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.
As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust
particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins
from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the
southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by
flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects
that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.
It seems some are willing to wait forever for a new water
supply. After 25 years of failure, they still trust Cal Am to
come up with a solution. But the Monterey Peninsula Water
Management District is clearly done waiting. Last Monday, the
district board withdrew its support for Cal Am’s proposed desal
After an absence of many decades, Chinook salmon swim up the
Guadalupe River in San José most winters. The fish look for
places to lay eggs and often find them. If there’s enough water
left in the dry season, their offspring swim back down the
river in the spring to head out to sea. Surprisingly, given the
generally heated politics regarding fish in California, little
else is known about these salmon.
The St. Helena City Council awarded a $3.2 million contact
Tuesday to an Arcata firm to remove the Upper York Creek Dam.
McCullough Construction will be charged with notching the dam,
restoring the creek’s aquatic habitat, and removing an illegal
barrier to fish passage that the city first agreed to remove in
Valley Water has many critical projects in various stages of
development, including flood protection projects,
infrastructure improvements and work to protect our
environment. But our top priority remains an effort to retrofit
and strengthen Anderson Dam, home to Santa Clara County’s
largest reservoir, so it can safely withstand a strong
The Palmdale Water District has rebates to help customers who
would like to save water by converting their thirsty lawns into
water-wise landscaping. The District may provide up to $2,000
in cash rebates for replacing lawns with xeriscaping as part of
the 2020 Water-Wise Landscape Conversion Program
The proposed expansion of Pacheco Reservoir in southern Santa
Clara County is not solely a project aimed at improving our
region’s ability to store water for droughts and emergencies. A
collaboration between Valley Water, the San Benito County Water
District and Pacheco Pass Water District, the proposed
expansion will improve the quality of fish habitat downstream
of the dam.
The Montecito Water District took a major step forward to
improve long-term water supply security and reliability during
a special meeting on Thursday. The water district Board of
Directors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution approving a
50-year water supply agreement between the MWD and the City of
Local and state leaders are sounding the alarm to get the green
light to clear the Salinas Riverbed of dry brush and
vegetation. … This comes after a fire Monday in Paso Robles
which started in the riverbed and quickly moved into a
neighborhood destroying two homes and badly damaging nine
All but one of these photographs of California by Jesse White
come from California Exposures, a book that he and I, his
father, did together. … They are part of a conversation, and
they are as apt to ask questions as give answers. The
photographs of California Exposures tell a history of
California, but not in the conventional sense.
San Francisco’s water department, known for sourcing some of
the best supplies in the West, is building its first nature
center to commemorate its watersheds. The $27 million facility,
which broke ground this spring, is taking shape on city-owned
land in Alameda County, near the town of Sunol. The center is
designed to extend the tribute paid by the Sunol Water Temple,
a 110-year-old monument honoring local creeks…
The Environmental Protection Agency has again been sued over
its rollback of Obama-era waterway protections. On Thursday,
the Environmental Integrity Project, on behalf of four other
environmental groups, sued the agency, claiming that the new
rule conflicts with the Clean Water Act and “disregards”
science “without any rational, let alone ‘reasonable,’
There can be little argument that many of the more than 90,000
dams in this country are in need of immediate attention. The
catastrophic failure of two dams in Michigan last month
following an extraordinary amount of rain in a relatively short
period, highlights a number of issues:
Groundwater provides nearly 40% of the water used by
California’s farms and cities, and significantly more in dry
years. But what is groundwater? In this post based on the first
segment of the UC Davis shortcourse on groundwater, Dr. Thomas
Harter provides a basic understanding of groundwater – what it
is, how much groundwater is out there, how fast groundwater
moves, and where it comes from and where it goes.
Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and
Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved
in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought
contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials
are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next,
while other states have had more informal discussions.
Last week, on the flanks of Mount Lassen, the partnership of
the Western Rivers Conservancy and the Lassen National Forest
completed a project that protects a crucial 1,150-acre
property, and a significant branch of South Fork Antelope
Creek, a rare stronghold for salmon and steelhead in the
Sacramento River system.
Water service has been restored to residents in the City of Dos
Palos but a boil water notice remained in effect Wednesday.
According to City Manager Darrell Fonseca, utilities engineers
worked to get the plant’s system up and running and at 7:43
p.m. Tuesday night. Sufficient pressure was achieved , allowing
the city to supply water at lower-than-average water pressure
The Solano County Board of Supervisors this week, in
partnership with the Solano County Water Agency, agreed to
purchase about 74 acres along the Solano side of Putah Creek.
The property is located … between the Monticello Dam and the
diversion dam at Lake Solano, and will be kept as conservation
land and for habitat restoration. About a half a mile of the
property fronts the creek.
Two days after a Paso Robles vegetation fire escaped the
Salinas Riverbed and destroyed two homes, 35th District
Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham slammed regional water officials
in a letter alleging that regulators had “stymied” city efforts
to clear the river of flammable vegetation.
The Department of Interior has requested $71 million be spent
on improvements for the Friant-Kern Canal for the 2021 fiscal
year. The funding for the Friant-Kern Canal accounts for most
of the $108.7 of funding for water storage projects in
California the Department of Interior is requesting. Congress
will now consider approving the funding in the 2021 fiscal year
energy and water appropriations bill.
Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be
needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new
predictions are accurate. … “To us, desalination is kind of
the wave of the future,” says Stanford researcher William
Tarpeh, Ph.D. Tarpeh and colleagues have been refining a
technology that could eventually make widespread desalination
cheaper, and safer for the environment.
Earlier this week, a broad coalition of water agencies
delivered a letter to Congress advocating for more funding. The
letter, submitted Monday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other California
Congressional delegates, argues that billions of federal
dollars are still needed for water infrastructure maintenance
and assistance with water bills.
The issue of subsidence on the Friant-Kern Canal, the attention
it has garnered, and accompanying solutions are apparently void
of the usual partisanship experienced in California’s water
world as both state and Federal legislation has been introduced
to authorize significant funding for the project.
