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 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Ontario sets 0% water conservation goal

Despite growing concerns of a below-average rainfall season, the city of Ontario revoked mandatory conservation measures this week, setting a 0% water conservation target with state regulators. … The City Council approved the change from mandatory Stage 2 water conservation to voluntary conservation on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

LAFCo approves annexing Middletown Rancheria land into Callayomi County Water District

The Lake Local Area Formation Commission has approved a proposal to annex Middletown Rancheria land into the Callayomi County Water District in order to ensure a safe, reliable source of water for the tribe’s homes and casino.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bill would block transfers of Colorado River water to Arizona cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

New film highlights fight for clean drinking water in Valley

Yolanda Cuevas saw herself on the big screen for the first time during the Saturday premiere of “The Great Water Divide: California’s Water Crisis” in Exeter. The short documentary focuses on Tooleville, a hamlet in eastern Tulare County where children can’t wash their hands, dishes or vegetables without supervision because the water is tainted with multiple contaminants.

Aquafornia news Irish Tmes

Are almonds bad for the environment?

A single almond takes about three and half litres of water to produce. Most almonds – an estimated 82 per cent – are grown in drought-afflicted California, where it constitutes a multibillion-dollar industry. The number of almond orchards has doubled in the last 20 years in California.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California oil and gas wells could cost $9 billion to plug, clean

Cleaning up the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells scattered across California — which includes plugging them, removing surface infrastructure and cleaning the soil — could eventually cost more than $9 billion if they fall to the state to handle, a new report commissioned by state oil regulators says.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

With some oil drilling on hold, lawmaker wants state to do more to prevent releases

The moratorium has led state officials to place on hold 58 permit applications for high-pressure cyclic steam wells, according to Don Drysdale, a spokesman for the Department of Conservation, which oversees the division now known as the California Geologic Energy Management Division, or CalGEM. A Southern California lawmaker who has launched an inquiry into the steam injection wells says CalGEM’s new rules don’t go far enough.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Watershed adjudication is the nuclear option

Watershed adjudications take a long time and their outcomes are impossible to predict. Thus the interest expressed by some major water purveyors (like the City of Ventura, Casitas Municipal Water District, Ventura River Water District and Meiners Oaks Water District) in pursuing a court-sanctioned settlement agreement. Negotiations on a settlement have begun and could avert the need for a lengthy basin-wide adjudication.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Predator fish that anglers love at center of CA water wars

In California’s never-ending water and fish wars, the striped bass doesn’t get nearly the publicity as its celebrity counterparts, the endangered Chinook salmon and Delta smelt. Yet the striped bass is at the heart of a protracted fight over California’s water supply, 140 years after the hard-fighting fish, beloved by anglers, was introduced here from the East Coast.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Lathrop replacing 3,506 residential water meters

New state-of-the-art water meters that will provide accurate, real-time readings of how much water Lathrop’s residential customers use are on the way. The Lathrop City Council approved a consent calendar item that will allow city staff to purchase the remaining 3,506 water meters in the city that have not yet been updated – approving the expenditure of $436,760 and a contingency of $43,676 to modernize the aging system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New water recycling projects to battle seawater invasion in Monterey Bay area

For decades, California’s coastal aquifers have been plagued by invading seawater, turning pristine wells into salty ruins. But the state’s coastal water agencies now plan to get more aggressive in holding back the invasion by injecting millions of gallons of treated sewage and other purified wastewater deep underground.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Court battles, 2020 election loom over Trump WOTUS rule

Trump administration officials took a victory lap after they unveiled their final revisions to Clean Water Act protections for waterways and wetlands. But the Waters of the U.S., or WOTUS, replacement rule that EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers completed yesterday must now survive a possible Democratic win in the 2020 presidential election and an expected inundation of challenges in the courts.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Researchers aim to cure valley’s salty soil with $2.5m grant from NSF

A new project out of UC Merced — funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation — seeks to address this problem by developing an innovative, environmentally friendly and economically feasible system to desalinate and reuse agricultural drainage water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

January will end on a dry note in Southern California as the jet stream locks into a zonal pattern

January’s rainfall has been unimpressive to date, and Jan Null, veteran meteorologist with Golden Gate Weather Services, agrees that the last week of the month looks relatively dry. Seasonal precipitation totals for Northern and Central California continue to fall behind normal.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona’s water system for suburban growth heads toward ‘train wreck,’ Babbitt says

A water management district created by a 1993 state law that allowed massive subdivisions to spread into the outer suburbs of Tucson and Phoenix is now heading for a “train wreck,” warns former Arizona Governor and Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.

Aquafornia news Weekly Calistogan

There’s plenty of water: City of Calistoga updates its water element in general plan

Demand for water from 2002-2015 was down 36%, and demand for 2019 was only about half of what it was for 2015, city staff said at a planning commission meeting Jan. 22.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom pledged to fix California water politics. Now he’s bogged down in the Delta

The Newsom administration appears to be a house divided on water, as competing interests pull it in opposite directions. The main flash point is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a threatened estuary and source of water for a majority of Californians.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Between wildfires, land in the US West has short 10- to 15-year reprieve

In wildland forest locations, they found that drought-ridden and drier locales like Idaho and Colorado have longer stretches of post-burn protection (about 20 years) because the woody debris in those forests require extreme drought to carry fires and the land lacks grassy fuels. Coastal California, however, receives more moisture and grassy fuel grows quickly, increasing the risk for reburn, seeing that negative feedback disappear after about 10 years.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

SGMA implementation: Groundwater Sustainability Plan evaluation and State Water Board intervention

A joint workshop hosted by the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Board provides details on how incoming plans will be evaluated and what State Water Board intervention might look like.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S. food trade increasingly leans on unsustainable groundwater

Konar and her colleagues combined groundwater depletion data with county-level food trade data. They found that, between 2002 and 2012, unsustainable groundwater use increased by 32 percent in products traded domestically. The increase was 38 percent for exported goods. If groundwater is like a bank account, then this is deficit spending.

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Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies

Blog: Voluntary agreements are a better plan for California

We are on the brink of a historic accomplishment in California water to resolve longstanding conflicts through comprehensive voluntary agreements that substitute collaboration and creative solutions for perpetual litigation. For anyone to abandon this transformative effort in favor of litigation would be a tragic mistake…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

California geothermal plan released after leasing spike

One of the biggest indicators of renewed geothermal interest occurred Thursday when the Bureau of Land Management published a final environmental impact statement on a California geothermal leasing area that sat on the shelf for eight years. The statement is for the proposed designation of a 22,805-acre Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area north of Ridgecrest, Calif., and west of Death Valley National Park.

Aquafornia news Reuters

U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’: environment watchdog

The findings by the Environmental Working Group show the group’s previous estimate in 2018, based on unpublished U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data, that 110 million Americans may be contaminated with PFAS, could be far too low.

