A watershed is a land area that helps drain runoff (snowmelt and
rain) into a diverse system of lakes, streams, rivers, and other
Watersheds may be as small as a patch of land draining into a
tiny pond or as large as the Sacramento River Basin, which drains
an area about 27,000 square miles.
Watersheds follow natural boundaries and are usually separated
from one another by ridges or mountains. A watershed has many
important natural functions. It collects water from
precipitation, stores groundwater in aquifers, releases
water as runoff and provides habitat for plants and animals.
The Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Sustainability Agency
unanimously approved a plan Thursday to assess a fee of $19.90
per acre-foot of groundwater use — about 326,000 gallons — from
the Santa Rosa Plain groundwater basin for three years. Through
2022, the agency’s major municipal groundwater member users —
namely the cities and towns that fall under the agency’s
jurisdiction, along with Sonoma Water — have agreed to pick up
the tab in place of individual groundwater users.
Native California flora such as oaks, mugwort and monkeyflower
are vital in watershed habitats to filter pollutants and
prevent erosion. But theses species have often succumbed to
quickly spreading disease. When the San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission had to plant these natives in the Alameda
Creek Watershed, it took extreme measures to prevent infection,
but they were ineffective. So now, the commission is growing
its own native plants. If successful, the project could provide
a new model for restoring disease-ravaged ecosystems.
Blythe is on the California side of the Colorado River where
Interstate 10 crosses, with a freeway fast food/motel strip and
the sort of beleaguered economy you see in desert ag towns of
the Lower Colorado. Average per capita annual income here is
$16,329, just 55 percent of the state average, according to the
U.S. Census Bureau. I have a few different stories about why my
life is so entwined with the Colorado River. This is one of
Through the BCK Program’s SWPPP internship, which stands for
Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program, students are working
with industry professionals to study the problem of runoff
pollution leaving their school sites and prevent some of the
negative impacts it can have on the surrounding environment.
Two portions of channelized waterways within urbanized Southern
California will receive more than $4 million from the 2019-20
state budget adopted Thursday to restore natural features by
removing decades-old concrete barriers.
The agencies want ideas for actions needed now to help
California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising
temperatures, year-round wildfires, species declines, aging
infrastructure, contaminated water supplies and changing
demands for water. The input will help determine priorities and
identify complementary actions to ensure safe and dependable
water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the
state’s communities, economy and environment.
The proposed rule changes include an expansion of “categorical
exclusions.” These are often billed as tools that give land
managers the discretion to bypass full-blown environmental
studies in places where they can demonstrate there would be no
severe impacts or degradation to the land.
The states that share the river completed a drought plan
earlier this year that brings them closer to living within
currently available supplies, and a new round of negotiations
on long-term management of the river is due to begin next year.
However, a new report warns that planning for gradually
declining water supplies, as difficult as that is, may not be
enough to adequately prepare for the future.
With a deadline to take action just weeks away, lawmakers and
the governor haven’t settled controversial issues regarding the
so-called wildfire fund: How much money does the state need and
what portion of that will come out of the pockets of
electricity customers? Lawmakers are looking to Gov. Gavin
Newsom to take the lead and provide answers to one of
California’s most high-stakes problems.
For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn’t
just strong—it’s imperative. And for the first time in more
than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from
California’s San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have
heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual
The agreement on how to address dwindling reservoir levels
along the Colorado River comes after years of negotiation
between two nations, seven states, ten tribes, and the
countless internal interests involved. TPR presents the
following interview with Metropolitan Water District General
Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger discussing how a complex consensus
among the parties was finally reached…
The City of Lathrop has taken another step towards achieving
the long-awaited goal of being able to discharge tertiary
treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. With the
approval of the Lathrop City Council, the city is now in a
contract with Ascent Environmental to initiate the
environmental documentation necessary to acquire the permit to
discharge of water from the city’s water treatment plant into
the river – a move that could pay sweeping dividends to the
city in the future.
The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge
facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert,
was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10
years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the
San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water
Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of
The question of whether the Colorado River system is a reliable
source of water for the future was the topic of a presentation
held at the Washington County Water Conservancy District on
Thursday. … Utah is entitled to 23%, or about 1.4 million
acre feet under the compact. Utah currently uses 1 million acre
feet, Millis said. This leaves the state with 400,000 acre feet
to left to develop.
Here’s a safe prediction: Generations to come will be thankful
for everything done today to protect the Russian River. Here’s
another: Restoring and preserving the river’s health will
become more challenging and expensive each time action is
After years of defending its proposed water grab from our
region’s rivers, the state Water Board chose to ignore all
science and impose orders to take the water anyway. Likewise,
until recently when Gov. Newsom wisely said “no” to the twin
tunnels, the state insisted on devastating the Delta by
stubbornly refusing to consider alternatives. And five years
after passage of the historic 2014 water bond, no new water
storage facilities have even started construction.
The Bureau of Reclamation Friday issued updated Central Valley
Project South-of-Delta allocations for the 2019 contract year.
“I am pleased to announce that South-of-Delta agricultural
water service contractors’ allocations have been increased to
75% of their contract total because of May’s snow and rain
totals,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant.
The Golden State is cursed with some of the finest weather and
richest soil on earth. Its luminous skies and airy loam have
been crucial to California’s transformation into our most
populous and agriculturally most bountiful state. But
capricious nature has withheld one essential resource needed to
sustain this dizzying growth—water. In his sprawling,
provocative book “The Dreamt Land,” journalist Mark Arax
examines California’s long-building water crisis with the keen,
loving, troubled eye of a native son.
In 2021, four large dams on the Klamath River are due to be
demolished, in part to revive the river and Klamath Basin
salmon. But unless salmon hatchery operations are discontinued
soon afterward on the river, the effort will founder. Allowing
hatchery salmon to mix with struggling native salmon after
removing the dams is like rescuing a dying man only to slowly
San Mateo County officials are moving forward on a green
infrastructure plan that aims to transform the urban landscape
and storm drainage systems. The plan will help the county
transition from relying solely on traditional drain
infrastructure, which allows stormwater to flow directly into
drains and bodies of water, to a more environmentally friendly
model that disperses runoff to vegetated areas and collects it
for nonpotable uses.
