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 Bloomberg Environment

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Hidden danger in water confronts California wildfire survivors

California’s 2018 Camp Fire was the deadliest blaze in state history. … From all that destruction, a mysterious threat has emerged for those who appeared to have gotten by unscathed: household water supplies with concentrations of toxic benzene—including one sample that had 923 times what the state considers safe. More than nine months after the fire, the Paradise Irrigation District still has a “do not drink” order unless individual parcels have been cleared.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Delta island near Isleton sold for nearly $1.2 million

The small channel island near Brannan Island can be found about one hour south of Sacramento in the Delta’s fresh-water Seven Mile Slough, in Sacramento County. The marina and resort have been in operation for more than 60 years.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Controversial water legislation heads to California Assembly floor

Senate Bill 1 is seen as a pre-emptive strike by California lawmakers before the Trump administration ushers in new biological opinions to alter water deliveries through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Woodland banking surplus winter water for use during summer

Woodland is sitting atop what is essentially an underground reservoir containing millions of gallons of freshwater. And for much of the past three years, the city has been banking excess water during the winter months to use during the summer when it isn’t allowed to make withdrawals from the Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Boost seemingly stalled Salton Sea restoration with ocean water

There has been overwhelming support from the public for salt water import to make up for the fresh water that has been sold off. It is not a perfect solution, but a doable one.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Two small agencies want a divorce from the San Diego County Water Authority. It could get messy

While there’s no court action yet, the Water Authority is gearing up for what in the water world amounts to a rare change in relationship status. After decades buying water from the Water Authority, Rainbow and Fallbrook want a divorce.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Colorado River: The West’s precious, but limited resource

Water users in the Colorado River Basin have survived the drought through a combination of water storage infrastructure and voluntary actions to protect reservoir storage and water supply. Adoption of drought contingency plans this summer, developed over years of collaborative negotiation, takes the next step by implementing mandatory action to reduce risk and protect limited water supplies.

Aquafornia news Ecological Society of America

News release: Discovering longfin smelt in new habitats raises questions about long-term surveys

While researching the impacts of industrial site restoration on aquatic ecosystems in the Coyote Creek watershed, a major tributary in the southern San Francisco Estuary, scientists with the University of California, Davis, observed surprisingly high densities of reproductive adult smelt in the marshlands, which were not previously known to be heavily exploited by the species.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

A new way to measure how water moves

A new method to measure pore structure and water flow is described in a study published in the journal Water Resources Research. With it, scientists should be able to more accurately determine how fast water, contaminants, nutrients and other liquids move through the soil — and where they go.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Potential cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms in Auburn and Folsom Lake state recreation areas

In recent weeks, two separate incidents of possible cyanobacteria poisoning in dogs have been reported at Moony Ridge (Folsom State Recreation Area) and Oregon Bar (Auburn State Recreation Area).

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Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Atwater wins $63 million in water pollution suit against oil giant Shell

A jury has ordered Shell Oil Company to pay the City of Atwater a total of $63 million in damages in a groundwater pollution suit. The decision, reached Friday after a four-month trial in Merced County Superior Court, awarded Atwater $53 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, according to a news release from the city.

Aquafornia news KEYT

County leaders move forward with plans to control flooding, debris flows in Montecito

More than a year and a half after the Montecito mudslides, the efforts to rebuild the community are still underway, but this week the county took several major steps towards recovery.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

$1.12M dam addition approved

Last fall, the district began construction on a project to remove sediment from the Littlerock Dam reservoir to increase its storage capacity, but the winter rain flooded the construction site and halted work for more than six months.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Thermal residents say kids got sick after EPA reports high arsenic levels in water

Wednesday, the EPA issued an emergency order saying the water for nearly 2,000 residents was contaminated with dangerously high levels of arsenic, a cancer-causing compound occurring naturally in groundwater. The contamination is causing concern of children in the community getting sick with symptoms that match those of arsenic poisoning.

Aquafornia news Water News Network

Blog: California moves to boost recycled water

A new plan recommends four strategies to advance water reuse in California over the next three decades – an important part of both the state and regional water resilience portfolio.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Improved oxidation is water wizardry against drought

Increasingly, California’s water will come from transforming the water we flush down our toilets, sinks, and washing machines into sparkling, pure water. Indeed, potable water reuse seems like a no-brainer. So why don’t we do it? In some places, we already do, and those places have lessons for the rest of the state and beyond.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Order to stop Shasta Dam raising report upheld by appeals court

A state court of appeal has upheld a Shasta County Superior Court decision to stop a Fresno-based water district from doing an analysis of the effects of raising the height of Shasta Dam. The Westlands Water District had asked the California Third District Court of Appeal to overturn the lower court’s preliminary injunction that ordered the district to stop work on an environmental impact report.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Hawthorne residents prepare for 40% water rate increase over 3 years

The City Council agreed to allow rate increases for California Water Service customers of roughly 13 percent each of the next three years. … For the average family paying $71.43 per month on a water bill, the cost would increase by $9.31 the first year, $9.25 the second year and $10.35 the third year, based on a projection by Cal Water officials.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Escondido hires firm to plan reverse osmosis water treatment plant

Escondido is moving forward on a reverse osmosis treatment facility that will reduce the city’s wastewater and also provide more recycled water for agricultural use. The project will divert millions of gallons of water from the discharge pipeline, and turn it into highly treated irrigation water. It’s expected to begin construction in early 2020…

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

New water park to open summer 2020 in Northern California

California’s Great America announced it will open South Bay Shores in summer 2020. The expanded space will include three new water attractions, more food locations, cabanas and a sandy beach area.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Can a ‘wild’ river survive in a rapidly drying West?

Finding a river in the West that still behaves like a Western river — one that rises and falls with the annual rush of melting snow — is tough. … But one major Western waterway has achieved almost mythical status for its wildness: the Yampa in northwestern Colorado.

Aquafornia news One Truckee River

Blog: The importance of Pyramid Lake water quality

There are a lot of reasons our watershed is unique. It’s a high elevation terminal watershed, what could be more special? Well, another contributing factor is that the terminus of the Truckee River watershed exists on the largest Native American Reservation in Nevada.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Paso Robles groundwater basin included in high-tech Stanford study

The Paso Robles groundwater basin is one of three basins in the state chosen to participate in a Stanford University study that will deploy state-of-the-art aerial electromagnetic technology to better understand its characteristics.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Continued oil leaks prompt expert study, new violations for Chevron

State regulators have taken the rare step of placing an entire oil field under technical scrutiny following continued, uncontrolled releases of oily fluid at Chevron Corp. operations near McKittrick.

