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.
U.S. Rep. John Garamendi has filed an official objection to a
plan backed by Sonoma County and his House Democratic colleague
Jared Huffman to remove Scott Dam on the Eel River and drain
Lake Pillsbury, a popular recreation spot for nearly a century.
At least 700 sub-adult and adult winter-run Chinook salmon
(winter Chinook) returned this year to Battle Creek. …
Establishing another self-sustaining population in a second
watershed (in addition to population in Sacramento River), such
as Battle Creek, is a high priority and a major component of
the Central Valley salmonid recovery plan.
Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.
Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.
Advocates and researchers warn that the way many local agencies
have interpreted the Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act overlooks the needs of disadvantaged communities who rely
on groundwater for their drinking water. Many are concerned
that households and communities could see their wells go dry in
the coming years, leaving them without access to safe and
affordable drinking water.
The Friant Water Authority on Thursday approved the final
environmental review for a massive project to fix a 33-mile
segment of the Friant-Kern Canal despite continued questions
about funding and other concerns expressed by some Friant
At the Western Groundwater Congress hosted online by the
Groundwater Resources Association, Audrey Arnao, an associate
with WestWater Research, gave the following presentation on
California’s surface water market, covering prices and trading
activity in recent years and providing a forecast of spot
market transfer prices in 2021.
Dam failure, though rare, can cause catastrophic destruction of
property and lives. Repairing hazardous dams can help, but
simply removing them can be a better, more cost-effective
option with accompanying environmental benefits … a mere
five states account for half of all removals: Pennsylvania
(343), California (173), Wisconsin (141), Michigan (94), and
With California’s worst wildfire season on record still raging,
experts from across the state are calling for a $2 billion
investment in the next year on prevention tactics like
prescribed burns and more year-round forest management
More than 8,300 blazes have scorched four million acres (and
counting) in California this wildfire season—doubling the
state’s previous record, set just two years ago. … This trend
not only presents immediate dangers to people but can
have toxic consequences for the local water supply that can
persist long after the smoke clears.
In the absence of appropriate management, excessive livestock
damage can occur in sensitive habitats such as riparian areas
that provide drinking water, forage, and microclimates sought
by free-ranging livestock. … Fortunately,
conservation-grazing management strategies can reduce the
likelihood of livestock damage to riparian areas.
The Montecito Water District is buying into Santa Barbara’s
desalination plant, which converts salt water into fresh water.
The deal calls for Montecito to pick up $33 million dollars of
the recently rebuilt plant’s $72 million dollar price tag, as
well as to share in operational costs.
Del Puerto Water District directors approved a final
environment study Wednesday on a 82,000 acre-foot reservoir
near Patterson. … The reservoir is proposed to increase
reliability of water deliveries to thirsty farms and improve
management of groundwater. The project in a canyon just west of
Patterson has stirred debate. It would inundate part of scenic
Del Puerto Canyon and raises fears the dam near Interstate 5
could fail, flooding the city of 23,000.
California lawmakers need to create a package of legislation
that limits multiple kinds of oil drilling, not just hydraulic
fracturing, if they want to respond effectively to the world’s
climate crisis, says state Sen. Henry Stern, D-Los Angeles, who
chairs the Natural Resources and Water Committee.
Virtual rallies will be held Friday at the utility’s
headquarters in Portland and in Buffett’s hometown of Omaha,
Neb., according to a Save California Salmon news release. A
rally will also be held in Seattle, home of the Bill and
Melinda Gates Foundation, the top shareholder in Buffett’s
Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate. Berkshire Hathaway Energy is
PacifiCorp’s parent company.
Working over the last year, construction crews expect to
complete a new 2-mile levee near Novato in the coming weeks. It
will allow bay waters to eventually reclaim nearly 1,600 acres,
or about 2.5 square miles, of former tidal marshes that had
been diked and drained for agriculture and development during
the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
My research group published a new paper last week in the
international Water journal that presents some very good news
for water-stressed areas: cities are succeeding in decoupling
their growth from their water needs. Our research – focused on
20 cities in the Western US – revealed some surprising
Over-pumping of groundwater has caused domestic wells to go dry
in the San Joaquin Valley. Yet many of the first round of plans
prepared to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act (SGMA) do not yet propose ways to address this problem. We
explored groundwater planning with three members of the
environmental justice community—Angela Islas of Self-Help
Enterprises, Justine Massey of the Community Water Center, and
Amanda Monaco of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and
Two lawsuits against a Kern County groundwater sustainability
agency show the potential implications for agriculture and
other businesses with historic, overlying water rights….”It’s
one of the first groundwater sustainability plans we’re seeing
that could wholly restrict agriculture in a water-poor area,
while ignoring overlying rights and preferring other,
non-agricultural users in the basin,” [the California Farm
Bureau Federation's Chris] Scheuring said.
A slew of Bakersfield locals told board members how much an
actual, wet river means for residents. Speakers asked board
members to make the Kern a priority and finally allocate
unappropriated water on the river that has been in limbo at the
board for the past 10 years.
California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
can list bisphenol A under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and
Toxic Enforcement Act despite challenges regarding the lack of
evidence of its harm to humans, a state appeals court said
The Del Puerto Water District is set to vote Wednesday on
approving a final environmental impact study on a much-disputed
storage reservoir in western Stanislaus County. … According
to proponents, the reservoir storing up to 82,000 acre-feet
will provide more reliable water deliveries to farmers south of
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta… Water pumped from the
nearby Delta-Mendota Canal would be stored behind the dam.
A national environmental organization is preparing to sue Gov.
Gavin Newsom’s administration for issuing new fracking permits,
including six approved on Friday, Kassie Siegel, director of
the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute,
In the world of groundwater recharge, not all dirt is created
equal. Where, when, how much and how fast water can best be
recharged into the Central Valley’s severely depleted aquifers
has become a critical question. A new tool aims to help answer
those questions at the field-by-field level or up to an entire
President Trump has added a false claim to his pitch to
“suburban women” — maintaining that his administration already
has delivered on his promises to speed up dishwashers and
improve sinks and showers. … But no new products are on the
market because of changes, and no proposals have fully made
their way through the regulatory process.
