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 PasadenaNow.com

City council approves new PWP water rates

The new rates would increase the Distribution and Customer Charge, for all customers, by 5.7%, to generate annual revenue of $3.4 million, effective August 1, 2019. The new rates would also increase the Distribution and Customer Charge for all customers in July 2020 by 5.8%, to generate annual revenue of $3.7 million; and also increase the Commodity Charge, increasing the system average by 0.7%, to generate annual revenue of $0.5 million in July 2020.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

The massive snowmelt is coming. Are we ready?

Estimates vary, and can change as the water year progresses, but the Kern River basin, the rivers and streams that collect the water that flows into Isabella Lake and downstream toward Bakersfield, is estimated to be at 172 percent of normal, possibly more. And all that ice and snow is starting to melt, big time. Are local water managers ready?

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Central Coast may be opened to new oil and gas extraction

More than 725,000 acres of Central Coast land could be opened up for oil and gas extraction under a new plan led by the Trump administration. But due to local regulations — and economic realities — Santa Cruz County land appears unlikely to be affected even if the plan is approved.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Lindo Lake getting some help from the county

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors last week voted unanimously to move ahead with a $7.5 million improvement project for the park’s two popular lakes. … Lindo Lake is thought to be the only natural freshwater lake in San Diego County, according to the Lakeside Historical Society.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: After Tule River swallows teen, experts warn of cold snowmelt and swift waters

Rivers may seem especially appealing as the weather becomes warmer in the spring and summer, but experts and local officials warn that the waters may not be as welcoming as they seem. The snowpack that accumulated during a wet and cold winter is beginning to melt into rivers, making for extremely cold water and fast currents. “It’s a very dangerous combination,” said Chris Orrock, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Water Resources.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Soquel Creek should re-examine water need

We have learned over the last six years that the water need for Santa Cruz to meet its own annual demand is 1.1 billion gallons less than thought in 2014, when the two districts were pursuing the desalination plant.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

A different border crisis: It’s not security or immigration, it’s sewage

People who live along the southern border all say the same thing: When it rains, it stinks. The reason is a failing, aging network of pipes that run from Mexico to wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. When heavy rains fall, the pipes often break and spill raw sewage on both sides of the border, causing not only a putrid odor but public health and environmental concerns.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Northern California’s famed clothing-optional Wilbur Hot Springs listed for $10 million

The 1,700-acre off-the-grid health retreat, where clothing is optional in the pools, went up for sale quietly last year for $10 million. Now, the property near Williams (Colusa County) is officially listed with Sotheby’s International Real Estate.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

Fire forced me from my home. Then water trapped me there

There’s three roads that go up to the hill. Because of flooding and mudslides, all three of them were blocked. So here we were, an island. There was no way to get supplies. No way to get medication. No way to get propane deliveries for heat. People who work on and off the hill couldn’t go to their jobs. The whole town was impacted, especially the businesses and restaurants who depend on the tourism.

Aquafornia news The Harvard Crimson

Opinion: Harvard’s investment in land and natural resources

For rural communities in the central coast region of California, the name “Harvard” does not connote excellence. For these communities, where water is scarce and becoming scarcer, it evokes greed and exploitation. As California takes its first steps to regulate groundwater in the midst of a worsening water crisis, Harvard’s endowment fund is investing millions into vineyards that pump inordinate amounts of water from California’s critically overdrafted groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

After a soaking winter, spring is bringing California an amazing amount of snowmelt and rain

Forecasts are calling for a stretch of wet weather across the Western United States, especially in Northern California, so meteorologists and emergency officials are keeping watchful eyes on river gauges and radar reports. All it takes is one thunderstorm parked over a snow-covered area to wreak havoc downstream.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Winterlike weather pattern to send unusually powerful May storm into California late this week

After sunshine and pleasant weather grace California early this week, a powerful storm system will barrel into the state during the middle to latter part of the week. … By the time the storm moves into the Four Corners region later on Friday, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and parts of Northern and coastal California will receive between 1 to 3 inches of rain. The hardest-hit locations may receive as much as 4 or 5 inches of rain.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Great flood impacted Northern California region in 1862

When people think of natural disasters in California, they usually think of earthquakes, drought or wildfire. But the worst disaster to ever hit the Golden State was the Great Flood of 1862. When people of European descent first arrived in California, the native people told them tales of great deluges in which the rivers overran their banks and large areas of land were inundated. The newcomers paid little heed to these stories, and often settled in low-lying areas with easy access to water sources.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herand & News

Opinion: Only FERC will decide dam removal, not Compact Commission

Various parties have recently claimed that the Klamath River Compact Commission has authority over the proposal to remove four dams in the Klamath Hydroelectric Project. … This argument, while creative, is wrong. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or FERC) will decide whether the proposed dam removal is in the public interest.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California may go dark this summer, and most aren’t ready

The plan by PG&E Corp. comes after the bankrupt utility said a transmission line that snapped in windy weather probably started last year’s Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history. While the plan may end one problem, it creates another as Californians seek ways to deal with what some fear could be days and days of blackouts.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

‘Absurd’ delay in Paradise: Endangered frog species blocking Camp Fire cleanup

State officials tasked with debris cleanup say they have been directed not to enter an estimated 800 burned Butte County home sites within 100 feet of a waterway. They’ve been told to wait for representatives of several state and federal agencies to reach an agreement on environmental assessment guidelines.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Hualapai hopes water settlement finally happens this Congress

To get access to Colorado River water, the tribe is hoping its federal water settlement will finally become law. Earlier this month, Arizona’s congressional delegation sponsored another settlement bill after similar efforts in 2017 and 2016. If a water rights settlement became law, the Hualapai Tribe would get 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water each year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: New dam proposal in Sierra Nevada stirs debate over California energy policy

Up a remote canyon in the towering eastern Sierra, a Southern California company has an ambitious plan to dam the area’s cold, rushing waters and build one of the state’s first big hydroelectric facilities in decades. The project, southeast of Yosemite near the town of Bishop (Inyo County), faces long regulatory odds as well as daunting costs. But residents of the Owens Valley downstream and state environmentalists are not taking it lightly.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

What’s in the Santa Ana River? Environmentalists conduct tests, collect trash at homeless camps

Armed with test tubes and trash bags, a team of environmental advocates are looking at homeless camps in Riverside as part of a broad effort to clean up the 2,840-square-mile Santa Ana River Watershed. The long-term goal is to protect the water and revive enjoyment of a 96-mile river that once was a center of life in Southern California.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Storage is essential for California to achieve 100% green energy without blackouts

Counter-intuitively, the same environmental groups that have championed the state’s climate goals want to kill all pumped storage instead of evaluating each project on its own merits. … Come hell or high water, there is no way that we can get to 100% renewable resources, which, by nature, are intermittent and unreliable, without adequate storage.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Luis Obispo to use Nacimiento water to generate electricity

The California Energy Commission is offering the city of San Luis Obispo a $3 million loan to build a 261-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system as well as a 264-kilowatt hydroelectric generation system — both located at the city water treatment plant on Stenner Creek Road behind Cal Poly. By generating its own power at the treatment facility, SLO could earn savings of $266,863 annually compared to its current power bill.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California Today: What’s all this about a water tax?

Gov. Gavin Newsom has made repairing hundreds of failing drinking-water systems in California a big priority since taking office, giving fresh momentum to an entrenched problem the state’s leaders have long struggled to resolve. But his proposed solution — a $140 million yearly tax raised in part through fees on urban water districts — has raised eyebrows in a state where residents already feel overtaxed.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Sanitation district get 3 more years to complete chloride plan

State water regulators gave local sanitation officials three more years to carry out their plan to reduce the amount of chloride that ends up in the Santa Clara River. … The sanitation district … was mandated to reduce the amount of chloride, or salt, that discharges from wastewater treatment plants into the Santa Clara River, largely due to concerns by downstream farmers that chloride was damaging salt-sensitive crops such as strawberries and avocados.

Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Remote water tanks help bighorn sheep

Volunteers and government employees hauled water to two tanks for desert bighorn sheep in the Old Dad Peak area of Mojave National Preserve April 30. … Four groups of storage tanks with drinker boxes in the Old Dad Peak area support close to 100 desert bighorn sheep, according to the NPS. There are no springs or natural water sources in the area, so the sheep depend on humans who provide water.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Some common questions on California water (Part I)

People are interested in California water problems, and they ask reasonable questions. Here is a first installment of short science-based answers to some reasonable questions often heard at public and private discussions of water in California.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Coalition in Mendocino County forming to acquire Potter Valley Project

In Ukiah Thursday, at least two dozen people who depend on the Potter Valley Project for their farming operations gathered at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds to hear an update on the facility’s future. “New information to come shortly, and a lot of work still to do,” said Janet Pauli, chairwoman of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission, a Joint Powers Authority that is exploring the possibility of acquiring the facility that Pacific Gas and Electric owns, but has essentially abandoned.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Bunker Hill Basin reported below full after 2017-18 water year

According to an engineering investigation released by the San Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District on March 7, the Bunker Hill Basin, which stores the groundwater used by the San Bernardino Valley, remains 570,718 acre-feet below full water storage following the 2017-18 water year. … The water year brought a reported 56 percent of average annual precipitation and 161,708 acre-feet of groundwater production.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa whets its appetite for curiosity at Tap Water Day

Three hundred and sixty miles. That’s how much pipe it takes for the City of Napa to distribute water throughout the valley. The public had a chance to learn all about where its water comes from at the city’s second annual Tap Water Day open house on Saturday at the scenic Edward I. Barwick Jamieson Canyon Water Treatment Plant in American Canyon.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Are Santa Clara Valley farmers paying too little for precious water?

The water that irrigates Santa Clara Valley’s last farms comes dirt cheap for growers who pump it out of the ground. They pay just a fraction — 6 percent — of the amount residents and businesses in the valley must pony up for their well water. The rest of the cost for farmers’ water is subsidized, mostly from revenue the Santa Clara Valley Water District receives through property taxes.

Aquafornia news Aspen Times

Colorado to make tough decisions when it comes to water usage in Drought Contingency Plan

The West is still in the midst of a long-term water shortage in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, primary reservoirs that serve 40 million people. For that reason, the Upper Basin states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico — have to also come up with their own drought contingency plans. That means Colorado might be heading into choppy waters as one of the requirements of a drought contingency plan — demand management — could pit communities and regions against each other …

Aquafornia news The Reporter

Garamendi applauds cancellation of twin tunnels, suggests alternative plan to Newsom

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to withdraw permits for the proposed Twin Tunnels project in favor of a smaller single tunnel, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Solano, issued a letter to the governor expressing support for the decision while also outlining alternative water plans.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek Water board advances Live Oak treatment site

Locking in a $3.2 million sale price, the Soquel Creek Water District board will enter an initial five-month “option to purchase” agreement to buy a nearly 2-acre parcel in Live Oak. The purchase option period … is designed to give district officials time to survey the 2505 Chanticleer Ave. land, assessing its ability to serve as home to the proposed Pure Water Soquel plant.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California Central Coast, Bay Area to open for oil & gas drilling

A more than five-year moratorium on leasing land in California for oil and gas development will be coming to an end with a May 9 Interior Department plan to open up about 725,000 acres across the state’s Central Coast and the Bay Area for drilling. The decision comes just two weeks after the Trump administration released its plan to reopen more than 1 million acres of public land and federal mineral estate in eight counties in Central California to fracking.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California

A Q&A with Valerie Olson, assistant professor, and Emily Brooks, post-doctoral researcher — both environmental anthropologists at UC Irvine. They have a new project aimed at getting a better understanding of how communities, particularly the underserved, think about and use their water, and how the agencies that provide water can better serve them.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Millions for climate, environmental priorities in Newsom’s May budget

The new funding includes about $250 million for climate-related programs, thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program, and $75 million to fund an assessment of wildfire protection plans. … Newsom also defended a controversial tax on water bills that would fund programs to rebuild broken or degraded drinking water infrastructure in some of the state’s poorest communities.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Fox40

Capitol-to-Capitol: Finding better water management for California

When it rains in California, it pours. But when it doesn’t, California’s drought years can have a devastating impact on the state. California’s water experts are looking for ways to better store water during rainy years like 2019 so the state can have it during years when the rain and snow inevitably dry up.

Aquafornia news Consumer Reports

Looking for info about bottled water quality? Good luck

Unlike tap water, there is no public repository of information for consumers to look up the quality of their favorite bottled water brand and see whether it is free of contaminants. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require companies to submit test reports each year for review… And while several states receive test results each year as part of the permitting process bottlers go through to sell their product, those are often available only through public records requests.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Protecting the ocean: Don’t stop at the shoreline

There are actions we can take today that will reduce the pressure on struggling sea life and protect the industries and communities that rely on a healthy ocean. … The Ocean Resiliency Act of 2019 (Senate Bill 69) tackles a range of threats facing our fisheries, from fertilizer runoff that feeds harmful algae to sediment flowing downstream from logging operations that violate clean water rules, which can silt up the spaces between rocks where baby salmon shelter and feed.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Yosemite: Deep snow cleared, famed road opens Friday

In an annual California event that marks the changing of the seasons in the High Sierra, Yosemite National Park officials plan to open Glacier Point Road to motor vehicles on Friday morning. … Two years ago, after the wet winter of 2017 that broke California’s five-year drought and dumped enormous amounts of snow in the Sierra Nevada, park crews opened Glacier Point Road on May 11. Other than that, this year’s May 10 opening is the latest in eight years, since 2011.

Aquafornia news Pacific Standard

Six months later, how are the communities affected by the Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire recovering?

Last November, two blazes, the Camp Fire and the Woolsey Fire, caused mass destruction in California. Here’s how the affected communities are recovering half a year later.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must adapt wastewater policy to climate change

In California, treated wastewater also is a critical source of water for the environment, and, increasingly, a source for recycled water. Climate change is worsening water scarcity and flood risks. Advancements in engineering and technology can help prepare wastewater agencies for a changing climate. But significant shifts in policy and planning are needed to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news Western Water News

Friday Top of the Scroll: With drought plan in place, Colorado River stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. … But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news The Conversation

El Niño has rapidly become stronger and stranger, according to coral records

A new category of El Niño has become far more prevalent in the last few decades than at any time in the past four centuries. Over the same period, traditional El Niño events have become more intense. This new finding will arguably alter our understanding of the El Niño phenomenon. Changes to El Niño will influence patterns of precipitation and temperature extremes in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Americas.

With Drought Plan in Place, Colorado River Stakeholders Face Even Tougher Talks Ahead On The River’s Future
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Talks are about to begin on a potentially sweeping agreement that could reimagine how the Colorado River is managed

Lake Mead, behind Hoover Dam, shows the effects of nearly two decades of drought. Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Wildfire burn zones deplete snowpack across West, fueling more fire and snow loss, research shows

The effect of wildfires on snowmelt is more widespread and longer lasting than people thought and has ramifications across the region, where cities … rely heavily on melting snow to replenish water supplies. What’s more, human-caused global warming is feeding the spread of fires, which contributes more to the deterioration of snow, thus extending and intensifying the fire season.

