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 Grand Junction Sentinel

River managers turn eyes to new Powell-Mead deal

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

Aquafornia news KNAU

Colorado River bugs spark two unprecedented experiments—with opposite goals

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

Aquafornia news Chemical & Engineering News

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

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

Aquafornia news Medford Mail Tribune

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

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

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

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Aquafornia news American Water Works Association

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

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am re-files desal project application with Coastal Commission

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

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Aquafornia news The Almanac

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

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

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

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

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Science group issues valley-focused advice on climate change

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

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Opinion: The view from Westlands: Voluntary agreements

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

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: USGS unveils mobile flood tool for the nation

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

Aquafornia news Water Online

Cause of benzene water supply contamination challenged

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

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

California water board orders mandatory solution to East Orosi water situation

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

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Accusations and denials arise over bond sale plans for Delta Tunnel

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

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

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

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

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Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Opinion: Water district adopts reforms for sustainability

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

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Blog: New forecast tools for the atmospheric river scale

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

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Farms work on nitrate control requirements

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

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

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

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

Aquafornia news The Rocky Mountain Collegian

CSU Hydraulics Lab creates physical model for dam design

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

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: State must fulfill promise of Proposition 1 water bond

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

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

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

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

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Rice fields provide crucial refuge for migrating birds

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

Aquafornia news The Aggie

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

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

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

County to conduct groundwater survey flights

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

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S., Mexico sign Rio Grande water agreement

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

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Klamath Irrigation District court case continues

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

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Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

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

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

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

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

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

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

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

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

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

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

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

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

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

Aquafornia news National Law Review

California: PFAS lawsuits increasing

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

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

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

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

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Aquafornia news The Confluence

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

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

Aquafornia news NBC Los Angeles

DWP begins environmental review of Grant Lake reservoir spillway project

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Enviros and industry fight feds in Supreme Court FOIA case

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Erin Brockovich issues call to action

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

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

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

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

Aquafornia news Community Water Center

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

Ex-official blows whistle on Army Corps’ dam program

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

Aquafornia news PBS NOVA

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

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

Aquafornia news National Law Review

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

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

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

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

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

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Public water buyout EIR certified

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

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Split county board OKs cannabis cash for Salinas Valley well destruction

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

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

Blog: Yuba-Feather forecast-informed reservoir operations

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

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water files lawsuit over water contamination

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

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

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

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

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

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

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Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Collaboration between rice farmers and environmentalists working out nicely

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

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

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

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

Forecasting water supply in Colorado River may benefit water resource management

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

Aquafornia news Construction Dive

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

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

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: 5 reasons to rethink the future of dams

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

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Joshua Basin will pay off pipeline debt soon

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

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

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

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

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Historic move: Fresno River rights to be decided

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

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

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

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

Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

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

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

Aquafornia news E&E News

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

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

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

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

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

Aquafornia news Heal the Bay

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

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

Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir Project

Blog: Saving water for a drier day

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

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

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

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

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Ancient lake contributed to past San Andreas fault ruptures

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

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Setting aside environmental water for the San Joaquin River

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

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Ahead of rain, Beaumont plans for unprecedented flooding

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

Aquafornia news Berkeleyside

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

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

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Temperance Flat Reservoir project status update

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

Aquafornia news AgInfo.net

Engage with your local groundwater sustainability agency

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

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

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

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

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

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

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

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

What has the Trump administration meant for water?

The desire for crystal clean water is one that the president repeats frequently, even dating to his 2016 presidential campaign. Immaculate water, he has also said. Clear water. Beautiful water. But the focus on appearances is superficial, according to a number of water advocates and analysts. Revisions to environmental rules that the administration has pursued during the first term of the Trump presidency will be detrimental to the nation’s waters, they said.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

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

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

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

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

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

Aquafornia news Institutional Investor

California’s complex water market faces new challenges

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

Aquafornia news The Catalina Islander

Edison to seek water rate increase

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

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

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

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

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

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

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

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Aquafornia news CalMatters

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

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

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Could recycled water help balance the basin?

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

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Eel River tributaries decimated by drought

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

Aquafornia news Western Water

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

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

Aquafornia news California State University San Marcos

Blog: Ask the expert: The scarcity of water

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

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

News release: 700 winter-run Chinook salmon return to Battle Creek

At least 700 sub-adult and adult winter-run Chinook salmon (winter Chinook) returned this year to Battle Creek. … Establishing another self-sustaining population in a second watershed (in addition to population in Sacramento River), such as Battle Creek, is a high priority and a major component of the Central Valley salmonid recovery plan.