Aquafornia news ABC30

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Water deliveries are plentiful for Valley farmers thanks to a healthy snowmelt

Water deliveries in the Fresno Irrigation District typically end in September, but they could last until November this year. The extra deliveries will allow growers to not only irrigate but also to bank some water for future use.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Valley green leader

What Public Works Director Mark Houghton touts as “Manteca’s own refinery” is now converting methane gas generated at the wastewater treatment plant along with food waste to produce compressed liquefied gas. And in doing so, Manteca is well on its way to effectively wiping out all CO2 impacts the wastewater treatment process creates and then some.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah sets new goals to cut water use, but critics say nation’s thirstiest state could do better

Critics say the plan, out for public comment through Sept. 25 before final adoption by the Utah Division of Water Resources, goes too easy on the surging St. George metro area, where daily per-capita water use exceeds 300 gallons — a high number some officials say is deceiving. The plan looks for a 16% reduction averaged across the state by 2030 and up to 20% in much of Utah.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Legislature, rethink SB 1. It will hurt water management

If not amended, Senate Bill 1 will perpetuate California’s water and environmental troubles, not help to resolve them, as its proponents claim.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Prop. 64 didn’t stop illegal cannabis farms on public lands

When California voters legalized cannabis in 2016, supporters of Proposition 64 hoped it would significantly reduce the scourge of black market weed cultivation, particularly on public lands. Yet nearly two years later, illegal marijuana grows are still rampant across wide swaths of the national forests in California, leaving behind a trail of garbage, human waste, dead animals and caustic chemicals.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Law Symposium: An overview of California water rights

At the 2019 California Water Law Symposium, Professor Dave Owen from UC Hastings gave the following overview presentation of California water rights, including types of water rights, governing agencies, and sources of regulatory authority, as well as a brief overview of the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Seaside wants to take golf course irrigation water and earmark it for housing

Under the plan, Seaside’s Bayonet & Black Horse golf course would stop pumping the 450 acre-feet of drinking water it draws every year from the area’s underground basin. Instead, the greens would get irrigated using recycled water produced by Pure Water Monterey, the advanced sewage treatment facility in Marina that is slated to open this fall. The water that stays in the basin would be made available to developers who want to build in Seaside.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Tubbs Fire survivors in Larkfield looking for builder to help build new sewer system

Residents of the Larkfield Estates neighborhood north of Santa Rosa who lost their homes in the October 2017 Tubbs Fire are asking a builder to help them build a new sewer system this year that is as affordable as possible.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Remarkable Suisun Marsh: a bright spot for fish in the San Francisco Estuary

Here we provide an updated account of Suisun Marsh fishes to show why the marsh is so important for conserving fishes in the upper San Francisco Estuary in general…and why we continue to be enthusiastic about working there.

Aquafornia news Village News

Fallbrook utility district considering affiliating with Eastern Municipal Water District

The Fallbrook Public Utility District has been part of the San Diego County Water Authority since it was formed in 1944, but FPUD is now investigating the possibility of detaching from the water authority and becoming part of the Eastern Municipal Water District.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley News

State agriculture officials will host public comment session on California’s water future

The California State Board of Food and Agriculture will host a public comment session on California’s Water Future on Thursday, September 5, 2019 in Fresno. … State agencies are asking Californians to help shape a roadmap for meeting future water needs and ensuring environmental and economic resilience …

Aquafornia news USC News

Blog: As Salton Sea shrinks, experts fear far-reaching health consequences

University of Southern California researchers are exploring how losing California’s largest lake could affect the respiratory health of people throughout the Imperial Valley and beyond.

Aquafornia news KCRW

There’s lead in California’s tap water. What you need to know

The state passed a law a few years ago that required public schools built before 2010 to test for lead in their drinking fountains before July 2019. Nearly 80% of schools have reported some testing. Of those, one in five school sites found lead levels of more than five parts per billion.

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Nature gone: Bay Area beach getting washed away

Known to locals as “Long Beach,” it’s part of the San Leandro Shoreline Marshlands and once stretched at least 23 miles. The most recent official estimate done back in 2008 put the beach at seven miles amid development and rising sea levels.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Business Journal

Stormwater parcel tax collection to begin this fall

Los Angeles County residents will see a new charge on their property tax bills this fall. Measure W, which was approved by county residents last November, will implement a parcel tax that is intended to increase stormwater capture. The intent is to increase local water supply, improve water quality and invest in community projects.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: 30-mile parallel Friant-Kern Canal proposed

Friant Water Authority is conducting geotechnical investigations this summer along the outer banks of the Friant-Kern Canal in southern Tulare County to determine if the soil may support construction of a second canal running parallel to the first. The reason for the research is the capacity of this key, eastside Valley canal has been reduced 60% due to land subsidence caused by years of vigorous groundwater pumping …

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Class action lawsuit takes aim at Coachella Valley Water District, claims illegal tax benefits agricultural industry

A new class action lawsuit accuses the Coachella Valley Water District of illegally taxing customers to benefit large agricultural companies. … Under the Burns-Porter Act, a local water district’s revenue can only be used for a few specific, voter-approved purposes. According to the suit, using tax dollars to fund aquifer replenishment and subsidizing agricultural water use are not appropriate uses. 

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: ASU water policy expert addresses new drought plan for state

ASU Now spoke to Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, about the cutbacks and what they will mean for Arizona’s agriculture and the state’s roughly 7 million residents.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Tiny toxins: How algal blooms affect coastal systems through a complex web of interactions

Michelle Newcomer is a research scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Earth & Environmental Sciences Area with expertise in hydrological and biogeochemical aspects of environmental issues, especially in watersheds and river environments. Now she is turning her expertise to algal blooms…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: California must follow water quality rules in Salton Sea restoration

The intent of the Salton Sea restoration is to mitigate losses of habitat for wildlife as the Salton Sea shrinks. However, mitigating lost habitat by replacing it with something harmful does not result in any benefits to wildlife; in fact, it makes things worse by creating a new exposure pathway that subjects wildlife to contaminants.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Environmentalists slam Chevron, state regulators over Kern County oil releases

Environmental groups are calling for increased scrutiny of California’s oil and gas industry after learning that more than 50 million gallons of crude oil flowed out of the ground in an uncontrolled release near a Chevron facility in Kern County over the last 16 years.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Water harvester makes it easy to quench your thirst in the desert

With water scarcity a growing problem worldwide, University of California, Berkeley, researchers are close to producing a microwave-sized water harvester that will allow you to pull all the water you need directly from the air — even in the hot, dry desert.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: August Delta conveyance update

The Department of Water Resources is continuing to work on the environmental planning and permitting to modernize State Water Project infrastructure in the Delta. This effort is consistent with Governor Newsom’s direction and support for a single-tunnel project to ensure a climate resilient water system.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: California on PFAS: Missing the forest through the trees

While the guidelines are the strictest, most-health protective levels proposed in the nation for these two PFAS chemicals, we are deeply disappointed by the Water Board’s decision to focus on just two of the many PFAS that have been detected in California drinking water.

Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: State Water Board strengthens notification requirements for potential carcinogen

The California State Water Resources Control Board has strengthened notification requirements for a potential carcinogen found in wells across the state, including Santa Clarita, officials said Monday. The state water board updated guidelines for local water agencies … to follow in detecting and reporting perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in drinking water.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Motley Fool

This water stock is now a play on cannabis — specifically, the U.S. hemp CBD market

Shares of water resource specialist Cadiz (NASDAQ:CDZI) have jumped 19.5% this month through Aug. 23, while the S&P 500, including dividends, is down 4.3%. … The catalyst for Cadiz stock’s August pop was the company’s announcement that it has entered the U.S. hemp market.

