Topic: Water Supply


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 State Water Resources Control Board

News Release: State water board issues key documents that further efforts to remove Klamath River dams

The State Water Board today issued key documents that move the Klamath River Renewal Corporation significantly closer to removing four dams and re-opening 360 miles of the Klamath River and its tributaries to imperiled salmon.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Stormwater capture is undervalued in California

Stormwater is the rain and other water that runs off of streets and sidewalks into nearby gutters or waterways. Communities throughout the western U.S. are expanding efforts to collect this valuable water resource. These projects range from capturing water from a single rooftop or driveway to developing large infiltration basins that recharge billions of gallons of water each year in groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Fort Bragg Advocate-News

Groundwater management hearings set for late April

Registered voters who live in Mendocino have the opportunity and responsibility to decide the direction of groundwater management in Mendocino at two upcoming Mendocino City Community Services District Public Hearings scheduled for April 16 and 27.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Climate change has doubled riskiest fire days in California

An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: What’s the plan to end groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley?

In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region. … This post examines how the plans propose to end overdraft.

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California rain, mountain snow to continue through Thursday; Flood watches include Death Valley, America’s driest place

A slow-moving storm system will bring more rain and mountain snow to parts of California through Thursday, and could trigger flash flooding in the Mojave Desert, including some of America’s typically driest places.

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Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: A firsthand look at how Valley Water provides safe, clean drinking water to Santa Clara County

Dozens of residents participated in our inaugural Water Infrastructure Bus Tour in February to experience our facilities up close and understand the work we do to provide safe, clean drinking water to Santa Clara County.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Will climate change push these amphibians to the brink?

California newts faced the worst drought conditions in 1,200 years, but new research finds that the lack of precipitation may not have been their biggest threat.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

As cities suspend shutoffs, water access and hygiene at front of coronavirus response

Governments at all levels are beginning to review water access policies and inequalities that inhibit public and personal efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. Those policies include restoring water service to homes where water had been disconnected, suspending new water shutoffs, and installing public handwashing stations to serve residents who are experiencing homelessness.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Reservoirs that supply water to Phoenix area nearly full after wet winter

Runoff from rain and snow across the mountains of central Arizona this year has filled reservoirs nearly to capacity along the Verde and Salt rivers. Salt River Project’s system of six reservoirs is now 98% full, the highest level since 2010.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Collaboration is the answer to California’s fishery and water supply challenges

Unprecedented efforts by leaders at the state and national level have led to the kind of cooperation that will provide valuable benefits to water users and the environment. I know because that’s what we’ve been doing in the Sacramento Valley for many years. The kinds of success we’ve achieved can be replicated in other parts of the state.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Millions in US at risk of ‘water shutoffs’ amid layoffs triggered by pandemic

Around two-fifths of the country rely on water utilities which have not suspended the policy of shutoffs for non-payment, despite public health warnings that good hygiene – specifically frequent hand washing – is crucial to preventing spread of the highly contagious virus, according to data analysed by Food and Water Watch and the Guardian…. So far, the moratoriums on shutoffs include 12 statewide orders, which apply to private and public water providers, issued by the governors of California, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Fracking in California gets green light after 9-month pause; Aera Energy receives permits

California regulators on Friday issued fracking permits for the first time in nine months, saying federal scientists had given clearance for 24 permits to Aera Energy for oil well stimulation in Kern County. … Last July, Gov. Gavin Newsom fired the state’s oil and gas supervisor a day after The Desert Sun reported that the number of fracking permits issued during his first six months in office had doubled compared to the same period under his predecessor…

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Following California’s water as another dry spell looms

What does a Central Valley almond farmer have in common with a San Diego homeowner? The answer is simple: Water. More specifically, the amount of water they need to sustain their respective lifestyles — which is a lot.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Sea-level rise: ‘It’s managed retreat.’ Calif. pushes homes back from ocean

An empty lot on a 70-foot-high bluff above the ocean seemed like the perfect place to build a house when the owners bought the parcel for $1.8 million. Now a state ruling means they’ll have to put the house farther away from the water, where they won’t see the shore. It’s a result of climate change and California’s response to it.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Tightening lead leaching standards for new drinking water fixtures

We have a legacy of lead in our pipes, our paint, and our soil. These are the most significant sources of human lead exposure and, therefore, draw most of the attention and resources because they are costly to fix. … For that reason, EDF has sought, as part of our larger efforts, to reduce the amount of lead that leaches from new plumbing devices such as faucets and fountains.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Wave Newspapers

Reviving the river that runs through Los Angeles

The Los Angeles River is special to Ed Reyes, who considers it an integral part of his childhood. Reyes, 60, the executive director of River LA and a former Los Angeles City councilman, grew up about a half-mile from the river. He remembers playing chicken with the rail cars and using his Stingray bike to dodge the cars coming and going.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How do you study microfibers? Get creative

Three years ago, Dimitri Deheyn noticed intensely blue stringy shapes as he examined jellyfish samples through a microscope in his marine biology lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Monday Top of the Scroll: Blog: New state water regulations cause angst on all sides

A new set of water regulations aimed at protecting California’s native fish came down from the state earlier this week to near universal condemnation from both agricultural and environmental water folks. The regulations are contained in a 143-page “incidental take permit” issued by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife …

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blog: Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects

The Wildlife Conservation Board has approved approximately $24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams throughout California. … The approved projects will lead to a direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to provide resilience to climate change.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Western Groundwater Congress: Quantifying surface water depletion from groundwater pumping

At the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Gilbert Barth, PhD, provided quantitative assessments of groundwater resources to address questions associated with water planning, and specializes in model development and calibration with a focus on quantifying changes between surface water and groundwater systems. He’s developed and applied models throughout the Western US for regional, interstate, and international deliberations.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: California groundwater wells receive grades for improvement and degradation

In California, groundwater is a major source for drinking and other uses. Identifying where groundwater quality is getting better or worse is essential for managing groundwater resources. A new study conducted by a team from the California Water Science Center, led by Research Hydrologist Bryant Jurgens, assessed areas of improving and degrading groundwater-quality by using a new metric for scoring.

Aquafornia news High Country News

As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Arizona is sinking. The combination of groundwater pumping and warmer temperatures is shrinking aquifers and lowering water tables. … Today, where subsidence is worst, groundwater pumping isn’t even monitored, and big agricultural and anti-regulatory ideologues try to stymie any efforts to keep tabs on how much water is being pumped.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: No water shutoffs in California amid coronavirus, Newsom says

Californians won’t have their water turned off due to unpaid bills during the coronavirus crisis, and those who already had it turned off will have their service restored, under action taken Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor’s directive comes in response to calls from environmental justice organizations for assistance to low-income residents facing mounting financial pressures.