Western Water Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Amid the worst wildfire season in California history, wildfire experts call for $2 billion investment in prevention

With California’s worst wildfire season on record still raging, experts from across the state are calling for a $2 billion investment in the next year on prevention tactics like prescribed burns and more year-round forest management jobs. 

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Wildfires can spark widespread contamination of public water supplies

More than 8,300 blazes have scorched four million acres (and counting) in California this wildfire season—doubling the state’s previous record, set just two years ago. … This trend not only presents immediate dangers to  people but can have toxic consequences for the local water supply that can persist long after the smoke clears.

Aquafornia news UC Rangelands

Blog: Riparian conservation in grazed landscapes

In the absence of appropriate management, excessive livestock damage can occur in sensitive habitats such as riparian areas that provide drinking water, forage, and microclimates sought by free-ranging livestock. … Fortunately, conservation-grazing management strategies can reduce the likelihood of livestock damage to riparian areas.

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: California’s landmark groundwater law falls short, advocates say

Advocates and researchers warn that the way many local agencies have interpreted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act overlooks the needs of disadvantaged communities who rely on groundwater for their drinking water. Many are concerned that households and communities could see their wells go dry in the coming years, leaving them without access to safe and affordable drinking water.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Friant-Kern Canal fix approved over concerns the plan isn’t fully baked

The Friant Water Authority on Thursday approved the final environmental review for a massive project to fix a 33-mile segment of the Friant-Kern Canal despite continued questions about funding and other concerns expressed by some Friant contractors.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California water transfer price forecast

At the Western Groundwater Congress hosted online by the Groundwater Resources Association, Audrey Arnao, an associate with WestWater Research, gave the following presentation on California’s surface water market, covering prices and trading activity in recent years and providing a forecast of spot market transfer prices in 2021.

Aquafornia news Resources Magazine

Dismantling dams can help address US infrastructure problems

Dam failure, though rare, can cause catastrophic destruction of property and lives. Repairing hazardous dams can help, but simply removing them can be a better, more cost-effective option with accompanying environmental benefits … a mere five states account for half of all removals: Pennsylvania (343), California (173), Wisconsin (141), Michigan (94), and Ohio (82).

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

New reservoir in Stanislaus County clears a hurdle

Del Puerto Water District directors approved a final environment study Wednesday on a 82,000 acre-foot reservoir near Patterson. … The reservoir is proposed to increase reliability of water deliveries to thirsty farms and improve management of groundwater. The project in a canyon just west of Patterson has stirred debate. It would inundate part of scenic Del Puerto Canyon and raises fears the dam near Interstate 5 could fail, flooding the city of 23,000.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Not just fracking: Cut all oil drilling in California, says key lawmaker

California lawmakers need to create a package of legislation that limits multiple kinds of oil drilling, not just hydraulic fracturing, if they want to respond effectively to the world’s climate crisis, says state Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, who chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

Klamath residents, Yurok tribal members to participate in ‘day of action’ targeting Pacificorp over dam removal

Virtual rallies will be held Friday at the utility’s headquarters in Portland and in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha, Neb., according to a Save California Salmon news release. A rally will also be held in Seattle, home of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the top shareholder in Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is PacifiCorp’s parent company.

Aquafornia news KCLU

Santa Barbara, Montecito set to make historic 50-year water deal official

The Montecito Water District is buying into Santa Barbara’s desalination plant, which converts salt water into fresh water. The deal calls for Montecito to pick up $33 million dollars of the recently rebuilt plant’s $72 million dollar price tag, as well as to share in operational costs.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said Monday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits, including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

Working over the last year, construction crews expect to complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres, or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had been diked and drained for agriculture and development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: The great uncoupling between water and growth

My research group published a new paper last week in the international Water journal that presents some very good news for water-stressed areas: cities are succeeding in decoupling their growth from their water needs. Our research – focused on 20 cities in the Western US – revealed some surprising findings…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We explored groundwater planning with three members of the environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability agency show the potential implications for agriculture and other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area, while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other, non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the board for the past 10 years.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Headwaters health driving long-term response to wildfires

Another round of catastrophic wildfires, unprecedented in scope and intensity with a changing climate, have once again damaged entire watersheds. Ash and other sediment and debris will wash into reservoirs and ultimately add another layer of difficulty in delivering safe and reliable water. What can be done on the ground to lessen this threat, if not eventually overcome it?