California’s groundwater – a critical resource in times of
drought – is disappearing faster than we’re replenishing it.
Our underground savings accounts are tapped, and we face a host
of challenges like land subsidence, storage capacity loss and,
most importantly, a dwindling water supply for California’s dry
With a global pandemic, a catastrophic economic recession and
record-high unemployment, one would think the state has enough
issues to tackle. But proponents of a state water grab that I
have been fighting since the day I was sworn into office in
2012 disagree. Where others see turmoil and anguish, they see
opportunity. Apparently, they believe in the adage, “Never let
a crisis go to waste.”
Residents of a town in central California won’t have water for
several days after the town’s water treatment plant became
clogged with algae, officials said. The water outage in Dos
Palos started Monday, when the city declared a water emergency
and urged the town’s 5,000 residents to use only boiled tap
water for drinking and cooking to avoid stomach or intestinal
A new Water Foundation report asserts groundwater
sustainability agencies, governed mostly by members of
agricultural water districts, are planning for water tables to
decline to the point they could dry up between 4,000 and 12,000
domestic wells over the next 20 years.
American Indian tribes in California’s Klamath Basin praised
Monday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court not to
hear the Klamath Project irrigators’ Fifth Amendment water
rights case, Baley v. United States. By not hearing the case,
the Supreme Court upheld the Klamath Tribes’ treaty water
rights as the most senior water rights in the Klamath Basin.
These water rights are critical to protect the tribes’
fisheries and traditional way of life.
The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District is
constructing the $375 million South Sacramento County
Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water Program, or the
South County Ag Program. As part of the wastewater provider’s
$2 billion treatment plant upgrade, the district will construct
new distribution pipelines to deliver recycled water from its
to irrigation systems in southern Sacramento County.
As California confronts increasing water challenges, the most
equitable statewide solution from a social justice perspective
is the single-tunnel project proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom,
known as the Delta Conveyance Project.
A coalition of tribal governments, environmentalists and labor
advocates has sued to stop implementation of a new federal rule
that weakens protections for streams and wetlands. The
Environmental Protection Agency’s new Navigable Waters
Protection Rule, which which took effect on Monday, rolls back
clean-water regulation of intermittent waterways, arroyos and
The feasibility study refers to removal of Scott Dam as a
foregone conclusion. The reason being salmon and steelhead are
not able to access spawning grounds above the dam. This area is
a small percentage of the overall spawning habitat of the Eel
River watershed. … A fish ladder around Scott Dam makes much
The City of Dos Palos is shutting down water for its residents
for at least three days to treat after its water treatment
plant became clogged with algae. The city says water is
currently being used faster than it can be treated and sent
out, so residents should prepare for water to stop flowing.
A new U.S. Geological Survey geonarrative illustrates where
domestic (private) water wells are located and how many people
are using them, based on the results of a 2019 USGS study.
Nearly 40 million people in the United States rely on a
domestic well for their drinking-water supply.
Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and
unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being
disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay, a
landmark Guardian investigation has found. Exclusive analysis
of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage
increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more
than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in
neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.
A proposal by the Trinidad Rancheria to connect to
McKinleyville’s water system received a mostly chilly reception
from the public during a meeting last week of the Humboldt Bay
Municipal Water District. A majority of more than three dozen
written comments submitted to the district were in opposition
to the pipeline, with many saying they are against the
rancheria’s proposed hotel.
Restaurants are opening their doors as coronavirus-related
regulations are loosening in Modesto, across California and in
several other states. As these openings occur, restaurant
employees must help prevent the spread of disease by keeping
pitcher spouts from physically contacting the rims of diners’
cups as they pour beverages.
Promising to “drought-proof” Montecito and banish rationing —
if not forever, at least for the foreseeable future — the
Montecito Water District board on Thursday is poised to approve
the purchase of a multi-million-dollar supply of water from the
city of Santa Barbara, every year for the next 50 years; and
sign off on a five-year schedule of rate increases to help pay
Passengers and employees at the Tijuana international airport
no longer have to use outside portable restrooms because the
company that operates the facility on Monday paid about $1.5
million in outstanding water bills, according to the governor.
A Baja California state water agency shut off services at the
airport last week over the years-long billing dispute.
Farmers won’t get paid for river water they lost out on during
a drought in southern Oregon, because Native American tribes
have water rights that rank above those of irrigators,
stretching back to “time immemorial” — a ruling the U.S.
Supreme Court refused to disturb on Monday.
Each year millions of liters of fire-retardant chemicals are
applied to wildfires across the nation. The use of these
retardants could have significant effects on downstream
nutrients. The aim of this study will be to determine which
nutrients are likely to increase in concentration in areas
affected by wildfire in the western U.S., and whether the use
of fire retardants may exacerbate the situation.
On June 1, in the midst of the turmoil created by the
coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd in
Minneapolis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration
quietly issued 12 fracking permits to Aera Energy, a joint
venture owned by ExxonMobil and Shell. … The fracking permits
are the latest example of California’s oil industry benefiting
from regulatory or deregulatory action during the COVID-19
On June 22, 1980, Lake Powell reached its capacity for the
first time, marking a grim milestone for environmentalists who
have never forgotten the loss of Glen Canyon. Before the waters
began pouring in, it was a maze of towering sandstone cliffs
and spires, with thousands of indigenous ruins now mostly lost.
The snowpack from the Sierra Nevada provides crucial water for
California and western Nevada each year as the snow melts.
Skiers and boarders get fired up about the quality and depth of
the snow. Hydrologists and anyone who relies on Sierra snowmelt
are more concerned with how much water is in the snowpack —
it’s called the SWE (snow water equivalent).
The suit, filed by Earthjustice on behalf of Sierra Club, other
environmental groups, and a number of tribes, argued the Trump
administration erred in removing protections for wetlands and
streams that result from rainfall.
With dry conditions resulting in low flows and threatening the
survival of coho salmon, the State Water Board today sent
notices of water unavailability to110 junior water right
holders in the Scott River basin in Siskiyou County, urging
them to stop diverting.
