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 The Michigan Daily

Opinion: It’s time to say goodbye to golf

California is home to over 1,000 golf courses, so when there was a lack of water and public officials had to decide where to allocate the water, the choice should have been obvious. California should have shut down the golf courses and made sure that every resident had access to clean drinking water.  However, this was not the case. As many as two-thirds of Californian golf courses stayed open and the average 18-hole course continued to use 90 million gallons of water each day.

Written by Alex Noble, a columnist for the newspaper

Aquafornia news Siskiyou Daily News

If dams are removed, will there be water for firefighting?

A plan to ensure there will be adequate water with which to fight wildfires if four Klamath dams are removed was unveiled Friday by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation. According to a KRRC press release, California and Oregon fire protection agencies have “signaled support” for the draft plan and the organization plans to submit it to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late next month, along with “several other management documents.” One of the main arguments for keeping the dams is that firefighters use water from the dam’s resultant reservoirs to fight fires.

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Aquafornia news Valley News

US EPA selects Rancho Water to continue in WIFIA funding selection process

Rancho California Water District’s Vail Dam Seismic and Hydrologic Remediation Project was selected to apply for funding as part of approximately $5.1 billion in Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WIFIA loans provide financing assistance to help pay for water infrastructure projects in the United States.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Managing groundwater overdraft – combining crop and water decisions (without salinity)

California’s Central Valley produces much of the nation’s food, including about 40% of the country’s fruits and nuts and has the nation’s second most pumped aquifer system. Its drier southern portion, the San Joaquin Valley, has decreasing surface water supply reliability due to frequent and prolonged droughts, stricter environmental regulations, and growing competition among water users. Many farmers pump groundwater to provide their unsupplied water demand. The resulting groundwater overdraft has numerous impacts on the Valley’s agriculture and residents.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Secret Kern River talks underway

It’s hard to say what spurred “confidential mediation” over the Kern River that began last week. Could it be the relentless “Bring Back the Kern!” campaign by a group of young, Bakersfield residents? Could it be a sentence in a recent letter from the State Water Resources Control Board that said, in part, it “will schedule a hearing in the near future to address water availability with respect to the Kern River…”? Could it be both? No one involved in the mediation would say.

Aquafornia news Craig Daily Press

Rio Blanco secures water right for dam-and-reservoir project

Six years after the application was filed, a judge has granted a water conservancy district in northwest Colorado a water right for a new dam-and-reservoir project that top state engineers had opposed. Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District now has a 66,720 acre-foot conditional water right to build a dam and reservoir between Rangely and Meeker, known as the White River storage project or the Wolf Creek project. The conservancy district is proposing an off-channel reservoir with a dam 110 feet tall and 3,800 feet long, with water that will be pumped from the White River. 

Aquafornia news Greeley Tribune

Opinion: We need to collaborate to protect the Colorado River from drought, speculation

Colorado is headwaters to a hardworking river that provides for 40 million people. The importance of the Colorado River to the state and the nation cannot be overstated, and its recent hydrology serves as a reminder that we must continue to find workable solutions that will sustain the river. History shows that we are up to the challenge. … Colorado and the other Basin states face big challenges. Drier hydrology, competing demands on the river, and those who seek to profit from such circumstances, impact the types of tools available to address these challenges. 
Written by Rebecca Mitchell, who serves as the state of Colorado’s Colorado River Commissioner as well as director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. 

Aquafornia news France 24

Global population hit by extreme drought set to double

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade. 

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Here’s how much snow is typical during the second half of winter

The halfway point of meteorological winter is Friday, Jan. 15, and while that might seem like the light at the end of the tunnel for those tired of snow and cold, many cities still average more than half their season’s snowfall after this date. Winter in meteorological record-keeping is from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28. But for some parts of the nation, snowy conditions are still possible deep into March and even April. 

Aquafornia news Arizona State University

Blog: New research director for Kyl Center focused on equity in water access

Arizona depends heavily on the Colorado River, and it is over-allocated, meaning, we collectively take more water from the system than nature puts in. To make matters worse, the Colorado River basin has been experiencing a prolonged drought of more than 20 years. When you take the longer term view, a lot of communities in Arizona are heavily dependent on fossil groundwater supplies. Once you pump them out, they’re gone forever. There are real problems looming when it comes to groundwater management and the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Farm groups prod Biden, Congress on Western water

More than 200 farm and water organizations from 15 states are urging President-elect Joe Biden and congressional leaders to address aging Western water infrastructure in any economic recovery package. Groups including state Farm Bureaus, the Family Farm Alliance and Western Growers issued letters to Biden and lawmakers Wednesday saying existing canals and reservoirs were built more than 50 years ago and are in desperate need of rehabilitation. 

Aquafornia news Sourcing Journal

Experts dispel popular cotton statistics, say more context is needed

Throughout his research, Simon Ferrigno has seen the statistic range from 2,000 to 20,000 liters of water needed to make a T-shirt. Instead of numbers, Ferrigno said the focus should be on whether or not the water that’s used in the process can be cleaned and repurposed for other needs. 

Aquafornia news Axios

Thursday Top of the Scroll: A “forever” drought takes shape in the West

The Southwest U.S. is mired in an ever-worsening drought, one that has left deer starving in Hawaii, turned parts of the Rio Grande into a wading pool, and set a record in Colorado for the most days of “exceptional drought.” Why it matters: These conditions may be the new normal rather than an exception, water experts say, as climate change runs its course. And worsening drought will intensify political and legal battles over water — with dire consequences for poor communities.

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Aquafornia news Denver Post

Opinion: Collaboration will protect the Colorado River from drought and speculation alike

Colorado is headwaters to a hardworking river that provides for 40 million people. The importance of the Colorado River to the state and the nation cannot be overstated, and its recent hydrology serves as a reminder that we must continue to find workable solutions that will sustain the river. History shows that we are up to the challenge. As Colorado’s commissioner and lead negotiator on Colorado River issues, it is my job to protect Colorado’s interests in the river.
-Written by Rebecca Mitchell, Colorado’s current Colorado River Commissioner and director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Turkey drought: Istanbul could run out of water in 45 days

Major cities across Turkey face running out of water in the next few months, with warnings Istanbul has less than 45 days of water left. Poor rainfall has led to the country’s most severe drought in a decade and left the megacity of 17 million people with critically low levels of water … and farmers in wheat-producing areas such as the Konya plain and Edirne province on the border with Greece and Bulgaria are warning of crop failure.

Aquafornia news News 18

Two-third of Earth might face severe drought by the end of this century

Available freshwater is on track to decline sharply across two-thirds of Earth’s land surface toward the end of the century mostly due to climate change, with the number of people exposed to extreme drought doubling, researchers have reported. Even under a scenario of moderate decline in greenhouse gas emissions, land area scorched by extreme to exceptional drought conditions increases from three to seven percent, while the population at risk jumps from 230 million to about 500 million … Mexico City is currently facing a water crisis, and California has been coping with a lack of rain for most of the last decade.

Aquafornia news Magic Valley

Opinion: Writers on the Range – Who calls the shots on the Colorado River?

If there’s a dominant force in the Colorado River Basin these days, it’s the Walton Family Foundation, flush with close to $5 billion to give away. Run by the heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton, the foundation donates $25 million a year to nonprofits concerned about the Colorado River. It’s clear the foundation cares deeply about the river in this time of excruciating drought, and some of its money goes to river restoration or more efficient irrigation. Yet its main interest is promoting “demand management,” the water marketing scheme that seeks to add 500,000 acre-feet of water to declining Lake Powell by paying rural farmers to temporarily stop irrigating.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

‘Water is Life’ student art contest opens for Redondo Beach kids

West Basin Municipal Water District announced its 2021 “Water Is Life” art contest is now open for Redondo Beach student submissions. The annual art contest from West Basin recognizes student creativity and innovation throughout its service area. Student artists help inspire their communities to support water conservation as a way of life by creating thought-provoking water-smart pieces of art. Submissions are due via regular mail or email by March 19.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: $2.5 billion Pacheco Dam plan moves ahead, despite cost increase

Leaders of the largest water district in Silicon Valley decided Tuesday to move forward with a plan to build a $2.5 billion dam near Pacheco Pass in Southern Santa Clara County — in what would be the largest new reservoir in the Bay Area in 20 years — despite learning that the cost has doubled due to unstable geology on the site. Although several board members of the Santa Clara Valley Water District expressed concerns during their meeting about the growing price tag, others said the proposed project’s water storage is needed for the future…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Valley groundwater may get (small) slice of state’s $15 billion surplus

The Governor’s proposal for how to spend California’s $15 billion surplus includes $60 million in direct grants to help replenish groundwater in the valley’s most depleted basins. The measure specifies the money is to be used in “critically over-drafted basins,” which lie mostly in the San Joaquin Valley. Water managers were pleasantly surprised, but not overwhelmed, by the amount.