The possible residential and commercial development of the
Northern Waterfront area received a boost Tuesday night as the
Vallejo City Council approved spending $200,000 to have 1.51
acres of wetlands filled in with soil. … An initial 8.8 acres
was filled by 1994 before the permit expired. Through a second
permit, city hall has until November 2020 to fill the remaining
An algal bloom in Black Butte Lake could be harmful and even
deadly if visitors or their pets swallow the water, the
California Water Board said Thursday. Regardless of the heat,
boaters, dog owners and other recreational users of the lake
are asked to be aware of the dangers in the water since harmful
algal blooms (HABs) were found in a recent water test.
The Flood Insurance for Farmers Act of 2019, which [Congressman
John] Garamendi introduced with Congressman Doug LaMalfa in
January, would provide farmers access to discounted rates under
the National Flood Insurance Program. It would also lift the de
facto federal prohibition on construction and repair of
agricultural structures in high flood-risk areas designated by
the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Fishing isn’t supposed to be as easy as dipping a hook into
water and pulling out a fish. I’m told it’s an exercise in
patience, and that you’ll often come home empty-handed. But
those insights do not describe my experience on a recent
camping trip near the Oregon border. There, in a reservoir on
the Klamath River, yellow perch—a species not native to
California — thrives in water made artificially still by Iron
Floating debris on the lake is common, but this year is worse
than most years, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Agency
officials blame it on the high lake level. As the lake level
rises, the water picks up the wood and other debris along the
shoreline, forest service officials said. The wind and currents
in the lake can send huge rafts of logs, sticks, Styrofoam,
plastic bottles, articles of clothing, tires and other debris
into coves and boat launch areas.
If the decommissioning goes through as planned (the latest
timetable aims for a drawdown sometime in 2021) it will be the
largest dam removal project in U.S. history, with major
implications for environmental restoration, the salmon fishery,
agriculture and local tribes. But a recent Federal Appeals
Court decision is having repercussions that extend far beyond
the Klamath River Basin.
The long-running Middle Creek Restoration Project, which is
designed to massively reduce sedimentation and nutrient load in
order to improve Clear Lake’s health, took another step forward
this week. … The contract provides $15 million – or $5
million per year for three years – for the purchase and
maintenance of properties as part of the Middle Creek Flood
Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project.
Increasing Upper Colorado River Basin water use by just 11.5
percent would double the risk that the Upper Basin fails to
have enough water to meet its obligations under the Colorado
River Compact, according to a new modeling study to be rolled
out in a big meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, next week.
The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies,
including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow
of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has
gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being
compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border,
according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water
Jason Mead at Wyoming’s Water Development Office says more dams
could help ranchers survive the coming droughts, but some
scientists say, building more dams might actually worsen
climate change. University of Wyoming soil scientist Jay Norton
says, dams that manage for flood control, for example, could
have a damaging effect.
An attempt to restore the population of endangered Southern
California steelhead trout living in the Santa Ynez River is
being opposed by some jurisdictions that rely on the river and
Cachuma Lake for their water supply.
At an Arvada fire station, Gov. Polis signed into law House
Bill 1279, which bans certain kinds of foam used in
firefighting training. Such foam contains so-called “forever
chemicals” that have contaminated drinking water in El Paso
County and elsewhere.
Earlier this week, environmental activists and people who lack
access to clean water rallied on the capitol steps to urge
state lawmakers to act. Among them were longtime labor activist
Dolores Huerta and Susana De Anda, executive director and
co-founder of Community Water Center. She joins Insight to
discuss the issue of unhealthy water and its impact on
communities. UC Davis associate professor and faculty lead of
the Center for Regional Change, Jonathan London, discusses his
research on the regions and people who lack access to clean
A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to
make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut
important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say.
The rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump
that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to
prevent fires in California and other states.
The Klamath River has seen its native fish populations plunge
and its water quality decline, in part because of four
hydropower dams built in its middle reach a century ago. In the
coming years, these dams will be removed, creating the largest
dam removal and river restoration project in the country. We
talked to Lester Snow, board president of the Klamath River
Renewal Corporation, about this effort.
Through the Airborne Snow Observatory program, NASA and
California’s Department of Water Resources use instruments
mounted on airplanes to create high resolution estimates of
snow water content for priority watersheds in the Western U.S.
The collected data helps determine the timing of the spring
melt, which has downstream effects on hydroelectric power
generation and planning for how much water can be held in
Climate variability, competition for water from other users
including urban and environmental, and groundwater depletion
threaten the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. To face
these challenges, the irrigation industry must develop and
adopt innovative technologies and management practices that
optimize economic outcomes, while also minimizing environmental
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, announced Wednesday the 2019-20 state
budget will include $9.25 million for research to better
understand and forecast so-called atmospheric rivers, leading
to improved flood control and water retention in a state
grappling with the effects of climate change and chronic
Today subverted water is reappearing in inconvenient ways
because we have constrained the space it once had to ebb and
flow, and climate change is amplifying storms and droughts. To
cope, cities are increasingly funneling runoff into green
infrastructure such as permeable pavement and bioswales. But a
scientific research center, the San Francisco Estuary Institute
(SFEI), is proposing a more ambitious approach…
A new law signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is designed to
provide legal protections to those who drill wells into
underground streams they are not legally entitled to tap. The
measure repeals existing laws that make it a crime when a well
owner “uses water to which another is entitled.” … Now, that
criminal penalty will be available only when someone knew they
were breaking the law.
An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better
protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing
septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of
bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that
an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this
August and go into effect next year.
