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 KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

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Aquafornia news The Mountain Democrat

Placerville developer pays for illegal diversions

A Placerville development company that illegally discharged sediment and stormwater from its construction site has agreed to pay $171,000 in a settlement with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board,

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Groups fight against opening up 1 million acres for drilling, fracking

Environmental groups say they plan to fight a Trump administration decision that cleared the way for new oil and gas leases on more than 1 million acres in California. … The final supplemental environmental report released recently said the BLM found no adverse impacts of hydraulic fracturing that could not be alleviated. Several groups and state officials, however, disagree and have called the analysis flawed.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$2.24 million settlement: South Bay mushroom farm fouled waterways with manure

The company, Watsonville-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc., was accused of polluting a South Bay creek with manure for years, despite orders and warnings dating back to the 1980s. The judgment, the largest for a water pollution lawsuit in county history, will be used in part to restore the damaged Fisher Creek…

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA lead proposal, derided as weak, may be sneakily strong

A provision tucked within the EPA’s proposal to overhaul the way it regulates lead in drinking water—initially derided as toothless—could have far-reaching consequences for public health, municipal policies, and even real estate transactions, water industry insiders now say. The proposal would require all water utilities across the country to inventory the location of all of their lead pipes and then make that information public.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

California and Nevada scientists study nitrogen pollution in dryland watersheds

Nitrogen pollution, largely from burning fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and wildfire can reduce drinking water quality and make air difficult to breathe. Thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, we will soon have a better understanding of how much nitrogen arid ecosystems can absorb before they produce negative effects.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California water politics complicate House panel’s oversight

House Natural Resources Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona wants his committee to give him subpoena authority for multiple possible investigations, but California Democrat Jim Costa may vote against that as the panel considers whether Interior Secretary David Bernhardt improperly influenced a decision to send more water to his district.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘New NAFTA’ offers money for border sewage fixes

Passing the new North American free trade agreement would mean millions of dollars to help upgrade sewage infrastructure on the border, say the agreement’s backers. But an environmental group and a local organization on the U.S.-Mexico border say it’s not enough.

Aquafornia news Politico

What’s in the federal spending deal?

The spending deal does not include a requirement for EPA to regulate PFAS in drinking water, meaning lawmakers will leave town this week without significant regulatory action on the “forever chemicals.”

Aquafornia news Oceanographic Magazine

Manipulation of rivers jeopardises resilience of native Chinook salmon

The heavy management of river systems in California is causing a compression in the migration timing of Chinook salmon to the point that they crowd their habitats. As a result, they might miss the best window for entering the ocean to grow into adults.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

‘A geological and natural treasure.’ Would Stanislaus County dam put the area at risk?

To many West Side residents and others familiar with the [dam] site, Del Puerto Canyon is a natural gem and one of the county’s scenic wonders. An environmental impact report released last week raises some concerns about seismic risks and impacts on wildlife. But a significant and unavoidable impact noted in the report is “substantial damage to scenic resources,” “degradation of the visual character” and “adverse effect on a scenic vista.”

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

Replacing asbestos concrete water pipes

The Rosamond Community Services District will replace the last large areas of asbestos concrete water pipes in a project slated to start early next year. On Wednesday, the Board of Directors awarded a contract to California Compaction for $2.3 million to complete the pipe replacement project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Non-native weeds are engulfing the ancient breeding grounds of Mono Lake’s California gulls

The people who guard the gulls that nest on Mono Lake’s islets in the eastern Sierra Nevada have used dynamite, electric fences and lawsuits to protect the birds from wily coyotes and diversions of water to Los Angeles. … Now, the gulls are facing a botanical invader they may not be able to overcome: thickets of invasive weeds that have engulfed most of their breeding grounds.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Q&A: Wildfire’s impact on water quality

As an appointee to the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board, Newsha Ajami has worked with local, state and federal agencies to monitor and ensure water quality in areas affected by wildfires. Ajami is director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Water in the West program, and co-leads the Urban Water Systems & Institutions Thrust at Re-Inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), a National Science Foundation engineering research center based at Stanford. She discussed wildfire’s threat to water quality with Stanford Report.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Rural development loan aids Sites Reservoir Project in California

In a recent exclusive interview, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Western Farm Press that the low-interest loan will help fund projects associated with the off-stream storage site in western Colusa County. … “The USDA is putting up almost $500 million in rural development funds,” Perdue said.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

New scale categorizes atmospheric flows that bring benefit and harm

Researchers recently created a scale, similar to the one used for hurricanes, to categorize the strength and potential impacts of atmospheric rivers. This system could help communities prepare and respond to floods, and aid water managers calculating how much water will be available in any given year.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Opinion: Why SoCal water agencies must end litigation era

Next year would mark a decade of lawsuits by the San Diego County Water Authority challenging the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s uniform rates set by our Board of Directors after many public meetings and hearings. For nearly my entire tenure on the board, SDCWA has been pursuing litigation against Metropolitan. One of my goals as chairwoman is to put this era behind us.

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Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Federal cost analysis bolsters Pajaro River flood control efforts

During the 2019 Flood Prevention Authority Legislative Conference, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers presented a cost-benefit analysis in support of what is estimated to be about a $394 million project, an effort which would reduce significant flood risk to the city of Watsonville, Pajaro in Monterey County and adjacent agricultural areas…

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: Which faucets and fixtures have the lowest lead levels? California asks plumbing manufacturers

The Board plans to make the compiled responses publicly available and encourage the 14,000 licensed child care centers in the state to buy new fixtures from those on the list when water testing indicates the fixture should be replaced.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

High water levels promise banner year for lake-based recreation

The early-winter rains, coming on top of high holdover levels at reservoirs from summer, are helping to shape 2020 as one of the best for lake-based boating, camping, fishing and water sports. At the 154 major recreation lakes in California, lake levels are 114% of normal for the date…

Aquafornia news NOAA Fisheries

Blog: Salmon lose diversity in managed rivers, reducing resilience to environmental change

The manipulation of rivers in California is jeopardizing the resilience of native Chinook salmon. It compresses their migration timing to the point that they crowd their habitats. They may miss the best window for entering the ocean and growing into adults, new research shows. The good news is that even small steps to improve their access to habitat and restore natural flows could boost their survival.

Aquafornia news Popular Mechanics

Water desalination just got a lot better

A mechanical engineer at Carnegie Mellon University has developed a new, micro-thin material to make membrane water desalination even better. Amir Barati Farimani, with fellow researchers Zhonglin Cao and Vincent Liu, has calculated how much better his metal organic framework (MOF) works than the traditional membrane method.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump’s potty talk highlights flushing fight

When it comes to testing toilets, it turns out the appropriate substitute for human feces is miso paste. That’s what EPA uses to ensure that commodes earning its WaterSense efficiency label flush effectively. To earn the label, tank-type toilets currently must use 1.28 gallons or less of water per flush while eliminating 350 grams of miso paste, along with toilet paper. That may be news to President Trump…

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Who pays for the Friant-Kern repairs? It should be farmers, but most likely, taxpayers

I understand the need to convey water via canals in our Central Valley within a systematic, well-regulated and properly managed system. But there are so many unanswered questions…

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

More public water buyout spending to be considered

On Monday, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board is set to consider approving $1.24 million on consultants to prepare for a potential vote by the summer on a resolution of necessity to acquire Cal Am’s local system.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Nevada river commission intervenes in lawsuit over Glen Canyon Dam

