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 Highland Community News

Opinion: Imported water helps the valley endure another year of drought

Even though water districts and cities throughout the San Bernardino Valley rely on local rainfall and mountain runoff for about 70 percent of their water supply, local supplies are not enough. The region relies on Sierra snowmelt from Northern California to meet the remaining 30 percent.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Fears of more flooding in north Chico area may halt building permits

The issue, which came in front of the county supervisors Tuesday, has been “put on pause,” she said, until more information is available. Specifically, the supervisors are waiting to make a decision on the moratorium until they know how many homes have been built in the area in the past two to three years, and how many more are slated to be built.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Newsom administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio puts California on course to climate resilience

While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona bills would strengthen rural groundwater rules

State legislators plan to tackle widespread problems of groundwater overpumping in rural Arizona this session, proposing bills that would make it easier to limit well-drilling in farming areas where residents have asked for help from the state to safeguard their dwindling water supplies.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Wildfire and water challenge solutions featured in documentary to air on KVIE

UC Merced researchers outline solutions to the severe wildfire problems in California’s mountain forests and closely linked water resource challenges in a documentary premiering on KVIE, the Sacramento affiliate of PBS, later this month. The new film “Beyond the Brink: California’s Watershed” highlights the critical need to reverse a century of fire suppression in Sierra Nevada forests…

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Policy changes assist water patrons

Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill 998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Laguna Lake to be dredged near Prefumo Creek

The city has a five-year plan for its initial removals of sedimentation, and city officials forecast spending a total of about $1.65 million. According to a 2016 city report, removing the sediment would deepen the lake and create community benefits that include enhancing wildlife habitat, critical for threatened steelhead trout and local and migratory birds, as well as recreational opportunities…

Aquafornia news KCET

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018. One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement…

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

More than 100 turn out to learn about damaged dam

The Ono Community Services District has been trying since last summer to get federal and state money to pay for repairs to the 100-year-old dam, which has holes in its spillway and no other way to release water after its outlet pipes became plugged with dirt and debris last spring.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

GSP vote set for Jan. 16

After years of planning, discussion and debate, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board will vote on the adoption of the groundwater sustainability plan at its meeting Thursday. … The plan will provide a roadmap to bring the IWV groundwater basin into sustainability by 2040. That includes reducing pumping of the basin to a safe yield of 7,650 acre-feet per year…

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Here’s how much better last fire season was than the previous two

Last year, with those recent calamities haunting the state, officials took some unprecedented steps to avert a devastating repeat. Did they work? Well, judging by the results tallied at the end of the year, something went right.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Blog: Energy companies have a great friend at Trump’s Interior Department: Their former lobbyist

Since he took the new post in July 2017, Bernhardt’s former clients have spent a lot of money trying to influence the Department of Interior. Seventeen of them have coughed up a combined $29.9 million to lobby the Trump administration since January 2017, according to a new report from the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen…. Bernhardt’s former client Westlands Water District, which has lobbied to weaken endangered species protections to divert more water for agriculture… has spent more than $1.5 million lobbying Interior and Department of Justice since 2017. 

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

First look: San Diego State University’s $54M plan for a Mission Valley river park

SDSU, with the help of its landscape architect Schmidt Design Group, hopes to engineer ties to the oft-overlooked San Diego River, which runs behind the Mission Valley property currently home to SDCCU Stadium. Although park-goers won’t be able to access the river — a landscaped buffer will be used to keep people away from the natural habitat — they should get a river-like feel from the park.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news Data Center Dynamics

Opinion: The overlooked threat to the digital economy: Water scarcity

If you manage a data center, you need smart water management strategy. Fortunately, practical solutions to make that happen are available today. Smart water management is a growing necessity because of two colliding challenges: the need for more data centers around the world and increasing global water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat

West Marin ranchers and a local conservation group are teaming up to plan habitat restoration projects along Walker Creek to restore the once bountiful, but now diminished, runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Point Reyes Station-based Marin Resource Conservation District a nearly $350,000 grant this month…

Aquafornia news San Diego Reader

Why San Diego farmers worry about water

In December, the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District voted to begin detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority in order to join Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District. Will those left behind pay more as others tap new supplies? Questions are flying in Valley Center, where farms are the main customers, even as avocado turf keeps shrinking.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use

The first question asked at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meeting on Friday represented the frustration of growers who are still facing the unknown. “It’s 2020,” the grower said, who went on to ask the board, referring to growers, “what can they pump?” The board is still working through the process on how much water growers can pump out of the ground.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: An ounce of prevention: Australia and California could benefit from forest management

The fires raging in Australia present a sadly recognizable scenario, a new normal that, after two years of devastating wildfires in California, we in the United States have become all too familiar with. Policies intended to return forests to a more “natural” state with less proactive human management have created disastrous conditions…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California eyeing lower standard for perchlorate in drinking water

Water suppliers across the state must test for perchlorate down to 4 parts per billion. In February, the board expects to seek comment on reducing that threshold down to 2 parts per billion…

Aquafornia news Futurity.org

Blog: ‘Perfect droughts’ hit California water sources 6 times a century

Severe droughts have happened simultaneously in the regions that supply water to Southern California almost six times per century on average since 1500, according to new research. The study is the first to document the duration and frequency of simultaneous droughts in Southern California’s main water sources—the Sacramento River basin, the Upper Colorado River Basin, and local Southern California basins.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Some Riverside residents warned to stop outdoor watering while treatment plant repairs take place

The Henry J. Mills Water Treatment Plant will be out of service for nine days and the Western Municipal Water District will not be able to import water, forcing the agency to rely on its reserves, officials said. The work began Friday, Jan. 10, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California crews will be fixing and modifying the facility until Jan. 19, according to the agency.