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Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Sites Project hires new executive director

The group leading the effort to build a new off-stream reservoir in Northern California recently hired a new executive director. The Sites Project Authority Board of Directors selected Jerry Brown, who previously served as general manager of Contra Costa Water District, overseeing the operations and management of a large water system with more than 500,000 customers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Garcetti authorizes shutting off utilities to nonessential businesses violating Safer at Home

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he’s authorized the Department of Water and Power to shut off service to nonessential businesses that continue to operate despite the strict Safer at Home restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the latest move in an effort to impose social distancing as coronavirus cases and deaths surge across Los Angeles County and California.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Misselbeck Dam emergency declared over in Shasta County

Two 30-inch outlet pipes in the dam had been plugged with debris since last spring, forcing the lake to rise and wash over a spillway that state officials have deemed unsafe. But by early February, water was again flowing out of the pipes, allowing the lake to drop to a safe level, according to a Shasta County Sheriff’s Office report.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: There was no March Miracle: California’s dry winter continues, Sierra snow survey shows

So much for the March Miracle. Despite a few March storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack remains well below average, California officials reported Wednesday, suggesting that water supplies will be tight this summer and fall.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation issues new three-year plan for Klamath River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has issued a new three-year operating plan for the Klamath River, dedicating more water for endangered salmon while avoiding a “worst case scenario” for farmers and ranchers. In exchange, a local tribe and fishing groups agreed to suspend a lawsuit filed against the agency in 2019…

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: State water agencies expect water use reporting to continue as normal as California shelters in place

On March 19, 2020, California issued Executive Order N-25-20, a statewide shelter in place order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly altering operations of both state agencies and private businesses. … Importantly, the Division of Water Rights continues to require all surface water users to submit annual reports to meet the April 1, 2020 deadline for reporting 2019 water use.

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Hoopa Tribe strikes at Interior’s coveted Westlands Water District corporate deal

The Hoopa Valley Tribe applauded Fresno County Superior Court’s refusal to validate a proposed contract between Westlands Water District and the Bureau of Reclamation. … The contract would have allocated up to 1,150,000 acre-feet of water annually to Westlands, most of which would be imported from the Trinity River, which has sustained the Hupa people since time immemorial.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Yurok Tribe and commercial fishing families secure more water for salmon

The Yurok Tribe, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources … have successfully obtained a new three-year plan from the Bureau of Reclamation for operating the Klamath Irrigation Project to increase springtime flows in the Klamath River.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California’s new Delta water rules don’t end conflict with Washington

The rules take the form of a state Fish and Wildlife Department permit that will govern State Water Project deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… But the permit does not explicitly control the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project, which exports Delta water to San Joaquin Valley farms. That means the two big government pumping operations will likely adhere to different standards — possibly allowing the federal project to boost deliveries at the expense of the state project.

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Aquafornia news

How dead trees help forests tolerate drought

As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt to drought, a new study shows. … The results indicate that tree communities, particularly in more arid regions, have become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of less hardy trees.

Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

The future of water: Onsite desalination for hyperlocal reuse

The basics of the relationship between water and energy are well known, but California’s recent drought revealed something surprising about this connection. When the state mandated a 25 percent drop in water use, the resulting energy savings turned out to be even higher than expected. This prompted the Department of Energy to find ways of making water more energy efficient.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Below-average snowpack recorded across Sierra

Snow surveyors will head into the Sierra on Wednesday to take the most important measurements of the season. … Statewide, the snowpack and the water it holds is just 53% of average, according to the daily report on the California Data Exchange.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

No running water. No electricity. On Navajo Nation, coronavirus creates worry and confusion as cases surge

Here on the largest Native American reservation, one that spans portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, politicians and health officials are mounting a frantic effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The impact could be especially devastating, officials fear, in an extremely rural area larger than West Virginia, with roughly 175,000 residents and only four inpatient hospitals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California eyeing regulation of 1,4-Dioxane in drinking water

California is moving closer to setting a drinking water limit for the solvent 1,4-dioxane, which EPA has said is a likely carcinogen. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced Friday it was working to set a public health goal for the emerging contaminant.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

‘We’re in bad shape’: San Joaquin Valley lags in rainfall, despite storms this week

The past week brought much-needed showers to Tulare County — but not enough to catch up to the amount of rain the area should have by this time in the water year. … The past week brought about .78 inches, a decent amount, considering the average rainfall over the past 30 years for the entire month of March is 1.9 inches. But the rainfall broke an all-time record dry period for the season, as not a drop fell in February.

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Aquafornia news

No, you can’t get COVID-19 from San Francisco tap water

Bottled water is disappearing from grocery shelves almost as fast as toilet paper, but there’s no shortage of water in California. There’s plenty flowing right out of your tap. And it’s germ-free and perfectly safe to drink. You can’t get COVID-19 from tap water.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Fourth Phillips Station snow survey of 2020 this week

On April 1, 2020, DWR will conduct the fourth Phillips Station snow survey of the season. Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and California Department of Public Health guidance to limit gatherings, DWR will be conducting the April Phillips Station snow survey without media present and will be providing video of the survey and the results via Facebook live.

Aquafornia news CNN

Designing an end to a toxic American obsession: The Lawn

While many residents across the US may want a traditional patch of green carpet, Jodie Cook, a landscape designer from San Clemente, California, explained over email that West Coast homeowners are growing increasingly aware of how innovative models for lawns can benefit natural ecosystems, while providing a new dimension to the family home.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Water shutoffs in sharp focus amid coronavirus outbreak

The advice is simple and universal: Washing your hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But for millions of people across the country, that’s not simple at all: They lack running water in their houses due to service shutoffs prompted by overdue bills.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Freshwater species are disappearing fast — this year is critical for saving them

We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine. The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Largest US dam removal stirs debate over coveted West water

The second-largest river in California has sustained Native American tribes with plentiful salmon for millennia, provided upstream farmers with irrigation water for generations and served as a haven for retirees who built dream homes along its banks. With so many competing demands, the Klamath River has come to symbolize a larger struggle over the increasingly precious water resources of the U.S. West…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority approves metering standards, requirements

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority signed off on an ordinance and related resolution officially requiring all major pumpers needing metering on all groundwater extraction facilities and pumps during a board meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news

Because of the TP shortage, people are using wipes, T-shirts with predictable results

Thanks to people hoarding toilet paper during the coronavirus pandemic, some Californians have completely run out of bathroom tissue. So what do they do when nature calls? They improvise. And that, communities are discovering, can cause problems. Big, stinky, overflowing problems.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Early April precipitation is expected to be below normal where it is most needed in Northern California

While snow cover has increased thanks to a series of March storms, the Northern Sierra 8-Station Index stands at 56% of normal for the season. As of March 24, another 29.25 inches would be needed to reach the season normal of 54.52 inches. But the area normally gets just 9.42 inches from March 24 through June 30. So a daunting 310% of normal precipitation would be required to make up the deficit, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.