The Colorado River Commission of Nevada unanimously voted this week to intervene into a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of the Interior and a group of environmental activists led by the nonprofit Save the Colorado River. The lawsuit alleges the department, in drafting a long-term plan for the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, did not fully consider the impacts of climate change…

Aquafornia news Quartz

Drought is crippling small farmers in Mexico—with consequences for everyone else

This isn’t just a problem for Mexico. These growers are the custodians of rare varieties of maize that may hold the secret to more sustainable agriculture. If they lay down their tools, their crops could begin to vanish.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Can a Grand Vision Solve the Colorado River’s Challenges? Or Will Incremental Change Offer Best Hope for Success?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: With talks looming on a new operating agreement for the river, a debate has emerged over the best approach to address its challenges

Photo of Lake Mead and Hoover DamThe Colorado River is arguably one of the hardest working rivers on the planet, supplying water to 40 million people and a large agricultural economy in the West. But it’s under duress from two decades of drought and decisions made about its management will have exceptional ramifications for the future, especially as impacts from climate change are felt.

Western Water Jennifer Bowles Jennifer Bowles

Exploring Different Approaches for Solving the Colorado River’s Myriad Challenges
EDITOR’S NOTE: We examine a debate that emerged from our Colorado River Symposium over whether incrementalism or grand vision is the best path forward

Jenn Bowles, Water Education Foundation Executive DirectorEvery other year we hold an invitation-only Colorado River Symposium attended by various stakeholders from across the seven Western states and Mexico that rely on the iconic river. We host this three-day event in Santa Fe, N.M., where the 1922 Colorado River Compact was signed, as part of our mission to catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

How America’s aging dams risk lives and homes

In the United States, many of the structures that were once engineering marvels are nearing the age most humans decide to retire. Despite steadily increased budgets for dam repair and maintenance, over the past four decades more than a 1,000 have failed … Although some dams are having critical maintenance done, states and private entities are also coming up with a different solution: take them down. California, once a bastion of dam building, took down 35 dams just last year, making it the leader in dam removals in 2018.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

County to form groundwater agency for CEMEX site

Calling it a move to resolve a dispute between agencies that could endanger local groundwater management efforts, the Board of Supervisors agreed Wednesday to form a groundwater sustainability agency for the Cemex sand mining plant site.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Opinion: Don’t go into the tunnel

Votes of support by local jurisdictions bring the project one step closer to reality. Reality is a costly giant tunnel that would divert Sacramento River water bound for the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and transport the water directly to Central Valley farms and urban users in the Bay Area and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Antelope Valley Press

A model for the future of water

With a low rumble from a large pipe, water began flowing into a dirt basin at 25th Street West and Elizabeth Lake Road Thursday morning, christening the Upper Amargosa Creek Recharge Project and marking the debut of a new water storage endeavor in the Valley. Inside the basin, water flowed from holes in a round structure to begin flooding the bottom, where it will begin to percolate through the soil to the aquifer beneath.

Aquafornia news Spectrum News 1

Scientists from UC campuses study floods

We’ve heard this about earthquakes – it’s not a matter of if but when the big one will hit. Well, some researchers also say it’s a pretty similar situation for a major flood in the area. A research project currently being undertaken at SoCal and NorCal UC campuses is looking at how flooding could impact the area, including socioeconomic issues.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s water delivery system

A state inspection found 12 flaws in Poway’s drinking water delivery system less than three months before the city’s precautionary boil water advisory. City officials remain adamant that the issues raised by the inspection had nothing to do with the nearly week-long advisory that ended Dec. 6.

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Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Editorial: Salmon’s return marks proud day in push for creek restorations

Salmon are swimming back into the Lagunitas Creek watershed. Not only is that a natural phenomena, but it is a sign that hard work at restoring habitat and promoting greater public awareness are paying off.

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Friday Top of the Scroll: U.S. water chief praises Colorado River deal, sees challenges

States in the U.S. West that have agreed to begin taking less water next month from the drought-stricken Colorado River got praise and a push for more action Thursday from the nation’s top water official. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told federal, state and local water managers that abiding by the promises they made will be crucial to ensuring that more painful cuts aren’t required.

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Aquafornia news Petaluma Argus-Courier

At Petaluma wastewater plant, the future is now

During its 10 years, the Ellis Wastewater Treatment Facility has reshaped itself to take in waste produced by a rapidly changing city, factoring in an increased population and new industries like large-scale beer production. Recently-completed projects costing roughly $9 million have changed the face of the wastewater facility by expanding treatment capacity, tackling hard-to-process industry waste and building a system that will provide biofuel to city vehicles.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Sustainable sand pulls pollutants from stormwater

UC Berkeley engineers have developed a mineral-coated sand that can soak up toxic metals like lead and cadmium from water. Along with its ability to destroy organic pollutants like bisphenol A, this material could help cities tap into stormwater, an abundant but underused water source.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As winter approaches, all eyes turn toward Rocky Mountain snowpack

The early season spikes in snowpack totals are promising — the river’s Upper Basin is currently at 125% of average — but those who watch it closely are only cautiously optimistic.

Aquafornia news Valley Roadrunner

County Water Authority’s new ag water rate can be traced back to policy of the 1990s

Back in the 1990’s, when water rates started to hurt growers, the Valley Center Municipal Water District helped pioneered a program that gave ag users a special rate in return for their water being subject to interruption. … Recently the San Diego County Water Authority introduced a permanent policy that can trace its lineage directly to Valley Center’s efforts to preserve its growers. 

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

Water project one more step closer to reality

The cities of Ceres and Turlock formed the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority which is in the process of hiring a design-build consultant to oversee the project to build the facility along the Tuolumne River west of the Fox Grove Fishing Access. Water will be drawn from the river, filtered and piped to both Turlock and to Ceres. Plans call for the water to be stored in a large aboveground water storage tank. The surface water will then be comingled with groundwater for use throughout the two cities.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration OKs leasing for new oil drilling in California — again

The Trump administration on Thursday gave the go-ahead to new oil-drilling leases on federal land in California, mostly around petroleum-rich Bakersfield but also in less-obvious spots in the Sierra foothills, such as near Yosemite National Park.

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Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Launch Thursday focused on epic storm, flood control

Researchers from the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, in partnership with the Yuba Water Agency and California Department of Water Resources, will launch the first in a series of weather balloons near Marysville Thursday. The research is aimed at better understanding atmospheric river events, or “epic storms,” that have created deadly flood events in previous generations.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trade agreement includes $300 million for border pollution cleanup, including Tijuana River Valley

The new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement reached Tuesday commits the federal government to provide $300 million for the Border Water Infrastructure Program to address pollution on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the Tijuana River Valley region, where millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contaminants regularly flow from Tijuana to San Diego.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Los Angeles beaches plagued with toxic stormwater, report warns

Los Angeles beaches are plagued by stormwater pollution that can make people sick and damage ecosystems, and local governments are largely failing to address the hazards, according to a new report.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Major push to save Muir Woods salmon run includes creek, habitat work

An all-out attempt to save the historic coho salmon runs through Muir Woods intensified this year as the National Park Service began a creek restoration and habitat enhancement program in the famous redwood grove.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

This California mountain community was swallowed by a lake

Communities sprout up and sometimes wither away, but in 1972, the small community of Cedar Springs met its demise when it was swallowed up by a lake. The San Bernardino Mountains community was located at the confluence of the west fork of the Mojave River, Sawpit Canyon, and Miller Canyon, about 4 miles northwest of Crestline. Today, the location is under the waters of Silverwood Lake, near the boat launch ramp.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Powerful patrons duel over California projects in final spending package

The top Democratic and Republican leaders in the House are pushing for their own home-state projects in this year’s final spending bills — a spectacular park overlooking San Francisco Bay and a dam across the largest reservoir in California — but without agreement from each other in the negotiations’ final days.

