Topic: Water Supply

Overview

Water Supply

California’s climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters, makes the state’s water supply unpredictable. For instance, runoff and precipitation in California can be quite variable. The northwestern part of the state can receive more than 140 inches per year while the inland deserts bordering Mexico can receive less than 4 inches.

By the Numbers:

  • Precipitation averages about 193 million acre-feet per year.
  • In a normal precipitation year, about half of the state’s available surface water – 35 million acre-feet – is collected in local, state and federal reservoirs.
  • California is home to more than 1,300 reservoirs.
  • About two-thirds of annual runoff evaporates, percolates into the ground or is absorbed by plants, leaving about 71 million acre-feet in average annual runoff.
Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

DDT contaminants in marine mammals may threaten California condor recovery

The California condor’s dramatic recovery from near-extinction was aided by removal of toxic substances from the land, which accumulated in animals whose carrion they ate. But that recovery may be threatened in coastal condors by DDT-related contaminants in marine mammals, according to a preliminary study led by an San Diego State researcher.

Western Water California Water Map

Your Don’t-Miss Roundup of Summer Reading From Western Water

Dear Western Water reader, 

Clockwise, from top: Lake Powell, on a drought-stressed Colorado River; Subsidence-affected bridge over the Friant-Kern Canal in the San Joaquin Valley;  A homeless camp along the Sacramento River near Old Town Sacramento; Water from a desalination plant in Southern California.Summer is a good time to take a break, relax and enjoy some of the great beaches, waterways and watersheds around California and the West. We hope you’re getting a chance to do plenty of that this July.

But in the weekly sprint through work, it’s easy to miss some interesting nuggets you might want to read. So while we’re taking a publishing break to work on other water articles planned for later this year, we want to help you catch up on Western Water stories from the first half of this year that you might have missed. 

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

EPA issues emergency order for Glenn County drinking water

The EPA ordered the Grindstone Indian Rancheria in Elk Creek to provide alternative drinking water, disinfect the system’s water and monitor the water for contamination. … The EPA said Stony Creek has numerous potential contaminants from agricultural, municipal and industrial operations.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

150 million trees died in California’s drought, and worse is to come

A new study, just published in Nature Geoscience, reveals an elegant formula to explain why some trees died and others didn’t — and it suggests more suffering is in store for forests as the climate heats up.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news BBKLaw.com

Blog: Irrigation district may refuse water delivery to rule violators

An irrigation district may adopt and enforce reasonable rules related to water service, and may terminate water delivery for failure to comply with such rules, a California appellate court ruled. Although this case involved an irrigation district, the decision may also strengthen other water providers’ authority to adopt and enforce rules relating to water service.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: California moves to block Trump from rolling back its environmental protections

There’s a new twist in the California-Trump brawl in the state Legislature. It’s aimed at overriding the president’s power to weaken environmental protections. Put simply, any federal protections President Trump tried to gut would immediately become state regulations in their original, strong form.

Aquafornia news NOAA

Blog: U.S. has its wettest 12 months on record – again

Rain – and plenty of it – was the big weather story in June, adding to a record-breaking 12 months of precipitation for the contiguous U.S. It’s the third consecutive time in 2019 (April, May and June) the past 12-month precipitation record has hit an all-time high.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Communities still gaming out what the future of groundwater will be

To better understand groundwater markets, attendees at the meeting played a groundwater market game, which was developed by the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Michigan to teach players about the challenges of managing scarce groundwater resources.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Why this Bay Area senator was the sole no vote on Newsom’s clean water plan

Bob Wieckowski was the only state senator to vote against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to clean up dirty drinking water in the California’s poorest communities… To be clear, Wieckowski thinks clean water is an important priority. His quibble is that California will pay for it with revenue generated from the state’s cap-and-trade auction.

Related article:

Aquafornia news ABC7 News

How PG&E’s planned outages could affect Marin County’s water supply

High up on a hill, behind a barbed wire fence, are large steel tanks– the likes of which hold Marin County’s water supply. Gravity pulls water down pipes to supply homes in the area, but in order to refill the tanks, electricity is needed. A potential problem if PG&E decides to cut power during high fire danger conditions.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin golf course’s threat to endangered salmon debatable

The golf course property, now earmarked by its nonprofit owner the Trust For Public Land for “rewilding” after a fierce community battle over its future, sits in the headwaters of the Lagunitas Creek watershed. The watershed … is a spawning and rearing ground for coho salmon and steelhead trout, both of which are on the endangered species list.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Helix pledges additional $2.5 million for Padre Dam reclaimed water plan

The $650 million project involves a joint financial partnership between Padre Dam, Helix, San Diego County and the city of El Cajon. The Helix board voted 4-1 last week to continue funding the Advanced Water Purification project, which is expected to have reclaimed water flowing into faucets by 2025.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets ‘forever chemicals’

One day after President Trump delivered a speech preaching of his administration’s environmental achievements, he threatened to veto a military spending bill in part due to provisions that aim to clean up a toxic, cancer-linked chemical found near military bases.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The fight over Monterey Peninsula’s water future is a debate over who gets to decide

What is at stake is the water supply for the Monterey Peninsula. Consuming water drawn from the Carmel River is no longer feasible, neither ecologically nor legally. But the power to decide on an alternative supply is largely vested in the hands of public officials from outside the region.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Global warming is killing fish, hurting sport fishing industry

Global warming is putting lake fish in hot water, with worrisome possibilities for many species, as well as the nation’s fishermen and the $115 billion sport fishing industry that employs as many as 820,000 people.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Aftershocks continue in California desert; community remains without water

The U.S. Geological Survey said the chance of a quake larger than Friday’s 7.1 temblor is less than 1% and the chance of a magnitude 6 or higher is down to 6%. … Trona, which has about 1,800 residents, lost power until Monday and remained without water on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: High-tide flooding poses big problem for US, California, federal scientists warn

The nation’s coasts were hit with increased tidal flooding over the past year, part of a costly and perilous trend that will only worsen as sea levels continue to rise, federal scientists warned Wednesday.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Glenn Groundwater Authority approves operation fee increase for water service

On Monday the Glenn Groundwater Authority passed an operation fee increase for water service, despite meeting some opposition. Anyone within the Glenn County portion of the Colusa subbasin except for Willows and Orland will have to pay the fee. The board set the operation fee at $1.61 per acre, per year for the fiscal 2019-2020 year.

