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 Press Democrat

Influential California congressman opposes Sonoma County-backed plan to drain Lake Pillsbury

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.

Aquafornia news U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

News release: 700 winter-run Chinook salmon return to Battle Creek

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.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: California’s landmark groundwater law falls short, advocates say

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.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Friant-Kern Canal fix approved over concerns the plan isn’t fully baked

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 contractors.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

California water transfer price forecast

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.

Aquafornia news Resources Magazine

Dismantling dams can help address US infrastructure problems

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 Ohio (82).

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Amid the worst wildfire season in California history, wildfire experts call for $2 billion investment in prevention

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 jobs. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Wildfires can spark widespread contamination of public water supplies

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.

Aquafornia news UC Rangelands

Blog: Riparian conservation in grazed landscapes

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.

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Aquafornia news KCLU

Santa Barbara, Montecito set to make historic 50-year water deal official

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

New reservoir in Stanislaus County clears a hurdle

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.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Not just fracking: Cut all oil drilling in California, says key lawmaker

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.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

Klamath residents, Yurok tribal members to participate in ‘day of action’ targeting Pacificorp over dam removal

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Novato bayside levee project nears completion

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.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: The great uncoupling between water and growth

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 findings…

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: How water justice groups view groundwater sustainability planning

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 Accountability.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Groundwater: Desert valley plan could price farms out of business

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.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals speak up for the Kern River at the State Water Board

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.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

BPA added to California toxic chemical list despite challenge

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 Monday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Board could approve study on new dam in Stanislaus County

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.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Newsom to be sued over fracking permits

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, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Groundwater: The charge to recharge needs to be data driven

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 county.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump says he ‘freed’ showers and sinks. He didn’t

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.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Headwaters health driving long-term response to wildfires

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?

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: An artist and educator captures deeply personal stories of life without clean water

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.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfire smoke can spread toxics to water, soil, and elsewhere

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

‘Doomsday scenario’: Santa Cruz mountain towns prepare for winter mudslides after CZU wildfire

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.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: The Lake Powell pipeline and the problems posed by the lack of a Lower Colorado River Basin Compact

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?

Aquafornia news Lake County News

Rep. Garamendi comes out against Scott Dam removal

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.

Aquafornia news Solar Power World

Southern California water district to optimize four solar installations by adding battery storage

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 facilities.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: ACWA delivers roadmap to achieving voluntary agreements to state officials

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.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Major earthquake retrofit work complete at Lake Merced pump station

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Final public water buyout EIR released

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 infrastructure

Aquafornia news Science

Distant seas might predict Colorado River droughts

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 kilometers away.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation in Ukiah Valley is imminent. Here’s what you need to know

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.

Aquafornia news ABC 7 News

Oakland’s McClymonds High School safe to return to, months after chemical scare, district says

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.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: Crystal clean water? Not if Trump can help it

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.  

Aquafornia news CNN

Monday Top of the Scroll: A boiling summer is now a scorching fall in the West

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.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desalination plant in Orange County will help ensure clean drinking water

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.

Aquafornia news NOAA Research News

Lawns provide surprising contribution to L.A. Basin’s carbon emissions

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday Top of the Scroll: Just how bad is California’s water debt problem? The state isn’t sure

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.

Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Rain catchment – an idea that truly holds water

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.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR teams with state, federal partners to protect endangered species in State Water Project

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 history.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Morro Bay gives tour of new water reclamation facility

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.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Executive order aims to conserve land, biodiversity

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump makes water demand of farms priority for new office

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.

Related article:

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: The devastating implications from rollbacks of the Clean Water Act

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Bringing perfect waves to the masses

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

SCV Water awarded $10 mil in grants

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 improvements.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Here’s how wildfires could affect the water in Lake Oroville

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Environmentalists and dam operators, at war for years, start making peace

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. 

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Santa Rosa neighborhood faces water crisis after fire evacuations

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.