Aquafornia news The Recorder

Opinion: California’s bold step forward into the contentious world of wetlands regulation

In April 2019, the California State Water Resources Control Board unanimously approved a comprehensive new legal framework for protecting California’s wetlands. California has lost approximately 90% of its historic wetland areas, which have important water quality, species habitat and other environmental and economic benefits. … California has never had its own comprehensive wetlands protection law.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Don’t panic, but California has yet another water problem

It’s true that a report published late last month in the journal Environmental Health found a link between California tap water and cancer. The study noted high levels of arsenic, plus numerous other contaminants that may be more toxic in combination than they are separately. … The problem is very serious — but not necessarily statewide.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah contributes more to study of Potter Valley Project purchase

The Ukiah City Council recently approved contributing another $50,000 to a local group’s effort to explore the possibility of buying the Potter Valley Project. … Sean White, the city’s director of water resources, described the dam facility as “essentially a diversion of Eel River water through a tunnel that provides major benefits to Lake Mendocino, which provides a significant amount of our water supply.”

Aquafornia news The Log

Poseidon’s restoration obligations on deck at Coastal Commission meeting

Poseidon Water might be fighting for its desalination future in Huntington Beach, but the corporation’s representatives will be in front of the California Coastal Commission for an entirely different matter on May 9: the restoration and conversion of a 90.9-acre salt pond to tidal wetlands and 34.6-acrer Otay River floodplain site in San Diego.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must make drinking water safe for all consumers

No family should have to live in a community in which the water that comes from their taps puts their children’s health at risk. Over the last several years, the state has authorized millions of dollars for emergency actions and one-time patches, but has shied from doing what’s necessary to sustainably solve this problem.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California to outlaw pesticide harmful to kids

The nation’s most productive agricultural state will ban a widely used toxic pesticide blamed for harming brain development in babies, California officials said Wednesday. The move would outlaw chlorpyrifos after scientists deemed it a toxic air contaminant and discovered it to be more dangerous than previously thought.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

The planet is losing free-flowing rivers

Only 37 percent of the world’s longest rivers remain unimpeded and free-flowing from their source to where they empty, according to a study published today in Nature. Free-flowing rivers are ecologically crucial — replenishing groundwater, bolstering biodiversity, and reducing the impacts of droughts and floods.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Cal Am’s desal permit remains in limbo as Marina weighs what to tell the Coastal Commission

It was the best attended city council meeting that didn’t happen. … But when everyone filed into City Hall, no councilmembers were in sight. Only Assistant City Attorney Deborah Mall appeared. She said Cal Am had withdrawn its appeal at the last minute on April 29 and the council could not proceed with a hearing.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Excluding hydropower makes no sense

When California embarked on its quest to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as a global model to stave off climate change, its first target was the state’s electric power industry. … But for purely political reasons, the list omitted two power sources that are both free of greenhouse gases and renewable: large hydroelectric dams and nuclear plants.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

After its 12 wettest months on record, the United States is virtually drought-free for the first time in decades

Drought affects just 2 percent of the country — about the smallest area since the federal government began official monitoring in 2000. Meanwhile, NOAA data show the last 12 months (May 2018 to April 2019) were the wettest on record for the nation.

Aquafornia news Holtville Tribune

IID controversy: Assembly member Garcia proposes negotiations

State Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia says he wants to “facilitate” negotiations more than a decade early on a 99-year compromise between the Imperial Irrigation District and a Coachella water agency that spells out how IID provides electric power to Coachella Valley. IID President Erik Ortega, however, said he is not “comfortable” with Garcia’s sudden urgency…

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: The California water model: Resilience through failure

A review of 170 years of water-related successes in California suggests that most successes can be traced directly to past mistakes. California’s highly variable climate has made it a crucible for innovations in water technology and policy.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Finally, California and IID reach agreement on Salton Sea access and liability

The Imperial Irrigation District board of directors voted Tuesday to allow access across its lands for critically needed state wetlands projects at the Salton Sea, designed to tamp down dangerous dust storms and give threatened wildlife a boost. In exchange, California will shoulder the maintenance and operations of the projects, and the state’s taxpayers will cover the costs of any lawsuits or regulatory penalties…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Four years after California’s largest dam removal, fish are back

Removal of the century-old dam is being watched closely around the country as a potential model… In 2016, the first year after it was removed, researchers found that no steelhead trout swam past its former site to a tagging location seven miles upriver. … So far this year, 123 steelhead have traveled upriver.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

CVP districts seek ways to enhance water supplies

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, may update its 65% allocation for south-of-delta agricultural contractors later this month. But Lon Martin, general manager of the Los Banos-based San Luis Water District, said landowners who are planting crops and must secure water for the remainder of the year “cannot wait until May and June to make decisions.”

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Summer tours explore California’s plentiful mountain snowpack and a lurking threat of drought along the coast

Get a firsthand view of California’s diverse water resource issues with two of our summer tours — to the Sierra Nevada headwaters that were blessed this winter with a plentiful snowpack, and a Southern California coastal region chronically prone to drought.

Aquafornia news The Wildlife Society

Blog: Unique partnership preserves unique California ecosystems

Before California’s Central Valley became known as an agricultural powerhouse, it contained one of the largest expanses of streamside forest and wetland habitat in North America. … Much of that landscape has been transformed into farmland and urban areas, but at the Cosumnes River Preserve, a unique partnership of nonprofits and state, federal and local governments has conserved over 50,000 acres that provide resources for a variety of wildlife.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District criticized over proposed environmental budget cuts

In the district’s “high-level” draft budget proposal for the 2019-2010 fiscal year projects a 4% increase in annual spending, and includes a $45,000 operational savings secured through cutting funding for water conservation and education programs for the coming year.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

The end of California’s drought shouldn’t mean the importance of water is forgotten, city officials say

To kick off Water Awareness Month, PWP is partnering with the City of Pasadena Public Health Department for Rethink Your Drink Day, a statewide initiative to encourage the public to switch from sugary drinks to healthy drinking water. At the event, PWP and the Public Health Department will promote drinking great-tasting Pasadena tap water with a variety of family- friendly activities and giveaways.

Aquafornia news Fox40

Civil engineers grade California’s infrastructure with a C-

Failing power lines and crumbling roads are just some of the major issues highlighted in the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2019 report card. It’s an analysis that comes out every six years, grading 17 different areas of infrastructure including waterways, aviation and schools.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

USDA report calls for more tech in U.S. farms

The USDA report, released Tuesday, finds that between $47 billion and $65 billion could be added to the U.S. agricultural economy annually if infrastructure for what the report calls “precision agriculture” — a term for farming practices that emphasize digitally-based data collection and e-connectivity (often via broadband) — is deployed in rural agricultural economies on a large scale.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KUNC

There’s dust in Colorado’s record-setting winter snowpack

Snowpack in every part of Colorado’s high country is sporting layers of dust, according to a new statewide survey of the state’s winter accumulation. … Dust is darker than snow. Just like a black T-shirt on a sunny day, it absorbs more sunlight, causing what’s underneath it to heat up more rapidly.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

The Napa-Sonoma marshes are rebounding with wildlife

Once one of most extensive wetland areas in North America, the edges of the San Francisco Bay have become covered with farms, industry, and urban areas, squeezing out the marches and their animal and plant occupants. But at the lower end of the Napa River, a remarkable effort is underway to undo a century and half of damage to the once-thriving marshes.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: DWR withdraws approvals and permit applications for WaterFix

DWR has not yet disclosed whether it intends to withdraw the WaterFix bond resolutions, which are subject to numerous challenges in litigation DWR filed to validate the bonds. It remains unclear what will happen with the validation action now that the project and cost estimates these items are based on no longer exist.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A war is brewing over lithium mining at the edge of Death Valley

In a formal response to the drilling proposal, a dozen environmental organizations expressed concerns about the effects on ground and surface water if exploration leads to an industrial-scale mine. … Among those who have spoken against the plan are officials at Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

Is vertical farming a solution for feeding our growing cities?