Championed by state and local water planners and decried by
conservation groups, the Lake Powell Pipeline project continues
to be a focal point for discussion among Southern Utah
residents. As to the current status of the pipeline project, a
public comment period connected to a permitting process
overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – more
commonly known as FERC – recently concluded.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, though, a faint
fixed pattern becomes discernible among the randomness, a quiet
but strengthening note against a background symphony. Some
regions—California, the Mediterranean, Australia—dry out. It is
a small, almost imperceptible-to-humans drying, but it is a
pattern that no natural cycle can reproduce.
The effort, particularly in California, amounted to a wholesale
re-engineering of the existing hydrology to suit the needs of
ranchers and farmers. It was “California’s irrigated miracle,”
as Mark Arax calls it in his new book, “the greatest human
alteration of a physical environment in history.” “The Dreamt
Land” is Arax’s exhaustive, deeply reported account of this
California is at the epicenter of major natural and human
created disasters. At the top of that list are fires, floods
and earthquakes. … As fire season is now upon us, with
warnings of excessive heat, Mark Ghilarducci, the director of
Cal OES joins Insight to talk about fire, floods and
A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky
Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the
southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening
to push rivers over their banks.
Nestlé, the world’s largest bottled water company, continues to
take millions of gallons of free water from the San Bernardino
National Forest two hours east of Los Angeles, 17 months after
California regulators told them they had no right to much of
what they’d taken in the past. And federal officials are
helping them do it, despite concluding Nestlé is drying up
springs and streams and damaging a watershed.
Less than a year after the Camp Fire became the deadliest blaze
in state history, California is once against facing a spate of
wildfires that threaten its residents and land. There have been
nearly 240 wildfires in California over the past week, causing
one evacuation and two power shut-offs while fire fighters and
utility companies attempt to prevent another catastrophe.
California’s largest farming region faces two linked
challenges: balancing groundwater supply and demand in
overdrafted basins, and addressing water quality in the
region’s aquifers. We talked to Ashley Boren, executive
director of Sustainable Conservation, about tackling these
issues in the San Joaquin Valley.
The Yurok Tribe recently became the first indigenous community
in the United States to be awarded the Equator Prize by the
United Nations Development Programme, which honors “innovative
nature-based solutions for tackling climate change, environment
and poverty challenges.”
California is looking to scale up this strategy. The snowpack
that historically has supplied water into the dry spring and
summer is predicted to largely disappear with the climate
crisis. And its winter storms are predicted to grow more
intense. Water managers and scientists, led by the California
Department of Water Resources, are looking for the best places
to move water from winter storms underground for use during the
Water officials struck with the task of hammering out a plan to
manage Santa Clarita Valley groundwater are looking for seven
people to serve as the agency’s advisory group. … “We need
their input to move ahead,” Tara Bravo, spokeswoman for SV
Strategies, told the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater
Sustainability Agency board.
Domestic well users in some areas were greatly impacted by
additional agricultural groundwater pumping during California’s
2012-2016 drought… Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) should improve long-term
groundwater availability during drought for all system users by
requiring groundwater management to avoid significant and
unreasonable impacts of decreased groundwater levels.
With June marking the start of the boating season, Shasta Lake
has continued to see people out enjoying the water. One problem
that is raising concern is the amount of debris people are
finding on the lake.
May was an extension of winter and the snowpack actually grew.
But June is here. Days are longer and temperatures are rising.
And that monster snowpack is about to come melting down the
slopes through rivers and streams with ferocity, pushing an
already fast water flow into a furious rage.
Shorelines in South Bay San Diego will never be fully immune
from the sewage and chemical pollution that flows north from
Mexico over the border through canyons and the Tijuana River.
However, beach closures triggered by contaminated stormwater
and Tijuana’s leaky sewer system can be dramatically reduced…
That was the message last week from President Trump’s U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, which released the most
comprehensive blueprint to date…
A leaking dam that prompted evacuations in the Sierra foothills
during an intense rainstorm last year has been repaired and is
again storing drinking water for 2.7 million Bay Area
residents, San Francisco water officials said Monday.
The state issued a “no drinking” order for the 364 homes and
businesses because of elevated nitrate levels, a contaminant
linked to “blue baby” syndrome. Within a couple days, emergency
hookups to two neighboring agencies were in place, allowing
people to again drink the tap water. But that supply depends on
fire hoses that wind along roadsides – a connection all agree
has a short shelf life.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday filed a
comment letter opposing a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
plan to open up more CA CCD Kettleman hillsthan one million
acres of public lands in Central California to oil and gas
drilling, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
The $14 million effort, which is being led by Placer County
through a stewardship contract with the USFS, is aimed at
thinning the forest across both public and private land in an
area where the 2014 King Fire created concern when it
threatened two key reservoirs: French Meadows and Hell Hole
reservoirs. The fire burned so intensely in that watershed that
it impacted taste, odor and water treatment costs.
While some people consider them a nuisance, beaver are called
“keystone species” or “grassroots conservationists” and are
considered vital to riparian habitats. … In areas where there
are beaver lodges vegetation and watersheds stabilize, and
downstream flooding and silt runoff is reduced.
In a first-of-its-kind move, the Fox Canyon Groundwater
Management Agency agreed to pay up to $3 million to help
recharge overstressed groundwater resources in Ventura County.
The money will buy roughly 15,000 acre-feet of water, which
started spilling out of Santa Felicia Dam at Lake Piru on
The bankruptcy proceedings surrounding Pacific Gas and Electric
could pose a risk to the reliability of water supplies to
nearly 300,000 residents in parts of Placer and Nevada
counties, according to reports issued by the Placer County
Water Agency and the Nevada Irrigation District.
The San Francisco Peninsula city opened its $30 million sewage
sludge processing facility, replacing an incinerator operating
since 1972. As part of Palo Alto’s regional water quality
control plant, the project funded by California Water Board
loans is designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, eliminate a hazardous waste stream and reduce energy
The Russian River watershed was once a stronghold for Central
California’s coho salmon population, but Obedzinski says things
like extreme habitat loss and drought years have led to the
downturn. According to California Sea Grant, the state’s coho
has dwindled down to an estimated 15% of its population in the
A new study analyzes patterns of urban irrigation and
vegetation health during extreme drought. Its findings could
inform urban water conservation and water infrastructure
development under climate pressures.