While these remarkable giants have been only a distant memory
in most of their range, recently, fish carrying the ancestral
genes of Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat trout migrated to the
waters of the Truckee River in 2014 to spawn for the first time
in 80 years. The return of these fish … represents the
culmination of years of conservation efforts by local, state,
and federal agencies, as well as the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.
As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will
worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by
population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of
waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects
half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from
reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.
Long Beach residents may soon see a steeper bill for water and
electricity costs. The Long Beach Water Board Commission
approved a 6% increase to the water-rate cost, and separately,
Southern California Edison also called for a 14% increase. …
On average, the monthly cost of a household’s water bill is
$64, according to the department. The 6% increase amounts to a
$3.05 average increase to a family’s monthly bill.
A federal Judge in California on Friday rejected a request for
a nationwide injunction of the rule. Hours later, a federal
Judge in Colorado agreed to freeze the federal rule within that
state. The California court’s decision is a major blow to
environmentalists and states that had hoped to block the
Navigable Waters Protection Rule across the country before it
takes effect Monday.
The recovery from the COVID shutdown gives us a rare
opportunity to rethink our relationship with the global
ecosystems on which we depend. Like so many others, I long for
a return to normalcy. But that’s not what we need. We must come
out of this pandemic looking to address other looming crises.
Our unsustainable agricultural system, along with climate
change, are at the top of the list.
California officials have parried federal moves with actions of
their own — a state law enshrining protection for migratory
birds and a new state regulation setting definitions that
expand protection to smaller wetlands and seasonal waterways.
California’s responses are yet another maneuver in the feud
between Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
Living in cold streams fed by underground springs, the Shasta
crayfish is California’s last native crayfish. Listed as
endangered in 1988, the once prolific crayfish have declined
over the past 20 years to the point where only about 500
individuals remain. But a project jointly developed by the
Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Spring
Rivers Ecological Sciences, and the Pacific Gas and Electric
Company could change the fate of the crayfish.
For the first time, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management
District has formally expressed opposition to the California
American Water desalination project, backing the proposed Pure
Water Monterey recycled water project expansion instead… At
the same time, the district took another step toward potential
acquisition of Cal Am’s Monterey water system with the release
of a draft environmental impact report on the proposed public
Goleta Water District customers will get an opportunity to
weigh in on proposed increases to water rates and charges to
fund operations, meet district debt covenants and finance
critical capital project needs. … For a single-family
residential customer with commodity charges — using between
zero and six HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water — a price of
$5.26 per HCF would increase to the proposed $5.79 per HCF
on July 1
The Zone 7 Water Agency Board of Directors held back on
implementing a previously approved 6.7% water rate increase for
2021, aiming to provide some relief to Tri-Valley ratepayers in
light of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
… As part of approving Zone 7’s 2020-21 fiscal year budget
… the board and agency staff developed a plan to use one-time
savings and defer some projects in order to freeze rates at the
current level through Dec. 31, 2021.
A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University
analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that
took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in
the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant
increases in power costs for three major investor-owned
utilities in the state… They also found that increased
harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to
hydropower losses during drought in the future, even as more
sources of renewable energy are added to the grid.
Agriculture is California’s predominant use of managed water.
Agriculture and water together are a foundation for
California’s rural economy. Although most agriculture is
economically-motivated and commercially-organized, the
sociology and anthropology of agriculture and agricultural
labor are basic for the well-being of millions of people, and
the success and failure of rural, agricultural, and water and
Mount Shasta is a community that prides itself on clean water.
In the past when water-related issues have come before City
Council, meetings are often crowded to the point of
overflowing. It is surprising, then, that one of the most
important water topics in our city receives so little
attention. I’m talking of course about Mount Shasta’s storm
After years of planning, McCloud’s Lower Elk Spring house
replacement project will get underway soon as the Department of
Water Resources has selected this project for the draft
recommended funding list. The current wooden structure with
corrugated roof will be replaced with a concrete vault to
insure protection from erosion and habitat contamination.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg presided over a
lengthy and combative hearing that featured attorneys from the
state of California making the case that the Trump-era EPA
acted contrary to its fundamental mission when it exempted
ephemeral streams and wetlands from protections afforded by the
Clean Water Act.
A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University
analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that
took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in
the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant
increases in power costs for three major investor-owned
utilities in the state… They also found that increased
harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to
hydropower losses during drought in the future…
The most common complaint about Clear Lake is the algae. …
Actually, the algae problem was a lot worse 40 years ago. Clear
Lake is getting clearer. According to scientists the lake is
now clearer that it has been in the last 50 years. There are
also side effects from the clearer lake and that is aquatic
In recognition of the immense opportunity for recovery in Elk
River, CalTrout, the North Coast Regional Water Board, and
several project partners joined together to form the Elk River
Watershed Stewardship Program. The purpose is to engage with
the Elk River community to develop a landowner supported
recovery plan to reduce nuisance flooding, address the severe
sediment impairment, and rehabilitate habitat for native
There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts
across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming
dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s
largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at
the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually
controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was
the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week
If there’s one certainty in these uncertain times, it’s that
nature is resilient, and one needn’t look further than the San
Joaquin River as an example. For a second year in a row, and
for only the second year in over 65 years, spring-run Chinook
salmon have returned from the ocean to spawn in the river and
bring forth the next generation.
Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater
sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as
12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040.
Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a
group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study
estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their
water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up
hundreds of millions of dollars.
House Democrats’ new economic rescue plan includes $1.5 billion
to help low-income households cover their water bills and a
moratorium on utility service shutoffs for any entity receiving
federal relief funds, but they omitted any measures to address
climate change or boost clean energy that had been sought by
A smidge over 200 acres, the Wright Wetland Preserve is easily
the largest in the trust’s portfolio. Its terrain ranges from
lake to valley oak woodland with everything from native
wetland, freshwater marsh and upland pasture included. The
property is partially bordered by Manning Creek, an important
breeding ground for an endemic and threatened fish species, the
Clear Lake hitch.