Aquafornia news MyNewsLA.com

Group to sue county flood control district, others for alleged harm to fish

Two wildlife advocacy groups Wednesday announced their intent to sue the Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, as well as other regional and federal government agencies, for allegedly putting a fish species’ habitat at risk with the release of water from the Seven Oaks Dam.

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Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

A year later, ‘water grab’ plan settlements still stuck

A year later, issues triggered by a contentious plan by state water regulators to increase unimpaired river flows for the benefit of fish remain firmly mired in red tape.

Aquafornia news ABC News San Diego

Members of different water districts blame the mayor and city of Poway for water problems

Members representing different water districts set up a news conference Tuesday to collectively show they weren’t happy with how the mayor and City of Poway handled last week’s water situation.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Can recharge net metering contribute to sustainable groundwater management?

Dr. Michael Kiparsky is the founding director of the Wheeler Water Institute within the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law. In this presentation from the 2019 Western Groundwater Congress, Dr. Kiparsky discussed a pilot project in the Pajaro Valley designed to incentivize private landowners to do groundwater recharge.

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Landscape designer Mia Lehrer and the LA River Revitalization Plan

At 65, Lehrer has become Los Angeles’s doyenne of landscape design and a leading advocate for green urbanism… But the main project that Lehrer has been tenaciously, tirelessly working on for most of her career is the Los Angeles River.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Conservation key as decades-long drought continues

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Wednesday that Nevada has been a national leader in water conservation by reducing demand on the Colorado River and investing in infrastructure over the past two decades. In Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual conference, Burman declined to say, however, whether she sees Nevada’s share of the river’s water increasing…

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Yellow-legged frog: Now endangered in California’s Southern Sierra

There’s new hope for an endangered California frog that has vanished from half of its habitat. The state Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday approved protections for five of six populations of the foothill yellow-legged frog.

Aquafornia news Lompoc Record

Editorial: Essential ingredient for living

There are a number of very evident reasons, however, that Vandenberg Air Force Base is at the top of the Pentagon’s water-scarcity list…

Aquafornia news Valley Citizen

Blog: Draining the last great aquifer: A group project

Environmentalists who had high hopes Gavin Newsom would lead the way to sustainable water use in the San Joaquin Valley are waking up to the knowledge that the new governor isn’t going to be any more effective than the old governor. Sustainability is just too big a lift.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Little progress in reducing L.A. stormwater pollution, report says

Researchers combed through six years of data, from 2012 to 2018, to examine how L.A. County has mitigated the issue, most visible in the 72-hour aftermath of rainfall but persists during dry weather in the form of runoff from driveways and sidewalks. As it turns out, not much has been done, largely because of a lack of transparent requirements when it comes to the monitoring of stormwater pollution by various municipalities.

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Aquafornia news LAist.com

California salmon can fight (some) climate change threat by eating more

A new study from UC Davis, published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, offers a glimmer of hope, with a caveat. It found that salmonids can likely thrive in slightly warmer waters, provided they eat like bodybuilders trying to bulk up for a competition.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona will soon start getting less water from the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will start taking less water from the Colorado River in January as a hard-fought set of agreements kicks in to reduce the risk of reservoirs falling to critically low levels. The two U.S. states agreed to leave a portion of their water allotments in Lake Mead under a deal with California called the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP…

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Precipitation above normal in Southern California and adding up in the north

Skiers and snowboarders already know this: California’s recent storms have lifted the state’s precipitation totals to the respectable range in the northern part of the state, and to well above normal in the south…

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Managing urban flooding in the San Francisco Bay Area: From a concrete bowl to a green sponge

Urban flooding is increasing in the Bay Area for four main reasons: California’s naturally variable precipitation patterns, climate change increasing precipitation extremes, population growth, and aging and insufficient infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California officials urged to move faster on sea level rise

In one of the most comprehensive assessments of the crisis that rising seas pose to California, an influential state panel on Tuesday urged local officials to take ownership of the issue and lawmakers to move fast and consider much-needed legislation. The Legislative Analyst’s Office … found that the state was already behind on the issue and made the case that any action — or lack of action — within the next 10 years could determine the fate of the California coast.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Congress to halt military use of toxic foam contaminating drinking water

Congress has reached a deal on a spending bill that would require the military to stop using firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals linked to cancer, but would abandon efforts to place stronger regulations on the chemicals.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Opinion: Golf course, CVWD cooperation key to keeping groundwater control local

There are two things already baked into the desert’s cake guaranteed to inject a bit of what ails the rest of the state — the full flowering of the regulatory scheme mandated by the state’s 2014 Groundwater Sustainability Act and reductions in Colorado River allocations made necessary by a drying Colorado River Basin that is already badly over allocated.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Huntington Beach desalination plant eyes approval, but foes turn out in force

With Poseidon Water’s plans for a Huntington Beach desalination plant approaching the homestretch, critics were as adamant as ever at a Friday workshop, where dozens complained the proposal is environmentally flawed, unneeded and would jack up water rates.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Standing too close to the elephant: addressing scales in restoration and fisheries conservation

Dr. Rachel Johnson is a research biologist with the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and UC Davis with over 15 years’ experience working on various aspects of conservation and fisheries biology. In this presentation from the 2019 State of the Estuary conference, Dr. Johnson discussed the importance of developing a holistic framework among aquatic ecosystems and management authorities.

Aquafornia news Redlands Community News

Frank Brown’s revolutionary design of the Bear Valley Dam made him famous

The Bear Valley 1884 Dam that created Big Bear Lake was the culmination of Frank Brown’s dream of creating an irrigation colony in the far west since leaving Connecticut in 1877. The single arched dam revolutionized dam building and made Frank Brown famous. The multiple arched dam built in 1912 with 10 arches became an engineering standby based on the 1884 dam.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid the wasteland of the Salton Sea, a miraculous but challenging oasis is born

It came as a bittersweet surprise to biologists and government agencies monitoring the steadily shrinking Salton Sea’s slide toward death by choking dust storms and salt. Thousands of acres of exposed lake bed have become, of all things, the unintended beneficiaries of lush marshlands that are homes for endangered birds and fish at the outlets of agricultural and urban runoff that used to flow directly into the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Lake County Record-Bee

Blocked from Potter Valley Project planning group, Lake County interests look ahead

In August, the Lake County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution of intent to join this group, now being called the Two-Basin Partnership. But Lake County was recently denied entry, with the partnership citing “expediency” concerns and saying it would not admit any more members.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas groundwater management a success, but overpumping issues loom

Net groundwater pumping peaked in 1968 at 86,000 acre-feet and started to go down in the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s, according to the state’s 2018 groundwater pumpage inventory for the aquifer. Thanks to the water authority’s efforts to reduce pumping, only 10% of the water used in the valley now comes from groundwater, while the rest comes from Lake Mead, Mack said.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Progress on canal repairs sparks hope but funding questions loom

It was welcome news for Kern County farmers, but word last week that the process of fixing the Friant-Kern Canal has finally begun may have obscured the fact that a great deal of work lies ahead — including finding money to complete the job.