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: California vintner steps forward to protect endangered salmon

A vintner in Northern California is upgrading a concrete fish barrier to return native salmon and steelhead to valuable spawning habitat that has been blocked for nearly a century. A cooperative “Safe Harbor” agreement between the landowner Barbara Banke, proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, and NOAA Fisheries … fostered the improvements.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Water levels at Friant Dam are at full capacity; what that means for the Central Valley

The water is coming straight from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is very cold, which is causing some concerns people hoping to get into the water. But, the water itself, when used what it’s intended for, has a great impact in our Central Valley.

Related article:

Announcement

2019 Water Summit Theme Announced – Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning
Join us October 30 in Sacramento for our premier annual event

Sacramento RiverOur 36th annual Water Summit, happening Oct. 30 in Sacramento, will feature the theme “Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning,” reflecting upcoming regulatory deadlines and efforts to improve water management and policy in the face of natural disasters.

The Summit will feature top policymakers and leading stakeholders providing the latest information and a variety of viewpoints on issues affecting water across California and the West.

Announcement

Explore a Scenic But Challenged California Landscape on Our Edge of Drought Tour
August 27-29 Tour Examines Santa Barbara Region Prone to Drought, Mudslides and Wildfire

Pyramid LakeNew to this year’s slate of water tours, our Edge of Drought Tour Aug. 27-29 will venture into the Santa Barbara area to learn about the challenges of limited local surface and groundwater supplies and the solutions being implemented to address them.

Despite Santa Barbara County’s decision to lift a drought emergency declaration after this winter’s storms replenished local reservoirs, the region’s hydrologic recovery often has lagged behind much of the rest of the state.

Aquafornia news River Scene Magazine

No Dam? No Lake! No Lake? No City!

If Robert P. McCulloch had not flown over the beautiful waters of Lake Havasu, there would never have been a Lake Havasu City. But if Parker Dam didn’t exist, there would never have been a Lake Havasu in the first place. It’s a bit like the riddle of the chicken and the egg.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Local water providers have racked up dozens of violations

Regulators have issued dozens of water-quality citations to over 100 different San Diego water providers in the past five years, according to state and county records. Most violations were issued to small districts, which can have a harder time maintaining and upgrading equipment.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: SB 307 sets a dangerous precedent in targeting Cadiz project

The state legislative process is designed to create laws that protect and improve the life of all Californians. It is not intended to punish a single business or project. Yet, our Legislature is moving a bill, SB 307, that does just that under the guise of desert protection.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Friant Dam operators release water into San Joaquin River, Millerton Lake at capacity

A massive flow of fresh water is being released from Friant Dam on Tuesday as Millerton Lake reached capacity. … Officials are releasing 1,700-1,000 cubic feet per second into the San Joaquin River. Stroup said Millerton Lake has received above average snow melt forcing them to release the water to make room for more run off.

Aquafornia news Half Moon Bay Review

Cañada Cove residents without drinkable water

Residents in the Cañada Cove neighborhood started their Independence Day holiday with some unexpected news: Water would be turned off for about 12 hours. Five days later, the water is flowing again, but they still cannot drink it.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California’s future weather will alternate between drought and atmospheric rivers, study says

Remember the parade of atmospheric-river storms that deluged the Bay Area last winter, giving us the wettest rainy season in 20 years? There are a lot more of those on the way, scientists say. But California will also experience more periods of extreme dryness, according to a new study led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Press

Legislation for removal of abandoned commercial vessels sailing forward

New legislation authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier, D-Discovery Bay, and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, calls for the development of a plan to deal with abandoned and derelict commercial vessels in the Delta. A draft of that plan is now available for review and public comment.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Agricultural water agencies refine efficiency plans

Agricultural water suppliers must develop annual water budgets and drought plans that meet requirements of recently enacted legislation, and are meeting with state officials to comply with the updated law—a process that could ultimately affect water costs for California farmers and ranchers.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future

The plan is historic: It acknowledges that southwestern states need to make deep water use reductions – including a large share from agriculture, which uses over 70% of the supply – to prevent Colorado River reservoirs from declining to critically low levels. But it also has serious shortcomings. It runs for less than a decade. And its name suggests a response to a temporary problem.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Challenges and opportunities for integrating small and rural drinking water stakeholders in SGMA implementation

The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) is an historic opportunity to achieve long-term sustainable groundwater management and protect drinking water supplies for hundreds of small and rural low-income communities, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Riverine Stewardship Program offers $48 million in competitive grants

The Department of Water Resources released the final guidelines for the Riverine Stewardship Program on July 1, 2019. The grant program supports planning and implementation of projects that restore streams, creeks, and rivers to enhance the environment for fish, wildlife, and people.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

At least 2% of US public water systems are like Flint’s – Americans just don’t hear about them

Water systems, especially in rural areas, can report much higher levels of lead than the EPA cutoff. In 2017, for example, an elementary school in Tulare County, California, home to agricultural laborers, reported lead levels of 4,600 ppb. The school distributed bottled water to its students and replaced its well.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Editorial: General Plan update must include water supply

It is vital for a local resilient water supply that the county acknowledge and address the limited, local resource of freshwater in the redo of the county’s General Plan.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Most of Trona still without water Tuesday following quakes

The quakes left a majority of the town without water or natural gas service over the weekend. Pacific Gas & Electric restored gas service Monday afternoon, but water services remains out.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Parties reach consensus on saltwater option for Buena Vista Lagoon

Property owners along the Buena Vista Lagoon, which has become more like a shallow, stagnant lake, have agreed after years of negotiations to remove the weir that keeps out the ocean.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Border wall: If people can’t get through, neither can the river

Despite being on opposite sides of the immigration debate, environmental groups who oppose border barriers generally mirror cattle rancher John Ladd’s concerns about the river. They say a wall or fence across the San Pedro could have devastating consequences to its hydrology, as well as the endangered species that call the river home.