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Aquafornia news Huffington Post

What it’s like to not have running water during a pandemic

Two weeks ago, as the coronavirus was spreading across the U.S., Shanna Yazzie loaded the bed of her gray Toyota Tacoma pickup truck with as many empty, five-gallon containers as she had in her house and drove 25 miles on unpaved desert roads looking for a place to fill them with water. This is a routine for Yazzie, 38, one of the 2 million Americans who live without access to running water.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation, DWR to perform exploratory work near B.F. Sisk Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources are conducting exploratory work, including clearing, excavation and controlled blasting of rock material in the Basalt Hill area near B.F. Sisk Dam, located between Los Banos and Gilroy, between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during April and May. The exploratory findings on Reclamation lands will help identify size and quality of granular material for the planned Safety of Dams Modification project.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

COVID-19 complicates proposed Napa ballot measures about cannabis and watershed protection

Gathering signatures for two proposed Napa County ballot measures – one on rural, commercial cannabis cultivation, the other on watershed protections – is a daunting task amid COVID-19 shutdown orders. Californians are to shelter-at-home except when engaged in “essential” tasks such as buying food. Yet each measure needs more than 7,000 signatures from registered voters by May 8 to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Depletion of interconnected surface waters: Not that simple

Sierra Ryan is a water resources planner with the County of Santa Cruz. In this presentation from the Groundwater Resources Association‘s 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Ms. Ryan tells the story of how the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency balanced the various perspectives, authorities, and interpretations of the DWR regulations in writing the portion of their Groundwater Sustainability Plan that pertained to the depletion of interconnected surface water.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Frost advisory has farmers scrambling for frost protection for vineyards

Below freezing temperatures that swept through Sonoma County on Wednesday had local grape growers turning on their fans and sprinklers to protect the tiny buds that have emerged on vineyards across the region.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Friday Top of the Scroll: Virus-related delays cause states to rethink water permit compliance

States around the country say they won’t penalize water and wastewater utilities for failing to meet Clean Water Act permit requirements due to delays caused by the deadly coronavirus if those delays are justified and documented. Delays, for example, could be caused by utility staff who test and monitor water quality—or lab workers who analyze it—being quarantined with Covid-19.

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Study: Responses and impacts of atmospheric rivers to climate change

In March 2020 the most substantial review article to date focusing on atmospheric rivers (AR) was published in the first volume of the new journal Nature Reviews: Earth and Environment. The article, led by Ashley Payne (Univ. of Michigan) focuses on climate change dimensions, and was prepared by an international group of scientists…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Research tests how rice fields can benefit fish

Winter-flooded rice fields already provide essential habitat for migratory birds, but could they also provide benefits to help the state’s salmon populations? Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are finalizing their fieldwork on an experiment to find out what management practices farmers might adopt in their fields to maximize fish survival.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Western water data coming to new online platform

Evapotranspiration data has historically been limited in scope and expensive to access. A new project seeks to change that. Researchers from NASA, the Desert Research Institute and the Environmental Defense Fund, with support from Google Earth Engine technology, are working to create an online platform with free, accessible, satellite-based water data open to anyone.

Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

California edges toward a water-short summer and fall

After a very wet and snowy early 2019, which pumped up the state’s reservoirs, California has averaged less than half of average precipitation and snowpack so far in its rain year

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: District sues to stop salty water exchange

The James Irrigation District in western Fresno County has sued the Westlands Water District over its plan to let farmers pump salty groundwater into the Mendota Pool in exchange for water from the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: New Klamath TMDLs: An impossible standard?

During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper Klamath and Lost River subbasins.

Aquafornia news Mt. Shasta Herald

Opinion: Klamath River Renewal Corp. calls dam removal a ‘bright spot’

The COVID-19 virus outbreak is affecting us all, whether we live in a big city or rural Siskiyou County. The economy is grinding to a halt and governments are planning a massive response to keep money flowing to small businesses and employees – the lifeblood of the entire economy. It is through this lens that I encourage Klamath Basin residents to view Klamath River Renewal Corp.’s dam removal and river restoration project as an economic bright spot.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Relentless storms continue to soak Golden State with rain, mountain snow

While California will not receive a soaking rain similar to what occurred at the beginning of the week, residents across the state can expect unsettled weather to stick around through Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news The Willits News

Mendocino County moving forward with Redwood Valley Water Infrastructure Project

The Infrastructure Retrofit Project would mitigate earthquake hazards currently threatening the Redwood Valley County Water District and protect infrastructure against significant damage in the future. The 2017 Redwood Complex fire also destroyed parts of the water infrastructure in the valley and increased the need for the reconstruction project.

Aquafornia news California Healthline

California isn’t testing enough children for lead, prompting legislation

In some parts of California, a higher percentage of children who were tested had elevated levels of toxic lead in their blood than in Flint, Michigan, during the height of that city’s water crisis.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

SGMA to dry up one-fifth of irrigated San Joaquin Valley farmland

The report by David Sunding and David Roland-Holst, professors at University of California, Berkeley, estimates that one-fifth of cultivated farmland in the San Joaquin Valley will be permanently lost as groundwater plans take hold and water supplies are severely restricted.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

As climate change messes with temperature and precipitation, California newts suffer

Just three years after the 2011–2017 drought, one of the severest in recorded history for the state, the driest February in 150 years has spurred discussion of whether we’re in another drought — or if the last one even ended. That’s bad news for Los Angeles’ only newt, California newt, Taricha torosa, and other newts in the Taricha genus, particularly in the southern half of the state south of Big Sur.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona: Groundwater aquifers can expect a boost from March rains

March rain has left Salt River Project reservoirs as full as they’ve been in a decade. The utility is discharging water to make room for the runoff, providing a boost to the underlying aquifers. The utility says the Salt and Verde river systems are at a combined 94% of capacity, almost 20 points higher than last year.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Nation’s biggest water supplier isolating staff over virus

The nation’s largest treated water supply district is isolating workers, reducing the number of on-site employees, and giving its executive director broad powers, in the wake of stay-at-home orders and health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is also recasting technology upgrades to focus more on laptop than desktop computers so that staff can work at home during this outbreak and future emergencies.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California water pumping suits moved to Eastern District Court

Two lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s authorization of plans to increase water pumping from the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds will be moved from the Northern District of California to the Eastern District of California, a federal judge ruled.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump pushes legal limits with virus disaster declaration

President Trump has become the first U.S. president to declare a health epidemic a “major disaster” in his recent decisions to approve requests for that designation from the governors of California, New York and Washington in their battles against COVID-19. … Trump’s determinations could open the door for FEMA to step into a wide range of future events including droughts, extreme cold weather and the contamination of drinking water.

Aquafornia news Mariposa Gazette

Fuel break projects awarded grant funding by CAL FIRE

CAL FIRE last week awarded $43.5 million to local organizations to reduce the risk of wildfires to homes and communities across California. Fifty-five local fire prevention projects are receiving funding for hazardous fuel reductions, wildfire preparedness planning and fire prevention education.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

DWR report: Groundwater levels continue to rebound from last drought

The changes in groundwater levels in this report illustrate how groundwater changes over time based on hydrologic conditions. A one-year comparison of groundwater levels provides information about the short-term effects of a single wet or dry year, while a multi-year comparison of groundwater levels provides information about trends in groundwater storage. Groundwater is an important component of water budgets throughout the state …

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Active pattern to bring rain and snow to the West in the week ahead

A pair of low-pressure systems will bring rain and mountain snow to the West, including communities in worsening drought, in the early part of the week ahead. The first of the low-pressure systems arrived on the California coast Sunday. The second system, the larger of the two storms geographically, will swing southward from the Gulf of Alaska through midweek.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tanker truck spills 6K gallons of oil near California dam

A tanker truck overturned down an embankment Saturday, spilling up to 6,000 gallons of crude oil into a river that flows into a dam and reservoir near the city of Santa Maria, authorities said.