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and their struggle to remain connected to the most precious resource—water. This digital media project combines short documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfire smoke can spread toxics to water, soil, and elsewhere

Wildfires leave behind more than scorched earth and destroyed homes: Rising smoke plumes can contain chemicals that disperse not only into the air but in soil, water, indoor dust, and even wildlife. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of more than 100 chemicals that can cause cancer and other ailments, is one of those ingredients.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

‘Doomsday scenario’: Santa Cruz mountain towns prepare for winter mudslides after CZU wildfire

Experts say it’s likely not a matter of if, but when, intense rainfall triggers mudslides that threaten the properties and lives of thousands of people in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The area has seen these disasters before: In January 1982, the Love Creek mudslide killed 10 people near Ben Lomond. But the CZU Lightning Complex, larger than any fire in the region’s recorded history, created an unprecedented hazard.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created equal. Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire county.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump says he ‘freed’ showers and sinks. He didn’t

President Trump has added a false claim to his pitch to “suburban women” — maintaining that his administration already has delivered on his promises to speed up dishwashers and improve sinks and showers. … But no new products are on the market because of changes, and no proposals have fully made their way through the regulatory process.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The Lake Powell pipeline and the problems posed by the lack of a Lower Colorado River Basin Compact

As the Colorado River Basin’s managers wrestle with thorny questions around the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a colleague who works for a Lower Colorado River Basin water agency recently asked a question that goes to the heart of the future of river management: With land in the Lower Colorado River Basin, why doesn’t Utah have a Lower Basin allocation?

Aquafornia news Science

Distant seas might predict Colorado River droughts

In 2011, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains filled the Colorado River, lifting reservoirs—and spirits—in the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest. The following year, however, water levels dropped to nearly their lowest in a century… Now, scientists say they may have come up with a potential early warning system for the Colorado’s water levels—by watching temperature patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thousands of kilometers away.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation in Ukiah Valley is imminent. Here’s what you need to know

Right now, the Mendocino County Sustainable Groundwater Agency is writing up a groundwater sustainability plan for the basin. The plan will regulate groundwater in the Ukiah Valley basin for the first time ever, and will define how water is managed in and near Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Ukiah for perpetuity.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Oakland’s McClymonds High School safe to return to, months after chemical scare, district says

Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school first closed in February, just weeks before classroom instruction was halted because of COVID-19.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.  

Aquafornia news CNN

Monday Top of the Scroll: A boiling summer is now a scorching fall in the West

The desert Southwest is a hot place to live, but imagine spending over half of the year with high temperatures of at least 100 degrees. Parts of California and Arizona did just that this year. … A series of high-pressure systems in unfavorable locations have not only allowed for temperatures to soar over the past few months, but have effectively blocked any large, rainmaking storms from moving through the area.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

Rep. Garamendi comes out against Scott Dam removal

Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the northern half of Lake County, on Friday submitted a formal comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing removal of Scott Dam on the Eel River at Lake Pillsbury and demanding that Lake County have an equal seat at the table for determining the future of Potter Valley Project and the lake.

Aquafornia news Solar Power World

Southern California water district to optimize four solar installations by adding battery storage

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is preparing to build four new battery energy storage systems that will boost the district’s energy resilience and cut operational costs by optimizing solar power and reducing peak load at its facilities.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA delivers roadmap to achieving voluntary agreements to state officials

ACWA on Oct. 15 submitted “A Roadmap To Achieving the Voluntary Agreements” to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top members of his Administration that calls on the state to take the necessary steps to re-engage on Voluntary Agreements regarding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its tributaries.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Major earthquake retrofit work complete at Lake Merced pump station

It all started with a 2002 state law demanding quake-resilient water delivery. Nearly $5 billion later, San Francisco has retrofit the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, just now crossing the finish line on the shore of Lake Merced.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the district boundaries, including the proposed 6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and infrastructure

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Just how bad is California’s water debt problem? The state isn’t sure

A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue losses for water providers across the state.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Rain catchment – an idea that truly holds water

Aquatic ecologist Steve Lee is concerned that abundant water may not always be part of the Sonoma Valley story. … So Lee’s rebuilt home was designed to capture the runoff, and store it in a series of 5,000-gallon gravity-fed tanks. He’s got 11 of them scattered across his property, harvesting water from the house, barn and pool.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in State Water Project

A team of scientists from the California Department of Water Resources are working with federal and state partners to embrace the challenge of overseeing the implementation of one of the most complex endangered species permits in California history.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desalination plant in Orange County will help ensure clean drinking water

California is facing an impending water shortage. With widespread fires, a COVID-19 provoked economic recession bringing widespread unemployment and a public health emergency, it would be easy, but not prudent, to forget that we face a water crisis around the next corner.

