Topic: Energy and Water


Energy and Water

Water and energy are interconnected. A frequent term to describe this relationship is the “water-energy nexus.”

Energy for Water: Energy is needed to store water, get it where it is needed and also treat it to be used:

*  Extracting water from rivers and streams or pumping it from aquifers, and then conveying it over hills and into storage facilities is a highly energy intensive process. The State Water Project (SWP) pumps water 700 miles, including up nearly 2,000 feet over the Tehachapi Mountains. The SWP is the largest single user of energy in California. It consumes an average of 5 billion kWh per year. That’s about 2 to 3 percent of all electricity consumed in California
*  Water treatment facilities use energy to pump and process water for use in homes, businesses and industry
*  Consumers use energy to treat water with softeners or filters, to circulate and pressurize water and to heat and cool water
*  Wastewater plants use energy to pump wastewater to treatment plants, and also to aerate and filter it at the plant.

Different end uses require more electricity for delivery than others. Water for residential, commercial and industrial end-use needs the most energy (11 percent), followed by agricultural end-use (3 percent), residential, commercial and industrial supply and treatment (3 percent), agricultural water supply and treatment (1 percent) and wastewater treatment (1 percent), according to the California Energy Commission.

Water for Energy: Water is used to generate electricity

*  Water is needed either to process raw materials used in a facility or maintaining a plant,or to just generate electricity itself.

Overall, the electricity industry is second only to agriculture as the largest user of water in the United States. Electricity production from fossil fuels and nuclear energy requires 190,000 million gallons of water per day, accounting for 39 percent of all freshwater withdrawals in the nation. Coal, the most abundant fossil fuel, currently accounts for 52 percent of U.S. electricity generation, and each kWh generated from coal requires withdrawal of 25 gallons of water.

Aquafornia news

It’s official: El Niño is back. Now what?

Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that El Niño — the periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, with weather consequences worldwide — has officially arrived. El Niño typically peaks between October and March, so it’s pretty late in the season for a new one to form. This year’s El Niño is expected to remain relatively weak, but that doesn’t mean this one won’t be felt — in fact, its cascading consequences already in motion.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Business Wire

Three new directors join Metropolitan board

Three new directors representing the cities of Fullerton and Santa Ana, and the Inland Empire Utilities Agency were seated today on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Aquafornia news California Institute for Water Resources

Blog: Rising to the challenges of 21st century water management in Los Angeles

In a recent paper, Stephanie Pincetl, director of the California Center for Sustainable Communities at UCLA, and co-authors argue that investments made over the years to fortify the city’s supply with additional imported water have not solved LA’s water shortages. … The paper asserts that LA could become water self-reliant by strategically investing in local supplies, and offers several concrete strategies for improving LA’s water security. 

Aquafornia news Herald & News

Opinion: We must focus on addressing Klamath Basin resource problems through a ‘coalition of the doing’

The Klamath Tribes have made it clear that we are not interested in engaging in water settlement discussions. However, we are very interested in discussions that will protect and enhance our treaty resources.

Aquafornia news California Economic Summit

Blog: New study explores opportunities for business to contribute to California’s water sustainability challenge

The new report, “Sustainable Landscapes on Commercial and Industrial Properties in the Santa Ana River Watershed,” explores how landscape conversion on commercial and industrial properties can reduce water use, increase stormwater capture and groundwater recharge, improve water quality, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Editorial: IID rightly demands Salton Sea funds

The Imperial Irrigation District holds among the oldest and largest rights to water from the Colorado River and is using that as leverage to get what it sees as a better deal in current drought contingency plan negotiations involving states that draw from the river. Among the hardball tactics IID is putting in play: A demand that the federal government provide $200 million for efforts to bolster the beleaguered Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Tucson Sentinel

Late push for Salton Sea improvements complicates Colorado River drought plan

Arizona and California aren’t done finishing a plan that would establish how states in the Colorado River Basin will ensure water for millions of people in the Southwest, said the head of the agency running the negotiations. … One challenge comes from the Imperial Irrigation District, a water utility that serves the Imperial Valley in southeastern California. It hasn’t signed California’s plan because it wants $200 million to restore the vanishing Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake.

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Aquafornia news Reuters

Opinion: Market ignores Colorado river crisis at its peril

The Colorado river crisis ought to be upsetting markets. The U.S. waterway supports some $4 trillion in GDP and at least $1.3 trillion in stock value across seven U.S. states. The river was already virtually tapped out last century, and continuing troubles have now led the federal government to step in to help manage its water use. Yet investors have barely caused a ripple.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Quint

Another utility is one wildfire away from ruin with no fix in sight

As PG&E Corp. plunged into bankruptcy last month, S&P Global Ratings slashed credit grades almost to junk status for California’s two other big electric utilities, owned by Sempra Energy and Edison International, and said they could go lower. The reason: inverse condemnation. Under the state’s view of this legal doctrine, utilities can be held liable for any fires sparked by their equipment, even if they follow every safety rule.

