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant on Lake Hughes Road near Castaic. The addition of this second generator brings the facility up to 100% operational capacity in the event of a power outage.

Aquafornia news University of California

Blog: A path toward clean drinking water for all Californians

California was the first U.S. state to legally recognize access to safe, clean and affordable water as a human right. But substantial parts of the state lack access to drinking water that meets those criteria. A new study published by the California State Water Board and supported by UCLA research identifies a risk for failure among a significant portion of the state’s small and medium-sized public water systems. 

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

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

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

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