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 AgNet West

Challenge brought against proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

A coalition of conservation groups is working to prevent the development of a dam in the Del Puerto Canyon. The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in Stanislaus County] would reportedly store more than 80,000 acre-feet of water…. In a lawsuit filed on November 20, the plaintiffs assert that the project would negatively impact the habitat of several species.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Funding for the proposed delta tunnel could be slipping

The Metropolitan Water District likely won’t pick up the slack to cover planning costs for the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel. That’s a huge shift from MWD’s “all in” support of the previous tunnel project.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California heading for a multi-year drought? The odds aren’t in our favor, experts say

With no rain in the forecast for the rest of 2020 — thanks to a La Niña weather pattern pushing storms north of the state — the probability of California entering a multi-year drought is increasing. 

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Groups bash Trump administration report on raising height of Shasta Dam

While Republican members of Congress praised the most recent step toward approving raising the height of Shasta Dam, fishing and environmental groups criticized it as the illegal actions of a “lame duck federal agency.”

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Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 to spend $2.8M on Delta Conveyance Project

In a 5-2 vote, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board approved the expenditure of $2.8 million as the agency’s share for the next phase of planning on the Delta Conveyance.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit was requested after stories in The Desert Sun revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy” folders to approve new injection wells for several oil companies that do risky steam injection.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$15 million credit line will help Antioch build desalination plant

Antioch’s plan to build a desalination plant to clear up the city’s brackish water got another boost this week when the City Council unanimously approved $15 million in interim financing.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water

If an options agreement between the [Ridgecrest] City Council and Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority comes to fruition, recycled water from the city’s wastewater facility could help balance the groundwater basin… Both the council and the groundwater authorities at their respective meetings last week approved the option agreement between the two parties for recycled wastewater.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

State water penalty kicks in as Cal Am misses deadline on desalination plant construction

A recent exchange of letters between a public utility and a state water authority highlights the continued stalemate in the effort by the Monterey Peninsula to develop a new water supply and end the overdrafting of the Carmel River.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As Lake Powell recedes, river runners race to document long-hidden rapids

Climate change and overuse are causing one of the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell, to drop. While water managers worry about scarcity issues, two Utah river rafters are documenting the changes that come as the massive reservoir hits historic low points.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Model filter system removes antibiotics from wastewater

A model for an economical filter system that can remove antibiotics from wastewater has been designed by Agricultural Research Service and University of California-Riverside collaborators.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Environmentalists take aim at the Del Puerto Canyon dam project

The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in western Stanislaus County] would store 82,000 acre-feet of water for downstream agricultural users. The coalition said the dam would flood an “important cultural and recreation site for the surrounding community and destroying valuable wildlife habitat.”

Aquafornia news Delta Legacy Communities

Blog: Could damages from Oroville spillway cases bankrupt the State Water Project?

The consolidated Oroville Spillway cases are currently scheduled to go to trial in April of 2021. A large judgement for monetary damages could potentially bankrupt the State Water Project, according to filings by the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin County seeks flood tax in Santa Venetia

Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from overtopping tides.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pipeline plan takes a small step forward (with some drama)

Things got a little wild at the San Diego County Water Authority meeting last week when its 36 directors argued over whether they should spend more money studying a controversial $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River. Outrage after leaders apparently skipped over female directors waiting to add comments during a discussion period sparked some to change their vote on the matter.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge: A wintertime treasure

While many people look towards the mountains for accessing beautiful nature, the San Joaquin Valley Floor is home to many amazing sights of nature and in particular, birds. Not only is Tulare County home to over 100 types of birds, it is part of the Pacific Flyway – one of the most important bird migration paths in the world.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Trials evaluate alfalfa fields for groundwater recharge

Alfalfa is proving in University of California studies to be remarkably resilient when flooded with large amounts of water early in the year to refill ground depleted by deficit irrigation, or to recharge groundwater drawn down by pumping.

Aquafornia news Water Wrights

Blog: Milk Producers Council water update

Without an accessible and relatively clean water supply, dairy farming is not possible. Much of California enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, where precipitation is not a year around expectation. And yet California is home to the largest dairy industry in the United States. So how are we doing?

Aquafornia news California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: CSPA opposes Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts’ petition for waiver of Clean Water Act

Joining a growing list, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts filed a Petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking that the commission find that the State of California has waived certification under the Clean Water Act. … The Districts are seeking a new FERC license for two hydropower projects on the Tuolumne River, the Don Pedro Project and the La Grange Project.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Homeowners can apply for rebates to transform their landscape

Residents in the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area can apply to get a rebate of $3 for every square-foot of lawn they replace with drought-tolerant plants.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress and President-elect Biden

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the American Water Works Association urged the incoming administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure sector.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Refillable water bottle station to be added at Main Beach to keep plastics out of the ocean

A refillable water station will replace a drinking fountain at Main Beach as part of Laguna Beach’s ongoing effort to reduce single-use plastics from littering beaches and the ocean and ultimately harming marine mammals. The water station – planned for a January installation – is thanks to a collaborative effort by the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and several other community groups…

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Look up: Helicopter will dangle electromagnet array over valley this week

If you look up into [San Joaquin] Valley skies this week and see a large, oddly shaped device hanging from a helicopter, don’t be alarmed. It’s part of a research project to map underground water supplies. Beginning Monday, flyovers are expected in areas west and south of Fresno – including Fowler, Kingsburg, Lemon Cove, Orange Cove, Orosi, Parlier, Piedra, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Woodlake.

Aquafornia news Orange County Breeze

California Water Commission hosting water conveyance workshops in December, January

As it explores a potential state role in funding conveyance projects, the Commission seeks public input on criteria for assessing resilience, public benefits of conveyance, and financing mechanisms. The workshops are not associated with the proposal to improve conveyance through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Lake Oroville needs and safety assessment released

The Department of Water Resources recently published a summary report of a comprehensive needs assessment of safety at Oroville Dam. It comes after the reconstruction of the spillways that were damaged and failed in 2017.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Hatchery closes down again following three years of renovations

A Kernville hatchery that has served local anglers for almost a century will soon close down again 20 months after it reopened following three years of renovations. The Kern River Hatchery … must close for repairs Dec. 1 mainly because a 50-year-old pipeline that delivers water to the facility needs to be replaced…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservationists challenge ‘destructive’ Central California dam project

A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would also flood important cultural and recreational sites for surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.