A high level of algae in the California Aqueduct has caused
problems over the past several days in Dos Palos. City Manager
Darrell Fonseca explains, “Our siphon intake at the aqueduct
clogged, and that reduced our water supply, and then as we did
receive the water it takes longer to treat at the plant… but
it also meant reduced pressure to a lot of residents, and for a
while, no pressure at all.”
EPA will not set drinking water limits on perchlorate, a rocket
fuel ingredient linked to fetal and developmental brain damage.
The agency in a final action today said it determined
perchlorate does not meet criteria for regulation as a drinking
water contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act…
States have grappled in the last two decades with declining
water levels in the basin’s main reservoirs — Mead and Powell —
while reckoning with clear scientific evidence that climate
change is already constricting the iconic river… For water
managers, the steady drop in water consumption in recent years
is a signal that conservation efforts are working and that they
are not helpless in the face of daunting environmental changes.
GreenFire Energy Inc. on Wednesday said it has completed the
world’s first field-scale demonstration of closed-loop
geothermal energy generation in California. The pilot project
utilised an inactive well at the Coso geothermal field in Coso,
Inyo County. The GreenLoop technology showed promise for use in
geothermal projects in hot, deep geothermal resources where
conventional systems cannot be used.
Currently, 100 percent of the City of Turlock’s drinking water
supply comes from groundwater. However, the drinking water
supply is declining, contaminant levels are increasing and
groundwater quality regulations have become more stringent. For
the past 30 years, the City has been working on securing an
alternate source of water — treated surface water from the
The City Council heard a report on the possibility of
rehabilitating the Lake Wohlford Dam, which was first
constructed in 1895 as part of Escondido’s local water system,
to address seismic deficiencies rather than replacing the dam
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the Friant-Kern
Canal, is seeking public input on plans to repair a 33-mile
stretch of canal between Lindsay and McFarland. This stretch of
the canal has lost 60% of its original conveyance capacity due
to subsidence—a sinking of the earth from groundwater
extraction – which was accelerated during California’s historic
drought from 2012-2017.
As Utah pushes forward with its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline –
an attempt move over 80,000 acre feet per year of its Upper
Colorado River Basin allocation to communities in the Lower
Basin – it is worth revisiting one of the critical legal
milestones in the evolution of what we have come to call “the
Law of the River.”
The California legislature voted Monday to keep the Salton Sea
in its budget proposal sent to Governor Gavin Newsom.
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia said he’s pleased the legislature
found a way to allocate some funding for the Salton Sea despite
the fiscal challenges created by the pandemic.
California’s top water regulator on Tuesday approved a
definition of microplastics in drinking water, setting the
stage for the state to investigate the extent of contamination
from the tiny plastics that have been found in fish, waterways,
and other habitats. … The action makes California the first
government in the world to define microplastics in a drinking
To a large extent, the fate of several multi-million dollar
water projects on the Monterey Peninsula is in the hands of the
California Coastal Commission. The question is whether the
commission will grant a development permit for a desalination
plant proposed by California American Water…
Lack of running water has long plagued the Navajo Nation. About
a third of homes don’t have it; in some towns, it’s 90 percent.
While several factors contribute to that, many tribal members
say Peabody Energy Corp., the largest U.S. coal producer,
pulled so much water from the Navajo Aquifer before closing its
last mining operation there last August that many wells and
springs have run dry—at a time Covid-19 has hit the Nation
harder than any state.
Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north
of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that
threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful
of spring-fed desert pools…
Pescadero’s middle and high school campus has been without
clean drinking water for nearly two decades. Now, help is on
the way. Leaders at San Mateo County are making slow but
significant progress expanding County Service Area No. 11,
Pescadero’s special utility district, established in 1988, to
provide clean drinking water to local residents and businesses.
CalTrout and our partners have been working extensively with
landowners to figure out ways to leave some of their water
instream for the benefit of salmon. Often this means helping
the landowner improve their on-ranch irrigation efficiency to
decrease the amount of water needed maintain their agricultural
Nevada is in a new era of water management. As the driest state
in the nation, responsible and sustainable management of
Nevada’s limited water resources is the foremost priority of
the Nevada Division of Water Resources. As part of this
commitment, Monday the Nevada State Engineer issued Order No.
1309 for one of Nevada’s most important and unique hydrographic
basins called the Lower White River Flow System.
Beginning June 11, the Bureau released flows to help sustain
juvenile salmon, but it plans to provide only 16,000 of the
40,000-acre feet promised in the plan developed with the Yurok
Tribe, fishing groups and irrigators in March. And nearly a
month passed without augmented flows when young salmon were
being infected and dying from disease-causing parasites and 1.5
million hatchery fish were released and ready to pass through
the infection zone.
The Fourth Appellate Court of California heard the Abatti
parties vs. Imperial Irrigation lawsuit, Friday, June 12. The
appeal was generated after Imperial County Superior Court Judge
Brooks Anderholt ruled in Abatti’s favor of repealing the
Equitable Distribution Plan in August 2017, which could ration
agricultural water users by historical and straight-line
measurements to deal with the longest drought in modern
Aaron Thomas arrived back in Paradise Valley just in time to
christen the Ambiente Course, which proved a sort of launching
pad for all manner constructive, on-course experimentation. …
Thomas confirms the new design saves between 45 million and 55
million gallons of water annually, compared to pre-2013 levels.
That is the platform from which Thomas has worked these past
Two giant Central Valley farming companies are slinging serious
mud at one another over groundwater. And, in a rare break with
tradition, they’re doing it in public. The fight has spilled
out in public comments on the Tulare Lake Subbasin Groundwater
Sustainability Plan, which covers most of Kings County.
A draft report released today by the San Diego County Water
Authority shows that building a new conveyance system to
transport regional water supplies from the Colorado River
Quantification Settlement Agreement is cost-competitive with
other long-term options for meeting the region’s water needs.
