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 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.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KSBW TV

Wildfire destroys water pipeline in San Lorenzo Valley

A main water pipeline in the San Lorenzo Valley was destroyed by a wildfire burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. The San Lorenzo Valley Water District lost 4.5 million gallons of water after this 5-mile long pipe melted from intense heat. The district shut off its water supply throughout the Valley except to Boulder Creek.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Major California water agencies partner with Scripps to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Monday it is partnering with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to better predict atmospheric rivers and improve water management before, during and after those seasonal storms. [The other affiliates are: Irvine Ranch Water District, Orange County Water District, Sonoma Water, Turlock Irrigation District, and Yuba Water Agency.]

Related article:

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Lower Basin use of main stem Colorado River water dropping to levels not seen since 1980s

A friend last week pointed out something remarkable. Arizona, California, and Nevada are forecast this year to use just 6.8 million acre feet of their 7.5 million acre foot allocation of water from the main stem of the Colorado River. And that’s not just a one-off.

Aquafornia news CalEPA

News Release: Study finds wastewater treatment plants could profit by processing food waste while reducing greenhouse gasses

A new report issued today by the California Environmental Protection Agency shows that at least half of California’s landfill-bound food waste could be processed at the state’s wastewater treatment plants and serve as an innovative power source.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Opinion: Bruce Babbitt: Gov. Newsom must clarify his Delta tunnel plan

Tunnel proponents say they do not expect to operate the tunnel at capacity, and it would be in use mainly to draw from the periodic storms that send more water through the Delta out to San Francisco Bay. But how much would that be? The usual answer is: we will leave that to the experts.

Aquafornia news USA Today

‘It affects us all’: Erin Brockovich’s ‘Superman’s Not Coming’ explores water issues, urges action

Brockovich’s new book … explores problems from contaminated drinking water to water shortages due to climate change. And as weighty as those issues may seem, she also provides action steps for people concerned about their own water and tells the empowering stories of many people speaking up about water contamination in their communities.

Related article:

Aquafornia news ScienceAlert.com

Blog: Up to half the world’s water supply is being stolen, a troubling report reveals

There is some debate about what counts as water theft – or even if it exists at all, as water is a natural resource that we all have access to. But the team looked at three separate case studies involving improper water use: growing marijuana in California, strawberries in Spain, and cotton in Australia.

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

Dry wells, angry neighbors: Big Springs residents protest water trucking for illegal marijuana grows

More than 100 people gathered in front of the Mayten Fire Department in Montague Saturday morning to protest the trucking of water from local wells, most likely to irrigate illegal cannabis grows in the Big Springs and Mt. Shasta Vista areas.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

To manage wildfire, California looks to what tribes have known all along

Men and women from Native American tribes in Northern California stood in a circle, alongside university students and locals from around the town of Mariposa. … For the next two days, the group would be carefully lighting fires in the surrounding hills. Also sprinkled through the crowd were officials from the state government, which a century ago had largely prohibited California’s tribes from continuing their ancient practice of controlled burns.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

20th century dam building found to have offset sea level rise

Most scientists in the field agree that sea levels should have risen more than they did over most of the past century. In this new effort, the researchers have taken another look at the problem and suggest the reason for the discrepancies was water being captured in reservoirs by dams.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Faster track for ecosystem restoration

California’s rivers and aquatic species are in trouble, but restoration projects often get bogged down by lengthy permitting processes. Sustainable Conservation has been at the forefront of finding ways to speed up badly needed restoration projects with improved permitting. We talked to Erika Lovejoy—director of Sustainable Conservation’s Accelerating Restoration program…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Wildlife refuges battle devastating botulism outbreak, worsened by water shortages

Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge’s main open body of water, Sump 1A, had been exceptionally low for weeks. The hot sun baked the shallow water during the day, and warmer nighttime temperatures ensured it stayed hot. Dormant bacteria awakened on the lake’s fringe wetlands, carrying with them a paralyzing and potentially fatal toxin. Beneath the cover of smoke began the refuge’s worst botulism outbreak in years.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California says Delta tunnel project will cost $15.9 billion

After months of relative quiet, Newsom’s administration released a preliminary cost estimate for the scaled-back project Friday: $15.9 billion for a single tunnel running beneath the estuary just south of Sacramento. That’s nearly as much as the old $16.7 billion price tag put on the larger, twin-tunnel plan…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Valley News

Rancho Water board postpones rate increases until July 2021

Rick Aragon, assistant general manager of Rancho Water, said that at the time of the first deferral, it was assumed that the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions would be lessened by early fall and that the board could reconsider rate increases. … Aragon said the deferral would reduce the district’s revenue by more than $858,000, but he said the district had a good fiscal year recently.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Opinion: CPUC proposal would increase water rates for low-income customers

Residents and small businesses in Visalia who were struggling, even before the economic shut down of COVID-19 to make ends meet, should be very concerned about a proposal the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is considering that would increase water bills for millions of Californians, including low-income customers who use the least amount of water.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Audio: The climatologically altered future of Lake Tahoe

Kristen Averyt, PhD, is Nevada’s first State Climate Policy Coordinator and offered a 42 minute presentation on climate change and what it means for the environment and economics of the Lake Tahoe Basin, region, and planet. On this edition of the Wild Hare we take you on a tour of Dr. Averyt’s comments…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Basin replenishment fee passed

The basin replenishment fee was passed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority with a vote of four to one Friday afternoon. IWV Water District Director Ron Kicinski was the sole no vote. The IWVGA voted after the basin replenishment fee protest hearing Friday failed. The IWVGA did not announce the number of protest votes received…

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Fish pens in Upper Klamath Lake help scientists identify what’s harming suckers

The U.S. Geological Survey has operated mesocosm experiments in Upper Klamath Lake each summer since 2014, placing groups of juvenile suckers in netted cages dotted throughout the lake. … The goal is to figure out what’s killing the young suckers before they’re able to reach sexual maturity and support their species’ populations.

Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado mulls joining massive water conservation project

A statewide public effort to determine whether Coloradans should engage in perhaps the biggest water conservation program in state history — a Lake Powell drought contingency pool — enters its second year of study this summer.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

Toxic algal blooms detected at Big Bear Lake, Lake Isabella

The harmful algal blooms at Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino County and Lake Isabella in Kern County, which can appear to be bright- to dull-green and sometimes looks like spilled paint, can make people and animals sick. Water samples from both lakes taken this month indicated the presence of algal organisms called cyanobacteria.

Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Georgetown Utility District starts water transfer to Westlands

With all permits in place, on Aug. 20 the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District announced the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Water Rights approved the temporary transfer of up to 2,000 acre-feet of GDPUD’s water to the Westlands Water District. The transfer of the water began Aug. 19 and is expected to continue until Sept. 23.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside News

Blog: Water contaminant could have neurotoxic effects on children

Manganese isn’t considered a major water contaminant in America, but a new study is taking a closer look at whether it should be.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Poor planning left California short of electricity in a heat wave

The California Public Utilities Commission assumed that hydroelectric plants would provide as much as 8,000 megawatts when demand peaked this summer. But that number appears to have failed to take into account low water levels at many dams… And those plants delivered only 5,514 megawatts last Friday, according to the California Independent System Operator.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news NBC News Reno

Knowing Nevada: The Lahontan cutthroat trout

The snow along the mountains of Nevada’s Great Basin trickle down when the spring turns into summer. This produces a flurry of wildlife and natural resources in our area ponds, rivers, and lakes. … Along the majestic Truckee River, fishermen would collect thousands of trout from the late 1800’s to the 1900’s. Eventually, this would cause the near extinction of our state’s native species, the Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: Make wastewater drinkable again

Using Houston as a model, researchers at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering have developed a plan that could reduce the need for surface water (from rivers, reservoirs or wells) by 28% by recycling wastewater to make it drinkable once again.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Huffman presses utility on Klamath dam removal

Rep. Jared Huffman repeatedly sought this week to pin down the utility PacifiCorp on whether it would recommit to the country’s largest dam removal project — and when.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news University of Arkansas

News release: Sea-level rise linked to higher water tables along California coast

In the new study, researchers modeled the effects of rising sea level along the entire California coastline. While results varied with local topography, the study indicates rising sea levels could push inland water tables higher, resulting in damage to infrastructure and increased severity of flooding.

Aquafornia news Boulder City Review

Opinion: Utah pipeline plan an affront to Nevada

Nevada and Utah share more than borders. We share the coveted and much-fought-over Colorado River. But it seems as if only one state — Nevada — is doing the difficult work to protect our most valuable resource

Aquafornia news SJV Water

California to Friant-Kern Canal: “No $ for you!”

Any hope that California might kick in money to fix the sagging Friant-Kern Canal was killed Thursday when a bill that would have provided $400 million toward the effort was stripped of all funding.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Proposed single Delta tunnel could cost $15.9 billion

A single tunnel proposed to take water under the sensitive Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and deliver it to farms and cities in the south could cost $15.9 billion, give or take, according to an initial assessment discussed at the Delta Conveyance Authority meeting on Thursday.

Aquafornia news National Ground Water Association

News release: National Ground Water Association offers new PFAS educational resources for private well owners

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has released two new educational resources for private well owners concerning per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). … Both resources are available for a free download at NGWA.org/PFAS and WellOwner.org.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Clean Water Act: Biden would face slog to ditch Trump’s WOTUS

If Democrat Joe Biden wants to scrap the Trump administration’s definition of which waters qualify for federal protection, experts say he’ll face a heavy legal lift, lengthy rulemaking, and an onslaught of opposition from industry, ranching and agricultural interests.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California’s largest water body shrinking as goals remain unmet

California still hasn’t met habitat restoration and dust suppression goals for the Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake that has long been plagued by a shrinking coastline, rising salinity numbers, insect infestations, and dying fish populations. State Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot acknowledged during a workshop Wednesday that “we’re coming from behind”…

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

‘Save Searles’ aims to save mineral plant from 7000 percent water fee hike

’The “Save Searles” campaign was launched Tuesday, three days before the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority public hearing on a controversial replenishment fee. The fee would increase water costs for Searles Valley Minerals by nearly $6 million a year, “pushing the company and the local community towards extinction,” according to the campaign…

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Coliform bacteria shuts down water in Tulare County courthouse, jail

The Tulare County Civic Center is on a boil-water notice after a bacteria that commonly lives in human feces was discovered in the county’s wells.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

North Coast reps grill PacifiCorp on Klamath dams removal, tribal chairs stress urgency

North Coast elected officials rang alarm bells Tuesday around what the region’s congressional representative called a “slow-walk” on the removal of four Klamath River dams that have threatened fish populations and led to pollution.

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Water district seeks drought proof supply

The development of a groundwater sustainability plan has begun and will help ensure we can manage the Carpinteria Groundwater Basin sustainably, which is an important shared resource for the Carpinteria Valley. In addition, the Carpinteria Advanced Purification Project, now under development, will allow us to diversify our water portfolio so that we can be resilient in future periods of drought.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Eastern Tule Groundwater Agency proposes groundwater extraction fee

The proposed fee to be charged is $4.92 per acre foot of which $1.61 would go to administration/overhead, $1.78 would go to professional services, 65 cents would go to water accounting and 88 cents would go to technical monitoring. The agency’s budget for 2020-2021 is $1,519,210. The fee would fund $759,605 of the budget.

Aquafornia news Yale Climate Connections

Blog: California’s cap-and-trade program pays for clean water fund

Last year, California passed a law establishing a fund for safe and affordable drinking water. Using money from the state’s cap-and-trade program, it allocates up to $130 million to solutions each year for a decade.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Replenishment fee, ag buyouts on the agenda for Indian Wells Groundwater Authority

The proposed replenishment fee is $2,130 per acre-foot of extracted water. This represents a composite fee which covers the estimated imported water purchase cost of $2,112 per acre-foot extracted and $17.50 per acre-foot extracted for estimated costs to mitigate shallow wells from overdraft damage… This would work out to an estimated fee of $24 per month for the average residential user…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater Sustainability Summit: Addressing environment, disadvantaged communities, and domestic wells

The groundwater sustainability plans that were submitted to the Department of Water Resources in January of 2020 were the first of the groundwater sustainability plans to be completed. Public review of these plans has revealed some important lessons to be learned to be considered for those preparing the plans that will be due in January of 2022.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Opinion: Forest thinning, fire can boost Western watersheds

We know there are ways to actively manage our Western forests to improve water quality, provide for jobs, reduce the cost of firefighting and increase forest resiliency. Now we have new tools to assess how proper management of watershed vegetation can increase water yield.