Aquafornia news NOAA Research News

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

The Los Angeles Basin is often thought of as a dry, smoggy, overdeveloped landscape. But a new study led by NOAA and the University of Colorado, Boulder shows that the manicured lawns, emerald golf courses and trees of America’s second-largest city have a surprisingly large influence on the city’s carbon emissions…The green spaces within megacities provide numerous benefits, including improving air quality, capturing runoff, moderating temperatures and offering outdoor recreation.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Morro Bay gives tour of new water reclamation facility

After about six months of construction, Morro Bay’s new water reclamation facility is well underway — and it remains politically divisive this election season, with three candidates talking about halting or undoing the project, which is the largest-ever infrastructure project in city history.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump makes water demand of farms priority for new office

President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a “subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests and oil and gas. … The first priority set out by the executive order is increasing dam storage and other water storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the West in particular. That includes California’s Westlands Water District, the nation’s largest agricultural water district.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: The devastating implications from rollbacks of the Clean Water Act

A critical piece of the Clean Water Act, known as Section 401, allows states and tribes to work with the federal government to ensure that rivers are protected and that projects meet the needs of local communities. Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency recently created new rules for how states and tribes can use their authority under Section 401.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Bringing perfect waves to the masses

At a shuttered water park in the desert landscape of Coachella Valley in Southern California, Tom Lochtefeld has transformed a pool into a surf spot. For decades, inventors like Lochtefeld have struggled to mimic the ocean’s swells. In recent years, commercial projects and proof-of-concept pools have made good on the dream.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Executive order aims to conserve land, biodiversity

A new California Biodiversity Collaborative will help determine how to carry out an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom aimed at conserving 30% of California’s land and marine areas by 2030—and agricultural organizations said they would participate to assure the collaborative recognizes stewardship efforts carried out on the state’s farms and ranches.

Aquafornia news Salmonid Restoration Federation

Blog: Marshall Ranch flow enhancement

The South Fork Eel River is considered one of the highest priority watersheds in the state for flow enhancement projects. Forested tributaries like Redwood Creek provide refugia habitat for threatened juvenile coho salmon but suffer from the cumulative impacts of legacy logging and unregulated water diversions.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA hired consultants to counter staff experts on fluoride in water

At a trial over fluoride regulations this summer, EPA eschewed its own experts, hiring an outside company often deployed by corporations to deny and downplay chemicals’ health impacts. … Testifying for EPA in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Exponent Inc. cast doubt on studies that underpin federal regulation of lead and mercury, even as the agency’s own scientists said new research does indeed warrant a review of fluoride’s neurotoxic effects.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

SCV Water awarded $10 mil in grants

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency received $10.5 million in grants from the California Department of Water Resources to fund five local projects related to recycling and water-quality improvements.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Here’s how wildfires could affect the water in Lake Oroville

The North Complex Fire has burned a large portion of Lake Oroville’s watershed. This could lead to hazardous water quality after winter rains run all of that sediment into the lake and the effects could last decades. However, how water quality could be affected by the fire is still largely unknown.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Environmentalists and dam operators, at war for years, start making peace

The industry that operates America’s hydroelectric dams and several environmental groups announced an unusual agreement Tuesday to work together to get more clean energy from hydropower while reducing the environmental harm from dams, in a sign that the threat of climate change is spurring both sides to rethink their decades-long battle over a large but contentious source of renewable power. The United States generated about 7 percent of its electricity last year from hydropower, mainly from large dams built decades ago, such as the Hoover Dam, which uses flowing water from the Colorado River to power turbines. 

