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 National Geographic

American beef demand is sucking Western rivers dry

New research shows that across the western United States, a third of all consumed water goes to irrigate crops not for human consumption, but that are used to feed beef and dairy cattle. In the Colorado River basin, it’s over 50 percent.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Contractors get reprieve in effort to block San Diego’s Pure Water recycling system

Legal wrangling over San Diego’s proposed Pure Water sewage recycling system continued Friday, when a judge gave a temporary reprieve to a group of local contractors fighting for the ability of non-union workers to help build the system.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

San Diego Water Authority votes to largely end 10-year legal battle with MWD

The San Diego County Water Authority‘s board voted to largely end a decade-long legal battle with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California after securing over $350 million in concessions.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Court grants six-month extension in Ventura River lawsuit

A judge on Thursday granted a six-month extension for roughly 14,000 Ojai Valley and Ventura property owners facing a potential water adjudication. In January, the city of Ventura sent thousands of legal notices and summonses to people with property near the Ventura River or one of the area’s groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California files challenge to federal decisions governing operation of California water projects

California’s complaint challenges the biological opinions issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as well as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s EIS and record of decision completed pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bills that would strengthen rural groundwater rules die in Arizona Legislature

Two bills that would make it easier for state regulators and county officials to limit well-drilling and groundwater pumping have died in the Arizona Legislature despite support from lawmakers and pleas from county officials who are asking for help to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.

Aquafornia news The Press

East County residents weigh in on Delta Conveyance Project

A rally before the start of the Department of Water Resources’(DWR) public scoping meeting for the Delta Conveyance Project (DCP) set the tone for the event — residents of East County were in no mood to consider another tunnel project in the Delta.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Military may be bound by state laws on ‘forever chemicals’

The Pentagon may be forced to follow new state environmental pollution standards for a family of manmade “forever chemicals” that may have been spilled at hundreds of military sites in the U.S., Defense Secretary Mark Esper told lawmakers. Esper was pressed Wednesday at a House Armed Services Committee hearing over the military’s use of widely used firefighting foam containing chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that never degrade.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Without water we can’t grow anything’: Can small farms survive California’s landmark water law?

The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

KRRC awards contract for Klamath dam removal

The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) continued progress toward implementing the Amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) to remove the Klamath dams and restore a free-flowing Klamath River by selecting McMillen Jacobs Associates to provide owner’s representation services, according to a news release.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Silicon Valley is roiled by feds ordering draining of reservoir to reduce quake risks

A federal order to drain Silicon Valley’s largest drinking water reservoir has thrown the region into disarray, with multiple agencies pointing fingers at each other and some local leaders fearful their cities could run out of water, not this summer but the following one.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin group joins fight over Clean Water Act changes

Joining 12 other conservation groups from throughout the country, the Olema-based Turtle Island Restoration Network alleges the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not attempt to weigh the potential impacts to endangered species when it removed millions of acres of waterways and habitat from Clean Water Act protections in January.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Everything you need to know about California’s historic water law

This year marks the first big deadline for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), as dozens of agencies complete initial plans to protect overdrafted water resources. Here’s what you need to know:

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Court tosses environmental approval for 72,000 Kern County oil wells

A California appellate court on Tuesday threw out a Kern County law that allowed major oil producers to rely on a single, blanket environmental approval for 72,000 new oil wells, instead of facing scrutiny of each new project’s potential impact on air quality, drinking water, wildlife and other concerns.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump promised CA farmers water. But he can’t overrule weather

Turns out President Donald Trump is no match for another California drought. Less than a week after Trump told San Joaquin Valley farmers in Bakersfield that he was taking bold steps to increase their water supply, his administration announced Tuesday farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may only receive about 15 percent of their contracted water supply for the upcoming growing season.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Anderson Dam: Draining won’t cause water shortage, officials say

Silicon Valley water officials assured the public Tuesday they have enough water to avoid shortages this summer, even after federal regulators announced that Anderson Reservoir, the region’s largest, must be completely drained beginning this fall because of the risk its dam might collapse in a major earthquake.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Revamped lead rule ignores concerns raised in EPA memo

EPA proposed its revamp of the Lead and Copper Rule last fall. That revision addresses many elements of the regulation then-acting Region 5 Administrator Robert Kaplan critiqued. But it does not follow one key recommendation: that the agency establish health-based limits on lead in drinking water.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bernhardt fires back at Newsom over California water lawsuit

The future of the complicated network of waterways and canals that supplies millions of Californians with water daily could be murky at best, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt warned Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom in a letter Monday.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego’s landmark water recycling project may face longer delays than expected

San Diego’s long-awaited Pure Water project, a sewage recycling system that would boost the city’s water independence, is facing legal challenges that could last longer and cost more than city officials previously anticipated.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Feds order Santa Clara County’s biggest reservoir to be drained due to earthquake collapse risk

In a dramatic decision that could significantly impact Silicon Valley’s water supply, federal dam regulators have ordered Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, to be completely drained starting Oct. 1. The 240-foot earthen dam, built in 1950 and located east of Highway 101 between Morgan Hill and San Jose, poses too great of a risk of collapse during a major earthquake, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates dams, has concluded.

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Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Tehachapi City Council OK’s sewer, water fees for new development

Officials in the city of Tehachapi approved new water and sewer fees — in case new housing developments start moving in — to support the construction of infrastructure that can’t quite support projected growth in the next 10 years.

Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California takes the lead in regulating PFAS chemicals in drinking water

California finds itself once again taking the lead by setting regulatory standards stricter than the rest of the nation. At issue is the nearly ubiquitous presence of certain PFAS chemicals in drinking water, a problem being addressed to varying degrees by many states and federal regulators.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

One idea, two cool things: desalinated water and renewable energy

The contraption, reminiscent of Rube Goldberg, would produce two of Southern California’s most precious and essential resources: water and electricity. … The idea, developed by Silicon Valley-based Neal Aronson and his Oceanus Power & Water venture, caught the attention of the Santa Margarita Water District. The agency quickly saw the project’s viability to fill a void.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Trump wading into California’s water policy with phony answer

President Trump believes he “got it done” in fixing California’s troubled and contentious water system. What he actually produced is another wrecking-ball delay and a lawsuit to try to halt his lopsided solution.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Groups urge Newsom to work with feds on water

Farm groups are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to work with the federal government on water deliveries even as California followed through Thursday on its threat to sue to nullify biological opinions that could bring increases in surface water for San Joaquin Valley growers.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Huffman vows at town hall to protect North Coast water rights

Protecting the North Coast’s waters and the communities that depend on them is a top priority, Congressman Jared Huffman told a town hall at the Eureka High School auditorium Friday night. Making sure fishermen get timely compensation when they’re barred from fishing and ensuring there is enough water in the area to protect fisheries are two key issues, the San Rafael Democrat said.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

El Dorado Irrigation District to consider $42.7 million project at Folsom Lake

The Folsom Lake Intake Improvement Project delivers district water supplies available at Folsom Lake to the El Dorado Hills Water Treatment Plant and is critical to service reliability for the El Dorado Hills service area. In service since the late 1950s, significant portions of the pump station have reached the end of their useful life.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Senate committee shelves groundwater bill after debate

State senators heard impassioned pleas from supporters of proposed legislation that would make it easier for Arizona water regulators to limit well-drilling in farming areas where groundwater levels are falling. But in the end, the bill was set aside, its future uncertain.

Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Scientists gather to study risk from microplastic pollution

This week, a group of five-dozen microplastics researchers from major universities, government agencies, tribes, aquariums, environmental groups and even water sanitation districts across the U.S. West is gathering in Bremerton, Washington, to tackle the issue. The goal is to create a mathematical risk assessment for microplastic pollution in the region similar to predictions used to game out responses to major natural disasters such as earthquakes.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA moves to limit financial pressure on ‘forever chemical’ manufacturers under cleanup law

A proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would absolve the nation’s manufacturers of cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from broad financial responsibility for cleaning up their product as it leaches into the water supply across the country. The class of chemicals known as PFAS, which are noted for their persistence in both the environment and the human body, are used in a variety of nonstick products.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Salinas Valley seawater intrusion continues migrating deeper

Seawater intrusion in the Salinas Valley continues to seep into the deeper aquifers, according to the latest Monterey County Water Resources Agency data, even as the overall rate of seawater intrusion continues slowing down.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Climate change threatens Colorado River and the water supply for 40 million people

Climate change has dramatically decreased natural flow in the Colorado River, jeopardizing the water supply for some 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland, according to new research from the USGS. The decline is expected to continue unless changes are made to alleviate global warming and the impacts of drier, hotter temperatures.

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Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Fishing the North Coast: Fall Klamath Chinook returns fell short in 2019

Following a promising 2018 fall Chinook salmon season on the Klamath that saw the run size trending upwards, the 2019 returns fell significantly short of expectations. Looking at the numbers presented in the PFMC “Review of 2019 Ocean Salmon Fisheries” document, it’s likely we’ll have some severe restrictions both in the ocean and in the Klamath and Trinity rivers in 2020.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Proposed changes to San Diego County landscape ordinance would reduce water use by 40%

This is an approximate 24% reduction in residential water use, and a 7% reduction for non-residential water use from today’s levels. This will be implemented through the existing permit review process and any project that requires a building, grading, or discretionary permit and would result in more than 500 sq/ft new irrigated landscaping (ex. permitting for new addition, new garage) would be subject to this water allowance.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Oceanside leads county with plan to make recycled water safe to drink

Oceanside celebrated the start of construction Wednesday on a project that could make it the first city in San Diego County to be drinking recycled water by 2022. At least two other cities or water districts are close behind on similar projects, and several more agencies are considering plans to make potable recycled water a significant portion of their supply.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration reverses itself, will pay California for Oroville Dam fixes

The state Department of Water Resources said Thursday the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to cover approximately $300 million in repair costs the agency had previously denied. … All told, the state now expects to be reimbursed for approximately $750 million of the $1.1 billion cost of the crisis…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California sues Trump administration again — this time over water

A day after President Trump visited the Central Valley to celebrate a boost in water for California farms, state officials sued to block the additional water deliveries. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, in a lawsuit filed Thursday, maintains that new federal rules designed to increase pumping from the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta fail to protect salmon and other endangered fish in the delta estuary.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Declining snowpack due to climate change has cut the Colorado River’s annual flow by 10 percent, study finds

The Colorado River’s average annual flow has declined by nearly 20 percent compared to the last century, and researchers have identified one of the main culprits: climate change is causing mountain snowpack to disappear, leading to increased evaporation.

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Aquafornia news KGET

Arvin issues boil water notice to all customers due to well failure

The Arvin Community Service District has issued a boil water notice to its customers due to mechanical failures at two of its three active wells. … District General Manager Raul Barraza, Jr. said that the district has contractors working on both wells and hopes to have one or both wells back online as soon as possible. He expects the notice will last at least a few days.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Public comment opens for groundwater sustainability plans

Groundwater sustainability plans that have been submitted to the state are now online at the DWR SGMA Portal. Plans are open to public comment for 75 days after they were posted online. Below is a table of the submitted plans, the counties they cover and details about the public comment period for that plan.

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Western snowpack is in great shape, except the Sierra

The season has been looking very good for most areas, with the exception of the Sierra, where an extended period of recent dry conditions has brought up the “D” word – drought – again.

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Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Effort to protect Shasta snow-wreath grows into Shasta Dam controversy

An attempt to list as an endangered species a plant found only in Shasta County could put it in the middle of a controversy over raising the height of Shasta Dam. The California Fish and Game Commission is expected to vote Friday on whether to accept a petition to list the Shasta snow-wreath as an endangered species under state law.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”

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Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Online tool assesses drought risk for residents on private wells, public water systems

California is doing more to preserve its groundwater levels than ever before, but a new, interactive tool by a local water advocacy group suggests it may not be enough. Last Wednesday, Visalia-based Community Water Center … argued that California will experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Subsidence of the California Aqueduct in the San Joaquin Valley

Recently, the Department of Water Resources released a report to supplement the 2017 California Aqueduct Subsidence Study that addresses specific issues within a 10-mile-wide study corridor… At the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee, Ted Craddock, DWR Assistant Deputy Director of the State Water Project, provided an overview of the report.

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Growers needed for on-farm, groundwater recharge program

The Colusa Groundwater Authority, the California Department of Water Resources and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to conduct an on-farm, multi-benefit demonstration program for growers in two select project locations around Colusa County.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack barely half of normal

The National Weather Service tweeted satellite images of the Sierra on Tuesday, showing the stark difference between this year and the above-average snowfall from 2019. The mountain snowpack — a crucial element in the state’s annual water supply — is 53 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California agriculture in 2050: Still feeding people, maybe fewer acres and cows

Water supply concerns, regulations, labor issues, tariffs, climate change, and other challenges have prompted some rather dire predictions about the future of California agriculture. We talked to Dan Sumner—director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about his research on California agriculture in 2050.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta voluntary agreement costs soar from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion

In the latest update, the cost of implementing the voluntary agreements has soared by over $4 billion to a whopping $5.3 billion. Governor Newsom failed to mention the enormous and growing costs in his oped praising the voluntary agreement framework.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

On eve of Trump visit, critics ask why Newsom hasn’t fought president’s water moves

During President Trump’s visit to California this week, the commander in chief who campaigned on a pledge of shipping more water to Central Valley farms plans to stop in Bakersfield to boast about a promise kept. … But what confounds some who are worried that Trump’s water plan could undermine the environment is how little the state has done to stop Washington.