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Aquafornia news WestSideConnect.com

Community workshop set on proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

The project will deliver water from the Delta-Mendota Canal to the reservoir, where it will be stored and released on a managed basis, according to a press release. The reservoir would allow water to be delivered into storage during wetter periods and held until needed in drier times for irrigation, groundwater recharge or beneficial wildlife uses, the release stated.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Monday Top of the Scroll: ‘It would mean total annihilation’ – Some farmers sell off fields ahead of groundwater law

Farmers are worried… Some feel angry, even betrayed by lawmakers and the environmental groups that have pressured them into what they see as ever-tightening regulations on the ag industry. While many disagree with SGMA, most do acknowledge that California’s unrestricted groundwater use has been unsustainable.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Trump takes aim at trickle-down toilets, faucets

President Donald Trump said on Friday he has directed his environmental regulators to find answers to what he said is a big problem – water-conserving showers, faucets and toilets.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Proposed pump fee raise delayed

The recommended fee hike would have elevated the rate from a monthly $30 per-acre foot pumped to $75/acre-foot, according to IWVGA acting general manager Don Zdeba. It would turn the tables on the IWVGA ending 2020 fiscal year with $465,000 in the red to ending in the positive by $209,000.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California water supplies remain at critical levels

Tijuana and Rosarito residents may have gotten a brief reprieve from scheduled water shut-offs, but the delivery of water throughout Baja California is a vulnerable system in need of urgent repairs, state and water officials stressed this week.

Post

2019 Class Report

Members of the 2019 Water Leaders class examined the emerging issue of wildfire impacts on California’s water supply and quality. Read their policy recommendations in the class report, Fire and Water: An Emerging Nexus in California, to learn more.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Biologists investigate mass die-off of freshwater mussels

In recent years though, biologists and fisherman noticed something was wrong. On sections of the Clinch and other waterways in the Pacific Northwest and Midwest, dead mussels were turning up on shores and could be seen glinting from the river bottom. …  “The loss is really huge and it’s happening really quickly,” says Emilie Blevins, a conservation biologist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. “It’s a major concern for the future and for the future of our fresh water.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Planned Palm Springs arena has big water needs, adds to climate footprint

The planned downtown Palm Springs entertainment arena, like many desert projects, is a thirsty one, requiring almost 12 million gallons of water each year to accommodate an American Hockey League affiliate team and other visitors.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Supreme Court to consider taking up water permitting case

The Supreme Court today will weigh in a closed-door conference whether to take up a dispute over states’ role in water permitting for pipelines, hydroelectric dams, and other projects. … The question in the case is whether states unlawfully extended their review time for a hydropower project on the Klamath River. It’s an issue that has cropped up in litigation over pipelines and other projects.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Megafarms and deeper wells are draining the water beneath rural Arizona – quietly, irreversibly

Unfettered pumping has taken a toll on the state’s aquifers for many years, but just as experts are calling for Arizona to develop plans to save its ancient underground water, pumping is accelerating and the problems are getting much worse. Big farming companies owned by out-of-state investors and foreign agriculture giants have descended on rural Arizona and snapped up farmland in areas where there is no limit on pumping.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

EPA considering second round of national PFAS testing

Water suppliers across the nation could be required to sample for manmade “forever chemicals” in an attempt to gauge just how prevalent the contaminants are in drinking supplies. … Every five years the Environmental Protection Agency can order large water suppliers and a sampling of smaller districts to test for up 30 chemicals that aren’t currently regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Most U.S. states have cut environmental budgets and staffing since 2008: study

The report by the Environmental Integrity Project released on Thursday showed some 30 states have reduced funding for pollution control programs, 16 of them by more than 20%. Forty states, meanwhile, have cut staffing at environmental agencies, half of them by at least 10%, the report showed.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Citizens committee files to stop Oroville Dam re-licensing, says DWR is untrustworthy

The Feather River Recovery Alliance has filed a motion to intervene with the Department of Water Resources’ pending application to re-license operation of the Oroville Dam. … The motion requests that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reopen the licensing process that was conducted over a decade ago, and prior to the community becoming aware of safety concerns at the Oroville Dam.

Aquafornia news The Point Reyes Light

Rains make way for Lagunitas Creek coho return

After a dry fall, the first storms of the winter kicked off the annual migration of coho salmon from the Pacific Ocean to the streams where they spawn. Over 10 inches of rain fell on Lake Lagunitas last week… Streamflows are now high enough to allow endangered central California coast coho to migrate.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Battle lines are drawn over oil drilling in California

The state is moving to ramp down oil production while Washington is expediting it. State officials are taking a closer look at the environmental and health threats — especially land, air and water contamination — posed by energy extraction, while Washington appears to have concluded that existing federal regulations sufficiently protect its sensitive landscapes as well as public health.

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Aquafornia news Estuary News

Helping the homeless clean up watersheds

Homeless volunteers collect so much trash in the Russian River watershed — 150,000 pounds as of October this year — that the state Water Resources Control Board sees it as a model for the rest of California.

Aquafornia news News 4

Multiple agencies take part in restoration project for the Lake Tahoe Basin

With the new strategy, land management agencies will increase the pace and scale of restoration actions, including forest thinning, prescribed fire, and meadow, aspen, and stream restoration. It will also provide a science-based framework to guide continued forest and watershed restoration over the next two decade.

Aquafornia news North Coast Journal

Trinity River under siege

While local tribes celebrated a federal appellate court ruling last month upholding their senior water rights on the Klamath River, a trio of threats facing the Trinity River combine to paint a foreboding picture for local salmon populations.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Atmospheric rivers cost $1 billion a year and getting worse, study says

In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers found that from 1978 to 2017, atmospheric rivers accounted for $42.6 billion in flood damage in 11 Western states — 84% of the estimated total water-related damage of $50.8 billion. That’s roughly $1.1 billion in damage done by atmospheric rivers every year.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must change its approach to water, become more collaborative

We face an important opportunity to finally put the seemingly permanent conflicts that have defined water and environmental management in California behind us, but not if we let it drift away. This new era of opportunity springs from a common recognition that our ways of doing business have failed to meet the needs of all interests.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

San Simeon could lift ban on new water connections

When will the San Simeon services district end its 31-year ban on issuing new water connections? Members of the San Simeon Community Services District board of directors took initial steps toward that goal on Nov. 13, unanimously authorizing the preparation of a major report about lifting the longtime moratorium on new water connections in the tiny town.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: One Delta, one estuary; Connecting California through water

In her address to the State of the Estuary conference, Felicia Marcus spoke about the connections of the Delta to all Californians and the importance of working together and more broadly to solve the challenging problems before us.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Poway’s water woes due to out-of-compliance infrastructure, state official says

A state official said Wednesday he intends to notify the city of Poway that its water storage reservoir is out of compliance, a situation he said directly contributed to last week’s storm water overflow that has left the entire community under a boil-water advisory and temporarily shuttered nearly 200 businesses.