Although the Clean Water Act will still protect heavily used
waterways in Nevada, including the Colorado River and the
Truckee River, it excludes many wetlands and most seasonal
streams. As a result, the rule has set off a flurry of legal
challenges from environmental groups. And in recent months,
several Democrat-led Western states, including Colorado,
California and New Mexico, have sued the Trump administration
to challenge the final rule. Nevada has not joined those suits.
Having hit a roadblock in negotiations with the City of
Trinidad, the Trinidad Rancheria has turned a beseeching eye
toward the county’s largest water supplier — the Humboldt Bay
Municipal Water District — in hopes of securing a reliable
water source for future development, including a controversial
five-story, 100-room hotel near Cher-Ae Heights Casino.
Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and
the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State
reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that
stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that
serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of
the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational
industry and environmental protection takes expertise,
leadership and a steady hand. Colorado has that in Becky
Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board
The report, recently released by the city, shows minimal, or
“zero,” levels of cancer-causing chemicals and dissolved solids
that were present as little as four years ago when the city
relied on well water. Today the city obtains its water from the
Sacramento River after which it is treated and delivered to
homes and businesses.
Supervisors won’t be creating the plan on their own. The state
requires them to consider various interests, such as well
owners, public water systems, the environment and surface water
users. Thirty-seven people applied for a 25-person groundwater
advisory committee. That meant supervisors on Tuesday had to
Oil, logging, mining, and grazing will be the priorities of
national forests and grasslands, with expedited environmental
oversight, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the U.S.
Forest Service Friday. His memo announced a “blueprint for
reforms” that refocuses the Forest Service to produce products
and services from the 193 million acres of forests, grasslands,
and wilderness areas it oversees.
Projected higher inflows to Shasta Lake caused the Bureau of
Reclamation earlier this month to rescind its “Shasta Critical
Year” designation after hydrologic conditions changed
sufficiently. … For growers with senior water rights under
the Exchange and Settlement contracts with the Central Valley
Project, this means full allocation water deliveries will be
Water is power in California’s Imperial Valley, and a
years-long fight over allocations from the Colorado River to
the agriculture-heavy region landed back in court on Friday.
Attorneys representing local farmers and the Imperial
Irrigation District squared off in front of a three-judge panel
at the state appellate court level over a water-rights lawsuit
expected to be decided in 90 days.
Colorado is home to the headwaters
of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the
Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling
basin that stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a
basin that serves 40 million people, and responding to the water
needs of the economy, productive agriculture, a robust
recreational industry and environmental protection takes
expertise, leadership and a steady hand.
The Cloverdale City Council voted unanimously on May 27 to
reallocate unspent funds from its Neighborhood Improvement
Grant program to instead provide a limited number of utility
relief grants to residents who are impacted by COVID-19-related
Both United States and Mexican officials announced separate
plans Tuesday to upgrade Tijuana River wastewater facilities.
The international river has been a longtime problem for
residents of Imperial Beach and Tijuana, as sewage and trash
from the river have spilled into the Pacific Ocean for decades,
often closing beaches near the border and damaging natural
habitats along the river.
A new computational approach developed by scientists at the
Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
offers a high-tech yet simple method to estimate available
groundwater: It pairs high-resolution images derived by
satellite with advanced computer modeling to estimate aquifer
volume change from observed ground deformation.
“In short, the city is looking to sell/transfer up to 5,000
acre-feet of water in 2020. This water is in excess to what the
city would need to meet demands in 2020 and would not impact
any existing customers north or south of Highway 50…” said
Christine Brainerd, city of Folsom communications director. …
The city retains the rights to the water.
Tulare County farmers will get more water than expected from a
dry winter but far less than needed to avoid depleting an
aquifer that is already drying up. The U.S. Bureau of
Reclamation’s Central Valley Project announced the Friant
Division … will receive 60% instead of 55% of its Class 1
water supply thanks to improved hydrologic conditions and the
forecasted snowmelt runoff in the Upper San Joaquin River
The Sonoma County Water Agency filed a Temporary Urgency Change
Petition with the State Water Resources Control Board to reduce
Russian River minimum in-stream flows this summer. With the
Ukiah region facing its third driest water year on record, Lake
Mendocino’s water supply is projected to reach critically low
levels due to dry conditions and reduced water transfers from
the Potter Valley Project.
In these extraordinary times, managing groundwater for
long-term sustainability may not seem like a top priority. But
in the San Joaquin Valley — where groundwater supplies have
been declining for decades — excess pumping is a critical
problem, with major implications for public health, jobs, the
environment and local economies.
Water agencies in California typically include water recycling
in their water supply portfolios, but the ones that serve
smaller populations may not be able to implement full-blown
reuse programs all at once. The City of Paso Robles, home to
approximately 30,000 residents, shows it’s possible to build
water resilience without building an advanced purification
The passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
(SGMA) in 2014, granted the state official oversight authority
of groundwater. … A new paper published in Society and
Natural Resources, examines how the state’s ongoing involvement
helped shape current policies by looking at the 120-year
history of California’s role in groundwater management…
Central Arizona has been booming — more people, more houses,
more need for water. There’s also a long-term drought, and less
water to buy from the Central Arizona Project canal system .
It’s leading Phoenix exurbs to cast about, looking for new
buckets. Other regions of the state say: don’t come here.
The Coachella Valley Water District’s board of directors on
Tuesday voted to approve a $376 million budget for the upcoming
fiscal year, which begins July 1. The budget notably will not
include rate increases even though CVWD … had planned to
implement one this year.
At the State Water Board’s meeting on June 2nd, Natalie Stork,
unit chief for the Groundwater Management Program at the State
Water Board, and Craig Altare, chief of the Groundwater
Sustainability Plan Review section at the Department of Water
Resources, updated the board members on how implementation is
going so far.
Comments, questions and concerns are now being accepted, again,
for the Lake Powell Pipeline. This comes after the Bureau of
Reclamation issued the draft Environmental Impact Statement for
the pipeline, which is designed to pump water to Washington
Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Project are breathing a
sigh of relief after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced
Tuesday it will not further reduce this year’s water allotment,
which is already less than half of demand. … On the other
hand, tribal members that depend on ample salmon runs for their
way of life argue the runs will continue to suffer in warm, low
rivers without enough flow for them to migrate and spawn.