Central Valley residents know their land is sinking. They’ve
seen cracks in their walls, holes in their roads, and soil
that’s started to slowly disappear below the foundation of
their homes. Though the agricultural hub is still reeling from
one of the worst droughts in California history, its encounter
with subsidence — the gradual caving in of land — is far from
Anderson Valley Unified School District on Tuesday held its
public opening ceremony to celebrate new gardens and rainwater
catchment systems designed to improve the district’s stormwater
pollution prevention infrastructure.
This year, the planting season was repeatedly interrupted by
colder temperatures and exceptionally heavy rainfall. … The
reason for so much delay? Rice fields need enough time after
significantly wet storms to dry out for planting, and the types
of storms received this May came in waves close enough
together, with record amounts of water, to necessitate delayed
The people of Santa Clarita Valley are invited to weigh in on
water issues Monday afternoon, when members of the SCV
Groundwater Sustainability Agency is scheduled to meet.
Concerns about local water resources and, of course,
groundwater, are expected to dominate discussion.
The DA’s lawsuit alleges that Monterey Mushrooms’ growing
facility on Hale Avenue violated multiple Fish and Game and
Business and Professions laws from 2012 to 2017. Specifically,
the DA’s office states the facility allowed its farm production
waste and other wastewater to flow into Fisher Creek and its
tributaries, which border the north Morgan Hill facility.
Members of the Tuolumne Utilities District gave California
water leaders a tour focused on the challenges the county faces
when it comes to water supply, with hopes that it will bring
In issuing the order, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality
Control Board found that the cumulative effect of disposing
produced water at the Facility over many decades has created a
highly saline wastewater plume that is migrating to the
northeast, where it threatens higher-quality groundwater
designated as supporting municipal and agricultural uses.
County supervisors want to know why petroleum gases were
detected in samples drawn in 2017 from agricultural water wells
on the Oxnard Plain. With no answers available yet, they voted
unanimously to extend the moratorium to protect groundwater
This year, we are blessed with an abundant supply of snow
storage in the Sierra. But the inability to bank this bounty,
beyond our existing reservoirs, is a serious missed
opportunity. This wonderful wet winter will ironically elevate
political complacency around one of the state’s most vital
necessities – a reliable and sustainable water supply.
You don’t have to travel very far to get pure artesian water
sourced from below a dormant volcano in New Zealand. “We tap an
artesian aquifer, and we bottle at source in this amazing
beautiful area of New Zealand,” said Justin Mahy of Santa
Dr. Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water
Resources, says while we would like to believe we are returning
to the days when California rain and snowfall averages were
normal more years than not, there is little or no indication
that is the case. … “We’ll never be in a place where we can
coast or just relax on water issues.”
Local officials plan to huddle over the next few weeks to pick
a strategy to control the region’s cross-border pollution
problem. … Since April, more than 110 million gallons of
sewage-tainted water has flowed into the Tijuana Estuary in the
United States and out to the ocean.
It can be difficult to precisely define a drought in a state
known for being hot and dry. … Arizona and the Southwest’s
standards for drought are far different from standards in other
parts of the country that may be wetter or have the capacity to
store large volumes of groundwater.
Woodland’s water is cleaner and safer to drink than in the
past, according to the just-released 2018 Water Quality Report.
The report, presented to the City Council this week, shows
minimal levels of cancer-causing chemicals that were present
years ago when the city still relied on well water. Today the
city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which is
treated and delivered to homes and businesses.
Following through on its threats, on May 21 the group Save the
El Dorado Canal filed suit against the El Dorado Irrigation
District over plans to pipe the El Dorado Canal (also called
the Upper Main Ditch) in Pollock Pines. … The canal is seen
as a historical, environmental and recreational asset in the
community as well as a conveyance that protects and enhances
The state has created a visual guide with photos to help users
recognize harnful algal blooms (HABs)… Direct exposure to a
HAB, if it is toxin-producing, can result in eye irritation,
skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, or cold and
flu-like symptoms. Pets can be especially susceptible, because
they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires protection of current and
potential drinking water sources, but when analysis shows a
groundwater basin is naturally oily and briny, it can be
exempted from the act’s requirements, according to the
Department of Conservation. The exemption means water that
comes up during oil production can be returned to the basin,
but the burden of proof for the groundwater condition is placed
on the oil companies.
Seven months ago, the California Camp Fire ravaged through
Butte County destroying thousands of homes and ruining crucial
infrastructure. Water is still unsafe to drink and toxic debris
is still waiting to be taken away.
After decades of insisting otherwise and before the U.S.
Supreme Court has had a chance to rule on the issue, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to limit its
interpretation of the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) jurisdiction over
“Use it or lose it” is what state and federal water managers in
California are wrestling with as one of the biggest
precipitation years has the mountains packed with snow and
reservoirs loaded to the brim. For the state, water is liquid
gold that feeds many people, animals, trees, and industries.
But, if not well managed, it can also present great danger.
The election results for Measure AA, which is asking for $300
million to fund recreation and wildlife preservation, were
still too close to call Wednesday as Santa Clara and San Mateo
county officials continue to count votes. … Measure AA would
… pay for improving hiking and biking opportunities,
preserving forests, coastline and wildlife habitat, reducing
fire risk and protecting water quality in creeks, according to
sponsors of the measure.
Lake Powell is benefitting considerably from this year’s runoff
following a strong snow year in the Rocky Mountains. The lake
has risen 16 feet in the last month and is experiencing an
inflow of 128% the average.
At the spring conference of the Association of California Water
Agencies, a panel discussion brought together groundwater
managers in four critically overdrafted basins to discuss their
near-term goals and regional challenges in complying with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
Local leaders and representatives of several federal agencies
met Wednesday to look for a solution to the ongoing sewage
spills contaminating the Tijuana River Valley and the shoreline
from Imperial Beach to Coronado.