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Aquafornia news Hakai Magazine

Securing SoCal water to benefit NorCal salmon

Rather than physically move water hundreds of kilometers across earthquake country between Northern California and San Bernardino, the plan involves reallocating water virtually, just as you would electronically transfer funds from one bank account to another. Once the Chino Basin Program is operational, in times of drought the southern region can draw water from the new reserve instead of from the State Water Project… That will mean water impounded by Oroville Dam can be released into the Feather River, benefitting endangered chinook.

Aquafornia news The Confluence

Blog: Q&A with Linda Estelí Méndez Barrientos

In my current research, I have been studying the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, commonly known as SGMA, in California. SGMA is one of the world’s largest-scale policy experiments on collective action to manage natural resources. At the same time, pervasively disparate access to water resources in the Central Valley made SGMA the perfect case study to test some of the power asymmetry theories I have been working on with my colleagues.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

U.S. challenge to California water rules belongs in state court

Most of the Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging California water management rules affecting the San Francisco Bay Area has been paused indefinitely so a state court can consider parallel claims the government filed there. Both suits target changes the State Water Resources Control Board made to the “water quality control plan” covering the Bay Area and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Estuary.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego officials to sign joint resolutions calling on Trump EPA to fund a fix to Tijuana River pollution

Elected leaders from across South Bay San Diego announced Tuesday a joint effort aimed at pressuring the federal government to support a long-term fix to the sewage pollution that routinely flows over the border from Tijuana, fouling beaches as far north as Coronado.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lead in drinking water may go beyond California schools

California authorities are addressing the problem of lead in drinking water at public schools through a statewide program to test pipes and upgrade plumbing, but experts warn the threat goes well beyond schools – and nearby homes and businesses may unknowingly be affected.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Atmospheric river drenches L.A., snarling traffic, raising mudslide fears

The steady rain prompted the weather service to issue flash flood watches through noon for burn areas across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, including the Cave, Maria and Easy fire burn scars. … Rainfall totals of 1 to 2 inches are expected for much of the region, but the San Gabriel Mountains could see up to 3 inches of precipitation.

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Aquafornia news Clean Water Action

Blog: Q&A on groundwater sustainability with Jane Wagner-Tyack of the League of Women Voters

I assumed the different local water agencies were in regular contact with their customers about important issues like groundwater and that they would be happy to take advantage of the opportunity to educate the public about what was happening with SGMA. I learned that that was not the case. This is not a subject that engages people who don’t already have some reason to be concerned about it.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Finished Paso Robles groundwater sustainability plan awaits final approval

The 20-year groundwater plan, required by state law, aims to bring the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin back into balance. Between 1981 and 2011, the 684-square-mile aquifer serving 29 percent of San Luis Obispo County residents and 40 percent of its agriculture lost 369,000 acre-feet of water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fishing groups sue federal agencies over latest water plan for California

The fracas over California’s scarce water supplies will tumble into a San Francisco courtroom after a lawsuit was filed this week claiming the federal government’s plan to loosen previous restrictions on water deliveries to farmers is a blueprint for wiping out fish.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Lead in drinking water may go beyond California schools

California authorities are addressing the problem of lead in drinking water at public schools through a statewide program to test pipes and upgrade plumbing, but experts warn the threat goes well beyond schools – and nearby homes and businesses may unknowingly be affected.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Reclamation seeks to restore sinking California canal

Federal authorities are considering a plan to repair a California canal in the San Joaquin Valley that lost half its capacity to move water because of sinking ground. … The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Dec. 3 published an environmental assessment detailing plans to repair, raise, and realign the Friant-Kern Canal, which it began building in 1949.

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Aquafornia news Bay Area Monitor

Let there be light: Creeks gain visibility through restoration

As land around the Bay was developed, creeks were rerouted underground through pipes called culverts for flood protection. But in some spots, these hidden waterways can be brought back up to the surface to provide habitat for wildlife and respite for people. The Bay Area is a national leader in this type of restoration, which is aptly called daylighting. And now we’re undertaking our most ambitious such project yet.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California should take over PG&E and possibly other utilities, former top regulator says

Following a string of utility-sparked wildfires that have killed scores of Californians and destroyed billions in property, the former top regulator of California’s electric grid says it’s time for sweeping change — a public takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric and possibly other private utilities, which would be transformed into a state power company.

Aquafornia news The Grass Valley Union

Nevada County confirms Kilham Mine Road property not source of South Yuba River plume

Nevada County has released the results of a state water board investigation into the mysterious yellow sediment plume that closed off the South Yuba River in September. A historic mine property on Kilham Mine Road, initially targeted as the suspected source of the discharge, was cleared by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in late October.

Aquafornia news The Press Democrat

Future of Potter Valley power project could hinge on options for dam at Lake Pillsbury

CalTrout has identified Scott Dam, which impounds Eel River water in Lake Pillsbury, as one of five aging dams it considers “ripe for removal,” especially in the wake of PG&E’s license surrender. There is, however, a potential middle course backed by Friends of the Eel River, a Eureka-based nonprofit that has long called for the dam’s removal.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Turbidity and Insights on flow-habitat-fish abundance curves in policy-making

California’s water policy community continues to be embroiled on how best to manage what remains of California’s native aquatic ecosystems, particularly for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and its tributaries. One aspect of this controversy is the dedication and use of habitat and flow resources to support native fishes.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Politicians knew the inconvenient truth about the Colorado River 100 years ago — and ignored it

As conventional wisdom has it, the states were relying on bad data when they divided up the water. But a new book challenges that narrative. Turn-of-the-century hydrologists actually had a pretty good idea of how much water the river could spare, water experts John Fleck and Eric Kuhn write in Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. They make the case that politicians and water managers in the early 1900s ignored evidence about the limits of the river’s resources.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Trading water: Can water shares help save California’s aquifers?

California is by far the United States’ most populous state, as well as its largest agricultural producer. Increasingly, it is also one of the country’s most parched places. But Edgar Terry, a fourth-generation farmer in Ventura County, just outside Los Angeles, thinks he has a key to reversing worsening water stress: establishing tradeable rights to shares of fast-depleting groundwater aquifers.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservation groups sue feds over California water project opinions

The complaint says the Trump administration did not fully consider scientific facts or logic, and arbitrarily concluded that the projects would not have a damaging effect on endangered fish species, including salmon and steelhead. … The projects at issue divert water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers to the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, primarily for agricultural and municipal uses.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Dirty water too pricey to fix for many Central Valley cities. Is this idea the answer?

Cities like Huron, with a population of 6,926 and a $22,802 median household income, are often too small to expand water access projects that could lower utility rates. While cities like Delano are too big to qualify for rural development projects from the federal government. But a new proposal could soon alleviate those pains.

Aquafornia news KPBS

Backed-up storm drain caused Poway’s water contamination

Rains caused storm drains to back up into Poway’s water treatment facility, officials said. Crews are working around the clock to clean and flush the system, which may take two to five days before the water is declared safe. The county health department ordered the closing of all restaurants in the city and residents are being advised to boil their tap water before drinking it or using it for cooking, city officials said.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Napa city and county to begin water monitoring in reservoir areas

Napa city leaders have advocated for detailed water monitoring in order to safeguard a watershed area that lies largely outside its direct control. Some 34,000 acres in rural Napa County, as far north as Angwin, drain into Lake Hennessey, but the city owns only 2,822 acres.