While tens of millions of pounds of food has been destroyed or
buried in the ground during the coronavirus slowdown, a band of
California’s farmers is claiming they can’t produce enough food
to feed Americans, and they’re using the pandemic as leverage
to grab more of the West’s scarce water.
In an effort to move forward a $576 million Anderson Dam
Seismic Retrofit Project, the California State Assembly passed
AB 3005 on June 8, the Expedited Dam Safety for Silicon Valley
Act, facilitating the construction of the project. Assemblyman
Robert Rivas (D-Hollister, Calif.), who wrote the bill, says
the overwhelming vote of bipartisan support shows the
importance in fixing the dam.
Since it was founded in 1871, the City of Turlock has relied on
well or ground water to meet the water needs of its citizens,
farmers and businesses. Today, with the growth of Turlock to
nearly 75,000 residents, successful farming, a growing local
business community, Turlock needs more water and must move to
surface water usage.
There is no tougher playground than California’s water world.
Just take a look at the zingers flying back and forth between
water districts on one another’s groundwater sustainability
plans posted on the Department of Water Resources’ website.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is backpedaling on a plan to
further slash water deliveries to Klamath Basin farmers this
summer, as the agency is reverting to an earlier allocation of
140,000 acre-feet. The bureau in May signaled plans to cut
its allocation to 80,000 acre-feet as part of a three-year
operating plan, initiated under an agreement with the Yurok
With supplies curtailed from California’s largest water
projects, farmers have been reducing acreage, water districts
have been working to secure additional supplies, and everyone
has been keeping an eye on the continued dispute between state
and federal governments on managing the Delta.
Over the years, much attention has been given to California’s
drought, but less is known about the more than one million
Californians in more than 300 communities who don’t have access
to clean drinking water. To address this crisis, CSU faculty
and students are performing community assessments, conducting
research and assisting local engineering projects, often with
support from Water Resources & Policy Initiatives. Take a look
at some of the CSU’s ongoing work.
Any potential alignment of the Lake Powell pipeline would pass
through lands that hold spiritual and cultural significance to
Southern Paiutes, who fear the project would jeopardize their
culture and upset the balance of nature.
The Bureau of Reclamation executed another set of
congressionally-mandated contract conversions with Central
Valley Project contractors pursuant to the Water Infrastructure
Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. … These completed
contract conversions include the City of West Sacramento and
four contract assignments for Westlands Water District.
Avocado, citrus and flower growers, along with other farmers in
the San Diego region of California, will soon have the option
to choose a permanent reduced agricultural water rate in
exchange for lower supply reliability.
The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $16.6 million to nine
congressionally authorized Title XVI Water Reclamation and
Reuse projects in California and Hawaii. This funding, part of
the WaterSMART Program, is for the planning, design, and
construction of water recycling and reuse projects in
partnership with local government entities.
Mounting public concerns and new state regulations in the U.S.
are compelling water & wastewater utilities to address health
risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances
(PFAS) – a class of pervasive chemicals found in drinking water
and wastewater biproducts.
The complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in this
litigation provides a road map for the legal and regulatory
challenges ahead for the regulated community and agencies
implementing Clean Water Act programs that rely on the
definition for “Waters of the United States” aka WOTUS. The
following provides insights as to how to support a strong Clean
Water Act with the new WOTUS definition.
When former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt suggested in a
recent opinion piece that a portion of agricultural water
rights on the Colorado River should be transferred to urban
areas, it no doubt conjured up some strong emotions… But
Babbitt’s proposal makes sense and he is right about the need
to recognize the mismatch in population between the urbanized
West and rural areas where most of the basin’s water is
Two agencies are studying the feasibility of supplementing a
seismic safety project planned for B.F. Sisk Dam with a second
component that would increase the capacity of San Luis
Reservoir. … While the dam safety project involves raising
the crest of the earthen structure as much as 12 feet, as well
as seismic reinforcements, it does not, in itself, increase
capacity in the reservoir.
After nearly two decades of declining water flows into the
Colorado River Basin, scientists have decided the word drought
doesn’t cut it anymore. We need different terms, they say, to
help people fully grasp what has happened and the long-term
implications of climate change — not just in the Southwest, but
across the country. The term that’s caught the most attention
lately is “megadrought.”
A note from another former colleague the other day prodded me
into some rethinking — as with everything in this economic
crisis, partly in light of the need for California to think
small. By which I mean, think local.
The health department took water samples from 17 locations in
the lake. Five indicated the presence of potentially harmful
blue-green algae (cyanotoxin) at the cautionary level, one area
at warning level, and five areas at the danger level.
After decades of study, a very important and exciting milestone
for the Lake Powell Pipeline is happening. The Bureau of
Reclamation will issue a draft environmental impact statement
on June 8 that studies the pipeline’s need and purpose,
environmental and socioeconomic impacts, and other important
considerations. It outlines how the pipeline can be built in a
manner that protects the environment.
In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine,
Vanderbilt University and the University of California, Irvine,
report on the mechanism that perchlorate uses to impact and
damage normal functioning of the thyroid gland. The findings,
they say, suggest that an acceptable safe concentration of
perchlorate in drinking water is 10 times less than previously
Three months after federal dam safety regulators ordered
Anderson Reservoir, the largest reservoir in Santa Clara
County, to be drained due to earthquake concerns, new details
are emerging on what will happen to all that water, the fish
that depend on it, and the water supply for Silicon Valley.
To further protect public health and assist customers during
the COVID-19 pandemic, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District
announced it will continue to defer disconnections for
non-payment, postpone a pending rate increase and reopen lobby
Thirty-four years ago, Ronnie Levin’s research on lead in
drinking water sounded the alarm for many Americans about risks
lurking in their tap water. As the Trump administration propels
forward a new rule, Levin is still fighting to make sure
communities, especially the most vulnerable, have safe drinking
water. … What’s at stake, she says, is the health of some of
the most vulnerable communities in the nation.