Aquafornia news KQED News

State launches probe into oil field spills – including one that’s been flowing since 2003

State oil and gas regulators say they’re launching an investigation of operations in a Kern County oil field after a series of large, uncontrolled crude petroleum releases near Chevron wells — including one that has continued on and off for more than 16 years and may have spewed out more than 50 million gallons of crude oil.

Aquafornia news ColoradoPolitics.com

Salt impacting water quality throughout the West, but a ‘grand deal’ has improved it

The Colorado is the most significant water supply source in the West, but it carries an annual salt load of nine to 10 million tons, said Don Barnett, executive director of the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum. … For the past 40 years, the the forum has been “silently working away” at improving water quality and lowering salt content on the Colorado, which supplies water to 40 million people in seven states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Researchers press California to strengthen landmark climate law

The researchers — many of whom have been active in the program’s rule making and have challenged the agency before — argue in the working paper that the emissions reductions in California’s offset program are inherently uncertain. In some cases, they wrote, the rules create “perverse incentives” toward increasing planet-warming gases.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Managing Shasta Dam for cold- and warm-water fish

Managing a river is no easy feat. Consider the needs for water released at Shasta Dam into the Sacramento River: salmon need cold water, sturgeon need warm water, and irrigators just need water. Recent research shows that all three needs can be met in all but the most drought-stricken years. How?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Trump’s Delta assault threatens Bay Area water supply

The latest assault on the Delta, which supplies roughly one-third of the Bay Area’s water, is the Trump administration’s efforts to gut the federal Endangered Species Act. Removing protections in existence for nearly 50 years threatens not only the Delta’s wildlife but also the quality of its fresh water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Microplastics found in Lake Tahoe for first time ever

Preliminary analyses of water samples collected by researchers at the Desert Research Institute in Reno revealed the presence of particles of synthetic fiber and bits of red and blue plastic no bigger than the head of a pin. “On one level, we’re heartbroken and disappointed by this discovery,” said Monica Arienzo, an assistant research professor at the institute and leader of the investigation.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Environmental groups argue lands bill will exempt Las Vegas water pipeline from judicial review

Environmental groups are raising concerns over a provision in draft legislation they believe could exempt the Las Vegas pipeline — a proposal to pump eastern Nevada groundwater about 300 miles to Southern Nevada — from further litigation and federal environmental review.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Cal Fish & Wildlife considering summer steelhead for endangered species status

The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) is considering listing the Northern California Summer Steelhead, which lives in portions of Mendocino and Humboldt counties, as an endangered species.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

‘Anything to speed up the process’: Local forest experts like Forest Service’s plan to expedite tree removal

Local and professional foresters say they support a new proposal by the U.S. Forest Service that would speed up logging and cut some environmental review processes. The Forest Service is proposing a sweeping amendment of The National Environmental Policy Act.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Less snow, more rain: How Tahoe’s climate balance could be shifting

The iconic image of Lake Tahoe is of a clear, blue lake surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. But that picturesque sight could look very different by the end of the century due to climate change. Those snowy mountains we’re used to seeing could lose their white tips. And this would mean a major transformation for life in Tahoe and beyond.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Kern quickly rises to become California’s top hemp-producing county

Minimal restrictions, ample land and a strong farming tradition have made Kern the state’s No. 1 hemp-growing county in the four months since California began registering growers of the non-psychoactive form of cannabis.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: South County’s groundwater is getting a boost that will benefit farms, residents and businesses

South County gets most of its water from groundwater, so this project, part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012, is vital to ensuring a reliable water supply for the region.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Colorado River water rights debated as climate change depletes supply

Rocky Mountain water managers worried about climate-driven depletion across the Colorado River Basin are mulling a “grand bargain” that would overhaul obligations among seven southwestern states for sharing the river’s water. This reflects rising concerns that dry times could turn disastrous.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

City approves framework for potential water transfer agreement with Santa Margarita Water District

Councilmembers approved a framework that will be the basis for a potential agreement to have Santa Margarita Water District take over water and sewer services in San Juan Capistrano.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Center for Chula Vista students fosters learning about water

Fifth graders now have a space to learn everything about water, from conservation to careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is an initiative of the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority. This facility consists of a classroom right next to the Richard A. Reynolds desalination plant, which is estimated to receive about 4,500 students every school year.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

The state of California regrets to inform you that you can’t keep beagle-sized rodents as pets

Nutria, a giant invasive rodent originally from South America, might be the size of a beagle, but unlike a beagle you can’t keep them in your home. The California Fish and Game Commission is looking to correct a gap in the law that restricts what pets may lawfully be owned by including nutria among the list.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Blog: How a young, orphan beaver learned life skills from a bunch of otters

We don’t get to see Castor canadensis, the 60-pound North American beaver, in Sonoma County very often, so I jumped at the invitation to see one up close at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue. An orphaned young kit, little more than a year old, is there for care and rehab before release to back to the wild.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Audio: Should California insulate itself from federal rollbacks of environmental laws?

Moderator Kathleen Schock spoke with advocates on both sides of the issue, John Harris of Harris Farms and Kim Delfino with Defenders of Wildlife. Dr. Lisa Bryant, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fresno State also joined the conversation.

Aquafornia news UC Davis

Blog: What’s killing sea otters? Scientists pinpoint parasite strain

Many wild southern sea otters in California are infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, yet the infection is fatal for only a fraction of sea otters, which has long puzzled the scientific community. A study from the University of California, Davis, identifies the parasite’s specific strains that are killing southern sea otters, tracing them back to a bobcat and feral domestic cats from nearby watersheds.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Russian River watershed protection campaign focuses on keeping storm drains for rain only

Most people pass by storm drains day in and day out, giving little thought to them as conduits to local waterways — and ultimately, the Russian River in much of Sonoma County. An alliance of local cities, special districts and the county wants to change that. The coalition has launched a regional campaign to raise public awareness about the link between surface streets and local creeks…

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

State approves $20M for Bel Marin Keys wetlands restoration

Restoration of nearly 1,600 acres of wetlands near Bel Marin Keys is set to begin this year after the approval of $20 million in funding on Thursday. The state Coastal Conservancy voted unanimously during its meeting in Sausalito on Thursday to allocate the money to begin the first phase of construction…

Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Deadly algae blooms contaminate Big Bear Lake

If you’re planning on visiting Big Bear Lake, avoid the water, the state warned Friday. State and regional water quality boards both urged dog owners, fishers and everyone else to avoid direct water contact while visiting areas of Big Bear Lake due to a harmful algae bloom.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Planning Commission receives report about programmatic water master plan

Oxnard Assistant Public Works Director Tien Ng presented the item and said the city wants to integrate the water, wastewater recycled water and stormwater while looking for opportunities to align projects on the same street. They want to do them at the same time. Doing this enhances the schedule and cost for such projects.