Aquafornia news The Tribune

California Coastal Commission to vote on Morro Bay sewer project

A decade-long debate over how and where to build the new Morro Bay sewage treatment plant will come to head at a California Coastal Commission meeting in San Luis Obispo on Thursday. … The preferred site is located on about 15 acres of a 396-acre property at the corner of Highway 1 and South Bay Boulevard.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

South San Joaquin Irrigation District delivers prosperity

A bold move by farmers to form the South San Joaquin Irrigation District 110 years ago literally changed the economic fortunes of Manteca, Ripon and Escalon. And no way else did SSJID have as big as an impact as it did on Manteca.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Opinion: In one Tucson neighborhood, residents must grow green grass or pay

A governing document called the Winterhaven Neighborhood Standards and Landscaping Guidelines make the desired effect clear: “Winterhaven’s dominant use of green lawns and non-native trees creates a Midwestern environment that is unique in Tucson …”

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bill to fix Friant-Kern Canal continues forward progress

The bill that will provide support for necessary repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal is continuing to make forward progress in the California legislature. Senate Bill 559 (SB-559) … was voted through the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee in the Assembly on July 2. The bill itself is seeking $400 million to make important upgrades and repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Got surface water? Groundwater-only lands in the san joaquin valley

We estimate that nearly 20%—or 840,000 acres—of irrigated cropland in the valley has no access to surface water. … With groundwater cuts looming and no other water supply to fall back on, groundwater-only areas are on the front line of the effort to bring basins into balance.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: PG&E’s planned power shutdowns could choke off vital water supplies

Utilities, including several in the Bay Area, simply don’t have the backup power to replace the electricity that Pacific Gas and Electric Co. normally provides for water delivery and sewage treatment. The agencies are trying to make their operations more energy efficient and adding alternative power sources in case the cord is cut, but it may not be enough.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

The state cited San Diego water officials for water treatment failure

For the better part of a day this April, San Diego’s main drinking water treatment plant wasn’t doing everything it was supposed to do to kill viruses and a nasty parasite known as Giardia… The April risk, however small, is an extraordinary one for a water supplier as large as the Water Authority.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Market-based program would encourage farmers to buy, sell local groundwater

The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District’s pilot program, set for testing later this summer or early fall, would allow certain landowners to buy or sell groundwater to or from another property owner within the district.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

In an era of extreme weather, concerns grow over dam safety

It is a telling illustration of the precarious state of United States dams that the near-collapse in February 2017 of Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest, occurred in California, considered one of the nation’s leading states in dam safety management.

Aquafornia news Trout Unlimited

Blog: The cannabis conundrum

Marijuana growers are literally sucking salmon streams dry. According to research that TU and partners cited for the journal Bioscience, some forms of outdoor cultivation use an average of 6 gallons per day per marijuana plant. … Their combined water demand can easily exceed available streamflow in the tiny tributaries salmon and steelhead rely on to survive the long, hot summers typical of this region.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio initiative listening session

The California Water Commission held the first listening session at its June meeting with a panel of water management experts offering their perspectives on what a climate-resilient water portfolio might look like.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Senate approves clean drinking water fund

The California Senate on Monday sent legislation to Gov. Gavin Newsom that will spend $130 million a year over the next decade to improve drinking water for about a million people. … Newsom had proposed a tax on most residential water bills to address the problem. Instead, the Senate approved a bill that would authorize spending up to $130 million each year on the state’s distressed water districts, with most of it coming from a fund aimed at fighting climate change.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior officials removed climate references from press releases

The news release hardly stood out. It focused on the methodology of the study rather than its major findings, which showed that climate change could have a withering effect on California’s economy by inundating real estate over the next few decades. An earlier draft of the news release, written by researchers, was sanitized by Trump administration officials, who removed references to the dire effects of climate change after delaying its release for several months.

Aquafornia news San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: Study to assess regional pipeline for delivering Colorado River water

A new study will explore the viability of a regional pipeline to transfer water from the Colorado River to benefit multiple users in San Diego County and across the Southwest. The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors approved funds for the two-year study at its June 27 Board meeting.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

The earthquake risk no one’s talking about

San Diego faces a hidden earthquake threat — to its water supply. A quake, even one so far away that nobody in San Diego feels it, could force mandatory water-use restrictions. That’s because most of San Diego’s water comes from hundreds of miles away through threads of metal and concrete that connect us to distant rivers and reservoirs.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Planning Report

Blog: MWD’s new chair, Gloria Gray, prioritizes reliability of supply & affordability

Industry veteran Gloria Gray took the helm at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. In this interview, Gray shares how she plans to steer the largest water supplier in the nation through changing political priorities and climate conditions to continue safeguarding the future of California’s water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey in default on agreement after missing Monday deadline

Pure Water Monterey, the highly touted recycled water project, is in default on a water purchase agreement with California American Water after failing to meet a Monday deadline for delivering potable water even as the project’s costs rise amid the delay.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Sierra Nevada Conservancy awards $3 million for restoration projects

Each of the selected projects strike at the heart of the Sierra Nevada watershed improvement program, SNC’s large-scale restoration initiative designed to improve ecosystem and community resilience in the region.

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

Border wall threatens Southwest’s last free-flowing river

Only one undammed river in the American Southwest still flows freely, and it begins just south of the border, in Sonora, Mexico. From there, the San Pedro River courses north into Arizona, a rare and unbarricaded corridor that is a haven and vital water source for a vast array of plants and wildlife…

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Ukiah’s recycled water is ready for delivery

One of the vineyard owners hooked up to the city’s Purple Pipe is anxiously waiting for the recycled water to begin flowing, asking this week if he would need to begin tapping the Russian River near his property to irrigate instead.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: How Parker Dam might have been the Colorado River’s first

If you want to dam rivers, as we were inclined across much of the 20th century, the location of the current Parker Dam on the Lower Colorado River makes sense – a narrow gap just downstream from the confluence of the Colorado and Bill Williams rivers on the Arizona-California border.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California needs to build Sites Reservoir. Here’s why

We need a broad portfolio of solutions that includes storage above and below ground, conservation, and other options such as traditional recycled and potable reuse to help ensure we can better manage this vital resource when the next inevitable drought comes along. … One part of that solution is the proposed Sites Reservoir.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Trump said water wars ‘easy’ to fix. What do farmers say now?

On June 28, farmers gathered in Los Banos to ask questions of President Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue. GV Wire took the opportunity to ask growers if they believed Trump was doing enough to bring water to farmers. Generally, they said they like how things are progressing.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Are pistachios the nut of the future?

Pistachio trees require somewhere between one-third and one-half as much water as almond trees. Unlike almond trees, pistachio trees don’t die during extended droughts. Their metabolism merely slows and when water returns, they start producing nuts again. … Pistachios can also handle, as Duarte’s team discovered, levels of salt that have already killed many an almond tree.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

California Assembly OKs clean drinking water fund

Legislative leaders reached a compromise with Newsom to take some money out of a fund used to improve air quality and use it for drinking water. … The state Assembly approved the proposal on Friday by a vote of 67-0. It now heads to the state Senate.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

What is causing those harmful algal blooms? Water and heat

Weather conditions that make this a landmark year, like more rain, could be part of the reason for the algae blooms in Horseshoe Lake, putting the upper Bidwell Park lake off limits for use for the foreseeable future.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lead found in school drinking water, state says. Is your local campus on the list?