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

Five water issues to watch in Arizona in 2020

Plenty of work is on the docket for 2020 and beyond to manage and preserve Arizona’s water supply, even if that work might not write history the way last year’s signing of the Drought Contingency Plan did. … The state’s water managers are known for prioritizing predictability and making careful, gradual changes, not erratic or sudden ones. Here are five key issues to watch this year in Arizona water.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: District to update water charge zones

Because zone changes have the potential to impact many well users, Valley Water conducted extensive stakeholder engagement on the preliminary study recommendations. … The board of directors agreed and directed our team to prepare the survey description to modify the two existing zones, and create two new zones in South County. The board will consider these changes in a public hearing later this year.

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear

How pervasive is that plastic exposure, and is it bad for your health? Scientists don’t yet know, but they have some working theories. Here’s what we know so far about these tiny, prevalent plastic particles.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Kids take part in salmon life cycle at Riverbend Park

As they walked to the river’s edge holding baby salmon in cups, second graders warned the tiny fish of predators before gently setting them free into the water. Two classes from Oakdale Heights Elementary School took part in a salmon study that came to a close Friday at Riverbend Park in Oroville.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey finishes key water tests, delivery date delayed again

According to Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto, the best-case scenario now is the much-anticipated $126 million recycled water project would be able to start delivering water to the basin by early February, about a month later than the most recent previous estimate…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona’s water supply a major issue for legislative session

Republican and Democratic Leaders of the Arizona House are again eyeing the state’s water supply as a major issue in the coming legislative session. GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Democratic Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez have both highlighted overpumping in the state’s rural areas as a major issue for lawmakers when return to work on Monday.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

The living landscape: Beautiful Boggs Ridge Nature Trail

This quiet corner of Lake County – about 50 acres – resides in the Cache and Putah Creek watersheds. Our amazing watershed, a hydrologic system, in due course, arrives at the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: A guide to PFAS in courts

Court dockets are ballooning with litigation over PFAS, a vexing family of chemicals used in many consumer and industrial products. … Lawyers have compared the legal onslaught to litigation over asbestos, tobacco, and lead paint. Here’s a rundown of key cases.

Aquafornia news Dana Point Times

Talking desalination dollars

South Coast Water District will gear up to undertake its next milestone for desalination: financing the project. On Thursday, Jan. 9, after press time, General Manager Rick Shintaku requested authorization from SCWD’s Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with Clean Energy Capital to conduct a cost analysis for the proposed desalination project.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites across the nation.

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Aquafornia news ABC10.com

When Sacramento became ‘Levee City’: 170-year anniversary of the flood that started it all

The river barreled over, sinking the streets of Sacramento in 6-feet of water. It was streaming fast, flooding the hotels and houses of Gold Rush migrants hoping to find fortune in the bountiful land of California.

Aquafornia news The Grocer

How US almond growers are struggling to overcome ‘vampire’ image problem

Californian almonds will benefit from a new public campaign next week to capitalise on the explosion in plant-based eating… However, the environmental reputation of the almond sector is much less favourable. It was once labelled a “horticultural vampire” by US magazine New Republic for its perceived role in California’s most recent droughts.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado River had a stellar 2019, but this year’s forecasts are below average

Right now, the April-July runoff is supposed to be 82% of average. That compares to 145 % of average in 2019, the second-best runoff season in the past 20 years, says the federal Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. Despite last year’s excellent river flows, most experts also say the Colorado still faces long-term supply issues…

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

Many of the people and businesses that once relied on the lake have left, driven away by the smell of dying fish or the fear of health problems. Those who remain — farmworkers, families, the elderly — are generally too poor to afford the rising cost of property elsewhere in the valley.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break… Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on California’s second-longest river…

Aquafornia news Bay City News

SF City Hall to swap out bottled water for tap under new pilot program

San Francisco city officials and employees will no longer be sipping bottled water, but instead tap water provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under a new pilot program announced Thursday. The program aims to install new reusable five-gallon containers at nine departments with offices within City Hall, filled with tap water from the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Imperial Beach residents weigh in on potential water rate hikes

Water rates are set to rise next year for at least some parts of San Diego County, including Imperial Beach, Coronado and some sections of San Diego served by the California American Water Company. The rates are renegotiated every three years, but it’s about an 18-month process to determine just how much those rates will climb.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Opinion: Save the Chinook and Coho salmon

Every year since 2014, I have petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to end the widespread practice of irrigation, especially of cattle pastures, outside the legal irrigation season. So far, however, State Water Board staff have not taken effective action to end the illegal water use and the resulting degradation of Scott River stream ecosystems…

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Film by Truckee local to be featured at Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City

What started as a plan for a fun trip down the Sacramento Rver turned into a storytelling mission for Mitch Dion and his friend Tom Bartels, who set out to interview farmers, politicians and others who were impacted by the river.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back

Recently, property owner United Technologies Corp. has asked the state to change cleanup requirements of the property from residential to commercial standards, according to the documents filed with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees the remediation efforts.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development. By no means, however, would California go unaffected.