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Aquafornia news WBUR

Driven by climate change, desalination researchers seek solutions to water scarcity

Extracting salt from water seems like an easy fix to a global problem, but the process of desalination can be expensive, and it can also have a huge impact on the environment. That’s why some researchers are looking into how to lower the cost and improve efficiency.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside

Marking a historic moment for the city of Oceanside and the region, city officials and water industry leaders will break ground on Pure Water Oceanside on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. Scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be on the map as the first operating recycled water project in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers

Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California headed back into drought, or did we never really leave one?

A persistent ridge of high pressure has taken up residence in the eastern Pacific, and it shows no sign of budging. It is diverting storms into the Pacific Northwest region, which means more dry weather for California. But did the drought in California ever really end? Climatologist and weather expert Bill Patzert thinks Southern California continues to be mired in a two-decade drought…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news Salon.com

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Local reservoirs and municipal water supplies might become so polluted from the fires that the current water supply infrastructure will be challenged or could no longer treat the water. … But most of the fire-prone areas in North America lack large-scale vulnerability assessments of their municipal water supplies…

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Kern’s shift to specialty crops expected to accelerate

There are many reasons for the shift, from rising incomes overseas and a shortage of farm labor to scarcity of water for irrigation. But as expected, the bottom line is the bottom line: growers generally plant what sells best.

Aquafornia news MyValleyNews.com

Local water supplies impacted by new state guidance on PFAS

Though sampling indicated levels of PFOS and PFOA in a couple of local sources of water, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District is currently not producing drinking water from impacted sources. EVMWD is evaluating options to meet these new regulations including importing water to offset local supplies and in the long term, considering construction of treatment systems if water sources exceed state mandated response levels.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Is California headed back into drought, or did we never really leave one?

A persistent ridge of high pressure has taken up residence in the eastern Pacific, and it shows no sign of budging. It is diverting storms into the Pacific Northwest region, which means more dry weather for California. But did the drought in California ever really end? Climatologist and weather expert Bill Patzert thinks Southern California continues to be mired in a two-decade drought…

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada City water customers get more time to pay bills

The changes, mandated by Senate Bill 998, mean customers will have at least 60 days to settle their bill before becoming delinquent. The changes also require water utilities to provide written notice at least seven days before service discontinuation, which must contain information on how to avoid an interruption of service as well as procedures for contesting or appealing a bill.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: It’s time for Gov. Newsom to take a firm stand to protect the Delta

It’s time for Gov. Gavin Newsom to own up on water policy. He can either play nice with a roughshod plan from President Trump to divert crucial water flows or craft his own blueprint that balances both wildlife and California’s economy.

Aquafornia news KPIX

San Jose residents say it took months to be notified of tainted well water

11,000 households in San Jose’s Willow Glen and Williams Road neighborhoods received letters in the mail beginning in late January from the San Jose Water Company warning that the wells that provide them with drinking water tested positive for elevated levels of per-flouro-octane sulfonic acid, known as PFOS.

Aquafornia news AgGrad

Audio: Water economics with Dr. David Zetland

David joins me today to discuss the water economy and where we are right now as a civilization. He shares why we should be in a global state of panic and why we’re no longer in a world where water is sustainable. He explains the need for water to be priced and how it can positively affect the ag industry. David also discusses water rights, “free water,” the water market, and possible solutions to water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am rate increase proposal set for local public hearings

Cal Am’s request calls for raising water rates to increase revenue by about $8.4 million in the Monterey district to cover new capital investment, increased labor costs, and higher administrative and operations expenses, driving the “average” local customer’s bill from about $89.40 to about $105.78 over the three-year period from 2021-2023.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans

While Trump will be in town Wednesday to discuss agriculture issues with local farmers, as of Friday the Kern County Farm Bureau remained in the dark about the president’s visit, and the Kern County Republican Party similarly had not been informed of Trump’s plans. … A White House statement released to the media said Trump’s Bakersfield visit would focus on efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Time to act is now on California’s water system

Access to reliable, clean drinking water should be a fundamental human right for all Californians. Unfortunately, many disadvantaged communities throughout the state lack access to clean drinking water, and our aging water delivery infrastructure threatens water reliability for millions of California residents.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump heads west, with California water in mind

President Trump will splash into California’s perpetually roiled water world next week when he drops by the southern San Joaquin Valley city that’s home to his biggest House booster and proximate to some of the state’s biggest dilemmas. With his expected visit to Bakersfield, Trump can affirm support for increased irrigation water deliveries, troll Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and reward House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in his hometown.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Bue

Who pays? PFAS lawsuits, legislation raise question of pollution liability

A potential lawsuit in North Carolina and legislation in Congress have together surfaced an under-the-radar debate about who shoulders the burden of preventing contamination of waterways with toxic PFAS chemicals.

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Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Schools plan to improve safety of drinking water

In response to concerns about lead in the water at schools in Cabrillo Unified School District, the district is moving forward with a plan to get 25 filtered water bottle filling stations installed across Cabrillo campuses.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Costa, Cox vote to OK subpoenas to probe Valley water boost

Reps. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and TJ Cox (D–Fresno) joined fellow Democrats on the House Natural Resources Committee to grant wide-ranging subpoena power to the committee’s chair, Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.)… A key inquiry likely to be explored by Grijalva … is to dig into the Trump administration’s issuance of new biological opinions governing the Central Valley Project.

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Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Thursday Top of the Scroll: How SGMA could impact area farmers

By the most conservative estimate, 500,000 acres of agriculture land are expected to go fallow in the San Joaquin Valley as SGMA is implemented over the next 20 years, [David] Orth said, while some studies say it could be as much as 1 million acres. Since this process is just starting in the Sacramento Valley, it’s unclear how the area might be impacted, but in general, north of the Delta is in better shape.