Aquafornia news University of Southern California

Blog: Predicting drought in the American West just got much more difficult

A study led by scientists at USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences found that Earth’s dynamic atmosphere is a wild card that plays a much bigger role than sea surface temperatures, yet defies predictability, in the wet and dry cycles that whipsaw the western states. The study was published Aug. 7 in Science Advances.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County and USGS ask landowners for help to study Adelaida groundwater

The two agencies inked a partnership last year to undergo the study, which will collect and analyze data on the water supply, land uses, and groundwater flow over the mostly rural region west of Highway 101—north to Lake Nacimiento and south to Atascadero.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California still hasn’t found analyst to study Salton Sea water import proposals

Long-term fixes for the ever-shrinking Salton Sea remain stalled as California Natural Resources Agency officials on Wednesday revealed they have been unable to find an analyst to study proposed solutions to a nearly two decades-old problem.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

News release: State Water Board and conservationists sue Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The State Water Board and environmental conservationists have filed lawsuits against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals to protect the Yuba and Bear river watersheds…

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Company at a crossroads: Huffman’s Klamath forum wraps with sharp questioning of power company executive

North Coast Congressmember Jared Huffman hosted a forum of the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee he chairs Tuesday afternoon, orchestrating a two-hour panel discussion focused on the stalled agreement to remove four hydroelectric dams from the ailing Klamath River.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Forecast: Plenty of CAP water for Tucson and AZ for now despite overheated drought

The latest forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, released last week, predicts that by the end of 2020, Lake Mead, which furnishes Central Arizona Project water, will be at 1,085 feet elevation. While that’s 5 feet lower than the lake stood at the end of 2019, it’s still 10 feet higher than the water level that would trigger the first major shortage, slicing more than 520,000 acre feet of water, roughly one-third of the state’s total supply.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Kings of the river: Meet the water baron you (likely) haven’t heard of

You may have never heard of John Vidovich, but his impact on the day-to-day life of the average southern San Joaquin Valley farmer is difficult to be understated. Vidovich is the owner of Sandridge Partners, LP – a farmland investment firm that has undertaken more than 100,000 acres of Valley farmland.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

In California’s brutal climate loop, heatwaves raise fire risk

The current heatwave broiling Californians like no event in decades is also elevating the risk for another potential disaster in the weeks ahead: wildfires. … As a result of climate change, California sees more than twice as many fall days with “fire weather” as it did a generation ago.

Aquafornia news Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes

Blog: Forecast informed reservoir operations using ensemble streamflow predictions for a multi‐purpose reservoir in Northern California

Sonoma Water Engineer Chris Delaney led development of a forecast informed reservoir operations (FIRO) decision support system for Lake Mendocino… Center For Western Weather And Water Extremes… A proof-of-concept model was originally developed by Chris in 2015 as a personal research project, and has been refined over the past 5 years with research and real-time testing…

Aquafornia news UCLA

Study: Tiny endangered shrimp may get big hand from environmental DNA testing

The San Diego fairy shrimp, a miniscule, puddle-dwelling crustacean that provides food for migrating birds, is nearing extinction as humans continue to encroach on its wetlands habitat. But a new approach to tracking the shrimp’s population numbers may give conservationists a boost in protecting the species

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

This Madera County community is running out of water — and the only well might fail

Residents of Fairmead, California worry they are on the brink of losing water service, as the town’s only community well shows signs it may fail before a new one can be built.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Proposals for California Winter Rice Habitat Incentive Program being accepted

With up to $4,058,220 available, the program provides economic incentives to landowners or lessees who agree to manage their properties in accordance with a management plan developed through a consultation with biologists from California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Comprehensive Wetland Habitat Program for a two-year period.

Aquafornia news Lost Coast Outpost

Opinion: ‘Monuments of colonialism’: with Klamath dam removal at impasse, Huffman calls Congressional forum

The hopes of seeing those dams removed, hopes that burned so bright four years ago when hundreds gathered in Requa near the river’s mouth to announce a new removal agreement, have dimmed considerably since a July 16 ruling by the Federal Energy Regulatory Corporation.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Opinion: If jury is still out, why presume farmers are guilty?

The well-written and informative article concerning Upper Klamath Lake elevations and sucker populations omits a harsh reality: For nearly 30 years, Klamath Project irrigators have been presumed guilty and punished, even though there is no evidence their use of water has anything to do with endangered sucker populations.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Millions in US face losing water supply as coronavirus moratoriums end

Running water had been guaranteed to about two-thirds of Americans as hundreds of utilities suspended disconnections amid warnings from public health experts that good hygiene, particularly hand-washing, was crucial to curtailing the spread of the virus. But now at least 115 local moratoriums on water disconnections … have expired. That leaves 46 million or so people at risk of having their taps turned off… [Note: The story makes no reference to California.]

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada, West face reckoning over water but avoid cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip 16 feet and 5 feet, respectively, in January from levels recorded a year earlier. Despite the dip, Lake Mead would stay above the threshold that triggers severe water cuts to cities and farms, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for the future when the flow will slow.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

PG&E cancels upcoming whitewater flows in Feather River, citing coronavirus

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced it will no longer be conducting higher water flows for whitewater recreation on the Feather River during the weekend of Aug. 22-23, saying in a press release the cancellation came as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aquafornia news Santa Clara Valley Water News

Blog: Valley Water to rescue, relocate threatened steelhead in Coyote Creek ahead of Anderson Reservoir drawdown

Valley Water biologists will be rescuing federally threatened Central California Coast Steelhead and other sensitive fish from Coyote Creek next week and relocating them to a more suitable environment in the Coyote watershed.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Delivering dollars for Central Valley water

Water is the lifeblood of our region and there are immense challenges to providing and maintaining a reliable and resilient water supply for both farms and communities in the Central Valley. As your congressional representatives, we’ve been working together to bring resources back home to address our collective needs.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

California City OKs temporary water rate change

To keep California City looking green and beautiful in addition to saving money, the City Council approved a temporary acre-foot water rate change. … City Staff is working with Quad Knopf, a civil engineering company, to extensively review water rates and have a water rate study completed the next few months.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Hoopa Valley Tribe files lawsuit to block contract with Central Valley agribusiness

The Hoopa Valley Tribe has filed a federal lawsuit to block the U.S. Department of Interior from signing a water delivery contract with an agribusiness in the Central Valley, an agreement which would divert water out of the Trinity River basin 400 miles away.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Huffman to lead forum examining impact of Klamath dams

North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman will lead a live-streamed forum that will examine the impacts of the Klamath Dams on tribes, fisheries, the environment and downstream stakeholders on Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Land Use & Development Law Report

Blog: Municipal water rates are protected from referendum challenges

The California Supreme Court ruled that water rates and other local utility charges are considered “taxes” for the purpose of California Constitution Article II, Section 9 and therefore exempt from the referendum process.

Aquafornia news SF Weekly

Sea level rise a major threat to San Francisco

Sea levels on the California coast could rise as much as seven feet by 2100 and put tens of thousands of vulnerable San Franciscans at risk of daily flooding, according to a new report from the California State Legislative Analyst’s office.