The water district would reroute an average 2.32 million
gallons a day of the about 8 million gallons a day of treated
wastewater otherwise discharged into the Monterey Bay Marine
Sanctuary. … Pure Water Soquel’s final product would then be
pumped back into underground aquifers, depleted due to decades
of overpumping, to replenish the Mid-County region’s major
As the sun sets on California’s solar farms, a backup energy
source deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains springs to life. The
huge system of reservoirs and turbines can store energy during
the day and then crank out electricity for 900,000 homes, using
just water and gravity. As the state tries to make wind and
solar work around the clock, officials want to build more like
it. It won’t be easy: such projects take years to develop, are
expensive and face stiff opposition.
The law – the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, or SGMA –
is beginning to bite. A 2019 study from the Public Policy
Institute of California predicted that at least 500,000 acres
of farmland will eventually be idled. To ease the pain,
engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy
source of water: The torrential storms that sometimes blast
across the Pacific Ocean and soak California.
A California water district is disputing claims made in a
lawsuit filed by Attorney General Xavier Becerra that it is
violating state laws over a dam project. Westland Water
District, which covers Fresno and Kings counties, was
responding to the lawsuit filed over the Shasta Dam, the
potential heightening of which the attorney general strongly
Since our great awakening in the 1960s, the Bay Area has become
a proud leader in protecting our local environment, from the
redwoods and ridgelines to San Francisco Bay. … But some
wealthy developers don’t care, despite decades of being told,
“no, we won’t build on the Bay anymore.” With Donald Trump’s
help, Cargill Salt and luxury home developer DMB Associates
keep putting their profit above the health of our Bay.
Recent rains and snow pack could force California’s Department
of Water Resources to release Oroville Dam’s main spillway as
early as next week. Currently, the 2019 snowpack for California
is now the fifth largest on record dating back to 1950,
according to DWR officials.
California native Mayor Richard Bailey didn’t grow up in
Coronado. However, when elected to Coronado City Council in
2012 he became acutely aware of the decades long beach closures
in Coronado and Imperial Beach due to toxic waste flowing from
Tijuana into the Pacific Ocean.
The added water volume means crews contracted by the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers are having to pull back from where they had
been working on the lake’s auxiliary dam, its service spillway
and the lake’s emergency spillway, said the corps’ project
manager, Anthony Burdock.
The Central District of California in the second phase of
Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians v. Coachella Valley
Water District et. al. issued a decision with massive
implications for water rights in the West. … In the second
phase of the case, the District Court determined that the Water
District has not harmed the Tribe with its groundwater pumping,
and therefore the Tribe cannot require the Water Districts stop
They say water is for fighting over, but one bill sitting on
Gov. Steve Sisolak’s desk proves that’s not always true. In
fact, Senate Bill 140 would make fighting over some water
impossible. … To protect against future over-pumping,
the bill would require the state to set aside 10 percent of
available water in those basins.
Humboldt County could soon join a number of agencies around
California teaming up to license the Potter Valley Project, a
water development in the Eel and Russian river basins. The
Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday morning
unanimously affirmed support for the coalition, which proposes
a “two-basin solution” to fix the various environmental
problems created by the enormous development.
A 13 year dream of a waterfront regional park came into sharper
focus at a recent Oakley City Council meeting. Although the new
plan fleshed out a lot more details, the city is still
searching for the estimated $60 million required to pay for it.
I recently sat down with California water expert and Delta
Independent Science Board (ISB) member Jay Lund to talk about
some of the challenges and opportunities for scientists and
decision-makers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. I am
pleased to share highlights from our conversation in this
month’s Delta Stewardship Council Chair’s blog.
In the 1960s a portion of the wetlands community of Devereux
Slough was filled in to make way for the Ocean Meadows Golf
Course. Now, with the help of grant funding from the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service and multiple state and local partners,
permanently protected wetlands are being created within the
100-acre North Campus Open Space.
The ongoing need to replenish the San Gabriel Valley aquifer in
the aftermath of the drought continues to drive enormous spikes
in water rates. The increases are coming in conjunction with
new fiscal year budgets being adopted by regional water
agencies facing ongoing uncertainty about future water
The now defunct Nestlé Food Corporation plant that operated
southwest of the Main Street and Highway 99 interchange on
Industrial Avenue in Ripon produced decaffeinated coffee until
it closed in 1994. The decaffeination process involved a closed
loop system where solvents were distilled and recycled.
Beginning in 1957, trichloroethylene (TCE) — a chemical now
known to cause cancer — was used to extract caffeine. … The
City of Ripon recently shut down a municipal drinking water
well after elevated levels of TCE-related chemicals were
In a recent interview, Mark Arax explained how water shapes
culture in different parts of California, why the state might
be crashing into its environmental limits, and why drought
often makes farmers grow rather than shrink.
During a weekend that’s widely known as the unofficial start of
summer in California, visitors who trekked to Lake Tahoe for
Memorial Day were met with a flurry of snowflakes that turned
the landscape into a winter wonderland in May.
In contrast to the “grey” infrastructure of blacktop pavement and
hardened shorelines, green infrastructure incorporates features
like permeable pavement, landscapes called bioswales that remove
debris and pollution out of surface runoff, and living shorelines
instead of concrete channels and piles of rocky rip-rap at
water’s edge. Unfortunately, current redevelopment proposals for
Mission Bay are a worrying example of rushed planning processes
that fail to evaluate the strategic use of green
When the first white settlers arrived in California’s remote
eastern Owens Valley, the name given to its indigenous tribes
was Paiute, or “land of flowing water” in the local language.
But for more than a century, the water in the valley has flowed
in just one direction: toward Los Angeles, nearly 300 miles
(480 km) away.
