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 Capitol Weekly

Parched state looks for rain — anywhere

When the State Water Resources Control Board met Tuesday morning, the sky west of Sacramento suggested rain was coming.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

NorCal storm delayed, but still on target

The main blast from a large storm descending on California now appears likely to strike during Friday’s evening commute hours.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Scientists ride the Pineapple Express

A team of scientists on Thursday flew four aircraft into the torrent of an atmospheric river storm headed toward California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

River of rain heading toward Northern California

A major storm is expected to blow into Northern California starting Thursday night and lasting into Monday. … Here’s a closer look.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

Federal, state and local water officials discuss drought, priorities for 2015, and benefits of potential storage projects

The California Board of Food and Agriculture on Tuesday heard updates from federal, state and local water officials on the drought and anticipated actions for the coming year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Snow survey is more complex than photo opportunity

Today, snow sensors scattered through the Sierra, satellite imagery and aerial flybys augment the 106-year-old “manual survey.” The technology helps to provide a clearer update of California’s water conditions that water agencies depend on to perform the increasingly crucial job of managing our diminishing water supply for the rest of the year.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Turlock council to examine water issues

City leaders on Tuesday night will examine water issues, including the wells that provide the supply now and the prospects for river and recycled sources.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Russian River basin prepares for fourth year of drought

The dry January was the topic of discussion Monday at a meeting held by the Sonoma County Water Agency, which provides drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in Sonoma and Marin counties — relying exclusively on rainfall captured in two reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation seeks applicants for 2015 WaterSMART Basin Studies

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking applications for the Basin Studies Program in 2015. Interested non-federal entities wishing to participate in the selection process should submit a short letter of interest to their respective Reclamation regional office by Feb. 24, 2015. Through basin studies, Reclamation works with state and local partners to conduct comprehensive water supply and demand studies of river basins in the western United States.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Amid California’s drought, water chief preaches conservation – and balance

Felicia Marcus gets in the shower when it’s still cold. As full-time chair of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, Marcus has a key role in how California stewards its finite resources during a devastating drought.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern Calif.

Blog: Shrinking Sierra snowpack heightens drought worries (with DWR video)

Manual surveys on Thursday confirmed concerns over the withering mountain snowpack — a critical source of water for millions of Californians.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

California snowpack gains erased by meager January rainfall

Traditionally California’s wettest month, January’s meager rainfall has produced a miniscule improvement in the crucial winter snowpack in the Sierra Nevada that historically provides about 30 percent of the state’s water needs.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Snowpack in California ‘dismally meager’ (with audio)

While December storms brought some hope that California’s drought would ease, January’s second snow survey shattered it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Scientists see shrinking California snowpack as a harbinger

The state Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the two agencies that operate most of California’s large dams, are in the early stages of studying possible rules changes to accommodate shifts in hydrology expected with a warming climate.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Driest January in history: Bay Area swings from boom to bust after wettest December

For the first time ever, San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento have recorded no rainfall for the month of January — nada drop. … Southern California has had better luck, enjoying a couple of significant weather systems this month that came up from the south. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Snow levels in the Sierra drop to among the lowest on record

Chicken Littles they are not, but California water officials are fretting a bunch over the weather.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Sierra snowpack dismal for January; fourth year of drought looks likely

The latest survey of California’s mountain snowpack on Thursday brought the bad news slamming home: This month will rank as the driest January in state history at many locations, virtually assuring a fourth straight year of drought. On Thursday, the statewide snowpack was 25 percent of normal for the date.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

NASA moisture satellite launch scrubbed due to winds

NASA has scrubbed the launch of an Earth-observing satellite because of wind conditions over California.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz water demand flat even after healthy rainfall

After receiving nearly 160 percent of normal rainfall in November and December — thus causing Santa Cruz to suspend mandatory water rationing for residential customers — the driest January on record stands as a stark reminder of how vulnerable the water supply is to nature’s mood swings.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Water cutbacks on horizon if snow stays stingy (with audio)

On the eve of the January snowpack survey of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, water management officials said Southern California’s largest water wholesaler may need to institute stricter water limits if winter precipitation does not improve.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Delta plan — New coalition supports the governor’s twin tunnels

As part of the newly formed Californians for Water Security, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group has joined a coalition of farmers, businesses and labor, environmental and water leaders to support the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, Gov. Jerry Brown’s bold strategy to fix the state’s deteriorating water distribution system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Measuring Sierra snowpack is a lot more complex than it looks

As California caps what may be its driest January on record, Frank Gehrke will lead a bevy of surveyors on Thursday to a predetermined spot on Echo Summit in an exercise that has become a monthly downer in the documentation of the state’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

California Department of Water Resources announces winter’s second snow survey

Department of Water Resources (DWR) snow surveyors are likely to encounter above-normal temperatures and below-normal snowpack when they conduct their second survey of the wet season on January 29.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz increases water supply planning deadline, budget

A year after forming a special panel to evaluate future water supply options, the Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday agreed to extend the group’s timeline for making recommendations and increase spending for a facilitator to guide the work.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water managers propose emergency actions after driest January on record

A city that normally sees well over 2 inches of rain in January will likely finish the month with two-hundredths of an inch. But Stockton won’t be the only community to record its driest January ever.