Almost two years of tests have revealed excessive levels of lead in drinking fountains and faucets in California’s schools. But state officials and an environmental organization can’t agree on how pervasive the problem is.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Santa Barbara County grand jury says Cachuma Project needs entirely new contract

Santa Barbara County Water Agency should seek a completely new contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation rather than simply renewing the 1995 Cachuma Project contract in 2020, a grand jury found during an investigation into the contract process.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Dam opening sparks moment to reflect

On the last Saturday in June, a road in Butte County was opened. That in itself isn’t anything unusual. Roads are opened and closed regularly around here. But it was the significance of this road that makes it a remarkable occurrence. It was the road over Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty, six decades later

The original treaty was implemented before the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act, the 1973 Endangered Species Act and a host of legal shifts that bolstered Indigenous rights… These hallmarks of change emphasize the need to include environmental protection and equity in an updated treaty.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Borrego Air Ranch: A desert community in peril

The survival of a tiny, unique desert neighborhood is threatened because more than 60 years ago the community decided to form a small water district instead of digging individual wells. Borrego Air Ranch is built around a private air strip where residents’ garages double as airplane hangers.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Wildfire panel recommends extending safeguards to water agencies

As fires across the state grow larger and more damaging, water agencies … are asking lawmakers to shield them from paying for damages related to fires they didn’t start but weren’t able to help put out.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Let rivers flood: Communities adopt new strategies for resilience

In 2016 California’s rainy season kicked off right on schedule, at the beginning of October. … By February there was so much water filling Northern California’s rivers that Oroville Dam, the tallest in the country, threatened to break after its spillway and emergency spillways both failed. It was a wake-up call. In just a few months California had gone from five-year-drought to deluge, ending up with the second wettest year on record for the state.

Aquafornia news Sacramento News & Review

Slap and go: Battle over state’s eminent domain plan for the Delta was reignited

The standoff between Sacramento County and the California Department of Water Resources over the Delta’s future took a twist in June, moving from quiet canals and pear orchards along the river to a courtroom in the central city. That’s where county officials were granted a temporary restraining order against DWR to halt what they call risky and illegal drilling.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Power plants create giant water battery

The Lake Hodges facility near San Diego, a relatively small 40 megawatt generating station, is one of 40 pumped storage facilities around the United States, and its operator says it is helping the state meet its ambitious goals. San Diego is planning a larger system at another site, the San Vicente reservoir, again using two water sources at different elevations.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday Top of the Scroll: Emergency crews rush to fix roads, utilities after quakes

Officials in two damaged desert communities worked Sunday to repair roads and restore utilities following the largest earthquake in Southern California in nearly two decades. … Friday’s quake sparked several house fires, shut off power, snapped gas lines, cracked buildings and flooded some homes when water lines broke.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

After more than a decade, Lanare’s water is finally safe to drink

The unincorporated Fresno County community of Lanare has long been a poster child for California’s widespread contaminated drinking water. For the past 13 years, Lanare’s water had tested higher than the state limit for arsenic, but that changed in February, when the water received a passing grade after a $3.8 million state grant paid for two new drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Reporter

Opinion: Make the drilling moratorium permanent

Here in Oxnard, we are also at a crossroads regarding the safety of our water. In February, scientists from the United States Geological Survey found that groundwater near the Fox Canyon aquifer system in eastern Oxnard was contaminated in an area of steam injection oil production … The USGS found thermogenic gases — byproducts of oil drilling — in groundwater wells near oil operations.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought, fish, and water in California

With a big collective sigh of relief, Californians rejoiced that we have largely recovered from 2012-2016 drought. But this is not a time for complacency… This should thus be a time to develop new and better strategies for reducing impacts of severe drought on both natural and developed systems.

Aquafornia news Futurity.org

How planting trees can improve water quality

New research offers a hard link between reforestation of marginal, degraded, or abandoned agricultural land and significant benefits in water quality. This relationship, argues Arturo Keller, a professor of environmental biogeochemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara, lends itself toward a program that incentivizes facilities that discharge pollutants, and local farmers to plant trees for water quality credits.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Mother Lode still feeling remnants of strong winter

Signs of the strong winter that the Central Sierra experienced in 2018-19 are all around Tuolumne County two weeks into summer, from a record tying late opening for Tioga Pass in the High Sierra on Monday to the nearly brimful New Melones Reservoir in the foothills.

Aquafornia news UPI

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Loss of deep-soil water triggered forest die-off in Sierra Nevada

Between 2012 and 2015, very little rain and snow fell on California. Aquifers shrank and the land dried out. … New research suggests the loss of deep-soil water best explains why the mountain range’s trees were unable to withstand the drought and heatwave.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Friant water blueprint focused on counties south of Delta

An important blueprint for the success of farming in the Central Valley is being developed to present to California government officials. This blueprint outlines what must be done to get water to the eight counties south of the delta. The blueprint is a critical step to help keep farmers in business due to the pressure from the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Why California’s fight against climate change must include clean water

California’s political leaders have made the long-overdue decision to clean up the Central Valley’s contaminated drinking water, and help cash-strapped rural water districts. The catch: rather than assess a fee on water users or tapping into the state’s budget surplus, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature relied on cap-and-trade money to pay for a portion of the operation.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

A bold experiment to recharge Fresno’s aquifer appears to be working

The experiment to super-energize water recharging efforts at Fresno’s Leaky Acres appears to be working. … Tommy Esqueda, then the director of Public Utilities, described the system to me as “putting ‘unique’ straws in the ground. The depth and spacing of these ‘straws’ are designed to maximize groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara South Coast water supply looks promising heading into summer

Santa Barbara County’s water supply outlook has improved significantly with a winter of strong rains, and this is reflected in a noticeably fuller Lake Cachuma. However, the effects of the years-long drought will take several years for some water sources to recover…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Rainfall to Groundwater

Blog: How does groundwater get there? Some basics

Oscar Meinzer (1942) credits Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) with having advocated the infiltration theory slightly before Palissy’s time, basing his theories on observations made when he was in charge of canals in the Milan area. … Such a scenario might explain why California DWR staff and like-minded academics and nonprofits have all jumped on the bandwagon of managed aquifer recharge.

Aquafornia news University of California

News release: California forest die-off caused by depletion of deep-soil water

A catastrophic forest die-off in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range in 2015-2016 was caused by the inability of trees to reach diminishing supplies of subsurface water following years of severe drought and abnormally warm temperatures.