San Francisco Bay enthusiasts are pleased that the waters of
San Francisco Bay are becoming cleaner and clearer, but
researchers are worried that this might invite a new problem –
blooms of toxic phytoplankton. Although these microscopic,
toxin-producing algae are already found in the Bay, with
clearer waters permitting more light to reach these
photosynthetic algae, it’s feared that the Bay could turn into
a toxic soup of both freshwater and marine harmful algae…
Major proposed infrastructure outside of the U.S., like the
Trans Mountain expansion pipeline in Canada, could lead to a
sudden influx of non floating oils being sent to California’s
refining centers near San Francisco and Los Angeles. This is a
huge issue, as non floating oils represent type of oils that
are either heavier than water or, following rapid breakdown
after a spill (known as “weathering”), begin to submerge into
the water column and sink.
The U.S. Drought Monitor recently reported that, for the first
time in its nearly 20-year history, none of the contiguous
states was showing symptoms of severe or exceptional drought.
That report includes Arizona, as this year’s abnormally wet May
helped push the state out of a 10-year drought period.
Last month, Ventura County supervisors took an encouraging step
by unanimously declaring a moratorium on certain new oil and
gas drilling following the discovery of flammable oil-related
gases in three irrigation wells near drill sites. Now, it’s
time for them to extend this moratorium indefinitely, and
eventually ban all fossil fuel expansion in our county.
This is the second installment of answers to some common
questions regarding water problems in California. Part I
examined some common questions on water supplies (questions
1-5). Part II looks more at common questions on water uses and
The California Department of Water Resources is preparing for
the potential use of the spillway this week. DWR Spokesperson
Erin Mellon said the decision will be based on Mother Nature.
… Recent wet weather has raised Lake Oroville to near
Marin County water district officials expressed encouragement
after an early agreement was reached that seeks to end
longstanding conflicts of a major regional water supply 100
miles to the north. The agreement centers around the
relicensing of the Potter Valley Project hydropower plant in
Mendocino County, which holds a supply of water that affects
fish, farmers and communities stretching from Marin to Humboldt
Parts of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers are closed to
recreation. But the high water levels don’t just mean people’s
vacations are getting cut short. … Hilda Warren lives near
the river and says she’s starting to get worried, watching the
water levels rise day by day.
On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it
flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond
the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A.
Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this
expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the
key to understanding California.
May 24, 2019, marked the 150th anniversary of the beginning of
John Wesley Powell’s ambitious expedition through the
canyonlands of Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, including the Grand
Canyon. … In a new USGS story map, readers can follow
Powell’s epic journey from a remote sensing perspective.
A plan to underground about 2.5 miles of the Escondido Canal
through and near the San Pasqual Indian reservation has moved
forward with an agreement reached recently for Escondido to pay
the tribe for an easement through its land. The 14-mile-long
Escondido Canal transports water from Lake Henshaw to Lake
Wohlford where it is stored for use by Escondido and Vista
Irrigation District consumers.
Overpumping groundwater poses a major threat to the
availability of a critical resource… A new dashboard tool,
created by affiliates from Stanford’s Water in the West
program, compares groundwater withdrawal permitting – a common
tool used by resource managers to limit groundwater pumping –
to help plan for a more sustainable future.
Each year, humans produce, prescribe, and ingest more
antibiotics than they did the year before. … But the drugs’
influence persists in the environment long after they’ve done
their duty in human bodies. In a new study that surveyed 91
rivers around the world, researchers found antibiotics in the
waters of nearly two-thirds of all the sites they sampled…
Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, but where
all that life-giving liquid came from and when it arrived have
long been a mystery. Now there’s new research suggesting that
our planet got its water more than 4 billion years ago, when a
celestial object about the size of Mars collided with Earth to
form the moon.
This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR
reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and
does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have
responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback
explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t
known about the technique’s impact on the environment.
By the State Water Resources Control Board’s estimates, more
than a million Californians don’t have safe drinking water
flowing through the pipes into their homes. … As Gov. Gavin
Newsom prepares to send his revised $213 billion budget to the
legislature for approval, a trailer bill proposes that the
legislature appropriate $150 million a year to a Safe and
Affordable Drinking Water Fund.
The marathon stretch of unsettled weather means the reservoirs
are brimming, the rivers are rushing, the waterfalls are
spectacular, and people are still skiing in fresh powder in
Tahoe. But perhaps the most noteworthy outcome is a remarkably
gargantuan snowpack blanketing the mountain range straddling
California and Nevada. Right now, it’s even bigger than the
2017 snowpack that pulled the state out of a five-year drought.
The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network’s largest
conservation project to date is moving upstream. This month the
group secured over half a million dollars to complete the
second phase of its effort to improve habitat for endangered
salmon in Lagunitas Creek between the ghost towns of Jewell and
First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the
county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on
agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later
this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide
sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another
several years to fully take effect.
In order to address the impacts of climate change on the
state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources
(DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action
Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate
change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has
Hermosa Beach, partnering with neighboring cities, was supposed
to receive the money from the State Water Resources Control
Board to help design and build the Greenbelt Infiltration
Project … meant to help clean the Herondo Drain Watershed,
which has consistently had elevated levels of bacteria. But the
city put the funding in jeopardy in March when the council
voted to dissolve a deal with neighboring cities and instead
find a new home for the project.
Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk
during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be
the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County,
and we in the California almond community are all rooting for
the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed
in finding viable solutions and common ground.
The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its
embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a
federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided
with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry
groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and
Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.
The city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority
are assessing pumped-water energy storage as a way to integrate
more renewable power, stabilize the power grid, reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and foster economic growth. Their
proposed San Vicente Energy Storage Facility would take water
from the existing San Vicente Reservoir and use electricity to
pump it to a smaller, higher elevation reservoir.
Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino
County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma
Water — announced they will be signing a project planning
agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense
the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a
hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and
Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing
water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.
Maintaining the cleanest water possible is one of the most
significant priorities of the Port of San Diego’s environmental
initiatives. This was the message of a nearly one-hour
presentation and discussion, held between port district staff
and the Board of Port Commissioners on May 14, on keeping
pollution out of San Diego Bay.
Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This
rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion
where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down
the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters
per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that
destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.