Another round of catastrophic wildfires, unprecedented in scope
and intensity with a changing climate, have once again damaged
entire watersheds. Ash and other sediment and debris will wash
into reservoirs and ultimately add another layer of difficulty
in delivering safe and reliable water. What can be done on the
ground to lessen this threat, if not eventually overcome it?
Run Dry is a story of small, rural California communities and
their struggle to remain connected to the most precious
resource—water. This digital media project combines short
documentary films, personal stories, photographs, and data
visualizations about water scarcity and contamination in the
San Joaquin Valley.
Wildfires leave behind more than scorched earth and destroyed
homes: Rising smoke plumes can contain chemicals that disperse
not only into the air but in soil, water, indoor dust, and even
wildlife. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of
more than 100 chemicals that can cause cancer and other
ailments, is one of those ingredients.
Experts say it’s likely not a matter of if, but when, intense
rainfall triggers mudslides that threaten the properties and
lives of thousands of people in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The
area has seen these disasters before: In January 1982, the Love
Creek mudslide killed 10 people near Ben Lomond. But the CZU
Lightning Complex, larger than any fire in the region’s
recorded history, created an unprecedented hazard.
As the Colorado River Basin’s managers wrestle with thorny
questions around the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a colleague
who works for a Lower Colorado River Basin water agency
recently asked a question that goes to the heart of the future
of river management: With land in the Lower Colorado River
Basin, why doesn’t Utah have a Lower Basin allocation?
Congressman John Garamendi, who represents the northern half of
Lake County, on Friday submitted a formal comment to the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opposing removal of Scott
Dam on the Eel River at Lake Pillsbury and demanding that Lake
County have an equal seat at the table for determining the
future of Potter Valley Project and the lake.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is
preparing to build four new battery energy storage systems that
will boost the district’s energy resilience and cut operational
costs by optimizing solar power and reducing peak load at its
ACWA on Oct. 15 submitted “A Roadmap To Achieving the Voluntary
Agreements” to Gov. Gavin Newsom and top members of his
Administration that calls on the state to take the necessary
steps to re-engage on Voluntary Agreements regarding the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay-Delta and its tributaries.
It all started with a 2002 state law demanding quake-resilient
water delivery. Nearly $5 billion later, San Francisco has
retrofit the system from Hetch Hetchy to the city, just now
crossing the finish line on the shore of Lake Merced.
The report analyzes the environmental effects of Monterey
Peninsula Water Management District’s proposed buyout and
operation of the 40,000-customer Cal Am-owned system within the
district boundaries, including the proposed
6.4-million-gallon-per-day desalination plant and
In 2011, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains filled the Colorado
River, lifting reservoirs—and spirits—in the drought-stricken
U.S. Southwest. The following year, however, water levels
dropped to nearly their lowest in a century… Now, scientists
say they may have come up with a potential early warning system
for the Colorado’s water levels—by watching temperature
patterns in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, thousands of
Right now, the Mendocino County Sustainable Groundwater Agency
is writing up a groundwater sustainability plan for the basin.
The plan will regulate groundwater in the Ukiah Valley basin
for the first time ever, and will define how water is managed
in and near Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Ukiah for perpetuity.
Oakland’s McClymonds High School is now safe for students and
staff to return to after a months-long closure because of a
toxic chemical found in groundwater on the campus. The school
first closed in February, just weeks before classroom
instruction was halted because of COVID-19.
For most of the past 48 years, the Clean Water Act produced
dramatic improvements in the quality of our nation’s rivers,
lakes and coastal waters. … Unfortunately, the Trump
administration’s unrelenting rollback of clean water
protections is stalling progress toward fixing these problems
and endangering a half-century’s worth of gains.
The desert Southwest is a hot place to live, but imagine
spending over half of the year with high temperatures of at
least 100 degrees. Parts of California and Arizona did just
that this year. … A series of high-pressure systems in
unfavorable locations have not only allowed for temperatures to
soar over the past few months, but have effectively blocked any
large, rainmaking storms from moving through the area.
California is facing an impending water shortage. With
widespread fires, a COVID-19 provoked economic recession
bringing widespread unemployment and a public health emergency,
it would be easy, but not prudent, to forget that we face a
water crisis around the next corner.
The Los Angeles Basin is often thought of as a dry, smoggy,
overdeveloped landscape. But a new study led by NOAA and the
University of Colorado, Boulder shows that the manicured lawns,
emerald golf courses and trees of America’s second-largest city
have a surprisingly large influence on the city’s carbon
emissions…The green spaces within megacities provide numerous
benefits, including improving air quality, capturing runoff,
moderating temperatures and offering outdoor recreation.
A statewide water shutoff moratorium has kept the tap on for
Californians who haven’t been able to pay their water bill in
the midst of the pandemic-driven economic crisis. But ratepayer
debt has been accruing for months now, leading to revenue
losses for water providers across the state.
Aquatic ecologist Steve Lee is concerned that abundant water
may not always be part of the Sonoma Valley story. … So Lee’s
rebuilt home was designed to capture the runoff, and store it
in a series of 5,000-gallon gravity-fed tanks. He’s got 11 of
them scattered across his property, harvesting water from the
house, barn and pool.
A team of scientists from the California Department of Water
Resources are working with federal and state partners to
embrace the challenge of overseeing the implementation of one
of the most complex endangered species permits in California
After about six months of construction, Morro Bay’s new water
reclamation facility is well underway — and it remains
politically divisive this election season, with three
candidates talking about halting or undoing the project, which
is the largest-ever infrastructure project in city history.
A new California Biodiversity Collaborative will help determine
how to carry out an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom
aimed at conserving 30% of California’s land and marine areas
by 2030—and agricultural organizations said they would
participate to assure the collaborative recognizes stewardship
efforts carried out on the state’s farms and ranches.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday created what he called a
“subcabinet” for federal water issues, with a mandate that
includes water-use changes sought by corporate farm interests
and oil and gas. … The first priority set out by the
executive order is increasing dam storage and other water
storage, long a demand of farmers and farm interests in the
West in particular. That includes California’s Westlands Water
District, the nation’s largest agricultural water district.