Vertical farming also brings potential for solving our current and projected water issues in California. By using hydroponic system technology, water is constantly recycled and uses 98% less water per item than traditional farming. Adopting this technology would be greatly beneficial for our future, considering that California’s agricultural sector uses 40% of our water.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Many large Northern California reservoirs nearly full

We’ve made it through most of the prime water season and have had a few blockbuster winter storms. For many large reservoirs in California the mission for reservoirs switches from flood control to water storage and there isn’t much room left for storage. All major Northern California Reservoirs are more than 90 percent full and many will reach capacity in a month or so.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California fish hatchery to focus on native trout strain

California wildlife authorities say new facilities built at the state’s Kern River Hatchery will allow breeding of Kern River rainbow trout that will be planted throughout the Kern River Basin. The program will allow the territory to be stocked with its native fish rather than domesticated strains.

Aquafornia news Mohave Valley Daily News

Bureau of Reclamation projects Lake Mead to stay above shortage trigger

According to the Bureau of Reclamation, the snowpack in the Upper Basin is nearly 140% above average as of April 15 and it forecasts that seasonal inflow to Lake Powell will be at 128% of average. … “These developments may lessen the chance of shortage in 2020,” Terry Fulp, BOR’s Lower Colorado regional director, said in a prepared statement.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Hundreds of California species at risk of extinction, United Nations report says — in addition to millions globally

In California, there are around 300 species at risk and 346 species in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon combined. A handful of plants and animals have already disappeared from the state, such as the Santa Barbara song sparrow and the the California subspecies of the Grizzly Bear. … About a dozen species are currently at risk of extinction, according to Dan Applebee, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news PasadenaNow.com

The end of California’s drought shouldn’t mean the importance of water is forgotten, city officials say

Pasadena Water and Power is partnering with the city’s Department of Public Health in celebrating the month of May as Water Awareness Month, and Wednesday, May 8, as Rethink Your Drink Day. PWP General Manager Gurcharan Bawa said the utility plans to engage with community organizations in Pasadena during the entire month in an effort to educate people about the importance of water as a precious resource.

Aquafornia news Physics World

Weighing water from space

By monitoring tiny changes to the Earth’s gravitational field, the GRACE satellites have been pinpointing the distribution of fresh water on our planet for almost two decades. But as Marric Stephens explains, a new follow-on mission is also helping with plans for a space-based gravitational-wave detector

Aquafornia news Long Beach Business Journal

Environmental health hazards impacting the city of Long Beach

Across its multitude of neighborhoods, communities and cultures, the City of Long Beach offers a diverse haven for businesses and families to thrive. At the same time, the unique location of Long Beach in Southern California places it at the mercy of significant human health risks caused by both environmental and man-made factors.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A little-known company is quietly making massive water deals

In the past several years, Los Angeles-based Renewable Resources Group has helped sell 33,000 acres of land to California’s most powerful water agency, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Documents obtained by Voice of San Diego raise fresh questions about those deals. Now, Renewable may be working on another deal that could rearrange the distribution of water in California forever.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Opinion: Protect against water grabs like Centennial Dam

Nevada Irrigation District is a very bad steward of the Bear River and Auburn Ravine, which it uses as a ditch to deliver water to its paying customers downstream with little regard for the ecology of Auburn Ravine.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

Contaminated tap water in California at center of debate between lawmakers

Lawmakers have said fixing contaminated water systems is costly but ongoing maintenance will be even more expensive. They say a constant funding stream is necessary.

Related article:

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Oakland Unified: Lead in tap water issue taken care of

After years of public outcry and the discovery of dozens of lead-tainted drinking water taps throughout the city’s public schools, Oakland Unified has tested every single drinking water tap at its schools, and is fixing or replacing those with dangerous lead levels.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Palmdale academy students put some water to the test

There is more to drinking water than meets the eye, seventh- and eighth-graders at the Palmdale Preparatory Academy learned this week, as they tried their hands at some basic water testing led by a team from the Palmdale Water District.

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

‘Desperately needed’: Congress OKs more than $29 million in disaster relief for California fisheries

It’s taken four years but fishermen along California’s North Coast who have seen crab and salmon seasons truncated and even closed altogether will finally see some relief after $29.65 million in federal disaster relief funding was approved by Congress. It was in the 2015-16 year the Dungeness crab fishery and the Yurok Chinook salmon fishery both collapsed due to poor water quality.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New database: Water sources in 43 states contain potentially unsafe chemical levels

Using Pentagon data released last year and recently obtained public water utility reports, the researchers now estimate that more than 19 million people are exposed to water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS. … Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California reports one of the highest levels across the military, at 8 million parts per trillion.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes

Newsom … said he would announce his administration’s detailed strategy on energy policy in the next few weeks. The governor was coy about core aspects of that policy, and declined to say if it would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, a process that uses drilling and large volumes of high-pressure water to extract gas and oil deposits.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Changes were made to water flow out of Glen Canyon Dam. That led to more bugs in the Colorado River

Ted Kennedy sums up what he sees along the river in the Grand Canyon: “It’s buggy out there.” That is to say, an experiment to change the flow of water from a dam near the Arizona-Utah state line appeared to boost the number of aquatic insects that fish in the Colorado River eat. Scientists are hoping to better understand those results with a second bug flow experiment that started this month and will run through August.

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

Checking the water jug that is Lake Powell

The giant reservoir, formed by Glen Canyon Dam, was under 40 percent full the last week of April. And a lot of water is still being released from the reservoir, more demands on the water are expected, and the water supply above the reservoir, in the sprawling Colorado River system, is expected to decrease.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

Phillips 66 fined again for polluting San Pablo Bay

For the third time in the last five years, Phillips 66 plans to pay to settle accusations that its Rodeo refinery released chlorine into San Pablo Bay. State water regulators announced Wednesday that the Houston-based company will pay $80,000 for violating chlorine limits in water it released into the bay more than a dozen times over a five-month period last year.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

Los Angeles’ urban-runoff projects expand, but dirty-water violators go unpunished, says NRDC report

While the state agency responsible for policing Los Angeles County’s polluted urban and stormwater runoff boasts significant progress in its monumental task, a National Resources Defense Council report this week criticizes the water-quality panel for lackluster enforcement.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: The Delta twin tunnels project is dead

Gov. Gavin Newsom killed the divisive twin tunnels project Thursday, calming fears that have roiled the delta communities and dominated California water politics for more than a decade. It is a signature decision for the young administration.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Ski resorts are thriving on California’s heavy snowpack — and higher prices

Approximately 7.3 million skiers and snowboarders hit the slopes this season at resorts in California and Nevada, a 17% increase over the previous year, according to preliminary numbers from Ski California, the nonprofit trade group for the states’ ski resorts.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California must embrace desalination to ensure water supply

In one key respect, California is lagging behind many other parts of the world. Climate change is causing drought and water shortages everywhere, but California has been slow to adopt a solution that over 120 countries are using: desalination.