Aquafornia news Daily Californian

Addressing arsenic problems in rural California

Arsenic is one of the most toxic elements in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed, and under certain geochemical conditions, it dissolves into groundwater, which then gets pumped out for human use. Arsenic presents the highest cancer risk of any regulated carcinogens among drinking water contaminants when the risk from each is ranked at its maximum allowable concentration.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

It’s official: Two North County districts want out of County Water Authority

The water agencies that serve the Fallbrook and Rainbow areas of North County have officially filed applications to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority, an unprecedented move with potential financial implications for almost all water customers in the county.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

PG&E to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter for Paradise wildfire that killed 85

Under a plea agreement with the Butte County district attorney’s office, PG&E will pay the maximum fine of approximately $4 million. It has agreed to fund efforts to restore access to water for the next five years for residents impacted by the loss of the Miocene Canal, which was destroyed by the fire.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Monday Top of the Scroll: Coronavirus: Carlsbad desal plant workers begin shelter-in-place to keep the water on

As of Friday, 10 workers are quarantined inside the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plan for the next three weeks, monitoring and adjusting gauges and switches, watching for leaks, and doing whatever is needed to safeguard San Diego County’s only significant local source of drinking water. … The “mission critical” employees will work 12-hour shifts, sleep in rented recreational vehicles in the parking lot, and be resupplied with fresh food left for them at the plant’s gate.

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Aquafornia news North Bay Business Journal

California now requires storm water permits for certain business licenses: Here’s what you need to know

In an effort to reduce the amount of pollution entering surface waters, the state of California requires industries with an identified potential of discharging pollutants in storm water runoff to obtain and implement an industrial storm water permit. A new state law, effective Jan. 1, requires applicable businesses to provide proof of coverage under the industrial storm water permit in order to obtain or renew their business license with a city or county.

Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

Low-lying Petaluma faces flooding from sea level rise: report

For decades, the discussion over flood mitigation in Petaluma has almost exclusively centered around storm surges and heavy rainfall events. Now, months after the city made its landmark climate emergency proclamation, attention is shifting to focus more on sea level rise and scientific projections that offer a glimpse into what could be a sodden future.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Local water district pulls out of mediation talks with city of Ventura

An Ojai Valley water district has pulled out of mediation talks with the city of Ventura and others after months of negotiation over water rights.

Aquafornia news

Fresno Irrigation District will begin water deliveries to growers on May 1

Recent storms delivering rain to the Valley floor and snow to the Sierra mountains have prompted Fresno Irrigation District to begin water deliveries to growers on May 1. … In a news release Thursday, FID officials said they anticipate a three-month water delivery season ending in July.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The West is in an expanding 20-year drought that a ‘March Miracle’ will do little to change

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that although recent rains have provided some relief for Southern California, Northern California remains locked in moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions.

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Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

Tunnel tussle

The nature of Butte County’s concerns over Gov. Gavin Newsom’s scaled back Delta tunnel project was made clear last Tuesday, when Supervisor Debra Lucero questioned a staffer from the state Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

We can no longer rely on historical data to predict extreme weather

Historically, we’ve always been able to predict these extremes by looking at how often they occurred in the past. But a new study published Wednesday in Science Advances reveals just how many of those forecasts actually fall short. In just a decade, the findings suggest, the climate has shifted so drastically that the frequency of past extreme events is no longer a reliable predictor.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

David Orth gives his observations on how SGMA implementation is playing out in the San Joaquin Valley

David Orth is the principal of New Current Water and Land, which offers strategic planning, program implementation, and water resource development services. At the California Irrigation Institute’s 2020 Annual Conference, he gave his observations having watched Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) form and develop their Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) since the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in 2014.

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Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Dam tweaks yield results

The return of rainbow trout to Calaveras Creek marks a milestone in an ongoing, multi-agency restora-tion of Alameda Creek, which drains more than 600 square miles of the East Bay. Much of the watershed is heavily developed and modified, especially the northern reaches in and around Pleasanton and Livermore.

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Network listens for passing salmon

Vallee and his team are here to maintain an array of hydrophones used to track migrating native fish. The work is part of a multi-agency effort to provide more timely and detailed information about the movements of salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon in the Central Valley. Deploying hundreds of listening stations across the watershed, the program lets scientists follow thousands of tagged fish as they navigate from hatcheries and headwater streams toward the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Friday Top of the Scroll: New round of storms to hit California, western US next week

A lull in storms is forecast late this week to this weekend, but a new series of storms is destined to impact much of the West next week with more rain and mountain snow from Monday to Wednesday. “It looks like a general 1 to 3 inches of rain during the first half of the week for California alone,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Groups bring suit over secret approval process for PFAS chemicals

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed hundreds of new PFAS chemicals to enter commerce under the Toxic Substances Control Act since 2006, continuing to do so in recent years even as new research about the dangers of PFAS emerges.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Cattle ranchers cope with dry pastures

California’s bone-dry February didn’t leave a lot of forage for Todd Swickard’s cattle—though mid-March rains should provide some help. … Swickard noted conditions on the hills were what one would expect in mid-April or later, with land gradually fading to brown and poppies everywhere.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Central Valley groundwater markets emerging under SGMA

Central Valley farmers may soon have another crop to sell along with almonds, tomatoes and peppers — the groundwater beneath their land. Proposed groundwater markets have popped up in just about every groundwater sustainability plan filed with the state Jan. 31.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Significant progress being made in implementing the state’s groundwater law

I remember being surprised when attending a local Groundwater Sustainability Agency meeting and I first saw a schematic that visually depicted the various levels of groundwater underneath one of the Central Valley’s numerous subbasins.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino City News

Water and school district partner on new career pathway

The Water and Wastewater Pathway at Indian Springs High School is strategically located near East Valley Water District’s new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility. The Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC) will provide a sustainable new water supply to boost the region’s water independence.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Audio: The time for this water-saving grain in Nevada is now

Researchers with the University of Nevada, Reno, have been working to evaluate and commercialize crops that use less water. Professor John Cushman and his team think they’ve found an alternative. It’s called teff.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Follow her lead: Cindy Messer

Cindy Messer considers one of her greatest professional accomplishments also the toughest experience in her 23-year career. Messer was sworn in as chief deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources the day after the Oroville Dam crisis began in February 2017… But within months, her boss retired, and she became acting interim director for the recovery phase.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Coronavirus: State Water Board warns ‘flushable’ wipes could clog sewer systems

As the state grapples with the ripple effects of the coronavirus outbreak, California’s Water Board says residents should not flush disinfecting wipes or paper towels, or risk dealing with backed-up plumbing and sewers.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Infrastructure: What’s on tap for California

At the 2020 Kern County Water Summit, California Water Commission Chair Armando Quintero spoke about the role of the commission, gave an update on the Water Storage Investment Program and the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, and spoke of their new role defined in the water resiliency portfolio.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California mountains blanketed in snow after March storms

California mountains are blanketed in snow and much of the state has had plenty of rain in a remarkable March turnabout from the extremely dry first two months of the year. The most recent statewide storm started during the weekend and, despite diminishing, snowfall and showers were still occurring here and there.