Aquafornia news Australian Broadcasting Corp.

California looks to Australia for ways to manage its groundwater after worst-ever drought

Farmers, experts and lawmakers are working to find more sustainable ways to droughtproof farms and address the vexed issue of water allocation. And it turns out many farmers and water experts in California are looking to Australia for answers as they face up to the biggest water reforms in the history of the US.

Aquafornia news Brentwood Press

Discovery Bay algae prompts study, possible solutions

While some residents are unconcerned each summer as the algae’s trademark scum appears atop stagnant water in the bays around town, many are worried about the algal blooms’ toxic effects. The Discovery Bay Community Foundation (DBCF) has formed a harmful algae bloom (HAB) subcommittee, partnering with agencies across the state to help mitigate the epidemic.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

State says it has no idea how long it will take to clean up Chevron’s Kern County oil spill

While the massive release of crude petroleum from a Chevron oil well near the town of McKittrick seems to have ended, the timeline for hauling away soil contaminated by the spill is unclear. “The full extent of the required site remediation is not known at this time and will be fully scoped with appropriate regulatory agencies,” said Eric Laughlin, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife…

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Understanding how fish deal with drought

Aquatic animals in regions like California that have historically experienced frequent droughts have evolved remarkable adaptations to dealing with dry conditions. However, the duration, severity, and frequency of droughts are all increasing as a result of ongoing climate change and an increased human demand for water, leaving even drought-hardened species struggling.

Aquafornia news Physics World

Changing the ground (water) rules

In 2014 California introduced the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into state law to help manage the conflict between ground and surface water. But updating legal structures to accommodate evolving scientific knowledge involves far more than simply rewriting statutes, according to researchers in the US.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Kern spill renews oil production controversy

California has long been a top producer of oil. But that may change. Some hope that change will accelerate under Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has called for a decrease in the demand and supply of fossil fuels. A recent massive spill in Chevron’s Cymric oilfield in Kern County, about 35 miles west of Bakersfield, prompted a major regulatory shakeup and could bolster that view.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Friday Top of the Scroll: How private capital is speeding up forest restoration in the Sierra Nevada that benefits water

The Forest Resilience Bond uses private capital to finance forest restoration activities. Beneficiaries, including the U.S. Forest Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, reimburse investors over time. Yuba Water has pledged $1.5 million toward the project and the state of California has committed $2.6 million in grant funding, with additional funding from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.

Aquafornia news Taft Midway Driller

Indian Wells groundwater authority approves well registration ordinance

All residents and organizations within the Indian Wells Valley will have to implement register their wells come Oct. 1 following the approval of an ordinance by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board of directors.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Base water plans on science, not politics

Trump started promising more water to Central Valley growers before he was elected. During a campaign stop in Fresno three years ago, he dismissed the drought, then in its fifth year, as a hoax and snorted at legal protections for endangered fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news The San Francisco Examiner

Red-legged frogs making a comeback at Yosemite with help of SF Zoo

After four years, San Francisco Zoo officials wrapped up a successful reintroduction program Monday by releasing the last of more than 1000 red-legged frogs into Yosemite National Park. The zoo began partnering with the National Park Service and Yosemite Conservancy in 2015 to reintroduce the threatened frogs back into Yosemite National Park…

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: It was ‘do or die’: Saving the Tijuana Estuary

The idea of conserving the marsh was not popular with most of the residents and elected officials, and the McCoys were frequent targets of threats and harassment. It was a rough and tumble fight and there was a lot of money at stake. Ignoring personal risk, the McCoys launched their campaign to secure the estuary.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Blog: Is Los Angeles a desert?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article in which I — perhaps cavalierly — described Los Angeles as a desert. … There was a small part of me that raised a red flag as I pounded the words into my keyboard. Is L.A. a desert, though? I thought. Haven’t I also heard that it isn’t?

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

State sets limits on septic system pollution in Russian River

The ban passed last week means that about 8,000 Russian River property owners are now looking at how to repair or replace substandard or failing residential sewage disposal systems when the new law goes into effect next year.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Councilman wants to refill Hole Lake

A piece of Riverside history could be revived if Councilman Steve Adams can get the city to refill Hole Lake, an irrigation and recreation reservoir for 60 years that’s now full of trees and plants and, in some spots, trash and homeless camps.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Truckee’s ice industry kept the West cool

Before electric refrigeration brought cheap and available ice in the early 20th century, ice was harvested along Truckee’s lakes and rivers. Truckee’s cold mountain air and readily available clear streams created an ideal environment for ice companies to create and harvest ice.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

How Private Capital is Speeding up Forest Restoration in the Sierra Nevada that Benefits Water
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: A bond fund that fronts the money is expediting a headwaters restoration project to improve forest health, water quality and supply

District Ranger Lon Henderson with Tahoe National Forest points toward an overgrown section of forest within the Blue Forest project area. The majestic beauty of the Sierra Nevada forest is awe-inspiring, but beneath the dazzling blue sky, there is a problem: A century of fire suppression and logging practices have left trees too close together. Millions of trees have died, stricken by drought and beetle infestation. Combined with a forest floor cluttered with dry brush and debris, it’s a wildfire waiting to happen.

Fires devastate the Sierra watersheds upon which millions of Californians depend — scorching the ground, unleashing a battering ram of debris and turning hillsides into gelatinous, stream-choking mudflows. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Regional collaboration keeps desert’s groundwater supply healthy

Recent validation by state regulators of the effective and sustainable management of Coachella Valley’s groundwater basins speaks volumes about the importance of collaboration by local water managers to protect our most important resource.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Spawning a solution for McKinleyville’s wastewater

Finding a way to deal with the wastewater produced by a town full of people is a challenge, one that’s forced the McKinleyville Community Services District to find some creative solutions. Officials are touting the emerging solution as a win-win, a cutting-edge project that will serve the district’s needs at minimal cost to ratepayers while also helping the environment.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

A panel of experts discuss how reactivating the floodplains can provide habitat and food for native fish and for migrating birds, and highlights the many projects and opportunities in the Sacramento Valley.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Recycled water plan moves forward

Officials are proceeding with a project to bring recycled water further into Palmdale for irrigation use, but have had to change direction in terms of securing financing.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

Blog: Banking on soil health

Farmers implementing conservation practices that improve soil health aren’t just hoping for better crop yields, they’re banking on them. The Natural Resources Conservation Service and American Farmland Trust recently released case studies highlighting the economic benefits of implementing soil health management practices.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican marijuana traffickers are poisoning California forests with a banned pesticide, officials say

“These are federal lands, and they are being systematically destroyed through clear-cutting, stream diversion, chemicals and pesticides,” said U.S. Atty. McGregor Scott at a news conference, where he was joined by federal, state and local officials who were part of the investigation. “It’s a vitally important issue.”