Aquafornia news NBC 7 San Diego

Valve opening sends billions of gallons of water from Loveland to Sweetwater Reservoir

A valve at the base of the Loveland Dam near Alpine was opened Monday, allowing billions of gallons of water to thunder down the valley toward Sweetwater Reservoir in Spring Valley. “It’s a spectacle that is hard to forget,” said Hector Martinez, Chairman of the Sweetwater Authority “Very powerful! I almost feel the ground shaking when the water is being released.” The gushing valve is a sight to behold, and thanks to the massive transfer, South Bay water customers might be looking at their water bills with similar amazement.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

STPUD seeks input on groundwater management plan

The South Tahoe Public Utility District is seeking input as they update the groundwater management plan for the greater South Lake Tahoe area. Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for more than 90% of the public and private water systems located throughout this area. Seeking input from beneficial uses and users of groundwater ensures the region’s Groundwater Management Plan assess current groundwater conditions, reflects local groundwater concerns and offers an appropriate long-term management plan to ensure our community has a sustainable source of clean water supply.

Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Water use in the West can hurt…or help…the energy sector, report says

A team of researchers have developed a framework to evaluate complex connections between water and energy, and options for adaptations in response to an evolving climate. Their study, “Evaluating cross-sectoral impacts of climate change and adaptations on the energy-water nexus: A framework and California case study,” was published in the open-access journal Environmental Research Letters.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Research: Two-thirds of Earth’s land is on pace to lose water as the climate warms

The world watched with a sense of dread in 2018 as Cape Town, South Africa, counted down the days until the city would run out of water. The region’s surface reservoirs were going dry amid its worst drought on record, and the public countdown was a plea for help. … California also faced severe water restrictions during its recent multiyear drought. And Mexico City is now facing water restrictions after a year with little rain. There are growing concerns that many regions of the world will face water crises like these in the coming decades as rising temperatures exacerbate drought conditions.

Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

Opinion: Ventura’s water security requires investment now

Did you know Ventura is one of the largest cities in Southern California to rely solely on local water supplies? Rainfall feeds the Ventura River, Lake Casitas, and local groundwater basins to meet all the water needs of our community. Water is at the core of our identity and the future of its security is in jeopardy. Although our community’s conservation efforts have reduced water use by 20%, Ventura’s rain-dependent water supplies remain vulnerable to future droughts.  

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday Top of the Scroll: Dry conditions to persist for weeks as window to make up for arid winter starts closing

In recent weeks, meteorological models gave the Bay Area a glimmer of hope that some much-needed precipitation was on its way, bringing a bit of relief to a parched region. But those hopes — like much of California itself — have dried up. The Bay Area and most of the Golden State are bracing for several more rain-free weeks, adding to what has already been an abnormally dry rainy season, meteorologists said.

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Aquafornia news S&P Global Market Intelligence

Desert pipeline tests Colorado River’s future

Utah officials want to build a 140-mile-long pipeline to bring precious Colorado River water west to the thriving town of St. George, in the state’s far southwestern corner. In an era of perennial drought, when the future of the Colorado River watershed, the lifeline of the U.S. Southwest, is the subject of fierce debate in state capitols across the region, the idea of bringing more than 26 billion gallons of water a year to a community of fewer than 200,000 people on the edge of the Mojave Desert strikes many as folly. To officials in Washington County, of which St. George is the county seat, though, it is a critical resource for the future.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Worsening US drought conditions are a major 2021 weather story

Drought is an insidious climate threat — by the time it has a hold of a region, impacts on ecosystems and water supplies can be locked in. It may not grab extreme weather headlines like the disrupted polar vortex or record hurricane season, but drought during 2020 and heading into 2021 is a looming story likely to grow in importance….In the Southwest, population growth and years of drought conditions are putting the region on a collision course with drastic water management decisions. On Wall Street, traders can now bet on California water futures on commodity markets, enabling them to hedge against future scarcity…

Aquafornia news Science Alert

New discovery could lead to cheaper and more efficient water desalination

Removing salt from seawater to make it safe to drink means overcoming a number of scientific challenges, including optimising the membrane used for the desalination process – and new research into these membranes promises to make the whole operation cheaper and more accessible in the future. Scientists have figured out a way of potentially making membranes 30-40 percent more efficient in terms of the energy required to filter water. 

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Monterey looks at 2021 top priorities

While nearly everyone agrees the city should pursue programs to help provide more housing, any enthusiasm is tempered by the elephant in the room: water. “We’re in a double bind,” Monterey Councilman Alan Haffa said. “The state is telling us to build more housing but when we want to convert commercial to residential the state says that might not be acceptable. We’ve dramatically reduced the amount of water we are using but the state seems to be saying it’s not a new water (source) so it doesn’t count. I’ve got a real problem with that.”

Aquafornia news The San Jose Mercury News

Price tag nearly doubles for huge new Bay Area dam to $2.5 billion

In a major and potentially fatal setback for plans to build the largest dam in the Bay Area in more than 20 years, the price tag to construct a new reservoir in southern Santa Clara County near Pacheco Pass has nearly doubled, from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion.

Aquafornia news The Grunion

Water Replenishment District’s next leader in limbo

A cloud of uncertainty hangs over the Water Replenishment District as staff, board members and the district’s attorneys try to navigate a legal minefield created by controversial attempts to hire former Carson Mayor Albert Robles as the agency’s new general manager.

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

Opinion: Water markets critical to managing scarcity

As COVID started to spread, farmers and large cities in Southern California were hit with another blindside last March. Fires, drought, and the planting season drove up the price of California’s water market, over 220 percent in just three months. Crops failed and pastures were lost. In September, CME Group Inc vowed to create a new  market to help with the risk of these price swings. Last month, the first contract connected to the future price of California’s $1.1 billion water market was inked.
-Written by Will Rinehart, a senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.

Aquafornia news Nevada Irrigation District

News release: Nevada Irrigation District turns 100 years old

Nevada Irrigation District (NID) is celebrating a milestone in 2021, as the District enters its 100th year of operation.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Video: DWR Director Gianelli’s Legacy to the State Water Project

Known as an engineering expert, water community leader, and champion of the State Water Project (SWP), former Department of Water Resources Director William Gianelli served as DWRs third director from 1967 to 1973 and dedicated more than 30 years to public service in both the state and federal government. (Gianelli also was one of the founders of the Water Education Foundation, its second president and the namesake of the Foundation’s Water Leaders Program.) 

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board appoints Mike Plaziak to executive officer

Michael Raymond Plaziak, a water program expert and geologist with a wide range of experience in water issues in both the military and public sector, has been appointed executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Plaziak, who has been serving as acting executive officer at the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, stepped into his new role Dec. 14. He replaces former long-time executive officer Patty Kouyoumdjian, who retired Aug. 21.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

2020 weather: Year of record heat, fire, smoke

As far as the weather was concerned, 2020 will go down as one of the most challenging years our state has ever endured, with record-breaking temperatures, below-average rain and snow, and numerous wildfires covering California with a thick blanket of diabolical smoke.