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Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah’s Purple Pipe performs well during ‘mock frost event’

Likely just in time for the real thing, a “Mock Frost” event was held this week to test the capacity of the city of Ukiah’s recycled Water System, also called the Purple Pipe. … “It went well,” Ukiah grape grower David Koball said of the test. “There was lots of water pressure and we had no issues.”

Aquafornia news

Timber harvesting results in persistent deficits in summer streamflow

Summer streamflow in industrial tree plantations harvested on 40- to 50-year rotations was 50% lower than in century-old forests, data from the long-term Alsea Watershed Study in the Oregon Coast Range showed.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Removing 81 dams is transforming this California watershed

This spring the Forest Service, aided by U.S. Marine Corps members, will blast apart 13 more dams in the Trabuco ranger district in Southern California’s Cleveland National Forest. It’s the last phase of a groundbreaking project that began more than five years ago to remove a total of 81 dams from four streams in the mountains of Orange County.

Aquafornia news San Pedro Valley News-Sun

Former Arizona governor apologizes for failing rural counties on groundwater issues

When county Board of Supervisor member Peggy Judd asked former Gov. Bruce Babbitt to share his thoughts on rural counties taking on responsibilities relating to groundwater management, he responded, “I couldn’t say no.”

Aquafornia news Geographical Magazine

The unexplored consequences of wildfires reaching water

There is now plenty of evidence that as the atmosphere warms, the planet is experiencing more wildfires. … Understandably, much of the media surrounding these incidents focuses on the immediate damage to forests, homes, people and wildlife, but one potentially dangerous long-term impact has received less attention – the effect of fires on water.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA seeks to expand federal role in water reuse

The Environmental Protection Agency recently released its National Water Reuse Action Plan to promote more water reuse in the U.S. William M. Alley, director of science and technology for the National Ground Water Association, says the plan focuses on low-hanging fruit and states and associations will likely remain the leaders and innovators in water reuse.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Coronavirus: California issues warning about disinfecting wipes

Wipes and paper towels do not break down like toilet paper does in water. They are stronger, and many wipes include plastics and materials like nylon. That means bad news for sewer systems, some of which already are experiencing problems during the coronavirus crisis.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California storm dumps 70 inches of snow

While disruptive, the storm has helped replenish a depleted snowpack after an exceptionally dry winter. The water stored in the snowpack is critical for the region’s water supply and for moistening vegetation before fire season.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Will the rush to develop our newest water source destroy more streams?

Now, Big Ag and the water agencies that do its water will want to also divert streamflow during the winter wet season. For folks who believe that any water “diverted” to the ocean is wasted water, winter storm and snow-melt high flows have become the target.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Coronavirus doesn’t jeopardize tap water

Bottled water has been disappearing from store shelves as fast as toilet paper. And, like toilet paper, there’s no practical reason to stockpile bottled water. “People need to stop hoarding water,” said Damon Micalizzi of the Municipal Water District of Orange County. “Your tap water is regulated more strictly than any bottled water you buy.”

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Aquafornia news NBC Bay Area

California Public Utilities Commission: Certain services won’t be shut off due to inability to pay

California residents who are not able to pay their water, sewer, energy or communications bills during the state’s novel coronavirus state of emergency will not be at risk of having their services shut off, the California Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC’s response to the climate resilient water portfolio

While the first draft of the governor’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio wasn’t the transformational vision many had hoped it would be, there is still time to deliver on a plan that will help us rise to the challenges ahead.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

America thrived by choking its rivers with dams. Now it’s time to undo the damage

The falling cost of renewable energy and continued decline of manufacturing renders many of these structures unnecessary. Others require expensive maintenance. Seven in 10 are more than 50 years old and many are falling into disrepair, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers…

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Silicon Valley water district employee tests positive, CEO and other leaders self-quarantine

An employee at Silicon Valley’s largest water district has tested positive for coronavirus, and at least eight other employees, including CEO Norma Camacho, were in self-quarantine as a result. … The employee is not involved with the treatment or delivery of drinking water, and that service continues uninterrupted, officials at the district, also known as Valley Water, said Monday.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally. The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

UK’s sewage system in danger of gridlock from toilet paper substitutes

Innocent consumer substitutions due to shortages caused by fears about the spread of coronovirus could create serious consequences which are critical to society and life, according to leading supply chain academic Prof Richard Wilding. The warning comes amid panic buying sweeping UK supermarkets…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Discussion of tribes’ water claims sparks tensions in Arizona

Many of Arizona’s Native tribes have long-standing claims to water rights that haven’t yet been settled, and a discussion of efforts to negotiate possible agreements took center stage at a meeting of Gov. Doug Ducey’s water council. The meeting grew tense after Arizona’s top water official gave a presentation on the status of tribes’ unresolved water claims, and then didn’t allow leaders of four tribes to speak.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Monday Top of the Scroll: L.A. city officials: Tap water still safe to drink, even as coronavirus spreads

Those who live in the city of Los Angeles don’t need to stockpile bottled water in the midst of growing fears about the spread of COVID-19, city officials urged Thursday. The L.A. Department of Water and Power reminded residents that their tap water is safe to drink, even as the coronavirus spreads.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona Legislature should act on rural groundwater, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt says

Former Gov. Bruce Babbitt is speaking out about widespread problems of excessive groundwater pumping in rural areas of Arizona, saying the state Legislature should give counties and communities the power to protect their rapidly declining aquifers. Babbitt appealed for action during a visit this week to the Willcox area, where heavy pumping for farms has led to falling water tables and left a growing number of families with dry wells.

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Aquafornia news Inside Science

Researchers look to improve leak detection for the world’s aging water pipes

“It’s a huge problem, especially in the cities,” said Daniel Tartakovsky, a professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford University in California. Tartakovsky and his former student Abdulrahman Alawadhi from the University of California, San Diego have proposed a way to improve a traditional method of detecting these leaks.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike

Recharge basins are becoming increasingly popular in overdrafted regions in California, where water managers are seeking solutions to balance groundwater supply and demand to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Aquafornia news The Hill

Senate Democrats unveil $20B bill to battle ‘forever chemical’ contamination

A new bill from Senate Democrats would roll out $20 billion in funding to remove cancer-linked “forever chemicals” from water as it contaminates supplies across the country.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

Besides reviewing and making final determinations on submitted plans that show how local agencies will manage their groundwater basins for long-term sustainability, DWR staff provide essential resources to local water agencies to help them better understand and manage their local basins. … Below are some examples of DWR staff contributions to groundwater management…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates targets Salton Sea

On Monday, Lilac Solutions and the Australian company Controlled Thermal Resources announced they’re partnering to develop a lithium-extraction facility at the Salton Sea. The Australian firm is trying to build the area’s first new geothermal power plant in a decade, a project that would be far more lucrative if the super-heated underground fluid could produce lithium in addition to electricity.