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Aquafornia news Grist.org

This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Now based in California, 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur Meena Sankaran is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

The Kings River Conservation District, along with co-applicant Tulare Lake RCD, received this grant to help remove invasive species and debris from levees and riverbank along the Kings River, improve water flow, strengthen flood protection, increase carbon capture, and improve delivery of clean water to downstream users.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Tom Birmingham: Why restoring tidal marsh is good for SJ Valley farmers

Why would a public water agency that exists primarily to serve irrigation water to farmers on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties undertake an ecosystem restoration project in the Delta?

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

Karuk Tribe natural resources spokesperson Craig Tucker joined John Howard to talk about the historic agreement, its impact on the region’s Salmon fisheries, and the potential for replication in other places where dams are contested.

Related articles:

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

Milestone Colorado River Management Plan Mostly Worked Amid Epic Drought, Review Finds
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Draft assessment of 2007 Interim Guidelines expected to provide a guide as talks begin on new river operating rules for the iconic Southwestern river

At full pool, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. but two decades of drought have dramatically dropped the water level behind Hoover Dam.Twenty years ago, the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide on how to respond.

Tour Nick Gray

Clone of Central Valley Tour 2020
A Virtual Journey - November 19

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

This virtual experience focuses on the San Joaquin Valley, the southern part of the vast region, which is facing challenges after years of drought, dwindling water supplies, decreasing water quality and farmland conversion for urban growth. The tour gives participants an understanding of the region’s water use and issues as well as the agricultural practices, including new technologies and water-saving measures.

Click to register!

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County removes 37,000 acres from Paso groundwater pumping moratorium

Fewer properties over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin will be subject to severe water restrictions after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted on Nov. 17 to revise the basin’s “area of severe decline,” eliminating roughly 37,000 acres.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: State investing in Sacramento Valley salmon recovery

The California Natural Resources Agency recently announced the investment of almost $50 million in Proposition 68 funding for projects to promote salmon recovery. More than $220 million in Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 funds have also been dedicated for multi-benefit flood protection projects in the past two years that will benefit salmon.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration finalizes Shasta Dam raise plan to increase water storage for Californians and the environment

The Trump Administration Thursday released the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet,

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Is third time the charm for Klamath dam removal project?

On Nov. 17, California, Oregon, PacifiCorp, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes announced a new agreement with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation to reaffirm KRRC’s status as dam removal entity and provide additional funding for the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The agreement is the latest development in a decade-long effort…

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Study: Estimates of salmon lost to Delta pumps outdated

Current estimates of young salmon lost to the south Delta pumps are based on a smattering of studies from the 1970s and should be updated, according to a new analysis. “They don’t represent current operations,” says Ukiah-based consultant Andrew Jahn, lead author of the analysis reported in the September 2020 issue of San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

What’s that digging in the Delta?

Work crews have been busy this week along Twin Cities Road near Courtland. They are conducting core sampling, the first step in drafting an environmental impact report for a tunnel plan known as the Delta Conveyance Project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

PFAS exposure could hinder vaccine for hard-hit communities

Exposure to toxic “forever” chemicals could hinder the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine, with outsize implications for some communities and workers.

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Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir Project

Blog: Reliable water supplies for reliable food

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Rep. Ruiz introduces Salton Sea bill in Congress to provide funding

HR 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act, would create an interagency working group called the Salton Sea Management Council to coordinate projects around the lake’s receding shoreline.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Zero Delta smelt found in latest search; new habitat hopes to change that

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty. The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl found no Delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. … Hoping to reverse the trend, Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news UC Davis News

News release: Grazing and riparian restoration are compatible when you put in the work

Rangeland ecologists at the University of California, Davis, found that when ranchers invest even one week a year in practices that keep cows away from creeks — like herding, fencing and providing supplemental nutrition and water — they can improve riparian health by as much as 53 percent.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Well water throughout California contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

In the weeks before the coronavirus began tearing through California, the city of Commerce made an expensive decision: It shut down part of its water supply. Like nearly 150 other public water systems in California, the small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles had detected “forever chemicals” in its well water.

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Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Sacramento fiddles while 31.7% of California is lacking in water supply

Two key projects that the bond measure was passed to help fund, Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir, have stalled. Without the public breathing down their neck in a severe drought, the state has managed to treat the reservoirs as back burner issues.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Historic deal refreshes plans for major dam removal

America’s largest dam removal project has been brought back to life with a new agreement among California, Oregon, tribes and a utility owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The decadeslong effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California that have had a devastating impact on salmon runs had appeared in danger following an unexpected July regulatory order.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

The Kern County Water Agency board of directors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to pay $14 million over 2021 and 2020 as its initial share of the early planning and design phase for what’s now being called the Delta Conveyance Facility.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Environmental group threatens to sue St. Helena over groundwater extraction

Grant Reynolds, a director of Water Audit California, delivered a letter to the city on Monday criticizing its use of the Stonebridge wells for municipal use and “a pattern of exercising no discretion” in issuing permits for new wells.

Aquafornia news Ducks Unlimited

Blog: Riches to rags: The decline of the Klamath Basin refuges

How did two of the most important waterfowl refuges in the United States reach such a sad state? The decline of the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges was a hundred years in the making. There are no villains here; rather it is simply a tale of too little water to go around on an arid landscape.

Aquafornia news Casino.org

Will Vegas run out of water?

For a city built in an arid desert basin in Nevada, the USA’s driest state with around 10 inches of rainfall a year, this doesn’t sound too surprising. But the climate emergency and recent droughts have changed the complexion and urgency of the problem.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USGS report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

The lower Colorado River Basin, which is primarily in Arizona, is projected to have as much as sixteen percent less groundwater infiltration by midcentury compared to the historical record. That’s because warming temperatures will increase evaporation while rain- and snowfall are expected to remain the same or decrease slightly.