Aquafornia news CNBC

Christmas tree prices rise as drought and fire hit crops, farms close

Last year, the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, California, and burned a Christmas tree farm to the ground. The fire occurred just months after three other Christmas tree farms were wiped out in Northern California.

Aquafornia news KMJ Radio

State is forecasting small water allocation

The California Department of Water Resources announced an initial State Water Project allocation of 10% for the 2020 calendar year. According to a DWR announcement, the initial allocation is based on several factors, such as conservative dry hydrology, reservoir storage, and releases necessary to meet water supply and environmental demands.

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Aquafornia news Military.com

More than 100 military bases now at risk of water shortages, GAO finds

The list of bases cited by the report was not limited by geographical area and ranged from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina in the East to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and Camp Pendleton, California in the West.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Boil-water advisory issued for Poway tap water

A brownish tint in Poway city water has prompted officials to advise that all tap water in the city be boiled before using it. Residents reported the discoloration on Friday, and an advisory was posted on the city’s website on Saturday.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

With the future of the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply—and water utility—on the line, we take a look back at how we got here

There’s a war over the future of water on the Monterey Peninsula and it’s taking place in the board chambers of half a dozen state and local government entities. It’s also taking place on social media and in the press.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Do too many CA products have Proposition 65 warning labels?

Environmental advocates say the law has compelled companies to quietly make their products and emissions less toxic. But some economists who are critical of government regulation argue the law has gone too far, plastering the state with warnings so ubiquitous that they’ve become meaningless to most consumers.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Crews build Sacramento’s McKinley Park water vault

Water in the vault will go the Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant in Elk Grove. This new system is designed to stop flooding on East Sacramento streets.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water fight between Kern district, Kings River managers

Just as they did more than two generations ago, Kern County farmers are looking to another Central Valley river to the north to refill their groundwater shortfall. But this time around, natives in the Kings River watershed are “sharpening their knives” to fight off what they say is a desperate water grab.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Monday Top of the Scroll: Did the atmospheric river make up for the season’s dry start?

An atmospheric river with a moisture tap originating near the Hawaiian Islands turned parts of the Bay Area into a soggy mess over the weekend. … Depending on location, rain rates have varied greatly, with downpours in the mountains and light showers in the valleys.

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Aquafornia news USA Today

White House, CDC feuding over study about PFAS in drinking water

A multimillion-dollar federal study on toxic chemicals in drinking water is facing delays because of a dispute within the Trump administration, according to several people involved in the study… The dispute has implications for more than half a dozen communities where drinking water has been heavily contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

What is an atmospheric river and why should Southern Californians keep their umbrellas handy?

They’re like a continuous conga line of moisture streaming across the ocean without interruption until they encounter an obstacle such as the coast ranges in California. These obstacles force the atmospheric river to start shedding its burden of moisture.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water in the bank: Coalition of agencies develops ‘historic’ sustainable groundwater plan

There’s progress to report in the momentous task of ensuring that San Joaquin County and surrounding communities have enough water to meet anticipated needs for the next 20 years.

Aquafornia news Chico News & Review

Testing the water

Back in 2016, California Water Service Co. took two of its groundwater wells in Chico out of service after tests showed they were contaminated with toxic flourinated chemicals known as PFAS—or per- and polyfluoralkyl substances—that have been linked to cancer and other adverse health effects. The move was done quietly.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pioneertown residents now have clean tap water — for the first time in decades

For three years, residents of the unincorporated San Bernardino County desert town have used twice-a-month shipments of bottled water because local wells were no longer meeting state standards for drinking water. … That changed in September, when work finished on a new pipeline that pulls clean water from a well 4 miles away in Yucca Valley.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Salinas Valley farmers and county water agency settle lawsuit over reservoir operations

A recent settlement between Monterey County, Monterey County Water Resources Agency, and a coalition of Salinas Valley farmers brings an end to a protracted legal battle over reservoir operations during drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Some ocean water closures lifted after sewage spill; amount of leak downgraded to 1.4 million gallons

Authorities have reopened about six miles of Orange County ocean and bay water areas closed by a 1.4-million-gallon sewage spill. … The estimated amount of the spill was revised down from 4 million gallons. The city of Laguna Beach said wastewater began leaking Wednesday afternoon from a broken valve on a 24-inch city sewage pipe near Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Californians are turning to vending machines for safer water. Are they being swindled?

The kiosks take city tap water – which must be clean enough to meet state and federal quality standards – run it through a filtration system that removes chemicals such as chlorine to improve taste, then dispense it to customers at an 8,000% to 10,000% mark-up. Vended water is cheaper than individually sealed, store-bought bottles, but many times more expensive than tap water.

Aquafornia news Curbed LA

Giant water wheel will churn L.A. River water just like the 1860s

Called Bending the River Back Into the City, the project will churn with water from the river, siphoning a fraction of it out of the waterway, cleaning that water via “an artificial treatment wetland” … and then piping it to Los Angeles State Historic Park and the recently opened Albion Riverside Park and Downey Recreation Center so it can water plants and other landscaping there.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: It’s time to secure California’s water supply by raising Shasta Dam

Reliable water is critical to every aspect of the economy as more than 40 percent of the nation’s fruits, nuts and vegetables are grown in the Central Valley, much of that using water from the Central Valley Project (CVP) and its largest reservoir — Shasta Lake.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

How racism ripples through California’s pipes

And as in other parts of the United States, black migrants were met with Jim Crow-style racism: “Whites Only” signs, curfews and discriminatory practices by banks. Often, the only places black families could settle were on arid acres on the outskirts of cultivated farmland — places like Teviston… Today, the legacy of segregation in the Central Valley reverberates underground, through old pipes, dry wells and soil tainted by shoddy septic systems.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Presidio at 25: Time moves backward as restoration sites regain their original habitat

Over the past three decades, a shoreline lagoon and a historic, natural lake have been restored. Hundreds of thousands of native plants — some of them endangered — have been planted. Indigenous wildlife has returned, and an ancient creek ecosystem was freed from underground pipes, exposing hidden streams and ponds that once quenched the thirst of American Indians.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: Newsom picks fish over farms, but still gets brickbats

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has given environmentalists much of what they presumably want as it released a 610-page draft Delta environmental report recently that calls for $1.5 billion in habitat restoration among other environmental projects. … But as much as they cheered the lawsuit announcement, environmentalists were aghast at the report because the state plan will allow some additional water for farms.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Hideous, shameful, grotesque: Rains push mountains of L.A. trash into Ballona Creek

For as far as I could see, east and west, the banks were littered with plastic cups, fast-food containers, spray paint cans and chip wrappers. It had rained a smidgen the day before, the first wet weather of the season, and this was what had washed downstream from the area west of downtown Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news San Diego State University

Blog: Five takeaways from Re:Border: The Water We Share

Through a variety of panel discussions, presentations and a showcase of student research, the Re:Border conference is exploring how San Diego State University and its regional partners can contribute to innovative solutions for water-related challenges in the transborder region.

