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 Writers on the Range

Opinion: A clear warning about the Colorado River

A crisis could be approaching. The two giant reservoirs on the Colorado River are both below 50 percent of capacity. If drought causes even more drastic drops, the Bureau of Reclamation could step in to prioritize the making of electricity by the hydro plants at lakes Mead and Powell. No one knows what BuRec would do, but it would call the shots and end current arrangements.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Last minute loan keeps drinking water projects afloat

Drinking water advocates had fretted the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, intended to help struggling water systems in mostly poor, rural areas, would fall victim to the pandemic-flattened economy. But a last minute loan from the Underground Storage Tank Clean-Up Fund will ensure SAFER receives its full $130 million — at least this coming fiscal year.

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: New conservation plan benefits California steelhead—and irrigators, too

The Calaveras River Habitat Conservation Plan finalized this week includes commitments by the Stockton East Water District to improve conditions in the Calaveras River for steelhead. In turn, the Water District gets assurances that it can continue distributing water to irrigators and others without violating the Endangered Species Act….These changes will be implemented under the first plan of its kind in the Central Valley of California.

Aquafornia news Microsoft

Blog: Microsoft will replenish more water than it consumes by 2030

By 2030 we will be water positive, meaning we will replenish more water than we use. We’ll do this by putting back more water in stressed basins than our global water consumption across all basins. … We will focus our replenishment efforts on roughly 40 highly stressed basins where we have operations….Our new Silicon Valley campus, opening later this year in California, features an on-site rainwater collection system and waste treatment plant to ensure 100% of the site’s non-potable water comes from onsite recycled sources.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Why floodplains are important for California salmon

Floodplains were the historic rearing areas for juvenile salmon, and the remaining floodplains in California are an important food-rich habitat as present-day salmon grow and attempt to survive their trip out to the ocean. We sat down with Hailey Wright, a Department of Water Resources environmental scientist, to discuss the salmon lifecycle and her work designing and implementing projects in the Yolo Bypass…

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: Explaining California American Water’s decision to withdraw desalination application

After years spent developing this project and making adjustments to respond to stakeholder concerns, it became obvious that we needed to take more time to address objections raised by the community of Marina — namely that our project would be built in their backyard without them receiving any benefit from it.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: 20-mile replacement canal is preferred fix for the sagging Friant-Kern Canal

A rapid-fire review of potential fixes to the Friant-Kern Canal favors building a replacement canal for 20 miles alongside the existing canal where land subsidence has caused it to sag, severely restricting water flow, according to final environmental documents released Friday.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news Marketplace

Water enters futures market, allowing buyers to lock in prices

There is a new product allowing businesses in California — mostly farms and other agricultural businesses that rely on water — to lock in prices for water. But there are plenty of questions as to how this will actually work. To state the obvious, it’s just not that easy to transact in water. It’s not a block of gold, or even a barrel of oil.

Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Anderson Reservoir will close to public through 2030

Anderson Reservoir will be closed to boating, fishing and all recreational activities for the next several years starting Oct. 1. That’s when the local water district will begin draining the lake in order to begin construction on a new discharge tunnel and seismically retrofitted dam.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil: Companies profit from illegal spills; the state lets them

Along with being a global leader on addressing climate change, California is the seventh-largest producer of oil in the nation. And across some of its largest oil fields, companies have for decades turned spills into profits, garnering millions of dollars from surface expressions that can foul sensitive habitats and endanger workers, an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica has found….Under state laws, it’s illegal to discharge any hazardous substance into a creek or streambed, dry or not.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Friday Top of the Scroll: First water futures contract is coming with the West on fire

If the record heat and wildfires ravaging California weren’t a clear enough sign that the climate is changing, then consider this: Wall Street is about to start trading futures contracts on the state’s water supply. … They are intended to both allow California’s big water consumers—like almond farms and municipalities—to hedge against surging prices and can act as a benchmark that signals how acute water scarcity is becoming in the state and, more broadly, across the globe.

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA facilitates progress of national water reuse action plan

On Wednesday, at the virtual 35th Annual WateReuse Symposium, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated a “charrette” to identify challenges and map solutions to continue advancing the National Water Reuse Action Plan… “Water reuse must be a central theme in EPA’s efforts to meet 21st century demands for water,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Conservation groups complete Chorro Creek restoration project, benefiting the Morro Bay watershed

For years, a stretch of Chorro Creek near Hollister Peak ran through active farmland, where its flow was diverted for irrigation and its banks were shored up by levees, blocking the water’s natural access to its floodplain. … After nearly two decades of planning and fundraising, the Estuary Program and its partners recently completed a major restoration of the site.

Aquafornia news Popular Science

California wildfires may give way to massive mudslides

When fires burn up vegetation, the charred remains become hydrophobic—meaning they repel away any water. The soil is also very dry, which counterintuitively makes it harder for water to infiltrate. … Fires can also destroy the natural clumps in soil, increasing their erodibility. Altogether, this means that water is hitting the ground with more force and the soil is unable to suck it up.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Almond growers are committed to finding water solutions that work for people, farms, and fish

Through research funded by the Almond Board of California we are exploring ways to recharge groundwater aquifers, be good stewards of the water that we all collectively share as a state, and even helping the salmon industry understand how agricultural land, like rice fields, could play a role in supporting salmon health.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

East Tule agency to charge farmers for pumping water

Farmers whose only access to water is pumping from their own well will get their first glimpse at what the state’s new groundwater management law will cost them next month. On Oct. 1, the East Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency will hold a public hearing to discuss a groundwater extraction fee…

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Conservationists split over Poseidon desal project’s potential to help Bolsa Chica Wetlands

Along a Huntington Beach coastline dotted with oil rigs and a power plant, one of California’s largest remaining saltwater marshes has been a source of pride for local environmentalists. But the marsh, known as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, is endangered despite a years-long struggle to pull together sufficient public funding for its upkeep.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District files opposition in state Supreme Court fight with Michael Abatti

The years-long fight between the Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti over control of Colorado River water could be nearing its grand finale in the California Supreme Court. After Abatti requested last month that the state’s highest judicial body take up his case, the water district filed its opposition on Monday.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Cal Am withdraws desal project bid

California American Water has withdrawn its Peninsula desalination project bid at the Coastal Commission on the eve of the commission’s special meeting, citing social and environmental justice issues.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

University of Arizona researchers unveil new model for desert farming in warming world

A team of scientists, led by the University of Arizona, has developed a new blueprint for arid-land agriculture using wild, native crops and modern growing techniques. The 14 researchers from the Southwest and Mexico believe their model can produce a sustainable, local source of food that will improve the health and well-being of consumers and farmworkers alike.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Deep Creek Cemetery searches for water

The last few years have been dry for one of the oldest cemeteries in Tulare County. The well at the Deep Creek Cemetery has been parched since 2014 and now they are in talks with the Farmersville City Council to potentially connect to the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Water board must establish a state water budget that California can afford

Former U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt writes that a “Grand Bargain” in California water is needed to end the “political culture of deferral” and allow major water projects to advance. On the contrary, what’s needed is an adult regulator that will make hard choices that water users refuse to make.