Aquafornia news Salmonid Restoration Federation

Blog: Marshall Ranch flow enhancement

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 diversions.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA hired consultants to counter staff experts on fluoride in 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.

Aquafornia news Fox21News.com

Reservoir release pilot project on the Colorado River

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 line.

Aquafornia news The Press

Department of Water Resources calls for the community’s input

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 proposed project.

Aquafornia news Stat

As wildfires ravage the West, contaminated water raises health concerns

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.”

Aquafornia news EasyReaderNews.com

Desalination plant a flashpoint in West Basin District 3 race

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Vast new reservoir in south Orange County gets its first drops of water

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.

Aquafornia news Christian Science Monitor

Setting ‘good fires’ to reduce the West’s wildfire risk

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.”

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Prospective Westlands water board members look past legal challenges to get water, focusing on innovation

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.

Aquafornia news 9news.com

$1 million research project tracking agricultural water savings

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 intense.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

What’s green, soggy and fights climate change?

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am, Marina open to meeting on desal project ‘solution’

California American Water and Marina city officials are in the process of setting up talks on the company’s desalination project after exchanging letters over the past several weeks.

Tour Nick Gray Jennifer Bowles Liz McAllister

Bay-Delta Tour 2020: Encore Event
A Virtual Journey - November 10

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.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Colorado River water supply is predictable owing to long-term ocean memory

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Friday Top of the Scroll: House Democrats ask CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Concerns grow about herbicide use in wildfires’ wake

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.

Aquafornia news Philadelphia Inquirer

This California firm promises a guilt-free plastic water bottle that breaks down: It’s not easy

Cove’s sustainable and biodegradable packaging is meant to provide a less dubious retail alternative, Totterman said, as recycling programs have failed to handle what the industry generates.

Aquafornia news KVOA TV

University of Arizona researcher leading project to model the nation’s groundwater

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…”

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

Supervisors discuss Corning area groundwater levels

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.

Aquafornia news Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Desalination’s role in a circular water economy

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor calls for protecting 30% of state land and waters

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 effort.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news University of Texas

News release: Key indicators discovered of climate change’s impact on California water supply

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 coming decades.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

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 water.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Relief on the horizon for dramatically salty Point Reyes water

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Water District breaks ground on east valley water connection

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.]

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tess Dunham: California’s three-legged stool for improving groundwater quality

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 together.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California tightens reporting for rocket fuel chemical in water

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 throughout California…

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Army Corps breaks ground on Success Dam enlargement project

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 city below.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Companies provide farmers with water-efficiency data

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.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water year starts with concerns about La Niña

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.

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Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: From source to tap: Assessing water quality in California

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. 

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Unpaid water bills a “pending disaster” the state is trying to head off

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 systems.

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Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Pipeline replacement to wrap up with water shutdowns all month

Some Calaveras County Water District customers will have a disruption in their water service throughout the month as the main water transmission pipeline replacement project wraps up.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Water accounting platform is working well in Kern County

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.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Startup uses beneficial bacteria to aid water quality

Beneficial bacteria that quickly and effectively convert tailwater nitrates into gases could help answer an environmental challenge facing farmers, according to a Salinas-based startup company.

Aquafornia news Environmental Working Group

Blog: In California, Latinos more likely to be drinking nitrate-polluted water

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.

Aquafornia news Designboom.com

NUDES designs a towering rainwater harvesting concept for San Jose

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 water conservation.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

New state law requires an action plan for the Tijuana River

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.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

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 Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Droughts that start over the ocean? They’re often worse than those that form over land

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. 

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater regulation comes to Ukiah; local Groundwater Sustainability Agency introduced plan last week

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District candidates address funding, climate

Three first-time candidates and a 16-year incumbent are vying for two seats on the Marin Municipal Water District board in the November election.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House lawmakers call for school PFAS protections

Dozens of House lawmakers asked the Trump administration Monday to demand protections against per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, in school drinking water.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Raising Shasta Dam is an even worse idea than we knew

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 year.