Aquafornia news KCET

Paiute traditions inform water management practices in once-lush Owens Valley

By practicing careful and sustainable water management practices, the tribe has cultivated wild plants, including taboose, nahavita, as well as fruit trees and other vegetables. … However, starting in the mid-1800s with the arrival of European settlers making a claim to water rights in the Owens Valley, this once-lush area was transformed dramatically into a virtual desert in just decades.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New monitoring program hopes to boost science on Colorado River headwaters

A new federal program hopes to fill knowledge gaps on how water moves through the headwaters of arguably the West’s most important drinking and irrigation water source. The U.S. Geological Survey announced the next location for its Next Generation Water Observing System will be in the headwaters of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. It’s the second watershed in the country to be part of the program…

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Visalia prohibits overseeding lawns during water-restricted winter months

Visalia may have received its first drops of rain for the season, but that doesn’t mean you should start dropping seeds to bolster your lawn. In fact, it’s now illegal under a revision of the city’s water conservation code.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Aging Oroville Dam spillway gates draw concern

Despite increased maintenance of Oroville Dam since the spillway fell apart in February 2017, members of the community-led Oroville Dam Ad Hoc Group have expressed concern about the age and wear of mechanics within the spillway’s main gates, citing similar failures on dams of the same era.

Aquafornia news Santa Clarita Valley Signal

Water heads name advisers to groundwater agency

It wasn’t easy for water officials tasked with hammering out a plan to manage the Santa Clarita Valley’s groundwater to find seven people to serve as the agency’s advisory group, but on Monday, they approved a list of double the number they sought.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

An update on implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

At the November meeting of the California Water Commission, Taryn Ravazzini, DWR Deputy Director for Statewide Groundwater Management, updated the Commission on DWR’s recent activities and milestones related to SGMA.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

New LADWP commissioner works for a company that markets water and power

Nicole Neeman Brady serves as principal and chief operating officer at L.A.-based Renewable Resources Group, which … is in the business of developing energy and water projects, raising the potential for conflicts of interest if the company seeks to do business with LADWP while Neeman Brady serves on the board.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bi-national conference tackles border region’s water issues

A bi-national conference at San Diego State University was aimed at analyzing water resources in the Baja California and San Diego border region where challenges include cross-border pollution and water scarcity… Experts at the Reborder 2019 conference discussed ways to improve regional access to “a secure and reliable water supply” through wastewater treatment and desalination.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: ’Bomb cyclone’ could break records as it slams into the West Coast, bringing 100 mph winds and blizzard conditions

In the forecast stretching from Tuesday through Friday are plummeting temperatures, hurricane-force gusts that could reach or exceed 100 mph in some locations, giant waves of up to 37 feet, as much as four feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada and heavy rain in lower elevations between San Diego and Salem.

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Aquafornia news Champion Newspapers

Chino Hills wells could be offline three more years

It will be two years in December that the city of Chino Hills shut down its wells because of a new contamination level set by the state for the chemical 1,2,3-TCP (TCP) and it could take another three years before a filtration system can be built to treat the chemical and put the wells back in service, according to public works officials.

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Wildfires and climate change

A constellation of factors has primed California to burn big: more development in the forests, undergrowth that’s no longer cleared out by natural fires—and, importantly, climate change, which has been drying out the land and making fires bigger and the fire season longer.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fog brings poison mercury to Santa Cruz Mountains — mountains lions are suffering

Three times as much mercury has been found in mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains than in their inland brethren, and the likely culprit is coastal fog, a first-of-its-kind study by UC Santa Cruz has found. The fog is apparently pulling mercury out of the ocean and dripping it over the coastal mountains…

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Tale of three regions: Study probes drought-forced change in water policies

Aside from advanced economies and Mediterranean climates that sustain long growing seasons, California, Spain and Australia share an intermittent feature that reshapes their overburdened water systems every time it rears its ugly head: drought.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

California Democrats seek EPA watchdog help amid Trump threats

A group of California Democrats on Monday pressed the EPA’s internal watchdog to investigate whether the agency has retaliated against their state for political reasons, including by threatening to withhold federal funds for multiple transportation projects.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Is it drought yet? Dry October-November 2019

Should we worry about a drought yet? Yes, this is California, where droughts and flood can happen in any year, and sometimes in the same year… No, not especially anyway, because … there is not strong correlation between October-November precipitation and total water year precipitation.

Aquafornia news Del Mar Times

Santa Fe Irrigation District proposes raising rates by 9 percent over three years

The Santa Fe Irrigation District is moving forward with a proposed three-year rate plan that would raise total revenue for the district by 3 percent per year over the next three years, beginning early next year, through rate increases and changes in the district’s rate structure.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news Daily Pilot

Opinion: Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant will receive $585 million in credit assistance

Orange County has long been recognized as a worldwide leader for developing state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new water supply technology, and we are not resting on our laurels. … This month, it was announced that the Huntington Beach Seawater Desalination Plant will receive $585 million in credit assistance under the EPA’s WIFIA program.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Chinook salmon — crucial to California’s fishing industry — return to Rancho Cordova’s Nimbus Fish Hatchery

The annual opening of the hatchery’s ladder provides a window into the wonders of science, but also shows the key role the hatchery system plays in keeping California’s salmon fishery healthy.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: San Joaquin Valley’s water solution? Look north to the mighty Columbia River

Central Valley agriculture faces a looming existential water crisis from the interlocking problems of drought, climate change, and falling underground water tables. Yet the potential answer to this problem is incredibly simple and only a lack of political will may defeat it. The solution is to send south to California the abundant waters of the Columbia River.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Western Shasta County dam creating conditions of ‘extreme peril’

With winter rains on their way, officials worry a dam that creates a small lake 17 miles west of Redding could collapse, inundating downstream homes with up to 20 feet of water if sediment and debris clogging two outlet pipes is not cleared. Two 30-inch outlet pipes at Misselbeck Dam have been clogged with silt and debris since last summer, forcing water from Rainbow Lake to flow over the top of a deteriorated 100-year-old spillway…

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Gov. Newsom’s Delta water plan is merely ‘Trump lite’

Join the crowd of California water officials if you are confused by the mixed message Gavin Newsom offered Thursday on the future of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

El Niño swings more violently in the industrial age, compelling hard evidence says

El Niños have become more intense in the industrial age, which stands to worsen storms, drought, and coral bleaching in El Niño years. A new study has found compelling evidence in the Pacific Ocean that the stronger El Niños are part of a climate pattern that is new and strange.

Aquafornia news KPBS

After wet winter, why is Tijuana running low on water?

Water shutoffs aren’t uncommon in the growing cities of Tijuana and Rosarito. But they’re rarely announced beforehand, and they’re often isolated to certain neighborhoods after pipes or pumps fail. Earlier this month, however, Tijuana officials announced that it was planning wide-ranging shutoffs for the next two months, in an attempt to replenish a vital reservoir that is perilously low.