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Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Hi-Desert Water District looks at raising rates for Yucca Valley customers

Without raising rates to make 3 percent more revenue each year starting in 2020, Hi-Desert Water District would not have enough revenue to recover expenses in the next five years. … For residential customers who are in tier one (those who use the least amount of water), rates would go from $3.65 per hundred cubic feet in 2020, gradually up to $4.11 in fiscal year 2024.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests

The American River is seeing an increase in native fish nests following a fall project carried out by federal, state and local agencies to re-establish natural spawning habitats.

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Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Opinion: Dirty water – dirty politics

Who can deny the value of potable water to every living thing in this city, this county, this state? Four million residential and industrial customers in 43 cities in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and San Fernando Basins are dependent on multiple water sources – groundwater pumped from below them, by aqueduct from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley and recycled from wastewater treatment plants.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water releases report on wells

The majority of groundwater wells drawing water for Santa Clarita Valley Water contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find. Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. 

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Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Opinion: District updates groundwater charge zones

Because the amount of groundwater pumped out far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste and agreed to a $5 million fine, federal prosecutors said. The waste was produced by filtering arsenic out of Sierra Nevada spring water at CG Roxane LLC’s facility in Owens Valley, authorities said.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

The rope behind Poway’s water problems had been there a long time

Nobody seems to know why a rope that caused a nearly weeklong boil-water advisory in Poway was there in the first place. The rope had been hanging on a wall in a vault adjacent to the clearwell drinking water reservoir and a stormwater drain. When heavy rains on Nov. 28 and 29 caused the stormwater to surge and back up into the vault, somehow the rope became lodged in a swing gate allowing muddy water to leak into the reservoir…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document’s proposed strategies. Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA panel: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability. … At ACWA’s fall conference, a panel discussed the legal framework, different types of groundwater rights, lessons learned from existing groundwater production allocation programs, and potential pitfalls …

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water leak reveals pot grow site in Southern California home

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were dispatched Monday when a person in the city of Perris reported they had not seen their neighbor for several days and a steady flow of water coming out of the residence was flooding yards.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests

More than 1.4 million children covered by California’s Medicaid health care program have not received the required testing for lead poisoning, state auditors reported Tuesday, and the two agencies charged with administering tests and preventing future exposure have fallen short on their responsibilities.

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Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Sites Reservoir proposal receives $6M in federal funds

Sites Reservoir will receive $6 million from the federal government as part of a bipartisan spending bill that was signed by President Trump at the close of 2019.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

California’s salmon barely survived the 20th Century. Will they vanish before the next one?

Since 2015, the state’s commercial fishermen have reported nearly record-low catches. Fish hatcheries produce most of the salmon caught in California today, and with much of their inland habitat badly degraded, truly wild salmon are scarce. But a small circle of biologists and fishermen believe they can revive California’s legendary Chinook to something resembling its historic glory.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Judge: Modesto Irrigation District overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne issued his decision Dec. 30 in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Hobbs and Dave Thomas. Each sued the MID in 2016, and their lawsuits were combined into one. … Beauchesne ruled the subsidy was an illegal tax under California law because the MID had not sought voter approval for electric customers to subsidize irrigation water customers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Multiheaded hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate. So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the country.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom wants $220 million more for Salton Sea action plan in new budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include an additional $220 million for the Salton Sea Management Program, a 10-year plan to reduce the environmental and public health hazards plaguing the communities that surround the fast-drying body of water.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Sierra snowpack off to strong start but region needs more storms to keep momentum

Heavy snow in November and December means Northern Nevada’s seasonal snowpack is off to a strong start in 2020. … Snowpack in the Lake Tahoe Basin is 102 percent of normal for the date. In the Truckee River Basin it’s at 99 percent of normal. The region with the strongest snowpack in the state is in the Owyee River Basin, which is at 123 percent of normal. The area with the thinnest snowpack is the Walker River Basin at 87 percent. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

Consistent with the science developed over the last three decades, the Newsom administration is pursuing comprehensive, watershed-wide solutions that address the numerous factors that limit the abundance of native fish in the Delta. These types of solutions are the ones that are most likely to achieve the state’s co-equal goals of the 2009 Delta Reform Act…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County adopts plan to avoid pumping too much groundwater

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins. … Officials said the plan also lays out efforts to try to recharge groundwater — in other words, replace water sucked out from underground.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true

California will impose new limits on water usage in the post-drought era in the coming years — but a claim that residents will be fined $1,000 starting this year if they shower and do laundry the same day isn’t true. It wasn’t true when the state’s new conservation laws were enacted in 2018, and it isn’t true now — despite a recent report on a Los Angeles television station …

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Colorado River overcommitted on water availability

In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts. In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the city of Long Beach’s practice of transferring surplus revenue from water and sewer utilities to its general fund is unconstitutional. … The practice has been carried out for decades, but in recent years, it has faced challenges in two separate lawsuits from residents.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation

A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California Democrat rolls out green new deal to fight climate change, poverty