On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of
directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater
development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water
grab.” The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three
decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water
The Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors
approved an agreement allowing the Dutch Flat Mutual Water
Company (Dutch Flat Mutual) to consolidate with PCWA… The
agreement allows for the extension of PCWA’s distribution
system into the Dutch Flat community, effectively connecting
current Dutch Flat customers to PCWA’s Alta Water System.
People generally think of the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) as a
southern Utah project, which it is. But we should not forget
that the project, first conceived in 1995 and mandated by the
2006 Lake Powell Pipeline Development Act, would burden all
Now while the idea of water cooling is hardly new, I was a
little flummoxed at Nautilus’s strategy, especially since its
first data center will be based in Stockton, California, a city
repeatedly voted one of the worst places to live, and the
Calaveras River that runs through the town is filthy. There’s a
method to the madness, though.
Thousands of people in Marina are being blocked from full
representation on the board of a regional water agency, a
casualty of a larger battle over the water future of the
Monterey Peninsula. The agency is Monterey One Water, and it is
responsible for treating sewage.
The average US home used nearly 729 additional gallons of water
in April than it did in February, according to a new study from
water-monitoring company Phyn. This means usage was up 21%
daily, as most Americans followed orders to work and shelter
from home, in an effort to “flatten the curve” and curb the
spread of the coronavirus.
The National Ground Water Association and eight of the
country’s leading drinking water organizations are urging the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to move expeditiously as
it evaluates drinking water standards for two per- and
polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).
For years — too many, residents say — Seville households
teetered with unpredictable conditions. Using too much water in
the day meant having none at night. One flush too many, and
everyone relying on a single well in town was thrown into a dry
spell. … The coming summer, however, promises to be a new one
altogether for residents in Seville.
As California navigates a critically dry water year, many
business-as-usual elements are getting a second look. One such
transaction is a proposed water sale by the Merced Irrigation
District. The district … filed an application with the State
Water Resources Control Board in March to transfer as much as
45,000 acre-feet of water to a bevy of water districts across
The company’s long-term goal is still to complete a project to
allow the transfer of up to 1.6 billion gallons of water a year
from an aquifer under its land to six Southern California water
agencies. But for the short-term, Cadiz is looking toward
agricultural development on its 45,000 acres of land about 30
miles northeast of Joshua Tree National Park.
New legislation was recently introduced that will address
several issues facing San Joaquin Valley canals. The
Restoration of Essential Conveyance Act was introduced by
Senator Dianne Feinstein as a means for repairing water
conveyance damaged by subsidence.
The University of California, Irvine’s Water Program (Water
UCI) has organized a survey of the various California water and
groundwater agencies and stakeholders to get a snapshot of
where these agencies and stakeholders stand in terms of water
resilience, especially groundwater resilience.
EPA’s final rule that curtails states’ authority over Clean
Water Act permitting of pipelines, hydroelectric dams and other
energy projects could run afoul of a 1994 Supreme Court ruling
that originally granted states that oversight power.
As big corporations consume mass amounts of water, the smaller,
local communities near the plants, factories and corporate
offices have fewer resources. Water shortages then become
prevalent as the corporation continues to use up the nearby
sources. … In order to make a meaningful change for smaller
communities, big corporations will need to work on
California and federal water regulators are trying to quickly
resolve their legal dispute over competing biological opinions
governing the management of their respective water projects, a
top state official says. The talks are proceeding after Gov.
Gavin Newsom filed suit in February to nullify new federal
opinions that would ease restrictions on surface water for San
Joaquin Valley growers.
The $65.8 million in grants will help fund projects such as
groundwater replenishment and habitat restoration within the
Colorado River, Lahontan, San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Ana
Proposition 1 funding areas. More than $12 million of this
amount targets projects that also help disadvantaged and
underrepresented communities, including Tribal governments.
A long-sought compromise has been approved that will open the
stagnant, reed-filled Buena Vista Lagoon to the sea and restore
its native coastal marine habitat, but years of work remain
before the transformation begins.
The proposed Eagle Mountain project went through nearly 10
years of regulatory review, mostly under the Obama
administration, with deep investigations of potential impacts
and subsequent requirements for some of the most stringent
mitigations ever placed on a project. … The one hitch for us?
We, the very communities who will be impacted by this project
have no real voice.
Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in
California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least
one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. … Active and
inactive oil and gas sites create myriad environmental hazards
including air and water pollutants, noise and excessive
lighting, which have all been linked with poor health outcomes.
While Imperial Irrigation District has the largest right within
California, it was not the Imperial Valley that was responsible
for California’s overuse. That was the Metropolitan Water
District. We are among the very oldest users on the Colorado
River and have built a community, ecology, and way of life here
in the desert dependent upon the waters of the Colorado that
have sustained us since 1901.
Georgia, West Virginia, and 21 other states moved to intervene
in litigation in order to help defeat challenges to the
Navigable Waters Protection Rule—a joint regulation from the
Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers
that narrows the types of wetlands and waterways subject to
federal Clean Water Act restrictions.
In recognition of National Dam Safety Awareness Day, Andy
Mangney who serves as the Field Engineering Branch Chief
overseeing DSOD’s dam inspection and monitoring program, took
some time to answer questions about what DSOD is doing to
The twin policies, unanimously approved by the Board, are
intended to stabilize the district’s revenues by cutting down
on nonpayments. Especially in light of new state laws that make
it more difficult to collect on delinquent accounts, the
district has been looking at means to better secure its revenue
stream from water and sewer accounts.
The water rights behind the proposed Lake Powell pipeline are
not actually coming from the project’s namesake lake, but
rather from the major reservoir upstream on the Green River.
Now, Utah water officials’ new request to overhaul those rights
has handed opponents a fresh opportunity to thwart the proposed
pipeline just as federal officials are about to release a
long-awaited environmental review of the $1.2 billion
The likelihood of intense storms is rising rapidly in North
America, and the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of
the National Academy of Sciences, projects big increases in
such deluges. … If the current rate of warming continues,
Earth will heat up 5.4 degrees by 2100. Then, 20, 50 and
100-year extreme rainstorms could happen every 1.5 to 2.5
years, the researchers concluded.