Aquafornia news KAZU

Monterey County community organizes for clean tap water

A lot of money will soon be flowing into California communities with contaminated drinking water thanks to the new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Today at its meeting, the State Water Board will talk about how to implement that $1.4-billion program. One community that could use the help is north of Moss Landing.

Aquafornia news Zillow.com

Blog: Drought-resistant terms doubled in California, Arizona home listings

Mentions of drought-resistant features in home listing descriptions roughly doubled in California and Arizona during the recent drought, and have yet to return to pre-drought levels.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Lake Powell pipeline costs can be covered, audit says, but critic wonders if this pricey ‘boondoggle’ is needed

A new legislative audit has concluded Washington County water bosses will likely be able to generate sufficient revenue to pay the massive costs of building and operating the proposed Lake Powell pipeline, but only through large fee, rate and tax increases and if the county triples its population during the next 50 years.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Lessons Australia’s water reform offers in science, politics and sustainable watersheds

The successes and failures of Australia’s recent reform of the Murray-Darling Basin hold valuable lessons for policy makers in California and elsewhere who are likely to grapple with the environmental repercussions of extreme drought in the future.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

Lake County throws hat in ring on Potter Valley Project

The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved an amended resolution Tuesday that will open the door for Lake County to join a group vying to take over responsibility for the Potter Valley hydroelectric project.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farm data management becomes priority

On the modern farm, soil sensors, well monitors and paperwork abound. The trick is trying to keep all that data organized. To that end, a Monterey County winegrape grower, Scheid Family Wines of Greenfield, came up with its own system, first called VitWatch, to digitize information previously recorded on paper.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Off the hook: California king salmon rebounds after drought

Commercial salmon catches have surpassed official preseason forecasts by about 50%, said Kandice Morgenstern, a marine scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Harvests have been particularly strong in Morro Bay, Monterey and San Francisco, but weaker along California’s northern coast.

Aquafornia news KQED

Audio: One California community’s efforts to manage wildfires

California’s forests aren’t healthy. After a century of preventing and putting out fires, millions of acres of trees are overcrowded, drought-stressed, and more than ready to burn. A couple of hours from the Oregon border, one community is asking how to do better.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dead fish and starving whales: What Trump’s hidden report on water means to California

Federal scientists pulled no punches in their report: The Trump administration’s plan to send more water to San Joaquin Valley farmers would force critically endangered California salmon even closer to extinction, and starve a struggling population of West Coast killer whales.

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Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

A desert oasis in western Imperial Valley

Known as the Ocotillo-Coyote Wells Aquifer, the presence and importance of this groundwater has long been known and utilized by the inhabitants and people traveling through the Valley.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California cracks down on fishing in protected areas, but anglers slip under the radar

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has increasingly cracked down on commercial boat operators who escort passengers into MPAs to illegally catch everything from rockfish to bass to yellowtail. Wardens issued 1,053 warnings and 686 citations for illegal fishing in the protected areas in 2017, according to the agency’s most recently available data. That’s up dramatically from 2013, when wardens gave out just 396 warnings and issued 327 citations.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Flows proposals: Sacramento River water agencies aim for certainty

The plan affecting Sacramento River tributaries has not been released, but water-resource managers in the region said they have been collaborating with government agencies and environmental groups to develop voluntary agreements that would accomplish the goals of the state board’s flows-only methodology.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

The fault line and the dams

Lake Temescal in Upper Rockridge sits atop the Hayward Fault, which passes underneath the right abutment of the manmade lake’s aged dam. Experts agree that creep has been observed near Lake Temescal Dam, but disagree on whether this indicates the area is at risk of suffering major damage during a strong quake.

Aquafornia news CleanTechnica

Farm to solar field transformations come with controversy & compromise

Solar energy projects could replace some of the jobs and tax revenues that may be lost as constrained water supplies force California’s agriculture industry to scale back. However, the shift from farm to solar is controversial — it can alter the pastoral landscape and take some of the most fertile soil in the world out of production at a time when the global population is soaring.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Audio: Months after completing the drought contingency plan, we have to use it

Just a few months after completing the Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River states, water managers in the southwest will likely have to implement it starting in 2020. That’s according to new projections for the levels of key reservoirs in the southwestern river basin, and Arizona is first in line to take water cutbacks.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Yes, we got a lot of rain this year, but the fire danger is still very real

One of the key factors when assessing fire danger is the moistness of the vegetation. When it was raining all the time, plants were soaking up a lot of that water, which helped them produce new growth and keep their limbs well hydrated. Usually by August, they’ve dried out to dangerously low levels, but this year they’re holding on a bit longer, in part due to cooler summer temperatures.

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Aquafornia news Palo Alto Daily Post

New clues in $875,000 payout to former sewer chief

Newly released documents shed light on why a sewage processing agency, Silicon Valley Clean Water, paid its general manager $875,000 as part of a severance agreement, and it appears a big part of that was equity the agency gave him in a $4.5 million, six-bedroom home in the hills overlooking Redwood City.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Mexican marijuana growers are poisoning Sierra with banned pesticide, task force says

Law enforcement officials on Tuesday announced a major operation underway targeting illegal marijuana-growing sites in the Sierra Nevada allegedly being operated by Mexican citizens who are using a pesticide banned in the United States.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lake Tahoe Summit boasts bipartisan rhetoric, but division simmers

For a moment as columns of sunlight drifted through the pines with the cobalt surface of Lake Tahoe in the background, it seemed as though the partisan rancor so characteristic of this political moment might temporarily evaporate. But such congeniality was short lived, if it ever lived at all.

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Aquafornia news Bitterroot Magazine

Woe is the smelt: How farms, cities, and Trump threaten a California ecosystem

Outside the walls of the lab lies an environment increasingly unfit for fish like delta smelt. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, some 40 miles inland from the San Francisco Bay, is a 1,100-square-mile tidal marsh that for millennia teemed with salmon, shellfish, tule elk, deer, and waterfowl — all of which supported a Native American population of about 300,000 people.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

‘We’re asserting our self-determination’; Yuroks celebrate reacquiring 50,000 acres of ancestral land

The headwaters of Blue Creek is also among the tribe’s most sacred sites, said Gene Brundin, a member of the tribe’s cultural committee. The stream begins at a place called Elk Valley near Chimney Rock and its cold water ensures the viability of the salmon runs, he said.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout plan reviewed by water board

It could take two more years before the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is ready to consider a resolution of necessity to go ahead with eminent domain proceedings aimed at a forced acquisition of California American Water’s local water system.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Suppressed federal report shows how Trump water plan would endanger California salmon

The July 1 assessment, obtained by The Times, outlines how proposed changes in government water operations would harm several species protected by the Endangered Species Act, including perilously low populations of winter-run salmon, as well as steelhead trout and killer whales, which feed on salmon.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California Water Board OKs $1.3 billion for clean drinking water

California’s water regulator voted Tuesday to spend $1.3 billion over the next 10 years to provide safe drinking water to communities throughout California. The money allocated by the State Water Resources Control Board comes from the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, created last month when Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 200.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Marina Coast sues Monterey County, Cal Am over desal plant approval

Arguing that Monterey County officials improperly ignored new groundwater impact information and a viable, even preferable recycled water alternative, Marina Coast Water District has sued the county and California American Water over the county’s narrow approval of Cal Am’s desalination plant permit.