Aquafornia news Soquel Creek Water District

News release: Soquel Creek Water District receives $88.9 million low-interest loan from US EPA for Pure Water Soquel construction

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.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

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.

Aquafornia news Utility Dive

California’s Salton Sea offers chance for US battery supply chain, despite financial, policy challenges

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.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Unsafe to drink: Wildfires threaten rural towns with tainted water

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… 

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Divide water transfer completed

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.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Support of Poseidon’s desalination at stake in water board election

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 Poseidon skeptics.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Rural California communities struggle to provide clean drinking water

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,

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada dam changes give rare trout new life 115 years later

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.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Mega fires and floods: New extremes require a response of similar scale

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.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Mojave Pistachios, Searles Valley Minerals file lawsuits vs. Indian Wells groundwater agency

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.

Aquafornia news The Current

Blog: Supporting reintroduction of Sacramento winter-run Chinook to the Battle Creek watershed

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.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Southern California residents blast NASA plan to clean up rocket lab site

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.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Opinion: An aqueduct to San Diego is worth studying

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Can steelhead trout return to the L.A. River?

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 freeway.

Aquafornia news Voice of America

Western wildfires threaten water supplies, spur utilities to action

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. 

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Clean, reliable water: How to get a seat at the table for groundwater planning

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: The desal project is much needed

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.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Orange County desalination project doesn’t pencil out

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.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Pre-election meltdown at Montecito Sanitary

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.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Friant-Kern Canal fix stalled again after Newsom vetoes bill

Gov. Gavin Newsom put the final nail in the bipartisan bill’s coffin on Wednesday when he vetoed the legislation, arguing that the bill was too focused on one canal project: The Friant-Kern.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Crews to get water flowing from area ravaged by Creek Fire

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

DOE study: Solar-hydro projects could power 40% of world

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.

Aquafornia news Escalon Times

Multimillion dollar tunnel to increase water reliability

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…

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Pure Water Soquel addresses water woes

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?

Aquafornia news UC San Diego

News release: Researchers use satellite imaging to map groundwater use in California’s Central Valley

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 Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news KCET

Mercury in our waters: The 10,000-year legacy of California’s gold rush

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.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How groundwater managers can avoid the courts as they divvy up water

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.]

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta conveyance update: Preliminary cost and benefits, mechanics of opting out, and more

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.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

“Madness and arrogance” forced lawsuit against desert groundwater agency

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.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Partnership celebrates restoration of Truckee River fish passage to historical spawning grounds

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Farms over-pump Madera groundwater, private wells go dry

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…

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Newsom vetoes Friant-Kern Canal fix bill

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 project.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Editorial: Using Lake Powell to keep lawns green in Utah would be a waste of resources

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.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Walker Lake: Legal saga continues with endgame in question

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.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Conflict over U.S.-Mexico water treaty escalates as farmers take La Boquilla Dam

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.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego County Water Authority sets agricultural water discount in exchange for reliability

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.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Happy 50th “Kern Riversary!” 1970 vote brought river into public hands

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.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

After Clean Water Act change, uncertainty reigns over water protections

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.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

DuPont, Chemours, 3M sued over PFAS in California water

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).

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom greenlights commission on Salton Sea lithium extraction

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.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Hurtado makes splash as Newsom signs water bill

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…

Aquafornia news Bay Nature

Restoring a watershed for wildlife at Marsh Creek

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…

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Connecting disadvantaged communities to clean, reliable water in East Valley

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 without water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Anderson Dam: Project to drain major Bay Area reservoir begins

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.

Aquafornia news ABC30 Fresno

Creek Fire: Water deliveries from dams might be affected due to evacuations

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.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Audio: How fish interact with wetland topography

In this podcast, reporter Alastair Bland and UC Davis PhD student and fish researcher David Ayers discuss the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, its fish, its marshlands, its flows, and its future.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

‘Make noise’: Yurok Tribe water analyst discusses PacifiCorp’s new stance on Klamath dam removal

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 can.”