Aquafornia news Soundings Magazine

First generation farmers

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta historically has been an agricultural paradise. But sometimes there is a disconnect between the agricultural community and the urban culture. A fourth generation farmer has made it her mission to reconnect the two in hopes of inspiring the next generation to consider farming as a career.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Mexican waters eyed as source to save California’s Salton Sea

From sea to shining sea may take on a new meaning in California, as state officials are reviewing billion dollar plans to import water from Mexico’s Sea of Cortez to help raise water levels at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news California Health Report

California environmental group warns of high arsenic levels in two bottled water brands

An Oakland-based environmental health group is threatening to sue the manufacturers and retailers behind two bottled water brands for failing to warn consumers about allegedly high levels of arsenic in their products.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Report: One in five California schools found detectable levels of lead in drinking water

Nearly one in five California schools found detectable levels of lead in the drinking water, according to recent data from the State Water Board. … Monday was the deadline, under a 2017 law, for local water districts to test school drinking water for lead. CBS13 found there is still no testing data for at least 100 schools in our area, but many local schools tested well above the limit.

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

Oroville Dam reopens to public after spillways rebuilt

Oroville Dam is officially back open to the public two years after it was forced to close due to the failure of the dam’s main and emergency spillways. People can now walk and bike the more than one-mile-long road across the dam crest. Public vehicles will still not be allowed.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: New USBR modeling shows substantial reduction in Mead, Powell risk over the next five years

The unusually wet winter (with an assist from new Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan water reduction rules) has substantially reduced the near-term scare-the-crap-out-of-me risks on the Colorado River for the next few years, according to new Bureau of Reclamation modeling.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Reservoirs planned near Denver would divert South Platte water

Colorado officials are planning to build multiple large reservoirs on the prairie northeast of Denver to capture more of the South Platte River’s Nebraska-bound water, then pump it back westward to booming metro suburbs struggling to wean themselves off dwindling underground aquifers.

Aquafornia news Yahoo Finance

California American Water applies for new revenue to fund infrastructure and service improvements

The increase … amounts to an approximately 10.6 percent increase in revenue for the company. … The request for the increase will assist in funding system and infrastructure improvements to help maintain high-quality water service. The increase will renew and replace water treatment facilities, pumps and pipelines.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

It will take as many as 13 water years exactly like this one to erase the impacts of long-term drought in the West, Colorado River District engineers say.

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Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Governor and Legislature advance voluntary agreements in the state budget

The Newsom Administration and the State Legislature approved a commitment of $70 million in the 2019-2020 State Budget for a comprehensive series of innovative fish and wildlife habitat enhancement actions identified in the collaborative Bay-Delta Voluntary Agreement proposals. This is a significant, early investment in the success of the Voluntary Agreements.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Trump’s pending rules on California water marked by missing documents and hurried reviews, say scientists

In their analyses, they write that the plan poses risks to threatened fish; that the process is rushed; that they didn’t receive enough information to provide a complete scientific review; and that the Trump administration may be skewing the science to make the environmental impact look less serious.

Aquafornia news Power Magazine

A clean sweep for invasive mussel biofouling

The rapid proliferation of the quagga mussel has major implications for power plant reliability. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installed a groundbreaking solution at Parker Dam in Arizona that virtually eliminated the invasive species from hydropower cooling systems.

Aquafornia news KUNC

Felt an earthquake on the Colorado-Utah border? It’s probably this federal facility

Since the turn of the 20th century, the Colorado River and its tributaries have been dammed and diverted to sustain the growth of massive cities and large-scale farming in the American Southwest. Attempts to bend the river system to humanity’s will have also led to all kinds of unintended consequences. In Colorado’s Paradox Valley, those unintended consequences take the form of earthquakes.

Aquafornia news Sierra Magazine

Blog: New maps show how groundwater affects lakes and rivers

Researchers have mapped the impact of groundwater pumping on surface water in individual watersheds before. But it’s only recently that computing power has improved enough to look at groundwater’s interaction with surface water, known as integrated modeling, on a scale as large as the United States.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Civil grand jury dives into Cachuma water disputes, ‘outdated’ contract

A civilian watchdog panel called has upon several agencies to clear up muddy communications to help end spats among members receiving and distributing water as they move toward another 25-year deal for Lake Cachuma water.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Why Modesto’s effort to plant 5,000 trees ended with rising costs and dead trees

Greg Dion, Cal Fire’s regional urban forester for the San Joaquin Valley, said Modesto used outdated research in calculating the cost of buying, planting and maintaining the 5,000 trees. … Modesto also started planting trees while the region still was in the grip of a devastating drought.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Contractors see Pure Water case as a test for big projects across the region

A legal case brought by the Associated General Contractors has delayed the Pure Water project, one of the city’s most ambitious undertakings ever. Hundreds of jobs are on the line, but the stakes may be even higher regionally.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Avalanches in June? Heavy Sierra snowpack still poses a risk for some hikers

Heavy snowfall in winter and spring in the Sierra Nevada, followed by relatively cool then rising temperatures in June, has led to an ongoing risk of avalanches into the summer — posing a threat to long-distance hikers on the famed Pacific Crest Trail, experts say.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Records set as California’s water year comes to a close

June 30, 2019, marks the end of the California water year, which began July 1, 2018. The water year got off to a slow start, but then ramped up around January and February throughout California.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Even after a rush of snow and rain, the thirsty Colorado River Basin is “not out of the woods yet”

In the long-term puzzle of ensuring that the Colorado River — the main artery of the American West — provides water to the millions of people in the basin who depend on it, the challenges are mounting. Does 2019’s water stand a chance of making a meaningful impact? Water experts say the answer is: Sadly, not likely.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Navajo, Hualapai water-rights bills get warm reception in House hearing

Tribal leaders urged House lawmakers Wednesday to support a handful of bills that would guarantee water to their tribes in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico and fund the water treatment plants and pipelines to deliver it.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fearful of being the next Paradise, Grass Valley confronts its fire vulnerability

As another fire season looms, here in the small city of Grass Valley, as in much of Gold Country where historic mining towns nestle up to sprawling, wooded mountains, things are different this year. What used to be a leisurely wind down to summer, marked by high school graduations and the excitement of vacation, has become a rush to action.

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Resilience to water scarcity: How Central Valley farmers can adapt to climate change

SGMA inevitably means less water for irrigating farms. … On one path, the valley could become a patchwork of dusty barren fields, serving a huge blow to the agriculture sector and rural communities and further impairing already poor air quality. … On another path, the valley could transform into a pioneering agricultural region that not only puts food on our nation’s plates but also supports thriving wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, soil health, groundwater recharge and flood control.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Don’t count on Sonoma Water after an earthquake

After a disaster, Sonoma Water will try to restore service as quickly as possible. The agency already has installed isolation valves so that it can cut off water around breaks and has some emergency water reserves in place. It estimates that water service could be restored in as few as three days after a moderate earthquake. The grand jury concluded that was an overly rosy prediction.