Aquafornia news California Sun

Podcast: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto and a deep dive into the San Francisco estuary

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto, the editor in chief of Estuary Magazine and long-time Bay Area science writer, talks about the resiliency of the largest estuary on the West Coast, the challenges facing the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the potential impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Red abalone season closure may be a canary in the coal mine for Northern California

Abalone is a much-sought-after delicacy with a sweet, delicate flavor similar to a sea scallop, say those who’ve tried it. … But as marine heat waves, ocean acidification, habitat loss, and overfishing shrink the red abalone fishery, the sweet delicacy is at risk of permanently losing its food source: the kelp forests.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Facing water crunch, Clovis gets to work on drought resiliency

The Clovis City Council in July approved an amended deal with the Fresno Irrigation District concerning the conveyance of Kings River water to the city’s water system. … The agreement includes “the addition of a new water supply to meet future City growth and support implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).”

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Sea level rise: California’s new reality

While wildfires have gotten much of the attention in California as consequences of climate change, it’s really rising sea levels that will likely wreak the most damage. With more than 25 million people living near the coast, some $150 billion worth of property is at risk.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Despite lower flows, Kern River to remain wet for near future

Ask around and many agree: just the sight of water in the Kern River on a hot day has its own cooling effect. … Lucky for us, water is expected to remain in the river for weeks to come, though it won’t be quite as deep and full as it has been in the recent months.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California set to authorize $1.3 billion safe drinking water program

The more than 1 million Californians without access to safe, affordable drinking water may soon see money flowing for water districts to regionalize, consolidate, install treatment, or take other actions to improve water quality.

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Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: EPA proposes to narrow water quality certification authority under the Clean Water Act

The proposed rule would re-write EPA’s existing Section 401 implementing regulations and significantly narrow the authority of states and Indian tribes when acting on Section 401 certification requests.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Preparing California’s rivers for a changing climate

California’s rivers and streams have experienced enormous changes over the past 150 years, and a warming climate brings new challenges. We talked to Ted Grantham—a river scientist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about the state of the state’s rivers.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Judge denies motion in Agua Caliente vs. Coachella Valley water agencies case

A U.S. District Court judge has denied a motion from the federal government to reconsider a ruling on the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians’ lawsuit against two Coachella Valley water agencies.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Common sense strengthens the Endangered Species Act

Although more fundamental ESA reform is needed, last week’s action yielded modest and common-sense improvements to implementation of an imperfect law. New efficiencies, clarity, and transparency will serve the purposes of the ESA and the public interest.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Dam management can help salmon and sturgeon

In a paper published Tuesday in the Journal of Applied Ecology, scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the National Marine Fisheries Service used statistical modeling to determine an optimal water management plan that would protect both species and ensure other water users would benefit as well.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

The magic of swimming holes

There is something about a swimming hole that implies elusiveness. Compare it to the beach, which, at least in California, one could reach from just about anywhere by heading west: The coast is a line, but a swimming hole is a dot on the map, a point in space and time.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

Water conversation should be on Californians’ minds even after wet rainy season

Despite being one of the wettest seasons, Cal Water officials are saying conservation should be on Californians’ minds. Cal Water special projects manager, Susan Cordone, said, “It is important to continue to practice conservation. One wet winter does not make it, allow us to go back to our old ways of using water just as we wish.”

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Fresno water district appeals ruling to stop work on Shasta Dam study

Westlands Water District says a preliminary injunction ordering it to stop work on an environmental impact report may prevent it from helping to pay for raising the height of the dam, according to the appeal filed last week.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Historic ranch on Colorado’s high plains now holds millions of gallons of water for Denver-area economic development

The desire to expand housing, commerce and other development around metro Denver and on arid high plains once deemed inhospitable has driven an innovative urban water broker to build a $22 million reservoir on a ranch 70 miles east of the city along the South Platte River.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Proposal would allow oil companies to inject wastewater into aquifers

California regulators are negotiating an agreement with two major oil companies that would allow them to keep injecting millions of gallons of wastewater into potential drinking water and irrigation supplies in the Central Valley for three years.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino Sun

6 things to know about Cadiz’s plan to pump water in San Bernardino County’s Mojave Desert

The story behind a proposal to pump water from under the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County is a long and complicated one. Since its approval in 2012, the Cadiz Valley Water Conservation, Recovery and Storage Project has been tied up in litigation from environmental groups, fought over in the state legislature and faced hurdles by state and federal government officials.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

Karuk Tribe releases climate adaptation plan calling for more prescribed fires

For most of the last 150 years, traditional Karuk burning practices were criminalized. The Plan attempts to reverse all this by re-establishing a more natural fire regime on the landscape through prescribed burns at appropriate times of year.

Aquafornia news Philadelphia Inquirer

Is fluoride in water toxic to babies’ brains? A rigorous study raises alarms

A new study that suggests fluoride is harmful to developing brains is likely to fan the smoldering debate over the safety of adding the tooth-protecting mineral to public drinking water.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Plan for public buyout of local Cal Am water system set for Monterey water board review

Released on Friday, the 15-page plan authored by water district general manager Dave Stoldt outlines a recommended approach to meet the district’s formal policy of pursuing public control of all “water production, storage and delivery assets and infrastructure,” as established by voter-approved Measure J.

Aquafornia news The New Yorker

A trailblazing plan to fight California wildfires

Although prescribed burns have been part of federal fire policy since 1995, last year the Forest Service performed them on just one per cent—some sixty thousand acres—of its land in the Sierra Nevada. “We need to be burning close to a million acres each year, just in the Sierras, or it’s over,” said Jeff Brown, manager of a field station in the Tahoe National Forest.

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Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Opinion: Urgency lost in hyper-wet winter

Desalination began to lose its urgency among Californians and their public officials two years ago, after the drought-busting winter of 2016-17, when heavy rain and snow ended dry conditions in most of the state. The idea of drawing potable water from the sea became even less of a priority this year, when an autumn of record-level fires gave way to one of the state’s wettest winters on record.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Will Calif. pass SB 1 to resist Trump’s environmental assault?

Earlier this week, the Trump Administration announced final regulations that would gut the Endangered Species Act nationwide, weakening protections for our most imperiled wildlife. … SB 1 is intended to help fill these gap to ensure no backsliding in protecting clean air, clean water, and endangered species.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Conservationists fight to save critically endangered amphibians as Trump guts Endangered Species Act

A dozen conservationists gathered eagerly around the edges of some shallow pools above a waterfall in the Angeles National Forrest. They watched with anticipation as about a thousand Southern mountain yellow-legged frog tadpoles and three adult frogs enjoyed their first few minutes of life in the wild.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Odor advisory issued for Salton Sea area; hydrogen sulfide leads to rotten-egg smell

Hydrogen sulfide is associated with the natural processes occurring in the Salton Sea, a non-draining body of water with no ability to cleanse itself. Trapped in its waters are salt and selenium-laden agricultural runoff from surrounding farms, as well as heavy metals and bacterial pollution that flow in from Mexico’s New River, authorities said.