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Aquafornia news KSBW TV

New online interactive tool helps Californians prepare for future drought

This rain-year has brought an alarmingly dry winter in California so far, according to climate change experts. Now, there’s a new tool to help Californians navigate your water supply. It’s an online tool that allows a person to see the groundwater levels in their area. The tool then gives a representation of what could be at risk or impacted if a drought hits.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Cleaning Atwater’s contaminated water is city’s highest priority, says council

The Atwater City Council this week unanimously declared its highest priority public improvement project to be restoring the city’s clean water. The urgent resolution came after a carcinogenic chemical, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP), was found in several Atwater wells — and in quantities exceeding state-approved maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Groundwater sustainability cuts individual, agricultural use

Do you have something to say about the state-mandated sustainability plan that will limit individual and agricultural groundwater consumption in Merced County? The Jan. 31 deadline for local agencies to submit their 20-year sustainable groundwater management plan has passed, kicking off a 75-day public comment period before the Department of Water Resources reviews it.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Rockies snowpack good, but dryness could threaten Colorado River flow

Warren Turkett, a natural resource analyst for the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, told commissioners Tuesday that a warm summer and lack of precipitation in the upper Colorado River Basin last year left soil drier than normal, which is expected to cut the amount of water flowing into Lake Powell to 20 percent below average based on current projections.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Studying potable reuse water for Pleasanton

City staff recommends Pleasanton sign on to a potentially $1 million task order with three other Tri-Valley public water agencies for preliminary studies and community outreach … to explore the possibility of supplementing the local water supply with recycled water treated for drinking purposes, better known as potable reuse water.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Blog: One tunnel, same distrust

State water officials offered an early look at the downsized California WaterFix project earlier this month, and conservationists and far-traveling indigenous tribes say they still believe it has the potential to permanently alter life in and around the Delta.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am gets Coastal Commission desal project extension

California American Water has received a 90-day extension of the deadline for the Coastal Commission to consider the company’s desalination project permit application, effectively allowing commission staff about four more months to complete additional analysis.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Two valley congressmen have a say in whether House Dems probe water boost

Wednesday, the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution granting Committee Chair Raul Grijalva (D–Ariz.) wide-ranging subpoena power over the Interior Department. One inquiry in the hopper: a closer look at the process that yielded the Trump Administration’s freshly-released biological opinions governing the federally-operated Central Valley Project.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

New bills focus on measuring groundwater pumping in rural Arizona

Both Republicans and Democrats are backing measures in the Legislature that would enable Arizona to start measuring how much groundwater is pumped in unregulated rural areas where aquifers have been rapidly declining.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Synthetic chemicals in soils are ‘ticking time bomb’

A growing health crisis fueled by synthetic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in groundwater has garnered much attention in the last few years. The reported levels could be “just the tip of the iceberg,” as most of the chemicals are still migrating down slowly through the soil, according to Bo Guo, University of Arizona assistant professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Experts criticize EPA lead and copper rule revisions

Experts and advocates on Tuesday criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to combat lead in the water supply, calling for the agency to require that service lines containing lead be replaced.

Aquafornia news The Highlander

Affordability symposium highlights importance of water and housing affordability in Southern California

Dr. Kurt Schwabe … stated that from 2007 to 2015 water prices increased an average of 45% while income has been stagnant or decreased by an average of 6%. This affects a household’s discretionary income, the disposable income left over after subtracting the cost of water and other essential needs. As water prices rise and discretionary income falls below zero, households are forced to make tradeoffs for some of their essential needs.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California is dry with no rain in sight. Should we start worrying about drought and wildfire?

California’s alarmingly dry winter continues, with no meaningful snow or rain in sight. Although it’s far too soon to predict a drought, experts said wildfire risks could worsen this summer as a result of the shortage of precipitation.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Water bill designed to help bring clean water to Central Valley gets Republican opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking water is facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California. In December 2019, Rep. TJ Cox (D-Fresno) unveiled a $100 million proposal to make improvements in small towns suffering from contaminated drinking water.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

‘Framework’ aims to aid water agreements

In the coming weeks and months, the Newsom administration, water users and conservation groups will continue to refine a framework for potential voluntary agreements intended to benefit salmon and other fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

So-called ‘negative emissions’ might actually work, at least in California

A report recently published by the Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Getting to Neutral, suggests that power plants across the state could profitably convert wood from forests and orchards into liquid or hydrogen fuels, all while capturing their carbon.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In wildfire’s wake, another threat: Drinking water contamination

Wildfire poses layers of risk to drinking water that unspool over time and geography, with some effects emerging years later, sometimes outside the burn zone… Water utility managers, engineers and scientists have only recently begun to grapple with the aftereffects of fires that consume entire neighborhoods and towns—as they did in California—and that in the process, release dozens of manmade pollutants into water lines.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta tunnel EIR scoping comments: Finance drives operation, so feasibility study should come first not last

The EIR scoping meetings for the single-tunnel delta conveyance facility (DCF) began this week. My comments focus on two critical areas where DWR appears to be repeating their mistakes of their past despite the Newsom administration’s stated intention of taking a fresh approach

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Watershed forum looks to defuse Napa County water issues

The group called Water Audit California has used lawsuits to pry water releases from local reservoirs for fish and has threatened a groundwater-related lawsuit against Napa County. The group last week co-sponsored a forum to suggest another way.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Wildfires can have many detrimental impacts on water supplies. The effects can last for multiple decades and include drinking water pollution, reservoir sedimentation, flash floods and reduced recreational benefits from rivers. These impacts represent a growing hazard as populations expand, and communities encroach onto forest landscapes.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival honors namesake fish and highlights river health

The local steelhead run is at the height of its roughly four-month window, when adult fish raised from eggs at the Don Clausen Hatchery return from the ocean, swimming up the Russian River and Dry Creek. Returning salmon — including wild and hatchery raised chinook and coho — make similar journeys through the watershed, but their spawning seasons are a bit different.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Study: Toxic elements around Salton Sea could adversely affect nearby residents

More than dust-filled air could be plaguing residents around the quickly evaporating Salton Sea in Imperial Valley. University of California, Riverside research shows toxic aerosols could also be filling the air. The problem has to do with agricultural fertilizer in the Salton Sea wetland area.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: Hard to swallow Newsom’s “voluntary agreements” under the threat of doom

First things first: you’d be wise to forget everything you’ve read or heard recently about “voluntary agreements,” which according to the usual suspects, will bring a just and peaceful end the seemingly never-ending battle over California water. Not true. Not even close.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Mexican farmers take over dams to stop water payments to US

Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico and the United States are supposed to allow cross-border flows of water to each other, but Mexico has fallen badly behind and now has to quickly catch up on payments. … Mexico’s federal government dispatched National Guard officers to protect the La Boquilla dam Tuesday, but hundreds of farmers pushed and shoved them back hundreds of yards in a failed bid to take over the dam’s control room.