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Santa Rosa neighborhood faces water crisis after fire evacuations

The flames were coming over a ridge when a group of men, led by a retired Cal Fire firefighter, saved more than 35 homes in the Stonegate neighborhood on Brand Road just off Hwy 12. They held off the flames until a full strike team arrived to take over. What they could not save was the water well pump and holding tank at the top of the hill which supplied water to the entire subdivision. It was all destroyed and must be now replaced.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Vast new reservoir in south Orange County gets its first drops of water

It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently imports 100% of its drinking water from the Colorado River and northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and to recycle more wastewater.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Setting ‘good fires’ to reduce the West’s wildfire risk

Prescribed burning … targets brush, grasses, and other accumulated vegetation, along with dead and downed trees, to improve ecosystem health and reduce the fuels that power wildfires. … “We’re trying to encourage a cultural shift in our relationship with wildfire,” says Sasha Berleman, a fire ecologist who runs a prescribed burn training program based in the San Francisco Bay Area. “Fire isn’t going away, so let’s change how we’re living with it.”

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Prospective Westlands water board members look past legal challenges to get water, focusing on innovation

Unbeknownst to many, some voters will pick five new members of the Board of Directors of the Westlands Water District. GV Wire had a chance to speak with two of those… Both offered insights into how Westlands can change its reputation, how farmers can change their approach, and what their biggest adversaries are in the fight for water.

Aquafornia news 9news.com

$1 million research project tracking agricultural water savings

If certain hay species retain more nutrients than others when on low-water diets, then ranchers know their cattle will continue to eat well as they evaluate whether they can operate their ranches on less H20…. Any water saved could be left in the Colorado River, allowing it to become more sustainable, even as the West’s population grows and drought becomes more intense.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s green, soggy and fights climate change?

Protecting intact peatlands [such as those in California] and restoring degraded ones are crucial steps if the world is to counter climate change, European researchers said Friday. In a study, they said peat bogs, wetlands that contain large amounts of carbon in the form of decaying vegetation that has built up over centuries, could help the world achieve climate goals like the limit of 2 degrees Celsius of postindustrial warming that is part of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am, Marina open to meeting on desal project ‘solution’

California American Water and Marina city officials are in the process of setting up talks on the company’s desalination project after exchanging letters over the past several weeks.

Aquafornia news Fox21News.com

Reservoir release pilot project on the Colorado River

A new experiment is looking into how drought conditions, like we’re currently in, can affect water traveling downstream in the Colorado River. The pilot project involved shepherding water from a high mountain reservoir to the Colorado-Utah state line.

Aquafornia news The Press

Department of Water Resources calls for the community’s input

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently launched an environmental justice community survey to gather input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey, entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from communities that may be disproportionately affected by the proposed project.

Aquafornia news Stat

As wildfires ravage the West, contaminated water raises health concerns

Some neighborhoods in California and Oregon are already witnessing benzene levels that exceed state and federal permissible limits as evacuees return to ‘do not drink/do not boil’ warnings. “The number of water systems that we expect to see impacted could be the highest yet,” says Daniel Newton, assistant deputy director of California’s Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “It is a concern.”

Aquafornia news EasyReaderNews.com

Desalination plant a flashpoint in West Basin District 3 race

Three candidates are competing for one seat on the West Basin Municipal Water District board of directors, and an ambitious plan for a water desalination plant off the coast of El Segundo emerges as a major flashpoint.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.

Aquafornia news Philadelphia Inquirer

This California firm promises a guilt-free plastic water bottle that breaks down: It’s not easy

Cove’s sustainable and biodegradable packaging is meant to provide a less dubious retail alternative, Totterman said, as recycling programs have failed to handle what the industry generates.

Aquafornia news KVOA TV

University of Arizona researcher leading project to model the nation’s groundwater

A University of Arizona researcher is leading a National Science Foundation project that is integrating artificial intelligence to simulate the nation’s groundwater supply for the purpose of forecasting droughts and floods. [One aim, the researcher said, is to] “come up with better forecasts for floods and droughts in the upper Colorado River Basin…”

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Colorado River water supply is predictable owing to long-term ocean memory

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday Top of the Scroll: House Democrats ask CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic

To protect public health, Reps. Harley Rouda of California and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan want the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to use its authority under the Public Health Service Act to prohibit water utilities from shutting off service to customers who are behind on their bills… Water industry groups point to several reasons why a national moratorium would be problematic.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Concerns grow about herbicide use in wildfires’ wake

The Forest Service’s use of herbicides and pesticides has raised occasional alarm from environmental groups, which point to the chemical’s potential to harm wildlife or water supplies, or to have long-term effects on people who apply them. In some regions, they say, scarcely a tree-planting project occurs without the use of chemical herbicides.