Aquafornia news Southern California Public Radio

Southern California’s water supply threatened by next major quake (with audio)

Southern California gets the vast majority of its water from four aqueducts that flow from the north, but all of them cross the San Andreas Fault.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plan to raise Shasta Dam takes hit after federal biologists say they can’t support it

Less than three months after California voters approved a water bond that contains $2.7 billion for new water storage, one of the leading projects under consideration has suffered a potentially fatal setback.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin heads toward near-record dry January

Since the last of a series of rainstorms on Dec. 18, only 0.23 of an inch of rain has fallen, as measured by the Marin Municipal Water District at Lake Lagunitas.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Demystifying mist as a source of water supply

In some of the world’s driest places, atmospheric moisture is a major source of water for native ecosystems. … Some drought-minded California residents along the coast, perhaps yearning for a clear ocean view, have suggested harvesting fog as a water supply.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Bureau of Reclamation outlines Water Year 2015 Central Valley Project water supply conditions

In preparation for the initial 2015 water supply allocation announcement in late February, the Bureau of Reclamation provided an update today [Jan. 23] on water supply conditions for the federal Central Valley Project (CVP).

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State awards $2 million to Cachuma Lake pumping project

Santa Barbara County water agencies announced Friday that they will receive $2 million in state funding for a pumping project at Cachuma Lake — a source of drinking water for 220,000 people on the southern central coast — where water levels have dropped precipitously low.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Where’s the snow? Trips up Northern Calif. highways reveal shocking images

The winter temperature tantrum is having a mind-boggling effect across California’s high country, that much is well known.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

Blog: So how do those reservoirs look?

Just over a month ago, we were watching rain gauges fill up and going to sleep at night with visions of our reservoirs rising again after a long, punishing drought.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Marina Coast to resume pursuit of own desal plant

A split Marina Coast Water District board decided to resume its previous quest for a desalination plant, with a goal of providing a new potable water supply within two years to new development in Fort Ord, including Monterey Downs.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Turlock Irrigation District braces for another tight water year

The Turlock Irrigation District could cap water deliveries at about 40 percent of the customary amount even if the rest of winter brings average rain and snow. The district staff on Tuesday night provided an initial look at the supply for 2015, which is looking to be a fourth straight year of drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Save Delta salmon — Smelt are red herring in California water wars

When you hear about water users south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta complaining about delta smelt forcing restrictions on water pumping, take it with a grain of salt.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Heather Cooley — ‘The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply’

At the Bay Delta Science Conference held last fall, Heather Cooley from the Pacific Institute gave a presentation entitled, “The Untapped Potential of California’s Water Supply,” which draws on a series of reports jointly released by both the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council that looks at the opportunities for expanding California’s water supply through urban and agricultural efficiency, water reuse, and stormwater capture.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How does L.A. use its water?

For all the discussion of how the city, parks and golf courses guzzle water, the lion’s share of L.A.’s supply is sucked up by residential customers, according to data from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Slightly more water to flow to Southern California

Following winter storms, state officials have slightly increased their estimate of how much water will flow to Southern California this year through the canals and pipelines of the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Forecasts show drought continuing in California, Southwest

Federal agencies released a pair of forecasts showing dry conditions will persist in parts of the drought-stricken West, suggesting there won’t be enough snow to boost water supplies.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: World Economic Forum ranks water crises as top global risk

For the first time, water crises took the top spot in the World Economic Forum’s tenth global risk report, an annual survey of nearly 900 leaders in politics, business, and civic life about the world’s most critical issues. Water ranked third a year ago.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento (with video)

Wet December leads to dry January for thirsty NorCal

In Sacramento, it has been three weeks since state weather stations received measurable rain, and as of Wednesday, the Sierra snowpack was at 38 percent of normal.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Blog: California needs better data to build trust with voters

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, noted at a Sacramento gathering of water policy experts and elected officials on Monday that water oversight begins with figuring out how much water is needed for cities, agriculture, industry and the environment.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Recent rains provide no respite for Pleasanton lake

Despite December storms that prompted flood warnings and brought more than eight inches of rain to areas of the Tri-Valley, the much-needed precipitation did little to relieve the drought’s impact on the former gravel quarry between Livermore and Pleasanton.

Aquafornia news Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Inland Empire water agencies shoring up supply for times of drought

Two Inland Empire water wholesale agencies, just like most consumers, are tired of dealing with the impact of drought. … The IEUA [Inland Empire Utilities Agency] and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, are working to increase local supply reliability through future projects in the next decade.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Editorial: Questions ahead on state water supply

A succession of December storms filled North Coast reservoirs to their highest level in months, but the most important gauge of California’s water storage is still stuck on drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles, looking for water wherever it can, targets freeways

As Los Angeles looks for any way it can to save water, City Council members turned their attention Wednesday to how Caltrans irrigates its landscaping along freeways.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Nacimiento, San Antonio lake levels still low after storms

Those nine inches of rain that soaked Monterey County last month? They made hardly a dent in our local water supply, officials say.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek district to survey all customers on water supply

Soquel Creek Water District leaders said Tuesday they want to conduct a districtwide survey of all customers before pursuing a binding vote on how to increase the water supply. Board members said they don’t want to ask voters to support a project or series of solutions without a sense of what customers want.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Managing—and learning from—scarcity

California is entering a fourth year of drought. The welcome, wet conditions that appeared earlier this winter gave way to dryness during the latter half of December.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

No end in sight for drought

The only answer to the question of when the drought will end is that there’s no sure answer. … The major reservoirs in Northern California are below historical averages, but they are above the levels from 2014, which is cause for cautious optimism for some northern state water contractors.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Amid flakes, snow levels don’t jettison drought worries

Snow levels that didn’t quite measure up turned a snowshoe party in the Sierra into an exercise in hand-wringing on Tuesday as it became clear that recent storms have done little to end California’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Snow survey shows higher snowpack, far less water content

The winter’s first survey of the Sierra Nevada snowpack found more snow than last year at this time, but officials said much more is needed to end the California drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sierra Nevada snowpack levels are greater than a year ago

Measurements of Sierra Nevada snowpack on Tuesday [Dec. 30] showed more snow than surveyors recorded a year ago. But state water officials said it was far from enough to signal a potential end to California’s continuing drought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: Those trillion-gallon stories on storms, drought last week were confusing