A critical piece of the Clean Water Act, known as Section 401,
allows states and tribes to work with the federal government to
ensure that rivers are protected and that projects meet the
needs of local communities. Unfortunately, the Environmental
Protection Agency recently created new rules for how states and
tribes can use their authority under Section 401.
At a shuttered water park in the desert landscape of Coachella
Valley in Southern California, Tom Lochtefeld has transformed a
pool into a surf spot. For decades, inventors like Lochtefeld
have struggled to mimic the ocean’s swells. In recent years,
commercial projects and proof-of-concept pools have made good
on the dream.
The Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency received $10.5 million in
grants from the California Department of Water Resources to
fund five local projects related to recycling and water-quality
The North Complex Fire has burned a large portion of Lake
Oroville’s watershed. This could lead to hazardous water
quality after winter rains run all of that sediment into the
lake and the effects could last decades. However, how water
quality could be affected by the fire is still largely unknown.
The industry that operates America’s hydroelectric dams and
several environmental groups announced an unusual agreement
Tuesday to work together to get more clean energy from
hydropower while reducing the environmental harm from dams, in
a sign that the threat of climate change is spurring both sides
to rethink their decades-long battle over a large but
contentious source of renewable power. The United States
generated about 7 percent of its electricity last year from
hydropower, mainly from large dams built decades ago, such as
the Hoover Dam, which uses flowing water from the Colorado
River to power turbines.
The flames were coming over a ridge when a group of men, led by
a retired Cal Fire firefighter, saved more than 35 homes in the
Stonegate neighborhood on Brand Road just off Hwy 12. They held
off the flames until a full strike team arrived to take over.
What they could not save was the water well pump and holding
tank at the top of the hill which supplied water to the entire
subdivision. It was all destroyed and must be now replaced.
The South Fork Eel River is considered one of the highest
priority watersheds in the state for flow enhancement projects.
Forested tributaries like Redwood Creek provide refugia habitat
for threatened juvenile coho salmon but suffer from the
cumulative impacts of legacy logging and unregulated water
At a trial over fluoride regulations this summer, EPA eschewed
its own experts, hiring an outside company often deployed by
corporations to deny and downplay chemicals’ health impacts.
… Testifying for EPA in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of California, Exponent Inc. cast doubt on
studies that underpin federal regulation of lead and mercury,
even as the agency’s own scientists said new research does
indeed warrant a review of fluoride’s neurotoxic effects.
A new experiment is looking into how drought conditions, like
we’re currently in, can affect water traveling downstream in
the Colorado River. The pilot project involved shepherding
water from a high mountain reservoir to the Colorado-Utah state
The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) recently
launched an environmental justice community survey to gather
input to inform Delta Conveyance Project planning. The survey,
entitled, “Your Delta, Your Voice,” seeks direct input from
communities that may be disproportionately affected by the
Some neighborhoods in California and Oregon are already
witnessing benzene levels that exceed state and federal
permissible limits as evacuees return to ‘do not drink/do not
boil’ warnings. “The number of water systems that we expect to
see impacted could be the highest yet,” says Daniel Newton,
assistant deputy director of California’s Water Resources
Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “It is a concern.”
Three candidates are competing for one seat on the West Basin
Municipal Water District board of directors, and an ambitious
plan for a water desalination plant off the coast of El Segundo
emerges as a major flashpoint.
It’s still dry as dirt, but promises to be a central component
of future water supplies for the 165,000 people served by the
Santa Margarita Water District. While the district currently
imports 100% of its drinking water from the Colorado River and
northern California, the new Trampas Canyon Reservoir is part
of a plan to generate 30% of potable water supplies locally and
to recycle more wastewater.
Prescribed burning … targets brush, grasses, and other
accumulated vegetation, along with dead and downed trees, to
improve ecosystem health and reduce the fuels that power
wildfires. … “We’re trying to encourage a cultural shift in
our relationship with wildfire,” says Sasha Berleman, a fire
ecologist who runs a prescribed burn training program based in
the San Francisco Bay Area. “Fire isn’t going away, so let’s
change how we’re living with it.”
Unbeknownst to many, some voters will pick five new members of
the Board of Directors of the Westlands Water District. GV Wire
had a chance to speak with two of those… Both offered
insights into how Westlands can change its reputation, how
farmers can change their approach, and what their biggest
adversaries are in the fight for water.
If certain hay species retain more nutrients than others when
on low-water diets, then ranchers know their cattle will
continue to eat well as they evaluate whether they can operate
their ranches on less H20…. Any water saved could be left in
the Colorado River, allowing it to become more sustainable,
even as the West’s population grows and drought becomes more
Protecting intact peatlands [such as those in California] and
restoring degraded ones are crucial steps if the world is to
counter climate change, European researchers said Friday. In a
study, they said peat bogs, wetlands that contain large amounts
of carbon in the form of decaying vegetation that has built up
over centuries, could help the world achieve climate goals like
the limit of 2 degrees Celsius of postindustrial warming that
is part of the 2015 Paris agreement.
Join us as we guide you on a virtual journey deep into California’s most crucial water and ecological resource – the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The 720,000-acre network of islands and canals support the state’s two major water systems – the State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The Delta and the connecting San Francisco Bay form the largest freshwater tidal estuary of its kind on the West coast.
A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a
new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado
River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters
are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked
to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and
Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory.
To protect public health, Reps. Harley Rouda of California and
Rashida Tlaib of Michigan want the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention to use its authority under the Public Health
Service Act to prohibit water utilities from shutting off
service to customers who are behind on their
bills… Water industry groups point to several reasons
why a national moratorium would be problematic.
The Forest Service’s use of herbicides and pesticides has
raised occasional alarm from environmental groups, which point
to the chemical’s potential to harm wildlife or water supplies,
or to have long-term effects on people who apply them. In some
regions, they say, scarcely a tree-planting project occurs
without the use of chemical herbicides.