Citing a lack of action by Congress and the Trump administration, a group of California Democrats said it’s up to the state to continue fighting the “existential” threat of climate change by simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas emissions and improving the standard of living for low-income communities and people of color.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news Food Safety News

Opinion: Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks

One of the particular challenges we’ve faced with the Produce Safety Rule is ensuring that our standards for agricultural water are protective of public health and workable for farms of all kinds and sizes. After we finalized the rule, we heard from the produce community that some of the requirements were too complex, costly, and unworkable…

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Polluted wastewater in the forecast? Try a solar umbrella

Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife. … Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a way to double the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking advantage of water’s inherent properties.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: 2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Coastal Commission should approve CalAm desalination plant

Nobody likes to look out to the Pacific Ocean and see oil derricks on the horizon. That’s why California wisely banned new offshore oil drilling 50 years ago. But in Monterey County, coastal views are limited by a relic of a bygone era: a giant, industrial sand plant right on the dunes between Highway One and the ocean.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona Legislature could stop the state’s next water war. Will they?

Another water war is getting underway. This time we are not fighting California. It’s a family feud right here in Arizona. Urban versus rural. Phoenix and Tucson ganging up on the rural communities along the Colorado River in western Arizona.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State agencies release draft water resilience portfolio

State agencies on Friday released a draft water resilience portfolio with a suite of recommended actions to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Del Rey Oaks’ new housing plan ignores impacts and lack of water supply, lawsuit says

One of the major problems LandWatch cites is a lack of water on former Fort Ord property which the city hopes to develop in the future, according to court documents. Two parcels, identified as sites 1 and 1A, are located over the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, considered overdrafted and already experiencing seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter. Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Creating a safe harbor on the ranch

In the shadow of Mount Shasta lies the Butte Creek Ranch, its alpine meadows carpeted in grass sprinkled with wildflowers and bordered by forest. … For over 160 years, this summer scene has played out for six generations of the Hart family. … Recently, the Harts guaranteed the continuation of this legacy by working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan that balances their land use with conserving the rich natural resources of Butte Creek.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Can you fight fires while saving water? Long Beach reclaims millions of gallons per year

Until recently, any time Long Beach firefighters practiced using their high-powered hoses, the water they sprayed ended up in the drain. … That changed in March 2019 when the Long Beach Fire Department started using something called a Direct Recycling Apparatus Firefighter Training & Sustainability Unit, or DRAFTS Unit, for short.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage

A project in the Salinas Valley aims to remove contaminants like phosphate from the water at a lower cost using much less energy. … Partnering with the city of Salinas and the wastewater treatment facility, the project aims to remove phosphates efficiently and recycle water for groundwater recharge and irrigation water to farmers.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Over the next few weeks, all owners of any real property that overlies the watershed’s four groundwater basins, as well as users who take or could take water from the Ventura River, will receive a notification or summons about the court proceedings as part of an ongoing legal process and as required by the court.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports

The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years. The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR and State Water Resources Control Board host SGMA workshops

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting educational workshops in January to assist local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies submitting Groundwater Sustainability Plans for DWR evaluation. GSPs for critically over drafted basins are due by January 31, 2020.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Sierra Nevada snowpack begins 2020 in good shape

As of Thursday, the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack — a major source of California’s water supply — stood at 90% of its historical average. That’s the highest total in early January in four years, when it came in at 101% on Jan. 2, 2016.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Could more wolves mean more water for Arizona? Now is a good time to find out

What if I told you that this one simple trick could lead Arizona to more water, better grazing conditions and healthier, more diverse wildlife?

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority

California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Most weather stations in U.S. reset their rain totals today. California isn’t like everyone else though

A new year is a fresh start in so many ways and for weather observations, it means a new year to calculate rain and snow totals.

Aquafornia news Maricopa Monitor

Drone on the range: Farmers take to the skies to save water and money

Farmers for decades have used huge machines to plant, grow and harvest their crops, but more and more Arizona farmers today are using tiny, remote-controlled aircraft to boost yields and save water and money.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Broad-ranging PFAS chemicals bill on House floor next week

A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation that the House will take up in 2020.

Aquafornia news KSBY

San Luis Obispo County leaders test cloud seeding to raise Lopez Lake Reservoir levels

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors recently approved a winter cloud seeding project that could add millions of gallons of water to the Lopez Lake Reservoir and supply thousands of homes.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases

Department of Water Resources is preparing Oroville Dam’s primary spillway for use this winter season. The reconstructed spillway was completed this spring and used for the first time in April since the 2017 spillway crisis threatened 188,000 residents downstream.

Aquafornia news Glenn County Transcript

Sites Project Authority hiring executive director

The Sites Project Authority is hoping to make substantial progress on the off-stream water storage project proposed for Colusa and Glenn counties in the new year and will look to hire a new leader at the beginning of 2020 to help with the next phase.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Blog: Business interests form Delta tunnel coalition

A broad coalition that includes the California Chamber of Commerce and labor, business, environmental, community and water leaders recently announced the formation of Californians for Water Security (CWS). The mission is to support the construction of a single tunnel to funnel water from Northern California through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to users south.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950

While Colorado River water management eyes were focused elsewhere this year – on the big snowpack up north, or the chaos success of the Drought Contingency Plan – California has quietly achieved a remarkable milestone.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California can solve its water shortage with the water we have. Here’s how

California is at a water crossroads. We can continue our costly, 100-year-old pattern of trying to find new water supplies, or we can choose instead to focus on smarter ways of using – and reusing – what we already have.