Aquafornia news Jefferson Public Radio

Conflicts get an airing at Klamath Dam removal hearing in yreka

The latest chapter in the long-running dispute over how to manage water in the Klamath Basin is playing out in northern California communities. … About two dozen protesters are standing along Main Street in Yreka, the seat of Siskiyou County, which lies just across Oregon’s southern border. They’re holding signs saying “Stop The Klamath Dam Scams.”

Aquafornia news Scientific American

Putting solar panels on water is a great idea–but will it float?

Although U.S. adoption has been slow, some recent deals may turn the tide. A typical installation consists of solar panels on pontoons tethered to the bottom of a reservoir or retention pond—considered easier to utilize than lakes. Floating or underwater cables carry direct current to an inverter on shore where it is converted to alternating current and sent to the local grid. Engineers must consider multiple factors: systems have to withstand high winds and waves, panels must be resistant to corrosion and anchors have to last for 25 years or more.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Can utilities survive with ‘massive’ wildfire risks?

Extreme wildfires in California threaten more than homes in the Golden State. … Under California law, a utility is liable for property damage if its equipment caused a fire, regardless of whether there was negligence. Given that, some are asking whether utilities can survive in the nation’s most populous state.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

New scale to rank atmospheric river storms like hurricanes

They are giant conveyor belts of water in the sky, moisture-rich storms that roll in from the Pacific Ocean a few times a year to fill California’s reservoirs… But distinguishing a good atmospheric river storm — a modest one that can help end a drought — from a catastrophic one that can kill people has been elusive. On Tuesday, that changed, as scientists published the first-ever scale to rank the strength and impact of incoming atmospheric rivers, similar to the way hurricanes are classified.

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Aquafornia news Yale Environment 360

After a long boom, an uncertain future for big dam projects

The rise of wind and solar power, coupled with the increasing social, environmental and financial costs of hydropower projects, could spell the end of an era of big dams. But even anti-dam activists say it’s too early to declare the demise of large-scale hydro.

Aquafornia news San Luis Obispo Tribune

A new 124-mile oil pipeline is planned on the Central Coast. Here’s what you need to know

Plains All American Pipeline has applied for permits to rebuild a 124-mile pipeline across the Central Coast of California, a project that would enable ExxonMobil to reopen offshore production that stopped after Plains’ existing pipe caused an oil spill near Santa Barbara in 2015.

Aquafornia news Auburn Journal

Opinion: Update on the state water grab

Details of the Sacramento River portion of the SWRCB’s plan are still preliminary, but we expect the required water releases to be higher for the Sacramento River, and its tributaries, than they are for the San Joaquin River. SWRCB staff is currently recommending that between 45 and 65 percent of the natural runoff of northern California rivers be allowed to flow to the ocean unimpeded.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California’s big climate plans could be in hands of PG&E bankruptcy judge

Solar and wind companies, concerned that PG&E will be paying them less or even nothing in the future, have launched a preemptive strike, asking federal regulators to step in to protect their deals with PG&E. PG&E is one of the largest buyers of renewable energy in the country, driven by the ambitious climate change goals California has adopted.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Updated Colorado River Layperson’s Guide explores drought planning, tribal water rights, binational agreements

The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

PG&E bankruptcy: Utility seeks to pay $130 million in bonuses, void green energy deals

Tucked inside PG&E’s mammoth bankruptcy filing is a company request that the judge in the case approve payment of $130 million in cash incentive bonuses to thousands of PG&E employees, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records made public on Tuesday.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Q&A: What is the Drought Contingency Plan and will it affect me?

Arizona’s water leaders and lawmakers are running out of time to complete the state’s Drought Contingency Plan, a blueprint for how Arizona water users would share a likely shortage on the Colorado River.  … There are a lot of moving parts to understand and a lot of concepts that may seem overwhelming. Here are the things you need to know in advance of the Jan. 31 deadline to finish the plan.