Related article:

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Years-long struggle for safe water to end at Coachella Valley elementary school

Children and staff at Westside Elementary School in Thermal have had to rely on bottled water due to issues from an aging well. But change is here. Thanks to a $880,155 grant from the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, a consolidation project recently broke ground, granting Westside Elementary access to the Coachella Valley Water District and a reliable source of clean water.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. … A new study led by researchers at the University of Nevada Reno demonstrates for the first time that meadows throughout the region are both gaining and losing carbon at high rates.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California, Oregon will take over dams on Klamath River – and tear them down

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Oregon counterpart signed a landmark deal Tuesday to take control of four aging dams targeted for removal on the Lower Klamath River, an agreement designed to push the controversial $450 million plan over the finish line. … The agreement “ensures that we have sufficient backing” to get the four dams demolished, said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

The battle over protecting Ballona Wetlands — and if they need it

For decades it’s been an environmental jewel wedged between the urban sprawl of Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. But now the Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve, home to diverse plant and animal wildlife, has become a battleground for conservationists and other activists.

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan

Opposition is building against San Diego’s dream of erecting a $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River in the name of resource independence. The pipe, which wouldn’t produce savings for ratepayers until at least 2063, faces its next trial on Thursday, when water managers meet to vote on spending another $1.7 million to do the next planning step.

Aquafornia news Chico State Today

Blog: Chico State Enterprises receives $10 million grant to continue salmon habitat restoration projects

A research team from California State University, Chico will continue its exceptional work to re-establish juvenile salmon and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River, after learning it would continue to be funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater agency discusses how to manage future of Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward. And though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results could affect water and ag policy for years to come. Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater is coming along.

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Benefits bubble up: Wastewater treatment

Bear Republic Brewing Company started by trucking three 6,000-gallon trucks of waste from the Cloverdale brewery location to a facility in Oakland roughly 90 miles away one-way. This solution was simply unsustainable for many reasons, and Bear Republic eventually partnered with Cambrian Innovation to install two anaerobic reactors on site.

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Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin

A helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez Valley towing a large hexagonal frame is using a technology first developed in World War II to peer as far as 1,400 feet below the surface to map the groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

What a Biden Administration could mean for Klamath water

The last three administrations have been active in Klamath Basin issues regardless of political party. Negotiations for a basin-wide agreement began under the Bush Administration and continued under the Obama Administration until faltering in the House of Representatives — though each president’s approach has varied. Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance, said Biden’s experience in the Obama Administration could prove an asset, if he brings a similar approach.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

Whatever came down in the first rains of the season was a mere drop in the bucket. The precipitation, the first for the rain year that began Oct. 1, measured .15 inches in downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. That puts the city at 8 percent of normal for rainfall this year, according to weather service records… A new storm system is coming on Tuesday night, with showers continuing on into Thursday, forecasters said.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Election 2020: Pure Water Monterey expansion hangs in balance

With the future of the much-debated Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal hanging on a single vote, the hotly contested Del Rey Oaks City Council race has taken on regional significance.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council to talk agreement with Indian Wells Groundwater Authority for recycled water

The Ridgecrest City Council Nov. 18 will discuss entering into an agreement with the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority regarding treated wastewater. … The agreement would be for five years, during which the city would provide for sale to the IWVGA available recycled water produced at its wastewater treatment plant upon 30-day notice to the city.

Aquafornia news WineBusiness.com

How four green medal award-winning wineries and vineyards are ramping up sustainability efforts

All of these wineries focus on energy efficiency, water use efficiency, soil and nutrient management, pest management, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. They participate in sustainable certification programs such as the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing program. For each, sustainability involves an ongoing process of evaluation and improvement.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Yuba Water files lawsuit against State Water Resources Control Board

The Yuba Water Agency is in the process of applying for a new license to continue its hydroelectric operations along the Yuba River, but agency leaders say some requirements issued by the State Water Resources Control Board threaten the effort by making it too costly. The agency filed lawsuits in state and federal court Friday to essentially vacate the state board’s requirements to obtain what is called a water quality certification.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the city of Corcoran…

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Drought plaguing much of US

A report by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday revealed what anyone living in California or the Southwest already know: We need rain. Badly…Much of the worst aspects of dry conditions are centered on the Colorado River Basin of western Colorado, which bodes ill for the millions of homes and businesses downstream that rely on a robust flow of water from the river…Extreme drought is growing in Northern California, but only in the northern reaches of the state along the Sacramento River.  

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Opinion: Recognizing the spirit of collaboration

The creation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 50 years ago challenged us to bring people together to pull this majestic lake back from the brink. Today, TRPA is the backbone for 80 organizations and thousands of property owners working toward the common goals of clean water, a healthy watershed and resilient communities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR study finds no ‘unacceptable risks’ at Oroville Dam

A 19-month study of the safety of the Oroville Dam project has found no “unacceptable risks.” The Department of Water Resources released its Comprehensive Needs Assessment on Oct. 30, and notes its findings generally agree with those of an Independent Review Board and a regular five-year review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news EOS.org

Blog: Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

Intersecting events such as major floods, decades-long megadroughts, and economic or governance upheavals could have catastrophic effects on the water supply for the 40 million people who live in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan board advances major recycled water project

The Metropolitan Water District board voted to begin environmental planning work on what would be one of the largest advanced purified wastewater treatment plants in the world. Metropolitan officials said the approval marks a significant milestone for the Regional Recycled Water Program…

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

‘Kicking the can down the road:’ Deferred maintenance at root of Cloverdale water rate increases

This Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Cloverdale City Council’s lone new agenda item is a costly one to Cloverdale residents — a proposed hike in the city’s water and sewage rates. The increases in both water and wastewater rates … is something that city officials say is needed to help start capital improvement projects related to the city’s water and wastewater systems.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Hemp regulations approved in Riverside County

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a series of regulations on where and how hemp growers can operate in unincorporated areas of Riverside County, prohibiting grows where water availability is already a challenge.