A University of Arizona researcher is leading a National
Science Foundation project that is integrating artificial
intelligence to simulate the nation’s groundwater supply for
the purpose of forecasting droughts and floods. [One aim,
the researcher said, is to] “come up with better forecasts
for floods and droughts in the upper Colorado River Basin…”
Tehama County Board of Supervisors received an update Tuesday
… on groundwater levels and well depths following reports of
south county wells going dry. … The majority of the calls
come from areas west of Interstate-5 as far as Rancho Tehama,
where at least two people have reported wells going dry. A few
others have reported declining groundwater levels.
While use of large seawater desalination plants will continue
to be limited to coastal communities, small-scale, localized
systems for distributed desalination will be essential to
cost-effectively tapping and reusing many of these
nontraditional water sources across the country.
Newsom, who made the announcement in a walnut orchard 25 miles
outside of Sacramento, said innovative farming practices,
restoring wetlands, better managing forests, planting more
trees and increasing the number of parks are all potential
tools. The goal is to conserve 30% of the state’s lands and
coastal waters in the next decade as part of a larger global
In the new study, scientists at The University of Texas at
Austin in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists
found that leading climate projections used by the state
strongly agree that climate change will shift the timing and
intensity of rainfall and the health of the state’s snowpack in
ways that will make water management more difficult during the
Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen
Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet.
That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per
year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction
should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why
hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less
For decades, salt has infiltrated wells in Point Reyes Station
during late summer, but this year the intrusion is higher than
ever due to a confluence of factors. Sea-level rise brings bay
water closer to freshwater aquifers, and a National Park
Service project to remove a series of dikes and dams by
Lagunitas Creek in 2008 stripped the watershed of protection
from high tides. Two bulk users, a construction company and
firefighters, consumed more water this year.
The Coachella Valley Water District broke ground Tuesday on a
project that will connect the Westside Elementary School in
Thermal to the water system that services much of the valley.
Westside is the only school in its district relying solely on a
well and has a history of water contamination….construction
is advancing with money from the state water board’s Safe
and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. [It
is the state's first recipient under the program.]
Every year, the Groundwater Resources Association of California
selects two speakers for the David Keith Todd Lectureship…
One of the speakers for the 2020 lecture series was Theresa
“Tess” Dunham, an attorney with Kahn, Soares & Conway LLP, who
spoke about groundwater quality and how the Porter-Cologne
Water Quality Control Act, the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act, and the state’s recycled water policy can work
The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year
declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to
thyroid conditions. The unanimous vote from the State Water
Resources Control Board is the first step toward tightening
California’s drinking water standard, currently set at 6 parts
per billion. The chemical has been found in 27 counties
On the heels of a historic drought, at the beginning of the
implementation of historic groundwater legislation, and in
light of potential flooding, Porterville will have more water
in the future and a larger dam to prevent it from damaging the
New technologies intend to help farmers translate a mountain of
detailed soil moisture and weather data into informed
irrigation decisions to use water most efficiently, while
maintaining detailed information to satisfy regulators.
Despite little precipitation and a small snowpack in the 2020
water year, which ended Sept. 30, California weathered the year
on water stored in reservoirs during previous years’ storms.
Going into 2021, farmers note that weather officials predict a
La Niña climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean, which has brought
drought conditions in the past.
Water providers in California face myriad challenges in
sustainably providing high quality drinking water to their
customers while protecting the natural environment. In this
blog post, I explore the stresses
that surface and
groundwater quality challenges pose for California’s
retail water agencies.
If the state has any hope of heading off a looming “tidal wave”
of residential water shut offs and bankrupt water systems, it
has to get a picture of current impacts… Which is why the
State Water Resources Control Board directed staff on Tuesday
to begin a survey of California’s nearly 3,000 community water
A relatively new water budgeting platform appears to be working
well for producers in Kern County. The Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water
Storage District has worked with multiple stakeholder partners
to develop the Water Accounting Platform to help growers more
accurately track water use.
Environmental Working Group analyzed California State Water
Resources Control Board data on the San Joaquin Valley
communities with nitrate levels in drinking water meeting or
exceeding the federal legal limit. We found that almost six in
10 are majority-Latino. Latinos are also a majority in Valley
communities with nitrate at or above half the legal limit,
which is linked to increased risk of cancer and other diseases.
in a bid to celebrate the importance of water in our lives, the
collaborative design office NUDES has conceived a rainwater
harvesting tower for San Jose in California. The soaring ‘rain
water catcher’ is a design proposal that aims to address the
global impact of climate change by advocating the need for
The bill, which was written by state Sen. Ben Hueso, also aims
to address some of the binational challenges in managing the
watershed. The plan that the California EPA is putting together
will create a framework for how California can work with the
Mexican and U.S. governments.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in
a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a
remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with
climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the
understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San
A Sept. 21 study published in the journal Water Resources
Research found that, of all the droughts that affected land
areas globally from 1981 to 2018, about 1 in 6 started over
water and moved onto land, with a particularly high frequency
along the West Coast of North America….The current Western
drought could soon rise to a crisis level, with federal water
managers warning that … two key Colorado River
reservoirs may drop to levels that could result in
economically damaging cuts to water allocations in the
Southwest and California.
Landowners with access to underground water have been able to
pull as much water, at any rate, any time, and for any reason
without worrying about protocols or following government rules.
That is about to change. Last Tuesday, local officials and
environmental engineers introduced an outline for how to
sustainably manage and regulate groundwater in the region.
Reclamation has identified a significant seismic risk problem
at Shasta Dam that may preclude the enlargement of Shasta Dam
in a safe manner. … In addition … modeling disclosed by
Reclamation to NRDC (see last page of this link) indicates that
enlarging Shasta Dam would reduce the water supply for State
Water Project contractors by an average of 14,000 acre feet per
The Soquel Creek Water District is pleased to announce that its
low-interest loan from the US Environmental Protection Agency
has been approved, to be used toward construction of the Pure
Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion
Prevention Project. The loan, up to a maximum of $88.9 million
at an interest rate of 1.34%, is part of the Water
Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act funding program.