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Aquafornia news Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Small farmers wait for California’s groundwater hammer to fall

Farmers, large and small, are beginning to grapple with what the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act means for them. One by one, local sustainability plans are starting to go public. Many farmers expect to see cutbacks on pumping once the program is fully implemented in 2040.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds tout improved odds for survival of Colorado River fish

Touting successful conservation efforts in recent decades, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it will reclassify a Colorado River fish from endangered to threatened. The agency said the humpback chub, a dorsal-finned fish that primarily resides in the Colorado River, no longer meets the required criteria to be classified as a federally endangered species.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: To protect children, schools must lead the effort to prevent lead poisoning

Fresno County contains eight of the top 50 census districts in California with the highest numbers of kids with lead poisoning, according to a recent article in The Fresno Bee. This is completely unacceptable.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Precipitation total continues to lag below normal

There hasn’t been enough moisture this year so far to keep up with what’s normal. The Southern Sierra 6-station index which covers the Tulare Basin, stood at 78 percent of normal as of Tuesday as far as the precipitation level.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Desalination emerges as a possible solution for another Monterey County water challenge

The groundwater sustainability plan approved Jan. 9 features a slew of solutions like eradicating thirsty reeds invading the watershed, and proposed pumping limits that could lead to the fallowing of some farmland. Also envisioned are a “wall” against seawater and possibly a new desalination plant that would dwarf the project being pursued by the Monterey Peninsula’s water utility, California American Water.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Update on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program

The main focus of the program are the barriers to fish passage for salmon from Friant Dam to the ocean and back again. There are three key barriers: the East Side Bypass Control Structure which is in the flood bypass; Sack Dam, which is the intake for Arroyo Canal for Henry Miller irrigation system; and Mendota Dam which controls Mendota Pool. The program also needs to ensure enough habitat for the fish when they return to complete their life cycle,

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump admin fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

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Aquafornia news Rancho Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe Irrigation approves rate increases, protest level not reached

The Santa Fe Irrigation District approved three percent water rate increases for the next three years at a Jan. 16 hearing. … The rate increases aim to help meet the district’s objectives to ensure equity across customer classes, encourage conservation and maintain financial stability as it faces challenges such as the rising costs of imported water.

Aquafornia news Los Altos Town Crier

Opinion: Valley Water partners to expand water supply

Although water purified at the Silicon Valley Advanced Purification Center is not currently part of Santa Clara County’s supply of drinking water, the goal is to make that a reality within the next decade or so.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Supervisors extend state of emergency for marijuana-related problems

Siskiyou County supervisors last week supported Sheriff Jon Lopey’s assessment that illegal marijuana grows are detrimental to the health and well being of local residents and approved the extension of a local state of emergency through 2020.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: As water agencies balk at the tunnel’s price tag, DWR turns to a desperate ransom strategy

Since July, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and State Water Contractors have engaged in fruitless negotiations over how to pay for a single-tunnel Delta Conveyance Facility. On December 23, right before the holidays, DWR made their 6th proposal to the State WaterContractors with a major shift in approach.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Edison in hot water over dumping of debris, rocks into Mission Creek

Santa Barbara County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have issued notices of violation to Southern California Edison for its dumping of debris and rocks into Mission Creek near the Inspiration Point hiking trail. … Mission Creek is Santa Barbara’s largest creek, flowing from the hills of Mission Canyon through the heart of downtown and to the Westside. It is home to steelhead trout among other wildlife. 

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump administration fast-tracks Colorado River pipeline

Utah first proposed building a 140-mile pipeline from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border more than a decade ago. The plan, however, was waylaid by environmental and other reviews during the Obama administration. … Reclamation signaled to the state that it wants to move swiftly on the plan, in recognition of how it was stalled at FERC…

Related article:

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Reactivating our floodplains: A new way forward

At a panel discussion hosted by California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, the panelists discussed how by spreading out and slowing down water across the landscape can provide multiple benefits year-round by allowing farmers to cultivate the land during the spring and summer, and provide habitat for fish and wildlife in the fall and winter months.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Nuts getting a bad rap for sinking the California Aqueduct

State water officials are blaming almond and pistachio orchards for sinking the California Aqueduct before all the evidence is in, according to one western Kern County water district manager.

Aquafornia news San Marino Tribune

City council grills Cal-Am Water over proposed rate increase

It was an evening of tense questioning and a lack of local details on Wednesday, January 8 as the San Marino City Council grilled representatives from the California American Water (CAW) Company on why the city is facing a proposed increase of water rates of 16.64 percent starting January 1, 2021.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Beetles and fire kill dozens of ‘indestructible’ giant Sequoia trees

The deaths of the trees, some of which lived through the rise and fall of hundreds of empires, caliphates and kingdoms – not to mention the inauguration of every US president – have shocked researchers in their speed and novelty.

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Aquafornia news KQED Science

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Time’s up on groundwater plans: One of the most important new California water laws in 50 years explained

The landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, requires some of the state’s thirstiest areas form local “Groundwater Sustainability Agencies” and submit long-term plans by Jan. 31 for keeping aquifers healthy. Together, those plans will add up to a big reveal, as groundwater managers finally disclose how badly they believe their aquifers are overdrawn…

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Gov. Newsom must stand up to Trump on latest attack on Delta

Now Trump’s team is set to impose new environmentally damaging Bay-Delta water diversion and pumping rules. … These new rules would wipe out salmon and other wildlife by allowing wholesale siphoning of water from Northern California rivers to a few agriculture operators in the western San Joaquin Valley. 

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Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Two Tulare County towns will be testing ground for ‘innovative’ arsenic-tainted water treatment

A $30,000 grant will bring together 20 high school students from Allensworth and Alpaugh to learn about safe drinking water, conduct hands-on testing of arsenic treatment, and present findings… The students will work with a UC Berkeley lab to test the technology, Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Ducey defends Arizona’s record on water, says state has ‘more to do’

Gov. Doug Ducey is touting Arizona’s record on water while also acknowledging the state has “more to do” in some areas. Ducey talked about water policies this week in an interview for The Arizona Republic’s podcast The Gaggle.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump hails WOTUS overhaul as critics call for investigation

President Trump yesterday touted his repeal of key Clean Water Act regulations as more than three dozen current and former government officials called for an investigation into the scientific basis of his forthcoming replacement rule.

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Aquafornia news Cannabis Now

Climate change puts spotlight on the drought resistance of marijuana

Mediterranean climates include California, and dry-farming of cannabis is catching on in the Emerald Triangle as a part of the general trend toward sun-grown and organic product.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Rain and snow return, but it won’t be enough to quench Northern California’s needs

More rain and snow area headed to Northern California on Tuesday, although the storm won’t be nearly enough to make up for what’s been a relatively dry January. … The Department of Water Resources’ precipitation index was at 63 percent of normal for the Valley and Sierra. The Sierra snowpack is 82 percent of normal.