Aquafornia news CBS Los Angeles

EPA reaches $56.6M settlement for groundwater cleanup throughout LA County

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have reached a $56.6 million settlement to assist in cleanup at the Dual Site Groundwater Operable Unit of the Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo superfund sites.

Aquafornia news National Law Review

PFAS issues in California compounded by Colorado’s PFAS proliferation

As California continues to draw enormous amount of water from the Colorado River, water utilities in California must begin to consider the implications that media-driven fear over PFAS will have on their liability if they continue to utilize water from the Colorado River as a reserve resource.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Monday Top of the Scroll: As Lake Mead remains low, Arizona and Nevada face more water cutbacks

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will again receive less water from the Colorado River next year under a set of agreements intended to help boost the level of Lake Mead… The federal Bureau of Reclamation released projections Friday showing that Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, will be at levels next year that continue to trigger moderate cutbacks in the two U.S. states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder, Feinstein collaborate to keep snowpack readings accurate

A correct analysis of the state’s water supply is always important, but especially during drought years. A new bill introduced by Rep. Josh Harder and Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Friday hopes to improve the state’s water management by establishing an airborne snowpack observation program.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Delta Protection Commission, Delta Conservancy, and Central Valley Flood Protection Plan updates

At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council, councilmembers heard briefings on the activities of the Delta Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy, and an update on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: US West faces reckoning over water but avoids cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip slightly in 2021. … Despite the dip, Lake Mead’s levels are expected to stay above the threshold that triggers mandatory water cuts to Arizona and Nevada, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for a future when the flow will slow.

Related article:

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Berkeley, Emeryville besieged by water main breaks

East Bay Municipal Utility District crews and first-responders were at the scene of at least sixteen separate water main breaks in two cities Wednesday night, affecting several hundred customers, authorities said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

NASA wants to make contaminated Santa Susana site a landmark

In what some have described as a cynical attempt by a U.S. government agency to avoid a long-promised cleanup of toxic and radioactive contaminants, NASA has nominated the Santa Susana Field Laboratory for official listing as a traditional cultural property.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Ultraviolet algae killer aids bid to help Lake Tahoe clarity

The new tool is a light fixture called an array mounted under a working barge, which trolls the marina dousing the plants on the bottom with UV-C light, a short-wave electromagnetic radiation light that damages the DNA and cellular structure of aquatic plants.

Related article:

Aquafornia news NASA Earth Observatory

Blog: A third of the U.S. faces drought

As the United States moves into the last weeks of climatological summer, one- third of the country is experiencing at least a moderate level of drought. Much of the West is approaching severe drought, and New England has been unusually dry and hot. An estimated 53 million people are living in drought-affected areas.

Aquafornia news East County Today

Video: Ironhouse Sanitary District recycled water fill station

The Ironhouse Sanitary District has released a video of how residents of the City of Oakley and Bethel Island can utilize the Recycled Water Fill Station. The station is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Recycled water can be used for the irrigation of lawns, plants, trees, and vegetable gardens.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Climate change report forecasts hard times for Kern ag

A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring profitability.”

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Civic Center lagoon fish kill blamed on algae bloom

County staff took a sample of the water on Monday and shared it with the state, whose biologist determined that insufficient oxygen in the water resulted in an overnight event that killed masses of non-native fish, said Ken Paglia, a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson.

Aquafornia news Science

Opinion: Distorting science, putting water at risk

The Navigable Waters Protection Rule … has redefined “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) to restrict federal protection of vulnerable waters. … Responding to this unprecedented distortion of science and rollback in water protections, which went into effect nationwide on 22 June, will require coordinated efforts among scientists, lawmakers, and resource managers.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Groundwater in the Indian Wells Valley: Just what is in the IWV’s proposed replenishment fee?

The short answer is, the replenishment fee is a per-acre-foot extraction fee proposed by the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority to pay for mitigation of registered shallow wells damaged by continuing overdraft, as well as to begin importing water necessary to balance the groundwater basin. A public hearing regarding the fee is scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 21 at city hall.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: CPUC ‘yes’ vote could cut water bill surcharges for millions

If passed, the new program would promote water conservation and make water bills more affordable and transparent for millions of residents, benefitting both low-income customers and those who use less water.

Aquafornia news Spectrum 1 News

Could a hurricane hit Southern California?

We’ll walk you through hurricane dynamics, talk a little history, and explain why a (weak) hurricane is not totally out of the realm of possibility for Southern California in the future.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation’s largest Dam Safety project moves forward

On Tuesday, the Bureau of Reclamation submitted the B.F. Sisk Dam Safety of Dams Modification Report to Congress. This is Reclamation’s largest project under the 1978 Safety of Dams Act, and when complete, will modernize the structure to reduce risk to water supply and downstream communities in an earthquake.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara Valley Water District seeks $682 million parcel tax

After years marked by a historic statewide drought and devastating floods around downtown San Jose, Santa Clara County’s largest water provider has decided to ask voters to approve a parcel tax to pay for a wide variety of projects, from flood control to creek restoration, along with some costs of rebuilding the county’s largest dam at Anderson Reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘This land is all we have left’: Tribes on edge over giant dam proposal near Grand Canyon

If built, it would … pump groundwater into four new reservoirs … Tribal members and environmentalists say the project would flood several miles of canyons sacred to the Navajo; risk damaging cultural sites for several tribes; draw vast amounts of critical groundwater; potentially harm habitats for plants and animals, including some endangered species; and risk adverse effects for waterways leading into the Grand Canyon.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Pure Water San Diego program achieves milestone

A National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit has been granted to the city by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board to add purified water to Miramar Reservoir for Phase 1 of the program.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers propose climate-smart desert food production model for land and human health

Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass over a decade with far less water than that used by conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the soil to mitigate climate change…

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Dam removal update: Klamath dams, Matilija Dam, and Potter Valley Project

The California Advisory Committee on Salmon and Steelhead Trout was re-established by the Legislature in 1983 in response to public concern about declining populations of salmon and steelhead. … At the July meeting, committee members received an update on the Klamath dams, Matilija Dam, and the Potter Valley Project dam removal projects.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation announces 30-day public comment period for Central Valley Project Friant Water Authority operation, maintenance and replacement contract

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday a 30-day public comment period for a 35-year contract renewal of the transfer of operation, maintenance and replacement activities related to Friant-Kern Canal and other associated works to the Friant Water Authority.

Aquafornia news Earthjustice

Blog: Is the water all right?

Like other environmental regulations, WOTUS was necessarily complex and grounded in science. But the reason for it was simple: keep U.S. waters clean. So what could be so bad about a law to stop water pollution that the Trump administration would decide to repeal it?