Aquafornia news National Parks Traveler

Traveler special report: As goes the Colorado River, so go the parks

A warming climate has been linked to human activity around the world, and has affected the Colorado River System as well. The impacts are substantial, from reduced water flows, threats to indigenous species and the influx of new invasive species along the river system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

SF public utility acquires Wool Ranch property

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recently purchased nearly 800 acres of verdant, rolling hills and expansive bay area views east of Milpitas, a property known as Wool Ranch, adding cohesion to its collection of protected lands that surround the watershed feeding the Calaveras Reservoir.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How oil & gas states did (and did not) protect land and water in 2019

Regulating the day-to-day details of an oil and gas operation can be a complex task, with both regulators and operators working hard to prevent leaks, explosions and other threats to worker safety, community health and the environment. … That’s why we track what states are up to on a consistent basis.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Summer-run steelhead are ‘top athletes’ and ‘extraordinary’

“In many ways, summer steelhead are the most extreme athletes of the steelhead, allowing them to get up to habitats higher in the watersheds like the Middle Fork Eel River in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness, their southernmost stronghold where they have unimpeded access,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Damon Goodman. “Having clear routes of passage to be able to make it up and express their life history is critical to their survival.”

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Once again, San Francisco officials are limiting public access to the majestic Hetch Hetchy Valley

In the waning moments of 2019, San Francisco’s Water Department persuaded Congress to deny long-promised access to unreachable areas of Yosemite National Park. This power play would ban environmentally benign boating on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. The move reverses the guarantees of improved access and recreation which San Francisco made in 1913, when it pleaded with Congress to pass the Raker Act and allow it to build the reservoir in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems. It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Ventura vs Ojai Water War

While the Ventura River may be beautiful, a legal case over its water is turning ugly. Thousands of people like Jessica Colborn, born and raised in Upper Ojai, are being served legal papers. This is because of their wells that use water from the river.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sweetwater Authority eyes recycled water that Otay Water District doesn’t use

The governing boards of the two water agencies, which combined serve southern and eastern San Diego County, recently created a joint committee to explore a potential arrangement that would allow Sweetwater to purchase recycled water from Otay.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

Owens Valley Indian Water Commission awards $100,000 to Big Pine Paiute Tribe to upgrade irrigation system

Owens Valley Indian Water Commission is pleased to announce the Commission awarded the Big Pine Tribe a $100,000 Agriculture Assistance Grant torepair segments of the Tribe’s irrigation system to ensure tribal members have access to water for agricultural and general purposes.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

‘Forever chemicals’ trigger widespread closures of water wells

The state lowered the acceptable levels for two PFAS toxins in drinking water on Thursday, triggering the closure of wells throughout the California — including 33 in Orange County, which has been particularly plagued by the so-called “forever chemical.”

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program: A regional vision for coordinated monitoring

Luisa Valiela is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the watershed division of US EPA Region 9. Xavier Fernandez is the Chief of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Board’s Planning and TMDL division. At the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Ms. Valiela and Mr. Fernandez gave a joint presentation covering the goals and objectives of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program, the development process, and the Program Plan that will be released in early 2020.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Gov. Newsom softens his fight against Trump in California water wars

The governor’s newest proposal signals Newsom may be softening his fight against Trump, but opening another battle. Newsom may have traded a court fight with Trump for a legal battle with the very environmentalists the Democratic administration has seen as allies.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey gets final state OK

Pure Water Monterey has finally secured a critical final state approval and is poised to begin delivering potable recycled water to the Seaside basin by mid-February. After an all-day inspection of the $126 million recycled water project’s advanced water purification facility by a nine-member team on Tuesday, the state Division of Drinking Water signed off both verbally and by email.

Aquafornia news KTVU TV

Report: Sea-level rise ‘accelerating’ along U.S. coasts, including the Bay Area

Researchers at Virginia Institute of Marine Science issued their annual report card which looked at tide-gauge records for 32 coastal locations, stretching from Maine to Alaska. … The Bay Area was home to two of those stations: one in Alameda and one in San Francisco, which both recorded a year-over-year rise.

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Aquafornia news The Center Square

Arizona bill would mandate efficient plumbing fixtures

Lawmakers in Arizona have proposed a new bill that would require toilets, faucets and other plumbing fixtures sold in the state to work more efficiently in an effort to save water. … If passed into law, HB 2737 would emulate rules in states like Texas, Colorado, California, Oregon, and New York state that all require WaterSense certified fixtures in all new construction.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s multibillion-dollar problem: the toxic legacy of old oil wells

Across much of California, fossil fuel companies are leaving thousands of oil and gas wells unplugged and idle, potentially threatening the health of people living nearby and handing taxpayers a multibillion-dollar bill for the environmental cleanup.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Thousands served, noticed in Ventura’s water lawsuit may get reprieve

The Ventura City Council announced Monday that it may request a six-month extension from the court for the thousands who were sent legal notices or served with a court summons in the case. … The litigation dates back to 2014 when Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city of Ventura was taking too much water from the Ventura River, hurting habitat for steelhead trout and other wildlife.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

The pros and cons of enhanced geothermal energy systems

Unfortunately, there are few places so well-suited for geothermal energy as the site of the Geysers in California, which was built over an area with naturally occurring steam and a reservoir of hot water. That is why some experts advocate for enhanced geothermal energy systems (EGS), which pump water into the ground to tap natural heat sources, creating conditions for geothermal energy in areas where it would otherwise be impossible.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

WOTUS litigation may follow clarified clean water jurisdiction

the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finalized a long-awaited new rule redefining the term “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The Agencies state that their so-called Navigable Waters Protection Rule will improve and streamline the regulatory definition of WOTUS.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

To study atmospheric rivers, scientists need to get close. So they fly to them

The Air Force research crew on the WC-130J Super Hercules airplane was cruising at 28,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, preparing to deploy 25 weather-sensing devices over a long band of water vapor known as an “atmospheric river” when the hazards of air travel got in the way of science.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Four Corners drought in 2018 was worsened by human-caused climate change, researchers say

The Four Corners drought of 2017 and 2018 caused $3 billion in losses and prompted the Navajo Nation to issue an emergency drought declaration. Now, new research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggests a sizable portion of the drought’s impacts stemmed from human-caused climate change.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: Imperial Valley conservation efforts benefit San Diego, Southwest

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors visited the Imperial Valley January 30 for a day-long tour that highlighted areas critical to the agency’s Regional Conveyance System Study.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Land bureau may exempt plans from environmental review

The Bureau of Land Management may stop studying how its long-term blueprints for millions of acres of public lands would affect the environment, according to a document shared with Bloomberg Environment. … The BLM may propose a land use planning rule that will “remove NEPA requirements from the planning regulations,” referring to the National Environmental Policy Act,

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Efforts to raise the Shasta Dam continue despite Westlands’ drop out

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year lost a major partner willing to help pay for raising the height of Shasta Dam, but that hasn’t stopped the agency from going forward with the project. The federal agency continues to look for new partners after the Fresno-based Westlands Water District backed out, and the bureau continues to do “pre-construction” and design work on the dam.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California governor proposes new plan for managing water