Aquafornia news Western Water

With Colorado River drought plan in place, stakeholders face even tougher talks ahead on river’s future

Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multi‐year drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict. But as the time for crafting a new set of rules draws near, some river veterans suggest the result will be nothing less than a dramatic re-imagining of how the overworked Colorado River is managed…

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Triumph as rare red-legged frogs return to Yosemite

With no parting glance at their devoted human caretakers, 142 rare red-legged frogs swam to freedom on Friday — one small jump for the frogs but a giant leap for the threatened species. Our official state amphibian, the frogs vanished from these pristine mountain meadows 50 years ago.

Related article:

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Experts weigh in on the snowpack, and how a new water treatment facility benefits the valley

There’s a need to use the available surface water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs so the groundwater can replenish itself. That’s where the new Southeast Fresno Surface Water Treatment Facility comes in. … Michael Carbajal, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Fresno. says that before 2004, we used 100% groundwater to meet drinking water demand. “We’re hoping to get up over 50% meaning, 50% of our drinking water demand through surface water,” says Carbajal.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Calistoga prevails in $10M, decade-long water rights suit

A multi-million dollar lawsuit filed against Calistoga over water rights has been dismissed on appeal. The California Court of Appeal on April 29 rejected Debbie R. O’Gorman’s $10 million lawsuit against the city,

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

County board backs small water system treatment rules on temporary basis

County supervisors backed an ordinance that would regulate alternative water treatment options for contaminated small water systems on a trial basis amid public concerns regarding the potential cost and complexity of the proposed rules.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

DWR survey records above average water in California snowpack

The Department of Water Resources recorded 47 inches of snow at Phillips Station with a snow-water equivalent of 27.5 inches, which is 88% above average for this time of year… Statewide, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is doing even better, with an average snow-water equivalent of 31 inches, which is 44% above average for this time of year, according to the release.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hopes higher, but skepticism remains at Devil’s Gate safety meeting

When concerned La Cañada residents attended a meeting in December to learn about the county’s plans to remove more than 2.8 million tons of sediment from nearby Devil’s Gate Dam starting this spring, fear and anxiety predominated. Many hadn’t heard about the project and didn’t know diesel trucks would haul sediment loads near schools and recreation areas in hundreds of daily trips eight months out of the year for up to four years.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom officially kills Jerry Brown’s Delta twin tunnels

The Newsom administration announced it is withdrawing permit applications that the Brown administration had submitted to the State Water Resources Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and several federal agencies. Instead, the administration said it will begin environmental studies on a one-tunnel project.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal district judge rules in favor of water agencies on latest issues in Agua Caliente litigation

Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a decision … finding that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians lacked standing to seek adjudication of its claim to quantification of its reserved groundwater right and its claim regarding groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Residents reminded of water conservation rules

The winter was wet, and the memories of California’s record-setting drought years are receding. But as the weather warms and irrigation systems are once again operating, city officials remind local residents that Newman’s water conservation rules remain in effect.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Department of Interior to hold meeting in San Luis Obispo on fracking plan

U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials will visit San Luis Obispo later this month to take public comment on a pending federal plan to grow oil and gas production on public lands in Central California.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Water is an economic issue, not just an environmental issue

DCP puts safeguards in place to help manage water use now and better deal with a potential shortage. Utah, Arizona and the five other Colorado River basin states wisely chose to include conservation measures in the DCP — and shared in their sacrifice to avoid costly litigation and imposed cuts. Congress and the states should be commended for this bipartisan, collaborative process.

Aquafornia news Mountain News

Lake Gregory Dam reconstruction completed, Lake Gregory Drive reopened

The construction doubled the previous width of the dam from the top to the bottom of the buttress, which was previously susceptible to seismic activity. New valves and pipelines were also included to control the lake level and allow for quicker drainage in the event of an emergency.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

A spring ritual: Groundwater pumping discussions under way

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power released its operation plan, focusing on pumping volumes, April 20, kicking off a series of events that historically has ended with a volume at or near the proposed maximum. The water extractions will be used in the valley for irrigation, enhancement/mitigation projects and for export.

Aquafornia news Fontana Herald News

Local leaders hold groundbreaking event for Village of Heritage Recycled Water Project

The Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Cucamonga Valley Water District and the City of Fontana held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Village of Heritage Recycled Water Project in the northwestern area of the city. About 8,200 linear feet of pipeline will be installed in an effort to decrease the use of imported water in Fontana, officials said. The pipeline will be an extension of the existing Baseline recycled water pipeline…

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

As California dries out, significant wildfire potential looms for Pacific Coast states this summer

A wet winter is not necessarily good news regarding the potential for wildfires in the summer, especially where summers tend to be dry. This is because the extra precipitation can lead to a more robust growth of grasses and other vegetation that can become fuel for fires as they dry out.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Toxic drinking water in California prisons costs taxpayers millions

An inmate’s death in Stockton from Legionnaires’ disease marks the third time in four years the rare form of pneumonia has struck California’s state prisons – and has laid bare a history of contamination and other problems plaguing water supplies in the corrections system.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona’s water future largely depends on these people’s work

The drought contingency plan is in the can (well, mostly), and an unusually wet winter means we’ll likely avoid the water shortage declaration everyone was expecting in 2020. If this were the past, we’d take a few months off to revel in our success. But thank goodness we’re not living in the past. Arizona’s water leaders know that the drought plan didn’t solve anything.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

BREAKING NEWS: Newsom officially shrinks Delta water project

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration officially pulled the plug Thursday on the twin Delta tunnels, fullfilling Newsom’s pledge to downsize the project to a single pipe as he attempts to chart a new course for California’s troubled water-delivery system.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fire claims California cabin, site of snowpack survey

The property, a peaceful meadow  at 6,820 feet elevation near Echo Summit, is also home to … a monthly event that attracts hordes of reporters and photographers who tromp through the property on snowshoes. … Carol Pearson would usually watch the proceedings from the window of the small cabin, built in 1938, where she’s lived the past 20 years. Now Pearson, 67, has been displaced by fire. Her cabin burned to the ground in a chimney fire April 12, killing one of her cats.

Aquafornia news KEYT

Santa Maria residents asked to reduce usage of water softeners

Santa Maria residents are being asked by the city to cut down on the amount of water softeners used through the end of the year. City officials say the city will begin delivering better-quality municipal water with a lower mineral content. … Using water softeners in addition to this new municipal water could be damaging to pipes and fixtures. 

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Fingerprint of climate change on drought traced to 1900

Researchers revealed Wednesday the fingerprint of climate change on drought and the long-term effect on global water supplies can be traced to 1900. … Lead author Kate Marvel, a climate modeler at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University, said, “It’s mind boggling. There is a really clear signal of the effects of human greenhouse gases on the hydroclimate.”

Related article:

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Fish reported to be using Fremont Weir again

Yes, some fish died — including endangered Chinook salmon — but overall rebuilding the Fremont Weir has done its job and saved hundred of others. That was the response of Allen Young, public information officer for the California Department of Water Resources, after reports surfaced last week that at least 13 Chinook salmon and other fish couldn’t make it through the weir designed to get them safely into the Sacramento River and died.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water supply and quality challenges in the San Joaquin Valley

Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, testified today (April 30, 2019) before the Assembly Subcommittee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, at a hearing on balancing water needs into the future in the San Joaquin Valley. Here are her prepared remarks.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

New online survey examines water after the Camp Fire

Starting Wednesday, May 1, survivors of the Camp Fire can participate in an online survey about their drinking water. … The online survey will compile the drinking water experiences and needs of people across Butte County who have a standing home in the Camp Fire area. These researchers are working to understand how the community has responded to a disaster and what their needs are.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California water board faces lawsuit over new wetlands rules

With the Trump administration trudging ahead and re-writing another Obama-era environmental law, wary California regulators last month approved new protections for wetlands in the Golden State. … Hoping to freeze the new wetlands rules, a coalition consisting of several California water suppliers and the city of San Francisco sued the water board late Wednesday in state court. 