Aquafornia news Santa Monica Mirror

Santa Monica-based group wins historic wastewater recycling suit

Every day Hyperion Water Treatment Plant discharges enough treated wastewater into the ocean to fill the Rose Bowl 2.5 times over. Now a court has instructed state water officials to analyze whether it is “wasteful” and “unreasonable” to dump billions of gallons of wastewater into the sea.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Energy Department proposes showerhead standards rollback after Trump complains

A new proposal from the Department of Energy would change the definition of a showerhead, essentially allowing different components within the device to count as individual fixtures, sidestepping requirements that allow no more than 2.5 gallons to flow through per minute.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news KPBS

New study says forecasters are overestimating future demand for water

A new report by the Pacific Institute suggests Californians have learned to conserve so well that water forecasters need to rethink their approach to estimating future water demand.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Opinion: Desalination is not the panacea

In response to Eberhard Brunner’s recent “Water in the West” op-ed, I’d like to share some facts about the true costs of desalinated water.

Aquafornia news KQED Forum

Audio: UCLA study: Less snow and more rainfall spell trouble for California

By the 2070s, climate change will reduce snowpack and increase extreme rainfall in the Sierra Nevada and California’s reservoirs will likely be overwhelmed. That’s according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists, who predict that run-off during so-called atmospheric rivers will increase by nearly 50 percent, leading to widespread flooding across the state.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Court rules in favor of Klamath Irrigation District, state water rights

A win for state water rights came earlier this month after the Marion County Circuit Court ruled that the Bureau of Reclamation cannot release water from Upper Klamath Lake for flows down the Klamath River.

Aquafornia news Waste360

Initiative to fight plastic pollution submits petitions

Supporters of an initiative to reduce plastic waste today submitted more than 870,000 voter signatures to qualify the Plastics Free California initiative for the ballot – significantly more than the 623,212 signatures required.

Aquafornia news Business Wire

News release: Los Angeles Waterkeeper prevails in historic wastewater recycling suit

The Los Angeles Superior Court issued a historic ruling, in favor of Los Angeles Waterkeeper, that compels the State Water Resources Control Board to analyze whether it is “wasteful” and “unreasonable” to dump billions of gallons of wastewater uselessly into the sea, when it could instead be used productively to ensure the sustainability of California’s water resources.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: The impacts of timber harvest on sediment transport and yield in watersheds

After timber harvest or fuel reduction thinning operations, sediment delivery to nearby streams and waterways can increase, potentially affecting water quality, drinking water supplies, habitat, and recreational opportunities. To effectively reduce these adverse effects of harvest, foresters first need to know the precise causes of sediment increases.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Opinion: Some losers in water project

In his Aug. 2 Herald commentary, Grant Leonard claimed that Cal Am’s proposed Monterey Peninsula Water Supply Project would be a win-win for both Castroville, a disadvantaged community, and Carmel, which is on the other side of the economic spectrum. Some things challenge that claim.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Utilities want to use EPA chemicals law to protect drinking water

A pair of water associations are teaming up to urge the EPA to use all its regulatory tools to safeguard drinking water as it decides whether to allow new chemicals into U.S. commerce.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

California childcare centers get $6.1 million to test for lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued $6,137,000 in grants to assist the California Department of Social Services with identifying sources of lead in drinking water in childcare centers.

Aquafornia news California Water Environment Association

Blog: Regional San’s landmark recycled water program gets new name

Regional San’s landmark recycled water program—previously known as the South County Ag Program—has been rebranded. Now known as Harvest Water, the program will be one of the largest water recycling projects in California and will deliver up to 50,000-acre feet per year of tertiary-treated recycled water to an estimated 16,000 acres of farm and habitat lands in southern Sacramento County.

Aquafornia news Weather West

Blog: A warmer second half of August, and some tropical moisture in the mix? Plus: thoughts about (a dry?) autumn

Recent conditions across California over the past 3-5 weeks have been pretty typical by mid-summer standards. … California’s boon, however, has been Arizona’s misfortune: a near-total failure of the North American Monsoon…

Aquafornia news BenitoLink

Solving San Juan Bautista’s water problems

At the San Juan Bautista City Council meeting on July 14, City Manager Don Reynolds presented a report on possible solutions for water and waste treatment plant issues. For the first time in 12 years, San Juan is nearing a resolution, though long delays in approaching the problem have driven up costs.

Aquafornia news Santa Maria Times

Sunburst Farm sues neighbor, cannabis company over access to water well

A Lompoc religious nonprofit is accusing a Wyoming-based organic farm and cannabis company of stealing water it uses to grow food and blocking access to a well on a neighboring parcel, despite a decades-old legal agreement allowing them to do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

Pinecrest Lake can drop lower during drought years

The state has approved a change that will give Tuolumne County more water security during drought periods.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Loss in hydropower hampered by drought will impact utilities

The loss in hydroelectric generation during the 2012-16 drought cost PG&E and other California utilities about $5.5 billion, a new study says. As California’s climate becomes more prone to severe droughts, the findings point to future costs that utilities — and ultimately ratepayers — will likely be forced to bear.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Groundwater sustainability moves from planning to implementation

Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.

Aquafornia news UC Los Angeles

News release: A warming California sets the stage for future floods

By the 2070s, global warming will increase extreme rainfall and reduce snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, delivering a double whammy that will likely overwhelm California’s reservoirs and heighten the risk of flooding in much of the state, according to a new study by UCLA climate scientists.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

In Colorado’s climate change hot spot, the West’s water is evaporating

This cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope — along with three counties just across the border in eastern Utah — has warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius, double the global average. Spanning more than 30,000 square miles, it is the largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48, a Washington Post analysis found. … The average flow of the Colorado River has declined nearly 20 percent over the past century, half of which is because of warming temperatures, scientists say.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Monday Top of the Scroll: Poseidon’s desalination plan for Huntington Beach delayed again

The Regional Water Quality Control Board concluded three days of hearings on the project’s next permit by telling Poseidon it must return with a more robust, more detailed mitigation plan to offset the environmental damage the project will cause.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Sen. Hurtado hopes to freshen farmworkers’ water

Contaminated water has long plagued California’s Southern Central Valley, a region home to many farmworkers. SB 974, a bill by Senator Melissa Hurtado, seeks to provide safe drinking water by exempting small disadvantaged communities from certain CEQA provisions.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Editorial: Klamath dam deal is in peril, but hope remains

FERC concluded that the nonprofit that was going to take ownership of the dams didn’t have the experience or expertise to oversee such a complicated project. PacifiCorp therefore needed to stay on as co-licensee. But if PacifiCorp couldn’t walk away clean, it lost a huge incentive for removing the dams at all. It might just as well stick with the status quo. Thanks, FERC.