The plan calls for pumping 8 billion gallons of water in the
first few years, and more than 30 billion gallons over 50
years, from the aquifer adjacent to, and connected with, the
one beneath neighboring Joshua Tree National Park. … A better
use for the land, which ceased to be mined more than 30 years
ago, would be to return it to the fold and make it part of
Joshua Tree National Park.
After several failed attempts, there is momentum this
legislative session to establish a fund for small water
agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water
because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain
before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a
budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax
millions of residential water users and others while California
enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.
Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the
devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little
Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up
this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to
Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including
scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may
think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of
Sentinel Peak Resources has cleared an environmental hurdle
that could allow it to move forward with years-old plans to
increase drilling in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field — but whether
it will or not is still up in the air. The Environmental
Protection Agency granted Sentinel Peak Resources an aquifer
exemption on April 30, exempting portions of the aquifer under
the oil field from protections guaranteed by the federal Safe
Drinking Water Act.
In my 40 years at the California Department of Water Resources,
I have seen changes in climate that have convinced me that the
full picture is changing and our extrapolation methods are
losing value rapidly. This is especially true in extreme years,
wet or dry – such as 2015, when the statistics are just not
going to be accurate enough to meet our growing water
Del Puerto Water District and Central California Irrigation
District have developed the reservoir project without many
public concerns rising to the surface. That was until Patterson
city staff members showed up for Wednesday’s meeting. Maria
Encinas, a city management analyst, asked about a risk
assessment for adjacent communities like Patterson. A failure
in the dam on Del Puerto Creek, on the west side of Interstate
5, would appear to flood part of the city of 23,700, including
perhaps the downtown area in Patterson.
Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying
Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water
supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about
it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater
from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers
begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management
The study, published in the journal Ecological
Applications, found that thinning and prescribed fire
treatments reduced the number of trees that died during the
bark beetle epidemic and drought that killed more than 129
million trees across the Sierra Nevada between 2012-2016.
Earlier this month the governor’s Drought Interagency
Coordinating Group unanimously voted to inform the governor
that Arizona’s long-running drought declaration should
continue. This means Arizona has been in a state of drought for
more than 20 years, surpassing the worst drought in more than
110 years of record keeping. Now that our drought has been
extended yet again, it leaves many to wonder what it will take
to get us out of this drought.
While wildfire lawsuits have typically targeted electric
utilities and their downed powerlines that ignite the blaze,
some recent lawsuits have also focused on the water systems
that are supposed to provide the water for firefighters to put
out the flames. The group, known as the Coalition for Fire
Protection and Accountability, wants to be included in
legislative efforts to reduce utilities’ liability, a prime
topic of discussion this year following Pacific Gas & Electric
Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s
Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s
application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the
Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s
the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently
deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…
California’s rich landscape of rolling hills and steep canyons
has potentially hundreds of thousands of microclimates, which
makes fire prediction an incredible challenge. That’s why
PG&E wants to build a dense network of weather stations,
which they hope will illuminate the humidity, wind speed, and
temperature of Northern California’s varied landscape.
Governor Newsom recently called for a state portfolio of
actions to manage water under rapidly changing climate and
other conditions. This post reviews the state of water
portfolio planning in California today.
The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly
negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced
County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a
move that could create a promising new water source — or spark
a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley
It took two consulting groups, but a project charter for the
Sierra Valley Flood Hazard Restudy Project is finished and now
approved by members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors
on Tuesday, May 14.
Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East
Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of
legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for
communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the
legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and
Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax
payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on
every water bill in California.
Even though the Russian River watershed has received roughly
130 percent of the average rainfall this season, it is time to
discuss the impacts of overwatered landscapes as the dry
weather returns and irrigation controllers turn on.
Wastewater agencies produce highly treated water that is
increasingly being reused as a water supply. While it’s still
only a small portion of overall water use, the use of recycled
water has nearly tripled since the 1980s―and is continuing to
rise as water agencies seek to meet the demands of a growing
population and improve the resilience of their water supplies.
Despite years of scientific research pointing to prescribed or
“controlled” burns as a successful method of clearing brush and
restoring ecosystems, intentional fire-setting by federal
agencies has declined in much of the West over the last 20
years, the study found. “This suggests that the best available
science is not being adopted into management practices…” the
A presentation by the U.S. Geological Survey to California
water boards has surfaced that reveals contamination in the
groundwater around the Orcutt oilfield, the Environmental
Defense Center in Santa Barbara claims. The advocacy group
released the information on Tuesday, stating that “federal
scientists found evidence of oil-field fluids in groundwater
underlying the nearby Orcutt oil field.”
A facility designed to increase water supply reliability for
the Inland area was dedicated in a light rain at the foot of
the hulking Seven Oaks Dam near Highland on Thursday, May 23.
Officials used a new concrete diversion box to move water
rushing from the dam to a new sedimentation basin and beyond.
The water is intended to spread out and seep into a groundwater
basin, which officials have said is historically low due to a
Cadiz is using Three Valleys Municipal Water District in
eastern Los Angeles County and the Jurupa Community Services
District in Riverside County to co-sponsor what they’re calling
a “peer review” of its groundwater plan, written by four
A beach closure that has been in place for months for the
southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to
include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County
Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the
coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff
in the Tijuana River.
In retrospect, it’s clear: We’ve misunderstood how rivers work.
They don’t follow wishful parameters of the Army Corps of
Engineers’ 100-year flood guidelines, or the routes we’ve
penciled in between levees, or even the climatic expectations
of the past. A national program that presumes we can
choreograph today the floods of tomorrow is fundamentally
flawed. It’s time to recognize that the rivers will have their
way. Therefore we need to get out of the way.
The southernmost portion of Southeast Alaska, including
Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell and Metlakatla, has
been in a drought for the last two years… Last week, though,
the drought was updated to a D3, or “extreme” drought, the
second-highest category the U.S. Drought Monitor measures. It’s
the first time those conditions have ever been recorded in
Alaska, according to the Drought Monitor.
After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for
one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in
2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in
a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven
people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the
Municipal Water District of Orange County.