Under the 1944 treaty, the US is committed to sending 1.5mn
acre-feet of water from the Colorado River basin to Mexico in
12-month periods, which represents 10% of the river’s average
flow, according to the US Congressional Research Service.
Meanwhile, Mexico must send 1.75mn acre-feet in five-year
cycles from the Rio Grande’s six major tributaries that cross
After only 6 months post-construction completion and levee
breach at the Tule Red Tidal Restoration Project, longfin smelt
have returned. The 420-acre restoration site converted wetlands
managed primarily for waterfowl to tidal wetlands for the
benefit of dwindling native fish populations including Delta
smelt, longfin smelt, Chinook salmon and the food web that
A plan to set new restrictions on the levels of bacteria in the
Petaluma River Watershed is nearing the next stage of approval.
At a virtual meeting on Tuesday, the California State Water
Resources Control Board … will consider a plan meant to cap
and reduce the amount of bacteria getting into the Petaluma
In May, Cyclone Amphan made landfall in Bangladesh and eastern
India. The category 5 storm forced around 3 million people to
flee their homes. With this scenario in mind, a group of
disaster experts published guidelines for political leaders and
emergency managers so that they can prepare before the storms
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule Monday
curtailing the rights of states, tribes and the public to
object to federal permits for energy projects and other
activities that could pollute waterways across the country. The
move … upends how the United States applied a section of the
Clean Water Act for nearly a half century.
The proposed rule revision represents the first major overhaul
of the Lead and Copper Rule since 1991. The proposal includes
changes for lead tap sampling, corrosion control treatment,
lead service line replacement, consumer awareness and public
education, new requirements for community water systems to
conduct lead in drinking water testing, and public education in
schools and childcare facilities.
The Department of Water Resources produces groundwater level
change maps which show groundwater levels in wells throughout
the state. When looked at together, these reports give a
statewide picture of groundwater conditions and how they change
over time – through wet periods or droughts.
Las Vegas water use decreased rapidly starting in mid-March,
around the same time that Gov. Steve Sisolak instituted a
stay-at-home order and closed most nonessential businesses. But
since late April, it has gradually been increasing to more
typical levels, Las Vegas Valley Water District data shows.
Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity.
They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new
programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water.
… Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in
the basin, less intent on building a new community than on
supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest
The proposals from the Bureau of Land Management would
eliminate a 15-day protest period afforded to the public to
comment on timber sales and other forest management decisions.
BLM said the comment period they are proposing to cut is
repetitive, as people can already submit their thoughts when a
project is undergoing review under the National Environmental
Fossil fuel companies going bankrupt in the wake of the
Covid-19 pandemic are expected to leave behind thousands of
abandoned oil and gas wells, and some congressional Democrats
are calling for a federal program to ensure they’re cleaned up.
There are 56,000 known abandoned oil and gas wells in the U.S.,
leaking methane and other air and water pollutants, said Rep.
Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) …
The term “crisis on the border” typically refers to immigration
issues or drugs being smuggled into the country. But it has one
more meaning, as we discovered, when we went to the border in
early February: tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage that
spill every year into the Tijuana River on the Mexican side and
flow across the border right into Southern California,
polluting the land, air, and sea.
In a stark reminder that drought has once again taken hold on
the North Coast, Sonoma County is preparing to ask state water
regulators for permission to reduce water levels in the Russian
River this summer to conserve water stored in Lake Mendocino
and ensure minimal late-season flows for fish.
The park’s 1,900 residents have been without a permanent
drinking water source for months, after the EPA announced last
summer that the park’s well water contained nearly 10 times the
permissible level of arsenic, a toxic metal.
The National Audubon Society has reached an agreement with the
Arizona Department of Water Resources to help fund the Colorado
River Indian Tribes’ on-going efforts to conserve 150,000
acre-feet of water in Lake Mead over the next three years.
Likely hanging in the balance is the future of artificial water
fluoridation in the U.S. with shock waves possibly to be felt
in countries which still add synthetic fluoride agents to their
drinking water. The plaintiffs comprise a coalition of
citizens’ groups, while the defendant is the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency. At issue is the potential health risks posed
by artificial water fluoridation.
A study conducted by researchers at Duke University and RTI
International found that reusing oil field produced water that
has been mixed with surface water to irrigate crops in Kern
County’s Cawelo Water District does not pose any major health
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Institute for Water Resources
released a report on May 14 titled Managed Aquifer Recharge
(MAR) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Water Security
Through Resilience. … The report states USACE and its
partners have engaged, or are considering engaging, in the use
of MAR in a variety of settings and purposes throughout the
Paso Robles has an oversupply of wine grapes, according to
growers and winemakers. That’s an existing problem that’s been
exacerbated by COVID-19. … According to Jerry Lohr, owner of
J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, and some others in the wine
industry, there’s never been a better time to talk about
creating a fallowing program for the North County region, which
overlies the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.
By the thousands, they rolled through the Southern Oregon
countryside in tractors, hay trucks, log trucks, pickups and
minivans, their hand-painted signs greeted by supportive
passers-by who agreed with the message of Friday’s “Shut Down
and Fed Up” rally: the water problems that for decades have
plagued the region and its farmers must be resolved.
The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and
agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to
be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing
land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply
chains and bring decline to rural communities that have
developed around irrigated agriculture.
This network has been built up over 20+ years during several
epochs, including most recently in support of Forecast-Informed
Reservoir Operations with USACE and Sonoma Water, and with an
eye toward developing knowledge of what observations would be
needed in the future to support California’s needs for
hydrometeorological information related to drought and flood
monitoring and mitigation across the state.
A recent study published in the journal Science helps explains
why, revealing that the south-western US is in the grip of a
20-year megadrought – a period of severe aridity that is
stoking fires, depleting reservoirs and putting a strain on
water supplies to the states of the region.