Related article:

Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Opinion: Facts show holes in Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: SGMA and the human right to water: How do submitted groundwater sustainability plans address drinking water?

Although only five of 41 groundwater sustainability plans submitted to the Department of Water Resources for review in January mention the human right to water, and only one of those affirmed it as a consideration in their plan, these two policies are closely related.

Aquafornia news Fontana Herald News

West Valley Water District announces facility expansion project

Due to local population growth and rising peak summer usage, the West Valley Water District announced that it will expand treatment capacity for the region by 16 million gallons per day through the Oliver P. Roemer Water Filtration Facility Expansion Project.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration studies raising the height of Shasta Dam

The decades-long battle over an effort to raise the height of Shasta Dam took another turn Thursday when the Trump Administration released a new environmental report on the plan, just five years after completing a similar study.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

More than 1.5 million residential customers owe $1.1 billion to their water departments

Most Americans give little thought to water bills, paying them on time and in full. But for a subset of homeowners and renters, water debt is constant and menacing. The burden is an extension of two notable national trends: the rising cost of water service and the general precarity of those at the bottom of the economic pecking order. A missed bill or faulty plumbing can spell financial doom… Sophia Skoda, the chief financial officer for East Bay Municipal Utility District, in California, said that Congress needs “to step up to its responsibility” to ensure that water and sewer service is affordable for all people.

Related article:

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Unlikely source promises (a little) water for the Kern River

The City of Bakersfield is poised to ink a deal with Buena Vista Water Storage District that will provide at least some water in the riverbed through the main part of the city between April and June — even in drier years.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Federal court dismisses Trump water rule challenge in Oregon

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association sued the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in May for bringing non-navigable, small streams and wetlands under Clean Water Act protection in the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Judge Michael W. Mosman, ruling from the bench on a preliminary injunction sought against the water rule, dismissed the claims without prejudice.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Are you on a private well? We’re investigating risks to drinking water and need your help

Thousands of families who rent or own homes with private wells are at risk of losing their drinking water in Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kings counties — and some already have. The Fresno Bee is investigating the risks to private wells and proposed solutions, and we need to hear your stories and your questions to guide our reporting.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District scores another win in court battle with farmer Michael Abatti

A California appellate court on Wednesday denied Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti’s request for a rehearing in his long-running legal fight with the Imperial Irrigation District over control of Colorado River water. The decision could likely spell the end to his legal challenges.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara News-Press

City council discusses grant for desalination plant

The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a motion Tuesday to introduce and subsequently adopt an ordinance authorizing a grant funding agreement with the State Department of Water Resources in the amount of $10 million for reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Delta tunnel plan poses threat to N. San Joaquin Valley

The COVID-109 pandemic isn’t slowing work aimed at moving arguably the most cantankerous water project ever proposed in California since voters overwhelmingly rejected the Peripheral Canal in 1982 — the Delta Tunnel Project. … The State Department of Water Resources is currently preparing an environmental impact report on the project. At the same time they are also seeking all required state and federal approvals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Lindsay to spend thousands to clean city’s water

Last week at the Lindsay City Council’s July 28 meeting, city services and planning director Michael Camarena presented a feasibility study. He noted that the city’s water system has been out of compliance with the Stage 2 disinfection byproduct rule for total trihalomethanes and five haloacetic acid maximum contaminant levels.

Aquafornia news Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Blog: Projecting the future trade of virtual water

Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region. Now research led by scientists at PNNL has projected that the volume of virtual water traded globally could triple by the end of the century.

Aquafornia news California Rangeland Trust

News release: Groundbreaking research into working landscapes

The study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, examined 306,718 acres of California Rangeland Trust’s conservation easements across the state to explore both the environmental and monetary value of preserving California’s open spaces.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid COVID-19, L.A. River fishing provides a safe respite

Some have found fishing the L.A. River to be a peaceful respite from COVID-19, political and social turmoil and malaise of all flavors. Even those who have been fishing the river for years say it’s a new experience amid the new normal.

Aquafornia news National Rural Water Association

Blog: National Rural Water Association backs Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act

The Emergency Assistance for Rural Water Systems Act allows USDA Rural Development to provide affordable and sustainable financial options for rural utilities impacted by COVID-19. Assistance includes grants, zero percent loans, one percent loans, principal and interest reduction, loan modifications and direct operational assistance…

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: If CPUC eliminates ‘decoupling,’ water rates would rise

As early as Aug. 6, the California Public Utilities Commission could vote to adopt a proposal that would eliminate a best-practice regulatory tool – known as decoupling – that currently removes the incentive of water suppliers to sell more water. This significant change has the potential to hamper water conservation efforts in California and raise rates for millions of customers without providing them any corresponding benefit …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desalination plant still in choppy waters

As Poseidon Water pursues the final government approvals needed to build one of the country’s biggest seawater desalination plants, the company still cannot definitively say who will buy the 50 million gallons a day of drinking water it wants to produce on the Orange County coast. That’s one of several questions that continue to dog the $1-billion Huntington Beach project…

Related article:

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Report: An assessment of urban water demand forecasts in California

Failure to account for the long-term trend of declining per capita water demand has led to routine overestimation of future water demand. This can lead to unnecessary and costly investment in unneeded infrastructure and new sources of supply, higher costs, and adverse environmental impacts.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

One step closer for $71 million for Friant-Kern Canal

Funding for much needed repairs at least in the short-term for the Friant-Kern Canal continues to move closer to becoming reality. The House of Representatives last week passed H.R. 7617… Included in that minibus is $71 million for repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal during the next fiscal year.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara council accepts $10 million grant to operate desalination plant

The Santa Barbara City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to accept a $10 million grant — with the understanding that it will run the plant at full capacity for at least 36 out of the next 40 years. Some environmentalists objected to the council’s decision, citing environmental concerns.

Aquafornia news Center for American Progress

Blog: Bridging the water access gap through COVID-19 relief

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, guidance around how to control the virus’s spread has become a steady drumbeat: Wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, and stay home. Implicit in these recommendations is the assumption that households have safe and clean running water and indoor plumbing.

