Preparing to begin spreading the wealth of its riverwater to neighboring agencies, the Santa Cruz Water Department is set to study the impacts of changing it water-sharing rules. In an initial report outlining the areas the city plans to study for environmental impacts, a city notice of preparation lays out the potential to share its unused water supply with Soquel Creek Water District, Scotts Valley Water District, San Lorenzo Valley Water District and Central Water District.
FEB. 7 WORKSHOP IN SACRAMENTO TO INCLUDE OPTIONAL ONE-DAY GROUNDWATER TOUR
Registration is now open for one of our most popular events – Water 101, which for the first time will include an optional daylong tour examining one of California’s most critical resources, groundwater. Water 101, to be held Feb. 7 at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California as well as hot topics currently facing the state. Taught by some of California’s leading policy and legal experts, the workshop gives attendees a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.
California relies heavily on groundwater for its water supply, particularly during drought. Climate change is increasing drought intensity, making groundwater―with its immense potential for low-cost storage―an ever more important water source. Sustainable groundwater management will be vital to adapting to a warmer future and should be a top policy priority for the next administration.
Seismic noise — the low-level vibrations caused by everything from subway trains to waves crashing on the beach — is most often something seismologists work to avoid. They factor it out of models and create algorithms aimed at eliminating it so they can identify the signals of earthquakes. But Tim Clements thinks it might be a tool to monitor one of the most precious resources in the world — water.
The two Democrats running to represent California in the U.S. Senate hold similar views on many of the election’s hot-button issues. But at a Thursday news conference held at Whitewater Preserve, north of Palm Springs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein attacked her challenger, state Sen. Kevin de León, for stopping a bill that would have required added scrutiny of a proposal to draw water from the aquifer underlying the Mojave Desert.
Plans to boost clean energy production could have catastrophic impacts on this resort town [Mammoth Lakes] known for world-class ski runs and stunning scenery. At least that’s what Pat Hayes, the area’s water manager, wants you to think. Hayes has launched a million-dollar fight against Ormat Technologies Inc.’s bid to double production at a nearby geothermal plant.
The parade of trailer trucks rolling through Jay Butler’s dusty ranch is a precursor to a new fracking boom on the vast federal lands of Wyoming and across the West. … Like the acreage offered for lease, the acreage actually leased by energy companies on federal lands hit its highest level last year since 2012, the height of the initial fracking boom in the United States.
A board that manages groundwater allocations made no final decisions on a pumping formula last week, but gave preliminary support to a proposal that restricts agricultural users. The Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency considered a plan Wednesday that would allow agricultural uses to pump 56,000 acre-feet of water starting next year and municipal and industrial uses to pump 36,000 acre-feet, representing a 60 percent vs. 40 percent split between the two groups.
Too often, protecting California’s precious groundwater clashes with the interests of the oil industry. Due to its outsized political influence, oil frequently wins out. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Central Valley, where many oilfield operators are dumping their toxic oil-waste fluid into open, unlined pits. These pits don’t just produce nasty, eye-watering smells.
The city of Ventura is suing hundreds of users that extract or divert water from the Ventura River Watershed, court documents show. The action comes as the legal battle continues between Ventura and Santa Barbara Channelkeepers over how much water the city should take out of the river.
The Atacama, the world’s driest desert, contains one of the planet’s richest deposits of high-grade lithium. Demand for lithium, a light metal used in cellphones, electric cars, and other emerging technologies, is booming. The largest global lithium producers–U.S.-based Albemarle Corp and Chilean SQM–built their operations within miles of each other in Salar, the lithium-rich basin of the Atacama.
In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling forced Los Angeles to cut back its take of water from Eastern Sierra creeks that fed Mono Lake. Some 35 years later, an appellate court concluded the same public trust doctrine that applied in the Mono Lake case also applies to groundwater that feeds a navigable river in a picturesque corner of far Northern California. But will this latest ruling have the same impact on California water resources as the historic Mono Lake decision?
Researchers at the University of California recently highlighted a flaw in state law that may prohibit diverting streamflow to recharge groundwater. The problem is that groundwater recharge by itself is not considered a “beneficial use” under state law, and meeting that definition is a requirement to obtain a permit to divert water. Officials at the State Water Resources Control Board, which oversees water rights, say the reality is not so clear-cut.
Marysville officials are considering converting some city parks to well and tank storage systems to improve water system reliability and save some money by eliminating the need for commercial water service. “The city is seeking to install irrigation wells at its city parks,” said Jim Bermudez, director of Community Development and Services. “The purpose is to essentially curb costs related to energy, as well as costs for water.”
Chemicals associated with firefighting foam once used at a U.S. Air Force base in eastern New Mexico have been detected in groundwater on and near the military installation, prompting requests by state officials for more tests and a study to determine the extent of the toxic plume.
As local agencies tackle the task of writing groundwater sustainability plans for basins around California, two ongoing processes will affect both the number and the scope of those plans. Next month, the state Department of Water Resources plans to finalize its rankings of basins and sub-basins that will need to produce groundwater management plans by early 2022.
When the California Legislature created the “modern” water rights regulatory system more than a century ago, it focused exclusively on surface water, exempting groundwater from the permitting system. Yet in most watersheds, surface water and groundwater are closely linked. Actions that change one often have an impact on the other. The arbitrary legal divide has made it harder to manage the state’s water. But a recent law and a new court decision have done a better job of connecting surface water and groundwater.
The setting was a 14-acre grape vineyard, but the mismatched background noise was that of a babbling brook. The roots of some of the old-vine Zinfandel plants were submerged in foot-deep water pumped in from the Mokelumne River, a half-mile away. Other old-vine Zinfandel plants were bone dry.
Hemet has filed a federal lawsuit against Dow Chemical and Shell Oil seeking reimbursement for the cost of removing a cancer-causing chemical from the city’s water wells. According to its Sept. 21 suit, the contaminated wells have been tainted by TCP, a “highly toxic substance” used until the 1980s to fumigate soil where crops were grown.