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Aquafornia news Ensia.com

The surprising connection between West Coast fires and the volatile chemicals tainting America’s drinking water

After fires marred the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz, in August, the local water district issued a “Do Not Drink Do Not Boil” notice to residents. Volatile organic compounds including benzene, residents were warned, could be seeping into the water system — just as the toxic chemicals did in Santa Rosa and Paradise, California, in the wake of wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Calif. county sues Dow Chemical, Shell over TCP pollution

Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural fields, laced with a toxic chemical.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Pricey tunnel sparks talk of water sales

Getting water through a tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would be pricey. So pricey, some Kern County water districts were looking for an “off-ramp” by potentially selling their main state water supply out of the county. The request was shot down on Nov. 6 by the Kern County Water Agency, which holds the contract for state water on behalf of 13 area water districts.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California water board collects data on household water debt, utility finances

California regulators sent a survey on Monday to 150 of the state’s largest water providers in an attempt to shed light on the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Water Resources Control Board wants to know how economic slowdowns related to the virus have affected utility finances and, at a household level, how many residents have overdue water bills.

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: May-September Delta water temperature standard needed

To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water projects pay it almost no heed.

Aquafornia news BBC News

The rebirth of a historic river

For over a century, one of the most important salmon runs in the United States has had to contend with historic dams – and now four of them are set to be taken down….The dams built on the Klamath River have been identified as one cause of the drop in salmon numbers.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Updated: Bureau finishes study on Friant-Kern Canal repair

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has signed a record of decision, finalizing an environmental impact statement that gives clearance for the Friant-Kern Canal project to proceed. The canal needs repairs as a result of land subsidence.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Crews work to prevent fire run-off from entering Lake Berryessa

Three California Conservation Corps crews are working seven days a week to help Napa County protect Lake Berryessa from potential run-off from homes and other structures burned in the LNU Lightning Complex Hennessey Fire.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

A recent massive bird die out calls into question the balance of water management in California

On the Oregon border lies Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. For over a century, visitors have flocked to Klamath’s wild tule marshes and open waters to canoe, fish, bird watch and hunt. … But this year, something sinister lies beneath the Klamath Basin’s immense beauty.

Aquafornia news KUNC

2020 delivers setbacks for some long-planned Western water projects

Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against significant legal, financial and political roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Madera groundwater plan accepted by state

The public can finally get a look at how Madera officials plan to correct severe groundwater over pumping and replenish aquifers in that area. For some farmers, that correction will mean pumping limits of up to 50 percent from what’s allowed today.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s climate agenda likely to get big boost from Biden — look for reversal of Trump policies

California’s war with Washington over the environment will soon come to an end. … President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to act quickly to restore and strengthen dozens of protections on public lands, water and wildlife. In addition, California’s efforts to fight climate change will no longer face hurdles put up by the White House, which has downplayed the global threat.

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Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Report: Oroville Dam safe, but still vulnerable

A team of experts released their findings Monday, concluding that no urgent repairs are needed right now on the Oroville Dam. The report goes on to say that the largest earthen dam in America is safe to operate. However, the Oroville Dam is not completely in the clear.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Answers for private well, drinking water questions in Fresno

Private wells in the central San Joaquin Valley are at risk of water quality issues, failing equipment and declining groundwater supplies. To help residents address these concerns, The Fresno Bee contacted public officials, water advocates and other experts to answer frequently asked questions about common issues.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Seasonal wetlands ‘best success story’ of repurposing rice straw

Burning rice straw after harvest was a traditional and economical practice that was phased out in 2000. … The side effect is it has created millions of acres of seasonal wetlands in the rice-growing region of the state – and with a variety of conservation contracts, provided additional income for growers whose costs rose when straw burning was prohibited.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfires emerge as threat to water quantity across parched West

How wildfires can affect water quality are well documented. But increasing—and increasingly intense—Western conflagrations are leading to fears they also could constrict the water quantity available in some of the nation’s most water-stressed areas….“It’s absolutely a threat to our water supply—the quantity and quality of the water that’s able to flow across the landscape,” said Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

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Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A move toward water speculation

There’s a concept called “demand management” in the news in Colorado, and here’s a simple definition: Landowners get paid to temporarily stop irrigating, and that water gets sent downstream to hang out in Lake Powell. It’s an idea long talked about because of increasing drought and the very real danger of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell dropping into “dead pool” where no hydropower can be generated.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

St. Helena implements emergency water-use restrictions

Water-use restrictions went into effect Nov. 1 for residents and businesses in the city of St. Helena, where a water shortage emergency has been declared.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Sierra Nevada sees first snow of the season. Expect a cold snap in the Sacramento Valley

Cold weather is headed toward Northern California, with forecasters warning of severe weather in the Sierra Nevada as the first snow of the season touches down on the peaks, and frosty temperatures in the Sacramento Valley. NWS meteorologists predict that 2 to 7 inches of snow could accumulate at higher elevations.

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Protect our groundwater recharge

Recently the Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved a project that would qualify as “backward planning”: planning that pays no attention to modern issues, instead using methods long abandoned by others. To me, as a member of the local Groundwater Sustainability Advisory Committee, the worst of these is the plan to concrete a portion of Bouquet Creek along with the groundwater recharge areas on the property.

Aquafornia news Western Water

A Colorado River leader who brokered key pacts to aid West’s vital water artery assesses his legacy and the river’s future

Managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin is not for the timid or those unaccustomed to big challenges. … For more than 30 years, Terry Fulp, director of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Region, has been in the thick of it, applying his knowledge, expertise and calm demeanor to inform and broker key decisions that have helped stabilize the Southwest’s major water artery.

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Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

A 2007 deal creating guidelines governing how Lake Powell and Lake Mead are operated in coordination isn’t scheduled to expire until 2026. But water officials in Colorado River Basin states are already beginning to talk about the renegotiations that will be undertaken to decide what succeeds the 2007 criteria.

Aquafornia news KNAU

Colorado River bugs spark two unprecedented experiments—with opposite goals

In autumn swarms of flying insects cloud the skies on the lower Colorado River near Bullhead City, Ariz. Caddisflies are a nuisance to recreationists who want to boat, swim or fish on the river. So city officials have started an unprecedented experiment to get rid of them.

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

1,4-dioxane: Another forever chemical plagues drinking-water utilities

Water monitoring data collected in 2010–15 show that more than 7 million people in the US across 27 states had utility-supplied tap water that had detectable 1,4-dioxane, according to the Environmental Working Group. The problem of 1,4-dioxane pollution isn’t unique to the US. However, the US situation reveals a number of regulatory barriers. There is no federal limit on 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. And getting it out of water is challenging.