Aquafornia news SouthTahoeNow.com

New channels planned for the Upper Truckee River in South Lake Tahoe

The California Tahoe Conservancy had planned to get started on their $9 million, multi-stage Upper Truckee River project to restore and enhance over 500 acres of floodplain this fall, but that has been postponed until 2020. They will be redirecting the Upper Truckee River flows to a historical network of channels through the current Marsh while creating new channels for the river in the vicinity of the Silverwood neighborhood.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Does southern Utah need the Lake Powell Pipeline?

The Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) proposal arose from a belief that Utah has an unused share of the Colorado River and a fear of water shortages stifling Washington County’s rapid population growth. Although many leaders across the state say southern Utah needs the LPP, this statement is not based on facts.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

SMUD set to buy PG&E’s only hydroelectric powerhouse on the American River for $10.4 million

In a joint statement, the local utility providers announced that the Chili Bar Hydroelectric Project — a dam, reservoir, spillway and powerhouse that generates electricity north of Placerville on the South Fork of the American River — would be changing hands after SMUD’s board of directors voted Thursday evening to greenlight the purchase.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles, state officials discuss increasing local water supplies

Los Angeles city and county representatives hosted a discussion with state officials to address ways to increase local water supplies and to support a proposed statewide water system. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was joined Friday by the California Secretary of Natural Resources, Wade Crowfoot, and Secretary of Environmental Protection, Jared Blumenfeld, to discuss the city’s maintenance of its water sources.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: New maps show how little is left of West Coast estuaries

The study, published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS One, documented dramatic decreases in wetland habitat around San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and nearly 450 other bays, lagoons, river deltas and coastal creek mouths throughout the West.

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Aquafornia news Redlands Community News

Valley District provides seed money for new sources of water

In a region that has already seen two 20-year droughts, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District continues to invest in water supplies to help the region sustain prolonged droughts. A new program offered by Valley District provides financial incentive to local water agencies for projects that produce recycled water or capture storm water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona, Nevada cuts to Colorado River water negligible

Arizona and Nevada will face their first-ever cuts in Colorado River water next year, but the changes aren’t expected to be overly burdensome for either state.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Taking the dog to the water? Tips to help watch for toxic algae

Not every bloom is toxic, but the toxins produced by the blue-green algae can be harmful and even deadly for pets when they eat the algae or drink the water, even in small amounts, water experts warn. Summer heat, stagnant or slow-moving water and nutrients from agricultural or septic runoff are an ideal recipe for the toxic stew.

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Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Goleta Water District updates permit to sell recycled water to ag users

The Goleta Water District has updated its recycled water permitting so it can now sell to agricultural customers, although not many of them are interested in buying.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Then and now: Photos of Irvine Lake show dramatic recovery from drought times

Irvine Lake looks a lot different today than it did a year ago. Last September the reservoir looked like a giant puddle at 13 percent of capacity, today, after a rainy winter, the water covers the area and is ready to greet the public on Saturday, Aug. 17. After a 3-year hiatus, Irvine Lake is reopening for shoreline fishing on Aug. 17.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Surviving the next drought: It’s political in California’s Central Valley

With the last drought in the rearview and the next one inevitable, the damaging run on groundwater has state water agencies and lawmakers mulling whether to spend hundreds of millions to patch up a federally owned canal. But critics say doing so would amount to a clear bailout for the state’s largest farmers.

Aquafornia news The Economist

Caps on groundwater use create a new market in California – a liquid market

During the drought of 2012-16 landowners pumped more and more groundwater to compensate for the lack of rain. Thousands of wells ran dry. As a result, California passed a law requiring water users to organise themselves into local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Groups urge state to protect aquifers from oil, gas operations in Santa Barbara County

On Tuesday, groups submitted a letter to California’s key resource agencies responsible for preserving and managing the state’s natural resources, urging the agencies to protect drinking water and safeguard public health from the pending request for exemption from federal safe drinking water rules in the Cat Canyon Oil Field in Santa Barbara County.

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

Water costs divide City Council

The City Council is split on how much to raise water rates over the next five years to fund projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water. … Bi-monthly water and wastewater bills for single-family homes would increase by $23 on average under the lower rate structure and $36 under the higher rate structure.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Fracking has less impact on groundwater than traditional oil and gas production

Conventional oil and gas production methods can affect groundwater much more than fracking, according to hydrogeologists Jennifer McIntosh from the University of Arizona and Grant Ferguson from the University of Saskatchewan.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Meet the ‘rock star’ frog breeder vying to save Southern California’s rarest amphibian

It was happy hour at the “Frog Shack,” a tiny building at the Los Angeles Zoo offering all the amenities that Southern California’s rarest — and perhaps fussiest — amphibians might need to survive. … This is where Ian Recchio, the zoo’s curator of reptiles and amphibians, is performing what some call miracle work in keeping alive a federally endangered species, one of the rarest vertebrates on Earth.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Earthquake damage at California Navy base could top $5.2 billion

The twin earthquakes that rattled Southern California last month caused up to $5.2 billion in damages to the China Lake Navy base, according to estimates in a report released Wednesday by the base. The report cites extensive damage among the nearly 3,600 facilities at the base, including 1,341 buildings, as well was infrastructure like water supplies and power.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Ocean acidification alters salmon’s sense of smell

A team of researchers from Washington state recently studied the effects of acidification on salmon’s sense of smell, also known as “olfaction,” which is particularly important for salmon to navigate back to their home streams to spawn. The scientists made the alarming discovery that at the pH levels of seawater predicted to occur in the next 50 to 100 years, salmon’s sense of smell may be significantly impaired.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Friday Top of the Scroll: First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be required to take less water from the Colorado River for the first time next year under a set of agreements that aim to keep enough water in Lake Mead to reduce the risk of a crash.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Meadowbrook, Searles Valley Minerals protest groundwater model

In light of the recent groundwater modeling scenarios generated by Indian Wells Valley Water Groundwater, some stakeholders in the basin have pushed back, including Searles Valley Minerals and Meadowbrook Dairy.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Desperate for new water supplies, San Luis Obispo County bets on cloud-seeding program

With $300,000 already set aside by Zone 3 of the San Luis Obispo County Flood and Control Water Conservation District, cloud-seeding airplanes could fly over Lopez Reservoir as soon as January.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Turning up heat on more dam storage

GAR Tootelian, a major agricultural chemical company, and Families Protecting the Valley are rolling up their sleeves to put up several hundred road signs calling for action to build more dam storage and the message is simple: Dam Water Grows Food.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Parent raises concerns over unsafe water at Stockton school