Aquafornia news Mad River Union

McKinleyville Town Center limits loosened to allow wetlands relocation, development

The committee voted to recommend a less stringent definition of wetlands for the Town Center area. The committee also recommended a policy that would allow the wetlands located on a vacant lot behind the McKinleyville Shopping Center to be reconfigured or even relocated. The recommendations have the potential to open up the property to more development…

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump withdraws water supply rule amid environmental rollbacks

Speaking to the crowd at the American Farm Bureau Federation conference in Austin, Texas, Trump said he would be withdrawing the Water Supply Act proposed in the final days of the Obama administration.

Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bill would ban river water transfers to central Arizona

Under a new bill in the Arizona state Legislature, some water tied to land that borders the Colorado River could not be transferred into central Arizona. It comes after recent proposals to do just that.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma Index Tribune

Opinion: Beavers more than cute creatures for Sonoma Creek

The Sonoma Index-Tribune recently published a couple of articles about beavers and otters in Sonoma Creek… It’s a good sign, not just because it’s nice to know that Sonoma Valley’s main waterway is actually clean enough to support wildlife, but also because beavers can actually improve life for other critters, including my favorite, rainbow trout.

Aquafornia news Fox40

‘All risk and no reward’: Patterson group fights back against proposed dam

Dozens of families in Stanislaus County are fighting against a proposed dam just west of Patterson. The 800-acre reservoir would mean a portion of Del Puerto Canyon would be underwater. … Volunteers and organizers with the Patterson Progressive Alliance have been working to save Del Puerto Canyon.

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Could Sacramento flood like New Orleans? It’s possible, but water managers are trying to make it less likely

Weak and problematic levees are a big reason why there was so much destruction when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. It cost Louisiana and Mississippi more than $150 billion dollars and killed more than 1,800 people. But could something like this happen in the Sacramento region? The answer CapRadio heard from levee experts is yes, Sacramento could see that type of flooding, but there are a lot of things that lower that risk.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Santa Ana River Wash Plan aims to protect land and species

The conservation district is a special governmental entity that has been recharging the local groundwater aquifers for 100 years. The Wash Plan will implement water conservation, supply infrastructure, transportation and aggregate production while protecting threatened species.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County supervisors blast plans to move Delta tunnel project forward

Response to Wednesday’s action by the California Department of Water Resources to initiate an environmental impact report for a tunnel project in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta was not popular with the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

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Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Why is DWR helping Trump weaken Bay-Delta protections?

Confused? So are we. It’s time for DWR to stop acting like a Trump Administration agency and get on board with the Newsom Administration.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Opinion: Imported water helps the valley endure another year of drought

Even though water districts and cities throughout the San Bernardino Valley rely on local rainfall and mountain runoff for about 70 percent of their water supply, local supplies are not enough. The region relies on Sierra snowmelt from Northern California to meet the remaining 30 percent.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Legionella in California prison water can’t be eradicated

A bacteria that can cause deadly infections has become an ongoing problem requiring permanent staffing at California’s newest state prison, according to state budget documents. California Health Care Facility, a Stockton prison that houses some of the state’s sickest inmates, wants to hire 15 permanent positions and spend about $4.4 million per year to fight the bacteria, known as legionella…

Aquafornia news KRON TV

New radar system in San Jose will make more accurate weather predictions

Inside the dome on top of the Penitencia Water Treatment plant in San Jose is the first permanent x-band weather radar system in the Bay Area. “The radar system that you see up there is collecting crucial data as we speak,” said Norma Camacho, CEO of Valley Water.“ Camacho joined the San Francisco P.U.C., Sonoma Water and other partners in unveiling the new system, which will improve weather forecasting across the region.

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Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Ways to win the water wars

The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, located just south of LAX, purifies water and injects it into the ground to act as a barrier between seawater and fresh groundwater. … But the idea is to one day recycle wastewater into drinking water and put it right back into the system. The industry is moving cautiously, though, given what you might call a considerable “ick” factor for the public.

Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

Sebastopol water, sewer rates to rise

In order to provide ongoing funding for Sebastopol’s water and sewer system, the Sebastopol City Council unanimously approved an increase to water and sewer rates at its Jan. 7 meeting. … The average ratepayer’s bill is expected to increase by $3 or $4 per month, according to Mayor Patrick Slayter.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Fears of more flooding in north Chico area may halt building permits

The issue, which came in front of the county supervisors Tuesday, has been “put on pause,” she said, until more information is available. Specifically, the supervisors are waiting to make a decision on the moratorium until they know how many homes have been built in the area in the past two to three years, and how many more are slated to be built.

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Newsom administration’s Water Resilience Portfolio puts California on course to climate resilience

While Newsom has been forced to address climate change on many fronts during the past year – think wildfires, blackouts and automobile standards – the state’s myriad water challenges must remain a priority. Our state’s water system is decades old and needs to be re-envisioned for a new era.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California governor restarts giant water tunnel project

California’s governor has restarted a project to build a giant, underground tunnel that would pump billions of gallons of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern part of the state. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration on Wednesday issued a Notice of Preparation for the project, which is the first step in the state’s lengthy environmental review process.

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Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Wildfire and water challenge solutions featured in documentary to air on KVIE

UC Merced researchers outline solutions to the severe wildfire problems in California’s mountain forests and closely linked water resource challenges in a documentary premiering on KVIE, the Sacramento affiliate of PBS, later this month. The new film “Beyond the Brink: California’s Watershed” highlights the critical need to reverse a century of fire suppression in Sierra Nevada forests…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona bills would strengthen rural groundwater rules

State legislators plan to tackle widespread problems of groundwater overpumping in rural Arizona this session, proposing bills that would make it easier to limit well-drilling in farming areas where residents have asked for help from the state to safeguard their dwindling water supplies.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Policy changes assist water patrons

Palmdale Water District customers will have more protections before their water service may be shut off for neglecting to pay their bills on time, following policy changes approved Monday. The changes reflect the requirements of Senate Bill 998, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in September 2018.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

Laguna Lake to be dredged near Prefumo Creek

The city has a five-year plan for its initial removals of sedimentation, and city officials forecast spending a total of about $1.65 million. According to a 2016 city report, removing the sediment would deepen the lake and create community benefits that include enhancing wildlife habitat, critical for threatened steelhead trout and local and migratory birds, as well as recreational opportunities…

Aquafornia news KCET

State-federal water deal takes bite from L.A.’s supply

With virtually no public notice, state officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018. One year later, it remains unclear why the California Department of Water Resources signed the agreement…

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

More than 100 turn out to learn about damaged dam

The Ono Community Services District has been trying since last summer to get federal and state money to pay for repairs to the 100-year-old dam, which has holes in its spillway and no other way to release water after its outlet pipes became plugged with dirt and debris last spring.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Here’s how much better last fire season was than the previous two

Last year, with those recent calamities haunting the state, officials took some unprecedented steps to avert a devastating repeat. Did they work? Well, judging by the results tallied at the end of the year, something went right.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

GSP vote set for Jan. 16

After years of planning, discussion and debate, the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority board will vote on the adoption of the groundwater sustainability plan at its meeting Thursday. … The plan will provide a roadmap to bring the IWV groundwater basin into sustainability by 2040. That includes reducing pumping of the basin to a safe yield of 7,650 acre-feet per year…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

First look: San Diego State University’s $54M plan for a Mission Valley river park

SDSU, with the help of its landscape architect Schmidt Design Group, hopes to engineer ties to the oft-overlooked San Diego River, which runs behind the Mission Valley property currently home to SDCCU Stadium. Although park-goers won’t be able to access the river — a landscaped buffer will be used to keep people away from the natural habitat — they should get a river-like feel from the park.