Aquafornia news Medford Mail Tribune

Opinion: The message is clear: We must manage our resources better

Why are our food producers, including many century-old family farms with 100-year-old water rights, facing a shortage of water? Because we drain Oregon’s largest lake to artificially increase water supply in California.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Drinking water: Experts distrust the tap, but prefer it to bottles

There could be lead in your tap water. There could be PFAS in your bottled water. Microplastics might be in both. Do you choose neurotoxic heavy metals or carcinogenic “forever chemicals”? That’s the predicament facing Americans every time they take a drink of water. … There are no EPA or FDA standards for microplastics in drinking water, though California decided to start monitoring for microplastics by 2021.

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Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

Blog: AWWA offers PFAS updates on research, drinking water evaluation and treatment

AWWA has released three new resources about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to support water systems’ information needs and ability to educate the public and policy makers about issues related to PFAS in drinking water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am re-files desal project application with Coastal Commission

California American Water has re-filed its desalination project permit application less than two months after withdrawing it on the eve of a special Coastal Commission meeting. While the company made changes to its desal project proposal in the re-filed application, it has not yet met with Marina city officials to resolve the issues prompting the city to oppose the project.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Trump leaves unfinished business in environmental litigation

Clarity on which wetlands and waterways count as “waters of the U.S.” or WOTUS, subject to federal oversight, has been elusive for years. … Trump officials’ narrow definition … is facing lawsuits in a half-dozen federal courts. New litigation is guaranteed if Biden officials attempt to revert to the Obama-era rule or craft their own program.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Study: Drilling of deeper wells in United States is ‘unsustainable’

In areas where groundwater levels have fallen because of heavy pumping, people have often responded by drilling deeper wells. But exactly how much that has occurred on a nationwide scale wasn’t clear until water experts compiled nearly 12 million well-drilling records across the country. In a new study, [UC Santa Barbara] researchers found that Americans in many areas from coast to coast are drilling deeper for groundwater….The study confirmed that drilling deeper wells is common in California’s food-producing Central Valley…and household wells remain vulnerable to pumping by deeper agricultural wells. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Science group issues valley-focused advice on climate change

The San Joaquin Valley has received a specially addressed message from the Union of Concerned Scientists about what it thinks people across the region should be doing about looming water shortages, worsening air quality and generally more volatile weather in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Opinion: The view from Westlands: Voluntary agreements

Voluntary agreements have been proposed as a collaborative, modern and holistic alternative to the State Water Resources Control Board’s staff proposed update to the Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan. … Westlands and other public water agencies are eager to reengage in the process to finalize the voluntary agreements, as they offer the best path forward for California water.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: USGS unveils mobile flood tool for the nation

The U.S. Geological Survey announced the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone or other mobile device. The new USGS National Water Dashboard, or NWD, provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers and the public…

Aquafornia news Water Online

Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

The Plastics Pipe Institute, Inc. said its investigation of benzene contamination in the water supply of fire damaged areas such as Paradise, California has determined that the cause is not from pipe made from high-density polyethylene, but was from the burned-out environment.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

California water board orders mandatory solution to East Orosi water situation

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta Tunnel

A declaration suit filed in Superior Court in Sacramento by attorneys for some of the leading environmental groups in America accuses the California Department of Water Resources of trying to prevent anyone in California from filing a court action challenging … the financing of a single tunnel that would be built under the Delta for 35 miles.

Aquafornia news The Almanac

Menlo Park’s first recycled water system officially launches in Sharon Heights

Years in the works, Menlo Park’s first recycled water system is up and running, carrying wastewater from local households to the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club, where a new treatment facility cleans the water for irrigation use, keeping the golf course a lush emerald green.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Feds give green light to Friant-Kern Canal repairs

The federal government has approved plans to fix a sag in the Friant-Kern Canal. The Bureau of Reclamation gave its approval Tuesday – signing a Record of Decision giving environmental clearance for the project – following action from the Trump administration to invest about $5 million to study and begin pre-construction work on the canal.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

Local leaders, farmers and others in the Central Valley report additional progress in addressing salinity in surface water, and salt and nitrates in groundwater, in compliance with a program adopted last fall by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Who in the U.S. is in ‘plumbing poverty’? Mostly urban residents, study says

Even in the wealthiest countries, basic water services are not universal. At least 1.1 million people in the United States do not have hot and cold water running water in their house and a shower or tub for bathing, a new study finds. This “plumbing poverty” is highest in cities and most acute in those like San Francisco that have the greatest income inequality.

Aquafornia news The Rocky Mountain Collegian

CSU Hydraulics Lab creates physical model for dam design

The Colorado State University Hydraulics Lab has been working on the Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion project for the last 11 months. … Designers of the dam project in California contacted the university’s lab to produce a physical design that will have the ability to raise an existing dam’s capacity… 

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: State must fulfill promise of Proposition 1 water bond

Storage projects partially funded by Proposition 1 should help the state balance the swings in precipitation that characterize the California climate… Yet, six years after the bond’s passage, the water storage projects that will benefit from Proposition 1 likely remain at least a decade away from becoming operational.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Major change’ in Bay Area weather forecast for Friday

The National Weather Service is forecasting a “major change” in the weather across the Bay Area on Friday and through the weekend, with temperatures dropping, winds kicking up and the potential for rain.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Rice fields provide crucial refuge for migrating birds

As a rice farmer in Yolo County, Kim Gallagher should be used to the sight of thousands of birds swarming her flooded fields this time of year—but when she sees a flock take off, scattering the sky with a confetti of fluttering wings, her enjoyment is clear.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Opinion: Trump Administration is trying to raise Shasta Dam, again

The Bureau of Reclamation has once again proposed raising Shasta Dam, which is already the largest reservoir in California, after several proposals in the past decade. Each time, it has faced fierce public opposition from state government, environmentalists, locals and Native Americans.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

County to conduct groundwater survey flights

Residents of the Santa Ynez and Lompoc Valleys may see an unusual sight in the skies this November, and it won’t be a UFO. It will be a low-flying helicopter carrying a large hexagonal frame. This unique equipment is part of a project to map aquifers and improve the understanding of groundwater in the area.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S., Mexico sign Rio Grande water agreement

Mexico is obligated under a 1944 treaty to deliver to the United States a set amount of water from the Rio Grande and its tributaries over a five-year period. … The last-minute agreement signed Oct. 21 settles the conflict. Mexico will transfer ownership of water stored in two border reservoirs to the United States to make up the deficit.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Klamath Irrigation District court case continues

Recent legal testimonies assert that the Oregon Water Resources Department has not taken exclusive charge of stored water in Upper Klamath Lake, despite court orders requiring it do so.