Aquafornia news KHTS Radio

Santa Clarita Valley Water closing 13 additional wells to comply with new PFAS rules

The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency (SCV Water) has announced that they are set to voluntarily shut down 13 additional wells in compliance with new state PFAS regulations, officials said Friday. The levels of PFAS found are above the state-mandated response level, according to Kathie Martin, public information officer for Santa Clarita Valley Water.

Aquafornia news Village News

Opinion: Let’s understand the case for detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority

As a new Fallbrook resident, I attended the recent Fallbrook Community Forum. I was impressed with the openness, friendliness, dedication and commitment of the participants. The experience led me to join the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce. I wish my enthusiasm extended to the proposal for our community to detach from the San Diego County Water Authority.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: New science or just spin: Science charade in the Delta

To the extent that new science requires new approaches in the Delta, existing new science indicates that restoration of the Delta will require more water to be left in the Delta, not less.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Photographer William Bay tackles water pollution in new solo exhibition

Already a well-regarded landscape and portrait photographer, Bay set out to bring more attention to the issue. The avid surfer admits that he initially wasn’t sure how best to convey what he saw as an environmental emergency. Then, one day, he says he was visiting the Tijuana River mouth and stumbled upon an idea.

Aquafornia news Center For Western Weather And Water Extremes

Blog: New forecast tool looks three weeks ahead for chances of atmospheric rivers

The public release of this product, and the underlying research supporting it, is part of a joint partnership between CW3E and NASA JPL, sponsored by the California Department of Water Resources, to improve the two-week to two-month lead time of forecasts, known as subseasonal-to-seasonal (S2S) forecasts. The aim of these improved forecasts of atmospheric rivers and precipitation is to benefit western U.S. water resource management.

Aquafornia news

Snow dump: Tahoe receives 2 feet of snow as ski resorts close amid COVID-19 concern

After a prolonged period of mostly dry conditions, the Tahoe Basin finally reported impressive 24-hour snowfall totals Sunday morning: As of 8:30 a.m., Squaw Valley had recorded 18 inches at its base and up to 30 inches at its highest peaks. Tahoe City measured 23 inches, Homewood 33 and Incline Village 22. … Between Sunday and Monday, the Cascades and northern Sierra could see another one to three feet of snow.

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

2001 water “takings” case filed with U.S. Supreme Court

The case, titled Baley v. United States, was filed 19 years ago when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation re-allocated Klamath River irrigation water to threatened and endangered species. A favorable outcome would mean upwards of $30 million collectively in compensation for irrigators named in the case.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Audio: Lawyer writes of defending the Colorado River

If corporations can have the rights of people under the law, why not rivers? The question made sense to Will Falk, and he answered it yes. Falk is a lawyer, and he got to represent the Colorado River in a lawsuit. So he spent time along the river, in something of a conversation with it. Falk tells the story in his book How Dams Fall.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what California needs

Much-needed snow will blanket California’s Sierra Nevada high country this weekend into next week, bringing hope of a “Miracle March” that could replenish vital, water-providing snowpack after a record-dry February.

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Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Mendocino County moving forward with Redwood Valley Water Infrastructure Retrofit Project

The Retrofit Project would mitigate earthquake hazards currently threatening the Redwood Valley County Water District… The county said the project would replace approximately 10,577 feet of main water lines, include installation of around 3,300 feet of new water main lines, and replace 146 water services lateral connections. The project will cost an estimated $6,200,000, including construction support and contingency.

Aquafornia news Ecology Law Quarterly

Salmon lessons for the Delta smelt: Unjustified reliance on hatcheries in the USFWS October 2019 biological opinion

As discussed below, in the case of west coast salmon, the scientific evidence is clear that the replacement assumption has proven faulty as the total abundance of salmon declined at the same time the propagation and release of hatchery salmon has expanded.

Aquafornia news San Mateo Daily Journal

Opinion: Time for Cargill to join the 21st century

Let’s be clear, the Redwood City salt ponds are simply the wrong place for development. This is an open space tidal plain that’s part of the Bay and was a thriving wetland for centuries.

Aquafornia news Salinas Californian

Coronavirus state of emergency halts water shutoffs in Salinas

Both water companies that serve Salinas will halt all water shutoffs during the state of emergency brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Salinas has a large population of hospitality workers that commute to the Monterey Peninsula daily; the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus as health officials urge “social distancing” and the closure of large gatherings. As such, many residents may find themselves short on funds as the pandemic wears on.

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Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Valley District to assess the long-term reliability of local water

Given the wide swings in the availability of State Water Project water from year to year as well as the possibility of even more severe and lasting droughts, the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District hired The Rand Corporation to independently analyze the long-term demand forecasts of local waters.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Borrego Valley’s strategy for a negotiated resolution under SGMA

Groundwater is the sole source of water supply for the valley; there isn’t any surface water or imported water available. After decades of excessive pumping, the Borrego Groundwater Basin is considered critically overdrafted and dramatic reductions in pumping – up to 70% by the latest estimate – will be needed to reach sustainability.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: DWR CEQA proceeds with tunnel proposal independent experts deem “impractical”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is soliciting public comment on the scope of environmental review for a revised Delta tunnel project despite prior findings of independent technical experts that a key project proposal is “impractical,” stating that it “does not recommend” further study.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Drought expanding in California — nearly half the state now affected

Drought conditions continue to spread across California, with nearly half the state now affected, federal scientists reported Thursday, as recent rains weren’t enough to significantly slow a drying trend that has been growing more serious all winter. Overall, 48% of California is classified as being in moderate drought — up from 34% a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor…

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Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Driving water conservation

Stanford researchers have developed a machine learning model that detects unexpected water-use consumption patterns – data water utilities can use to inform resource planning and water conservation campaigns.

Aquafornia news Best, Best & Krieger

Blog: The EPA’s National Water Reuse Action Plan

A new National Water Reuse Action Plan focuses on water reuse practices aimed at strengthening water security, sustainability and resilience for both rural and urban communities. … The EPA and its partners hope to increase water reuse to address the rising demands for water across the United States. Currently, water reuse amounts to less than 1 percent of the demand.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Arizona working to define and protect its waterways cut from Clean Water Act

Arizona does not currently have a comprehensive program to protect its surface water quality. The state is now faced with the task of creating one following a change to federal law. The Trump administration unveiled its final rule in January redefining which waterways are regulated under the Clean Water Act, known as “Waters of the U.S.” Under this rule change, the vast majority of Arizona’s creeks and streams will not be protected.

Aquafornia news KCET

7 best places to discover the L.A. River

We’re getting better when it comes to the L.A. River. Ten years ago, most of us didn’t even know that L.A. even had a river. … It’s hit a few bumps along the way (including the 1936 Flood Control Act that channelized it with concrete walls) — but now, you not only can get to the re-wilded parts of the Los Angeles River, but you can get onto them, too (for a part of the year)!