Aquafornia news KCBX

Local professor’s fog research catches attention of the Defense Department

The Department of Defense recently awarded a $266,589 grant to a California State University Monterey Bay professor to continue his research into fog. Reporter Michelle Loxton spoke with Daniel Fernandez about how this grant will take his research to the next level.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

The nearly $4 million project, assisted with $3.4 million in state grants and a $1 million match from Pajaro Valley Water, is expected to further reduce groundwater pumping in the area, so as to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Young salmon defend themselves against climate change by eating more — but there’s a catch

The fish’s growth rates peaked at average water temperatures of 61.8 degrees fahrenheit, and what Lusardi calls an “unheard of” maximum weekly temperature of 70. So, how did the cold-water fish survive the warmer temperatures? There was enough food — aquatic invertebrates like freshwater shrimp or mayflies — in the water to compensate for the rise in temperature.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California water cutbacks could take large area of farmland out of production

California is increasing regulations on groundwater. For many farmers in the state, it is a step too far. The law’s critics say it could lead to a loss of half a million acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley. As Kerry Klein of member station KVPR in Fresno reports, some farmers are so worried, they’re quitting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles wants to store water under lake in Owens Valley

Quick shifts in climate have prompted Los Angeles to consider an unlikely place to bank some of its Sierra Nevada snowmelt: beneath dry Owens Lake, which the city drained starting in 1913 to fill the L.A. Aqueduct and supply a thirsty metropolis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Residents sue to stop Riverside from spending water profits on other city services

Filed last week in Riverside County Superior Court, the class-action lawsuit alleges that Riverside is violating state Prop. 218 by overcharging ratepayers to generate excess water profits for purposes unrelated to providing water.

Aquafornia news Nature

Opinion: Drink more recycled wastewater

Legislation needs to be implemented to lessen pollution. And all sectors — public and private — need to be educated about the importance of saving water, as does society more broadly. High on the list should be efforts to investigate the benefits and risks of drinking reused water, including ways to make it more acceptable to consumers.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

With recycled water deal signed, attention shifts to contentious Baylands site

Hailing it as a “historic” agreement, Santa Clara County’s primary water supplier, Valley Water, enthusiastically approved on Dec. 10 a 76-year deal with Palo and Mountain View to construct a water purification plant in the Baylands with the intent of greatly expanding use of recycled water.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Department of Water Resources to conduct first snow survey of 2020

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is set to conduct the first snow survey of 2020 on Thursday. … The information is critical to the water managers who allocate California’s natural water resources to regions downstream.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water

The governor’s apparent willingness to play into the hands of monied, agri-business players at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta remains the biggest mystery of his short tenure. It also threatens to trash his reputation as a strong protector of California’s environment.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

Opinion: San Francisco needs to pay the price for desecrating Yosemite National Park

Those who are the most politically correct among those that lecture the rest of the state from their perches atop the 40 plus hills of San Francisco about the environmental shortcomings of the rest of California should take a long hard look in the mirror. They thrive on some of the original — and most hideous — environmental sins ever committed in the Golden State.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: California isn’t ready for rising sea levels

When state lawmakers wondered what they should be doing to prepare for rising sea levels, they asked their research experts to dig into the issue. The report is out, and the conclusions isn’t what one might expect.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news Water World

New oxygenation system to improve water quality at San Diego reservoir

The City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department last week took a major step toward completing an innovative project to improve water quality in Lake Hodges. A newly installed oxygenation system, designed by city engineers, will introduce highly oxygenated water to the bottom of the reservoir to reduce the accumulation of excess nutrients and harmful algae growth.

Aquafornia news Government Technology

Atmospheric rivers can be too much of a good thing

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture that descend from the tropics to higher latitudes like from Hawaii to California. They used to be referred to mostly as a pineapple express. … A study by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests that one of these events could cause catastrophic damage to California and its economy and thus the nation’s economy.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

The precarious future of Treasure Island: Rising seas and sinking land

The low-lying island, as well as neighboring Yerba Buena island, are also the site of a multibillion-dollar neighborhood development. The project calls for 8,000 new homes and condos that could house more than 20,000 people, 500 new hotel rooms, and over 550,000 square feet of commercial space. But how will climate change affect these plans?

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Mokelumne River salmon come back in big numbers

Large numbers of fall-run Chinook salmon have returned to the Mokelumne River in Clements this fall despite challenging salmon fishing on the river and adjacent sloughs this season. A total of over 12,658 salmon have gone over Woodbridge Dam in Lodi as of Dec. 10, according to William Smith, manager of the CDFW’s Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

The Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state.