The Santa Clara stretches 84 miles and through two counties
from the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean just south of
Ventura Harbor. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars
have been invested to protect and restore the river, work that
some say has reached a tipping point.
It is hard to fathom how the fifth-largest economy in the world
can settle for letting public water systems serve up
contaminated water. How will our economy continue to grow and
how will we attract new businesses and new workers if the state
can’t provide a basic human need?
While there are all kinds of water safety issues to be aware
of, the State Water Resources Control Board wants the public to
know about one that may not be so obvious — freshwater harmful
algal blooms, or HABs. As California confronts the realities of
climate change, HABs have become increasingly common in rivers,
lakes and reservoirs, and they can be especially dangerous to
children and pets.
It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t
have clearly defined priorities. This is true for sudden-onset
crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset
crises, like droughts.
An investigation into the Bay Conservation and Development
Commission found mismanagement and disorganization so rampant
that the once-celebrated watchdog agency allegedly neglected
its primary responsibility — to protect San Francisco Bay. A
state audit of the regulatory agency known as the BCDC
describes slow and inefficient enforcement, a huge backlog of
cases and an inability to perform key duties.
For years, nonprofits, politicians, state agencies and the U.S.
Forest Service have pointed to the East Fork of the upper San
Gabriel River as one of the more polluted fresh water rivers in
the state. This week, Heal the Bay … rated the upper East
Fork and the portion adjacent to the Cattle Canyon picnic area
— exactly where thousands would recreate on summer weekends —
100 percent Green, the highest rating in its 2018 River Report
In an effort to combat climate change and reduce smog, former
Gov. Jerry Brown last year signed a landmark law that requires
California’s utilities to produce 60 percent of their
electricity from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030.
But hydroelectric power from large dams doesn’t qualify as
renewable, because of another state law, passed nearly 20 years
ago, that aimed to protect salmon and other endangered fish.
That’s not right, says State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas.
A public meeting erupted into an impassioned rally in San Luis
Obispo Wednesday night as activists and local residents took
turns bashing a federal plan to resume leasing public land in
Central California to new oil and gas drilling, including
The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a
one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still
prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate
change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.
Rather than unquestioningly celebrating Powell and his legacy,
this year gives us the chance to think about a couple of
points: First, how are we telling Powell’s story now, and how
have we told it in the past? Is it, and has it been, accurate
and useful? Second, whose stories have we excluded, ignored,
and forgotten about in the focus on Powell?
Nevada ranchers, environmental groups and American Indian
tribes are sounding the alarm over legislation they say could
drain the water supply from rural areas throughout the state.
They’re worried about Assembly Bill 30 in the Nevada
Legislature after negotiations over arcane language in the bill
broke down in recent days.
It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially
costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority
for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands. While the final decision by the
Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state
agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the
priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.
Slow moving plumes of potentially toxic water are sitting
underneath homes, businesses and schools throughout Arizona.
… While some cities like Phoenix do not use groundwater for
drinking water, much of the state does.
Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers
along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains
on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago,
the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through,
destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of
hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons
in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life
with great speed.
Good news, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend: The clarity
of the famed, cobalt-blue waters of Lake Tahoe improved
dramatically last year, with visibility increasing 10 feet from
the year before, a study released Thursday by scientists at UC
Davis found. The jump is the largest annual improvement in 50
years, since measurements at the iconic Sierra Nevada lake
began in 1968.
The majority of the dozens of commenters at the meeting spoke
out against the analysis and the prospect of increased fracking
in the region, expressing concerns about air pollution,
drinking water quality, and climate change. … Tempers at the
meeting also flared for what many attendees viewed as a lack of
accountability from the BLM. The agency did not record the
meeting, instead inviting attendees to submit written comments
online, electronically, and only in English.
U.S. Geological Survey researcher Greg Wetherbee collected rain
samples from eight sites along Colorado’s Front Range. … In
90 percent of the samples Wetherbee found a rainbow wheel of
plastics, mostly fibers and mostly colored blue. … The
plastics were tiny, needing magnification of 20 to 40 times to
be visible and they were not dense enough to be weighed. More
fibers were found in urban sites, but plastics were also
spotted in samples from a site at elevation 10,300 feet in
Rocky Mountain National Park.
Could a drought in California be linked to a drought in the
Midwest? A recent Stanford-led study published in Geophysical
Research Letters finds that regions may fall victim to water
scarcity like dominos toppling down a line.
These Chinook salmon didn’t swim down from the San Lorenzo
River, they were trucked from the Central Valley. From there,
they were tagged and released into Monterey Bay, thanks to The
Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project.
On Tuesday, May 21, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County
Water Agencyand the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved
a plan to offset a fee that is likely to be imposed on
groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain… Under the plan,
the County and Sonoma Water would contribute up to $240,000
annually for three years to the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater
Barbara Vlamis is smiling. Often, the executive director of the
Chico-based advocacy group AquAlliance wears a steely
expression, as her work involves David-versus-Goliath battles
against powerful interests—namely, government agencies and
water brokers. Now, she’s satisfied, even a bit celebratory.
Last fall, a team of researchers at the Public Policy Institute
of California (PPIC) studied the state’s response to the
extreme drought conditions, distilling their findings down to
four essential reforms that will better prepare the state to
adapt to the impacts of climate change. At the Association of
Water Agencies of Ventura County’s Annual Symposium held in
April of 2019, Ellen Hanak, Director of Public Policy Institute
of California’s Water Policy Center gave this recap of their
Legislation that would require the state to enhance its river
and stream gauging system has cleared the state Senate. … The
bill requires the Department of Water Resources and Water
Control Board to improve and enhance the monitoring system,
including filling those gaps that are found, as well as assess
a funding source to complete the work.
The California Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would require
additional environmental review for groundwater transfers that
would affect desert areas, which would put a major roadblock in
front of a controversial water project proposed in the Mojave
Desert by Cadiz Inc.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have
filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating
in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and
simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.