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Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration advances plan to increase San Luis Reservoir water storage

The Bureau of Reclamation sent Congress the final feasibility report for the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project. This marks an important step forward in returning water supply reliability to south-of-Delta farmers, local communities, and wildlife refuges.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Doheny desalination plan met with caution, delays

As it enters its 20th year of planning and preparation, a desalination plant proposed near Doheny State Beach continues to be met with delays and uncertainty. In mid-2018, officials were predicting that the operation could be turning ocean water into drinking water as soon as 2021. Now, the project will be doing well to simply win all required permits by the end of next year.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Bernhardt’s ‘plan for 1,461 days’ and one remarkable year

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt started off 2020 empowering his most controversial public lands deputy, a move that a federal judge later deemed “unlawful.” He’s ending the year in quarantine, having tested positive for COVID-19. In between these bleak-sounding bookends, the 51-year-old Bernhardt rewrote how the Interior Department works. While the results get mixed reviews, and in some cases may get erased by the incoming Biden administration, 2020 was undeniably consequential for the department.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

December storms can’t overcome dry fall in California

The first snow survey in California was ambiguous.  While it showed the mountains just southeast of Lake Tahoe contains a snowpack that is approximately average for this point of the winter, the automatic snow sensor network shows an impoverished snowpack throughout the Sierra, particularly in the southern reach of the range. 

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Visalia to tighten water restrictions in March

The Visalia City Council’s last meeting was a fitting end to 2020 bringing news of an impending drought and the possibility the city’s groundwater reaching a new low. At the Dec. 21 meeting, Visalia’s water resource manager Andrew Munn told the council he was recommending the city move into Stage 2 of its water conservation ordinance on March 1, 2021 and to move into Stage 3 if the aquifer drops to a historic low. 

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Water authority and GSA to settle on sagging Friant-Kern Canal resolution

The Friant Water Authority cleaned up some of the most important work in the last month of the year hashing out a legal settlement with farmers in southern Tulare County. Represented by the Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) farmers agreed to contribute at least $125 million to repair the significant subsidence-caused sag in the gravity-fed canal that has cut water deliveries by 60%.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Monday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River management may change under Biden administration

The new Biden administration could take action on the Colorado River that would go well beyond the president-elect’s term in office. The week of Dec. 14, the seven states that are part of the Colorado River Compact began the first step for renegotiating guidelines that will decide how much water the three lower basin states and Mexico will get from Lake Mead, on the Arizona-Nevada border, and from Mead’s source, the Colorado River.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wall Street eyes billions in the Colorado River’s water

There is a myth about water in the Western United States, which is that there is not enough of it. But those who deal closely with water will tell you this is false. There is plenty. It is just in the wrong places…Transferring water from agricultural communities to cities, though often contentious, is not a new practice. Much of the West, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas, was made by moving water. What is new is for private investors — in this case an investment fund in Phoenix, with owners on the East Coast — to exert that power.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Torrance Daily Breeze

In abrupt shift, water board rejects $275,000 GM contract for former Carson mayor

The board of the Water Replenishment District rejected a controversial proposal to hire former Carson Mayor Albert Robles as its interim general manager in a stunning turn when one of his supporters, and then another, left the meeting without explanation.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Cal Am lawsuit targets public buyout process, alleging violations by water district

The latest hurdle in the effort to bring the Monterey Peninsula’s water system under public control is a lawsuit by the utility that currently owns it, California American Water… Cal Am accused the government agency charged with acquiring the system of violating the law by failing to fully analyze how a public takeover would impact the environment. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District certified its environmental analysis on Oct. 29, finding no significant impacts.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Drought, climate change and groundwater sustainability – Western Water news year in review

The ability of science to improve water management decisions and keep up with the accelerating pace of climate change. The impact to precious water resources from persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin. Building resilience and sustainability across California. And finding hope at the Salton Sea. These were among the issues Western Water explored in 2020. In case you missed them, they are still worth taking a look at.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority finalize plan to increase water storage in San Luis Reservoir

The Bureau of Reclamation and San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority finalized the B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project’s Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report. This joint proposed project would create an additional 130,000 acre-feet of storage space in San Luis Reservoir, producing additional water supply for 2 million people, over 1 million acres of farmland and 200,000 acres of Pacific Flyway wetlands. 

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Picture this research – a photo blog from the Center for Watershed Sciences

Holidays are a natural time of introspection on who we are, what we do, and why. Towards a bit of our own self-reflection, some researchers from UC Davis’ Center for Watershed Sciences (CWS) have each contributed a photo and short description of their work. We hope you enjoy reading about us and learning even more about us. It is hopefully a soft bookend to a wild 2020!

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: Temperance Flat reservoir: Is Fresno-area dam project dead?

Backers of a $3 billion project to construct the tallest dam in California swear the project isn’t dead, despite the Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority returning money and canceling applications. After it became clear that the reservoir project on the San Joaquin River west of Auberry would not reach upcoming deadlines for studies and funding, Temperance Flat Reservoir Authority declined $171 million designated by the California Water Commission and withdrew its application for additional funding, according to a resolution signed by the Authority on Oct. 30.

Aquafornia news KSUT Public Radio

Colorado River Basin winter forecast signals dry times ahead

All signs are pointing to a dry start to 2021 across much of the Colorado River watershed, which provides water to about 40 million people in the Western U.S. A lack of precipitation from April to October made this spring, summer and fall one of the region’s driest six-month periods on record. And with a dry start to winter, river forecasters feel more pessimistic about the chances for a drought recovery in the early part of 2021.

Aquafornia news Water Forum

News release: Water Forum names Jessica Law as executive director

The Water Forum is pleased to announce the selection of Jessica Law as its new Executive Director. The Water Forum is a diverse group of local governments, environmentalists, water managers, businesses and others working together to balance the coequal goals of providing reliable water supplies for the Sacramento region and preserving the environment of the Lower American River.

Aquafornia news Civil Eats

Is farming with reclaimed water the solution to a drier future?

Most California farmers get their water from the same sources as towns and cities—aquifers, rivers, reservoirs, and snowpack—putting population and food production in competition with each other. Wastewater reclamation could be a way to alleviate some of that pressure and is already common practice elsewhere in the state, mostly as a way to recharge aquifers in Orange County and prevent saltwater intrusion in coastal cities. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Savor the last drops — Bay Area rains not expected again until 2021

If Bay Area residents didn’t take time to appreciate Wednesday’s overnight dousing, it seems it’s too late. It’s all we’re going to get until 2021, forecasters say. Following the much-needed downpour that led to Thursday morning’s soaked roadways, an unusually dry holiday season lies ahead.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: Our blessings in the Sacramento Valley: water + land + sunlight

 As we reflect on this tumultuous year, we have much to be thankful and a lot to learn. Along with the truly special people that grace our lives, we are all thankful for the Sacramento Valley’s unique combination of water, land and sun–the essential ingredients for bountiful life and the amazing biodiversity of our region.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Native American tribe’s suit targets Westlands without suing the district. Here’s why.

In August, the Hoopa Valley Tribe filed a lawsuit in a Eureka-based Federal court against the U.S. Department of Interior to block execution of a permanent repayment contracts for Central Valley Project users. What’s at stake? Stable water resources secured by a bevy of other water agencies across the Golden State by converting short-term water service contracts into permanent repayment contracts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The suit almost exclusively targets the powerful Westlands Water District. The problem? The nation’s largest water district isn’t even a party to the suit, nor is it the only player involved in contract conversions.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Cal Am sues water management district over public takeover report

California American Water has sued the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District challenging the environmental review of the district’s potential public takeover bid of the company’s local water system. At the same time, Cal Am’s oft-delayed desalination project suffered another setback when California Coastal Commission staff declared a revised application submitted last month is incomplete, asking a series of questions and for additional information that could delay the proposal by several more months.

Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Crop reports reveal new, old trends in valley agriculture

While farm receipts from 2018 to 2019 show an almost unchanging total, beneath the surface, shifts in dominant crops have begun to occur as growers face labor shortages and higher water demand.Cumulatively, ag commissioners across Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Madera counties report gross values in 2019 equaling $19.41 billion, down from $19.45 billion in 2018.

Aquafornia news AgriPulse

Climate change calls for better breeding, conservation and water resilience, says soil scientist

A UC Davis soil scientist says the increasing scarcity of water under projected climate scenarios will require crops that are less water-intensive and for farmers to reduce the amount of irrigated acres and adopt innovative approaches to capturing runoff. Ranchers could incorporate forage crops with shorter growing seasons.

