Robert B. Marshall (1867-1949), whose career at the U.S. Geological Survey culminated in 1908 when he became chief geographer for the entire USGS, first proposed the concept of a statewide water plan for a series of dams, canals and aqueducts to bring water to California’s Central Valley.
Don McCrea was one of the founding members of the Water Education Foundation and signed its original Articles of Incorporation in 1977.
His background was in power and energy issues, including hydrology and the state’s hydrologic system, from a career at the Pacific Gas & Electric Company in San Francisco. He was involved in the development of the State Water Project as a proponent of the value of hydroelectricity.
Lake Mead is the main reservoir formed by Hoover Dam in Southern Nevada.
Created in the 1930s as part of Hoover Dam [see also Elwood Mead], Lake Mead provides water storage in the Lower Basin of the Colorado River. The reservoir can hold 28,945,000 acre-feet’s capacity and at 248 square miles its capacity is the largest in United States.
Most of the water in Lake Mead is drawn from Rocky Mountain snowmelt and runoff.
Elwood Mead (1858-1936) was the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation during the era of the development of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, Grand Coulee Dam in Washington and Owyhee Dam in Oregon, among other large water projects.
The Mexican Delta is located at the natural terminus of the Colorado River at the Gulf of Mexico, just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The desert ecosystem was formed by silt flushed downstream from the Colorado and fresh and brackish water mixing at the Gulf.
The Mexican Delta once covered 9,650 square miles but has shrunk to less than 1 percent of its original size due to man-made water diversions.
The Mexican Water Treaty of 1944 committed the U.S. to deliver 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Mexico on an annual basis, plus an additional 200,000 acre-feet under surplus conditions. The treaty is overseen by the International Boundary and Water Commission.
Colorado River water is delivered to Mexico at Morelos Dam, located 1.1 miles downstream from where the California-Baja California land boundary intersects the river between the town of Los Algodones in northwestern Mexico and Yuma County, Ariz.
Microplastics – plastic debris measuring less than 5 millimeters – are an increasing water quality concern. Entering the water as industrial microbeads or as larger plastic litter that degrade into small pellets, microplastics come from a variety of consumer products.
Flowing into the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Mojave River exists mostly underground. Surface channels are usually dry absent occasional groundwater surfacing and flooding from extreme weather events like El Niño.
Mono Lake is an inland sea located east of Yosemite National Park near the Nevada border. It became the focus of a major environmental battle from the 1970s to the 1990s.
The lake has a surface area of about 70 square miles and is the second largest lake in California and one of the oldest in North America. Its salty waters occupy former volcanic craters. The old volcanoes contribute to the geology of the lake basin, which includes sulfates, salt and carbonates.
The Monterey Amendment, a 1994 pact between Department of Water Resources and State Water Project contractors, helped ease environmental stresses on the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta.
As part of large-scale restructuring of water supply contracts, the Monterey Amendment allowed for storage of excess flows during wet years in groundwater banks and surface storage reservoir. This stored water could then be used later during dry periods or to help the Delta.
John Muir (1838-1914) was a famous and influential naturalist and conservationist who founded the Sierra Club in 1892 and was its president until he died. Throughout his life, this man from Scotland was also a farmer, inventor, sheepherder, explorer and writer.
William Mulholland (1855-1935), an immigrant from Ireland, is infamous in the history of California water and the state’s water wars for both his far-sightedness and no-holds-barred approach to delivering a controversial water supply to Southern California. He is a love-hate character with a story that has many tellings, including in the 1974 fictional movie, Chinatown.