Aquafornia news Mother Jones

Blog: Energy companies have a great friend at Trump’s Interior Department: Their former lobbyist

Since he took the new post in July 2017, Bernhardt’s former clients have spent a lot of money trying to influence the Department of Interior. Seventeen of them have coughed up a combined $29.9 million to lobby the Trump administration since January 2017, according to a new report from the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen…. Bernhardt’s former client Westlands Water District, which has lobbied to weaken endangered species protections to divert more water for agriculture… has spent more than $1.5 million lobbying Interior and Department of Justice since 2017. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation ends decades of financial uncertainty for water and power users of the Central Valley Project

The Bureau of Reclamation today released the Central Valley Project Final Cost Allocation Study, which determines how to distribute costs of the multipurpose CVP facilities to project beneficiaries. … This final cost allocation study will replace the 1975 interim allocation to reflect additional project construction, as well as regulatory, operational, legal and ecological changes that have taken place over the last half century.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Growers still unclear on how much groundwater they can use

The first question asked at the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Board meeting on Friday represented the frustration of growers who are still facing the unknown. “It’s 2020,” the grower said, who went on to ask the board, referring to growers, “what can they pump?” The board is still working through the process on how much water growers can pump out of the ground.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

West Marin coalition aims to boost Walker Creek fish habitat

West Marin ranchers and a local conservation group are teaming up to plan habitat restoration projects along Walker Creek to restore the once bountiful, but now diminished, runs of coho salmon and steelhead trout. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife awarded the Point Reyes Station-based Marin Resource Conservation District a nearly $350,000 grant this month…

Aquafornia news San Diego Reader

Why San Diego farmers worry about water

In December, the boards of the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District voted to begin detachment from the San Diego County Water Authority in order to join Riverside’s Eastern Municipal Water District. Will those left behind pay more as others tap new supplies? Questions are flying in Valley Center, where farms are the main customers, even as avocado turf keeps shrinking.

Aquafornia news Data Center Dynamics

Opinion: The overlooked threat to the digital economy: Water scarcity

If you manage a data center, you need smart water management strategy. Fortunately, practical solutions to make that happen are available today. Smart water management is a growing necessity because of two colliding challenges: the need for more data centers around the world and increasing global water scarcity.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Opinion: An ounce of prevention: Australia and California could benefit from forest management

The fires raging in Australia present a sadly recognizable scenario, a new normal that, after two years of devastating wildfires in California, we in the United States have become all too familiar with. Policies intended to return forests to a more “natural” state with less proactive human management have created disastrous conditions…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California eyeing lower standard for perchlorate in drinking water

Water suppliers across the state must test for perchlorate down to 4 parts per billion. In February, the board expects to seek comment on reducing that threshold down to 2 parts per billion…

Aquafornia news Futurity.org

Blog: ‘Perfect droughts’ hit California water sources 6 times a century

Severe droughts have happened simultaneously in the regions that supply water to Southern California almost six times per century on average since 1500, according to new research. The study is the first to document the duration and frequency of simultaneous droughts in Southern California’s main water sources—the Sacramento River basin, the Upper Colorado River Basin, and local Southern California basins.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Kids take part in salmon life cycle at Riverbend Park

As they walked to the river’s edge holding baby salmon in cups, second graders warned the tiny fish of predators before gently setting them free into the water. Two classes from Oakdale Heights Elementary School took part in a salmon study that came to a close Friday at Riverbend Park in Oroville.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Some Riverside residents warned to stop outdoor watering while treatment plant repairs take place

The Henry J. Mills Water Treatment Plant will be out of service for nine days and the Western Municipal Water District will not be able to import water, forcing the agency to rely on its reserves, officials said. The work began Friday, Jan. 10, and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California crews will be fixing and modifying the facility until Jan. 19, according to the agency.

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

Five water issues to watch in Arizona in 2020

Plenty of work is on the docket for 2020 and beyond to manage and preserve Arizona’s water supply, even if that work might not write history the way last year’s signing of the Drought Contingency Plan did. … The state’s water managers are known for prioritizing predictability and making careful, gradual changes, not erratic or sudden ones. Here are five key issues to watch this year in Arizona water.

Aquafornia news Gilroy Dispatch

Opinion: District to update water charge zones

Because zone changes have the potential to impact many well users, Valley Water conducted extensive stakeholder engagement on the preliminary study recommendations. … The board of directors agreed and directed our team to prepare the survey description to modify the two existing zones, and create two new zones in South County. The board will consider these changes in a public hearing later this year.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Striped bass: An important indicator species in the Delta

The factors causing the decline of many fish and fisheries in the upper San Francisco Estuary have made their management controversial, usually because of the correlation of declines with increased water exports from the Delta and upstream of the Delta… To address this problem better, the California Fish and Game Commission is developing new policies for managing Delta fish and fisheries, with a special focus on striped bass.

Aquafornia news Discover Magazine

Microplastics are everywhere, but their health effects on humans are still unclear

How pervasive is that plastic exposure, and is it bad for your health? Scientists don’t yet know, but they have some working theories. Here’s what we know so far about these tiny, prevalent plastic particles.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona’s water supply a major issue for legislative session

Republican and Democratic Leaders of the Arizona House are again eyeing the state’s water supply as a major issue in the coming legislative session. GOP House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Democratic Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez have both highlighted overpumping in the state’s rural areas as a major issue for lawmakers when return to work on Monday.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

The living landscape: Beautiful Boggs Ridge Nature Trail

This quiet corner of Lake County – about 50 acres – resides in the Cache and Putah Creek watersheds. Our amazing watershed, a hydrologic system, in due course, arrives at the Pacific Ocean.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pure Water Monterey finishes key water tests, delivery date delayed again

According to Monterey One Water general manager Paul Sciuto, the best-case scenario now is the much-anticipated $126 million recycled water project would be able to start delivering water to the basin by early February, about a month later than the most recent previous estimate…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Forever litigated ‘forever chemicals’: A guide to PFAS in courts

Court dockets are ballooning with litigation over PFAS, a vexing family of chemicals used in many consumer and industrial products. … Lawyers have compared the legal onslaught to litigation over asbestos, tobacco, and lead paint. Here’s a rundown of key cases.