Aquafornia news Voices of Monterey Bay

Water, water everywhere

Rising sea levels caused by climate change are prompting the city of Monterey to prepare for a worst-case scenario, which could include waves flooding Cannery Row, wreckage of underground infrastructure and threats to our protected wildlife areas.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Opinion: Preserve nature for future generations

We salute Rep. Jared Huffman and Sen. Kamala Harris for their recent introduction of the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act, which would better protect and restore lands and streams vital for water supply, salmon and steelhead and the growing outdoor recreation economy in this region.

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

Santa Margarita Water District certifies San Juan Creek watershed project

Plans to capture stormwater runoff by installing rubber dams at San Juan Creek will move forward… SMWD is working with the city of San Juan Capistrano and South Coast Water District for the first phase of the project, which, when completed, is expected to provide 5.6 billion gallons of reliable drinking water each year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

The Pacific lamprey may be key to preserving Yurok culture

Keith Parker’s groundbreaking biology research regarding a new subspecies of Pacific lamprey, recently published in the science journal Molecular Ecology, may be the key to saving his tribe’s way of life. … Parker hopes that his research will open the door to further investigation of the lamprey, because the future of his tribe lies with this bizarre-looking, prehistoric fish.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am desal project appeal headed to Coastal Commission next month

Cal Am, two members of the Coastal Commission and two local appellants are challenging the Marina city Planning Commission’s March 7 denial of a coastal development permit for the $329 million desal project, including seven slant source water wells and associated infrastructure

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Droughts may behave like dominos: Stanford study

As the United States moves into the summer months, a recent study examines whether a drought in California can be linked to one in the Midwest. The Stanford-led study published in Geophysical Research Letters finds that regions may fall victim to water scarcity like dominos across the nation, the university news service reported.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Past year of California water was record-setting

As the 2018-19 water year came to a close Sunday, record-setting snowpack in the Sierras and above-average rain means several reservoirs are near full capacity heading into the dry summer months. Here’s a look at the past 12 months of California water.

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Aquafornia news Casa Grande Dispatch

Pinal farmers may still face water reduction despite massive snowpack

The update reported an excellent May in terms of Colorado River Basin run-off, yet Central Arizona Water Conservation District board members underscored that still-half-full reservoirs point to the need for continued conservation.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Reuse of treated wastewater could save water for other needs

The 2018-19 Solano County grand jury concluded that if treated wastewater could be used to irrigate crops that saved water would help meet the water needs of a growing population. … The grand jury also had recommendations on plant efficiency and taking advantage of other renewable energies and plant output, such as using wind and solar power for plant operations…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Editorial: Latest Nestle controversy another case of ‘hurry up and wait’

When it comes to Nestle Corp.’s harvesting of spring water for bottling from the nearby San Bernardino National Forest, it always seems that any final resolution of this long-running controversy is always somewhere in the future.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

Council awards bid for long-discussed desalter

The facility would serve two main purposes. In addition to weaning Camarillo customers off imported water from Calleguas Municipal Water District, it would also help filter out the everincreasing amount of salt found in the plumes of water beneath much of the eastern half of the city.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Bay Area beaches rank among most polluted in California

Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, Keller Beach in Richmond and Aquatic Park in San Mateo were announced as four of the top 10 most polluted in the state, referred to as “beach bummers.”

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Miocene Canal faces a murky future

When the Camp Fire struck last November, the upper Miocene Canal, constructed mostly of wooden flumes, was destroyed. Now, the most important part of the canal, receiving water from the Feather River to the north, cannot convey water down through the rest of the canal system.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Climate change behind CA wildfires? Many voters think so

The polling firm FM3 Research found that a plurality of California voters surveyed (27 percent) said climate change is behind state wildfires. Another 17 percent of voters believe that human error is the leading cause of wildfires, 12 percent believe it’s forest mismanagement and 11 percent believe it’s drought.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

Opinion: In a few years California will begin to implement indoor water restrictions

Enjoy the days of long, endless hot showers while you may. … Eventually all households will be required to stay within a 55 gallon per day per resident indoor water usage for showers, baths, laundry and dishwashing.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Plumbing experts question California’s post-fire water testing guidance

The State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water published guidance for testing the plumbing in buildings that survived the fire. But that document is drawing criticism from academic researchers who say that the recommendations, published on June 14, are not thorough enough to detect all potential instances of water contamination from plumbing within a building.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: CA liability law threatens water districts by saddling them with fire costs

After the Freeway Complex Fire, the Yorba Linda Water District was slapped with a lawsuit and ultimately had to pay a $69 million judgment. Even though the court determined the district didn’t ignite the fire or act inappropriately, the district was still held liable for fire damages because the fire incapacitated the pumps needed to push water to the fire hydrants in one neighborhood.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

State budget sets the stage for solving part of California’s water crisis

Over 10 years, it would funnel $1.4 billion to the fund for clean water solutions. The budget has been approved by the California Legislature, but still needs Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature to pass. It also still needs trailer bills that authorize some of the spending – including the drinking water fund.

Aquafornia news NBC Southern California

Orange County deputies seek man suspected of water tampering

Orange County sheriff’s investigators Wednesday asked for the public’s help identifying a person seen opening water bottles in a store that authorities are concerned may have been tampered with. … It is not clear if the person poisoned the water or put something else in the liquid, Braun said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Utah, other states urge California to sign 7-state drought plan for Colorado River

Most of the seven states that get water from the Colorado River have signed off on plans to keep the waterway from crashing amid a prolonged drought, climate change and increased demands. But California and Arizona have not, missing deadlines from the federal government.

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Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Hurtado secures $15M for area drinking water projects

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced Monday she has secured a $15 million one-time investment of General Funds for the southern Central Valley. The funds will address failing water systems that deliver safe clean drinking water to California’s most vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Federal government wants to accelerate wildfire protections

The proposed rule changes include an expansion of “categorical exclusions.” These are often billed as tools that give land managers the discretion to bypass full-blown environmental studies in places where they can demonstrate there would be no severe impacts or degradation to the land.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

LA River, Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, to get $4.3 million from state budget for restoration

Two portions of channelized waterways within urbanized Southern California will receive more than $4 million from the 2019-20 state budget adopted Thursday to restore natural features by removing decades-old concrete barriers.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to California Wastewater Gary Pitzer

As Californians Save More Water, Their Sewers Get Less and That’s a Problem
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Corrosion is evident in this wastewater pipe from Los Angeles County.Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought when water districts were required to meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Paradise Irrigation District continues water testing in Camp Fire burn scar

The Paradise Irrigation District is still working to restore clean water to the ridge. So far, the district is making big strides toward turning non-potable water into drinking water in the town. The district put a call out for volunteers in the Camp Fire burn scar that would be willing to let them test their water for the first two weeks of June.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

City of Fresno supports safe drinking water fund – with a catch

Two Fresno City Councilmembers made an atypical move at a press conference today by throwing in their support for a clean water drinking fund—as long as it doesn’t involve a tax.

Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Homeowners near San Joaquin River fear rising water levels

Parts of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers are closed to recreation. But the high water levels don’t just mean people’s vacations are getting cut short. … Hilda Warren lives near the river and says she’s starting to get worried, watching the water levels rise day by day.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mark Arax’s ‘The Dreamt Land’ traces California’s fear of a handful of dust

On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A. Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the key to understanding California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California regulators approve PG&E power outages to prevent more wildfires

California regulators have approved allowing utilities to cut off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers to avoid catastrophic wildfires like the one sparked by power lines last year that killed 85 people and largely destroyed the city of Paradise.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Escondido, tribe reach agreement on easement for water pipeline

A plan to underground about 2.5 miles of the Escondido Canal through and near the San Pasqual Indian reservation has moved forward with an agreement reached recently for Escondido to pay the tribe for an easement through its land. The 14-mile-long Escondido Canal transports water from Lake Henshaw to Lake Wohlford where it is stored for use by Escondido and Vista Irrigation District consumers.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

License to Pump

Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the availability of a critical resource… A new dashboard tool, created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping – to help plan for a more sustainable future.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: Water management is tough. Let’s tackle it together

Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County, and we in the California almond community are all rooting for the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed in finding viable solutions and common ground.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Rule: Court sides with WOTUS foes as legal fight gets messier

The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Aberdeen is said to buy water plant for more than $1 billion

An affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments has agreed to buy the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California for more than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter. A transaction could be announced as soon as this week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Aquafornia news Cloverdale Reveille

Coming together for the Potter Valley Project

Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma Water — announced  they will be signing a project planning agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Massive Sierra snowpack is 33 times bigger than last year’s

The marathon stretch of unsettled weather means the reservoirs are brimming, the rivers are rushing, the waterfalls are spectacular, and people are still skiing in fresh powder in Tahoe. But perhaps the most noteworthy outcome is a remarkably gargantuan snowpack blanketing the mountain range straddling California and Nevada. Right now, it’s even bigger than the 2017 snowpack that pulled the state out of a five-year drought.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Pleasanton tech company aims to cool floating data centers with bay water

A Pleasanton company has an unusual idea to cool data storage machines that they say uses a fraction of the energy and cuts greenhouse gasses. But local environmentalists are against the plan because of the possible impact it could have on San Francisco Bay.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo County set to extend Paso Robles groundwater restrictions

First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another several years to fully take effect.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: J.W. Powell’s perilous river expedition

May 24, 2019, marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of John Wesley Powell’s ambitious expedition through the canyonlands of Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, including the Grand Canyon. … In a new USGS story map, readers can follow Powell’s epic journey from a remote sensing perspective.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California Water Commission: DWR’s climate change vulnerability assessment

In order to address the impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has authority.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Hermosa Beach loses $3.2 million grant set aside for stormwater infiltration project

Hermosa Beach, partnering with neighboring cities, was supposed to receive the money from the State Water Resources Control Board to help design and build the Greenbelt Infiltration Project … meant to help clean the Herondo Drain Watershed, which has consistently had elevated levels of bacteria. But the city put the funding in jeopardy in March when the council voted to dissolve a deal with neighboring cities and instead find a new home for the project.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Fracking: Inside a BLM report, environmental impacts, and the public’s response

This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t known about the technique’s impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

A long-awaited bill to fund drinking water systems in rural areas faces decision time

By the State Water Resources Control Board’s estimates, more than a million Californians don’t have safe drinking water flowing through the pipes into their homes. … As Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to send his revised $213 billion budget to the legislature for approval, a trailer bill proposes that the legislature appropriate $150 million a year to a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

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Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Opinion: San Diego’s climate goals require more investment in energy storage

The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.

Aquafornia news Point Reyes Light

SPAWN to restore Jewell floodplain

The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network’s largest conservation project to date is moving upstream. This month the group secured over half a million dollars to complete the second phase of its effort to improve habitat for endangered salmon in Lagunitas Creek between the ghost towns of Jewell and Tocaloma.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Opinion: The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. For example … many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults. … So I was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on March 20, 2019.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Opinion: Delta smelt are poor swimmers

Delta smelt are poor swimmers. When they have to swim against voluminous outflows, they struggle. They also lack endurance for distance and swimming against currents. This was the result of the taxpayer-funded swim performance test conducted more than 20 years ago. Why is this important?

Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Clarksburg flood risk reduction study presented to supervisors

Although flooding hasn’t occurred in Clarksburg since the construction of the levee system in the early 1900s, the community is considered a moderate to high hazard flood area, according to a county report. For that reason, a flood risk reduction feasibility study has been prepared for the town similar to those conducted for Yolo and Knights Landing with funds from the California Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Freak mud flows threaten our water supplies, and climate change is raising the risk

Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Opinion: California needs Senate Bill 487 for watershed surveying

In my 40 years at the California Department of Water Resources, I have seen changes in climate that have convinced me that the full picture is changing and our extrapolation methods are losing value rapidly. This is especially true in extreme years, wet or dry – such as 2015, when the statistics are just not going to be accurate enough to meet our growing water management needs.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax millions of residential water users and others while California enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley water agency might buy Central Valley farm

Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act…

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Will Arroyo Grande Oil Field add 481 new oil wells? It just cleared a major hurdle

Sentinel Peak Resources has cleared an environmental hurdle that could allow it to move forward with years-old plans to increase drilling in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field — but whether it will or not is still up in the air. The Environmental Protection Agency granted Sentinel Peak Resources an aquifer exemption on April 30, exempting portions of the aquifer under the oil field from protections guaranteed by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Municipal Water Users Association

Blog: Will Our Drought Ever End?

Earlier this month the governor’s Drought Interagency Coordinating Group unanimously voted to inform the governor that Arizona’s long-running drought declaration should continue. This means Arizona has been in a state of drought for more than 20 years, surpassing the worst drought in more than 110 years of record keeping. Now that our drought has been extended yet again, it leaves many to wonder what it will take to get us out of this drought.