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Aquafornia news EOS.org

Study: Dams alter nutrient flows to coasts

The right balance of nutrients is crucial for a healthy coastal ecosystem. If rivers deposit too much nitrogen and phosphorus in coastal areas, algae that flourish on those nutrients can cause dead zones; if too little silicon flows downstream, organisms that depend on it will die off.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Bilingual SGMA video series to foster better understanding

State and local agencies are continuing to work to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. With SGMA’s far-reaching implications, Ph.D. candidate at UC Merced, Vicky Espinoza has created a bilingual video series to help provide a better understanding of the impact of SGMA and generate more engagement.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump WOTUS rewrite could backfire, lawmakers warned

A top water regulator from New Mexico yesterday warned senators that hardrock mines, wastewater facilities and other industrial entities could face stricter environmental oversight as the Trump administration’s Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, rule takes effect.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Creek Fire ignites fire management debate on beetles, climate change

When the Creek Fire exploded to 160,000 acres in just 72 hours, ripping through a jewel of the Sierra Nevada just south of Yosemite National Park, California and the world looked on in horror and surprise. But the stage had long been set for the megablaze, one of a half-dozen transforming millions of acres of Golden State landscapes to ash. Droughts supercharged by climate change dried out vegetation, aiding its transition into fuel.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater externalities and the agricultural response to water pricing

Dr. Ellen Bruno is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Ag and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. At a recent Silver Solutions webinar, she shared some of the preliminary results on a paper she is working on… The study considers the impacts of agricultural water pricing and the effect on water use and land use change.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

In a dry state, farmers use oil wastewater to irrigate their fields, but is it safe?

For decades, farmers in California’s Kern County have turned to wastewater from oil production to help irrigate their crops during extended dry spells. … But the use of the recycled water, a byproduct of oil and natural gas extraction that is mixed with surface water for irrigation, has stirred controversy.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Tri-Valley water districts tackle toxic chemicals in drinking water wells

Surrounded by lush green fields, Pleasanton often makes the top ten list of desirable places to live. But a new list just out is nothing to boast about. “I was just floored,” said Pleasanton resident Jill Buck when she found out her town made the top ten for dangerous drinking water.

Aquafornia news Fast Company

This tool is mapping every tree in California to help stop megafires

Scientists at Salo Sciences, a startup that works on technology for natural climate solutions, began creating the tool after interviewing dozens of experts in California about the state’s challenges with wildfires: They need more detailed, up-to-date information about the forests so they can better predict how fast and in what direction fires will spread…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Risk of Colorado River shortage is on the rise, could hit within 5 years, officials say

Following a hot and extremely dry spring and summer, the Bureau of Reclamation’s latest projections show that in a scenario of continuing drought between now and 2025, the chances of Lake Mead falling into a shortage has increased to nearly 80%. The odds of the reservoir dropping to critically low levels by 2025 under this scenario was estimated at nearly 20%.

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Aquafornia news Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

News release: Santa Ana Water Board delays decision on Orange County desalination project

The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, which was expected to make a decision Sept. 17 on the waste discharge permit renewal for a proposed seawater desalination facility in Orange County, has postponed action for several weeks at the request of the applicant. Poseidon Waters, the company that plans to build the $1 billion plant on 12 acres of the AES Huntington Beach Generating Station, requested additional time to address concerns raised in three days of public hearings…

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Metropolitan Water District approves cost-cutting plan

The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Tuesday approved a cost-cutting plan to reduce expenditures in response to lower water sales and concerns about the financial impacts of COVID-19 on its member agencies. The cuts will save about $11.7 million…

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Evaporation adds up. How much? Google it – someday

There are lots of new water gizmos popping up these days but there’s only one Google. Which makes the massive tech company’s involvement in a proposed water measurement tool both intriguing and slightly suspicious to some agricultural water managers.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Mexican farmers seize La Boquilla dam to protest water debt payments to U.S.

For 75 years, through tensions and disputes over immigration, narcotrafficking and trade, Mexico and the United States have sent each other billions of gallons of water annually to irrigate farms along the border under a treaty signed during World War II. But today, the 1944 agreement is facing increasingly violent opposition in drought-parched Chihuahua state, where protesters have seized control of a major dam to dramatize the plight of farmers…

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Citizens group begins deep dive in Napa Valley groundwater issues

The Napa County Groundwater Sustainability Plan Advisory Committee — 25 people appointed by the Board of Supervisors representing such interests as farming, wineries and the environment — was in action last Thursday with a Zoom meeting.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Past wildfires offer future roadmap for forest management’s effects on water

The Sierra Nevada provides more than 60 percent of California’s water supply and sustains a globally important agricultural region. Quantifying the water-related benefits can be critical in showing the true value and cost-benefit of forest management. But until now, there hasn’t been enough locally relevant data to incentivize restoration projects.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: A greater sense of urgency needed for crises at the Salton Sea

Responding to the lack of progress in 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered the California Natural Resources Agency to adopt a 10-year plan to implement projects to suppress the harmful dust and restore habitat. … But in the three years since the water board’s order, progress has been dismal, even though there is more than $350 million available to implement the plan.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Fight over desalinization is now about environmental justice

This proposal by California American Water has become one of the most complicated and fraught issues to come before the California Coastal Commission, whose long-awaited vote on Thursday could determine not only the contentious future of water on the Monterey Peninsula — but also the role of government in undoing environmental inequity.

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Pleasanton council mulls options to treat PFAS water contaminants

The Pleasanton City Council made headway on plans to repair a contaminated groundwater well and meet — if not exceed – future water quality standards earlier this month. In a unanimous vote Sept. 1, the council approved a $437,374 contract with Walnut Creek-based Carollo Engineers to prepare a basis of design report for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment and rehabilitating the city’s groundwater wells…

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Protecting South Yuba River proves challenging amidst COVID-19

Every September for the last 22 years, the South Yuba River Citizens League has hosted a Yuba River Cleanup with the help of the California Coastal Commission. This year, the river’s need for some tender, loving care has only grown as the region reckons with more visitors, more single-use plastics and less accountability amidst the pandemic.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pursuing independent water sources, San Diego ignores one beneath its feet

San Diego is not well endowed with many freshwater sources to support its growing population, so some water experts are perplexed the city’s ignoring a self-replenishing local groundwater source that, though small in size, is safe from the threat of natural disasters and reliably recharged by the San Diego River.

Aquafornia news Ensia.com

Across the US, millions of people are drinking unsafe water

Once a week, Florencia Ramos makes a special trip to the R–N Market in Lindsay, California. “If you don’t have clean water, you have to go get some,” says Ramos, a farmworker and mother of four who lives in the neighboring Central Valley town of El Rancho. She has been purchasing jugs of water at the small store for more than a decade now.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Opinion: Impact of new Indian Wells Valley Water District groundwater fees on customers

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority has taken actions recently with regards to fees that will affect customers of the Indian Wells Valley Water District. … It is my intent to provide context for how these fees will translate to your bill from the district.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Queen Creek water deal exposes Arizona’s most fundamental problems

Roughly a thousand acre-feet of water won’t make or break the Colorado River. But for many who live in counties that border the river, even losing a few drops of water to central Arizona poses a major threat to their way of life.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Oasis Mobile Home Park once again found to have arsenic in its water

The beleaguered Oasis Mobile Home Park near Thermal, home to about 1,900 largely Spanish-speaking residents living in poor conditions, has once again found dangerously high levels of arsenic in its drinking water. On Friday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency served park management with an emergency order compelling them to provide residents an alternative source of water.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: Moving toward water supply security

The Monterey Peninsula is about to find out if a long-term water supply will become a reality on Thursday as California’s Coastal Commission is scheduled to hear the application for a permit to build the desalination source water wells. The Farm Bureau believes the permit is necessary to secure a reliable water supply for Peninsula residents and businesses.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mexican water wars: Dam seized, troops deployed, at least one killed in protests about sharing with U.S.