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath Irrigation District scores victory in water rights case

Earlier this year, Reclamation released water from Upper Klamath Lake — impounded by the Link River Dam in Klamath Falls — to boost streamflows for coho salmon in the lower Klamath River. But the Klamath Irrigation District sued, claiming the bureau does not have an established right from the Oregon Water Resources Department to use the stored water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

String of mysterious pinhole pipe leaks in Folsom homes

A rash of Folsom residents have reported tiny, pinhole-size leaks appearing in their copper pipes in recent weeks, causing in some cases thousands of dollars worth of water damage. City officials and Sacramento-area plumbers are aware of the surge in complaints, but are still trying to uncover the cause…

Aquafornia news Lawrence Berkeley Lab

News release: Geothermal brines could propel California’s green economy

Deep beneath the surface of the Salton Sea, a shallow lake in California’s Imperial County, sits an immense reserve of critical metals that, if unlocked, could power the state’s green economy for years to come. These naturally occurring metals are dissolved in geothermal brine, a byproduct of geothermal energy production.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Climate change could lead to more incidents like the Oroville Dam spillway failures, experts warn

Nearly 200,000 people were evacuated when the spillways failed at Oroville Dam in 2017, an infrastructure disaster that cost around a billion dollars to repair. Three years later scientists say events that partially led to the incident could become more frequent. It comes down to how and when snow and rain fall.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

A small city wants to unload a leaky water system, but regulators say not so fast

The city of Bellflower wants to sell its aging water system to a big for-profit water company that is better able to manage it. But the deal could fall through. That’s because state regulators say the price is so high, it could hurt water customers across Southern California.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Dam removal plan for the Klamath River hinges on billionaire Warren Buffett

Through three governors, California has set a path to tear down four aging dams on the Klamath River astride the Oregon border. It would be the biggest such removal project in the nation, done in the name of fish preservation, clean water flows and political consensus. But the undertaking is hitting a snag, one that Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to undo.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Toxic algae keeps bathers, anglers out of two area lakes

Toxic algal blooms have resulted in a “danger” advisory not to go in the water at Prado Regional Park Lake and not to eat fish from the lake. A similar advisory at part of Big Bear Lake has been posted since last month.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news InsideClimate News

Tired of wells that threaten residents’ health, small California town takes on the oil industry

In September 2018, Estela Escoto sat down with a team of lawyers and community organizers and weighed her options. Escoto’s town—Arvin, California—had just granted an oil drilling and well-servicing company, Petro-Lud, a permit to drill four new wells near a neighborhood densely packed with young families and a park where children played soccer.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California high court sides with small town in water rate hike fight

The rural Northern California town of Dunsmuir can impose a water rate hike on residents to fund a $15 million system upgrade, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news UC Irvine News

News release: UC Irvine engineers evaluate snow drought in different parts of the world

Environmental engineers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a new framework for characterizing snow droughts around the world. Using this tool to analyze conditions from 1980 to 2018, the researchers found a 28-percent increase in the length of intensified snow-water deficits in the Western United States during the second half of the study period.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Clean water advocates hoping to safeguard SAFER funding

The state is peppered with failing small water systems, many serving low-income communities without the resources to repair them. … That’s where the new Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program comes in.

Aquafornia news Camarillo Acorn

$5M in federal funding granted for city’s desalter

The grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will be used for the desalter plant that will treat brackish groundwater from the nearby Pleasant Valley Groundwater Basin. The filtered water will account for 40% of the city’s overall water supply once the facility is finished.

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Questions over water official who took money from interests pushing desal project she’s voting on

Regional water board member Kris Murray is on track later this week to vote on a controversial desalination plant sponsored by a company and interest groups she took money from during past political campaigns.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Capital Press

Bureau of Reclamation to invest $1.2M in updated science for Klamath Project

Among the projects, the bureau promises to update a 20-year-old assessment of streamflows in the lower Klamath River for Coho salmon and re-evaluate how water levels in Upper Klamath Lake are affecting the survival of endangered sucker fish. Farmers in the Klamath Project have long argued that flawed or outdated science is chipping away at the amount of water they receive each year to irrigate crops.

Aquafornia news The Hill

Turning air into water: How Native Americans are coping with water shortage amid the coronavirus pandemic

A nonprofit that developed low-cost handwashing stations for the homeless population in California is teaming up with community nonprofit Red Feather to bring this potentially life-saving infrastructure to Native American communities.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno farming giant Jack Woolf, leader in transforming San Joaquin Valley, dies at 102

John Leroy Woolf Jr., a pioneering farmer who helped re-imagine the dry and dusty west side of California’s San Joaquin Valley into an agricultural oasis, died Tuesday. He was 102.

Aquafornia news LAist.com

Thirsty? This costly plant could let you drink the Pacific

Poseidon Resources wants to build a $1.4 billion desalination plant near a power plant that is about to be shut down. They say it could produce 50 million gallons of water per day, enough for about 100,000 Orange County homes. Friday marked the second day of hearings before the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board. Its approval is needed for the plant to discharge salty brine left over from the treated water.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: Wildfires can poison drinking water: Here’s how communities can be better prepared

Both the Tubbs and Camp fires destroyed fire hydrants, water pipes and meter boxes. Water leaks and ruptured hydrants were common. … After the fires passed, testing ultimately revealed widespread hazardous drinking water contamination. Evidence suggests that the toxic chemicals originated from a combination of burning vegetation, structures and plastic materials.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Drought and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2012–2016: Environmental review and lessons

Droughts are common in California. The drought of 2012-2016 had no less precipitation and was no longer than previous historical droughts, but came with record high temperatures and low snowpack, which worsened many drought impacts.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Poseidon desalination proposal for Huntington Beach may face new requirements

After hearings this week for one of two remaining major permits needed for the project, several members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board indicated they were dissatisfied with the proposed mitigation for the larvae and other small marine life that would die as a result of the plant’s ocean intake pipes.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KXTV Sacramento

Folsom investigating why copper pipes are leaking inside many homes

Andre White who lives in Folsom’s Prarie Oaks neighborhood described the moment when he discovered his house was being filled with water due to a mysterious leak in his kitchen.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Montecito groundwater basin levels still recovering from California drought

The district’s spring groundwater monitoring program, using 55 public and private wells, found that the levels rose 3-to-18 feet in each storage area of the basin since last year. That’s progress, but still far below historic wet weather levels, groundwater specialist Nick Kunstek said.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Water district asks state for Carmel River cutback relief

With a new water supply delayed by state regulatory agencies and political infighting, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board has asked the state water board not to impose Carmel River water reductions due to an inevitable violation of an approaching river cutback order milestone…

Related article:

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Boaters told to leave Folsom Lake Marina by mid-August

The water level at Folsom Lake is dropping by nearly half a foot each day, and soon boaters who rent a slip at Folsom Lake Marina will have pull their boats out. Marina managers told the tenants they should plan on removing their boats from the water by around Aug. 16…

Aquafornia news Long Beach Press Telegram

House-passed bill includes nearly $385 million to fix Whittier Narrows Dam

Four years after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers upgraded the flood risk for the Whittier Narrows Dam from high urgency to very high urgency, the U,S. House of Representatives on Friday approved a budget package that included nearly $385 million to fix the dam.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Fixing the Colorado River is tough. Good thing Arizona started early

The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: When does a groundwater recharge project NOT need a water right?