Aquafornia news Dana Point Times

Talking desalination dollars

South Coast Water District will gear up to undertake its next milestone for desalination: financing the project. On Thursday, Jan. 9, after press time, General Manager Rick Shintaku requested authorization from SCWD’s Board of Directors to enter into an agreement with Clean Energy Capital to conduct a cost analysis for the proposed desalination project.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

House passes PFAS chemicals bill to push water standards

House lawmakers passed a bill Friday for U.S. regulators to designate chemicals found in cooking spray, cosmetics and other grease-resistant products as health hazards. Known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluorooctanoic substances (PFAS and PFOS), the chemicals have been found in groundwater sites across the nation.

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Aquafornia news ABC10.com

When Sacramento became ‘Levee City’: 170-year anniversary of the flood that started it all

The river barreled over, sinking the streets of Sacramento in 6-feet of water. It was streaming fast, flooding the hotels and houses of Gold Rush migrants hoping to find fortune in the bountiful land of California.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado River had a stellar 2019, but this year’s forecasts are below average

Right now, the April-July runoff is supposed to be 82% of average. That compares to 145 % of average in 2019, the second-best runoff season in the past 20 years, says the federal Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. Despite last year’s excellent river flows, most experts also say the Colorado still faces long-term supply issues…

Aquafornia news Food and Environment Reporting Network

As the Salton Sea shrinks, it leaves behind a toxic reminder of the cost of making a desert bloom

Many of the people and businesses that once relied on the lake have left, driven away by the smell of dying fish or the fear of health problems. Those who remain — farmworkers, families, the elderly — are generally too poor to afford the rising cost of property elsewhere in the valley.

Aquafornia news The Grocer

How US almond growers are struggling to overcome ‘vampire’ image problem

Californian almonds will benefit from a new public campaign next week to capitalise on the explosion in plant-based eating… However, the environmental reputation of the almond sector is much less favourable. It was once labelled a “horticultural vampire” by US magazine New Republic for its perceived role in California’s most recent droughts.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Save the San Joaquin? Fresno County should reject Cemex proposal for deeper gravel mine

Yes, aggregate mining on the San Joaquin has been going on for more than a century. But with production tapering off and newer operations opening on the nearby Kings River, it was generally assumed the poor San Joaquin would finally be given a break… Unfortunately, a proposal by Cemex threatens to dash those hopes while ensuring another century of heavy industry on California’s second-longest river…

Aquafornia news Bay City News

SF City Hall to swap out bottled water for tap under new pilot program

San Francisco city officials and employees will no longer be sipping bottled water, but instead tap water provided by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission under a new pilot program announced Thursday. The program aims to install new reusable five-gallon containers at nine departments with offices within City Hall, filled with tap water from the city’s water system.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Project to restore American River for native fish leads to surge in salmon nests

The American River is seeing an increase in native fish nests following a fall project carried out by federal, state and local agencies to re-establish natural spawning habitats.

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Aquafornia news City Watch LA

Opinion: Dirty water – dirty politics

Who can deny the value of potable water to every living thing in this city, this county, this state? Four million residential and industrial customers in 43 cities in the Los Angeles, San Gabriel and San Fernando Basins are dependent on multiple water sources – groundwater pumped from below them, by aqueduct from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, Mono Lake, the Owens Valley and recycled from wastewater treatment plants.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Water releases report on wells

The majority of groundwater wells drawing water for Santa Clarita Valley Water contain enough of a non-stick chemical, which is a suspected carcinogen, that water officials are now required by the state to notify the county about the find. Of the agency’s 45 operational wells, 29 of them were found to contain tiny amounts of of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. 

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Aquafornia news Morgan Hill Times

Opinion: District updates groundwater charge zones

Because the amount of groundwater pumped out far exceeds what is naturally replenished by rainfall, Valley Water’s groundwater management activities are critical to maintaining healthy groundwater basins.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water company pleads guilty to hazardous waste violations

A California company that produces Crystal Geyser bottled water pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste and agreed to a $5 million fine, federal prosecutors said. The waste was produced by filtering arsenic out of Sierra Nevada spring water at CG Roxane LLC’s facility in Owens Valley, authorities said.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

The rope behind Poway’s water problems had been there a long time

Nobody seems to know why a rope that caused a nearly weeklong boil-water advisory in Poway was there in the first place. The rope had been hanging on a wall in a vault adjacent to the clearwell drinking water reservoir and a stormwater drain. When heavy rains on Nov. 28 and 29 caused the stormwater to surge and back up into the vault, somehow the rope became lodged in a swing gate allowing muddy water to leak into the reservoir…

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: A harsh dose of reality amid movement toward border pollution solution

The increasing spills that have polluted the Tijuana River Valley and ocean off Imperial Beach have resulted in frustration and anger in recent years, but also triggered broad political collaboration at the local, state and federal level that has put the region on the brink of real action.

Aquafornia news Fox 5 San Diego

Imperial Beach residents weigh in on potential water rate hikes

Water rates are set to rise next year for at least some parts of San Diego County, including Imperial Beach, Coronado and some sections of San Diego served by the California American Water Company. The rates are renegotiated every three years, but it’s about an 18-month process to determine just how much those rates will climb.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Opinion: Save the Chinook and Coho salmon

Every year since 2014, I have petitioned the State Water Resources Control Board to end the widespread practice of irrigation, especially of cattle pastures, outside the legal irrigation season. So far, however, State Water Board staff have not taken effective action to end the illegal water use and the resulting degradation of Scott River stream ecosystems…

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Film by Truckee local to be featured at Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City

What started as a plan for a fun trip down the Sacramento Rver turned into a storytelling mission for Mitch Dion and his friend Tom Bartels, who set out to interview farmers, politicians and others who were impacted by the river.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Owners of former Warner Center Rocketdyne site have a plan for cleanup, but activists push back

Recently, property owner United Technologies Corp. has asked the state to change cleanup requirements of the property from residential to commercial standards, according to the documents filed with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, which oversees the remediation efforts.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday Top of the Scroll: California has protections against Trump rollback of environmental rules

The Trump administration’s sweeping plan to ease environmental review of highways, power plants and other big projects may be less consequential in California, where state law puts checks on new development. By no means, however, would California go unaffected.

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Aquafornia news Hi Desert Star

Hi-Desert Water District looks at raising rates for Yucca Valley customers

Without raising rates to make 3 percent more revenue each year starting in 2020, Hi-Desert Water District would not have enough revenue to recover expenses in the next five years. … For residential customers who are in tier one (those who use the least amount of water), rates would go from $3.65 per hundred cubic feet in 2020, gradually up to $4.11 in fiscal year 2024.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

ACWA panel: Establishing groundwater allocations under SGMA

As groundwater sustainability agencies prepare their plans to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), they will likely utilize a variety of tools to achieve sustainability. … At ACWA’s fall conference, a panel discussed the legal framework, different types of groundwater rights, lessons learned from existing groundwater production allocation programs, and potential pitfalls …

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

NAFTA replacement deal won’t curb pollution, environment groups say

When lawmakers in the House of Representatives approved the Trump administration’s new trade deal with Mexico and Canada last month, they authorized $300 million to help fix failing sewer systems that send raw sewage and toxic pollution flowing into rivers along the U.S.-Mexico border. … But environmental groups are condemning the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, saying it fails to establish binding standards to curb pollution in Mexico’s industrial zones.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water leak reveals pot grow site in Southern California home

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department says deputies were dispatched Monday when a person in the city of Perris reported they had not seen their neighbor for several days and a steady flow of water coming out of the residence was flooding yards.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

1.4 million California kids have not received mandatory lead poisoning tests

More than 1.4 million children covered by California’s Medicaid health care program have not received the required testing for lead poisoning, state auditors reported Tuesday, and the two agencies charged with administering tests and preventing future exposure have fallen short on their responsibilities.