Mexico’s water wars have turned deadly. A long-simmering dispute about shared water rights between Mexico and the United States has erupted into open clashes pitting Mexican National Guard troops against farmers, ranchers and others who seized a dam in northern Chihuahua state.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Democrats press Warren Buffett to support dam removal

Top Democrats on Friday pressed billionaire Warren Buffett to intervene and support the country’s largest potential dam removal project.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Opinion: Metropolitan Water District can do better for Southern California amid COVID

The San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have taken action to protect ratepayers by implementing strong cost-cutting strategies to limit rate increases without sacrificing a safe and reliable water supply or the ability to plan for the future. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Dow, Shell, other companies implicated in California TCP suit

The Olivehurst Public Utility District, which provides drinking water to Olivehurst, Calif., north of Sacramento, is seeking unspecified damages from the companies after discovering 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, in its water supply wells, according to the complaint, which was filed Sept. 9 and docketed Thursday in California Superior Court.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Why some in Nevada see Utah pipeline plan as ‘first salvo in coming water wars’

Lake Powell isn’t in Southern Nevada. Rather, it’s about four hours away by car in southern Utah. But some environmentalists say the water consumption of St. George, Utah, and neighboring communities could have a direct and deleterious impact on the Las Vegas water supply.

Aquafornia news The Press

Los Vaqueros Reservoir expansion moves ahead

A major expansion of Los Vaqueros Reservoir took a step forward with release of the final feasibility report by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation that concluded the initiative is economically viable. The reservoir is owned and operated by the Contra Costa Water District, and the project will increase its capacity by more than 70% when complete.

Aquafornia news Yucaipa/Calimesa News Mirror

Yucaipa Valley Water District moves ahead with a second recycled water fill station

The plan, approved by the board of directors, will help serve more customers who use recycled water for irrigation, construction grading, fire department usage. Additionally, the board approved temporarily closing the Recycled Water Fill Station No. 1 to move it, upgrade it and add better security for the grounds.

Aquafornia news ASU Now

Blog: Arizona State University water policy expert addresses new concerns about state’s precious resource

The cuts are a plan to keep Lake Mead, a reservoir at the Arizona-Nevada boundary, functional. Water levels have precipitously dropped as a result of historic overallocation and a drought that started in 2000. … ASU Now checked in with Sarah Porter of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute on how these new developments will impact the Copper State and its residents.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Panel to question FERC picks on climate, infrastructure

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will this week consider a pair of nominations — one Republican, one Democratic — to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Aquafornia news Audubon

A disease outbreak in California has killed an estimated 40,000 birds

As wildfires burn across California, temperatures hit record highs, and communities cope with the COVID-19 crisis, biologist Caroline Brady is helping respond to a different disaster: the worst avian botulism outbreak that anyone can remember at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Monday Top of the Scroll: Western wildfires damage, contaminate drinking water systems

One of the most severe examples is the San Lorenzo Valley Water District, which serves parts of inland Santa Cruz County, in central California. More than 7 miles of an HDPE plastic water supply pipeline were destroyed in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, according to Rick Rogers, the district manager.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

San Lorenzo Valley Water District rebuilds after ‘most expensive disaster in history’

Emergency repairs are underway after a historic fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains wreaked havoc on the San Lorenzo Valley’s water infrastructure. The CZU August Lightning Complex fire caused an estimated $11 million in damage to pipes, meters, mains, tanks and other San Lorenzo Valley Water District infrastructure and equipment, according to District Manager Rick Rogers.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Barbara

Blog: Future flooding

California is on track to get drier over the coming decades. But that doesn’t mean the golden state’s water woes come only from too little rain. In a new study, researchers at UC Santa Barbara and UCLA warn that flooding potential associated with extreme precipitation events is set to sharply increase.

Aquafornia news Forbes

Blog: Climate change may bring unexpected benefits to San Francisco Bay-Delta

The San Francisco Bay-Delta is literally threatened from all sides: rising sea levels from the ocean, disruptions to sediment supply from upstream, and within the Bay-Delta itself, development and other land use changes have left only a tiny fraction (5%) of marshland untouched. … A recent study by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey used historical streamflow and sediment data to predict what will happen to the Bay-Delta under varying levels of climate change.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces virtual open house and public comment period extension for Shasta Dam proposal

Reclamation announces a virtual open house website for the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. Website visitors will be able to learn more about the project, review summaries of Draft Supplemental EIS chapters, and submit comments.

Aquafornia news KJZZ Radio

Colorado River flow now part of caddisfly battle in Bullhead City

The idea was to lower the flows while temperatures were still warm enough to dry out the caddis larvae. That required buy-in from local merchants and the Bureau of Reclamation, local tribes and others. They were able to do it, and on Aug. 27, the first of two flow reductions took place. When the river dropped, people pitched in for a day of river cleanup.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: La Niña may worsen Southwest drought this winter

Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center, said that as a result of La Niña, Southern California, as well as most of Arizona and New Mexico, could “tilt toward dry” this winter. Southern California, which gets most of its rainfall from late fall to early spring, is already abnormally dry…

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Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Pleasanton City Council addresses water well issue

The Pleasanton City Council … unanimously approved a contract with Carollo Engineers in the amount of $437,374 to prepare a basis of design report for Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) treatment and the rehabilitation of city-owned and -operated wells 5, 6 and 8.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Valley News

Rancho Water to refund bonds and cover loss from shelved rate increases

The Rancho California Water District agreed to authorize its general manager to negotiate bond issuances to save the district an estimated $1.3 million. The savings will help cover the loss expected when the board agreed to halt rate increases during the COVID-19 pandemic last month.

Aquafornia news EnviroBites

If a forest burns in a fire, does it return to normal?

“When a forest burns in a wildfire, should we expect it to return as it was before?” Research scientist Jonathan Coop and his team pose this question. It addresses a critical conundrum in ecology: How do ecosystems recover from disturbance and why?

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Companies eager to ‘lock in’ Trump-era water rule exemptions

Coal miners, stone quarrying companies, and other businesses are rushing to lock down any exemptions to federal water jurisdiction for at least five years, under changes the Trump administration recently made to the nation’s water rule. … A decision that might in some instances have taken multiple site visits and nearly three years now can come as quickly as a day, the data show.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The climate connection to California’s wildfires

While California’s climate has always made the state prone to fires, the link between human-caused climate change and bigger fires is inextricable, said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Have an idea to fix the Salton Sea? The state wants your input this month

The California Natural Resources Agency announced it will be hosting a new round of public engagement sessions in September to get input to assist in the development of wildlife habitat restoration and dust suppression projects for the Salton Sea Management Program’s 10-year plan.