In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water
users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to
have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the
last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater
rights than there was water available. Today state officials
say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which
could mean cuts.
Developing a lithium industry in California’s Salton Sea, an
area that experts think could supply more than a third of
lithium demand in the world today, could help set up a
multi-billion dollar domestic supply chain for electric vehicle
batteries, according to a new report from New Energy Nexus.
Among the largest wildfires in California history, the LNU
Lightning Complex fires killed five people and destroyed nearly
1,500 structures — including whole blocks of the Berryessa
Highlands neighborhood where Kody Petrini’s home stood. Camped
out in a trailer on his in-laws’ nearby lot, the 32-year-old
father of two, along with all of his neighbors, was warned not
to drink the water or boil it because it could be contaminated
with dangerous compounds like benzene…
The Georgetown Divide Public Utility District reported Sept. 23
that its release of 2,000 acre-feet of water from Stumpy
Meadows Reservoir to be transferred to the Westlands Water
District has been successfully completed.
For years, the Orange County Water District has expressed
interest in buying the desalted water, provided Poseidon
receives the necessary regulatory permits. But the water
district’s appetite for the controversial project could be in
jeopardy after Nov. 3, if two board members who support the
project are upset in their reelection bids and replaced by
Mo Mohsin has been trying to bring clean drinking water to the
residents of the Cobles Corner mobile home park ever since he
bought the property back in 2003. The struggle, however, has
been all uphill. The water system that serves the rural
Stanislaus County community of 20 or so homes has violated
state drinking water standards 25 times since 2012,
U.S. and tribal officials are celebrating completion of a $34
million fish bypass system at a Nevada dam that will allow a
threatened trout species to return to some of its native
spawning grounds for the first time in more than a century.
Construction of the side channel with fish-friendly screens is
a major step toward someday enabling Lahontan cutthroat trout
to make the same 100-mile journey — from a desert lake
northeast of Reno to Lake Tahoe atop the Sierra — that they did
before the dam was built in 1905.
Californians are understandably focused on the wildfires that
have charred more than 3 million acres and darkened our skies –
forcing us to find masks that protect us from both COVID-19 and
smoke. But Californians should also pay attention to the
multiple hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast this
season. These disasters have much in common.
The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority faces two
lawsuits, from a major local farm operation and Searles Valley
Minerals, over water rights filed this week in the aftermath of
the passing of a controversial groundwater replenishment fee
and a fallowing program.
The day the gates closed on the Shasta Dam in 1943,
approximately 200 miles of California’s prime salmon and
steelhead spawning habitat disappeared. Although devastating
for all four distinct runs of Central Valley Chinook salmon,
the high dam hit the Sacramento winter-run Chinook the hardest.
NASA announced plans Friday to clean up a Cold War-era rocket
fuel testing site in Southern California — plans that have
upset residents who say the space agency and the Trump
administration have punted any responsibility for a full
cleanup and will leave most of the area contaminated.
San Diego County Water Authority is looking into the
possibility of building a pipeline (aqueduct, more accurately)
to get its water directly from the Imperial Valley instead of
indirectly through the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) in Los
Angeles. SDCWA and MWD have a history of litigation about how
much MWD can charge for transporting water from Lake Havasu
through MWD’s Colorado River Aqueduct to reservoirs in northern
San Diego County.
Biologists and engineers are setting the stage for an
environmental recovery effort in downtown Los Angeles that
could rival the return of the gray wolf, bald eagle and
California condor. This time, the species teetering on the edge
of extinction is the Southern California steelhead trout and
the abused habitat is a 4.8-mile-long stretch of the L.A. River
flood-control channel that most people only glimpse from a
In California’s Placer County, an unusual partnership between a
county water utility, the U.S. Forest Service and
environmentalists is taking on the work to prevent catastrophic
fires on more than 11,000 hectares in the northern Sierra
Nevada Mountains. The partnership arose from the ashes of
2014’s King fire.
Healthy communities need clean, reliable water supplies. That
is why your thoughts, and ideas need to be shared with local
water agencies as they create plans that map out how
groundwater will be managed for the next 50 years.
It would be an understatement to say our community has a lot on
its plate these days. Between the wildfires, COVID-19 and its
impact on human lives, not to mention our local economy, it’s
hard to imagine having more issues requiring our focus. And yet
one of the most important issues facing our community – our
water supply – is in a critical stage and needs public
engagement and attention.
Unfortunately, some Wall Street water companies are trying to
take advantage of California’s drought fears by pushing through
overpriced and unnecessary water projects. Poseidon Water Co.
is one of those companies. Poseidon has been working for years
to build a seawater desalination plant in Orange County,
seeking a deal that would lock the local utility into buying
their water for decades, regardless of need.
Some call it a “quiet revolution.” Others, a “hostile
takeover.” Either way, on the heels of a severe drought, a
group of wealthy Montecitans, many of them members of the
Birnam Wood and Valley Club golf courses on East Valley Road,
will gain control over all aspects of water policy on November
3 and for the foreseeable future in this exclusive enclave of
one-acre lots and large estates.
Southern California Edison crews will be able to restart some
releases from lakes in the San Joaquin River watershed after
the Creek Fire overran much of the area through September. …
Those releases, which flow into Millerton Lake, mean farmers
from Fresno to Arvin will be able to continue irrigation.
Linking floating solar panels with hydropower could produce the
equivalent of 40% of the world’s electricity, according to a
new study by researchers at the Department of Energy. … The
study provides the first global look by federal researchers at
the technical potential of the hybrid concept.
The SSJID board has been pursuing a replacement tunnel after
sorting through options to substantially increase the
reliability of water flows as well as reducing costly annual
maintenance work that puts crews at risk. … The 13,000-foot
tunnel is now projected to cost more than $37 million. SSJID
would cover 72 percent of the cost and Oakdale Irrigation
District 28 percent…
A letter posed an excellent question to the Soquel Creek Water
District – a question that comes up often in the community. To
paraphrase: with the Mid-County groundwater basin in a state of
critical overdraft, why is development that adds water users to
the already over-burdened water system allowed to continue?