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Making a crane marsh


The idea is to make this sort of wildlife friendly farm replicable elsewhere in the Delta. As part of that vision, the Nature Conservancy has a program called BirdReturns, in which staff identify farmland that would ideally be flooded for migratory birds. The group then “rents” that land from farmers for the duration of the birds’ stay, making it profitable for farmers even when it’s fallow.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Groups fight against opening up 1 million acres for drilling, fracking

Environmental groups say they plan to fight a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for new oil and gas leases on more than 1 million acres in California. … The final supplemental environmental report released recently said the BLM found no adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing that could not be alleviated. Several groups and state officials, however, disagree and have called the analysis flawed.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: US senator proposes money, oversight to boost dam safety

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called for more federal money and oversight to shore up the nation’s aging dams following an Associated Press investigation that found scores of potentially troubling dams located near homes and communities across the country.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Rainwater in parts of US contains high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

New data shows that rainwater in some parts of the US contains high enough levels of potentially toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to possibly affect human health and may, if found in drinking water, in some cases be high enough to trigger regulatory action.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district board to take next step on public water buyout effort

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for a potential public acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24 million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…

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Aquafornia news KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Placerville developer pays for illegal diversions

A Placerville development company that illegally discharged sediment and stormwater from its construction site has agreed to pay $171,000 in a settlement with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Wildfire’s impact on water quality

As an appointee to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Newsha Ajami has worked with local, state and federal agencies to monitor and ensure water quality in areas affected by wildfires. Ajami is director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, and co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a National Science Foundation engineering research center based at Stanford. She discussed wildfire’s threat to water quality with Stanford Report.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA lead proposal, derided as weak, may be sneakily strong

A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions, water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all water utilities across the country to inventory the location of all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

California and Nevada scientists study nitrogen pollution in dryland watersheds

Nitrogen pollution, largely from burning fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and wildfire can reduce drinking water quality and make air difficult to breathe. Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, we will soon have a better understanding of how much nitrogen arid ecosystems can absorb before they produce negative effects.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘New NAFTA’ offers money for border sewage fixes

Passing the new North American free trade agreement would mean millions of dollars to help upgrade sewage infrastructure on the border, say the agreement’s backers. But an environmental group and a local organization on the U.S.-Mexico border say it’s not enough.

Aquafornia news Politico

What’s in the federal spending deal?

The spending deal does not include a requirement for EPA to regulate PFAS in drinking water, meaning lawmakers will leave town this week without significant regulatory action on the “forever chemicals.”

Aquafornia news Oceanographic Magazine

Manipulation of rivers jeopardises resilience of native Chinook salmon

The heavy management of river systems in California is causing a compression in the migration timing of Chinook salmon to the point that they crowd their habitats. As a result, they might miss the best window for entering the ocean to grow into adults.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘A geological and natural treasure.’ Would Stanislaus County dam put the area at risk?

To many West Side residents and others familiar with the [dam] site, Del Puerto Canyon is a natural gem and one of the county’s scenic wonders. An environmental impact report released last week raises some concerns about seismic risks and impacts on wildlife. But a significant and unavoidable impact noted in the report is “substantial damage to scenic resources,” “degradation of the visual character” and “adverse effect on a scenic vista.”

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Replacing asbestos concrete water pipes

The Rosamond Community Services District will replace the last large areas of asbestos concrete water pipes in a project slated to start early next year. On Wednesday, the Board of Directors awarded a contract to California Compaction for $2.3 million to complete the pipe replacement project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Non-native weeds are engulfing the ancient breeding grounds of Mono Lake’s California gulls

The people who guard the gulls that nest on Mono Lake’s islets in the eastern Sierra Nevada have used dynamite, electric fences and lawsuits to protect the birds from wily coyotes and diversions of water to Los Angeles. … Now, the gulls are facing a botanical invader they may not be able to overcome: thickets of invasive weeds that have engulfed most of their breeding grounds.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Nevada river commission intervenes in lawsuit over Glen Canyon Dam

The Colorado River Commission of Nevada unanimously voted this week to intervene into a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of the Interior and a group of environmental activists led by the nonprofit Save the Colorado River. The lawsuit alleges the department, in drafting a long-term plan for the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, did not fully consider the impacts of climate change…

Aquafornia news Quartz

Drought is crippling small farmers in Mexico—with consequences for everyone else

This isn’t just a problem for Mexico. These growers are the custodians of rare varieties of maize that may hold the secret to more sustainable agriculture. If they lay down their tools, their crops could begin to vanish.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

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Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Rural development loan aids Sites Reservoir Project in California

In a recent exclusive interview, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Western Farm Press that the low-interest loan will help fund projects associated with the off-stream storage site in western Colusa County. … “The USDA is putting up almost $500 million in rural development funds,” Perdue said.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Why SoCal water agencies must end litigation era

Next year would mark a decade of lawsuits by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s uniform rates set by our Board of Directors after many public meetings and hearings. For nearly my entire tenure on the board, SDCWA has been pursuing litigation against Metropolitan. One of my goals as chairwoman is to put this era behind us.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

New scale categorizes atmospheric flows that bring benefit and harm

Researchers recently created a scale, similar to the one used for hurricanes, to categorize the strength and potential impacts of atmospheric rivers. This system could help communities prepare and respond to floods, and aid water managers calculating how much water will be available in any given year.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Federal cost analysis bolsters Pajaro River flood control efforts

During the 2019 Flood Prevention Authority Legislative Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented a cost-benefit analysis in support of what is estimated to be about a $394 million project, an effort which would reduce significant flood risk to the city of Watsonville, Pajaro in Monterey County and adjacent agricultural areas…

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Which faucets and fixtures have the lowest lead levels? California asks plumbing manufacturers