Aquafornia news SantaCruzLocal.org

Santa Cruz water quality at risk from wildfire damage

The most pressing risk is debris that could clog the San Lorenzo River near River Street and Highway 1 where water enters the city’s system, said Santa Cruz Water Director Rosemary Menard. The San Lorenzo River is the city’s largest water source. It represents about 45% of the water supply.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

A basic primer on water quality regulation

In 2014, California passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (or SGMA), requiring local agencies to be formed and groundwater sustainability plans to be written for all groundwater basins subject to SGMA. Those plans must avoid six undesirable results, one of which is “significant and unreasonable” impacts to groundwater quality.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Firestorm devastates Butte County again as California burns

Less than two years after the most destructive fire in California history tore through Paradise, the same region was under siege from a second monster firestorm that quickly grew to more than 250,000 acres, sweeping through mountain hamlets and killing at least three people. … Across the state, 28 major wildfires have prompted more than 64,000 people to evacuate…

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Aquafornia news Voice of America

2 die in gunfight with Mexican police in US water transfer dispute

The Mexican National Guard said Wednesday that two people had died in a gunfight with military police near a protest at a dam that diverts water away from an area hit by drought to the United States. … The protest comes amid plans to divert more to the United States due to a “water debt” Mexico has accrued under a 1944 water-sharing treaty between the countries.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Forests: Lawmakers plead for federal help as Western fires rage

Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said yesterday they secured a public hearing on legislation to ease some regulatory hurdles for forest management projects… The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will take up the bill, S. 4431, next week. The “Emergency Wildfire and Public Safety Act,” would also allow the Forest Service to declare emergencies in certain areas affected by wildfire, allowing for restoration with less-extensive environmental review.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: California Supreme Court holds public agencies may not categorically classify groundwater well permit approvals as ministerial

In Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources v. County of Stanislaus, the Court held that the County may not categorically classify all groundwater well permit issuances as ministerial decisions. Such a classification exempts well permit issuances from environmental review.

Aquafornia news Water Environment Federation

Blog: Water utilities commended for transformational programming

The Utility of the Future Today recognition program celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from a traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and leader in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Progress on St. Helena dam removal ends years of daily fines

The pending removal of the Upper York Creek Dam has put a stop to a daily $70 fine that’s been levied against the City of St. Helena for almost eight years. Thanks to rapid progress on the long-awaited project, which will improve fish passage and restore habitat along York Creek, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has suspended the $70 per day penalty the city has incurred since November 2012…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Study of ocean salinity reveals amped-up global water cycle

There is something in the water on planet Earth. A study published Wednesday reveals climate change has amplified the water cycle, which explains the more frequent extreme weather patterns in recent years.

Aquafornia news Palo Alto Online

With Baylands under flood threat, Palo Alto explores projects to address sea level rise

If current predictions hold, the entire Palo Alto Baylands could be submerged by the middle of the century because of sea level rise, a destructive predicament that would threaten both the sensitive habitat and the critical infrastructure in the nature preserve. To prepare for rising tides, the city is moving ahead with the creation of a new Sea Level Adaptation Plan…

Aquafornia news E&E News

Report: Great Salt Lake shrinking more than a foot annually

Utah’s Great Salt Lake is shrinking every year, but experts are implementing measures to slow the water loss, a new report said.

Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Valley Water relocates threatened steelhead for upcoming dam retrofit

Though they are not native to the Anderson Reservoir, the steelhead population is in decline, making the local watershed particularly important to preservation efforts.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Nation’s largest solar farm approved for Tulare County

The project proposes to cover 3,600 acres near the town of Ducor with enough solar panels to … provide 100% of the power needed for 180,000 homes… The Tulare County Farm Bureau did submit a letter reminding the board of the law’s intent to preserve farm land and not to create solar farms, but ultimately agreed the project would give landowners with sparse access to irrigation water options to make their lands profitable.

Aquafornia news Oregon Public Broadcasting

Audio: Plan to remove 4 Klamath River dams may stall again

In 2010, tribes joined the company that owns the dams and other stakeholders in an agreement to remove the dams in 2020. The plan was later delayed to 2022, and now it may stall again because of a recent decision by federal regulators.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Broad ‘fishnet’ PFAS testing worries industry, helps regulators

The test they want to use measures total organic fluorine amounts in water and can provide a broader picture of all per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a sample instead of testing for one or a few substances at a time. By removing the need to test for individual PFAS, states may be able to speed up the process for regulating groups of the chemicals, some of which have been linked to cancer.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada officials raise concerns about proposed Utah pipeline to tap into more Colorado River water

Nevada officials raised numerous concerns Tuesday about a proposed project to pipe large quantities of Colorado River water roughly 140 miles from Lake Powell to southern Utah… Six of the seven states that use the Colorado River also sent a letter to federal water managers Tuesday asking them to refrain from completing project permitting…

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘Ground zero’ for dead trees: How California mega-drought turned Creek Fire into inferno

By killing millions of trees in the Sierra National Forest, the historic drought that ended in 2017 left an incendiary supply of dry fuel that appears to have intensified the fire that’s ravaged more than 140,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada, wildfire scientists and forestry experts said.

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed $171 million Central Valley groundwater bank faces TCP contamination

Irvine Ranch Water District and Rosedale-Rio Bravo Water Storage District had just begun environmental review for their joint banking project this past April when TCP reared its head. … TCP (trichloropropane) is a carcinogenic leftover from a nematode pesticide made by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical that was liberally applied to Central Valley farmland from the 1950s through the 1980s.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Making the most of water for the environment

Restoring specific “functional flows” would better support fish migration and spawning, water quality, dry-season base flows, and physical conditions that support aquatic species. A panel of experts, moderated by PPIC senior fellow and study coauthor Jeff Mount, discussed how to put this approach into practice. We invite you to watch the event video.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘Until the Last Drop’ documentary explains California water wars

The water wars are far from over, a point made clear in a just-released feature-length documentary, “Until the Last Drop.” If you can block from your mind the old Folgers “good to the last drop” commercials, the film title will evoke a combination of dripping water with a fight to the last drop of blood.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Judge considers freezing ‘political’ environmental review rule

A federal judge took a no-nonsense approach Friday to a hearing on the White House’s rewrite of the National Environmental Policy Act, grilling conservation groups on how they’ll be harmed and chiding the Justice Department for glossing over the political motivations behind the rules.

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Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Fort Bragg’s water shortage means steep cuts, no watering of lawns; climate scientists say to expect more

Starting in mid-July, the flows in the Noyo River began dropping faster than in any other summer on record. The river flow is below 2015 low flows, when the entire state was in a drought emergency. John Smith, director of Fort Bragg Public Works, said staff had never before seen water levels in the Noyo drop so precipitously.

Aquafornia news The Packer

Opinion: Growers must solve California’s water challenges

I visited in late August with Matt Angell about California San Joaquin Valley water issues. Angell is a chairman of San Joaquin Resource Conservation District 9, is a managing partner at Pacific Farming Co., and also is managing director of Madera Pumps. The conversation included discussion of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and what that will require of growers in the years ahead.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

CZU fire aftermath points to emerging threat for California: water contamination

Drivers entering town these days pass a sign with an urgent message: Do not drink or boil the tap water in your home. It may not be safe. This town in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the latest California community to grapple with water problems because of a wildfire.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Big Springs residents: Water trucking for illegal marijuana grows hasn’t stopped

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors discussed issues that Big Springs area residents are still facing regarding alleged privatized water sale for illegal marijuana grows. Despite an urgency ordinance prohibiting the trucking of water and a rally near one of the alleged extraction sites on Aug. 22, residents say they’re still noticing trucking going on.

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Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Different technologies help address Lake Tahoe clarity

Groups in the Tahoe Basin are using new technology to fight invasive species and decreasing lake clarity. Researchers at University of Nevada, Reno and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency have been testing a UV light equipped vessel to control aquatic invasive plants in the Tahoe Keys.