Researchers at the University of California San Diego report in
a new study a way to improve groundwater monitoring by using a
remote sensing technology (known as InSAR), in conjunction with
climate and land cover data, to bridge gaps in the
understanding of sustainable groundwater in California’s San
If you look closely in the waters of Deer Creek, near Nevada
City, Calif., something strange may catch your eye; lying in
globules amongst the gravel is quicksilver, or liquid elemental
mercury. Carrie Monohan, head scientist for the Sierra Fund,
lives next to Deer Creek, and became concerned about mercury
contamination in the waterways when she pulled liquid mercury
from the water in a turkey baster.
One of the biggest challenges to implementing California’s
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act hovers around this
two-part question: Who gets to pump groundwater and how much do
they get to pump? Or, put another way, who must cut their
groundwater use and by how much? [Please note Oct. 20 webinar.]
In December, the Metropolitan Water District Board of Directors
will be asked to support a motion to fund a portion of the
planning costs for the Delta Conveyance Project. In preparation
for the upcoming vote, staff began a series of presentations
for the special committee on the Bay-Delta to prepare the
directors for the vote.
Two lawsuits accusing the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater
Authority of ramming through a plan that ignores water rights
and, according to one plaintiff, is intended to “destroy
agriculture” were filed this week. At issue is a controversial
$2,000-per-acre-foot fee that would be charged to certain
groundwater users over a five-year period. That money is
intended to raise $50 million to buy Central Valley water and,
somehow, bring it over the Sierra Nevada to replenish the
overdrafted desert aquifer.
On Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation joined its partners,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Farmers Conservation
Alliance, to celebrate the completion of the Derby Dam Fish
Screen Project. The infrastructure modernization project at
Derby Dam will provide Lahontan Cutthroat Trout access to
natural spawning grounds for the first time since 1905.
The land east of Madera has changed in the 25 years since
Rochelle and Michael Noblett built their home… There are more
houses, more irrigated agriculture and less grazing land.
There’s also been a significant decline in water availability,
as the level of groundwater drops below what some domestic
wells can reach. That’s why the couple was shocked when the
county allowed a new irrigation well and almond orchard … in
the midst of the most recent drought, even as private wells
were going dry…
California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed a bill that would have
provided funding to fix the ever-sinking Friant-Kern
Canal. SB 559 would have required the Department of Water
Resources to report to the legislature by March 31, 2021, on
federal funding for the Friant Water Authority or any other
government agency to restore the capacity of the Friant-Kern
Canal. The bill would also have required DWR to include a
proposal for the state to pay up to 35 percent of the cost of
The recent downgrade in the forecast for the flow of water in
the Colorado River should be a death punch to the proposal to
build a new pipeline out of Lake Powell. The pipeline was
already a major threat to Las Vegas and much of the rest of the
Southwest; now the threat risk is heading off the charts.
According to river flow data, there is currently almost no
water flowing into Walker Lake, a common condition. Today,
where the riverbed meets the lake is an ooze of mud. The lake
is all but biologically dead. But a decades-old public trust
lawsuit made a move forward in its glacial process through
federal courts last week, and advocates are hopeful Walker
Lake, a cornerstone of the regional economy and ecology, can
one day be revived.
Tensions between Mexico and the United States over water
intensified this month as hundreds of Mexican farmers seized
control of La Boquilla dam in protest over mandatory water
releases. The protesters came from parched Chihuahua state,
nearly 100 square miles of land pressed against the U.S.
border, where farmers are opposing the delivery of over 100
billion gallons of water to the United States by October 24.
Participants will pay $1,295 per acre-foot for treated water,
while municipal and industrial users will pay $1,769 per
acre-foot. Farmers who participate will receive a lower level
of water service during shortages or emergencies. That allows
the water authority to reallocate those supplies to commercial
and industrial customers who pay for full reliability benefits.
In exchange, participating farmers are exempt from fixed water
storage and supply reliability charges.
Fifty years ago this week, the Bakersfield City Council
committed an audaciously historic act. On Monday evening Sept.
28, 1970, council members decided to sue Tenneco West for a
slice of the Kern River.
In June, the Trump administration’s new version of which waters
are protected under the Clean Water Act took effect. The new
rule is an about-face from the Obama-era regulations, and
Arizona state regulators are trying to make sense of it.
3M Co., E.I. DuPont de Nemours Inc., Chemours Co., and Corteva
Inc. are facing a suit by Golden State Water Co. over PFAS
contamination of the state water supply. The water supplier
seeks to recover from 3M as the only manufacturer of
perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in the U.S. PFOS and
perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are both in a family of chemical
compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday added his signature to a new law
that orders the formation of a commission to study the
feasibility of lithium extraction around the Salton Sea. Local
politicians hope the commission will lead to the creation of a
green economy around the state’s largest lake, which is a
geothermal hotspot. It was one of several bills focused on
California’s environment that Newsom dealt with this week.
Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) secured Gov. Gavin Newsom’s
signature on legislation that will speed the permit process for
low-income Central Valley communities to deliver clean drinking
water for residents. Senate Bill 974 exempts new water projects
that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the
California Environmental Quality Act…
Called the Three Creeks Parkway Restoration, the $9 million
project will yield two acres of floodplain and a canopy of
riparian trees set in nearly 4.5 acres of grassland and oak
woodland. Construction began in May and is scheduled for
completion at the end of the year…
Only a few minutes away from our beautiful Coachella Valley
golf courses and music festival locations, there are thousands
of people living in conditions without access to clean water or
reliable sanitation services. For these families, if something
breaks in the private water system serving their home, they go
Santa Clara County’s largest reservoir will soon be nearly
empty, and will stay that way for the next 10 years. Under
orders from federal dam regulators, the Santa Clara Valley
Water District will begin a project to drain Anderson Reservoir
on Thursday, the first step in a $576 million effort to tear
down and rebuild its aging dam.
Among the people forced to flee the Creek Fire were workers who
keep the vast network of hydroelectric dams running. Eric
Quinley, general manager of the Delano-Earlimart Irrigation
District, worried some of his table grape growers might not get
enough water in the future to finish up the growing season.
