Latest Western Water Examines Consequences to Wastewater Systems and Recycling From California’s Drive to Save Water
Lower flows damage equipment, concentrate waste and stink up neighborhoods; should water conservation focus shift outdoors?

Californians have been doing an exceptional job reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive the most recent drought. With more droughts inevitable, Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water in the future.

However, less water used in the home for clothes washing and toilet flushing means less water flowing out and pushing waste through the sewers. That has created a host of complications (including stinking neighborhoods and damaged treatment equipment), some of which add to the cost of treating wastewater. It also means less recycled water for such things as irrigating parks, replenishing groundwater or keeping rivers vibrant for fish and wildlife.


FLASH SALE: Save 25% Starting Friday on All Water Maps and Layperson’s Guides During Summer Solstice Sale
Build your water library with limited-time discounts on all our educational maps, guides and publications about this critical resource

Summer Solstice happens Friday, and to celebrate the longest day of the year we’re offering a special 25% discount on our beautiful poster-size water maps, layperson’s guides and other water education materials.

Don’t miss out! This summer sale runs until midnight Friday. Use the promo code SOLSTICE2019 at checkout to get your discount.

Water News You Need to Know

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: PG&E to pay $1 billion to local governments affected by wildfires

Most of the settlement money — more than $580 million of it — will go to agencies affected by the Camp Fire, including Butte County and the nearly destroyed town of Paradise. Another $415 million will be divvied up among a long list of agencies affected by the 2017 blazes, including Sonoma County, the city of Santa Rosa, Napa County and the city of Napa.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

Good year for snow could delay Colorado River water emergency

The Bureau of Reclamation predicts levels at Lake Powell will go up 55 feet before the end of the year, and officials anticipate they will release nine million acre-feet downstream for the fifth year in a row. According to Bureau spokesperson Patti Aaron, the release from Lake Powell and increased flows from tributaries downstream will likely mean Lake Mead goes up by about four feet, keeping it above emergency levels.

Aquafornia news E&E News Matt Weiser

Clean Water Act: Did a burning river really fuel landmark law’s passage?

The 1969 fire was not the first time the Cuyahoga River caught ablaze — it had burned at least a dozen times since the end of the Civil War — but it was the last. The Cuyahoga wasn’t the only river to catch fire, either. Between the 1850s and 1950s, urban waterways nationwide were routinely used as open sewers and dumping grounds for debris and pollution of all kinds, no matter how flammable.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

New stops and speakers give a fresh look at Sierra Nevada watershed on Headwaters Tour June 27-28

Our Headwaters Tour next week will feature a new route, new stops and some new speakers who will provide a fresh look at the Sierra Nevada watershed so vital to California’s water supply. Only a few seats are left for the June 27-28 tour and registration ends soon.

Online Water Encyclopedia

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Wetlands are among the most important ecosystems in the world. They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of water, reduce flooding and erosion, recharge groundwater and provide a diverse range of recreational opportunities from fishing and hunting to photography. They also serve as critical habitat for wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on California’s endangered species list.

Salton Sea
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Salton Sea

As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its elevation of 232 feet below sea level.

The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when the Colorado River broke through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years, creating California’s largest inland body of water. The Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130 miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe

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Drought— an extended period of limited or no precipitation— is a fact of life in California and the West, with water resources following boom and-bust patterns.

No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the West than in any other regions of the country.


Important People in California Water History

Read about the history people who played a significant role in the water history of California.