Aquafornia news YubaNet.com

Study: Climate change could deliver more sediment and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Climate change could deliver more silt, sand and pollution to the San Francisco Bay-Delta, along with a mixed bag of other potential consequences and benefits, according to a new study in the AGU journal Water Resources Research, which publishes research articles and commentaries providing a broad understanding of the role of water in Earth’s natural systems.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Desal plant on Monterey Peninsula is not the best option

Expansion of the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project is the best option for the Monterey region to meet its future water supply needs. Unfortunately, California American Water Co., a private water supplier, is discrediting the project in hopes of getting approval for their much more costly, oversized and environmentally harmful groundwater desalination project…

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Santa Rosa orders sudden curtailment for farm irrigators after miscalculation on recycled water supply

Santa Rosa miscalculated its stored water forecast near the beginning of the irrigation season, leading to sudden limits on water use that farmers say will cost them dearly in an already dry year. In mid-June, the agricultural users were put on notice: There would not be enough irrigation water for all to last through the growing season, according to the city.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona endorses GSC Farm LLC’s plan to sell Colorado River water to Queen Creek

Arizona’s top water regulator has endorsed a company’s proposal to take water from farmland near the Colorado River and sell it to the fast-growing Phoenix suburb of Queen Creek. The plan, which still would require federal approval, has generated a heated debate about whether transferring water away from the farming community of Cibola could harm the local economy, and whether the deal would open the gates for more companies to buy land near the river with the sole aim of selling off the water for profit.

Aquafornia news U.S. Geological Survey

News release: Scientists collect water quality data prior to wastewater treatment plant upgrades

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) is currently completing major upgrades to its wastewater treatment plant. In anticipation of these upgrades, USGS scientists are gathering data to establish baselines for current nutrient levels and dynamics in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta).

Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Coming home to the Klamath

Four aging dams on the Klamath River are coming down. Their completion between 1921 and 1964 brought hydroelectric power to Northern California. It also blocked hundreds of kilometers of fish habitat, causing Chinook salmon to effectively disappear from the upper river basin. But the removal of dams is no guarantee the fish will return, so a team of wildlife researchers hopes it can coax the fish to repopulate the river by exploiting a new discovery about salmon genetics.

Aquafornia news L.A. Daily News

Construction on major Valley water projects close to beginning

A multimillion dollar water project in the heart of Northridge is on the fast track to becoming a reality. The Aliso Creek-Limekiln Creek Restoration Project at Vanalden Park is aimed at reducing pollutants in city waters by treating stormwater and urban runoff from Aliso and Limekiln creeks and an open channel storm drain.

Aquafornia news Modesto Irrigation District

News release: Documentary explores the past, present and uncertain future of San Joaquin Valley rivers and water supplies

“Until the Last Drop,” a feature-length documentary filmed along the banks of the Merced, Tuolumne, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Rivers is scheduled for virtual release Labor Day weekend 2020. In this probing film, Modesto Irrigation District along with Final Cut Media examine the rivers that have transformed the San Joaquin Valley, helped create cities and nourish the world.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

EcoRestore update: Five years in, program makes big gains on Delta habitat restoration

California EcoRestore is an initiative started in 2015 under the Brown Administration with the ambitious goal of advancing at least 30,000 acres of critical habitat restoration in the Delta and Suisun Marsh by 2020. … At the August meeting of the Central Valley Flood Protection Board, Bill Harrell, gave an update on the Eco Restore program and the progress that has been made over the past five years.

Aquafornia news The Hill

EPA sued over decision not to regulate chemical linked to fetal brain damage

The Natural Resources Defense Council on Thursday sued the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to regulate a chemical linked to fetal and infant brain damage. The agency announced in June it would not regulate perchlorate even though it estimated up to 620,000 people could be drinking water with a concerning amount of the chemical. 

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Foster Farms accused of wasting water to kill chickens in drought-prone California

According to the 21-page complaint, Foster Farms’ Livingston, California, plant uses 3-4 million gallons of drinkable water daily, more than all the other water users in the rural city of 14,000 combined. The main reason, the Animal Legal Defense Fund argues, is Foster Farms’ water-intensive slaughter system.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: New approach needed to protect health of California’s rivers

Dams, diversions, and land conversion have substantially altered California’s rivers and disrupted the processes that sustain ecosystem health. The result is a crisis for native fish and wildlife and the loss of many benefits we derive from river ecosystems.

Aquafornia news Union Pacific

Blog: UP water train fights California wildfires

As wildfires roar across Northern California, a team of Union Pacific Engineering employees are on the front lines, battling hot spots along tracks, bridges and tunnels. Their equipment of choice? A water train consisting of two rail cars, each holding 12,500 gallons of water and a pumper. The crew has been out in force recently on UP’s Canyon Subdivision near Quincy, Calif.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Wheeler, Calif. Gov. Newsom clash over coal plant rule change

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and California Gov. Gavin Newsom clashed Thursday over the Trump administration easing restrictions on wastewater discharges from coal-fired power plants.

Aquafornia news JD Supra

Blog: California Supreme Court throws the barn doors open, finding that groundwater well permits aren’t necessarily ministerial

While the Court’s Opinion does not state that all well permits must undergo CEQA review, it narrows the grounds on which the ministerial exemption may apply. And since county well ordinances across the State comprise similar provisions, this ruling upsets the common practice of treating such permits as ministerial, not subject to CEQA.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California/Nevada Tahoe Science Advisory Council elevates efforts to protect and restore Lake Tahoe

Nevada and California joined forces last week at the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit to advance the states’ shared priorities to protect and restore Lake Tahoe. … There is a long history of collaboration between Nevada and California to restore and protect the spectacular natural treasure of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment. This spirit of collaboration was a pillar of the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit

Aquafornia news CBS Sacramento

State officials warn boaters and swimmers of toxic algal blooms in California’s waterways

With thousands of Californians hitting the state’s waterways this Labor Day, officials are warning of algae blooms in the water that are harmful to humans and animals.

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Aquafornia news American Chemical Society

News release: Regional variations in freshwater overconsumption

With an ever-increasing human population, water shortages already occurring in many areas are only expected to get worse. Now, researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology have estimated the freshwater supply and demand of about 11,000 water basins across the globe, determining that one-fourth of freshwater consumption exceeds regional capacities.

Aquafornia news The Willits News

California Water Justice and Tribal Advocates announce week of action

The organizers of the Advocacy and Water Protection in Native California Speakers Series are hosting a new webinar series aimed at taking action against environmental racism and for water justice in California. Humboldt State University Native American Studies and Save California Salmon are organizing the “Mobilizing for Water Justice in California” Webinar Series on Sept. 14-18.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: Boulder Creek water problems highlight growing California wildfire threat

Drivers entering town these days pass a sign with an urgent message: Do not drink or boil the tap water in your home. It may not be safe. This town in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains is the latest California community to grapple with water problems because of a wildfire.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC sues to protect kids from perchlorate in tap water

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Washington, seeks to overturn the Trump EPA’s decision to allow unlimited amounts of toxic perchlorate in our tap water. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler reached this decision even though his agency admits that toxic perchlorate is found in millions of Americans’ tap water…

Aquafornia news KGO TV

Experts question impact of North Bay wildfires on endangered Coho salmon

As the North Bay continues to deal with thick smoke from still-smoldering wildfires, some experts are already beginning to wonder about this winter. They’re concerned about endangered salmon in the Russian River watershed. Ground zero is the Warm Springs Fish Hatchery just below Lake Sonoma, at the top of the Dry Creek Valley.