Aquafornia news State Water Contractors

Blog: It is not a question of a Delta tunnel or local supply projects: Both are necessary for a secure water future

The Delta Conveyance Project is a necessary upgrade to ensure that our aging 1960-era State Water Project (SWP) infrastructure will continue to function into the future …  An emerging narrative that we have seen from project opponents is the false choice between either supporting the Delta Conveyance Project or supporting more local and regional projects to develop alternative or expanded water supply sources. These are not alternatives to each other. We can and must do both.
-Written by Jennifer Pierre, general manager of the State Water Contractors

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Quest for water in the Kern River continues

The steady drumbeat of support to get more water flowing in the Kern River through Bakersfield continued Tuesday at the State Water Resources Control Board. During the public comment portion of the meeting three speakers from Bakersfield and Kern County’s political realm urged board members to finally hear — and grant — a decade-old petition by the City of Bakersfield to appropriate water on the river to run through the heart of town.

Aquafornia news TBNewsWatch.com

California city finds early success solving its pinhole water leak problem

The city of Folsom has experienced a significant decrease in pinhole leaks in copper water pipes in local residences since adding orthophosphate to the water system. This past summer, Folsom experienced what residents dubbed “a pinhole leak apocalypse.” Water leaks in homes developed nearly 1,400 times. On the recommendation of consultants, the city started adding orthophosphate to the water treatment system in October. Folsom’s environmental and water resources director, Marcus Yasutake, says it’s had the desired effect.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Will water supply momentum pick back up with new administration?

At the beginning of 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced some framework for voluntary agreements on pumping water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In February, the Trump administration signed their own water legislation for California that relaxed biological opinions providing additional water to flow through the Delta. California promptly sued the administration’s actions under the direction of Newsom which put a halt to the federal decision and paused the voluntary agreements momentum. Does all of that change now that a Democratic party is transitioning into leadership? 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

California water futures: UN warns of speculative bubble in new commodity

The United Nations said Wall Street’s new water futures risk an essential public good being treated like gold and oil, leaving the market vulnerable to a speculative bubble.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Monday Top of the Scroll: Feds defend permanent water contracts to benefit agriculture

Defending the decision to give farm irrigation districts permanent access to low-cost, federally pumped water in California, a Justice Department lawyer urged a federal judge to flush a Native American tribe’s lawsuit against the endless entitlements. The Hoopa Valley Tribe sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in August, claiming the Trump administration’s conversion of 14 time-limited contracts for Central Valley Project water into permanent deals violated a host of federal laws. 

Post

2020 Class Report

Members of the 2020 Water Leaders class examined how to adapt water management to climate change. Read their policy recommendations in the class report, Adapting California Water Management to Climate Change: Charting a Path Forward, to learn more.

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Opinion: Colorado’s intensifying drought conditions call for urgent collaboration

The entire Colorado River Basin within Colorado is experiencing “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  The next few months are predicted to be warmer and drier than normal, which will further reduce snowpack runoff into our reservoirs even with a normal snowpack this winter. Unfortunately, 2020 is not an anomaly; rather, it is a harbinger of a future to which we must adapt. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Arizona tribe proposes federal law to lease its water rights

The Colorado River Indian Tribes near Parker is proposing a federal law to allow it to lease water rights in Arizona, a move that could aid the state’s response to the drought. The tribe said in public hearings on Dec. 7 and Dec. 10 that it would use the money raised from leasing Colorado River water to bolster services to its members, including for health care, education, elder programs and law enforcement.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Sunday storms will give way to dry conditions, then more rain, national weather service says

The Bay Area awoke to the pitter-patter sound and pleasant smell of rain Sunday as the first significant storm system of the season moved through the area, bringing much-needed moisture to a largely dry region. …The National Weather Service said that the rain system that passed through the Bay Area over the weekend will give way to dry conditions for Monday and Tuesday before an even wetter system could come through Wednesday into Thursday.

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Aquafornia news Chamber Business News

Blog: ASU study reveals groundwater generates 43 percent of state GDP

A new study highlights the tremendous impact groundwater has on Arizona’s economy and underscores the need to make sure every community has tools to protect and manage it far into the future, said Todd Reeve, director of Business for Water Stewardship (BWS), which commissioned the report. 

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Bureau of Reclamation looks to possible end of Paradox desalination project

A highly effective but problematic Colorado River desalination project in western Montrose County’s Paradox Valley could come to an end due to the federal Bureau of Reclamation’s difficulty finding an acceptable means of continuing it.

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Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Editorial: Biden election offers hope for preserving the Delta

The forthcoming Biden administration is California’s best — and perhaps only — hope for solving vexing water issues that have largely been put on hold for more than a decade. It should be clear that state leadership is incapable of crafting a comprehensive water strategy. The California Department of Water Resources continues to push for pumping additional water from the fragile Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta at the expense of its immediate and long-term health.
-Written by the editorial board of the San Jose Mercury News

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

A California water fight pits pistachio growers against the U.S. Navy

A legal dispute over water rights in California’s Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. The case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state’s all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Poseidon would bring jobs and water to Orange County

Since 2012 we haven’t moved the state’s water policy too far forward. We now have a desalination plant successfully online in San Diego County and have instituted water-saving methods throughout the state. However, we are still facing a crisis with the ever-evaporating snowpack, a continuously warming climate and the reframing of the Delta tunnel project. And this might make for a good long political debate, but the reality of the situation is that most Californians do not have the luxury of time for a political debate — they have real-world needs, including the need to be able to provide water for their children to drink.
Written by Gloria Alvarado, executive director of the Orange County Labor Federation. 

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Opinion: California needs a new integrated approach to water planning

Water supply and effective water management have been crucial economic tools in California for centuries. Our state’s agricultural sector is an over $50 billion industry that can only thrive with reliable water. Farmers and ranchers in the Central Valley, food processing plants and distribution companies throughout the state, and more locally, the vineyards, farms, orchards and ranches in the Capital Region contribute to an agricultural economy that currently employs more than 1.1 million people throughout the state.
-Written by El Dorado County Supervisor Brian K. Veerkamp and Kenneth V. Payne, general manager of the El Dorado Water Agency.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California’s water wars have created a dilemma in the Delta: fishing or fresh water?

Bass fishing is a pillar of the delta. But, as with many things in this vast estuary at the edge of the Bay Area, the sport and its cottage industry of marinas, bait shops, boat showrooms and bars are threatened by converging forces: climate change, drought, development and California’s escalating water wars. The fishing community — alongside farming, boating, tourism and other livelihoods in these rural lowlands — is caught up in the unsparing effort to boost the delta’s freshwater exports.

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Aquafornia news ABC10.com

Atmospheric rivers: How California is trying to understand them

California weather is rarely average. Historically, the state has well above or well below average rain and snow. One of the keys to prepare for these wild swings is a better understanding of atmospheric rivers.  The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes or CW3E is studying these large water transport systems in the Pacific. Atmospheric rivers can hold more than twice the water as the Amazon. At times, they can be the most hazardous storms for the West Coast, but they can also be largely beneficial, delivering about 50% of California’s rain and snow.

Aquafornia news Water News Network

Blog: Miramar Reservoir marks 60 years of service

For 60 years, Miramar Reservoir has been an integral part of the City of San Diego’s drinking water system … Now, the reservoir is being called into service to play a vital part in San Diego’s future Pure Water system to sustain a reliable water supply.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Advancing water supplies for Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

The Biggs-West Gridley Water District, Ducks Unlimited and the Bureau of Reclamation recently announced the completion of Phase II (of five total phases) of the water supply project for the world-renowned Gray Lodge Wildlife Area. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California’s $16 billion climate-hardy water tunnel moves ahead

California’s plans to build a new tunnel to move water from the northern Delta to the thirsty, populous south of the state advanced a step Tuesday, when a key partner agreed to help fund some of the effort.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

With drought and pumping, Hopi natural springs are drying up

The Hopi have lived for thousands of years on the mesas of the Colorado Plateau. Flowing springs and seeps have sustained them, providing sources where they have collected drinking water, grown corn and beans, and maintained a spiritual connection to life-giving water.   But the springs are dwindling. Some are completely dry.  