The day after Congress passed a bill that included potential
consequences to PacifiCorp if it reneged on an agreement to
remove four Klamath River dams, the Yurok Tribe’s senior water
policy analyst urged people to “make noise in anyway that you
Clean air, clean water and a functioning ecosystem are
considered priceless. Yet the economic value of nature remains
elusive in cost-benefit analysis of climate policy regulations
and greenhouse-gas-reduction efforts. A study published Monday
in the journal Nature Sustainability incorporates those
insights from sustainability science into a classic model of
climate change costs.
After 27 years of starts and stops, a lawsuit brought by state
regulators, a court order, a long-running federal fine and the
threat of further legal action from environmentalists, the old
earthen dam is finally being removed in order to restore a
portion of the creek to a more natural state.
In the middle of a pandemic, an economic recession, and
everything else that 2020 is throwing at us, in early August
the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) filed a
lawsuit against every Californian to authorize spending an
unlimited amount of money … for an as yet undefined Delta
Climate change is affecting natural resources in California,
with water being one of the most important in the state. Water
source is critical for municipalities, agriculture, industry,
and habitat/environmental purposes. Will future supply meet
future demand? How will the economic value of water change over
There are mounting questions over whether Gov. Gavin Newsom
will replace William von Blasingame — an Irvine resident first
appointed to the regulatory seat in 2013 by former governor
Jerry Brown — when his current term on the Santa Ana Regional
Water Quality Control Board expires Sept. 30, ahead of his
panel’s vote on the Poseidon Water Co.’s desalination proposal.
Lawyers representing Mineral County and the Walker Lake Working
Group announced this week they intend to take a water rights
case with broad implications back to federal appeals court to
ask whether Nevada can adjust already allocated water rights to
sustain rivers and lakes long-term.
Last week on these pages, you heard the President of California
American Water explain their rationale for withdrawing their
application for a desalination plant from the California
Coastal Commission the day before their Sept. 17 hearing. What
he didn’t tell you is that there is a feasible alternative
project that has less environmental impact, is more socially
just, and would be less costly to ratepayers
The Klamath Basin used to be the third most important
salmon-bearing watershed in the Pacific Northwest. Now, only a
fraction of those runs remain. The multiple reasons for their
decline are complex and interconnected, but they all have to do
with how water moves through the system.
The mayor of Imperial Beach and governor of Baja California are
in a public spat over cross-border sewage spills. Gov. Jaime
Bonilla has held three separate press conferences this month
demanding Mayor Serge Dedina apologize for his public
criticisms of Mexico’s inability to stop sewage from flowing
into the United States.
Three Coachella Valley high schoolers kayaked across the Salton
Sea Saturday to raise awareness about the social and ecological
crisis unfolding as California’s largest lake continues to
shrink and toxic dust from its shores pollutes the air.
The Vallecitos Water District in San Marcos filed a lawsuit
Thursday alleging the San Diego County Water Authority
overcharged by nearly $6 million for desalinated water that was
never delivered, despite an agreement to construct a pipeline
for that exact purpose.
Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County
farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the
north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time
around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening
their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water
Although droughts may not garner as much attention as acute
extreme events like hurricanes, floods or fires, their
multidimensional effects are vast. … A multi-year drought in
California has seen the number of breeding waterfowl dip 46%
below average as wetlands shrink and dry up.
Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology
… are using a form of artificial intelligence known as
machine learning to map the sinking – called land subsidence –
to help water policy officials make informed decisions. … To
carry out their research, Smith and his Ph.D. student, Sayantan
Majumdar, compiled hydrologic and subsidence data from
satellites and ground-based GPS stations across the western
U.S., including California, Arizona, and Nevada.
When governor Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater
Management Act (SGMA) into law in September 2014, he said that
“groundwater management in California is best accomplished
locally.” With the first round of plans made available for
public comment this year, it appears that, while the state
certainly ceded control to local management agencies, those
same agencies have prioritized the interests of big agriculture
and industry over small farmers and disadvantaged communities.
Some of the largest users of the Ventura River recently
released their proposal to settle litigation and potentially
stave off a water-rights adjudication. The plan includes
multiple habitat restoration projects intended to help
endangered steelhead trout, but largely avoids any changes to
water use. Before it goes to a judge, however, other parties
likely will weigh in, including the state.
It’s been a couple of years since satellites and buoys detected
the mass of cold water forming along the equator. National
Weather Service meteorologist Alex Tardy said when you average
out the effect of La Ninas over the last few decades, they tend
to indicate we’re in for less precipitation than what we’d get
in an average winter. But, La Ninas can also bring surprises.
Potentially the most important question popped up roughly
halfway through the Indian Wells Valley Water District Board
candidate forum Wednesday night. Hidden within a longer
question was the key point: how do the candidates think the
local water basin should be balanced and how do they plan to
protect water district ratepayers while doing so?
The monsoon season — that period from mid-June through
September that each year brings rains to the Mojave Desert and
other areas of the Southwest from the tropical coast of Mexico
— has been a dud this year. Las Vegas is in the middle of a
record-breaking stretch without rain, and residents should be
prepared for it to stay that way, scientists say.
The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to overhaul
the way communities test their water for lead, a policy change
that will be pitched ahead of Election Day… But a draft of
the final rule obtained by The New York Times shows the E.P.A.
rejected top medical and scientific experts who urged the
agency to require the replacement of the country’s six million
to 10 million lead service lines…
Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County
commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to
extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan
to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River
to southwest Utah.
When the Creek Fire erupted on Sept. 5 and chewed through the
forest toward Southern California Edison’s Big Creek power
system, little did anyone know how that might affect grape
growers in Delano nearly a month later.
Behind the apocalyptic wildfires in California and Oregon,
another ominous trend is creeping across the globe: Everywhere
in the world, trees are dying, with the biggest trees going
first. Entire forests are threatened worldwide.
Climate change is driving the scale and impact of recent
wildfires that have raged in California, say scientists. Their
analysis finds an “unequivocal and pervasive” role for global
heating in boosting the conditions for fire. California now has
greater exposure to fire risks than before humans started
altering the climate, the authors say.