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Aquafornia news Pleasanton Weekly

Zone 7 unveils new ozone treatment system

Zone 7 Water Agency is now treating its water supply with ozone, replacing chlorine as the main disinfecting treatment and “enhancing quality of finished water” for customers, officials announced on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news University of Colorado Boulder

Blog: New grant supports interdisciplinary research on ‘the critical zone’ and the future of Western water

CU Boulder will collaborate with five other universities and two federal partners to better understand how water, trees, soils and rocks interact and change each other in the fire- and drought-prone landscapes of the American West. The team has chosen five locations in Colorado and California to test a variety of hypotheses about water in the critical zone. And not only from a physical perspective, but also from ecological and chemical perspectives.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Regional Change

Report: Sustainable for whom? The impact of groundwater sustainability plans on domestic wells

Studies estimate that 1.5 – 2.5 million Californians rely on domestic wells to meet their household water needs. But because domestic wells are often shallow, they are also often sensitive to changes in groundwater levels. As such, sustainable groundwater management has an important role to play in safeguarding the health and safety of residents and the achievement of California’s recognized Human Right to Water.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Thursday Top of the Scroll: EPA announces short-term projects to plug border sewage flow

The two projects — which will cost $25 million and are funded by the EPA’s Border Water Infrastructure Program — will control sewage and wastewater, sediment and trash that flows from the Tijuana River across the U.S.-Mexico border into San Diego, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said during a press conference Wednesday at the U.S. Coast Guard station in San Diego.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: How studying carcasses gives insight into California salmon populations

When salmon spawn, it marks the end of their lifecycle. But it doesn’t mark the end of DWR’s salmon research. DWR studies the carcasses to learn about salmon populations and assess their numbers in the Feather River.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Tribes, green groups sue over Trump rollback of water rights

The new suit, filed Tuesday on behalf of three different tribal groups and the Sierra Club, argues states and tribes have a right to place conditions on federal projects that could degrade waters within their borders or to reject them altogether. “These changes that cut into the tribe’s ability to protect its waters and fish harm us all,” Anthony Sampson, chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada, said in a release.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Environmentalists pledge to fight first local auction of federal oil leases since 2012

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity last week said it’s targeting a federal plan to auction in December seven parcels totaling about 4,330 acres in or near existing oilfields in the county. The CBD called the auction plan a “breathtakingly vicious” move by the Trump administration to expand drilling and fracking at a time of wildfires driven by climate change in an area with some of the country’s worst air quality.

Aquafornia news KPBS

San Diego water managers seek better rain forecast information

San Diego water managers are working with local researchers to understand how atmospheric rivers bring water to the region. … Scripps Institution of Oceanography researchers are working to better understand atmospheric rivers, or ARs, so they can predict when and where the weather systems will hit.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Toxics agency overhaul ordered by California Legislature

California’s beleaguered Department of Toxic Substances Control could at last get an overhaul under a bill heading to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom. … If approved, the bill would impose a per ton waste generation fee, increase facility fees, add an ombudsman position, and take other actions. Assembly member Cristina Garcia (D), who authored the bill, said it would also raise $22 million to help stabilize the department’s finances.

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: Community input sought for habitat restoration and dust suppression projects at Salton Sea

The California Natural Resources Agency has released a draft project description for the Salton Sea Management Program Phase I and announced a series of virtual public workshops for community input. The project description identifies habitat restoration and dust suppression projects to revitalize the environment and protect public health.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Coyote Springs developer sues state of Nevada for ‘unconstitutional taking’ of water rights

A developer is suing Nevada’s Division of Water Resources after the state again denied plans to construct new homes at Coyote Springs, the latest setback in a decades-long effort to build a sprawling master-planned community about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. Coyote Springs Investment alleges state officials made a series of decisions that amount to an “unconstitutional taking” of the water rights it owns and planned to use.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drilling, mines, other projects hastened by Trump order

The Trump administration is seeking to fast track environmental reviews of dozens of major energy and infrastructure projects during the COVID-19 pandemic… Projects targeted for quick review include highway improvements in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and other states; the Lake Powell water pipeline in Utah; wind farms in New Mexico and off the Massachusetts coast; and mining projects in Nevada, Idaho, Colorado and Alaska.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

San Diego water authority is resurrecting its pipe dream – again

San Diego County Water Authority is seriously considering building a duplicate pipeline through the desert and Cleveland National Forest to break free from Metropolitan, or Met, which controls truck-sized pipes and canals from the Colorado River. It could be the most expensive public works project in San Diego’s 170-year history…

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Orange County groundwater basin added to Superfund sites for future cleanup

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a Superfund site project to clean up groundwater in part of a basin in Fullerton, Anaheim, and Placentia… According to the Orange County Water District, groundwater was contaminated with industrial degreasing chemicals in the early 1960s through the mid-1980s. The long-lasting effects contaminated an area about five miles long and two miles wide…

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

San Luis Reservoir, O’Neill Forebay open after California fires

San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay are open in Merced County, after being shuttered by regional wildfires. However, state Department of Water Resources officials say that’s not an invitation to go in the water. DWR on Tuesday issued a harmful algal bloom warning advisory at the O’Neill Forebay, plus a caution is in effect for the San Luis Reservoir.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Tainted valley groundwater could stymie banking deals

The big kahuna of California water — Metropolitan Water District of Southern California — has stopped taking supplies from one Kern County groundwater bank because the water is heavily tainted with a cancer-causing agent that is pervasive in Central Valley’s aquifers. While only one banking program has been affected so far, the emergence of this issue could have huge implications for water storage and movement in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In a California landscape defined — and divided — by water, a single issue unites people who live in the Delta: Digging in against the tunnel

Gov. Gavin Newsom, like governors before him, wants to overhaul how water moves through the delta. He’s proposing a 30-mile tunnel that would streamline the delivery of water from the Sacramento River, a bid to halt the ongoing devastation of the delta’s wetlands and wildlife while ensuring its flows continue to provide for the rest of the state. The pressures of climate change on water supplies have only increased the urgency to act. And the coronavirus pandemic and months of shelter-in-place orders haven’t slowed the planning. ….The tunnel, as much as anything, is the very symbol of the state’s never-ending water wars.

Aquafornia news Sierra Club Angeles Chapter

Blog: Water a public resource: How privatization happens Pt. 2

The water system owned by the city of Montebello is primarily made up of old concrete pipes made with asbestos, a once-common part of water and drainage systems. This system has not been properly maintained, and is now in need of $50 million worth of health and safety repairs and improvements. Why has this been allowed to occur you may ask?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California Public Utilities Commission fires executive director after staffing dispute

Marybel Batjer, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said Executive Director Alice Stebbins had taken the “appalling and disgraceful” step of deliberately hiring a “marginally qualified former colleague” over better-suited candidates, among other claims detailed in a report from the State Personnel Board….The commission watches over investor-owned electric and gas companies as well as telecommunications, water, rail and passenger transportation businesses.

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Aquafornia news Lexology

Blog: NOAA identifies first two aquaculture opportunity areas to facilitate expansion of aquaculture

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified the first two regions where Aquaculture Opportunity Areas (AOAs) will be located in federal waters off Southern California and in the Gulf of Mexico. The selection of these regions is the first step towards establishing ten AOAs nationwide by 2025.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: California must ensure water access during COVID-19 pandemic

In April, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order placing a moratorium on water shutoffs and requiring reconnections for households disconnected after March 4. … But record unemployment means California should expect a tsunami of water shutoffs when the moratorium ends and bills come due.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Rebalancing agricultural and natural land

Over the next 20 years, San Joaquin Valley farmers may need to temporarily fallow or permanently retire over half a million acres of cropland as California pushes towards sustainable groundwater use. … Below, the paper’s lead authors, Benjamin Bryant and Rodd Kelsey, discuss their research examining how conservation planning can guide the land use change being driven by SGMA to achieve multiple benefits…

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

Opinion: Why fixing the nation’s water crisis and combating a pandemic are linked

The San Joaquin Valley in California has the highest rates of drinking water contamination and the highest amount of public water systems with maximum contaminant level violations in the state. … The most recent contamination occurred in the city of Tulare, where local government buildings received a boil-water notice after a test of county wells found coliform bacteria.