I shared your confusion briefly last week. Readers called and emailed, wondering if the drought had ended after two separate news stories featuring the numbers 10 and 11 – each followed by 12 zeroes. We’re talking trillions of gallons of water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Court upholds Delta protections

Rules protecting threatened salmon and steelhead were upheld Monday by an appeals court, a decision that may help the fragile Delta but also may crimp a portion of the state’s water supply.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Federal judge upholds restrictions on Delta water shipments

A federal appeals court Monday overruled objections by Central Valley farmers, water districts and a federal judge and upheld the government’s reduction of water shipments from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in order to protect salmon, steelhead trout and other species.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal appeals court backs restrictions on Delta water deliveries

Ruling that water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is important not just for people but also for the fish that swim in it, a federal appeals court on Monday backed environmental restrictions on deliveries to urban Southern California and San Joaquin Valley agriculture.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Mt. Tam watershed reservoirs near capacity from recent storms

Unlike the rest of California, the drought is over for the moment in Marin County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

First of three storms brings more rain to Southern California

One of three storms forecast to hit Southern California this week blew in Tuesday morning, bringing scattered showers throughout the region.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Earthquake could imperil L.A.’s water supply

Los Angeles gets 88% of its water from three major aqueducts, flowing from the Colorado River, Owens Valley and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. … Officials have long warned that a massive temblor on the San Andreas could destroy key sections of the aqueducts, cutting off the water supply for more than 22 million people in Southern California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Northern California looks to beat past Decembers

There’s no way of predicting if Mother Nature will continue to shower the Bay Area when we turn the calendar to 2015, but this month is shaping up to be one of the wettest Decembers in decades — at least in some parts of the region.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

New storm drops rain across soggy California

A storm that unleashed rain on parts of Northern California already soggy from big downpours headed south in the first of a one-two punch of much-needed moisture this week.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Flood-causing deluge amounts to just drops in California drought

The strong Pacific storm that left Northern California a sodden mess will not have much impact on the state’s historic drought, meteorologists said Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Heavy rains, winds, flooding slam Northern California

The powerful system was being fueled by a stream of tropical moisture up to 400 miles wide and 3,000 miles long known as an “atmospheric river.”  … National Weather Service forecasters issued a blizzard warning for parts of Northern California – the first since Jan. 4, 2008 – and said the storm overall could be the most “significant” since that year. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Winter storms finally starting to boost storage levels in key reservoirs

One storm does not end a drought as severe as this one, meteorologists and water managers emphasized again Thursday. But this storm and last week’s milder one have done something very important: They have saturated the parched ground across Northern California so much that rainfall is finally starting to fill up the state’s dangerously low reservoirs as it runs down streams, rivers and hillsides.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southern California precipitation will remain the same with climate change, study finds

Overall rainfall amounts in the Los Angeles region will remain the same in coming decades, according to a new study that examined the effects of a warming climate on Southern California precipitation. The third in a series of UCLA studies on the impact of climate change on Los Angeles, the report is good news for the city’s efforts to develop more local water supplies.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Powerful storm begins to pound Northern California

A storm expected to be one of the windiest and rainiest in five years pushed across parts of Northern California early Thursday as schools canceled classes and residents stocked up on supplies. … The storm is expected to later pound parts of Southern California before a weakening system moves east through Nevada, Idaho, Arizona and New Mexico. 

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Water Supply Index (WSI) forecast for December 1, 2014

From the Department of Water Resources: Welcome to the 2015 Water Year season of water supply forecasting! The first water supply forecast has been completed.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California water at risk from abandoned Sierra Nevada mines

Along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, runoff pollution from abandoned mines in “Gold Country” could threaten California’s primary water supply. A pilot project at one mine site is intended to prevent contaminated runoff from reaching the Yuba River.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation to hold Sacramento and San Joaquin Basins Study public meeting

The public is invited to participate in the meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014, from 1:30-4:00 p.m. at the Bureau of Reclamation Regional Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Cafeteria Conference Room C1003 (adjacent to the Cafeteria), Sacramento, CA 95825. Interested individuals, agencies and stakeholders may participate person or online. … Reclamation will present a summary of climate change impacts and findings identified in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Basins Climate Impact Assessment, released on Sept. 22.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Seminar will discuss climate change and California water supplies

The public has a unique opportunity Tuesday to learn about how climate change may alter the availability of water in California and to offer ideas on adapting to those changes.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Drought dries rural wells, residents carry water in buckets

As California struggles through the drought, the first to suffer are rural residents with shallow private wells and limited incomes. They live in cabins in Modoc County, among the golden rolling hills of Paso Robles, in the farmworker towns of the San Joaquin Valley and a chaparral-covered valley in northern Los Angeles County.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Rains ease Marin drought concerns, provide good start for endangered coho run

The bonanza of rain over the last week has boosted Marin’s totals to above average, filled reservoirs and has allowed endangered coho salmon to make their way back to local streams sooner than normal. … And the rain is far from over with more predicted for the weekend and early next week.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Commentary: Los Angeles, city of water

Los Angeles is the nation’s water archvillain, according to public perception, notorious for its usurpation of water hundreds of miles away to slake the thirst of its ever-expanding population. … Recently, however, Los Angeles has reduced its reliance on outside sources of water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Flash flooding strands drivers in California

Heavy downpours took a parting shot Thursday at California, triggering flash floods that temporarily stranded more than three dozen people in their cars in inland Riverside County as the state took stock of the effects of days of steady downpours.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Where 2 rivers meet, visions for Grand Canyon clash