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A reality check on groundwater overdraft in the San Joaquin Valley

This year marks a new phase in California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). At the end of January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their first groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region. … This post addresses key questions about groundwater budgets.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Tuolumne Utility District announces negotiations with PG&E to acquire water system, pre-1914 water rights

Tuolumne Utilities District announced on Tuesday that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to acquire the Phoenix Hydroelectric Project, which would include pre-1914 water rights on the South Fork of the Stanislaus River…

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Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blog: From “extinct” to “prolific”

“’Listen to the land’ is my mantra,” said Susan Sorrells, a 4th generation resident and owner of Shoshone, California. … Integrating nature with community became a part of Sorrells’ and her husband Robby Haines’ vision for stewarding the land. As a gateway to Death Valley National Park, ecotourism became their economic engine.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Sun

CalGEM public hearing held in Santa Maria allows locals to opine on proposed expansion of Cat Canyon oil production

People flanked by handmade signs spill out of a charter bus that just arrived from UC Santa Barbara. They join a growing rally outside the Veterans Memorial Center in Santa Maria, chanting, “Health, not oil,” and, “No new oil, keep it in the soil!” A microphone passed around gave different folks and organizations a chance to lead the rally cries.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: West’s biggest reservoir is back on the rise, thanks to conservation, snow

The largest reservoir in the Western U.S., Lake Mead, is rising again after more than a decade of decline, and at least some credit goes to the  National Hockey League team in Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Advocating for clean water

As the nation’s water and wastewater treatment systems of pipes, pumps, and plants reach the end of their intended lifespan, investing in water infrastructure has taken the spotlight.

Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

California district partners with other utilities to meet all of its customers’ irrigation needs

In a part of the country where freshwater supplies are often scarce, the Olivenhain (California) Municipal Water District is doing its part. The 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility recycles some 1 million gallons of high-quality effluent each day for irrigation and shares even more with neighboring communities.

Aquafornia news Climate Central

Report: The case of the shifting snow

Forecasting snowfall and determining long-term trends of snow climatology are inherently challenging, but the research team at Climate Central has produced an analysis of snowfall trends across the United States. While no single overall national trend in snowfall can be discerned from the results, clear regional and seasonal patterns do emerge. In almost all areas of the country, snow is decreasing in the “shoulder” seasons—fall and spring.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Could this week’s rain make up for Southern California’s extra-dry winter?

In less than a day, a storm Tuesday more than doubled the total rainfall that some parts of Southern California had received all year. More precipitation is on the horizon for at least the rest of this week. But will the change be enough to turn this month into a “Miracle March” that will make up for an extra-dry January and February?

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Aquafornia news Treatment Plant Operator Magazine

COVID-19 guidance for wastewater workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released guidance for wastewater workers, reporting that coronaviruses are vulnerable to the same disinfection techniques used currently in the health care sector.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: There’s no plan to save the Colorado River

The latest research about the Colorado River is alarming but also predictable: In a warming world, snowmelt has been decreasing while evaporation of reservoirs is increasing. Yet no politician has a plan to save the diminishing Colorado River.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Trump’s attack on California salmon fishing jobs

The new rules allow the federal Central Valley Project to kill 100 percent of baby winter run Chinook salmon below Shasta Dam for three years running.  Chinook salmon live for three years, so authorizing the Bureau of Reclamation to kill every endangered winter run for three years amounts to an extinction plan for this species.  

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

District Court judge reaffirms decision to deny water for Las Vegas pipeline

A District Court judge has once again scuttled the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to obtain and pump rural groundwater about 300 miles from eastern Nevada, prompting one Clark County commissioner to call on the water authority “to look in a different direction.”

Aquafornia news Benicia Herald

Delta residents speak out against Newsom’s controversial tunnel project

Over the past month, DWR has been holding scoping meetings in the Delta and select locations throughout the state. At meetings in Walnut Grove, Stockton, Clarksburg and Brentwood, a diverse group of farmers, fishermen, elected officials, climate/social justice activists, economists and engineers came out in force to oppose what is often referred to as the “boondoggle” project.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Water bills might increase in Southern Nevada if $3B plan approved

A $3 billion package of water projects recommended for approval by the Southern Nevada Water Authority this month could raise average residential bills by $10, while providing a boost to the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news NBC Palm Springs

Leaders come together to tour public health crisis at Salton Sea

State and federal leaders came together to tour the Salton Sea and understand the impending health issues the public continues to face. NBC Palm Springs joined officials to get a glimpse of what is being done to help restore an area that was once a relaxing summer destination.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

State water contractors pick sides in lawsuit over Trump’s water boost

Because the State and Federal water managers coordinate operations of the State Water Project and Central Valley Project, the State Water Contractors argue that dumping the biological opinions governing those operations and restarting the process would create “uncertainty in water supply availability, potentially affecting the [State Water Contractor] members’ water supplies from the SWP.”

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Nevada town has disappeared and re-emerged over 150 years

As the waters of Lake Mead have risen and fallen over the years, the remains of the village of St. Thomas have reappeared, then disappeared again, only to re-emerge years later. It’s a sort of Brigadoon for the southwestern United States.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Atmospheric river to unleash heavy rain in Southern California

The storm— fed by a plume of subtropical water vapor at the lower and middle levels of the atmosphere — could bring 1 to 3 inches of rain to the area through at least Wednesday. … The heaviest rain is expected throughout Tuesday, upping the chances for both an ugly morning and evening commute.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

If agriculture in the valley is going to survive, water leaders need to get cozy with new ideas and new allies. And, yes, that means environmentalists.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Controversial Walker Lake hydropower proposal wins preliminary permit

A proposal to pump water out of Nevada’s fragile Walker Lake to generate hydropower to sell in California won preliminary approval from federal regulators. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit and granting priority to file for the proposed Walker Lake Pumped Storage Project.

Aquafornia news Governing

California’s ’salad bowl’ recharges depleted aquifer

A multi-partner water recycling project is helping Monterey, Calif., stabilize and replenish its dwindling groundwater supply. The project could serve as a model for shrinking aquifers in other regions of the country.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Monday Top of the Scroll: Southern California may see its biggest soaking this week since Christmas; some flooding, debris flows possible

We expect most of Southern California, including the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego metro area, as well as parts of Arizona, to pick up at least an inch of rain through Thursday. Some heavier amounts in higher terrain on southern- and southwestern-facing slopes are possible. Flash flooding of flood-prone, low-lying streets, freeways and normally dry washes and arroyos is possible in some areas.

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Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Sacramento River salmon forecast up, Klamath forecast down

The 2020 ocean abundance projection for Sacramento River fall Chinook, the driver of West Coast salmon fisheries, is estimated at 473,200 adult salmon, higher than the 2019 forecast. However, the Klamath River fall Chinook abundance forecast of 186,600 adult salmon is lower than the 2019 forecast and will likely result in reduced fishing opportunity in the areas north of Pt. Arena…

Aquafornia news

Study: Fallowing cattle-feed farmland simplest way to alleviate western U.S. water shortage

An important new study finds that irrigated crop production accounts for 86 percent of all water consumed in the western US — and of all the water used on western farms, by far the largest portion goes to cattle-feed crops such as alfalfa and grass hay. To alleviate the severe shortage of water in the region, study authors suggest rotational fallowing farmland could be a simple and affordable means of dramatically reducing water use in the region.

