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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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?
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…
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.”
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.
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.
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.]
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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…