A group of Italian developers is planning three million square feet of retail construction, plus 2,200 homes, in Tusayan, a newly incorporated village with a population of just 587 at the entrance to the park [Grand Canyon], posing what park officials describe as a major threat to the water supply for the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Storm soaks region, but drought’s grip still tight

Parts of the Bay Area have gotten almost as much rain in the past two days as fell all of last year. Recent storms put us well above our normal rainfall average. And — yes — we’re still in a drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Enjoy the rain, but consider L.A.’s water needs

At long last, and thank goodness — the rain. … As much as we need the rain, though, what Southern California and the rest of the state really need is to refill our biggest reservoir — the Sierra snowpack — because that’s where most of our water comes from.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California rain: ‘Six straight hours of rain,’ and drought continues

A record-setting storm covering Southern California was expected to begin tapering off Wednesday after triggering dozens of evacuations and putting city crews in Ventura and Los Angeles counties on alert for mudslides. … The storm left Northern California sopping too.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In midst of California’s drought, a rainy day is a welcome sight

This might be the only state in the nation where a rainy day — complete with blinding sheets of water, shoe-sopping flooded intersections and chalk gray skies — puts people in a good mood. And with good reason.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Reservoir and water conditions for December 1

This post is a collection of graphic representations of current reservoir and hydrologic conditions drawn primarily from the Department of Water Resources website, as well as a few others.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: As key California reservoir nears 37-year low, new billboards urge water conservation

Water level at Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in the state water delivery system, is at 26 percent capacity and is approaching its historic low set in 1977, state water contractors announced Tuesday.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

LiveCopter3 flies over a scary-low Lake Oroville (with video)

California’s drought has taken a huge toll on Lake Oroville, the second-largest reservoir in state.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

Blog: How much do you use? The story of water

Every five years the U.S. Geological Survey collects data from counties all over the Nation for the national water use report, a thorough document that provides water resource managers and private citizens with accurate information on how much water is being used in specific places for a wide variety of purposes.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Bureau of Reclamation invests $9.2 million in water and power research

Following a year of record drought, water managers throughout the west are searching for information and ideas to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply. To meet this growing need for information, Bureau of Reclamation Principal Deputy Commissioner Estevan López announced today [Nov. 19] that Reclamation has awarded $9.2 million for 131 research projects.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Study urges thorough review of water storage projects

Voters just approved $7.5 billion dollars for new water storage projects, but a new study says it’s likely not all projects will be worth the money.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wild, wet weather brings lightning, threats of hail, waterspouts

Another storm system slogged its way through San Francisco on Thursday, bringing much-needed rain, lightning and threats of hail and waterspouts to the region, forecasters said.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Blog: Shopping for water — How the market can mitigate water shortages in the American West

In October of 2014, the Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum, New Directions for U.S. Water Policy, which brought together government and agency officials with policy experts to discuss the release of new papers highlighting opportunities from improving water management in the West.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Blog: Designing California cities for a long-term drought (with audio)

Let’s consider the possibility that this drought we’re in could last more than than just a few dry years. … Meanwhile, most Californians live in cities designed, to a great extent, on the promise of nearly endless water, imported from wetter parts of the state via massive engineering projects like the California State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Drought brings boom for water delivery trucks

It’s the dead of autumn and there’s no sign that the California drought will ease up. When wells run dry the immediate answer is to dig a new one, but they’re expensive. In some parts of the state there’s been an uptick in water theft, but in Central California many homeowners are turning to a legal water solution that’s not dependent on city water lines.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California drought hits San Mateo County coast particularly hard

The historic statewide drought has struck especially hard along the southern San Mateo County coast. While other parts of the Bay Area are served by big water agencies with steady if shrinking supplies, most of the homes and small farms here, less than an hour’s drive from Silicon Valley, rely on creeks and wells, many of which have stopped flowing.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Q&A: Rain barely made a dent in California drought

Fall has arrived, but in Southern California, warm, dry conditions remain. While the state has received some rain in recent weeks, the overall picture remains largely unchanged.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California drought not likely to end this winter, experts say

As California heads into its annual rainy season, water managers, farmers and millions of residents with parched yards are hoping huge storms will finally break the state’s historic three-year drought. Don’t count on it.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Blog: Tidal wave or drop in the bucket? Differences in water use across the United States

A serious drought in the American West has called national attention to our country’s water resources. U.S. businesses report substantial concerns over water supply, while the current drought in California has cost the state billions of dollars in economic losses.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water levels in California’s reservoirs continue to drop

Statewide all reservoirs – more than 150 of them – hold about 57-percent of the water they normally do.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

Hydrology hypotheses: can we make our own water?

Imagine harvesting your own water — no water utility, no monthly water bill. Instead, you have equipped your home with a rain catchment system or atmospheric water generator, and connected it to your tap. Monterey will soon be a site for just such an experiment.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Earth’s major aquifers are in trouble

The world is perilously ignoring the water crisis that is occurring underfoot, writes Jay Famiglietti in the journal Nature Climate Change. A professor of Earth system science at the University of California, Irvine, Famiglietti has helped refine the premier tool for understanding large-scale changes in groundwater reserves.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Nevada Irrigation District suspends some water deliveries

The Nevada Irrigation District has suspended delivery of fall irrigation water for the first time in more than 20 years, a move intended to preserve water supplies during California’s ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Report: $7.5 billion water bond may not produce ‘real improvements’

A report released Thursday cautions that the $7.5 billion water bond on California’s November ballot may not yield “real improvements” to the state’s water supply or environment.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: For Sierra resident, the well runs dry — along with her options

Things were bad enough for Rochelle Landers before her well went dry. … She has an acre in the Sierra foothills, in a sparsely populated town an hour northeast of Sacramento with a seemingly abundant water supply despite the drought.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Flagging problem dams for fish survival

This drought year, as in those past, California water regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows critical to fish and wildlife. … There are, however, legal backstops to prevent harmful reductions in fish flows, even during a drought as severe as this one.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Gabriel Valley water agency declares water supply emergency

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District declared a water supply emergency Wednesday amid record-low levels.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

PG&E plan may reduce water flowing into Lake Mendocino

A plan by PG&E to temporarily shut down a powerhouse that feeds water from the Eel River to the Russian River may cut into consumer supplies this winter by further reducing the amount of water coming into Lake Mendocino.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Gov. Jerry Brown touts water bond measure at Stanford summit

Gov. Jerry Brown pitched his plan Monday for a water bond and a rainy-day fund at a Stanford University water conference. … He called his water plan a “four-term effort.”