California’s governor revealed a plan on Tuesday that would keep more water in the fragile San Joaquin River Delta while restoring 60,000 acres of habitat for endangered species and generating more than $5 billion in new funding for environmental improvements.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Ecologists see little difference between unimpaired and (truly) functional approaches to flow

From an ecologist’s perspective, river habitat and species population sizes and life histories were shaped by unimpaired flow patterns (including volume and natural variability) across seasons and years. Science from across the world, other regions in the US, and right here in California suggests that we can take some of that flow for other uses, but must preserve adequate volume and natural patterns of variation if we want native species to survive.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Vast amounts of valuable energy, nutrients, water lost in world’s fast-rising wastewater streams

Vast amounts of valuable energy, agricultural nutrients, and water could potentially be recovered from the world’s fast-rising volume of municipal wastewater, according to a new study by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez bill would outlaw fracking by 2025

A bill introduced last week by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) helped craft would ban fracking nationwide by 2025, according to its newly unveiled text. The legislation would immediately prevent federal agencies from issuing federal permits for expanded fracking, new fracking, new pipelines, new natural gas or oil export terminals and other gas and oil infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Some droughts are ‘perfect.’ Here’s why

Connie Woodhouse and David Meko, professors at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, found the most recent span of 100 years, when five perfect droughts hit California, was not unusual compared to past centuries.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Moving forward with infrastructure climate solutions

Congressional leaders unveiled a transformative vision of moving America and the environment forward by investing in 21st century infrastructure. The Moving Forward Framework outlines a five-year plan for bold investment in transportation and water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Maybe the old Lake Wohlford Dam isn’t so bad, after all?

Plans to replace the Lake Wohlford dam are now on hold as Escondido investigates other, less expensive options because the projected cost of the project has escalated to more than $50 million. It was nearly 13 years ago when state inspectors determined that the top quarter of the dam might liquefy in the event of a major earthquake…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California canals damaged by sinking soil, groundwater pumping. New bills aim to help

Democratic congressman from Fresno introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to repair aging canals and water infrastructure in California that’s been damaged by sinking ground levels – called subsidence, caused by groundwater pumping.

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Aquafornia news KQED News

State senator introduces plan for California to take over PG&E

State Sen. Scott Wiener will unveil legislation today to let the state of California seize control of the embattled utility PG&E. Wiener’s bill … would use eminent domain to force the company’s stockholders to sell their shares to the state of California, which would then take over operations.

Aquafornia news Claremont Courier

Sustainable Claremont: Our clean water future

In November 2018, more than two-thirds of voters passed Measure W, a comprehensive plan to address how we capture water and how to reduce our reliance on imported water. Now called the Safe Clean Water Program, this annual 2.5 cent per impervious square foot tax for all non-exempt property owners will fund over $250 million dollars annually to build and maintain projects that capture rainfall and storm water…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Even after Oroville near-disaster, California dams remain potentially hazardous

An audit of 650 California dams considered hazardous found that only a small fraction have completed emergency plans required after the Oroville Dam spillway collapsed three years ago and forced the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: The California Environmental Flows Framework

One of the major questions fish biologists are often asked is “how much water do fish need?” In 2016, a group of scientists from California Trout, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, with funding in partnership from the State Water Board, began to delve into this question and others.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Deadline arrives for critically overdrafted basins

Overpumping of groundwater has led to a variety of negative effects including reduced groundwater levels, seawater intrusion, and degraded water quality. It has also led to subsidence, which causes damage to critical water infrastructure. In some cases, years of overpumping have left entire California communities and farms without safe and reliable local water supplies.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Whose water is being carried by Trump’s latest environmental rollback?

When a Healdsburg winery leaked thousands of gallons of Cabernet into the Russian River last week, the jokes flowed, too. … But the spill coincided with a more sobering blow to clean water, coming to light the day the Trump administration announced it was ripping up expanded protections for streams, wetlands and groundwater adopted by the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: Using sonar to count fish on the Eel River

To inform our conservation work on the Eel, CalTrout has teamed up with partners on this new project – The Adult Salmonid Sonar Monitoring Program – to tally the annual spawning run of Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead on the South Fork Eel River with a Sound Metrics Dual Frequency Identification Sonar camera.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk

The situation in Australia illustrates a growing global concern: Forests, grasslands and other areas that supply drinking water to hundreds of millions of people are increasingly vulnerable to fire due in large part to hotter, drier weather that has extended fire seasons, and more people moving into those areas, where they can accidentally set fires.

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Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford student’s invention gives her a worldwide platform to advocate change

Kiara Nirghin, ’22, developed a unique polymer that can keep crops hydrated during dry spells. The innovative research has garnered her global recognition, including top honors at the Google Science Fair.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Bill Summary: H.R. 1132, San Francisco Bay Restoration

A San Francisco Bay Program Office would be established at the Environmental Protection Agency to make grants for estuary conservation and other water-related initiatives under a modified version of H.R. 1132. The bill would authorize $25 million annually for the office for fiscal 2021 through 2025.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California ag faces a decade of challenges

On the heels of a seemingly perpetual drought that has slowed surface water deliveries to a trickle and made water transfers complicated and expensive, Joe Del Bosque and other growers face new pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … The farm’s water costs have already more than doubled in the past 10 years…

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Water levels in South Bay reservoirs well below average

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County’s 10 reservoirs combined are at about two-thirds of their normal levels at this point in the year. Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos is just half full. Water managers say local groundwater supplies remain strong so the reduced Sierra snowpack is not yet of critical concern.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

On the environment, Trump is getting trounced in the courts. At least, so far…

California’s win rate shows that lawyers in its attorney general’s office are bringing strong cases, says legal scholar Buzz Thompson, founding director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City of Ventura faces calls to drop legal action, water adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use.

Aquafornia news The Pajaronian

Watsonville’s water system needs more than $100M in upgrades, repairs

The plan, put together with the help of Carollo Engineers, Inc., lays out a 20-year road map of projects needed to maintain and improve the city’s reservoirs, water tanks, wells, underground pipes and pump stations.