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How California drought turned some trees into ‘zombies’

Although seven years of drought in California finally relented this March, high heat and lack of water have caused a severe decline in the health of some trees, with many now essentially suspended between life and death, Sacramento-area arborist Matt Morgan said.

Aquafornia news E&E News

California drainage deal sinks into doldrums

An ambitious California irrigation drainage deal is now mired deeper than ever in legislative and legal limbo, alarming farmers, spinning government wheels and costing taxpayers money with no relief in sight. Though nearly four years have passed since the Obama administration and the Westlands Water District agreed to settle their high-stakes drainage differences, the deal remains incomplete. Progress, if there is any, can be measured in inches.

Aquafornia news SF Weekly

Even after all that rain, S.F. barely broke even for the winter

If it doesn’t rain another drop for the rest of this “winter,” we got exactly 0.13 inches more than an ordinary season, putting 2018-19 at almost exactly the historical average.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District threatens Coachella Valley withdrawal

“3.1 million acre-feet of the (Imperial) Valley’s entitlement to Colorado River water is now up for grabs in Sacramento and it ought to concern all of us,” IID Board President Erik Ortega said Tuesday afternoon in El Centro. “That’s why I’m calling today for the general manager to bring back to this board a plan for the divestment of IID’s energy assets in the Coachella Valley.”

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Opinion: Permanent conservation regulations

Assembly Bill 1668 and Senate Bill 606 established indoor and outdoor irrigation regulations, making water conservation a permanent way of life. This draconian and arbitrary rationing legislation tramples upon the personal rights of individuals to make choices regarding their beneficial use of water, undermines local conditions and local control, the state’s water rights priority system and area-of-origin water right assurances.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Dam removal opponents keep up their fight

As the Klamath River Renewal Corporation announced that they’ve contracted with a company for removal of four Klamath dams last week, opponents continue to insist the organization is ill prepared for the expense and consequences of removal.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: The vicious climate-wildfire cycle

In the Western US, climate change is a major driver behind the near doubling in burned area that we’ve experienced over the past 35 years, and has contributed to an increase in the frequency and severity of fires, while lengthening the fire season in some regions.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Congress and White House agree to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday after a meeting at the White House, that President Trump has agreed to invest $2 trillion to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure. Congressional leaders said they will return to the White House in three weeks to determine how to pay for it.

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

New statistical technique finds La Niña years more favorable for mountain snowpack than El Niño years

In a new study published in the journal Climate Dynamics, they used their new technique to look at California winters. … They found that in Northern California, La Niña and El Niño conditions result in nearly equivalent amounts of winter precipitation. However, La Niña winters tend to be much colder, resulting in conditions more favorable for increased mountain snowpack.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

One of the most frequently recurring themes of last week’s business conference of California agricultural appraisers was the impact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is having on land values. … Another recurring theme was the tight availability of farm employees and the rising costs associated with those employees. One result has been the increase in plantings of nut crops, which require fewer people to tend and harvest.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Yosemite waterfalls are gushing this year — and some won’t last long. Here’s how to see them

An extra wet winter and spring this year means waterfall season in Yosemite National Park is off to a thunderous, gushing start. This is also a great time to see many of the park’s lesser-known falls that only last for a short time.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hydropower bill would sabotage California’s clean energy mandate, critics say

The Don Pedro hydropower project, just west of Yosemite National Park, has been churning out carbon-free electricity for nearly a century. … None of the electricity is counted toward California’s push for more renewable energy on its power grid. A new bill advanced by state lawmakers last week would change that — and it’s being opposed by environmental groups, who say it would undermine the state’s landmark clean energy law by limiting the need to build solar farms and wind turbines.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Colorado River: NEPA looms over drought plan enthusiasm

Some lawyers say the Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, may be built on shaky legal ground and could be vulnerable to litigation — depending on how the Bureau of Reclamation implements it. One California water district has already sued to block it.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

EVWD approves new master plans for water and sewer systems

The full buildout recommendations were based on Southern California Association of Governments population projections … The plan also recommends a new 2.88 million gallon (MG) well to increase groundwater supply for the existing system. For the near-term plan, an additional 9.25 MG of storage is recommended ⎯ assuming the 5.5 MG capacity for the existing system is implemented ⎯ for a total of 14.75 MG.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Small fee would yield safe drinking water in California

We have a drinking water crisis in California—a crisis that has disproportionately impacted disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color for years. There is however hope as many voices, from many different people, with various political views, have now joined the fight to address this crisis.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Reinventing the tomato for survival in a changing world

Born and raised in Northern California, Brad Gates has been organically farming tomatoes in the region for 25 years, working on small leased plots and introducing new varieties with cult followings… For most of that time, he sold his tomatoes to top restaurants, including Chez Panisse in Berkeley. But a few years ago he completely rethought his work. Galvanized by climate change, he joined a growing number of farmers who are trying to find a future for their threatened crops.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State announces draft basin prioritization for 57 modified water basins; public comment period begins

The California Department of Water Resources has announced draft basin prioritization for 57 groundwater basins recently affected by basin boundary changes under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA. For more than 75 percent of these basins, the results are a confirmation of prioritizations established in 2015.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Regional water board must address L.A.’s runoff problem

Every day, an estimated 100 million gallons of runoff contaminated with various pollutants flows through L.A.’s massive storm drain system to foul our rivers, creeks and, ultimately, our coastal waters. … Today, NRDC urged the Newsom Administration to encourage the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board to address this serious public and environmental health threat.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Coachella Valley groundwater levels show `significant increases’

Groundwater levels throughout most of the Coachella Valley have increased significantly over the past decade, according to an annual analysis released today by the local water district. … The report documents “significant increases” in groundwater levels in the range of 2-50 feet in the past decade in most of the Indio Subbasin, located under the cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio and Coachella…

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

NASA takes guesswork out of measuring California’s snowpack

To better measure the water in our snow, California is sending sharper eyes up into the sky. Two sensors peer out from a turboprop aircraft, soaring from Mammoth Yosemite Airport over the white Sierra Nevada – collecting data that tells us almost exactly how much water we’ll have this summer.

Aquafornia news Portland Business Journal

FERC approves Oregon pumped storage project

The $800 million Swan Lake North Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project, 11 miles north of Klamath Falls, would move water between two 60-plus-acre reservoirs separated by more than 1,600 vertical feet, pumping the water uphill when energy is available and sending it downhill through generating turbines when energy is needed.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California and Imperial Irrigation District near Salton Sea projects agreement

Imperial Irrigation District general manager Henry Martinez and California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot have reached an agreement in principle that the state will be responsible for construction and maintenance of more than 3,700 acres of wetlands aimed at controlling toxic dust and restoring wildlife habitat. In exchange, the water district will sign easements for access onto lands it owns that border California’s largest lake.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Years into Tijuana sewage crisis, California senators call for federal help

A group of Democratic senators and San Diego County-based congressional representatives sent a letter to multiple federal agencies Tuesday urging them to address sewage runoff in the Tijuana River … Local and state officials as well as environmental activists have decried the condition of the Tijuana River for years, which regularly causes beach closures along the county’s coastline, particularly after heavy rain.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Garcetti outlines ‘Green New Deal’ for Los Angeles