Aquafornia news NPR

As their wells run dry, California residents blame thirsty farms

Imagine flushing the toilet and watching sand come up.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruzans drink up water source solutions

Even ideas are being conserved as Santa Cruz continues its hunt for alternative water supply solutions. … The so-called ideas convention was hosted by the city’s 14-member Water Supply Advisory Committee.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Temperance Dam plan is flawed, critics say at Fresno forum

About 100 people listened at a public meeting in Fresno to sometimes passionate statements from speakers who faulted everything from the feasibility analysis to the notification for the hearing on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Temperance Flat Reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

The West is bone dry. Here’s how to help

Drought is rampant these days in many parts of the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift: You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your job is to turn around and use that resource in the most valuable way possible.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The risks of cheap water

This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Big debut for 1st-of-its-kind water tunnel below San Francisco Bay

This week, the $288 million tunnel begins carrying the Bay Area’s water supply from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park to the Peninsula, bolstering the dependability of the region’s water system.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Oroville inches closer to record low

Only time and nature will determine whether Lake Oroville will continue its steady drop or begin to climb back. On Monday, the lake was at a low water elevation of 670 feet. Capacity is 900 feet.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Prop. 1, Prop. 2 backers oversimplify wildfire costs

The campaign for a $7.5 billion water bond and a budget reserve measure is running a TV ad that says reserves will help “protect the water and the fire services we need” in future economic downturns.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Obama to declare national monument in San Gabriels

The lure of a San Gabriel Mountains wilderness teeming with wildlife, rivers and breathtaking panoramas is so strong that it now draws 3 million annual visitors whose presence, paradoxically, has overrun the region and degraded its beauty. President Obama will address that reality Friday by announcing that he is designating part of the mountains a national monument.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Central Valley Project begins Water Year 2015 with 3.1 million acre-feet of storage

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project began water year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015) with 3.1 million acre-feet of water in six key CVP reservoirs (Shasta, Trinity, Folsom, New Melones, and Millerton reservoirs and the federal share of the joint federal/state San Luis Reservoir). This is less than half of the 15-year average annual carryover of 6.4 million acre-feet and about 2 million acre-feet less than the amount with which the region started WY 2014.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Could those empty San Joaquin Valley reservoirs fill up in one winter?

In mid-September 1977, the 326 billion-gallon Pine Flat Reservoir sat nearly empty — holding 6% of capacity in a warm puddle.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

With dry taps and toilets, California drought turns desperate

In the Gallegos household and more than 500 others in Tulare County, residents cannot flush a toilet, fill a drinking glass, wash dishes or clothes, or even rinse their hands without reaching for a bottle or bucket. Unlike the Okies who came here fleeing the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the people now living on this parched land are stuck.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

North Coast water woes reflected in dwindling reservoirs

California turned the page this week on the fourth-driest water year on record, an occasion marked on the North Coast by dwindling reservoir supplies and restrictions on water use.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Western U.S. governors begin drought discussions

In the midst of a record-smashing dry cycle in the United States, the organization with the most influence over state and federal drought policy wants to do a better job managing the crisis. … On September 18 and 19, the Western Governors’ Association, a forum for state leaders, will welcome to Norman, Oklahoma, agency officials, industry representatives, and technical experts who will offer insight on how a multi-year drought in the western United States is challenging the energy sector.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought has Yankee Hill mobile home park on the edge of bone dry

Help will soon be on the way for about 100 residents who live in the Big Bend Mountain Mobile Home Park in Yankee Hill. … Luckily, the park was added to a list for emergency water supply funds, with money recently approved by the state.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Reservoirs at 19-year low

We’ve all had those years when we couldn’t wait to flip the calendar to January, put our troubles behind us and get a fresh start. That’s how California water managers must feel today.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought has 14 communities on the brink of waterlessness

Parkwood is one of 28 small California communities that have since January cycled onto and off of a list of “critical water systems” that state officials say could run dry within 60 days.

Aquafornia news Vacaville Reporter

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Governor signs urban water district bill

Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation by State Senator Lois Wolk, D-Solano, to strengthen requirements that urban water districts report to the state their water losses through leaks in their water systems.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP

Legal Analysis: Governor signs new laws amending California’s Urban Water Management Planning Act

Under new amendments to California’s Urban Water Management Planning Act, urban water suppliers will be required to provide narrative descriptions of their water demand management measures and account for system water losses when preparing Urban Water Management Plans, among other changes. The amended Act, created by Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature on Assembly Bill 2067 and Senate Bill 1420 last week, also establishes July 1, 2016 as the deadline for urban water suppliers to prepare and submit their 2015 UWMPs to the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Reserves narrowing for California water wholesaler

The giant wholesaler that provides drinking water for half the California population has drained two-thirds of its stored supplies as the state contends with a punishing drought, officials said Monday.


The Lower Yuba Accord: From Controversy to Consensus
Published 2009

This 24-page booklet details the conflict between environmentalists, fish organizations and the Yuba County Water Agency and how it was resolved through the Lower Yuba River Accord – a unique agreement supported by 18 agencies and non-governmental organizations. The publication details the history and hydrology of the Yuba River, past and present environmental concerns, and conflicts over dam operations and protecting endangered fish is included.


Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods (DVD)

This 30-minute documentary, produced in 2011, explores the past, present and future of flood management in California’s Central Valley. It features stories from residents who have experienced the devastating effects of a California flood firsthand. Interviews with long-time Central Valley water experts from California Department of Water Resources (FloodSAFE), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Central Valley Flood Management Program and environmental groups are featured as they discuss current efforts to improve the state’s 150-year old flood protection system and develop a sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan for the Central Valley.


The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (20 min. DVD)

20-minute version of the 2012 documentary The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues related to complex water management disputes in the Klamath River Basin. Narrated by actress Frances Fisher.


The Klamath Basin: A Restoration for the Ages (60 min. DVD)

For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and California border has faced complex water management disputes. As relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp, farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists – all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water. After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the documentary here.


Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.


A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.


Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley

Salt. In a small amount, it’s a gift from nature. But any doctor will tell you, if you take in too much salt, you’ll start to have health problems. The same negative effect is happening to land in the Central Valley. The problem scientists call “salinity” poses a growing threat to our food supply, our drinking water quality and our way of life. The problem of salt buildup and potential – but costly – solutions are highlighted in this 2008 public television documentary narrated by comedian Paul Rodriguez.


Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley (20-minute DVD)

A 20-minute version of the 2008 public television documentary Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the problem of salt build up in the Central Valley potential – but costly – solutions. Narrated by comedian Paul Rodriquez.


Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.


Delta Warning

15-minute DVD that graphically portrays the potential disaster should a major earthquake hit the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. “Delta Warning” depicts what would happen in the event of an earthquake registering 6.5 on the Richter scale: 30 levee breaks, 16 flooded islands and a 300 billion gallon intrusion of salt water from the Bay – the “big gulp” – which would shut down the State Water Project and Central Valley Project pumping plants.


Shaping of the West: 100 Years of Reclamation

30-minute DVD that traces the history of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and its role in the development of the West. Includes extensive historic footage of farming and the construction of dams and other water projects, and discusses historic and modern day issues.


Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.


Two Sides of a River (60-minute DVD)

California’s little-known New River has been called one of North America’s most polluted. A closer look reveals the New River is full of ironic twists: its pollution has long defied cleanup, yet even in its degraded condition, the river is important to the border economies of Mexicali and the Imperial Valley and a lifeline that helps sustain the fragile Salton Sea ecosystem. Now, after decades of inertia on its pollution problems, the New River has emerged as an important test of binational cooperation on border water issues. These issues were profiled in the 2004 PBS documentary Two Sides of a River.


Two Sides of a River (60-minute DVD Spanish)


Spanish version of the 60-minute 2004 PBS documentary Two Sides of a River. DVD


Go With the Flow: A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Message

This 7-minute DVD is designed to teach children in grades 5-12 about where storm water goes – and why it is so important to clean up trash, use pesticides and fertilizers wisely, and prevent other chemicals from going down the storm drain. The video’s teenage actors explain the water cycle and the difference between sewer drains and storm drains, how storm drain water is not treated prior to running into a river or other waterway. The teens also offer a list of BMPs – best management practices that homeowners can do to prevent storm water pollution.

Maps & Posters

San Joaquin River Restoration Map
Published 2012

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, features a map of the San Joaquin River. The map text focuses on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, which aims to restore flows and populations of Chinook salmon to the river below Friant Dam to its confluence with the Merced River. The text discusses the history of the program, its goals and ongoing challenges with implementation. 

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters

Truckee River Basin Map
Published 2005

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Truckee River Basin, including the Newlands Project, Pyramid Lake and Lake Tahoe. Map text explains the issues surrounding the use of the Truckee-Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe water quality improvement efforts, fishery restoration and the effort to reach compromise solutions to many of these issues. 

Maps & Posters

Nevada Water Map
Published 2004

This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the environment. It features natural and manmade water resources throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River that forms the state’s eastern boundary.

Maps & Posters

Water Cycle Poster

Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants, rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation. Excellent for elementary school classroom use.

Maps & Posters Groundwater Education Bundle

California Groundwater Map
Redesigned in 2017

California Groundwater poster map

Fashioned after the popular California Water Map, this 24×36 inch poster was extensively re-designed in 2017 to better illustrate the value and use of groundwater in California, the main types of aquifers, and the connection between groundwater and surface water.


Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law
Updated 2020

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.


Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project
Updated 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the State Water Project provides an overview of the California-funded and constructed State Water Project.


Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water
Published 2006

The 28-page Layperson’s Guide to Nevada Water provides an overview of the history of water development and use in Nevada. It includes sections on Nevada’s water rights laws, the history of the Truckee and Carson rivers, water supplies for the Las Vegas area, groundwater, water quality, environmental issues and today’s water supply challenges.


Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management
Published 2013

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication that provides background information on the principles of IRWM, its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water management approach.


Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

Cover page for the Layperson's Guide to the Colorado River .

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.


Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.


Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project
Updated 2021

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project explores the history and development of the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), California’s largest surface water delivery system. In addition to the project’s history, the guide describes the various CVP facilities, CVP operations, the benefits the CVP brought to the state and the CVP Improvement Act (CVPIA).


Layperson’s Guide to the Delta
Updated 2020

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to the Delta explores the competing uses and demands on California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Included in the guide are sections on the history of the Delta, its role in the state’s water system, and its many complex issues with sections on water quality, levees, salinity and agricultural drainage, fish and wildlife, and water distribution.

Maps & Posters California Water Bundle

California Water Map
Updated December 2016

A new look for our most popular product! And it’s the perfect gift for the water wonk in your life.