Aquafornia news Adventist Review

U.S. teens walk miles to raise funds for water

The Del Mar Mesa community in San Diego, Calif., has clean running water. Given this fact, the sight of nearly 20 girls in an affluent neighborhood carrying buckets of water up a ravine was out of the ordinary, to say the least. “What we’re trying to do is represent what African women do on a day-to-day basis: the fact that they have to travel several miles — several hours — to just get water,” said Emma Reeves, an 18-year-old high-school senior…

Aquafornia news NPR

After Paradise, living with fire means redefining resilience

Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of canyon.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Canyon reservoir spurs some debate in Stanislaus County

Del Puerto Water District and Central California Irrigation District have developed the reservoir project without many public concerns rising to the surface. That was until Patterson city staff members showed up for Wednesday’s meeting. Maria Encinas, a city management analyst, asked about a risk assessment for adjacent communities like Patterson. A failure in the dam on Del Puerto Creek, on the west side of Interstate 5, would appear to flood part of the city of 23,700, including perhaps the downtown area in Patterson.

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

FERC finds Premium Energy’s application ‘patently deficient’

Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…

Aquafornia news UC Davis

News release: Thinning forests, prescribed fire before drought reduced tree loss

 The study, published in the journal Ecological Applications, found that thinning and prescribed fire treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129 million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-2016.

Aquafornia news High Country News

See where PFAS pollution has been confirmed in the American West

Because the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate PFAS chemicals, states are left not only to research and track them, but also to develop regulations to clean up already dangerous levels of pollution. And, according to recent data from the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group, the West isn’t doing a great job.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California water utilities seek relief from fire lawsuits

While wildfire lawsuits have typically targeted electric utilities and their downed powerlines that ignite the blaze, some recent lawsuits have also focused on the water systems that are supposed to provide the water for firefighters to put out the flames. The group, known as the Coalition for Fire Protection and Accountability, wants to be included in legislative efforts to reduce utilities’ liability, a prime topic of discussion this year following Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.’s bankruptcy…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: No, we shouldn’t pump desert groundwater near Joshua Tree to help store electricity

The plan calls for pumping 8 billion gallons of water in the first few years, and more than 30 billion gallons over 50 years, from the aquifer adjacent to, and connected with, the one beneath neighboring Joshua Tree National Park. … A better use for the land, which ceased to be mined more than 30 years ago, would be to return it to the fold and make it part of Joshua Tree National Park.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

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Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Opinion: Is overwatering really so bad?

Even though the Russian River watershed has received roughly 130 percent of the average rainfall this season, it is time to discuss the impacts of overwatered landscapes as the dry weather returns and irrigation controllers turn on.

Aquafornia news WSIL TV

Herrin, Ill., plans to send treated wastewater to drought-stricken area

Steve Frattini, mayor of Herrin, Ill., went to a water conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought. So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The water is from the city’s wastewater treatment plant … The Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be used to transport the water… Initially, Frattini said the water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern California, a sea that’s been drying up for years.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The West has many wildfires, but too few prescribed burns, study finds

Despite years of scientific research pointing to prescribed or “controlled” burns as a successful method of clearing brush and restoring ecosystems, intentional fire-setting by federal agencies has declined in much of the West over the last 20 years, the study found. “This suggests that the best available science is not being adopted into management practices…” the report warns.

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Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Group declares Orcutt oilfields contaminated drinking water wells

A presentation by the U.S. Geological Survey to California water boards has surfaced that reveals contamination in the groundwater around the Orcutt oilfield, the Environmental Defense Center in Santa Barbara claims. The advocacy group released the information on Tuesday, stating that “federal scientists found evidence of oil-field fluids in groundwater underlying the nearby Orcutt oil field.”

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

‘Stop the Poop’ rally protests coastal pollution at the border

A local advocacy group held a rally Sunday morning calling on the federal government to stop the pollution of coastal waters caused by untreated sewage from the Tijuana River Valley.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: The Colorado River’s biggest challenge looms

States that share the river’s water finalized a big agreement last month, but an even larger challenge determining the river’s future is just around the bend, expert John Fleck explains.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s growing demand for recycled water has ripple effects

Wastewater agencies produce highly treated water that is increasingly being reused as a water supply. While it’s still only a small portion of overall water use, the use of recycled water has nearly tripled since the 1980s―and is continuing to rise as water agencies seek to meet the demands of a growing population and improve the resilience of their water supplies.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Federal bill to help fund water storage expansion for Central Valley

A congressional bill includes almost $14 million in funding for water projects in the Central Valley and Northern California. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, said he was successful in working the funding into an Energy and Water Development appropriations bill that includes spending for infrastructure across the nation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Foothills communities face proposed 7% water rate hike

Crescenta Valley Water District’s board of directors have proposed rate increases for both its water and sewer rates. If approved, customers could see their combined monthly bills increase by about $7.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland

The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a move that could create a promising new water source — or spark a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Tri County Sentry

Nguyen dispels social media rumors about contaminated drinking water in Oxnard

The City of Oxnard struck back about reports of contaminated drinking water within the city limits at it’s May 21, City Council meeting City Manager Alex Nguyen said he wanted to set the record straight about the issue.

2019 Water Summit
Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot to Keynote Oct. 30 event in Sacramento

Registration is now open for the 2019 Water Summit, our annual premier event.  

This daylong conference will be held October 30, 2019 at a new location along the Sacramento River in Sacramento. The annual Water Summit, now in its 36th year, features top policymakers and leading stakeholders providing the latest information and viewpoints on issues impacting water across California and the West.

Click here to register!

Embassy Suites Sacramento Riverfront
100 Capitol Mall
Sacramento, CA 95814
Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Orange County water board vacancy draws ‘unprecedented’ interest after Newsom kills twin tunnels project

After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in 2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the Municipal Water District of Orange County.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour Weekend

Amid drought, Phoenix plans for a future with less water

As the Colorado River’s flow declines, water supplies in seven states are imperiled by potential shortages. That includes Arizona, which passed legislation outlining steps it would take if water from the river continues to decrease. But what does a water shortage mean for Phoenix?

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: John Wesley Powell at 150: How can we tell better stories?

Rather than unquestioningly celebrating Powell and his legacy, this year gives us the chance to think about a couple of points: First, how are we telling Powell’s story now, and how have we told it in the past? Is it, and has it been, accurate and useful? Second, whose stories have we excluded, ignored, and forgotten about in the focus on Powell?

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Santa Clara River may be last of its kind in Southern California

The Santa Clara stretches 84 miles and through two counties from the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean just south of Ventura Harbor. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars have been invested to protect and restore the river, work that some say has reached a tipping point.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project

The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sewage flows from Tijuana completely shutter Imperial Beach shoreline

A beach closure that has been in place for months for the southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff in the Tijuana River.

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