Mayor Eric Garcetti Monday unveiled a Green New Deal for Los Angeles, setting aggressive new environmental goals in a range of areas, including electric autos, air quality, trees and public transit. … The plan includes a reiteration of some previous commitments, but also sets some new benchmarks, including sourcing 70% of L.A.’s water locally and recycling 100% of all wastewater for beneficial reuse by 2035.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

‘Grandfather’ of natural treatment systems: HSU professor emeritus to be honored with environmental award

The development of the Arcata Marsh as an integral part of wastewater treatment in Arcata was the primary focus of two professors at Humboldt State University, George Allen and Robert Gearheart, who developed a process that uses what was a former salt marsh as a means to treat sewage that is then discharged into Humboldt Bay. On May 7, Gearheart … will be honored by the Environmental Law Institute at its annual awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Lake Wohlford Dam replacement hits a wetland snag

The city of Escondido thought it had finally figured out how to raise the $35 million to $50 million it needs to replace the Lake Wohlford Dam. But then a complicated and prohibitively expensive problem arose.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

New Trampas reservoir in south O.C. overcoming hurdles; public tours offered

Despite cost increases and weather-related delays, construction of the 1.6 billion-gallon Trampas Canyon Reservoir in south Orange County is well underway and officials continue pointing to long-term savings to be gleaned by reducing the need for imported water. … Construction costs have soared from the 2016 estimate of $56 million to $83 million today…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Few details in Newsom’s water policy directive

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday ordered key state agencies to develop a blueprint for meeting California’s 21st-century water needs in the face of climate change.The executive order includes few details and doesn’t appear to set a dramatic new water course for the state. Rather, it reaffirms Newsom’s intentions to downsize the controversial twin tunnels project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, use voluntary agreements to meet new river flow requirements and provide clean drinking water to impoverished communities.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CityLab

The town that extended ’smart growth’ to its water

Westminster, Colo.’s, comprehensive plan estimates how much water each type of building would use. Then the city built GIS software that overlays water resources and infrastructure over the comprehensive plan—making it easy to see, for example, how much water a proposed strip mall might use. It’s a step up from the typical water-per-capita measure that most cities rely on… It also helps planners guide developers to smarter construction.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Fixing Swan Lake’s ‘nightmare’ flooding in Reno won’t be cheap or easy

Tracy Hall says she’s lucky to have friendly neighbors who allow her to live in an RV on their property while water laps at a temporary barrier on the edge of her property. But Hall and others are tired of the disruption to their lives that started more than two years ago when the formerly dry lake in Lemmon Valley filled with stormwater runoff and urban effluent.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am withdraws appeal of desal permit denial

Cal Am announced it had been told by city officials its request for the mayor and two council members to recuse themselves due to alleged bias against the desal project would not be honored. The company will now appeal the commission’s denial directly to the Coastal Commission.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Rebuilding Sonoma County: Larkfield area moving ahead on sewer extensions

Gena Jacob figures she may come out ahead, in at least one respect, in the wake of the Tubbs fire that leveled her Larkfield home. … Through a program created by Sonoma Water and offered to 143 homeowners in Larkfield Estates, they plan to connect to a new sewer line — freeing them from the constraints of their aging septic system — with a financing package that takes some of the sting out of the cost.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Melting snow may have caused earthquakes in California, research shows

In 2017, a swarm of seismic activity occurred near California’s Long Valley Caldera in the Mammoth Mountain area. During the same period of seismic activity, the area had high levels of flooding due to snowmelt. The 2016-2017 winter brought heavy snow that created one of the largest snowpacks ever recorded in California’s history. A record amount of snowfall occurred in the same region this year, raising the question of whether the same occurrence will happen in 2019.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

A new effort to save birds pinpoints in amazing detail where they fly

As California’s Central Valley grew into the nation’s leading agricultural corridor, the region gradually lost almost all of the wetlands that birds depend on during their migrations along the West Coast. But a dramatic turnaround is underway in the valley. Dozens of farmers leave water on their fields for a few extra weeks each season to create rest stops for birds. The campaign has not only helped salvage a vital stretch of the north-south migration path called the Pacific Flyway but also tested a fresh model for protecting wildlife.

Aquafornia news CNN

Contaminants in California tap water could result in over 15,000 additional cancer cases, study says

Researchers from the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group estimated that the contaminants found in public water systems in California could contribute to about 15,500 cancer cases there over the course of a lifetime. These contaminants include chemicals such as arsenic, hexavalent chromium and radioactive elements such as uranium and radium. The study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Fish are born free, but are everywhere in cages this spring

Part of sustaining salmon populations is improving the survival and fitness of young salmon as they grow for weeks to months before out-migrating to the Ocean. … This year, UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences and California Trout have four different studies over approximately 100 miles using floating cages with baby salmon inside. 

Aquafornia news Mustang News

How a water conservation senior project turned into a company of 25 employees with nationwide reach

In the midst of the record-breaking California drought in 2014, three Cal Poly students decided to use their senior project to try to help stop water leaks. They began designing a device that would monitor a consumer’s water usage during the month and hoped it would inspire people to pay closer attention to their consumption.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers

It’s an exceptional year for Sierra snowpack — 150 to 200% in some places. Mountain snow is the main water source for agriculture on the Valley’s west side. But those farmers are getting just 65% of their allocation… Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says it’s frustrating that in a water year this good, some farmers still can’t get enough of it to grow food.

Aquafornia news Yuba Water Agency

News release: Yuba Water Agency, DWR launch research to enhance reservoir operations

This research will supply information needed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to update the 1970’s-era water control manuals, which dictate the storm-season operations of both reservoirs. Yuba Water’s goal is to have a new water control manual approved about the same time the agency completes construction of a new, planned secondary spillway at its New Bullards Bar Dam, estimated for completion in 2024.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Federal official blocks water for Walker Lake restoration, conservation group alleges

A federal official is attempting to “obstruct” the flow of water to restore habitat at Walker Lake, the conservancy responsible for administering federal restoration funds alleged in District Court last week. After years of litigation, lawyers for the Walker Basin Conservancy said that “at some point, the court must put a stop to the federal water master’s obstruction.” The receding desert lake outside of Hawthorne is fed by the Walker River, which rises in California and snakes through Western Nevada.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder water bill a bipartisan effort

As a full Tuolumne River flowed behind them, a diverse set of government leaders and water stakeholders gathered alongside Congressman Josh Harder Wednesday afternoon in Modesto to unite under one important cause: protecting water in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Bill passes to reduce Administrative Hearings Office’s reliance on the Water Rights Fund

Importantly for the water rights community, SB 454 will reduce the financial burden on the existing Water Rights Fund caused by the establishment of the Hearings Office. As the laws and budget are currently structured, the Water Rights Fund is the primary source of financial support for the Hearings Office. The Water Rights Fund is supported by fees paid by water rights holders, some of whom might never utilize the Hearings Office.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water district signals changes to rate hike proposal

The district is proposing to raise rates by about 4 percent annually over the next four years and to impose a new annual capital maintenance fee. The fee, which would be based on customers’ meter size, would switch the district from borrowing money to a cash-based system for funding repairs and replacement of pipes, pumps, water tanks and treatment plants.

Aquafornia news KCET

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thick and Viscous: California oil production among the dirtiest in the country

A recent report from the California Water Quality Control Board found “multiple lines of geochemical evidence” indicating that “groundwater is mixing with oil field fluids.”

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Valley News

Santa Ana River watermaster celebrates 50 years of cooperation and collaboration

In Riverside County, right along the Santa Ana River, local leaders and community members came together to commemorate 50 years of peace along the River. Nearly 100 people celebrated two 1969 court judgments for the water rights of the Santa Ana River that are still in place.