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Lake Mendocino is low, but no water shortages forecast thanks to new tech

Lake Mendocino currently sits at 712 ft above sea level… That’s very low. But despite years of dry conditions … it’s not the lowest the lake has ever been. Thanks to a new set of satellite technologies and water management techniques dubbed FIRO, or Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (pronounced FEE-roh), the lake is still more than a dozen feet above its record low.

Aquafornia news California Water Blog

Is California heading for a multi-year drought?

Yes, California will have another multi-year drought. California has immense hydrologic variability, with more droughts and floods per average year than any other part of the country.  California’s water users, managers, and regulators should always be prepared for droughts (and floods). Eventually, California will have a multi-year drought worse than any we have ever seen.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg

Monday Top of the Scroll: Water futures to start trading amid growing fears of scarcity

Farmers, hedge funds and municipalities alike will be able to hedge against — or bet on — potential water scarcity starting this week, when CME Group Inc. launches contracts linked to the $1.1 billion California spot water market. The contracts, a first of their kind in the U.S., were announced in September as heat and wildfires ravaged the U.S. West Coast. They are meant to serve both as a hedge for California’s biggest water consumers against skyrocketing prices and a scarcity gauge for investors worldwide.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

As fires rage, California center aims to better understand atmospheric rivers

At the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, researchers feel the urgency as they examine connections between West Coast precipitation and a devastating wildfire season, which has yet to conclude.

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Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

Templeton will take a deeper look at its water policies

The Templeton Community Services District recently looked at a set of potential water policy priorities … It includes an incentive program for property owners who want to sell back or “relinquish” their water units, the ability to transfer water units between properties owned by the same individual, a landscape retrofit program, and updating the way the district calculates single-family dwelling unit equivalent water demand.

Aquafornia news Westside Connect

Work progressing on Newman water project

Work is proceeding on construction of a new well, booster pump station and million-gallon storage tank on the western reaches of Jensen Road north of the city [of Newman]. The $10 million project to upgrade Newman’s municipal water system has been in the works for about a decade.

Aquafornia news Daily Breeze

Water district moves to hire ousted Carson mayor as general manager during bizarre meeting

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California’s board of directors moved Thursday to hire a former board member forced out of office by the district attorney as its new general manager, despite concerns about his lack of qualifications and the rushed hiring process. Board members voted 3-2 to select former Carson Mayor Albert Robles as the new general manager, then went into closed session to discuss it further. 

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Friday Top of the Scroll: Water managers urge patience after initial 10% allocation from State Water Project

The rainy season is still young, but that’s about the only consolation to be found in California’s initial estimate this week that farmers who get water from the State Water Project will only get 10 percent of their requested allocations next year. This marks the third consecutive year the initial estimate has been that low.

Aquafornia news ABC7 Los Angeles

Recent data suggests SoCal will have a dry La Niña winter

Amid California’s worst fire season in history, climate experts are predicting hot and dry conditions this winter. “On average there will be less moisture than we would normally receive here in California,” says Dr. Lowell Stott, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California. After studying the recent data, Stott says Southern California will unfortunately be visited by the rain-averse La Niña weather pattern.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Desert Sun

Cathedral City Mayor John Aguilar to join CVWD board

The Coachella Valley Water District on Wednesday appointed Cathedral City Mayor John Aguilar to fill the vacancy left on its board of directors when former Director G. Patrick O’Dowd resigned in November to helm the Salton Sea Authority.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

Challenge brought against proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir

A coalition of conservation groups is working to prevent the development of a dam in the Del Puerto Canyon. The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in Stanislaus County] would reportedly store more than 80,000 acre-feet of water…. In a lawsuit filed on November 20, the plaintiffs assert that the project would negatively impact the habitat of several species.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Funding for the proposed delta tunnel could be slipping

The Metropolitan Water District likely won’t pick up the slack to cover planning costs for the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta tunnel. That’s a huge shift from MWD’s “all in” support of the previous tunnel project.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California heading for a multi-year drought? The odds aren’t in our favor, experts say

With no rain in the forecast for the rest of 2020 — thanks to a La Niña weather pattern pushing storms north of the state — the probability of California entering a multi-year drought is increasing. 

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Farmland consolidations could save water, promote solar

Hopes are rising in the southern Central Valley that the farmland expected to be fallowed in coming years because of drought and groundwater restrictions won’t sit idle but will instead be consolidated to make room for new land uses including solar power generation.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

Groups bash Trump administration report on raising height of Shasta Dam

While Republican members of Congress praised the most recent step toward approving raising the height of Shasta Dam, fishing and environmental groups criticized it as the illegal actions of a “lame duck federal agency.”

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Livermore Independent

Zone 7 to spend $2.8M on Delta Conveyance Project

In a 5-2 vote, the Zone 7 Water Agency Board approved the expenditure of $2.8 million as the agency’s share for the next phase of planning on the Delta Conveyance.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Audit of CalGEM says California oil regulators issued improper permits

California oil regulators ignored their own regulations and issued improper permits for hundreds of new wells last year, according to an audit … finalized this week. … The audit was requested after stories in The Desert Sun revealed that CalGEM employees used so-called “dummy” folders to approve new injection wells for several oil companies that do risky steam injection.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

$15 million credit line will help Antioch build desalination plant

Antioch’s plan to build a desalination plant to clear up the city’s brackish water got another boost this week when the City Council unanimously approved $15 million in interim financing.

Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council, IWVGA agree on recycled water

If an options agreement between the [Ridgecrest] City Council and Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority comes to fruition, recycled water from the city’s wastewater facility could help balance the groundwater basin… Both the council and the groundwater authorities at their respective meetings last week approved the option agreement between the two parties for recycled wastewater.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tribes battle agencies, old policies to restore fire practices

By burning and brushing, nurturing important plants and keeping lands around their homes clear of dead brush and debris, Native peoples carefully stewarded the lands to sustain the biodiverse ecologies California is known for. Their work resulted in a richly productive landscape that provided food and habitat for not only humans but many land, air and water animals. That included the salmon, a staple of tribes in the West for millennia. All that changed when California became a U.S. state in 1850.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

State water penalty kicks in as Cal Am misses deadline on desalination plant construction

A recent exchange of letters between a public utility and a state water authority highlights the continued stalemate in the effort by the Monterey Peninsula to develop a new water supply and end the overdrafting of the Carmel River.

Aquafornia news KUNC

As Lake Powell recedes, river runners race to document long-hidden rapids

Climate change and overuse are causing one of the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs, Lake Powell, to drop. While water managers worry about scarcity issues, two Utah river rafters are documenting the changes that come as the massive reservoir hits historic low points.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Model filter system removes antibiotics from wastewater

A model for an economical filter system that can remove antibiotics from wastewater has been designed by Agricultural Research Service and University of California-Riverside collaborators.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Environmentalists take aim at the Del Puerto Canyon dam project

The proposed Del Puerto Canyon Reservoir [in western Stanislaus County] would store 82,000 acre-feet of water for downstream agricultural users. The coalition said the dam would flood an “important cultural and recreation site for the surrounding community and destroying valuable wildlife habitat.”

Aquafornia news Delta Legacy Communities

Blog: Could damages from Oroville spillway cases bankrupt the State Water Project?

The consolidated Oroville Spillway cases are currently scheduled to go to trial in April of 2021. A large judgement for monetary damages could potentially bankrupt the State Water Project, according to filings by the Department of Water Resources.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin County seeks flood tax in Santa Venetia

Marin County flood planners are turning to Santa Venetia voters to help pay for an estimated $6 million project to upgrade the timber-reinforced berm that protects hundreds of homes from overtopping tides.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Pipeline plan takes a small step forward (with some drama)

Things got a little wild at the San Diego County Water Authority meeting last week when its 36 directors argued over whether they should spend more money studying a controversial $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River. Outrage after leaders apparently skipped over female directors waiting to add comments during a discussion period sparked some to change their vote on the matter.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Pixley National Wildlife Refuge: A wintertime treasure

While many people look towards the mountains for accessing beautiful nature, the San Joaquin Valley Floor is home to many amazing sights of nature and in particular, birds. Not only is Tulare County home to over 100 types of birds, it is part of the Pacific Flyway – one of the most important bird migration paths in the world.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Trials evaluate alfalfa fields for groundwater recharge

Alfalfa is proving in University of California studies to be remarkably resilient when flooded with large amounts of water early in the year to refill ground depleted by deficit irrigation, or to recharge groundwater drawn down by pumping.