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Aquafornia news Woodland Daily Democrat

Sites Reservoir proposal receives $6M in federal funds

Sites Reservoir will receive $6 million from the federal government as part of a bipartisan spending bill that was signed by President Trump at the close of 2019.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

California’s salmon barely survived the 20th Century. Will they vanish before the next one?

Since 2015, the state’s commercial fishermen have reported nearly record-low catches. Fish hatcheries produce most of the salmon caught in California today, and with much of their inland habitat badly degraded, truly wild salmon are scarce. But a small circle of biologists and fishermen believe they can revive California’s legendary Chinook to something resembling its historic glory.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Judge: Modesto Irrigation District overcharged 122,000 electric customers to help farmers

Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Roger M. Beauchesne issued his decision Dec. 30 in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Hobbs and Dave Thomas. Each sued the MID in 2016, and their lawsuits were combined into one. … Beauchesne ruled the subsidy was an illegal tax under California law because the MID had not sought voter approval for electric customers to subsidize irrigation water customers.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Thursday Top of the Scroll: ‘Multiheaded hydra’ of PFAS products under California scrutiny

The state this year could require rug and carpet makers to come up with safer alternatives for their stain- and water-resistant products. After-market treatments with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help consumers protect their boots, clothes, and other textiles from rain, snow, and grease could also face the same fate. So, too, could food packaging items, even as bans on PFAS in single-use bowls, plates, and utensils take effect Jan. 1 in San Francisco and other cities in the state.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Water portfolio lays out state’s long-term plans

Farm organizations welcomed a new water planning document from state agencies while they analyzed the document’s proposed strategies. Titled the California Water Resilience Portfolio and released last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration described the document as an effort to guide water management in a way that works for people, the environment and the economy.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Sierra snowpack off to strong start but region needs more storms to keep momentum

Heavy snow in November and December means Northern Nevada’s seasonal snowpack is off to a strong start in 2020. … Snowpack in the Lake Tahoe Basin is 102 percent of normal for the date. In the Truckee River Basin it’s at 99 percent of normal. The region with the strongest snowpack in the state is in the Owyee River Basin, which is at 123 percent of normal. The area with the thinnest snowpack is the Walker River Basin at 87 percent. 

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Westlands backs governor’s Delta water strategy

Consistent with the science developed over the last three decades, the Newsom administration is pursuing comprehensive, watershed-wide solutions that address the numerous factors that limit the abundance of native fish in the Delta. These types of solutions are the ones that are most likely to achieve the state’s co-equal goals of the 2009 Delta Reform Act…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County adopts plan to avoid pumping too much groundwater

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors adopted a plan on Tuesday meant to maintain groundwater and keep users from pumping too much from underground basins. … Officials said the plan also lays out efforts to try to recharge groundwater — in other words, replace water sucked out from underground.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Myth about huge California fines for shower and laundry usage won’t die. Here’s what’s true

California will impose new limits on water usage in the post-drought era in the coming years — but a claim that residents will be fined $1,000 starting this year if they shower and do laundry the same day isn’t true. It wasn’t true when the state’s new conservation laws were enacted in 2018, and it isn’t true now — despite a recent report on a Los Angeles television station …

Aquafornia news The Hill

Trump officials voice opposition to ‘forever chemical’ bill

The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage a class of cancer-linked chemicals leaching into the water supply. The chemicals, known by the abbreviation PFAS, are used in a variety of nonstick products such as raincoats, cookware and packaging and have been found in nearly every state in the country.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Newsom wants $220 million more for Salton Sea action plan in new budget

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year will include an additional $220 million for the Salton Sea Management Program, a 10-year plan to reduce the environmental and public health hazards plaguing the communities that surround the fast-drying body of water.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Long Beach’s water and sewer revenue transfers ruled unconstitutional

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has tentatively ruled that the city of Long Beach’s practice of transferring surplus revenue from water and sewer utilities to its general fund is unconstitutional. … The practice has been carried out for decades, but in recent years, it has faced challenges in two separate lawsuits from residents.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Rope ‘inexplicably’ caused Poway water problems; claims filed seeking compensation

A piece of rope “inexplicably” became lodged in a valve separating a 10-million gallon reservoir from a storm drain in late November, causing a nearly week-long, costly boil-water advisory in Poway, a report prepared by the city for the state concludes.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

California Democrat rolls out green new deal to fight climate change, poverty

Citing a lack of action by Congress and the Trump administration, a group of California Democrats said it’s up to the state to continue fighting the “existential” threat of climate change by simultaneously cutting greenhouse gas emissions and improving the standard of living for low-income communities and people of color.

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Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Rapid changes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta both diminish scientific certainty and increase science’s value

These changes will be substantial, multi-faceted, and often rapid. Some changes will be irreversible. Many changes are inevitable. Some will say today’s Delta is doomed. It will be important for California to develop a scientific program that can help guide difficult policy and management discussions and decision-making through these challenges.

Aquafornia news Food Safety News

Opinion: Administrators promise new attention to ag water amid romaine outbreaks

One of the particular challenges we’ve faced with the Produce Safety Rule is ensuring that our standards for agricultural water are protective of public health and workable for farms of all kinds and sizes. After we finalized the rule, we heard from the produce community that some of the requirements were too complex, costly, and unworkable…

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

Blog: Polluted wastewater in the forecast? Try a solar umbrella

Evaporation ponds, which are commonly used in many industries to manage wastewater, can span acres, occupying a large footprint and often posing risks to birds and other wildlife. … Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have demonstrated a way to double the rate of evaporation by using solar energy and taking advantage of water’s inherent properties.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: 2 bills could decide fate of critical Friant-Kern Canal in 2020. Will reps outside Valley care?

A duo of bills, at the state and federal level, will likely determine the fate of the Friant-Kern Canal in a legislative year that is shaping up to be pivotal for Central Valley growers and ag communities.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Coastal Commission should approve CalAm desalination plant

Nobody likes to look out to the Pacific Ocean and see oil derricks on the horizon. That’s why California wisely banned new offshore oil drilling 50 years ago. But in Monterey County, coastal views are limited by a relic of a bygone era: a giant, industrial sand plant right on the dunes between Highway One and the ocean.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Colorado River overcommitted on water availability

In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts. In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces.

Aquafornia news Lake County News

State agencies release draft water resilience portfolio

State agencies on Friday released a draft water resilience portfolio with a suite of recommended actions to help California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising temperatures, declining fish populations, aging infrastructure and other challenges.