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Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Opinion: Water district adopts reforms for sustainability

After months of meetings and thoughtful review, the West Valley Water District Board of Directors today adopted 10 major reforms crafted with staff and vetted by department managers that will deliver increased transparency, accountability and savings for ratepayers.

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Blog: New forecast tools for the atmospheric river scale

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes has recently launched new tools focused on forecasting the Atmospheric River scale. The new tools, offer a 7-day forecast and review of the past 7 days for the Atmospheric River scale.

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New snapshot of what’s in the Tijuana River is as gross as you’d expect

What’s in the Tijuana River? Ammonia, a byproduct of raw sewage. Phosphorous, an ingredient in soaps and cleaners that’s banned in the U.S. Metals used in the industrial plating industry. Parasitic worms. And DEHP, a chemical added to plastics. And of course, there’s poo.

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

After another dry October in the Bay Area, is drought back?

Though the monthly average is just over 1 inch, October is a highly variable month, and it’s not unusual to end the month with little or no rain in the Bay Area. It is however exceptionally bad timing to do it twice in a row for only the second time in the last 170 years, as the state reels from fires, heat and smoke, on the heels of a record-breaking dry winter and as most forecasts [for California] call for a drier than normal winter ahead.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Improving water resilience for cities and farms with water partnerships

The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California are worlds apart in many ways. Yet each face growing water challenges and a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some water supplies.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What California can learn from Cape Town about water policy

Two years ago, Cape Town, South Africa, a city of 4 million people, informed its shocked citizens that the city was just a few months away from running out of water due to drought. It was a wake-up call for all of us to become much better stewards of our own water. … California of course continues to have its own foreboding water challenges.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California: PFAS lawsuits increasing

On October 27, 2020, a California water PFAS lawsuit was filed by the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency against several companies, in which it is alleged that the companies are responsible for PFAS water contamination in southern California.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: People of color more likely to live without piped water in richest US cities

Nationwide, almost half a million homes do not have piped water, with the majority – 73% – located in urban areas. In fact, almost half the houses without plumbing are located in the country’s top 50 cities. Among these, San Francisco, Portland, Milwaukee, San Antonio, Austin and Cleveland have the highest proportion of plumbing poverty, according to the new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The largest actual number of homes without piped water were found in New York and Los Angeles.

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Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Improving drinking water safety, access, and consumption in the U.S.

A brief review of the evidence comparing current trends in drinking water intake in the U.S. to requirements across age and racial/ethnic groups reveals that most people do not drink enough plain water. While fluids can come from a variety of sources, there are many benefits of choosing water over sugar-sweetened beverages.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Scientists share coping strategies for San Joaquin Valley households at risk of extreme climate impacts

“As temperatures rise, climate change compounds the already difficult circumstances of vulnerable communities, increasing inequities related to access to clean water, clean air and socioeconomic opportunities” said J. Pablo Ortiz-Partida, climate scientist at UCS and co-author of the guide.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Enviros and industry fight feds in Supreme Court FOIA case

Should the public have access to documents that show why the federal government changed its stance on the impact an EPA rule would have on vulnerable species? That’s the question the Supreme Court will set out to answer Monday in the case Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, which deals with a Freedom of Information Act request for documents underpinning a 2014 rule for cooling water intake structures at power plants.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Erin Brockovich issues call to action

Erin Brockovich, the longtime California water advocate, called for people around the country to “show up” to their local governments and demand cleaner water, speaking at a National Press Club event Friday.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

‘It’s gone to the ground’: Big Basin Water Co. struggles to recover from fire

If plastic pipes or tanks are melted, or even just heat up, or loose pressure, drinking water can become contaminated. In the case of Big Basin Water Co., the system lost water pressure and much of its infrastructure was destroyed. That triggered the State Water Resources Control Board and the Big Basin Water Co. to put a Do Not Drink, Do Not Boil water advisory into effect.

Aquafornia news Community Water Center

Blog: State Water Board orders mandatory solution for Central Valley community denied clean water for years

After more than a decade of East Orosi residents struggling without clean drinking water, the State Water Board on Tuesday took a huge and critically necessary step by issuing a mandatory consolidation order for a neighboring district to connect East Orosi to safe water, ushering in the long-overdue promise of safe drinking water for the marginalized Tulare County community.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Ex-official blows whistle on Army Corps’ dam program

Judith Marshall joined the corps’ Portland office in 2011 to manage several projects, including the agency’s 13 dams in the Willamette River Basin. She quickly learned the corps was out of compliance with several major environmental laws for virtually all of them. She got nowhere when she raised her concerns to her supervisors. Then she was harassed and bullied. Now Marshall is blowing the whistle.

Aquafornia news PBS NOVA

Toxic synthetic “forever chemicals” are in our water and on our plates

Launched in a post-World War II chemical boom, PFAS have slowly made their way into water systems around the country. They flow through reservoirs and faucets and bleed into aquifers and irrigation systems that sustain crops and livestock that end up on our plates.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

FERC declaratory order finding waiver of California Section 401 authority challenged in Ninth Circuit

The California State Water Resources Control Board and a group of environmental organizations each have filed a petition for review with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of FERC orders finding that the Water Board waived its authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act to issue a water quality certification in the ongoing relicensing of Merced Irrigation District’s Merced River and Merced Falls Projects.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Monday Top of the Scroll: La Niña: Moderate to strong climate event predicted this year, meaning possibly drier conditions in SoCal

Global climate experts are predicting a moderate to strong La Niña weather event this year, meaning a stormy season for most parts of the world but possibly drier-than-normal conditions in Southern California.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout EIR certified

In a critical step for the proposed public takeover of California American Water’s Monterey-area water system, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s board of directors on Thursday night certified the final environmental impact report for the effort.