Aquafornia news Water Wrights

Blog: Milk Producers Council water update

Without an accessible and relatively clean water supply, dairy farming is not possible. Much of California enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate, where precipitation is not a year around expectation. And yet California is home to the largest dairy industry in the United States. So how are we doing?

Aquafornia news California Sportfishing Protection Alliance

Blog: CSPA opposes Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts’ petition for waiver of Clean Water Act

Joining a growing list, Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts filed a Petition with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking that the commission find that the State of California has waived certification under the Clean Water Act. … The Districts are seeking a new FERC license for two hydropower projects on the Tuolumne River, the Don Pedro Project and the La Grange Project.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Hatchery closes down again following three years of renovations

A Kernville hatchery that has served local anglers for almost a century will soon close down again 20 months after it reopened following three years of renovations. The Kern River Hatchery … must close for repairs Dec. 1 mainly because a 50-year-old pipeline that delivers water to the facility needs to be replaced…

Aquafornia news NBC San Diego

Homeowners can apply for rebates to transform their landscape

Residents in the San Diego County Water Authority’s service area can apply to get a rebate of $3 for every square-foot of lawn they replace with drought-tolerant plants.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: Building a water-resilient California

What are key California water priorities for the coming year, in light of ongoing disruptions from the pandemic, the recession, lingering drought, and a record-breaking fire season? The PPIC Water Policy Center brought together three panels of experts to discuss possibilities at our annual water priorities conference.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Here’s what the water sector wants from Congress and President-elect Biden

In a letter to President-elect Joe Biden last week, the American Water Works Association urged the incoming administration to prioritize COVID-19 relief for water utilities and investment for the overall water infrastructure sector.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Refillable water bottle station to be added at Main Beach to keep plastics out of the ocean

A refillable water station will replace a drinking fountain at Main Beach as part of Laguna Beach’s ongoing effort to reduce single-use plastics from littering beaches and the ocean and ultimately harming marine mammals. The water station – planned for a January installation – is thanks to a collaborative effort by the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and several other community groups…

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Look up: Helicopter will dangle electromagnet array over valley this week

If you look up into [San Joaquin] Valley skies this week and see a large, oddly shaped device hanging from a helicopter, don’t be alarmed. It’s part of a research project to map underground water supplies. Beginning Monday, flyovers are expected in areas west and south of Fresno – including Fowler, Kingsburg, Lemon Cove, Orange Cove, Orosi, Parlier, Piedra, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Woodlake.

Aquafornia news Orange County Breeze

California Water Commission hosting water conveyance workshops in December, January

As it explores a potential state role in funding conveyance projects, the Commission seeks public input on criteria for assessing resilience, public benefits of conveyance, and financing mechanisms. The workshops are not associated with the proposal to improve conveyance through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news Action News Now

Lake Oroville needs and safety assessment released

The Department of Water Resources recently published a summary report of a comprehensive needs assessment of safety at Oroville Dam. It comes after the reconstruction of the spillways that were damaged and failed in 2017.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

How to comment on sustainable groundwater plans in Madera

After decades of new and deeper wells, degraded water quality and groundwater level declines, residents in the [Madera] area have a chance to influence how local groundwater will be managed and used for decades to come — and the deadline to participate is quickly approaching.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Conservationists challenge ‘destructive’ Central California dam project

A proposed dam in California’s Central Valley is billed as a vital agricultural resource. But conservationists say it would also flood important cultural and recreational sites for surrounding communities and destroy wildlife habitat.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Grist.org

This entrepreneur is plugging the world’s drinking water into the (digital) cloud

Now based in California, 39-year-old engineer and entrepreneur Meena Sankaran is working to make water cleaner and more reliable — by making it smarter. Using sensors and analytic tools, Sankaran’s startup KETOS provides real-time monitoring of both water usage and quality, alerting, say, a farmer to a leak, or a municipality to a contaminant.

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Over $1M in grants secured for Kings River improvements

The Kings River Conservation District, along with co-applicant Tulare Lake RCD, received this grant to help remove invasive species and debris from levees and riverbank along the Kings River, improve water flow, strengthen flood protection, increase carbon capture, and improve delivery of clean water to downstream users.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

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Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Tom Birmingham: Why restoring tidal marsh is good for SJ Valley farmers

Why would a public water agency that exists primarily to serve irrigation water to farmers on the west side of Fresno and Kings counties undertake an ecosystem restoration project in the Delta?

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Podcast: Craig Tucker on Klamath dam agreement

Karuk Tribe natural resources spokesperson Craig Tucker joined John Howard to talk about the historic agreement, its impact on the region’s Salmon fisheries, and the potential for replication in other places where dams are contested.

Related articles:

Western Water Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

Milestone Colorado River Management Plan Mostly Worked Amid Epic Drought, Review Finds
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Draft assessment of 2007 Interim Guidelines expected to provide a guide as talks begin on new river operating rules for the iconic Southwestern river

At full pool, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States by volume. but two decades of drought have dramatically dropped the water level behind Hoover Dam.Twenty years ago, the Colorado River Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide on how to respond.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Rep. Ruiz introduces Salton Sea bill in Congress to provide funding

HR 8775, the Salton Sea Public Health and Environmental Protection Act, would create an interagency working group called the Salton Sea Management Council to coordinate projects around the lake’s receding shoreline.

Aquafornia news New Times San Luis Obispo

SLO County removes 37,000 acres from Paso groundwater pumping moratorium

Fewer properties over the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin will be subject to severe water restrictions after the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted on Nov. 17 to revise the basin’s “area of severe decline,” eliminating roughly 37,000 acres.

Aquafornia news Northern California Water Association

Blog: State investing in Sacramento Valley salmon recovery

The California Natural Resources Agency recently announced the investment of almost $50 million in Proposition 68 funding for projects to promote salmon recovery. More than $220 million in Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 funds have also been dedicated for multi-benefit flood protection projects in the past two years that will benefit salmon.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Trump administration finalizes Shasta Dam raise plan to increase water storage for Californians and the environment

The Trump Administration Thursday released the Shasta Lake Water Resources Investigation Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to increase water storage capacity in the Shasta Lake reservoir by 634,000 acre-feet,

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Is third time the charm for Klamath dam removal project?

On Nov. 17, California, Oregon, PacifiCorp, and the Yurok and Karuk Tribes announced a new agreement with the Klamath River Renewal Corporation to reaffirm KRRC’s status as dam removal entity and provide additional funding for the removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River. The agreement is the latest development in a decade-long effort…

Aquafornia news Estuary Magazine

Study: Estimates of salmon lost to Delta pumps outdated

Current estimates of young salmon lost to the south Delta pumps are based on a smattering of studies from the 1970s and should be updated, according to a new analysis. “They don’t represent current operations,” says Ukiah-based consultant Andrew Jahn, lead author of the analysis reported in the September 2020 issue of San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science.

Aquafornia news KCRA TV

What’s that digging in the Delta?

Work crews have been busy this week along Twin Cities Road near Courtland. They are conducting core sampling, the first step in drafting an environmental impact report for a tunnel plan known as the Delta Conveyance Project.

Aquafornia news E&E News

PFAS exposure could hinder vaccine for hard-hit communities

Exposure to toxic “forever” chemicals could hinder the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine, with outsize implications for some communities and workers.