Aquafornia news Clairemont Times

San Diego may release water from Hodges Reservoir in coming months

The city of San Diego may release water from Hodges Reservoir into San Dieguito River in the coming months if rain events raise the water level above the permitted level. For safety reasons, the California Division of Safety of Dams has determined that the water level at Hodges Reservoir should not be above 295 feet, which is 20 feet below spillway elevation, or the top of the dam.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Lemoore breaks ground on ‘life-changing’ drinking water project

City officials gathered Thursday afternoon in Lemoore to break ground on construction of a new groundwater treatment plant project. … The City obtains all of its drinking water from local groundwater resources that are challenged by naturally-occurring water quality issues. These issues include elevated levels of arsenic, iron, ammonia, total organic carbon and color…

Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

State tells Napa County to form agency to monitor Napa Valley groundwater

California has told Napa County to form a local groundwater agency to ensure the underground reservoir that nurtures world-famous wine country is being kept in good shape. The county submitted more than 1,000 pages of documents to try to avoid that outcome.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Embattled water district an economic boon for Arizona, homebuilders’ study says

A district that recharges renewable water supplies to allow new housing development brings in about $13.4 billion a year in economic benefits, says a study written for a homebuilders’ group. …  The report goes against the grain of recommendations made over the years by academics, environmentalists and others to limit enrollment of new subdivisions in the district, saying that could cause a major economic setback for the state.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Judge advances LA County’s spat with Monsanto over PCB cleanup

A federal judge Thursday denied Monsanto’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit seeking payment from the company to clean up cancer-causing chemicals from Los Angeles County waterways and storm sewer pipelines.

Aquafornia news Oroville Mercury-Register

Opinion: Delay of water feasibility study disappointing

You might ask why anyone would want to study whether water could be piped from Paradise to Chico. It’s actually pretty simple.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Farmers file claim asking for ‘cooperative approach’

The complaint filed in court on Nov. 19 asks the court to “impose a ‘physical solution’ amongst nine groundwater users in the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Basin (“Basin”) to preserve and protect the Basin’s water supply, the investment-backed expectations of agriculture, and the economy that is dependent upon that supply.”

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

News release: A study compares how water is managed in Spain, California and Australia

The study demonstrated the following: big legislative reforms in water management in these three areas have always come about as a consequence of important droughts. … One of the main differences lies in how water ownership is managed and how the market is regulated in this field.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Opinion: What’s next for Potter Valley Project?

Exactly what the Potter Valley Project will look like in the future is not set in stone. The partnership is committed to identifying solutions that meet the needs of the communities and wildlife affected by the project’s operations.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Opinion: Trinity River under threat — will our county fight back?

Lots of stories circulate about the unethical actions of Bernhardt and Gov. Newsom’s reluctance to fight Trump on water — stories about Bernhardt’s effort to get rid of scientists who concluded the new Trump Water Plan jeopardizes endangered species in the Delta. Then there’s his work to give Westlands a permanent water contract to irrigate poisoned selenium-ridden lands… What’s not being covered: the impact these projects will have on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers, and Newsom’s reluctance to stop them.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Powerful winter storm is on the menu for Thanksgiving week in Southern California

The system is carrying sufficient moisture to bring moderate to locally heavy precipitation and, with the cold air aloft, may generate isolated thunderstorms. … Winds may gust as high as 50 mph in the mountains, and snow levels could drop as low as 2,000 feet. Significant snow accumulations are expected at resort levels.

Related article:

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA

During days when solar panels feed more energy into the grid than utilities want to buy, the projects would use the excess power to pump water from Walker Lake or Pyramid Lake into the newly constructed reservoirs. Once there, the water would sit as a giant pool of potential energy. When demand for power increased at night as solar production waned, the water could be released downhill and run through a power plant.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Study: Increase in cannabis cultivation or residential development could impact water resources

Researchers in Canada and the U.S. investigated potential reductions in streamflow, caused by groundwater pumping for cannabis irrigation, in the Navarro River in Mendocino County, California… Reporting in the journal Environmental Research Communications, they note the combination of cannabis cultivation and residential use may cause significant streamflow depletion, with the largest impacts in late summer when streams and local fish species depend most on groundwater inflows.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: Newsom administration sends mixed signals on Delta endangered species protections

California officials sent mixed signals Thursday when they said they will sue to block a Trump administration rollback of endangered species protections for imperiled fish — while also proposing new water operations that mimic parts of the Trump plan. The state moves reflect political pressure the Newsom administration has been under as it confronts one of California’s most intractable environmental conflicts — the battle over the ailing Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Trio of Monterey Peninsula water projects delayed, again

In what has become an all-too-familiar occurrence, three water projects designed to serve the Monterey Peninsula have again experienced delays, including the Pure Water Monterey recycled water project and its proposed expansion, and California American Water’s proposed desalination project.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville Dam rebuild recognized for international engineering award

The American Society of Civil Engineers has recognized the Oroville Dam rebuild as one of 10 outstanding civil engineering projects. Two runners-up and a winner will be chosen at the 2020 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement gala in Washington D.C. on March 13.

Aquafornia news Corning Observer

Fish habitat project in Tehama County completed

Work on the Rio Vista Side Channel Habitat Project in Red Bluff has been completed, marking another milestone for the Upper Sacramento River Anadromous Fish Habitat Restoration Program, with immediate results observed… Within one week of opening the side channel, endangered winter‐run Chinook juveniles were observed making use of it.

Aquafornia news The Capistrano Dispatch

Reservoir project in California aims to store recycled water

A reservoir and water dam project aiming to store recycled water is on track, according to water management officials. The Santa Margarita Water District gave a tour of the Trampas Canyon Reservoir and Dam on Saturday, Nov. 16. Construction began in January 2018 and is expected to finish by 2020.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Can a new approach to managing California reservoirs save water and still protect against floods?

Known as Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO), the approach centers on using the latest forecast technology to plan for the arrival of atmospheric rivers. Those are the torrents of moisture in the sky that barrel into California from the Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric rivers are critical to the state’s water supply, accounting for as much as half of its annual precipitation. But they can also cause catastrophic flooding.

Aquafornia news KCBS Radio

California suffers abnormally dry conditions, drought likely

Despite a winter storm forecast to hit the Bay Area soon, California may be headed for another drought. The National Weather Service’s latest drought forecast, released Thursday, shows that California is likely to develop a drought between now and the end of the February, with abnormally dry conditions covering most of the state.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Coastalview.com

Opinion: Groundwater sustainability and climate action

By forming a Groundwater Sustainability Agency, we will be taking a step towards improved groundwater management in the Carpinteria Groundwater Basin… Through the development of a Climate Action Plan, we can examine ways to reduce our greenhouse gas production and prepare our water system to adapt to a changing environment.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Can a New Approach to Managing California Reservoirs Save Water and Still Protect Against Floods?
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Pilot Projects Testing Viability of Using Improved Forecasting to Guide Reservoir Operations

Bullards Bar Dam spills water during 2017 atmospheric river storms.Many of California’s watersheds are notoriously flashy – swerving from below-average flows to jarring flood conditions in quick order. The state needs all the water it can get from storms, but current flood management guidelines are strict and unyielding, requiring reservoirs to dump water each winter to make space for flood flows that may not come.

However, new tools and operating methods are emerging that could lead the way to a redefined system that improves both water supply and flood protection capabilities.

Aquafornia news EurekAlert

Fish in California estuaries are evolving as climate change alters their habitat

A new study shows that stickleback populations in estuaries along the coast of California have evolved over the past 40 years as climate change has altered their coastal habitats. The study, published November 21 in Global Change Biology, looked at variation in the armoring that protects the stickleback from predators, specifically the number of bony plates along their sides

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom must stop the Westlands water grab and save the San Francisco Bay-Delta

Initially, federal scientists wrote a draft report that found increasing water exports would harm California’s native salmon population, a species already imperiled. Those scientists were reassigned. Now, the Trump administration and David Bernhardt have released a new proposal, and guess what? Westlands can grab even more water from the Bay-Delta.

Commands