Our 24×36 inch California Water Map is widely known for being the definitive poster that shows the integral role water plays in the state. On this updated version, it is easier to see California’s natural waterways and man-made reservoirs and aqueducts – including federally, state and locally funded projects – the wild and scenic rivers system, and natural lakes. The map features beautiful photos of California’s natural environment, rivers, water projects, wildlife, and urban and agricultural uses and the text focuses on key issues: water supply, water use, water projects, the Delta, wild and scenic rivers and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news

Commentary: Preparing Marin Community for Sea-level Rise

From the Marin Independent Journal, in a commentary by Sandy Wallenstein, Hannah Doress and Douglas Mundo:

“Because Marin County is a peninsula, sea-level rise caused by climate change has special relevance to us — both to our bay-facing and coastal communities, but also to inland communities affected by flooding.

“And all of us will be affected by impacts to core infrastructure such as Highway 101, water and sanitation systems and possible isolation by flooding.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Climate Change is Here, Now. Will the World Act?

From the Los Angeles Times:

“There’s a new tone in the latest report on climate change from the United Nations’ expert organization on the subject.”

Read more from the LA Times


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Climate Change is Felt Globally and Risks are Rising, U.N. Panel Says

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Climate change is already affecting every continent and ocean, posing immediate and growing risks to people, an international panel of scientists warned Monday.
Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Editorial: Yes, Climate Change is Real and Damaging

From The Sacramento Bee:

“Faced with overwhelming evidence, climate-change deniers resort to cherry picking and spinning.
Aquafornia news Associated Press

UN: 2013 Extreme Events Due to Warming Earth

From the Associated Press:

“Much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change, the U.N. weather agency says.

“The World Meteorological Organization’s annual assessment Monday said 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.”

Read more from AP


Aquafornia news News Observer

While Seas Rise in Outer Banks and Elsewhere in North Carolina, Science Treads Water

From the News Observer:

“There’s not much dispute these days, up and down the [North Carolina] coast, about whether the ocean is rising. The question is: How high will it go here, and how fast?

“North Carolinians must wait until 2016 for an official answer. That’s the law.”

Read more from the News Observer


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

White House Unveils One-stop Website for Climate Change Data

From the Los Angeles Times:

“As part of its campaign to address climate change, the White House on Wednesday unveiled a website to serve as a one-stop location for the enormous amount of climate data housed at different federal agencies.”

Read more from the LA Times


Aquafornia news Associated Press

Obama Unleashing Power of Data on Climate Change

From the Associated Press:

“The Obama administration hopes to fight global warming with the geeky power of numbers, maps and even gaming-type simulations. …

“The government also is working with several high-tech companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Intel, to come up with tools to make communities more resilient in dealing with weather extremes, such as flooding, heat waves and drought.”

Read more from AP


Aquafornia news

Adapting Existing Water Laws to Climate Change

From Bloomberg BNA’s Water Law & Policy Monitor, in an article by Eric L. Garner, Best Best & Krieger:

“Climate change is essentially a water problem. Whether it is drought, flood, changing hydrology or rising sea levels, the impacts of climate change all involve water to some extent. Even those who deny that human activities cause climate change must acknowledge that long-term drought cycles in the past (as evidenced by tree rings and other environmental indicators) and wide variations in hydrology can be expected to recur and may be recurring now.
Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Editorial: A Second Look at Restoration

From The Fresno Bee:

“Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist who writes about weather and climate for the website Slate, had this to say about the California drought on Friday:

“‘The present-day Southwest was born from a pendulum swing in climatic fortunes that has no equal in U.S. history.’”

Read more from The Fresno Bee


Aquafornia news

Blog: A Climate Analyst Clarifies the Science Behind California’s Water Woes

From The New York Times, in the Dot Earth blog by Andrew C.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Climate Engineering Ideas No Longer Considered Pie in the Sky

From the Los Angeles Times:

“As international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions stall, schemes to slow global warming using fantastical technologies once dismissed as a sideshow are getting serious consideration in Washington.”

Read more from the LA Times


Aquafornia news New York Times

Science Linking Drought to Global Warming Remains Matter of Dispute

From The New York Times:

“California last week, President Obama and his aides cited the state as an example of what could be in store for much of the rest of the country as human-caused climate change intensifies.

“But in doing so, they were pushing at the boundaries of scientific knowledge about the relationship between climate change and drought.”

Read more from The New York Times


Aquafornia news

Commentary: A Prescription to Prepare for Drought

From The Sacramento Bee, in a commentary by Steve Fleischli:

“President Barack Obama visits Fresno today to highlight federal efforts to confront California’s epic drought, possibly our worst in 500 years. …

“The president can help us cope with this disaster, prepare for the chronic water shortages to come and protect future generations from the widening dangers of climate change. All three will require federal help.”

Read more from The Sacramento Bee


Aquapedia background California Water Map Layperson's Guide to California Water

Water Supply in California

SnowmeltCalifornia’s “Mediterranean” climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, is considered one of its great attractions, but it also can be unpredictable with flooding followed by drought and few years of “normal” precipitation.  [See also Hydrologic Cycle].

Aquapedia background

Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam

The construction of Glen Canyon Dam in 1964 created Lake Powell. Both are located in north-central Arizona near the Utah border. Lake Powell acts as a holding tank for outflow from the Colorado River Upper Basin States: Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The water stored in Lake Powell is used for recreation, power generation and delivering water to the Lower Basin states of California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

Aquafornia news

Blog: Climate Change Hits Home with Another Round of Extreme Weather Events in 2013

From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard blog, in a post by Frances Beinecke:

“I just returned from California and was struck by how devastating the state’s drought has become. People talked about it everywhere I went, wondering what it means for people and the economy. I can see why they are worried.
Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

California Drought Exposes Sierra’s Weaknesses

From The Fresno Bee:

“High-country blizzards usually bury southern Sierra lake basins in late January, leaving lodgepole pine and red fir trees in snow drifts 15 feet deep.