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Aquafornia news Sites Reservoir Project

Blog: Reliable water supplies for reliable food

Millions of people across our nation, and countless millions throughout the world depend on California’s farms and ranches for the food they eat every single day. California leads the nation as the country’s largest agricultural producer and exporter and serves as a vital link in the world’s food supply chain.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Zero Delta smelt found in latest search; new habitat hopes to change that

An annual search for a tiny endangered and contentious fish in the sprawling California Delta has once again come up empty. The state’s annual Fall Midwater Trawl found no Delta smelt in September’s sampling of the critical waterway. … Hoping to reverse the trend, Westlands Water District and the California Department of Water Resources announced completion of a Delta habitat restoration project on Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news UC Davis News

News release: Grazing and riparian restoration are compatible when you put in the work

Rangeland ecologists at the University of California, Davis, found that when ranchers invest even one week a year in practices that keep cows away from creeks — like herding, fencing and providing supplemental nutrition and water — they can improve riparian health by as much as 53 percent.

Aquafornia news CalMatters

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Well water throughout California contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

In the weeks before the coronavirus began tearing through California, the city of Commerce made an expensive decision: It shut down part of its water supply. Like nearly 150 other public water systems in California, the small city on the outskirts of Los Angeles had detected “forever chemicals” in its well water.

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Aquafornia news Ceres Courier

Opinion: Sacramento fiddles while 31.7% of California is lacking in water supply

Two key projects that the bond measure was passed to help fund, Sites Reservoir and Temperance Flat Reservoir, have stalled. Without the public breathing down their neck in a severe drought, the state has managed to treat the reservoirs as back burner issues.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Historic deal refreshes plans for major dam removal

America’s largest dam removal project has been brought back to life with a new agreement among California, Oregon, tribes and a utility owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. The decadeslong effort to remove four dams on the Klamath River in Northern California that have had a devastating impact on salmon runs had appeared in danger following an unexpected July regulatory order.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Kern farmers tapped for $14 million to study Delta tunnel

The Kern County Water Agency board of directors voted unanimously to approve an agreement with the Department of Water Resources to pay $14 million over 2021 and 2020 as its initial share of the early planning and design phase for what’s now being called the Delta Conveyance Facility.

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Aquafornia news Napa Valley Register

Environmental group threatens to sue St. Helena over groundwater extraction

Grant Reynolds, a director of Water Audit California, delivered a letter to the city on Monday criticizing its use of the Stonebridge wells for municipal use and “a pattern of exercising no discretion” in issuing permits for new wells.

Aquafornia news Ducks Unlimited

Blog: Riches to rags: The decline of the Klamath Basin refuges

How did two of the most important waterfowl refuges in the United States reach such a sad state? The decline of the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges was a hundred years in the making. There are no villains here; rather it is simply a tale of too little water to go around on an arid landscape.

Aquafornia news Casino.org

Will Vegas run out of water?

For a city built in an arid desert basin in Nevada, the USA’s driest state with around 10 inches of rainfall a year, this doesn’t sound too surprising. But the climate emergency and recent droughts have changed the complexion and urgency of the problem.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USGS report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

The lower Colorado River Basin, which is primarily in Arizona, is projected to have as much as sixteen percent less groundwater infiltration by midcentury compared to the historical record. That’s because warming temperatures will increase evaporation while rain- and snowfall are expected to remain the same or decrease slightly.

Related article:

Aquafornia news E&E News

How Biden could undo Trump’s water regulations

The incoming Biden administration is widely expected to undo President Trump’s regulatory rollbacks on a range of water rules including stream and wetland protections, drinking water contamination, and the permitting of controversial energy and flood projects.

Aquafornia news State Water Resources Control Board

News release: Years-long struggle for safe water to end at Coachella Valley elementary school

Children and staff at Westside Elementary School in Thermal have had to rely on bottled water due to issues from an aging well. But change is here. Thanks to a $880,155 grant from the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, a consolidation project recently broke ground, granting Westside Elementary access to the Coachella Valley Water District and a reliable source of clean water.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. … A new study led by researchers at the University of Nevada Reno demonstrates for the first time that meadows throughout the region are both gaining and losing carbon at high rates.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California, Oregon will take over dams on Klamath River – and tear them down

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Oregon counterpart signed a landmark deal Tuesday to take control of four aging dams targeted for removal on the Lower Klamath River, an agreement designed to push the controversial $450 million plan over the finish line. … The agreement “ensures that we have sufficient backing” to get the four dams demolished, said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

The battle over protecting Ballona Wetlands — and if they need it

For decades it’s been an environmental jewel wedged between the urban sprawl of Marina Del Rey and Playa Del Rey. But now the Ballona Wetlands State Ecological Reserve, home to diverse plant and animal wildlife, has become a battleground for conservationists and other activists.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Outsiders wary of San Diego’s multibillion-dollar pipeline plan

Opposition is building against San Diego’s dream of erecting a $5 billion pipeline to the Colorado River in the name of resource independence. The pipe, which wouldn’t produce savings for ratepayers until at least 2063, faces its next trial on Thursday, when water managers meet to vote on spending another $1.7 million to do the next planning step.

Aquafornia news Chico State Today

Blog: Chico State Enterprises receives $10 million grant to continue salmon habitat restoration projects

A research team from California State University, Chico will continue its exceptional work to re-establish juvenile salmon and salmonid habitats along the Sacramento River, after learning it would continue to be funded by the United States Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.

Aquafornia news The Mendocino Voice

Groundwater agency discusses how to manage future of Ukiah Valley Basin

Plans to regulate groundwater for the first time ever in the Ukiah Valley Basin are moving forward. And though the details are wonky and a little esoteric, the results could affect water and ag policy for years to come. Last week, the Ukiah Valley Basin Groundwater Sustainability Agency discussed how their mammoth project of sustainably managing the groundwater is coming along.

Aquafornia news Water & Wastes Digest

Benefits bubble up: Wastewater treatment

Bear Republic Brewing Company started by trucking three 6,000-gallon trucks of waste from the Cloverdale brewery location to a facility in Oakland roughly 90 miles away one-way. This solution was simply unsustainable for many reasons, and Bear Republic eventually partnered with Cambrian Innovation to install two anaerobic reactors on site.

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Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Surveyors take to air to see underground over Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin

A helicopter making low-level passes over the Santa Ynez Valley towing a large hexagonal frame is using a technology first developed in World War II to peer as far as 1,400 feet below the surface to map the groundwater basin.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

What a Biden Administration could mean for Klamath water

The last three administrations have been active in Klamath Basin issues regardless of political party. Negotiations for a basin-wide agreement began under the Bush Administration and continued under the Obama Administration until faltering in the House of Representatives — though each president’s approach has varied. Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance, said Biden’s experience in the Obama Administration could prove an asset, if he brings a similar approach.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday Top of the Scroll: First rains of year didn’t bring much to Northern California — but another storm is coming

Whatever came down in the first rains of the season was a mere drop in the bucket. The precipitation, the first for the rain year that began Oct. 1, measured .15 inches in downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. That puts the city at 8 percent of normal for rainfall this year, according to weather service records… A new storm system is coming on Tuesday night, with showers continuing on into Thursday, forecasters said.

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Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Election 2020: Pure Water Monterey expansion hangs in balance

With the future of the much-debated Pure Water Monterey expansion proposal hanging on a single vote, the hotly contested Del Rey Oaks City Council race has taken on regional significance.

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Aquafornia news Ridgecrest Daily Independent

Council to talk agreement with Indian Wells Groundwater Authority for recycled water

The Ridgecrest City Council Nov. 18 will discuss entering into an agreement with the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority regarding treated wastewater. … The agreement would be for five years, during which the city would provide for sale to the IWVGA available recycled water produced at its wastewater treatment plant upon 30-day notice to the city.

Aquafornia news WineBusiness.com

How four green medal award-winning wineries and vineyards are ramping up sustainability efforts

All of these wineries focus on energy efficiency, water use efficiency, soil and nutrient management, pest management, biodiversity and wildlife conservation. They participate in sustainable certification programs such as the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing program. For each, sustainability involves an ongoing process of evaluation and improvement.

