The Water Education Foundation’s “flagship” is its quarterly Western Water magazine. Each issue examines a different aspect of the water picture. Western Water is the only magazine in California and the West to focus exclusively on in-depth coverage of water resources issues.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999 in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional water development of the past has given way to a more collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment while stretching available water supplies. Specific topics addressed include the role of the Interior secretary in the basin, California’s 4.4 plan, water marketing and future challenges identified by participants.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999 in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional water development of the past has given way to a more collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment while stretching available water supplies.
Urban Water Purveyors Seek Solution to Mounting Problem. In a semi-arid climate such as California’s, monitoring and maintaining water supplies is essential and as a result, how to handle salt is an especially important – and complex – issue. This issue of Western Water examines the problem of salt in urban water supplies and what can be done to lessen the continual buildup of such salts. Issues examined include salinity of Colorado River and State Water Project water supplies, groundwater and water recycling and legislation regarding “self regenerative” water softeners.
What happens when science and public policy meet? What is good science? How do we prioritize research? What does peer review mean? These questions and more were the focus of a 1999 roundtable discussion between Foundation Chief Writer Sue McClurg and Education Director Judy Wheatley with four fishery biologists: Bruce Herbold, U.S. EPA; Elise Holland, formerly with The Bay Institute; Peter Moyle, fisheries professor at UC Davis; and Peter Rhoads, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
With the election of Gray Davis as governor, new leaders are assuming top positions in California’s agencies, boards and commissions. In January, Mary Nichols joined Davis’ cabinet as Secretary for Resources. As head of the Resources Agency, she directs the activities of 19 department’s, conservancies, boards and commissions. Among these agencies are the Department of Water Resources and Department of Fish and Game. On Feb. 23, Foundation Executive Director Rita Schmidt Sudman interviewed Ms.
The CALFED Bay-Delta Revised Phase II Plan, released in December 1998, is summarized in this issue of Western Water. It provides background on the Bay-Delta Estuary and the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, an overview of the program elements in CALFED’s plan and details about CALFED’s proposed Environmental Water Account. The article also explores some of the more contentious issues in this ongoing consensus process – conveyance, additional water storage, and costs and financing of the ultimate preferred Delta “fix”.
This issue updates progress on crafting and implementing California’s 4.4 plan to reduce its use of Colorado River water by 800,000 acre-feet. The state has used as much as 5.2 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually, but under pressure from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the other six states that share this resource, California’s Colorado River parties have been trying to close the gap between demand and supply.
A combination of individual entrepreneurship and federal policies encouraging settlement of the West transformed California’s great Central Valley into what it is today: the most productive agricultural region in the world. In addition to being the state’s top-producing agricultural region, the valley is one of California’s fastest-growing areas. This increased urbanization – along with reductions in water supplies in parts of the valley – has generated concern for the future of farming throughout the valley.
The potential for global warming and what effect it may have on weather and water resources in California and the West are explored in this issue of Western Water. Although no absolutes exist, most scientists have predicted a future of warmer temperatures and – globally – higher amounts of precipitation. Regional changes, however, may be quite different and in the West, there are some predictions that even as snowfall declines, rain will increase.
An expanded issue of Western Water published shortly after the release of the long-awaited draft environmental document by CALFED, a joint state-federal government planning effort aimed at restoring the environmental health of the Bay-Delta and increasing water supply reliability. The Delta itself, located where the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers meet, serves as the transfer point for two-thirds of the state’s water supply. It is also the state’s most important fishery habitat. It is here where conflicts arise between agricultural, urban and environmental water interests.
The salmon’s natural river-to-ocean, ocean-to-river life cycle has become a source of conflict in recent years as efforts to restore and enhance their populations have brought reductions in fresh water supply and restrictions in the commercial ocean salmon fishery. A combination of legal mandates and stakeholder consensus have generated an extensive effort to restore salmon populations, but not all runs are showing signs of improvement.
Established in 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has broad oversight of some of the nation’s most significant environmental programs: the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, wetlands permit processes, air quality regulations and pesticide regulations. Carol Browner, 41, was appointed chief administrator of the EPA in 1993 by President Clinton.
An expanded issue of Western Water offered comprehensive coverage of the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the document negotiated and signed by representatives of the seven states that share the Colorado River and then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover. The article discussed the controversial issues of today and their relationship to the past, including how the law of the river relates to today’s issues.
Published in anticipation of President Clinton’s special issues forum on Lake Tahoe, this issue of Western Water explored the historic development of the Lake Tahoe Basin; issues of current concern such as nonpoint source pollution; the goals of the president’s multi-day forum; ecosystem management issues; the debate over land use restrictions vs. private property; and the ongoing effort to develop a cooperative plan to better manage the region’s land use to reduce detrimental impacts on Lake Tahoe’s water quality.
The landmark Central Valley Project Improvement Act brought fundamental change to California’s largest surface water system and created ongoing controversy among competing water interests. This issue of Western Water updated progress made in implementing the 1992 federal law. It included information on the question of providing project water to the environment; the proposed plan to double natural populations of certain fish; and issues surrounding renewal of water-supply contracts.
Within weeks of the state’s second-most devastating floods, an examination of the event appeared in Western Water. The issue included crucial background on the state’s historic flood picture; an overview of the flooding in 1997 on key California rivers; issues of levee breaks and repairs; liability issues from the floods; and the changing philosophy in flood management – from the historical emphasis on flood control to the new movement dedicated toward better land-use planning in floodplains to prevent damage.
In honor of the Water Education Foundation’s 20th anniversary, this issue traced the history of the Foundation and the changing face of water resource issues. The article e examined topics covered in previous covered in Western Water and the writers who wrote about those issues.