Aquafornia news UC Davis News

Natural capital a missing piece in climate policy

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.

Aquafornia news Bay City News

York Creek dam removal sets stage for environmental restoration in Napa

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.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: DWR is suing everyone for a blank check for a Delta tunnel

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 tunnel project.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: How will climate change affect the economic value of water in California?

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 this century?

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Will Gov. Newsom replace Poseidon desal project critic on Orange County regional water board?

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Walker Lake group to take water suit back to federal court

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.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion:  Water supply – the testimony that never was

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

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

How worms and a parasite harm salmon on the Klamath River — and how a new data portal may help

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mexican governor, California mayor launch war of words over cross-border sewage spills

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Students kayak the Salton Sea to raise awareness about lake’s plight

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.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Lawsuit alleges water authority failed to deliver desalinated water to San Marcos

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.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Locals gear up for fight to keep Kings River water

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 grab.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: When it comes to droughts, the costs of climate change are too high for both birds and people

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.

Aquafornia news The Rolla Daily News

Research links sinking land to regions of high groundwater demand

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Study: Small farmers shortchanged by SGMA

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.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

What we know about a plan to settle the Ventura River litigation

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.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Monday Top of the Scroll: Does La Niña mean a drier, shorter winter for Southern California?

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.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Water Board candidates differ on how to balance basin, protect ratepayers

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?

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

This year’s monsoon season in Las Vegas? More like a ‘nonsoon’

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

EPA to promote lead testing rule as Trump tries to burnish his record

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…

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

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.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Dominos from the massive Creek Fire teetering over Central Valley farmers

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.

Aquafornia news Truthout

West Coast wildfires underscore ominous global trend: Forests are dying

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.

Aquafornia news BBC News

Global warming driving California wildfire trends – study

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.

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Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: When it comes to water access, the devil is the details

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.”

Aquafornia news Stanford News

News release: Newly identified ‘landfalling droughts’ start over ocean

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 California Drought.

Aquafornia news MarketWatch

Blog: Why we need water futures

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…

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Heat and drought team up more frequently, with disastrous results

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 predictably disastrous.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Collaboration on the Colorado River between Mexico and the US brings benefits for both countries

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California filmmaker premieres new Salton Sea documentary

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.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court ruled against reshuffling water rights to fix environmental issues. Walker Lake advocates still see a path forward

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.

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Aquafornia news Utah State University

Blog: How well do we understand numbers in the Colorado River basin?

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…

Aquafornia news UPI

Scientists publish water quality database for 12,000 freshwater lakes

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, including Antarctica.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Senate Dems push resolution against Trump WOTUS rule

Senate Democrats unveiled a resolution today calling on EPA to maintain and strengthen the Clean Water Act, a direct rebuke of the Trump administration’s regulatory rollbacks.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

With its beaches and creeks deemed ‘impaired,’ Santa Barbara takes steps to improve water quality

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.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Colorado River Basin states request a better forum to resolve concerns with Lake Powell pipeline

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 issues remain.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom aims to phase out new hydraulic fracking permits in California by 2024

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.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Revisions to drinking water standard tighten lead leaching allowance for plumbing products

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.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: How SGMA and IRWM can utilize each other’s strengths

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 similar approach…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

OpenET project expands availability of water data

Eyes in the sky and clouds on the ground—of the computing kind—may soon help farmers, ranchers and water managers gain a handle on something they can’t see: water vapor.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Teichert Ponds fish dying due to ash, poor air quality and lack of oxygen

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Estuary Magazine

Nursing salmon on flooded farms

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.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

How beavers became North America’s best firefighters

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.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Feds release environmental review for Friant-Kern Canal project

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.

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Aquafornia news SciTechDaily

OpenET: Transforming water management in the U.S. West with NASA data

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.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Opinion: The next major wildfire could threaten our water supply

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.

Aquafornia news E&E News

House Dems set hearing on Western wildfires

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.

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Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: California water managers need more flexibility to move water when & where it’s needed most

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.