Waverly Elementary School has levels of a chemical called TCP in its drinking water that are above state standards. The Linden Unified School District, which the school is part of, tests for water contaminants throughout the year and found that between April of 2018 and March of 2019 the water violated the drinking standard.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Creek cleanup begins at notorious West Marin dumping ground

A decade’s worth of junk including cars, refrigerators and even goat carcasses that were illegally dumped into a West Marin creek is being removed this week through a collaborative effort between environmental groups, local businesses and government partners.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Trillions of tiny invasive shrimp are degrading Lake Tahoe’s clarity. Now researchers are trying to stop them

As the sun sets across Lake Tahoe, UC Davis researcher Brant Allen and his team lower their sonar machine into the lake. Thousands of little purple dots rise across the screen as they cross the lake. … It’s not fish or Tahoe Tessie; it’s a horde of tiny mysis shrimp, which researchers think have been making the lake murkier since they were introduced in the 1960s.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California’s largest legal weed farms face conflict in wine country

In June, Kathy Joseph learned that the fungicide she has been spraying on her grapes for decades could be drifting onto the cannabis. Unlike food crops, cannabis can’t be sold if there’s any trace of fungicide or pesticide in it, according to state law. So while the county investigates, she’s using a more expensive and far less effective spray on the grapevines that are nearest to the cannabis farm.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

New mapping reveals lost West Coast estuary habitat

An unprecedented survey has revealed the loss of about 85 percent of historical tidal wetlands in California, Oregon, and Washington. The report, published today in PLOS ONE, also highlights forgotten estuary acreage that might now be targeted for restoration.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Technology offers options to farmers

Amid employee shortages, groundwater issues and other challenges, farmers in Monterey County and elsewhere are looking to the tech sector to help them bring their crops to market.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

All aboard for sucker recovery

Two species of Klamath Basin sucker have been dying before they can reach adulthood, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is showing continued interest in expediting efforts already underway to save the fish species.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

‘Snow droughts’ will soon become more common in the western U.S.

Nowadays there’s about a 7 percent chance that snowy areas in the western U.S. will get two really bad snow years in a row—years with snowpack lower than a quarter of the long-term average. But within a few decades, if climate change continues apace, those bookending “snow droughts” could occur about 40 percent of the time, according to work published in August in Geophysical Research Letters.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: New sprinklers will soon be more expensive in California. Here’s why

Californians, your yard sprinklers are about to get a little bit more expensive. The good news is, your water bill is about to get cheaper. California on Wednesday officially adopted new regulations which are estimated to save more than 400 million gallons of water per day within 10 years, enough to supply San Diego, the second largest city in the state.

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Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Water district plans sustainable groundwater basin

The Carpinteria Valley Water District is in the process of forming a groundwater sustainability agency for Carpinteria Groundwater Basin in partnership with the city of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara County and Ventura County.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Forest management company returns 50,000 acres of land to Yurok Tribe

On Monday, Aug. 19, the Yurok Tribe, Green Diamond Resource Company and Western Rivers Conservancy will celebrate a decade-long, hard-won effort to preserve and place into tribal ownership approximately 50,000 acres of forest surrounding four salmon sustaining streams, including Blue Creek, according to tribal leaders.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Could this be a ‘golden goose’ for Yuba County?

For five decades, PG&E paid for and operated the Colgate Powerhouse in exchange for the revenue generated by the hydroelectric generation. But now, instead of tens of millions of dollars flowing out to the utility, that agreement has expired and the revenue, potentially as much as $30 million per year, is flowing back into the Yuba Water Agency.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wet winter doesn’t end climate change risk to Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday will release its projections for next year’s supply from Lake Mead, a key reservoir that feeds Colorado River water to Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico. After a wet winter, the agency is not expected to require any states to take cuts to their share of water. But that doesn’t mean conditions are improving long term.

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Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Opinion: SB1 … Fix it or nix it

Earlier this year, Sacramento politicians introduced Senate Bill 1 (SB1) which seeks to inject politics into California’s environmental regulations. SB1 will restrict water deliveries to the Central Valley and make California even more unaffordable. SB1 puts our communities in danger.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Cleanup of cancer-causing toxins in Phoenix has been delayed for years

A plume of toxic chemicals has tainted the groundwater for decades, and it’s now at the center of a bitter fight over how the aquifer should be cleaned up and what should happen to the water in the future.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: Warming climate and our water

Some areas of the country are predicted to see increased flooding from hurricanes and other storms, while climate models show the West, particularly California, will be getting dryer. This will especially affect the water supply in California and here locally in the Santa Clarita Valley, where we have long depended on water from the melting Sierra snowpack to get us through our hot, dry summers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Desert farmers trade water for cash as the Colorado River falls

With big western cities clamoring for a share of the river’s diminishing supply, desert farmers with valuable claims are making multimillion dollar deals in a bid to delay the inevitable. … But if the river’s water keeps falling, more radical measures will be needed to protect what remains. 

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The fight over Salinas Valley groundwater heats up as free-for-all nears its end

California was the last Western state to pass legislation regulating groundwater: the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 arrived after more than a century of development, intensive agriculture, bouts of drought and the looming threat that our aquifers will dry up. But the details of who would get to pump what – and the financial cost of achieving groundwater sustainability – are only now becoming clear.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

County considering project to send treated water from Paradise to Chico

Butte County, California Water Service and Paradise Irrigation District are kicking off the lengthy process on a project to pipe water from Paradise to Chico. The project would seek to restore some viability to PID, which lost most of its customers after the Camp Fire. It would also reduce demands on the groundwater basin currently used for water in Chico to boost long-term sustainability.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Cost, timeline for removing Klamath River dams updated

Removing four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River in Southern Oregon and Northern California is expected to cost just under $434 million and could happen by 2022, according to a new filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Toxic algae has killed dogs across the U.S. this summer. Now California is on alert

Toxic, blue-green algae blooms that poisoned dogs across the country this summer with deadly results have California water officials on alert for the dangerous bacteria.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater committee talks well registration outreach

With the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority Board of Directors set to pass an ordinance requiring mandatory groundwater well registration on Aug. 15, a looming question remains: how to notify residents in the valley.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Keeping water demand in check

A new tool from the World Resources Institute for assessing water stress around the globe is shedding much-needed light on a growing mismatch between the supply and demand for fresh water. But an article surveying the data assembled by WRI for the digital New York Times this week missed the mark in describing California’s situation, where water use tops all other states.

Aquafornia news Pew Charitable Trusts

Blog: Remarkable California lands and rivers would gain protection under U.S. bill

According to a 2017 report by the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation generated $92 billion in consumer spending in California and is directly responsible for 691,000 jobs in the state. That’s why local residents and elected leaders have sought additional safeguards to make sure that some of the more extraordinary lands and rivers within the national forest and monument receive permanent protection as wilderness and wild and scenic rivers.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Plans to mine deeper near Livermore, Pleasanton under review

A plan to increase mining depths at a 920-acre sand and gravel mining facility between Livermore and Pleasanton will be reviewed next week during a public meeting where citizens can learn more about the possible impacts to water quality, water management and flood channels.

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