Aquafornia news Redlands Daily Facts

Keep conserving, officials say, San Bernardino valley groundwater basins are ‘historically low’

As the Inland area dries out from this winter’s soaking, residents might be tempted to crank up their lawn sprinklers, and wash the dust off their driveways, but not so fast, water officials say. All that rain has done little to erase the deficits in local groundwater basins which are at historic lows thanks to two decades of drought.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Drought-resistant plants help save money

Spring has come to California and drought-resistant plants are a good option for residents looking to add some new plants. These drought-resistant plants can help save money, because they require less water.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: Newsom offers a new approach to California’s water issues

By rejecting the twin tunnels proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent an important message that new thinking is required to address California’s complex water issues.

Aquafornia news Kaiser Health News

California among states considering banning widely used pesticide EPA won’t

Several studies have linked prenatal exposure of chlorpyrifos to lower birth weights, lower IQs, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other developmental issues in children. But the EPA in 2017 ignored the conclusions of its scientists and rejected a proposal made during the Obama administration to ban its use in fields and orchards.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration unveils plan to open up 1 million California acres to oil drilling

A 174-page environmental report released by the U.S. Interior Department will expedite new extraction on roughly 1 million acres of Central and Southern California, primarily in the historical oil fields around Bakersfield and the deep petroleum deposits near Santa Barbara but potentially in the Sierra Nevada as well.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Calistoga’s Crystal Geyser partners with conservancy group to protect watersheds

Crystal Geyser Water Company of Calistoga has partnered with a nonprofit watershed conservation group for the protection and restoration of forested watersheds and natural sources of drinking water. … The partnership has created a new initiative, called Spring for Life, and was announced April 16.

Aquafornia news Tracy Press

Opinion: The case for SB1

Senate Bill 1 … would encourage state agencies, such as regional water quality control boards, Fish & Wildlife, the Air Resources Board, and CalOSHA, to resist Trump administration rollbacks by allowing them to consider applying federal standards for protection in effect as of January 19, 2017, the day before Donald Trump took office, and maintain them in case he is re-elected next year.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Is it really drought contingency or a missed opportunity?

In the DCP, there was no consideration of deeper conservation, no consideration of mechanisms to shift our state to less thirsty crops, and no consideration of what kind of development is sustainable. There was no consideration of our other rivers and the need for ecological flows.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Options sought for water users of destroyed canal

The Camp Fire destroyed thousands of homes and dozens of businesses, and also the water supply for an undetermined number of people. The fire destroyed or damaged the 9 miles of PG&E’s Upper Miocene Canal, which is the flume system along the West Branch of the Feather River. That also cut off water to ranches and homes along the Middle Miocene Canal … and the Lower Miocene Canal (or Powers Canal) along the west side of Table Mountain to Oroville.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

City of Ukiah still making repairs after winter flooding

The city of Ukiah is still making repairs to infrastructure damaged in last winter’s storms, the most urgent of which are needed at the facility it uses to deliver drinking water to its residents.

Aquafornia news South Pasadena Review

Graves reservoir project on track for 2020 completion

The South Pasadena multi-million-dollar Graves Reservoir reconstruction project that will bring the last of the city’s five non-operational reservoirs online is on track and expected to be ready to accept the 1 million gallons of water it’s capable of holding next year, according to city officials.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

How Silicon Valley provides the blueprint for cleaning up our drinking water

The presence of groundwater contamination in Silicon Valley in the 1980s destroyed the narrative that high-tech was a clean alternative to the industrialization of the Northeast and Midwest. But the central concern of residents now dealing with the effects of contaminated drinking water was what to do next. Local activism offered a path forward.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal plant gets narrow Planning Commission OK

Citing long-running efforts to secure a new Monterey Peninsula water supply and the state-imposed deadline for reducing unauthorized water usage, the county Planning Commission approved California American Water’s desalination plant north of Marina on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert! Science News

Snowmelt causes seismic swarm near California’s Long Valley Caldera

A spring surge of meltwater, seeping through vertically tilted layers of rock, caused a seismic swarm near California’s Long Valley Caldera in 2017, according to research presented at the 2019 SSA Annual Meeting. The unusual event prompted U.S. Geological Survey researcher Emily Montgomery-Brown and her colleagues to look back through 33 years of seismic and water records for the region. They found that rates of shallow seismicity were about 37 times higher during very wet periods versus dry periods.

Aquafornia news Wired

How the Blockchain Could Protect California’s Aquifer

In Solano County, near Sacramento, [Alex] Johnson is working on what he says could be a model for parched ag regions around the state. … Last month, working with IBM and a company called SweetSense, Johnson’s team began deploying simple, solar-powered sensors, originally developed to monitor creaky groundwater pumps in East Africa. The sensors will be used to detect how much water is flowing in real-time. … Farmers will use that data to trade their water on (what else?) a blockchain platform.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

A look back at the specifics of a wild, wet and snowy winter in California and the Southwest

Following a pretty dry 2017-18 season, the storms came back with a frenzy this season across the Southwest, helping to propel many places to above-average precipitation.

California’s New Natural Resources Secretary Takes on Challenge of Implementing Gov. Newsom’s Ambitious Water Agenda
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Wade Crowfoot addresses Delta tunnel shift, Salton Sea plan and managing water amid a legacy of conflict

Wade Crowfoot, California Natural Resources Secretary.One of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.

That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach” on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gavin Newsom brings different view to Delta water issue

By rejecting the twin tunnels proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sent an important message that new thinking is required to address California’s complex water issues.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Josh Harder unveils water plan for Central Valley

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, thinks there is a better way to find water solutions for California’s Central Valley and to stop squandering water in wet years that’s needed in dry years. His bipartisan water legislation unveiled Wednesday promises federal support for storage and innovation projects to address shortages that too often plague Valley agriculture and communities.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How ski resorts in California are preparing for warmer winters

North America is not a snow globe, and as the real globe warms, one trend is clear: winter is shrinking and snow is melting. In the last 50 years alone, the frozen mantle that caps the Northern Hemisphere in the dark months has lost a million square miles of spring snowpack. …Coastal ranges like the Sierras and Cascades, where winter temperatures hover close to the freezing point, are most at risk.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As Bay Area heats up, Gov. Gavin Newsom warns of coming wildfire danger

As temperatures soared to summertime levels across the Bay Area, Gov. Gavin Newsom was at Tilden Regional Park in the East Bay hills Tuesday to warn that wildfires don’t only threaten California’s rural regions.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How an ‘unripe snowpack’ will impact Lake Tahoe this summer

For the third year in a row, Lake Tahoe is expected to fill. This is noteworthy for the sixth-largest lake in the United States that flirted with record-low levels amid a five-year drought that ended in 2017.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

The 80 homes that make up Tooleville nestle against the mighty Friant-Kern Canal, thousands of gallons of fresh water flowing each day past the two-street town. But none of that water can help Tooleville’s decades-old problem of contaminated water, chronicled at the start of this decade in a three-part series by The Bee on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. Nearby Exeter might, though, giving a rise of newfound hope.

Aquafornia news KESQ TV

Mission Springs Water District representative: ‘We’ve been hijacked by Desert Water Agency’

A report from a citizen advisory committee in Desert Hot Springs is asking lawmakers in Sacramento to “re-work” a state law, which went into effect in 2015, that allowed the Desert Water Agency in Palm Springs to take over management authority of the groundwater distributed by the Mission Springs Water District, to people living in Desert Hot Springs and surrounding areas. John Soulliere, MSWD’s Public Affairs Officer, says his district has been “hijacked”…

Commands