Aquafornia news The Press

Oakley considers recycled water use

In partnership with the Diablo Water District, the Ironhouse Sanitary District is examining the potential to reintroduce treated wastewater into the drinking water supply through a process called indirect water reuse.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Helping the snow gods: Cloud seeding grows as weapon against global warming

The scramble for water has intensified as global warming has battered much of the West during the last 20 years with heat waves, droughts and wildfires. With projections for declining snowpack and river flows, cloud seeding is becoming a regional climate adaptation measure costing several million dollars each year.

Aquafornia news Circle of Bue

Hidden flood risk for San Francisco Bay Area communities lurks underground

As sea levels rise, so do the waters in the bay, which connects to the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate. That relationship between rising ocean levels and rising bay levels is well known. What is less obvious is that groundwater levels are rising as well, adding another variable to the region’s equation of increasing flood risk.

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Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Cuyama Valley carrot growers get the stick

The Cuyama Valley is the driest agricultural region in the county; the valley floor gets just a little more rain than the Sahara. Yet for the past 75 years, this high desert region has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale — first alfalfa, and now carrots, a $69 million annual crop. … Now, to the rescue — belatedly — comes the state Groundwater Sustainability Act of 2014…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The portion of California considered to be in moderate drought continues to expand

Drought conditions in California continued to expand, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor data released Thursday. After what experts are calling California’s driest February on record, slightly more than 34% of the state was deemed to be in moderate drought. That’s an increase of about 11% over figures released a week ago.

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Aquafornia news The Architect's Newspaper

Space Saloon, Designers on Holiday will host design festival addressing California’s water scarcity

The organizers of camp residency programs Space Saloon and Designers on Holiday have announced the launch of DeSaturated, an eight-day design-build festival in California’s Cuyama Valley, a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles. With the rugged high desert landscape as its backdrop, the “community-in-residence” program will draw attention to the state’s water scarcity.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The dam truth about the Colorado River

If you followed the news about the Colorado River for the last year, you’d think that a political avalanche had swept down from Colorado’s snow-capped peaks and covered the Southwest with a blanket of “collaboration” and “river protection.” I won’t call it fake news, but I will point out errors of omission.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Opinion: The fate of agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley

California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 is now “the law of the land (state)” and as such there will be restricted agricultural groundwater pumping throughout the San Joaquin Valley…

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

$446 million Klamath dam removal budget submitted to FERC

In a Feb. 28 filing, the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, formed to shepherd the removal of four hydroelectric dams from the Klamath River in Northeern California and Southern Oregon, submitted key budget information to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. … This filing is another concrete step toward implementing the amended Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA), removing the dams and restoring a free-flowing Klamath River, KRRC officials said.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay Delta Committee: Update on the voluntary agreements post-Trump and an update on the State Water Project contract amendment for Delta conveyance

It was a busy time for California water issues last month when Trump visited the San Joaquin Valley, signed the Record of the Decision on the biological opinions which govern the operations of the state and federal water projects (along with another Presidential memo), which was promptly followed by the state filing of a lawsuit the next day. … So not surprisingly, the voluntary agreement was top of the agenda the following week at the February meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee.

Aquafornia news E&E News

LWCF, parks bills head to Senate floor after Trump tweet

One day after President Trump tweeted his support, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is expected to take steps today to bring to the floor legislation that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and address the national parks maintenance backlog, senators said. … Trump’s tweet was an election-year about-face from his latest budget proposal, which recommended virtually eliminating the popular, bipartisan program.

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Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District celebrates 100 years

The Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District celebrated its 100-year anniversary in February, according to a press release. The district’s water rights were established in 1883, one of the earliest and largest water rights on the Sacramento River, and it was formally organized on Feb. 21, 1920.

Aquafornia news KSBY

Santa Maria community meets on the future of oil drilling

People on both sides of the oil argument met Wednesday night in Santa Maria, sharing their opinions about the future of oil drilling on the Central Coast. The meeting was one of 10 that the California Department of Conservation’s Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) is hosting.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: State Water Contractors stand with Trump administration

If you live in Southern California or Silicon Valley, you might be surprised to learn that your local water district (a member agency of the State Water Contractors) is siding with the Trump Administration, and defending Trump’s plan to increase water diversions, despite the widespread acknowledgement that this plan is likely to drive salmon and Delta smelt extinct.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Utah House reaffirms intent to develop Colorado River water

Utah’s booming population growth and rapid economic development means the need for more water, a higher level of conservation and wise development of water supplies, which are not infinite. With that in the backdrop, the Utah House of Representatives on Tuesday passed HCR22, which makes clear to neighboring states and policymakers that Utah will someday develop its unused portion of the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is the Sacramento splittail an endangered species?

The Sacramento splittail is a lovely, silvery-white fish that lives primarily in Suisun Marsh, the north Delta and other parts of the San Francisco Estuary (SFE; Moyle et al. 2004). The name comes from its unusual tail, in which the upper lobe is larger than the lower lobe. It is a distinctive endemic species that for decades has fascinated those of us who work in Suisun Marsh.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Metropolitan Bay-Delta Committee: Update on habitat and fish projects in the Yolo Bypass

At the January meeting of Metropolitan’s Bay Delta Committee, Program Manager Randall Neudeck updated the committee on some of the projects and activities happening underway the Yolo Bypass.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Delta tunnel plan draws strong protest by Native Americans

The message was loud and clear for state water officials at a public meeting Monday evening in Redding: Don’t send any more water south through a proposed Delta tunnel project. A group of more than 100 Native Americans rallied on the lawn of the Redding Civic Auditorium before they marched into a scoping meeting held inside the Redding Sheraton Hotel across the street.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Study: Water restrictions to mean billions in lost farm revenue

The study by economists David Sunding and David Roland-Holst at UC Berkeley examined the economic impact of two types of restrictions to water supplies for ag: on groundwater pumping as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and future reductions in surface water due to regulatory processes by the state and federal government.

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Aquafornia news

Blog: Robert Moses, the Colorado River, and the tragedy of the anticommons

I have long argued that a robust governance network, both formal and informal, around the management of the Colorado River provides the necessary conditions for managing the problems of the river’s overallocation and the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change. … But as we approach the negotiation of the next set of Colorado River management rules – a process already bubbling in the background – it is not hard to see how my thesis could break down.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California wants limit for Erin Brockovich chemical in water

The State Water Resources Control Board Tuesday adopted its 2020 priorities, which include setting a maximum contaminant level of the heavy metal, also known as chromium-6. A proposed rule setting the limit could come in early 2021.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Feds ink deal with water district tied to Bernhardt

The Trump administration on Friday awarded a permanent water delivery contract to the country’s largest agricultural district, brushing aside environmentalists’ concerns about California’s uncertain water future in the face of climate change. At issue is irrigation water that flows through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project to the Westlands Water District, a Rhode Island-sized agricultural powerhouse and former client of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.