Aquafornia news Environmental Health News

Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

Microplastics arrive on farms through processed sewage sludge used for fertilizer, plastic mulches, and are even intentionally added as slow-release fertilizers and protective seed coatings. In just the last few years, an uptick in research has uncovered alarming potential impacts of this contamination on all aspects of agricultural systems from soil quality to human health.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Study finds that water efficiency achievable throughout US without decree

The study looked at how much water conservation can readily and affordably be achieved in each region and industry of the United States by looking at what conservation measures were already working and considering how much water is being used in every industry and throughout the country. Then the researchers ran statistics on that information, looking for areas that offer greater efficiency.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Proposal fast tracks oil development in national forests, green groups say

A Monday proposal from the U.S. Forest Service would severely limit the agency’s ability to call off any oil drilling slated for its lands by the Bureau of Land Management, which tees up leasing in federal forests. … The proposed rule removes specific references within Forest Service policy to review environmental consequences of drilling and also eliminates the requirement to provide public notice before new oil activity takes place.

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Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Legislature kills last-ditch bill with funding for Friant-Kern Canal

A bill that would have provided funding for the Friant-Kern Canal was abandoned by the California State Legislature on Sunday. It’s route to abandonment is a short, but confusing one centering on California’s wildfires

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Dow Chemical, Shell sued by South Pasadena over TCP contamination

The suit filed in Los Angeles federal court alleges the companies knew or should have known that the chemical, known as 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, is toxic and renders drinking water unsafe.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: San Diego’s puzzling pursuit of a big new pipeline to the Colorado River

My puzzlement was goosed by a report that surfaced last week at a board meeting of one of its member agencies suggesting that the general managers of agencies representing the majority of the Water Authority’s actual water-using member agencies don’t seem to want it.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Water district fires nearly all employees after they refuse to follow board’s illegal votes

A water district serving 25 cities and 1.6 million residents in southeast Los Angeles County, already waging a battle with customers and the state Legislature over its future, has fired nearly two-thirds of its employees in a last-ditch effort to stabilize district finances. The budget cuts … decimated the scandal-plagued Central Basin Municipal Water District’s organizational chart, removing every department head, most of its engineers and its entire water resources department all at once.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Now

EPA refuses to regulate perchlorate, after years of effort by Pasadena to eradicate the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer from two drinking water wells

While the world was coping with the deadly COVID-19 crisis … the Trump administration was quietly diluting environmental laws regulating the toxic rocket fuel oxidizer perchlorate, utilized extensively by scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) beginning in the 1950s and since then polluting Pasadena and Altadena drinking water wells.

Aquafornia news Montgomery & Associates

Blog: Keep calm & SGMA on!

It hasn’t always been easy, and there have been plenty of bumps along the way, but we’ve learned a lot in those five years, and we are happy to share some of what we learned. We are pleased to present our top 10 SGMA lessons learned:

Aquafornia news CNBC

34.5 million households losing utility shutoff protections by Sept. 30

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans have relied on emergency orders put in place by state and local governments that bar utilities from shutting off services such as gas, electricity and water. However, many of these orders will expire by the end of September, leaving 34.5 million households without shutoff protections…Only seven states — California, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Wyoming  — and Washington, D.C. do not have expiration dates set on their moratorium orders… 

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater authority approves transient pool, fallowing program

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority last week voted unanimously to adopt a transient pool and fallowing program and also approve findings that the programs are exempt from California Environmental Quality Act review — meaning the programs are not considered to have a significant impact on the environment.

Aquafornia news EasyReaderNews.com

$39 million Peck Reservoir rebuild will begin in October

After nearly a decade of planning, the City of Manhattan Beach will begin a $39 million rebuild of Peck Reservoir, its 63-year-old water storage and filtration facility. The project was unanimously approved by City Council at its August 20 meeting.

Aquafornia news EOS.org

New tool quantifies and predicts snow droughts

Laurie Huning, a hydrologist at California State University, Long Beach, said snow droughts have been understudied relative to other types of drought, which is why she and her colleague Amir AghaKouchak sought to create a framework for monitoring and describing the phenomenon around the world.

Aquafornia news Business Insider

Abandoned water park in California’s Mojave Desert may reopen in 2023

The Lake Dolores Waterpark in California’s Mojave Desert has been abandoned three times since it first opened to the public in 1962. A private firm recently secured the rights to revive the derelict site.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada residents blast Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

A group of residents in Laughlin, Nev., which sits along the Colorado River, are organizing a campaign to oppose a pipeline that would divert billions of gallons of river water to southwest Utah, reflecting intensifying struggles over water in the U.S. West.

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Aquafornia news CalTrout

Blog: South Fork Eel River adult salmonid sonar monitoring update

To inform our conservation work on the Eel, CalTrout has teamed up with partners on this new project – The Adult Salmonid Sonar Monitoring Program – to tally the annual spawning run of Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead on the South Fork Eel River with a Sound Metrics Dual Frequency Identification Sonar camera.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee passed. Now what?

The estimated fee would be $24 a month for the average residential user presuming a five-year repayment period, according to Gleason. The fee would reportedly collect some $50 million which would be used to purchase water rights for imported water, presuming the same users continue using the water at roughly the same rate.

Aquafornia news Hi-Desert Star

Water district OKs contract for long-range planning

The Twentynine Palms Water District will pay the consulting firm of Kennedy Jenks $84,660 to create a new Urban Water Management Plan for the district. … The plan, General Manager Ray Kolisz told directors, helps with long term planning of water resources and existing and future needs. This year’s plan,he said, will need to address issues related to climate change.

Aquafornia news E&E News

BLM plans first California auction in 7 years

The Bureau of Land Management will revive its oil and gas leasing program in California later this year, following a seven-year moratorium sparked by a fracking fight.

Aquafornia news International Water Power Magazine

US agencies sign collaborative hydropower agreement

The Bureau of Reclamation, US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technology Office and Army Corps of Engineers signed the memorandum at Hoover Dam on Monday, which was National Hydropower Day. The MOU provides for a collaborative working relationship that prioritizes similar goals and aligns ongoing and future renewable energy development efforts among the three agencies.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Habitat funds available for Calif. rice farmers

California rice growers wishing to participate in a state-funded program to flood their fields for winter wildlife habitat have until Sept. 14 to submit their requests to the state. Growers who qualify this year will receive $15 per acre to flood their rice fields.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Coastal Commission staff again advises desal project denial

Nine months after the Coastal Commission conducted its first hearing on California American Water’s proposed desalination project, commission staff has again recommended denial of the project in favor of a Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups fight EPA rollback limiting states from blocking projects

The Clean Water Act previously allowed states to halt projects that risk hurting their water quality, but that power was scaled back by the EPA in June, a move Administrator Andrew Wheeler said would “curb abuses of the Clean Water Act that have held our nation’s energy infrastructure projects hostage.” The latest suit argues the Trump administration is inappropriately denying states veto power over major projects that pose risks to their waterways.