Aquafornia news WestSideConnect.com

Dam seismic retrofit project moving forward

The preferred alternative to address seismic safety concerns at the structure, commonly known as San Luis Dam, involves raising the crest of the dam by 12 feet, adding shear keys to prevent slippage and construction of downstream berms to strengthen the structure… Work on the project is expected to begin in August 2021

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

California Coastal Commission staff asks Cal Am to postpone desal appeal

Coastal Commission staff has recommended California American Water withdraw and resubmit a coastal development permit application involving the company’s proposed Monterey Peninsula desalination project, which would likely postpone a hearing on the desal permit and a pending appeal until September at the earliest.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Most major California dams lack emergency plans. ‘High-risk issue,’ state auditor says

The vast majority of California’s major dams aren’t adequately prepared for an emergency. Three years after the near-disaster at Oroville Dam, only 22 state-regulated dams have finalized emergency plans — out of 650 major dams that are required by law to have plans in place — according to a report issued Thursday by State Auditor Elaine Howle.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Friant-Kern, drinking water reviewed: Subcommittee hearing on two Cox bills

Congress began the process of providing relief to the San Joaquin Valley when it comes to the Friant-Kern Canal and clean drinking water in rural communities when a subcommittee held a hearing on two bills sponsored by T.J. Cox.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

City Council approves water rate hike to fund water self-sufficiency projects

The Santa Monica City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan Tuesday that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Less turf, fewer pools shrink per-home water use in Phoenix area

Large lawns and backyard pools were once common features of new homes in the Phoenix area, but not anymore. A recent study of single-family homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area showed that nearly two-thirds of homes do not have a swimming pool.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

After a dry January, California snowpack is trending below normal

The California Department of Water Resources conducted the second monthly snow survey of the year Thursday morning at Phillips Station snow course in the Sierra Nevada, south of Lake Tahoe. Snowpack across the state is averaging 72 percent of what’s normal for the start of February.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

An effort to transform the Carmel River gets a critical stamp of approval

The multi-year, multi-agency effort to transform the lower landscape of the Carmel River into a natural floodplain took a massive step forward Jan. 28 when the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the project’s final environmental impact report.

Aquafornia news Poway News Chieftain

Poway water customers may be getting credits

Poway water customers may be in line for small credits on an upcoming bill because the recent six-day boil-water advisory late last year.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

The nuts and bolts of the Central Valley Salts program

At a breakfast event hosted by the Water Association of Kern County shortly after the amendments were adopted, a panel discussed what the new program from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board means for dischargers in the Central Valley. The panel speakers were Clay Rodgers, Assistant Executive Officer at the regional water board; Tess Dunham, an attorney with Somach Simmons & Dunn; and Richard Meyerhoff, a water quality specialist with GEI Consultants.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Wildfires a hot topic during national weather conference at Stateline

Wildfires are feasting on overgrown, overcrowded and undermanaged forests, warmer temperatures have created longer fire seasons and officials are trying to prevent another environmental catastrophe. That was all just part of the discussion Monday during Operation Sierra Storm, a national weather conference sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority…

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must include desalination in water portfolio

Understanding why desalination is so critical to California’s water future is a lot like building a personal budget. With a changing climate, growing population and booming economy, we need to include desalination in the water supply equation to help make up an imported water deficit.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Our voices are not being heard’: Colorado town a test case for California PFAS victims

When Wendy Rash was diagnosed in 2005 with a thyroid disorder, chronic fatigue and other ailments, her doctor couldn’t explain her suddenly failing health. … It wasn’t until 2016 that scientists tested the tap water they had been drinking and found it was contaminated with man-made chemicals known as per-fluorinated compounds, part of a family of chemicals called PFAS.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Program preps communities for next drought

In preparation for the inevitable, Self-Help Enterprises … has launched a new and innovative Emergency Services Division that will reach and engage diverse and vulnerable populations around natural disasters, such as drought, fire, flood and earthquake. The program will also help families receive urgent access to clean water, help with water well replacement and water filtration services as needed.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

AI startup digs up business opportunity in aging water pipes

Fracta combines artificial intelligence with machine learning and measures everything from soil quality to population density of an area, along with historical information on when pipes were installed and what they are made of. The startup says it has already won contracts in 23 states, including cities such as San Francisco and Oakland, which have faced water shortages.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City’s legal notices to Ventura River users to be discussed at meeting

The public will get an opportunity to hear from the city of Ventura on Thursday about why it has sent out thousands of notices and summonses to those who use, pump or own property in the Ventura River watershed. The process started years ago after Santa Barbara Channelkeeper filed a lawsuit alleging the city was taking too much water from the watershed, officials said.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Groundwater plans are due in California, but the hard work is just getting started

January 31 is a big day for California water. It’s the day when 21 critically overdrafted groundwater basins must submit plans to the state for how they will bring their groundwater demand in line with available supplies over the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Axios

Mayors: Water tops city infrastructure needs

Water-related projects topped the list of infrastructure priorities for mayors, according to the 2019 Menino Survey of Mayors released this month. Why it matters: The survey revealed urgency around investments in water, wastewater and stormwater facilities, with mayors 10 percentage points more likely to focus on that issue than four years ago.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Local ag warns Corcoran: Suit against Curtimade dairy will have statewide consequences

It was standing room only as supporters of Curtimade Dairy lined the walls of Corcoran City Council chambers during last night’s city council meeting. Corcoran is currently suing the Curti family for $65 million dollars for damages incurred when their dairy allegedly contaminated the city’s water supply at the height of the drought in 2015.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

California unlikely to benefit from new Navigable Waters Protection Rule

It is doubtful that the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide any benefits to California’s farmers and ranchers. Because of rules that the State Water Board established last year, California is unlikely to be affected by the recent federal regulation that replaces the Waters of the U.S. rule.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: We must fix the Salton Sea. And, yes, water transfer is one hope

Tests are still finding such deadly pesticides as DDT, despite the ban of its use in farming during the 1970s. There are also untold amounts of ammunition from military testing as well as uranium left over from the Atomic Energy Commission for WWII-era testing. Proponents don’t claim sea water import is a perfect answer; just the most feasible means of containing these toxins as they are heavier than water.

Aquafornia news Kern Valley Sun

Local film brings awareness to Kern River ecology

Executive Director and Founder of the Kern River Conservancy Gary Ananian spoke to the Kern Valley Sun about the organization’s project in process. For the last couple of years, the organization has been working on a documentary highlighting the importance of introducing native trout back into the ecology of the Kern River and bringing about awareness of issues facing the river.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Opinion: Water plan should focus on the future, not the past

Time and time again seemingly well-intentioned initiatives and repeated attempts to develop a comprehensive water management solution have failed, despite cautionary tales. However, 2019 witnessed the horizon of a new initiative called the Voluntary Agreements that could do what few, if any, past plans, efforts, or reports could do – unite water management and develop collaboration.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

More rain, less snow increases flooding

By analyzing more than two decades of data in the western U.S., scientists have shown that flood sizes increase exponentially as a higher fraction of precipitation falls as rain, offering insight into how flood risks may change in a warming world with less snow.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

An old well springs to life and Santa Clara homeowners’ nightmare begins

Doug Ridley and Sherry Shen figured their condominium in Santa Clara would serve as a retirement nest egg, drawing enough rental income so they could comfortably travel to the United Kingdom and Asia visiting relatives. Instead, the last two years have turned into a homeowner’s nightmare, thanks to an old artesian well

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Agua Caliente tribe sues Coachella Valley water districts, again

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has filed a second lawsuit against the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency over groundwater. … In the new complaint filed on Jan. 24, the tribe asserts that it and its members should not have to pay a “replenishment assessment charge” for groundwater production on land owned by the tribe and individual tribal members.