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Aquafornia news California Healthline

Fecal bacteria In California’s waterways increases with homeless crisis

San Francisco officials were quick to dispute Trump’s claims. But some of California’s most prized rivers, beaches and streams are indeed contaminated with levels of fecal bacteria that exceed state limits, threatening kayakers, swimmers — and the state’s reputation as a bastion of environmental protection.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Del Rey Oaks’ new housing plan ignores impacts and lack of water supply, lawsuit says

One of the major problems LandWatch cites is a lack of water on former Fort Ord property which the city hopes to develop in the future, according to court documents. Two parcels, identified as sites 1 and 1A, are located over the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin, considered overdrafted and already experiencing seawater intrusion.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter. Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: Creating a safe harbor on the ranch

In the shadow of Mount Shasta lies the Butte Creek Ranch, its alpine meadows carpeted in grass sprinkled with wildflowers and bordered by forest. … For over 160 years, this summer scene has played out for six generations of the Hart family. … Recently, the Harts guaranteed the continuation of this legacy by working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a plan that balances their land use with conserving the rich natural resources of Butte Creek.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Can you fight fires while saving water? Long Beach reclaims millions of gallons per year

Until recently, any time Long Beach firefighters practiced using their high-powered hoses, the water they sprayed ended up in the drain. … That changed in March 2019 when the Long Beach Fire Department started using something called a Direct Recycling Apparatus Firefighter Training & Sustainability Unit, or DRAFTS Unit, for short.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Opinion: Biochar offers possible solution to cut ag water usage

A project in the Salinas Valley aims to remove contaminants like phosphate from the water at a lower cost using much less energy. … Partnering with the city of Salinas and the wastewater treatment facility, the project aims to remove phosphates efficiently and recycle water for groundwater recharge and irrigation water to farmers.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Collaborative path forward to protect our most precious water resource

Over the next few weeks, all owners of any real property that overlies the watershed’s four groundwater basins, as well as users who take or could take water from the Ventura River, will receive a notification or summons about the court proceedings as part of an ongoing legal process and as required by the court.

Aquafornia news Chino Champion

Chino Hills named in lawsuit for not submitting water reports

The city of Chino Hills was named with three other entities in a class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 17 in San Bernardino Superior Court by the Natural Resources Defense Council for not submitting a water conservation report required by the state for three consecutive years. The other entities were San Bernardino County, Rancho Cucamonga and Redlands.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: DWR and State Water Resources Control Board host SGMA workshops

The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board are hosting educational workshops in January to assist local Groundwater Sustainability Agencies submitting Groundwater Sustainability Plans for DWR evaluation. GSPs for critically over drafted basins are due by January 31, 2020.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Merkley facilitates follow-up summit on sucker recovery

Federal agency representatives on Friday night kept the conversation going with U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley about continued efforts to save two Klamath Basin sucker species from extinction. … Merkley has delivered $23.5 million to the Basin since 2013 to find a way toward a solution. He recently secured $11 million for sucker recovery efforts, including $5.1 million for the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Arizona Legislature could stop the state’s next water war. Will they?

Another water war is getting underway. This time we are not fighting California. It’s a family feud right here in Arizona. Urban versus rural. Phoenix and Tucson ganging up on the rural communities along the Colorado River in western Arizona.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Balancing water supply for all is 2020 priority

California water policy leaders say balancing the supply of groundwater by implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA, and addressing policies related to water supply and water quality, will continue to be priority issues in 2020.

Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Most weather stations in U.S. reset their rain totals today. California isn’t like everyone else though

A new year is a fresh start in so many ways and for weather observations, it means a new year to calculate rain and snow totals.

Aquafornia news Maricopa Monitor

Drone on the range: Farmers take to the skies to save water and money

Farmers for decades have used huge machines to plant, grow and harvest their crops, but more and more Arizona farmers today are using tiny, remote-controlled aircraft to boost yields and save water and money.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Broad-ranging PFAS chemicals bill on House floor next week

A bill that would require the EPA to regulate PFAS, an emerging family of chemicals contaminating U.S. municipal and private water supplies, is slated to be the first major legislation that the House will take up in 2020.

Aquafornia news KSBY

San Luis Obispo County leaders test cloud seeding to raise Lopez Lake Reservoir levels

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors recently approved a winter cloud seeding project that could add millions of gallons of water to the Lopez Lake Reservoir and supply thousands of homes.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

DWR prepares Oroville Dam spillway for winter releases

Department of Water Resources is preparing Oroville Dam’s primary spillway for use this winter season. The reconstructed spillway was completed this spring and used for the first time in April since the 2017 spillway crisis threatened 188,000 residents downstream.

Aquafornia news Glenn County Transcript

Sites Project Authority hiring executive director

The Sites Project Authority is hoping to make substantial progress on the off-stream water storage project proposed for Colusa and Glenn counties in the new year and will look to hire a new leader at the beginning of 2020 to help with the next phase.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday Top of the Scroll: Sierra Nevada snowpack begins 2020 in good shape

As of Thursday, the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack — a major source of California’s water supply — stood at 90% of its historical average. That’s the highest total in early January in four years, when it came in at 101% on Jan. 2, 2016.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Could more wolves mean more water for Arizona? Now is a good time to find out

What if I told you that this one simple trick could lead Arizona to more water, better grazing conditions and healthier, more diverse wildlife?

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California can solve its water shortage with the water we have. Here’s how

California is at a water crossroads. We can continue our costly, 100-year-old pattern of trying to find new water supplies, or we can choose instead to focus on smarter ways of using – and reusing – what we already have.

Aquafornia news KCBX

Local professor’s fog research catches attention of the Defense Department

The Department of Defense recently awarded a $266,589 grant to a California State University Monterey Bay professor to continue his research into fog. Reporter Michelle Loxton spoke with Daniel Fernandez about how this grant will take his research to the next level.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Pajaro Valley water project balances ag and saltwater intrusion

The nearly $4 million project, assisted with $3.4 million in state grants and a $1 million match from Pajaro Valley Water, is expected to further reduce groundwater pumping in the area, so as to halt seawater intrusion and groundwater overdraft while keeping agriculture viable in the Pajaro Valley.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Young salmon defend themselves against climate change by eating more — but there’s a catch

The fish’s growth rates peaked at average water temperatures of 61.8 degrees fahrenheit, and what Lusardi calls an “unheard of” maximum weekly temperature of 70. So, how did the cold-water fish survive the warmer temperatures? There was enough food — aquatic invertebrates like freshwater shrimp or mayflies — in the water to compensate for the rise in temperature.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

California water cutbacks could take large area of farmland out of production

California is increasing regulations on groundwater. For many farmers in the state, it is a step too far. The law’s critics say it could lead to a loss of half a million acres of farmland in California’s Central Valley. As Kerry Klein of member station KVPR in Fresno reports, some farmers are so worried, they’re quitting.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles wants to store water under lake in Owens Valley

Quick shifts in climate have prompted Los Angeles to consider an unlikely place to bank some of its Sierra Nevada snowmelt: beneath dry Owens Lake, which the city drained starting in 1913 to fill the L.A. Aqueduct and supply a thirsty metropolis.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Residents sue to stop Riverside from spending water profits on other city services

Filed last week in Riverside County Superior Court, the class-action lawsuit alleges that Riverside is violating state Prop. 218 by overcharging ratepayers to generate excess water profits for purposes unrelated to providing water.