Aquafornia news Marysville Appeal-Democrat

Yuba Water files lawsuit against State Water Resources Control Board

The Yuba Water Agency is in the process of applying for a new license to continue its hydroelectric operations along the Yuba River, but agency leaders say some requirements issued by the State Water Resources Control Board threaten the effort by making it too costly. The agency filed lawsuits in state and federal court Friday to essentially vacate the state board’s requirements to obtain what is called a water quality certification.

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Aquafornia news EOS.org

Blog: Reimagining the Colorado River by exploring extreme events

Intersecting events such as major floods, decades-long megadroughts, and economic or governance upheavals could have catastrophic effects on the water supply for the 40 million people who live in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

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Aquafornia news The Business Journal

Farmers donate money to help dairy in fight with city

The Tulare County Farm Bureau presented a check for $65,000 to Ben Curti and Tessa Hall of Curtimade Dairy to assist in their legal fees as they defend against accusations of groundwater pollution from the city of Corcoran…

Aquafornia news Stanford Bill Lane Center for the American West

Blog: Central Valley communities struggle for drinking water: Q&A with Felicia Marcus

As chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board, Felicia Marcus had to confront the issue directly. Marcus, who is now the William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow at Stanford’s Water in the West program, headed the EPA’s Southwest Region under President Bill Clinton. … Here are her answers about what has been done and what still needs to be done to untangle the physical, financial and political barriers blocking fair access to clean drinking water in California.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Drought plaguing much of US

A report by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday revealed what anyone living in California or the Southwest already know: We need rain. Badly…Much of the worst aspects of dry conditions are centered on the Colorado River Basin of western Colorado, which bodes ill for the millions of homes and businesses downstream that rely on a robust flow of water from the river…Extreme drought is growing in Northern California, but only in the northern reaches of the state along the Sacramento River.  

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Opinion: Recognizing the spirit of collaboration

The creation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency 50 years ago challenged us to bring people together to pull this majestic lake back from the brink. Today, TRPA is the backbone for 80 organizations and thousands of property owners working toward the common goals of clean water, a healthy watershed and resilient communities.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR study finds no ‘unacceptable risks’ at Oroville Dam

A 19-month study of the safety of the Oroville Dam project has found no “unacceptable risks.” The Department of Water Resources released its Comprehensive Needs Assessment on Oct. 30, and notes its findings generally agree with those of an Independent Review Board and a regular five-year review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…

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Aquafornia news SJV Water

Pricey tunnel sparks talk of water sales

Getting water through a tunnel under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta would be pricey. So pricey, some Kern County water districts were looking for an “off-ramp” by potentially selling their main state water supply out of the county. The request was shot down on Nov. 6 by the Kern County Water Agency, which holds the contract for state water on behalf of 13 area water districts.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

California water board collects data on household water debt, utility finances

California regulators sent a survey on Monday to 150 of the state’s largest water providers in an attempt to shed light on the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Water Resources Control Board wants to know how economic slowdowns related to the virus have affected utility finances and, at a household level, how many residents have overdue water bills.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Sentinel

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan board advances major recycled water project

The Metropolitan Water District board voted to begin environmental planning work on what would be one of the largest advanced purified wastewater treatment plants in the world. Metropolitan officials said the approval marks a significant milestone for the Regional Recycled Water Program…

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Aquafornia news California Fisheries Blog

Blog: May-September Delta water temperature standard needed

To protect smelt and salmon, there need to be reasonable water temperature standards in the Delta. The existing water temperature standard in the lower Sacramento River above the Delta is 68oF, but managers of the state and federal water projects pay it almost no heed.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Updated: Bureau finishes study on Friant-Kern Canal repair

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has signed a record of decision, finalizing an environmental impact statement that gives clearance for the Friant-Kern Canal project to proceed. The canal needs repairs as a result of land subsidence.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

Crews work to prevent fire run-off from entering Lake Berryessa

Three California Conservation Corps crews are working seven days a week to help Napa County protect Lake Berryessa from potential run-off from homes and other structures burned in the LNU Lightning Complex Hennessey Fire.

Aquafornia news The Aggie

A recent massive bird die out calls into question the balance of water management in California

On the Oregon border lies Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge. For over a century, visitors have flocked to Klamath’s wild tule marshes and open waters to canoe, fish, bird watch and hunt. … But this year, something sinister lies beneath the Klamath Basin’s immense beauty.

Aquafornia news KUNC

2020 delivers setbacks for some long-planned Western water projects

Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against significant legal, financial and political roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Madera groundwater plan accepted by state

The public can finally get a look at how Madera officials plan to correct severe groundwater over pumping and replenish aquifers in that area. For some farmers, that correction will mean pumping limits of up to 50 percent from what’s allowed today.

Aquafornia news BBC News

The rebirth of a historic river

For over a century, one of the most important salmon runs in the United States has had to contend with historic dams – and now four of them are set to be taken down….The dams built on the Klamath River have been identified as one cause of the drop in salmon numbers.

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Aquafornia news Sonoma West Times & News

‘Kicking the can down the road:’ Deferred maintenance at root of Cloverdale water rate increases

This Wednesday, Nov. 11, the Cloverdale City Council’s lone new agenda item is a costly one to Cloverdale residents — a proposed hike in the city’s water and sewage rates. The increases in both water and wastewater rates … is something that city officials say is needed to help start capital improvement projects related to the city’s water and wastewater systems.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Hemp regulations approved in Riverside County

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a series of regulations on where and how hemp growers can operate in unincorporated areas of Riverside County, prohibiting grows where water availability is already a challenge.

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Aquafornia news Ensia.com

The surprising connection between West Coast fires and the volatile chemicals tainting America’s drinking water

After fires marred the San Lorenzo Valley near Santa Cruz, in August, the local water district issued a “Do Not Drink Do Not Boil” notice to residents. Volatile organic compounds including benzene, residents were warned, could be seeping into the water system — just as the toxic chemicals did in Santa Rosa and Paradise, California, in the wake of wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

Aquafornia news Reuters

Calif. county sues Dow Chemical, Shell over TCP pollution

Dow Chemical Company and Shell Oil Company have been hit with a lawsuit by the central California county of Madera alleging they knowingly polluted Madera’s drinking water wells by manufacturing and selling fumigants, used in agricultural fields, laced with a toxic chemical.

Aquafornia news Fairfield Daily Republic

Seasonal wetlands ‘best success story’ of repurposing rice straw

Burning rice straw after harvest was a traditional and economical practice that was phased out in 2000. … The side effect is it has created millions of acres of seasonal wetlands in the rice-growing region of the state – and with a variety of conservation contracts, provided additional income for growers whose costs rose when straw burning was prohibited.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Wildfires emerge as threat to water quantity across parched West

How wildfires can affect water quality are well documented. But increasing—and increasingly intense—Western conflagrations are leading to fears they also could constrict the water quantity available in some of the nation’s most water-stressed areas….“It’s absolutely a threat to our water supply—the quantity and quality of the water that’s able to flow across the landscape,” said Dave Eggerton, executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies…

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Aquafornia news Writers on the Range

Opinion: A move toward water speculation

There’s a concept called “demand management” in the news in Colorado, and here’s a simple definition: Landowners get paid to temporarily stop irrigating, and that water gets sent downstream to hang out in Lake Powell. It’s an idea long talked about because of increasing drought and the very real danger of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell dropping into “dead pool” where no hydropower can be generated.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Tensions around a wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California

There’s some fascinating tension around a proposed wastewater reclamation collaboration in Southern California. The project, if it goes forward, would provide some 150 million gallons per day (~170,000 acre feet per year) of treated effluent. Water now being discharged into the ocean would instead be available for aquifer recharge within Southern California.

Aquafornia news Patch.com

St. Helena implements emergency water-use restrictions

Water-use restrictions went into effect Nov. 1 for residents and businesses in the city of St. Helena, where a water shortage emergency has been declared.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s climate agenda likely to get big boost from Biden — look for reversal of Trump policies

California’s war with Washington over the environment will soon come to an end. … President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to act quickly to restore and strengthen dozens of protections on public lands, water and wildlife. In addition, California’s efforts to fight climate change will no longer face hurdles put up by the White House, which has downplayed the global threat.

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