The Board plans to make the compiled responses publicly available and encourage the 14,000 licensed child care centers in the state to buy new fixtures from those on the list when water testing indicates the fixture should be replaced.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

High water levels promise banner year for lake-based recreation

The early-winter rains, coming on top of high holdover levels at reservoirs from summer, are helping to shape 2020 as one of the best for lake-based boating, camping, fishing and water sports. At the 154 major recreation lakes in California, lake levels are 114% of normal for the date…

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: Salmon lose diversity in managed rivers, reducing resilience to environmental change

The manipulation of rivers in California is jeopardizing the resilience of native Chinook salmon. It compresses their migration timing to the point that they crowd their habitats. They may miss the best window for entering the ocean and growing into adults, new research shows. The good news is that even small steps to improve their access to habitat and restore natural flows could boost their survival.

Aquafornia news Popular Mechanics

Water desalination just got a lot better

A mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a new, micro-thin material to make membrane water desalination even better. Amir Barati Farimani, with fellow researchers Zhonglin Cao and Vincent Liu, has calculated how much better his metal organic framework (MOF) works than the traditional membrane method.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s potty talk highlights flushing fight

When it comes to testing toilets, it turns out the appropriate substitute for human feces is miso paste. That’s what EPA uses to ensure that commodes earning its WaterSense efficiency label flush effectively. To earn the label, tank-type toilets currently must use 1.28 gallons or less of water per flush while eliminating 350 grams of miso paste, along with toilet paper. That may be news to President Trump…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

More public water buyout spending to be considered

On Monday, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board is set to consider approving $1.24 million on consultants to prepare for a potential vote by the summer on a resolution of necessity to acquire Cal Am’s local system.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Can a Grand Vision Solve the Colorado River’s Challenges? Or Will Incremental Change Offer Best Hope for Success?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: With talks looming on a new operating agreement for the river, a debate has emerged over the best approach to address its challenges

Photo of Lake Mead and Hoover DamThe Colorado River is arguably one of the hardest working rivers on the planet, supplying water to 40 million people and a large agricultural economy in the West. But it’s under duress from two decades of drought and decisions made about its management will have exceptional ramifications for the future, especially as impacts from climate change are felt.

Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

Exploring Different Approaches for Solving the Colorado River’s Myriad Challenges
EDITOR’S NOTE: We examine a debate that emerged from our Colorado River Symposium over whether incrementalism or grand vision is the best path forward

Jenn Bowles, Water Education Foundation Executive DirectorEvery other year we hold an invitation-only Colorado River Symposium attended by various stakeholders from across the seven Western states and Mexico that rely on the iconic river. We host this three-day event in Santa Fe, N.M., where the 1922 Colorado River Compact was signed, as part of our mission to catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Salmon’s return marks proud day in push for creek restorations

Salmon are swimming back into the Lagunitas Creek watershed. Not only is that a natural phenomena, but it is a sign that hard work at restoring habitat and promoting greater public awareness are paying off.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration OKs leasing for new oil drilling in California — again

The Trump administration on Thursday gave the go-ahead to new oil-drilling leases on federal land in California, mostly around petroleum-rich Bakersfield but also in less-obvious spots in the Sierra foothills, such as near Yosemite National Park.

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Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

At Petaluma wastewater plant, the future is now

During its 10 years, the Ellis Wastewater Treatment Facility has reshaped itself to take in waste produced by a rapidly changing city, factoring in an increased population and new industries like large-scale beer production. Recently-completed projects costing roughly $9 million have changed the face of the wastewater facility by expanding treatment capacity, tackling hard-to-process industry waste and building a system that will provide biofuel to city vehicles.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

How America’s aging dams risk lives and homes

In the United States, many of the structures that were once engineering marvels are nearing the age most humans decide to retire. Despite steadily increased budgets for dam repair and maintenance, over the past four decades more than a 1,000 have failed … Although some dams are having critical maintenance done, states and private entities are also coming up with a different solution: take them down. California, once a bastion of dam building, took down 35 dams just last year, making it the leader in dam removals in 2018.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Sustainable sand pulls pollutants from stormwater

UC Berkeley engineers have developed a mineral-coated sand that can soak up toxic metals like lead and cadmium from water. Along with its ability to destroy organic pollutants like bisphenol A, this material could help cities tap into stormwater, an abundant but underused water source.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As winter approaches, all eyes turn toward Rocky Mountain snowpack

The early season spikes in snowpack totals are promising — the river’s Upper Basin is currently at 125% of average — but those who watch it closely are only cautiously optimistic.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

County Water Authority’s new ag water rate can be traced back to policy of the 1990s

Back in the 1990’s, when water rates started to hurt growers, the Valley Center Municipal Water District helped pioneered a program that gave ag users a special rate in return for their water being subject to interruption. … Recently the San Diego County Water Authority introduced a permanent policy that can trace its lineage directly to Valley Center’s efforts to preserve its growers. 

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

Water project one more step closer to reality

The cities of Ceres and Turlock formed the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority which is in the process of hiring a design-build consultant to oversee the project to build the facility along the Tuolumne River west of the Fox Grove Fishing Access. Water will be drawn from the river, filtered and piped to both Turlock and to Ceres. Plans call for the water to be stored in a large aboveground water storage tank. The surface water will then be comingled with groundwater for use throughout the two cities.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s water delivery system

A state inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s drinking water delivery system less than three months before the city’s precautionary boil water advisory. City officials remain adamant that the issues raised by the inspection had nothing to do with the nearly week-long advisory that ended Dec. 6.