Groundwater recharge projects already play an important role in California. That role is about to expand rapidly, as local groundwater managers begin to take more concrete actions to meet their responsibilities under California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: How sheds help ensure healthy water quality for millions of Californians

You may have noticed them on trips down the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, small buildings, just 10 feet by 12 feet, sticking up out of the water. Resembling sheds that you typically see in a backyard; these buildings provide protection for something slightly more important than the family gardening tools and lawnmower.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Water bills would fundamentally change under proposal headed for CPUC

Some Bakersfield residents’ water bills will be fundamentally restructured, with big cost implications, if the California Public Utilities Commission votes Thursday to end an experiment that 12 years ago erased a financial incentive to sell people more water.

Aquafornia news Paradise Post

Rebuilding a resilient ridge takes a resilient watershed, forest scientist says

In the midst of a hot July after late rains this season, the outlook for reforesting on the ridge will depend on the efforts of private landowners, local forest scientists say. With this help, residents of the ridge could see a new type of forest replace what was lost in the Camp Fire.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Monday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River levels may rise with COVID-19 electricity demands

Summer energy demands driven higher as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps more people at home could lead to more water flowing from Glen Canyon Dam into the Colorado River. That could mean rapidly changing conditions for rafters, anglers, hikers or others on the river in Glen Canyon or the Grand Canyon, officials said.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

News release: EPA announces significant step in effort to reduce lead in drinking water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a final rule to reduce lead in plumbing materials used in public water systems, homes, schools and other facilities. This action marks a significant milestone in implementing the Trump Administration’s Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin judge rejects bid to halt San Geronimo creek work

A Marin County Superior Court judge rejected a petition filed by a group of San Geronimo residents and golfers to halt creek restoration work in the former San Geronimo Golf Course. The ten residents and golfers, known as the San Geronimo Heritage Alliance, filed the lawsuit in July alleging the creek restoration work is illegal.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Can the Colorado River keep on running?

The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19 percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent. The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious trouble.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Work on enlarging Tule River Spillway to begin

Much needed work at Schafer Dam at Success Lake is finally set to begin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District will begin construction to realign Avenue 146 and widen the existing Tule River Spillway at Success Lake in Porterville on Sunday.

Aquafornia news The Oregonian

Opinion: PacifiCorp should move forward with historic Klamath dams agreement

For us, dam removal is absolutely necessary to restore our struggling fisheries, maintain cultural practices, and provide tribal members who struggle to make ends meet access to traditional subsistence foods.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Valley Water wants you to adopt a creek

As part of Valley Water’s mission to provide flood protection for our communities, we are continuously preparing for the possibility of flooding. We must regularly keep our streams and creeks well maintained to handle the rainy season and protect the many species of wildlife that live there.

Aquafornia news E&E News

FERC faces environmental justice reckoning

A 1997 guidance document from the White House Council on Environmental Quality lays out best practices for FERC and other agencies to address environmental justice as part of reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. The agency isn’t legally required to act on its findings.

Aquafornia news Sen. Dianne Feinstein

News release: Feinstein bill would reduce border pollution, improve water quality

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced the Border Water Quality Restoration and Protection Act, a bill to reduce pollution along the U.S.-Mexico border and improve the water quality of the Tijuana and New rivers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor asks Warren Buffett to back dam removal

Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed directly to investor Warren Buffett to support demolishing four hydroelectric dams on a river along the Oregon-California border to save salmon populations that have dwindled to almost nothing.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Voice of Orange County

Public argues for, against Huntington Beach desalination plant, decision near

The 20-year battle between seawater desalters and Orange County environmentalists and community activists neared a turning point Thursday, the first in a series of final public hearings around a Huntington Beach desalination plant proposal before local regulators. Hearings and public comments at the state regional water board started Thursday, are continuing today…

Aquafornia news Sierra Wave

News release: Bishop Paiute Tribe pumping water at reduced capacity; pump failure & high-demand

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is experiencing low water pressure reservation wide due to high water usage and minimal storage and pumping capacity. … With temperatures rising, and more community members staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, water usage has gone up significantly.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Friday Top of the Scroll: Democratic senators introduce comprehensive environmental justice bill

The Environmental Justice for All Act would amend the Civil Rights Act to … require federal agencies to consider health effects that might compound over time when making permitting decisions under the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Audio: Planet Money: Scarce resources, drought and the tragedy of the commons in California

We travel to Porterville, California, where a drought has dried up residents’ wells. There’s water under their homes; they just can’t get to it.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

What is Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority? An overview

The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley, but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.

Aquafornia news Union of Concerned Scientists

Blog: Groundwater sustainability is a necessity more than ever

In a place like California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV), Latinos account for 70 percent of COVID-19 cases, even though they represent 42 percent of the population. Improving access to clean and affordable water even as the pandemic grows more urgent, is critical to reducing the types of burdens worsened by the COVID-19 crisis.

Aquafornia news Long Beach Post

Tied up in appeals, litigation over water fees could deepen Long Beach fiscal pain

Long Beach’s financial future has been thrust into uncertainty by the COVID-19 pandemic, but existing litigation over its practice of charging city-run utilities to access rights of ways could blow a nearly $20 million hole in future budgets if the city loses a court appeal.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lawsuit challenges Trump’s overhaul of environmental-review law

A legal battle with far-reaching consequences for industry and ecosystems kicked off Wednesday with the filing of a federal lawsuit over the Trump administration’s revamp of a longstanding law that requires extensive environmental reviews for road, industry and building projects.

Aquafornia news InterestingEngineering.com

How over-pumping of underground aquifers can cause land to sink

All the static and dynamic forces from the land and rock above start adding up and eventually that now-dry soil starts compacting down and down. While this may not seem like a big deal on a small scale, what we’ve seen in California (and other parts of the world too) is the dropping of the surface elevation over a period of years, often by hundreds of feet or meters.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Lake Powell Pipeline project based on inaccurate studies

Studies by reliable independent organizations prove the pipeline is unnecessary, risky and cost prohibitive. To counter these fact-based findings, pipeline proponents rely on misleading arguments, skewed data and fear in an attempt to “sell” the pipeline to taxpayers and water users who are unaware of the facts and place undue trust in government authorities.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Ecosystem-based management in the Delta

The Delta Plan Interagency Implementation Committee is comprised of high-ranking members of 18 state, federal, and regional agencies… At the July 2020 committee meeting, members heard presentations on the Central Valley Project Improvement Act and the state’s new Incidental Take Permit and how those programs utilize principles of ecosystem-based management.