Aquafornia news University of Texas

News release: Key indicators discovered of climate change’s impact on California water supply

In the new study, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists found that leading climate projections used by the state strongly agree that climate change will shift the timing and intensity of rainfall and the health of the state’s snowpack in ways that will make water management more difficult during the coming decades.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet. That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less water.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Relief on the horizon for dramatically salty Point Reyes water

For decades, salt has infiltrated wells in Point Reyes Station during late summer, but this year the intrusion is higher than ever due to a confluence of factors. Sea-level rise brings bay water closer to freshwater aquifers, and a National Park Service project to remove a series of dikes and dams by Lagunitas Creek in 2008 stripped the watershed of protection from high tides. Two bulk users, a construction company and firefighters, consumed more water this year.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley. Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a well and has a history of water contamination….construction is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It is the state's first recipient under the program.]

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Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Supervisors discuss Corning area groundwater levels

Tehama County Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday … on groundwater levels and well depths following reports of south county wells going dry. … The majority of the calls come from areas west of Interstate-5 as far as Rancho Tehama, where at least two people have reported wells going dry. A few others have reported declining groundwater levels.

Aquafornia news Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Desalination’s role in a circular water economy

While use of large seawater desalination plants will continue to be limited to coastal communities, small-scale, localized systems for distributed desalination will be essential to cost-effectively tapping and reusing many of these nontraditional water sources across the country.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor calls for protecting 30% of state land and waters

Newsom, who made the announcement in a walnut orchard 25 miles outside of Sacramento, said innovative farming practices, restoring wetlands, better managing forests, planting more trees and increasing the number of parks are all potential tools. The goal is to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and coastal waters in the next decade as part of a larger global effort.

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water accounting platform is working well in Kern County

A relatively new water budgeting platform appears to be working well for producers in Kern County. The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District has worked with multiple stakeholder partners to develop the Water Accounting Platform to help growers more accurately track water use.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Startup uses beneficial bacteria to aid water quality

Beneficial bacteria that quickly and effectively convert tailwater nitrates into gases could help answer an environmental challenge facing farmers, according to a Salinas-based startup company.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: In California, Latinos more likely to be drinking nitrate-polluted water

Environmental Working Group analyzed California State Water Resources Control Board data on the San Joaquin Valley communities with nitrate levels in drinking water meeting or exceeding the federal legal limit. We found that almost six in 10 are majority-Latino. Latinos are also a majority in Valley communities with nitrate at or above half the legal limit, which is linked to increased risk of cancer and other diseases.

Aquafornia news Designboom.com

NUDES designs a towering rainwater harvesting concept for San Jose

in a bid to celebrate the importance of water in our lives, the collaborative design office NUDES has conceived a rainwater harvesting tower for San Jose in California. The soaring ‘rain water catcher’ is a design proposal that aims to address the global impact of climate change by advocating the need for water conservation.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New state law requires an action plan for the Tijuana River

The bill, which was written by state Sen. Ben Hueso, also aims to address some of the binational challenges in managing the watershed. The plan that the California EPA is putting together will create a framework for how California can work with the Mexican and U.S. governments.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Droughts that start over the ocean? They’re often worse than those that form over land

A Sept. 21 study published in the journal Water Resources Research found that, of all the droughts that affected land areas globally from 1981 to 2018, about 1 in 6 started over water and moved onto land, with a particularly high frequency along the West Coast of North America….The current Western drought could soon rise to a crisis level, with federal water managers warning that … two key Colorado River reservoirs may drop to levels that could result in economically damaging cuts to water allocations in the Southwest and California. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship… One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa “Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work together.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California tightens reporting for rocket fuel chemical in water

The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to thyroid conditions. The unanimous vote from the State Water Resources Control Board is the first step toward tightening California’s drinking water standard, currently set at 6 parts per billion. The chemical has been found in 27 counties throughout California…

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Army Corps breaks ground on Success Dam enlargement project

On the heels of a historic drought, at the beginning of the implementation of historic groundwater legislation, and in light of potential flooding, Porterville will have more water in the future and a larger dam to prevent it from damaging the city below.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Companies provide farmers with water-efficiency data