Aquafornia news Nature

Opinion: Drink more recycled wastewater

Legislation needs to be implemented to lessen pollution. And all sectors — public and private — need to be educated about the importance of saving water, as does society more broadly. High on the list should be efforts to investigate the benefits and risks of drinking reused water, including ways to make it more acceptable to consumers.

Aquafornia news Mountain View Voice

With recycled water deal signed, attention shifts to contentious Baylands site

Hailing it as a “historic” agreement, Santa Clara County’s primary water supplier, Valley Water, enthusiastically approved on Dec. 10 a 76-year deal with Palo and Mountain View to construct a water purification plant in the Baylands with the intent of greatly expanding use of recycled water.

Aquafornia news KSRO

Audio: New federal guidelines for diverting California water to take effect soon

The new guidelines call for diverting more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to agribusiness and urban areas further south. Barbara Barrigan-Parilla with the group Restore the Delta, says despite Newsom indicating he was going to sue over the new federal guidelines, that hasn’t happened yet.

Aquafornia news ABC News Bakersfield

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Department of Water Resources to conduct first snow survey of 2020

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is set to conduct the first snow survey of 2020 on Thursday. … The information is critical to the water managers who allocate California’s natural water resources to regions downstream.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Newsom is being played by Big Ag on Delta water

The governor’s apparent willingness to play into the hands of monied, agri-business players at the expense of the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta remains the biggest mystery of his short tenure. It also threatens to trash his reputation as a strong protector of California’s environment.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California makes it easier to thin vegetation fueling wildfires. Will it make a difference?

California regulators said Tuesday that they have streamlined the state’s permit process to speed up the approval of tree-thinning projects designed to slow massive wildfires that have devastated communities in recent years.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Blog: Business interests form Delta tunnel coalition

A broad coalition that includes the California Chamber of Commerce and labor, business, environmental, community and water leaders recently announced the formation of Californians for Water Security (CWS). The mission is to support the construction of a single tunnel to funnel water from Northern California through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to users south.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: California’s 2019 use of Colorado River water lowest since 1950

While Colorado River water management eyes were focused elsewhere this year – on the big snowpack up north, or the chaos success of the Drought Contingency Plan – California has quietly achieved a remarkable milestone.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news Water World

New oxygenation system to improve water quality at San Diego reservoir

The City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department last week took a major step toward completing an innovative project to improve water quality in Lake Hodges. A newly installed oxygenation system, designed by city engineers, will introduce highly oxygenated water to the bottom of the reservoir to reduce the accumulation of excess nutrients and harmful algae growth.

Aquafornia news Government Technology

Atmospheric rivers can be too much of a good thing

Atmospheric rivers are long, narrow bands of moisture that descend from the tropics to higher latitudes like from Hawaii to California. They used to be referred to mostly as a pineapple express. … A study by researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests that one of these events could cause catastrophic damage to California and its economy and thus the nation’s economy.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

The precarious future of Treasure Island: Rising seas and sinking land

The low-lying island, as well as neighboring Yerba Buena island, are also the site of a multibillion-dollar neighborhood development. The project calls for 8,000 new homes and condos that could house more than 20,000 people, 500 new hotel rooms, and over 550,000 square feet of commercial space. But how will climate change affect these plans?

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Mokelumne River salmon come back in big numbers

Large numbers of fall-run Chinook salmon have returned to the Mokelumne River in Clements this fall despite challenging salmon fishing on the river and adjacent sloughs this season. A total of over 12,658 salmon have gone over Woodbridge Dam in Lodi as of Dec. 10, according to William Smith, manager of the CDFW’s Mokelumne River Fish Hatchery.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Panel discussion: The building blocks of success in the Delta

Despite efforts over decades, the Delta’s delicate ecosystem and species continue to decline. … At the 2019 ACWA Fall Conference, Vice Chair of the State Water Board DeDe D’Adamo, Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, and Delta Stewardship Council Susan Tatayon gave their thoughts on moving forward in the Delta in this panel discussion moderated by the Public Policy Institute of California Water Policy Director Ellen Hanak.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Foes seek to block permanent water contract for Westlands

Environmental groups, tribes and upstream water users in California yesterday sought to block a permanent water delivery contract between the Interior Department and the Westlands Water District. At issue is a proposed deal between Westlands, an agricultural powerhouse in California’s San Joaquin Valley, and the Bureau of Reclamation in which Westlands pays off its debt to the government to guarantee deliveries in perpetuity without future contract renewals.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Providing safe drinking water in the face of disasters: Lessons from Lake County

Climate change is already affecting water management across the state. Small rural communities with ongoing drinking water challenges are especially vulnerable to greater extremes brought on by a warming climate. We talked to Jan Coppinger, a special district administrator from Lake County, about how the county’s small water systems have dealt with an especially devastating string of natural disasters.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

The Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state.

Aquafornia news Earth Island Journal

Making a crane marsh


The idea is to make this sort of wildlife friendly farm replicable elsewhere in the Delta. As part of that vision, the Nature Conservancy has a program called BirdReturns, in which staff identify farmland that would ideally be flooded for migratory birds. The group then “rents” that land from farmers for the duration of the birds’ stay, making it profitable for farmers even when it’s fallow.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

Opinion: San Francisco needs to pay the price for desecrating Yosemite National Park

Those who are the most politically correct among those that lecture the rest of the state from their perches atop the 40 plus hills of San Francisco about the environmental shortcomings of the rest of California should take a long hard look in the mirror. They thrive on some of the original — and most hideous — environmental sins ever committed in the Golden State.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: California isn’t ready for rising sea levels

When state lawmakers wondered what they should be doing to prepare for rising sea levels, they asked their research experts to dig into the issue. The report is out, and the conclusions isn’t what one might expect.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: US senator proposes money, oversight to boost dam safety

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday called for more federal money and oversight to shore up the nation’s aging dams following an Associated Press investigation that found scores of potentially troubling dams located near homes and communities across the country.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Rainwater in parts of US contains high levels of PFAS chemical, says study

New data shows that rainwater in some parts of the US contains high enough levels of potentially toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to possibly affect human health and may, if found in drinking water, in some cases be high enough to trigger regulatory action.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district board to take next step on public water buyout effort

Monterey Peninsula Water Management District officials have agreed to move forward with detailed analysis and planning for a potential public acquisition and ownership of California American Water’s local water system. On Monday, the water district board unanimously approved spending up to $1.24 million on work by a team of consultants to prepare the district to make a formal offer for the Cal Am system…

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