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Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Launch Thursday focused on epic storm, flood control

Researchers from the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in partnership with the Yuba Water Agency and California Department of Water Resources, will launch the first in a series of weather balloons near Marysville Thursday. The research is aimed at better understanding atmospheric river events, or “epic storms,” that have created deadly flood events in previous generations.

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Friday Top of the Scroll: U.S. water chief praises Colorado River deal, sees challenges

States in the U.S. West that have agreed to begin taking less water next month from the drought-stricken Colorado River got praise and a push for more action Thursday from the nation’s top water official. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told federal, state and local water managers that abiding by the promises they made will be crucial to ensuring that more painful cuts aren’t required.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

County to form groundwater agency for CEMEX site

Calling it a move to resolve a dispute between agencies that could endanger local groundwater management efforts, the Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to form a groundwater sustainability agency for the Cemex sand mining plant site.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Don’t go into the tunnel

Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

A model for the future of water

With a low rumble from a large pipe, water began flowing into a dirt basin at 25th Street West and Elizabeth Lake Road Thursday morning, christening the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge Project and marking the debut of a new water storage endeavor in the Valley. Inside the basin, water flowed from holes in a round structure to begin flooding the bottom, where it will begin to percolate through the soil to the aquifer beneath.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Scientists from UC campuses study floods

We’ve heard this about earthquakes – it’s not a matter of if but when the big one will hit. Well, some researchers also say it’s a pretty similar situation for a major flood in the area. A research project currently being undertaken at SoCal and NorCal UC campuses is looking at how flooding could impact the area, including socioeconomic issues.

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Editorial: Essential ingredient for living

There are a number of very evident reasons, however, that Vandenberg Air Force Base is at the top of the Pentagon’s water-scarcity list…

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Los Angeles beaches plagued with toxic stormwater, report warns

Los Angeles beaches are plagued by stormwater pollution that can make people sick and damage ecosystems, and local governments are largely failing to address the hazards, according to a new report.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trade agreement includes $300 million for border pollution cleanup, including Tijuana River Valley

The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement reached Tuesday commits the federal government to provide $300 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Tijuana River Valley region, where millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contaminants regularly flow from Tijuana to San Diego.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Major push to save Muir Woods salmon run includes creek, habitat work

An all-out attempt to save the historic coho salmon runs through Muir Woods intensified this year as the National Park Service began a creek restoration and habitat enhancement program in the famous redwood grove.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

This California mountain community was swallowed by a lake

Communities sprout up and sometimes wither away, but in 1972, the small community of Cedar Springs met its demise when it was swallowed up by a lake. The San Bernardino Mountains community was located at the confluence of the west fork of the Mojave River, Sawpit Canyon, and Miller Canyon, about 4 miles northwest of Crestline. Today, the location is under the waters of Silverwood Lake, near the boat launch ramp.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Group to sue county flood control district, others for alleged harm to fish

Two wildlife advocacy groups Wednesday announced their intent to sue the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, as well as other regional and federal government agencies, for allegedly putting a fish species’ habitat at risk with the release of water from the Seven Oaks Dam.

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Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck

A year later, issues triggered by a contentious plan by state water regulators to increase unimpaired river flows for the benefit of fish remain firmly mired in red tape.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Can recharge net metering contribute to sustainable groundwater management?

Dr. Michael Kiparsky is the founding director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law. In this presentation from the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Dr. Kiparsky discussed a pilot project in the Pajaro Valley designed to incentivize private landowners to do groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Members of different water districts blame the mayor and city of Poway for water problems

Members representing different water districts set up a news conference Tuesday to collectively show they weren’t happy with how the mayor and City of Poway handled last week’s water situation.

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Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Landscape designer Mia Lehrer and the LA River Revitalization Plan

At 65, Lehrer has become Los Angeles’s doyenne of landscape design and a leading advocate for green urbanism… But the main project that Lehrer has been tenaciously, tirelessly working on for most of her career is the Los Angeles River.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Conservation key as decades-long drought continues

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Wednesday that Nevada has been a national leader in water conservation by reducing demand on the Colorado River and investing in infrastructure over the past two decades. In Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual conference, Burman declined to say, however, whether she sees Nevada’s share of the river’s water increasing…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Yellow-legged frog: Now endangered in California’s Southern Sierra

There’s new hope for an endangered California frog that has vanished from half of its habitat. The state Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday approved protections for five of six populations of the foothill yellow-legged frog.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Managing urban flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area: From a concrete bowl to a green sponge

Urban flooding is increasing in the Bay Area for four main reasons: California’s naturally variable precipitation patterns, climate change increasing precipitation extremes, population growth, and aging and insufficient infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California officials urged to move faster on sea level rise

In one of the most comprehensive assessments of the crisis that rising seas pose to California, an influential state panel on Tuesday urged local officials to take ownership of the issue and lawmakers to move fast and consider much-needed legislation. The Legislative Analyst’s Office … found that the state was already behind on the issue and made the case that any action — or lack of action — within the next 10 years could determine the fate of the California coast.

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