Aquafornia news ABC30

City of Corcoran sues well-known dairy company for $65 million

The city of Corcoran and Curtimade Dairy have been neighbors for more than 100 years. But about four years ago, their relationship turned contentious. The city said it planned to sue the dairy for contaminating its drinking water wells with nitrates, a contaminant that if consumed, can interfere with the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen to body tissues.

Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Ontario sets 0% water conservation goal

Despite growing concerns of a below-average rainfall season, the city of Ontario revoked mandatory conservation measures this week, setting a 0% water conservation target with state regulators. … The City Council approved the change from mandatory Stage 2 water conservation to voluntary conservation on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

LAFCo approves annexing Middletown Rancheria land into Callayomi County Water District

The Lake Local Area Formation Commission has approved a proposal to annex Middletown Rancheria land into the Callayomi County Water District in order to ensure a safe, reliable source of water for the tribe’s homes and casino.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bill would block transfers of Colorado River water to Arizona cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino sells 1.14 billion gallons of water to Fontana Water Company

The Chino City Council on Tuesday night approved selling 3,500-acre-feet of surplus groundwater to the Fontana Water Company for more than $2 million. … As of June 2019, the city of Chino’s stored groundwater reserves totaled approximately 120,000-acre-feet, which is equivalent to 31.1 billion gallons of water. 

Aquafornia news Irish Tmes

Are almonds bad for the environment?

A single almond takes about three and half litres of water to produce. Most almonds – an estimated 82 per cent – are grown in drought-afflicted California, where it constitutes a multibillion-dollar industry. The number of almond orchards has doubled in the last 20 years in California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil and gas wells could cost $9 billion to plug, clean

Cleaning up the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells scattered across California — which includes plugging them, removing surface infrastructure and cleaning the soil — could eventually cost more than $9 billion if they fall to the state to handle, a new report commissioned by state oil regulators says.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases

The moratorium has led state officials to place on hold 58 permit applications for high-pressure cyclic steam wells, according to Don Drysdale, a spokesman for the Department of Conservation, which oversees the division now known as the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM. A Southern California lawmaker who has launched an inquiry into the steam injection wells says CalGEM’s new rules don’t go far enough.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Watershed adjudication is the nuclear option

Watershed adjudications take a long time and their outcomes are impossible to predict. Thus the interest expressed by some major water purveyors (like the City of Ventura, Casitas Municipal Water District, Ventura River Water District and Meiners Oaks Water District) in pursuing a court-sanctioned settlement agreement. Negotiations on a settlement have begun and could avert the need for a lengthy basin-wide adjudication.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Predator fish that anglers love at center of CA water wars

In California’s never-ending water and fish wars, the striped bass doesn’t get nearly the publicity as its celebrity counterparts, the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt. Yet the striped bass is at the heart of a protracted fight over California’s water supply, 140 years after the hard-fighting fish, beloved by anglers, was introduced here from the East Coast.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop replacing 3,506 residential water meters

New state-of-the-art water meters that will provide accurate, real-time readings of how much water Lathrop’s residential customers use are on the way. The Lathrop City Council approved a consent calendar item that will allow city staff to purchase the remaining 3,506 water meters in the city that have not yet been updated – approving the expenditure of $436,760 and a contingency of $43,676 to modernize the aging system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New water recycling projects to battle seawater invasion in Monterey Bay area

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Court battles, 2020 election loom over Trump WOTUS rule

Trump administration officials took a victory lap after they unveiled their final revisions to Clean Water Act protections for waterways and wetlands. But the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, replacement rule that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers completed yesterday must now survive a possible Democratic win in the 2020 presidential election and an expected inundation of challenges in the courts.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Researchers aim to cure valley’s salty soil with $2.5m grant from NSF

A new project out of UC Merced — funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation — seeks to address this problem by developing an innovative, environmentally friendly and economically feasible system to desalinate and reuse agricultural drainage water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

January will end on a dry note in Southern California as the jet stream locks into a zonal pattern

January’s rainfall has been unimpressive to date, and Jan Null, veteran meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services, agrees that the last week of the month looks relatively dry. Seasonal precipitation totals for Northern and Central California continue to fall behind normal.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona’s water system for suburban growth heads toward ‘train wreck,’ Babbitt says

A water management district created by a 1993 state law that allowed massive subdivisions to spread into the outer suburbs of Tucson and Phoenix is now heading for a “train wreck,” warns former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Aquafornia news Weekly Calistogan

There’s plenty of water: City of Calistoga updates its water element in general plan

Demand for water from 2002-2015 was down 36%, and demand for 2019 was only about half of what it was for 2015, city staff said at a planning commission meeting Jan. 22.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

New film highlights fight for clean drinking water in Valley

Yolanda Cuevas saw herself on the big screen for the first time during the Saturday premiere of “The Great Water Divide: California’s Water Crisis” in Exeter. The short documentary focuses on Tooleville, a hamlet in eastern Tulare County where children can’t wash their hands, dishes or vegetables without supervision because the water is tainted with multiple contaminants.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Between wildfires, land in the US West has short 10- to 15-year reprieve

In wildland forest locations, they found that drought-ridden and drier locales like Idaho and Colorado have longer stretches of post-burn protection (about 20 years) because the woody debris in those forests require extreme drought to carry fires and the land lacks grassy fuels. Coastal California, however, receives more moisture and grassy fuel grows quickly, increasing the risk for reburn, seeing that negative feedback disappear after about 10 years.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Groundwater Sustainability Plan evaluation and State Water Board intervention

A joint workshop hosted by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board provides details on how incoming plans will be evaluated and what State Water Board intervention might look like.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S. food trade increasingly leans on unsustainable groundwater

Konar and her colleagues combined groundwater depletion data with county-level food trade data. They found that, between 2002 and 2012, unsustainable groundwater use increased by 32 percent in products traded domestically. The increase was 38 percent for exported goods. If groundwater is like a bank account, then this is deficit spending.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Voluntary agreements are a better plan for California

We are on the brink of a historic accomplishment in California water to resolve longstanding conflicts through comprehensive voluntary agreements that substitute collaboration and creative solutions for perpetual litigation. For anyone to abandon this transformative effort in favor of litigation would be a tragic mistake…

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