Q&A with Greg Pierce, associate director of the Luskin
Center for Innovation at UCLA and a senior researcher, leading
the Water, Environmental Equity, and Transportation programs.
“Overall, water affordability is a big topic, and it’s new
enough that it doesn’t have an entrenched definition. There are
no state or federal support programs, and drinking water
systems are super fragmented. That’s true nationally and in
California, where we have 3,000 community water systems.”
Stanford scientists have identified a new kind of “landfalling
drought” … that can potentially be predicted before it
impacts people and ecosystems on land. … They
found that droughts that make landfall in the region have been
associated with certain atmospheric pressure patterns that
reduce moisture, similar to the “Ridiculously Resilient Ridge”
pattern that was one of the primary causes of the 2012-2017
Investors will be able to make wagers on the price of water
later this year with the launch of futures contracts, which are
expected to better balance supply and demand for the commodity
and hedge price risks. … The index, itself, sets a weekly
spot rate price of water rights in California, the majority of
which are owned and managed by water districts that deliver
water to individual farms…
The combination of drought conditions and heat waves, which can
make wildfires more likely, is becoming increasingly common in
the American West, according to a new study. The results may be
At the September meeting of Metropolitan’s Water Planning and
Stewardship Committee, Laura Lamdin, an associate engineer in
water resource management, gave a presentation on how the
United States and Mexico built a collaborative relationship,
the many accomplishments that have come as a result, and a look
at the work currently in progress.
A new documentary — “Miracle in the Desert: The Rise and Fall
of the Salton Sea” — takes a crack at the growing public health
issue, drawing on archival footage to tell the tale of a lake
that was largely forgotten by the government even before its
shorelines began receding.
Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the state’s
fundamental obligation to protect natural resources for future
generations did not allow it to reallocate water rights issued
under state law. The decision appeared to rule against
litigants pushing to restore Walker Lake, where the use of
upstream water rights has decreased the amount of water that
reaches the lake.
We analysed data reported by the Bureau of Reclamation and the
U. S. Geological Survey that describe the primary inflows to
Lake Powell and the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and
Lake Mead, as well as the losses from both reservoir and the
releases from Hoover Dam. … The significance of the
uncertainties we identify can be measured by reminding the
reader that the annual consumptive uses by the state of Nevada
cannot exceed 300,000 acre feet/year…
Scientists have published a global water quality database
detailing the health of nearly 12,000 freshwater lakes, almost
half the world’s freshwater supply. Compiled by researchers at
York University, in Canada, the database offers water quality
information on lakes in 72 countries and all seven continents,
All of Santa Barbara’s beaches and creeks are designated as
“impaired” under the federal Clean Water Act. … The council
voted 7-0 to send its proposed changes to stormwater runoff to
the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board… The
list of changes are extensive, and are proposed over four tiers
based on various types and levels of new construction
development. They involve landscape changes and stormwater
treatment for new impervious construction.
In Utah, there is a significant effort underway to build a
water delivery pipeline from Lake Powell to transport part of
Utah’s Colorado River entitlement to Utah’s St. George area. As
the federal environmental review for the proposed Lake Powell
Pipeline in Utah continues, Utah’s six fellow Colorado River
Basin states weighed in as a group, cautioning that unresolved
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday vowed to work with
the state legislature to phase out new permits for hydraulic
fracking by 2024, but left untouched a more widely used oil
extraction technique in the state that has been linked to
hundreds of oil spills.
Newly published changes to NSF/ANSI/CAN 61, the drinking water
product standard required in the United States and Canada,
further restrict the amount of lead that can leach from
plumbing products, NSF International announced today.
How does a region integrate Sustainable Groundwater Management
Act (SGMA), a program mandated by state legislation, with
Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM), a voluntary
collaborative effort, to implement regional water management
solutions? … This article discusses how IRWM and SGMA share a
The Park and Natural Resource Manager for Chico and Butte
County Linda Herman confirmed the dead fish being reported are
on the back side of the pond near the fresh water area, saying
the fish have succumbed to lack of oxygen in the water due to a
thick layer of ash that has formed atop many parts of the pond.
In 2012 a team of salmon researchers tried a wild idea: putting
pinky-sized Chinook on a rice field in the Yolo Bypass, a vast
engineered floodplain designed to protect the city of
Sacramento from inundation. … Now, after nearly a decade of
testing fish in fields, a new paper in San Francisco Estuary
and Watershed Science outlines lessons learned as well as next
steps in managing floodplains for salmon.
A new study concludes that, by building dams, forming ponds,
and digging canals, beavers irrigate vast stream corridors and
create fireproof refuges in which plants and animals can
shelter. In some cases, the rodents’ engineering can even stop
fire in its tracks.
The project would restore capacity from 1,600 cubic-feet-per
second to the original 4,000 cubic-feet-per second at what the
Bureau has determined to be the most critical area — the Deer
Creek check structure in Tulare County. … Estimates to fix
the canal range from $400 million to $500 million, according to
the Bureau of Reclamation.
California’s Delta Watermaster Michael George is responsible
for administering water rights within the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta, which supplies drinking water to more than
25 million Californians and helps irrigate 3 million acres of
farmland. For him, the development of OpenET signals an
exciting opportunity for the future of water in the West.
The last time Mt. Tamalpais had a major wildfire was in 1929.
In 1930, Marin’s population was 41,648. Today it’s more than
258,000. … As with many other utilities, the Marin Municipal
Water District is updating its treatment plants. It is unclear,
from a technology and science perspective, whether our
community treatment plant could handle sediment runoff from a
big rainstorm after a catastrophic, climate-driven wildfire.
A House Agriculture subcommittee this week will examine the
response to Western wildfires, less than three months after its
chairwoman predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would make this fire
season like no other.
For this reason, public water agencies and DWR have publicly
negotiated amendments to their long-term water supply contracts
in order to better plan the future of their local water supply
portfolios. … The State Water Contractors applaud this
coordinated and collaborative effort, which provides
flexibility for single and multi-year non-permanent water
transfers and exchanges.