New technologies intend to help farmers translate a mountain of detailed soil moisture and weather data into informed irrigation decisions to use water most efficiently, while maintaining detailed information to satisfy regulators.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water year starts with concerns about La Niña

Despite little precipitation and a small snowpack in the 2020 water year, which ended Sept. 30, California weathered the year on water stored in reservoirs during previous years’ storms. Going into 2021, farmers note that weather officials predict a La Niña climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which has brought drought conditions in the past.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

Water providers in California face myriad challenges in sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their customers while protecting the natural environment. In this blog post, I explore the stresses that surface and groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s retail water agencies. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid water bills a “pending disaster” the state is trying to head off

If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave” of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems, it has to get a picture of current impacts… Which is why the State Water Resources Control Board directed staff on Tuesday to begin a survey of California’s nearly 3,000 community water systems.

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Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Pipeline replacement to wrap up with water shutdowns all month

Some Calaveras County Water District customers will have a disruption in their water service throughout the month as the main water transmission pipeline replacement project wraps up.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Raising Shasta Dam is an even worse idea than we knew

Reclamation has identified a significant seismic risk problem at Shasta Dam that may preclude the enlargement of Shasta Dam in a safe manner. … In addition … modeling disclosed by Reclamation to NRDC (see last page of this link) indicates that enlarging Shasta Dam would reduce the water supply for State Water Project contractors by an average of 14,000 acre feet per year.

Aquafornia news Soquel Creek Water District

News release: Soquel Creek Water District receives $88.9 million low-interest loan from US EPA for Pure Water Soquel construction

The Soquel Creek Water District is pleased to announce that its low-interest loan from the US Environmental Protection Agency has been approved, to be used toward construction of the Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project. The loan, up to a maximum of $88.9 million at an interest rate of 1.34%, is part of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act funding program.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Utility Dive

California’s Salton Sea offers chance for US battery supply chain, despite financial, policy challenges

Developing a lithium industry in California’s Salton Sea, an area that experts think could supply more than a third of lithium demand in the world today, could help set up a multi-billion dollar domestic supply chain for electric vehicle batteries, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation comes to Ukiah; local Groundwater Sustainability Agency introduced plan last week

Landowners with access to underground water have been able to pull as much water, at any rate, any time, and for any reason without worrying about protocols or following government rules. That is about to change. Last Tuesday, local officials and environmental engineers introduced an outline for how to sustainably manage and regulate groundwater in the region.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District candidates address funding, climate

Three first-time candidates and a 16-year incumbent are vying for two seats on the Marin Municipal Water District board in the November election.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House lawmakers call for school PFAS protections

Dozens of House lawmakers asked the Trump administration Monday to demand protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in school drinking water.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Mojave Pistachios, Searles Valley Minerals file lawsuits vs. Indian Wells groundwater agency

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority faces two lawsuits, from a major local farm operation and Searles Valley Minerals, over water rights filed this week in the aftermath of the passing of a controversial groundwater replenishment fee and a fallowing program.

Aquafornia news The Current

Blog: Supporting reintroduction of Sacramento winter-run Chinook to the Battle Creek watershed

The day the gates closed on the Shasta Dam in 1943, approximately 200 miles of California’s prime salmon and steelhead spawning habitat disappeared. Although devastating for all four distinct runs of Central Valley Chinook salmon, the high dam hit the Sacramento winter-run Chinook the hardest.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site

NASA announced plans Friday to clean up a Cold War-era rocket fuel testing site in Southern California — plans that have upset residents who say the space agency and the Trump administration have punted any responsibility for a full cleanup and will leave most of the area contaminated.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Opinion: An aqueduct to San Diego is worth studying

San Diego County Water Authority is looking into the possibility of building a pipeline (aqueduct, more accurately) to get its water directly from the Imperial Valley instead of indirectly through the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) in Los Angeles. SDCWA and MWD have a history of litigation about how much MWD can charge for transporting water from Lake Havasu through MWD’s Colorado River Aqueduct to reservoirs in northern San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Can steelhead trout return to the L.A. River?

Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a freeway.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Western wildfires threaten water supplies, spur utilities to action

In California’s Placer County, an unusual partnership between a county water utility, the U.S. Forest Service and environmentalists is taking on the work to prevent catastrophic fires on more than 11,000 hectares in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The partnership arose from the ashes of 2014’s King fire. 

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly 1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated with dangerous compounds like benzene… 

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