Aquafornia news NBC Los Angeles

DWP begins environmental review of Grant Lake reservoir spillway project

DWP officials said the undertaking of a new spillway gate structure to control flow from the lake through Rush Creek and into Mono Lake will be one of the largest environmental restoration projects in the Mono Basin.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

Blog: Yuba-Feather forecast-informed reservoir operations

Recognizing the central role that atmospheric rivers play in both flood risk and water supply – two of Yuba Water’s core mission areas – the agency is investing in new research and tools to better understand, forecast and manage for these powerful storms.

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water files lawsuit over water contamination

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging toxic chemicals from products manufactured by those named in the case were discharged into the environment. Raytheon Technologies, Chemours, DuPoint and 3M Co. are among dozens named in the lawsuit “for their roles in introducing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) into the water supply…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Report: Water partnerships between cities and farms in Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley and urban Southern California each face growing water challenges and a shared interest in ensuring reliable, affordable water supplies to safeguard their people and economies. Both regions’ water futures could be more secure if they take advantage of shared water infrastructure to jointly develop and manage some water supplies.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Friday Top of the Scroll: California slammed over ‘blank check’ for Delta tunnel project

Lobbing another hurdle at California’s $16 billion plan to tunnel underneath the West Coast’s largest estuary, environmentalists on Thursday sued to freeze public funding for the megaproject championed by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Led by Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, a familiar coalition of critics claim the cash-strapped state is pursuing a “blank check” for a project that isn’t fully cooked.

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Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Collaboration between rice farmers and environmentalists working out nicely

When driving over the Yolo Bypass in the winter, one can’t help but notice the flooded fields. … Historically, the area used to be wetlands and floodplain habitat, but now, farmers grow rice there. After harvest, the fields are flooded to not only help decompose the leftover rice straw but also, as a surprise to many, recreate a surrogate habitat for many area wildlife, most notably birds.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Split county board OKs cannabis cash for Salinas Valley well destruction

The [Monterey County] Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to spend about $2.66 million in cannabis tax revenue over three years to cover the local cash match for a Salinas Valley well destruction program. The majority argued the well destruction program would have a broad community benefit by battling seawater intrusion threatening Salinas Valley agricultural and residential water supplies.

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Forecasting water supply in Colorado River may benefit water resource management

Yoshimitsu Chikamoto, a climate scientist at Utah State University, used dynamic climate modeling to try to predict water supply in the Colorado River. They found ocean surface temperatures have a larger impact on predicting drought than atmospheric processes like precipitation. … Chikamoto said oceans provide a long-term memory that can be used to forecast drought.

Aquafornia news Construction Dive

Disasters waiting to happen: 5 major infrastructure projects in need of repair

Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which maintains a database of all the nation’s dams and their risk levels, raised the risk classification for the Mojave Dam in San Bernardino County, California, to high. The 200-foot-high earthen dam was built in 1971 and, if it fails, threatens communities as far away as 140 miles.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: 5 reasons to rethink the future of dams

The future of our existing dams, including 2,500 hydroelectric facilities, is a complicated issue in the age of climate change. Dams have altered river flows, changed aquatic habitat, decimated fish populations, and curtailed cultural and treaty resources for tribes. But does the low-carbon power dams produce have a role in our energy transition?

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Joshua Basin will pay off pipeline debt soon

After nearly 30 years the Joshua Basin Water District will soon close out its payment agreement with the Mojave Water Agency for the Morongo Basin Pipeline. … The Morongo Basin Pipeline is a 71-mile underground pipeline built by the Mojave Water Agency that brings water from the California aqueduct in Hesperia to the Mojave River in south Apple Valley…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Supreme Court refuses to review Abatti’s case against IID

The tumultuous, years-long legal fight between farmer Michael Abatti and the Imperial Irrigation District — two of Southern California’s powerbrokers — is now finished. On Wednesday, the California Supreme Court declined Abatti’s petition for review, leaving in place an appellate court’s decision that declared IID the rightful owner of a massive allotment of Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta watermaster breaks down water use in the Delta, addresses implementation of reduced reliance on the Delta

At the Oct. 22 meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Watermaster Michael George gave a detailed presentation on estimating water use in the Delta… He also discussed implementation of the state’s policy of reducing reliance on the Delta and provided updates on the preparations for the next drought…

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Go with the flow — SMUD’s latest powerhouse nearly operational

Located right below Slab Creek Dam and Reservoir and priced at $16.5 million … the project has two main functions. One includes a recreational flow release on a nine-mile stretch below the reservoir that will improve boating, rafting and kayaking opportunities… The other release feeds water into the powerhouse to drive the turbine.

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: Feather River fall-run salmon update – 2019 spawning run

In a review of Feather River fall-run Chinook salmon in September 2019, I described their status through the 2018 run and expressed optimism for the 2019 run. My assessment proved overly optimistic, as the 2019 run numbers came in lower than expected. The lower-than-expected returns appear to be the consequence of the 2017 Oroville Dam spillway failures.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Off the charts: Dryness stat shows why West is burning

Researchers at the Plumas National Forest in Northern California received a startling result: Sticks and logs they gathered from the forest floor to assess wildfire risk had a moisture level of just 2%. The reading was the lowest ever recorded in 15 years of measurements at a site in the forest’s southwest corner. It also was a warning: The area was tinderbox-dry and primed to burn.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation and partners synchronize Sacramento River water diversions to benefit salmon

Reclamation, working with the Sacramento River Settlement Contractors and federal and state fish and wildlife agencies, are implementing fall water operations to benefit salmon populations in the Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news Heal the Bay

Blog: Changes are coming to the L.A. River

After the river was concretized, Indigenous People, activists, and environmental organizations demanded the restoration of the L.A. River and its tributaries back into a functioning natural river ecosystem. Now with the climate crisis, we can no longer afford to have a concretized river system that solely provides flood control.

Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir Project

Blog: Saving water for a drier day

As the state looks at investing in water infrastructure to ward off the most detrimental of droughts effects on the State, it must consider projects that support the environment, as well as people and farms.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

Arroyo Seco Canyon project supporters hope to create local reliance on water supply

The proposed structure will span the width of the existing channel and feature an operable weir crest gate that can be raised for diversion to the intake structure and lowered to bypass diversions. An engineered roughened channel will be constructed in the section of the stream directly downstream of the diversion structure for future fish passage. The new intake will be equipped with a trash rack and fish screens.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Historic move: Fresno River rights to be decided

If all you’ve ever seen of the Fresno River is through Madera as you drive over it on Highway 99, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just a weed-infested, shopping cart collector rather than a real river. But there’s a lot to this unobtrusive waterway, which just made history as the first river in 40 years about to go through a rights settlement under the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Setting aside environmental water for the San Joaquin River

Protecting the health of California’s rivers, estuaries, and wetlands has been the grandest—and perhaps thorniest—of the many challenges facing the state’s water managers. The San Joaquin River watershed, the state’s third largest and an important water source for irrigating farmland in the San Joaquin Valley, epitomizes this challenge. Yet California is making progress here, bringing a glimmer of hope.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Ahead of rain, Beaumont plans for unprecedented flooding

It won’t take much, and the Pass Area as we know it may look dramatically different come wet weather this fall and winter. That’s according to public safety officials from various Riverside County agencies who are working to get the word out about the danger of “flood after fire.”

Aquafornia news Berkeleyside

Jewel Lake is more like a muddy puddle than a lake. What happened?

The lake is particularly small and low right now for a few reasons, said Matt Graul, the East Bay Regional Park District’s chief of stewardship. Wildcat Creek runs dry in the rainless months of summer and early fall, but has been hit harder than ever since the Bay Area received less rainfall than typical last winter. Once the rains start and fill the creek, there should be water again in the lake, he said.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Temperance Flat Reservoir project status update

At the October meeting of the California Water Commission, Aaron Fakuda representing Temperance Flat Authority and Bill Swanson, Principal Engineer with Stantec discussed the project’s status with the Commission.

Aquafornia news AgInfo.net

Engage with your local groundwater sustainability agency

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, was a landmark legislation whose effects will be felt over the decades that it is phased into implementation. With the long time horizon it may be easy for some to lose sight of what’s happening now.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Nevada researcher part of multi-state team studying Earth’s critical zone

Adrian Harpold and his team are conducting a field study on the impact of wildfire on the Illilouette Creek watershed in the Yosemite wilderness area in California. They’re looking at how much water makes it to streams for people and downstream agriculture after a fire, and how much water stays in the post-fire landscape…

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Oilfield wastewater slowly gains value in agriculture

For decades it’s been done on a relatively small scale near Bakersfield, and recent studies confirm it doesn’t threaten crop safety. So why aren’t more local oil producers giving farmers the briny water that comes up from the ground along with oil? In a word, money.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Ancient lake contributed to past San Andreas fault ruptures

Hundreds of years ago, a giant lake — Lake Cahuilla — in southern California and northern Mexico covered swathes of the Mexicali, Imperial, and Coachella Valleys, through which the southern San Andreas Fault cuts. … If the lake over the San Andreas has dried up and the weight of its water was removed, could that help explain why the San Andreas fault is in an earthquake drought?

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

Supporters of Santa Clara Valley Water District clean water measure raise nearly $340K

A clean water and flood protection measure that would extend an existing Santa Clara Valley Water District program indefinitely has nearly $340,000 in its campaign coffers. A bulk of donations have come from unions, the construction and engineering sectors and political action committees, according to the latest financial statements filed with the state.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Desal, public buyout at center of Monterey Peninsula Water District board race

It’s little surprise California American Water’s proposed desalination project and the fate of a public buyout effort aimed at acquiring the company’s local water system are at the core of the contests for two seats on the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board of directors…

Aquafornia news The Catalina Islander

Edison to seek water rate increase

Catalina Island’s water utility wants to significantly increase the rate it charges water users. This won’t happen immediately. The process is long and technical. Visitors to Catalina may not know it, but Southern California Edison provides water services to the island.

Aquafornia news Institutional Investor

California’s complex water market faces new challenges

The supply and demand of California water are geographically and seasonally disconnected, a trend that could be exacerbated by climate change. Agriculture, urban and environmental use compete for limited supply in the state’s $1.1 billion water market.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Influential California congressman opposes Sonoma County-backed plan to drain Lake Pillsbury

U.S. Rep. John Garamendi has filed an official objection to a plan backed by Sonoma County and his House Democratic colleague Jared Huffman to remove Scott Dam on the Eel River and drain Lake Pillsbury, a popular recreation spot for nearly a century.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local tribes, fishermen, conservationists call on Warren Buffet to undam the Klamath

Members of local tribes, fishermen and conservationists are calling on Warren Buffett to undam the Klamath. People across the country joined members of the Karuk, Yurok, Klamath and Hoopa Valley tribes on Friday for a day of action to get the attention of Buffett, the owner of Pacific Power and the Klamath River dams…

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Here’s the challenge of implementing historic groundwater law

I can see clearly the challenge ahead for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Actcal act because I now have first-hand experience with the kinds of water disputes that can arise when the local parties involved are not given a chance to work things out collaboratively.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Eel River tributaries decimated by drought

Completely dry riverbeds, record low flows, and diminished fish populations — that’s what staff and volunteers from a local environmental nonprofit found when they surveyed tributaries of the Eel River earlier this month.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Could recycled water help balance the basin?

If all goes according to plan, recycled water from the city’s planned $45 to $60 million wastewater treatment facility may be used to help balance the Indian Wells Valley groundwater basin as mandated by the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news California State University San Marcos

Blog: Ask the expert: The scarcity of water

Kristine Diekman is a professor of art, media and design at Cal State San Marcos, where she teaches media theory and production, and sound studies. She’s also a media artist working in documentary and experimental film, new media and community-based media. Since 2014, Diekman has been working on a digital media project, “Run Dry,” which tells the story of the water crisis in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is ecosystem change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta outpacing the ability of science to keep up?

Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean. Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive…

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