Aquafornia news The Ukiah Daily Journal

Third driest year on record for Lake Mendocino, Army Corps declares

With Lake Mendocino losing about a foot of water every five days, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers declared that 2020 is the “third driest year on record for the basin.” Though 2019 “was one of the wettest years over the past 25 years, this year is stacking up to be one of the driest,” the Army Corps explained…However, the Army Corps said a new forecasting model for storms developed over the last few years has definitely helped maintain the lake’s water levels.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

CPUC approves structural change to water bills

 The California Public Utilities Commission, siding with its consumer-advocate arm, voted 4-1 to halt what are known as water-revenue adjustment mechanisms, which sometimes resulted in unexpected surcharges on ratepayers’ monthly bills.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Reopened schools find health risks in water after COVID-19 lockdown

The new coronavirus is not the only illness that teachers, students, parents and staff will have to worry about as some schools attempt to reopen this fall. Legionella could lurk in the water supplies of school buildings, and some measures to keep people in schools safe from coronavirus may even increase risks from deadly illnesses caused by the bacteria. [This article references schools in the East and Midwest.]

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Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein secures GAO review of EPA’s San Francisco enforcement actions

“We need to know whether the EPA has applied a consistent approach to enforcement against all cities with combined sewer systems or if San Francisco was being punished at the direction of the White House. This review of EPA actions will get to the bottom of this issue.”

Aquafornia news KVEO-TV

CBP plans to build border wall across Tijuana River, where no barrier exists

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced plans to extend the border wall and have it cut across the Tijuana River where the river enters the U.S. in San Diego. … Usually, the river has more debris and old tires in it than it has water. But there is no barrier between the two countries here.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Watershed damage assessment ongoing

Sonoma Water, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, made a request this week for the mobilization of a Watershed Emergency Response Team, a state team than can assess the damage and propose mitigation plans for a five-mile stretch of the Lake Sonoma area that burned in the Walbridge Fire.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Lake Elsinore hydroelectric project would threaten sacred land, Pechanga tribe says

The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians once warned that a proposed mine would obliterate a sacred site equal to the Biblical Garden of Eden. Now, the southwest Riverside County tribe is sounding a similar alarm about the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project, or LEAPS, a hydroelectric project proposed for the Lake Elsinore area.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: A new way forward for our environment and water management in the Upper Sacramento River

This week, water suppliers and landowners along the Sacramento River joined with federal and state agencies in a new science collaborative designed to inform ongoing efforts to improve conditions for salmon on the Sacramento River, while also helping better manage water for cities and rural communities, farms, refuges and wildlife management areas that depend upon this water.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Canal piping OK’d

Despite opposing views among board members and objections from the public, on a 3-2 vote the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors voted Monday to approve piping the Upper Main Ditch, also known as the El Dorado Canal.

Aquafornia news Waste360

California waste district and wastewater treatment plant partner to boost their bottom lines

In California, Monterey Regional Waste Management District and its neighbor, wastewater treatment plant Monterey One Water, have entered a somewhat unusual relationship with unique benefits to each. And the relationship has payoffs for its shared customers too.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Saltwater intrusion at North Marin wells reaches historic high

North Marin Water District has struggled for decades with periodic and seasonal salinity intrusion resulting from the wells’ proximity to Tomales Bay, but the problem is especially dire this summer as freshwater becomes scarce.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Why conserving water today means more groundwater for tomorrow

Groundwater is California’s water savings bank account that can be tapped during dry years when water in lakes and rivers are low. Conserving water helps preserve groundwater, which is important for plants, animals and people.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Adapting to flood, fire, and drought: A case study of the American River

At ACWA’s virtual conference held in July of 2020, a panel comprised of agencies described the experience of the American River region in evaluating climate impacts on their watershed in a new cutting-edge study and the comprehensive suite of projects designed to address increasing threats from more frequent and intense floods, fires, and droughts.

Aquafornia news Del Norte Triplicate

Hearing highlights stakes in holdup to Klamath dam removal project

Stakeholders shared their concerns of potential consequences over a stalled project to remove four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River during a recent online panel discussion. Congressman Jared Huffman of California’s Second Congressional District and chairman of the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee, hosted the discussion.

Aquafornia news EcoWatch

We can solve water scarcity in the U.S., new study says

The study … says that some of the most water-stressed areas in the West and Southwest have the greatest potential for water savings. The paper attributes nearly half the potential to simply improving how water is used in agriculture, specifically in growing the commodity crops, corn, cotton and alfalfa.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Forebay full again — more water storage, more hydroelectric power

After more than two years, another big El Dorado Irrigation District project is complete as renovations and improvements to the El Dorado Forebay Dam and Reservoir are finished and the reservoir refilled.

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Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Comments on the Lake Powell Pipeline

The written version of remarks delivered by Eric Kuhn at the Aug. 25 Western Resource Advocates webinar on the Lake Powell Pipeline, featuring Eric, WRA’s Bart Miller, and Alice Walker, attorney for the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Tom Philpott predicts the end of farming as we know it

The veteran food writer’s new book warns that the current trajectory of farming in California’s Central Valley and the Corn Belt could be setting us up for collapse.

Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Lake Mead and Lower Colorado River to remain in tier Zero shortage for 2021

Above-average temperatures in spring resulted in a paltry 57% runoff, nowhere near enough water to refill the reservoirs that remain half-empty. Based on these conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently determined that 2021 will be a “tier zero” year under the Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, with reduced water deliveries for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Project water deliveries help reduce botulism outbreaks

While the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex deals with one of its biggest botulism outbreaks in recent history, emergency water deliveries from the Klamath Project have prevented the situation from worsening. The waterborne bacterial illness, which causes paralysis and often leads to death, has impacted more than 15 percent of the molting birds currently on Tule Lake’s main sump.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: New $15.9b Delta tunnel cost estimate: Revisiting DWR’s 2018 analysis with updated costs shows it is a bad investment

Simply updating costs to this latest estimate ($15.9 billion in 2020 dollars is equivalent to $15 billion in the 2017$) reduces the benefit-cost ratio for State Water Project urban agencies from 1.23 to 0.92, and for agricultural agencies from 1.17 to 0.87. That’s a bad investment, but it is actually much worse than that.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Water Blueprint proposes a valley-wide sales tax to fund its irrigation water plan. Is it feasible?

Earlier this month, CSU-Fresno hosted the event “Funding Water Infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.” The majority of the event was focused on the so-called “Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley,” a high profile new investment plan for irrigation water. At the event, the Blueprint rolled out a proposed funding plan – the centerpiece of which is a proposed 0.5% special sales tax in the 8 counties of the San Joaquin Valley.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Summit reviews water needs of San Joaquin Valley

One expert at a virtual summit meeting on California’s water infrastructure said 1 in 5 acres will come out of agricultural production in the San Joaquin Valley by 2040.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

COVID-19 pandemic should be a wake-up call for water security

In a comment article published in Nature Sustainability, the researchers are urging policy makers across the world to focus on behavioural change, knowledge promotion and investment in water infrastructure.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

CPUC to vote on water bill surcharge reform

A ruling that promises to rein in surcharges appearing on the water bills of 3 million ratepayers in Monterey County and elsewhere is coming up for a vote at the California Public Utilities Commission Thursday. The reform is proposed by CPUC Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves with backing from the agency’s Public Advocate’s Office. Aceves says the surcharge system failed to incentivize conservation and just ended up making water more expensive.

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Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Opinion: What works in the Santa Clarita Valley: Our water supply

The consolidation of multiple agencies into SCV Water makes local coordination in emergencies much easier than in the past. Partnerships with other agencies to the north and south of us mean there are backup plans for dry years and places to store excess water in wet years.