“But snow surveyors making their usual visit this year to Kings Canyon National Park found something most had never seen at 10,300 feet in January. Bare ground.”

Read more from The Fresno Bee


Aquafornia news

White House to Help Farmers, Ranchers Cope With Climate Change

From the McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau:

“The White House will announce President Obama’s latest executive order later today [Feb. 5] — a move aimed at helping farmers, ranchers, and rural communities combat climate change and adapt to extreme weather.


Folsom Dam on the American River east of Sacramento

Dams have allowed Californians and others across the West to harness and control water dating back to pre-European settlement days when Native Americans had erected simple dams for catching salmon.

Aquapedia background

Conjunctive Use

Conjunctive use is a catch-phrase for coordinated use of surface water and groundwater— literally going with the flow to maximize sufficient yield.

Aquapedia background

Colorado River 2007 Interim Guidelines And Drought Contingency Plans

In 2005, after six years of severe drought in the Colorado River Basin, federal officials and representatives of the seven basin states — California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming — began building a framework to better respond to drought conditions and coordinate the operations of the basin’s two key reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

The resulting Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead (Interim Guidelines) identified the conditions for shortage determinations and details of coordinated reservoir operations. The 2007 Interim Guidelines remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2025.

Aquapedia background

California Water Issues Overview

California will always be inextricably linked to its water resources. Water continues to shape the state’s development and no resource is as vital to California’s urban centers, farms, industry, recreation, scenic beauty and environmental preservation.

But California’s relationship to water is also one that continues to generate controversy.

Aquapedia background

Applied Water

Applied water refers to water delivered by an application to a user, either indoors or outdoors. Applied water use typically occurs in an agricultural or urban setting.

In agriculture, applied water is typically supplied through irrigation, which uses such devices as pipes and sprinklers. There are also different types of systems including gravity flow and pressurized systems.

With soil absorbing applied water and being porous (some water can move down below a plant’s root zone), it is necessary to apply more water than a crop might need.

Aquafornia news Commonwealth Club of California Climate One blog

Blog: Fluid State — The Future of Water in California

From the Commonwealth Club of California Climate One blog:

“It was a sunny, dry day [Jan. 10] in the middle of winter when two state senators [Sen.
Aquafornia news New York Times

Industry Awakens to Threat of Climate Change

From The New York Times:

“Coca-Cola has always been more focused on its economic bottom line than on global warming, but when the company lost a lucrative operating license in India because of a serious water shortage there in 2004, things began to change.

“Today, after a decade of increasing damage to Coke’s balance sheet as global droughts dried up the water needed to produce its soda, the company has embraced the idea of climate change as an economically disruptive force.”

Aquafornia news

Commentary: The Drought, and Your Car

From The Sacramento Bee, in the Back-seat Driver column by Tony Bizjak:

“Gov. Jerry Brown this week in his State of the State speech made a pointed connection between the drought and the cars we drive.

“It’s pretty clear human action is affecting the climate, and that means more droughts, he said.”

Read more from The Sacramento Bee


Aquafornia news

Commentary: We Can Preserve Bay Area’s Water Supply

From the San Francisco Chronicle, in a commentary by David Sedlak:

“Most Bay Area residents obtain their drinking water from a system of reservoirs, canals and pipes that was built during the first half of the 20th century. In the near future, it is likely that we’ll pump a lot of money into this aging system to adapt it to rising sea levels and changes in rainfall patterns.
Aquafornia news

Blog: Scientists to Look for Link Between California Drought, Climate Change

From the San Francisco Chronicle Politics blog, in a post by Carolyn Lochhead:

“California’s drought will be one of the extreme weather events that the American Meteorological Society will examine later this year to determine whether the cause is natural variability or human-caused climate change, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center said Tuesday.”

Read more from the SF Chronicle’s Po

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Barbara Boxer Forms New Climate Change Task Force

From Capital Public Radio:

“California Democrat Barbara Boxer has put together a new climate change task force in the U.S. Senate. The group is focusing more on keeping current regulations in place than in advancing new legislation.”

Read more from Capital Public Radio, or listen to the story


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

New Study Pinpoints Los Angeles Coastal Areas Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise from Climate Change

From the Los Angeles Daily News:

“San Pedro, Wilmington, Venice and other low-lying areas of Los Angeles are vulnerable to future flooding that could damage buildings, erode beaches and impair roadways in the event of a storm like Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of the East Coast in 2012, according to a new report by USC researchers.”

Read more from the LA Daily News



Aquafornia news Washington Post

Editorial: A Cloudy Forecast on Climate Change

From the Washington Post:

“Just how much will the Earth heat up over the next 100 or 200 years? Climate scientists are not able to predict with high certainty. They have estimated that average global temperatures will increase by 1.5 to 4.5 degrees Celsius — 2.7 to 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit — given a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

Read more from the Washington Post


Western Water Magazine

Overdrawn at the Bank: Managing California’s Groundwater
January/February 2014

This printed issue of Western Water looks at California groundwater and whether its sustainability can be assured by local, regional and state management. For more background information on groundwater please refer to the Founda­tion’s Layperson’s Guide to Groundwater.

Aquafornia news

Blog: Moving Coastal Communities Out of Crosshairs of Climate Change

From the Center for American Progress blog, in a post by Shiva Polefka:

“In June, the consulting firm AECOM published a report for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, comprehensively analyzing the change in America’s flood risks due to climate change. Its study found that sea-level rise is projected to increase the flood-hazard area in our nation’s coastal floodplain by 55 percent by 2100.