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Aquafornia news Herald and News

Jackson commissioners ask state to block proposed pipeline

Citing impacts to water, soil and people, Jackson County commissioners are asking the state to block a proposed natural gas pipeline through Southern Oregon. The Oregon Department of State Lands is taking comments until Feb. 3 as it considers whether to grant a key permit for the controversial 239-mile pipeline that would stretch through Klamath, Jackson, Douglas and Coos counties to a proposed export terminal north of Coos Bay.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Bureau of Reclamation names Ernest A. Conant Mid-Pacific Region director

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman today named Ernest A. Conant director of the Mid-Pacific Region. Conant has nearly 40 years of water law experience and previously served as senior partner of Young Wooldridge, LLP.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Arizona lawmakers get first look at legislation for Drought Contingency Plan

The draft legislation compiled by the Department of Water Resources looks similar to how water leaders described the measures at a Drought Contingency Plan Steering Committee meeting last week. … But the legislation as drafted barely delves into the nitty-gritty details of a far more complex intrastate agreement that Arizona water users have been hashing out for months.

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Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

He’s ‘famous’ for measuring California’s snow. Now, he’s retiring after 30 years — sort of

A simple web search will pull up nearly a million articles, videos and photos featuring Frank Gehrke. He’s no fashion icon like Kim Kardashian or a dogged politician like Gov. Jerry Brown. But he has broken a lot of news. … For 30 years, you might have seen Gehrke on TV, the guy trudging through snow with a measuring pole, talking about how deep the pack is each winter on the evening news. He retired from his post as the state’s chief snow surveyor in December, but he’s not letting go of his snowshoes and skis anytime soon.

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Santa Monica announces water system upgrades via design-build

Arcadis has announced it will partner with Kiewit Infrastructure West and PERC Water to serve as the progressive design-build team for the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP) in the City of Santa Monica, Calif. Currently, the city partially relies on imported water to meet its water needs. This project will allow the city to take a major step toward water independence, supporting existing programs designed to create a sustainable water supply

Aquafornia news Water Finance & Management

Nasdaq launches California water pricing index

Nasdaq, along with Veles Water and WestWater Research, has announced the launch of the Nasdaq Veles California Water Index (NQH2O), the first of its kind water index that benchmarks the price of water in a way that supports price discovery and enables the creation of a tradable financial instrument.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

PG&E’s bankruptcy could slow California’s fight against climate change

Climate change helped fuel the deadly fires that prompted California’s largest power company to announce Monday that it would file for bankruptcy. … In a grim twist, the bankruptcy of PG&E Corp. could now slow California’s efforts to fight climate change.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

What happens if PG&E goes bankrupt?

The century-old PG&E—which employs 20,000 workers and is slated to play an integral role in California’s clean energy future—also has a checkered history and little goodwill to spare with the public. On Thursday, the PUC launched an investigation into the utility’s safety record and corporate structure, as Bay Area residents shouted, protested and urged commissioners not to give them a bailout.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Things are getting crazy on the Colorado River

The Colorado River may not look like it, but it’s one of the world’s largest banks. The river is not only the source of much of the American West’s economic productivity – San Diego, Phoenix and Denver would hardly exist without it – but its water is now the central commodity in a complex accounting system used by major farmers and entire states. … This month, the nation’s largest water agency, the Metropolitan Water District, began what amounts to a run on the bank.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gavin Newsom appoints Wade Crowfoot to lead Natural Resources Agency

Wade Crowfoot will lead the agency that oversees state parks, the Department of Water Resources and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, among other offices, Newsom announced Friday.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Arizona lawmakers optimistic about passing monumental drought plan

Up against a federal deadline to approve a Colorado River drought plan — a “generational change” in Arizona water management — four key legislators say they’re optimistic they’ll meet it. Led by House Speaker Rusty Bowers, a Mesa Republican, they see the Legislature as ready — finally — to officially endorse the plan. That’s even though competing water interest groups still have highly visible disagreements about it.

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Gov. Ducey’s State of State address: Arizona’s water situation is urgent problem

Gov. Doug Ducey will use his fifth State of the State speech Monday, Jan. 14, to try to corral the votes to approve a drought-contingency plan in the next 17 days or risk federal intervention. “We’re in a position now where we have a sense of urgency and focus on Arizona’s water situation,” the governor told the business community Friday in previewing the speech that kicks off the legislative session.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona faces unresolved issues in Colorado River drought plan

With a federal deadline to sign a Colorado River drought deal three weeks away, Arizona water managers are still grappling with several unresolved issues that could get in the way of finishing an agreement.  The outstanding issues, some of which are proving contentious, range from developers’ concerns about securing future water supplies to lining up funding for Pinal County farmers to drill wells and begin to pump more groundwater.

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Sign up now for Santa Ana River Watershed Conference

Registration is now open for the Santa Ana River Watershed Conference set for March 29 in Fullerton. The daylong event will be held at Cal State Fullerton. Join us to discuss the importance of the Santa Ana River Watershed and how, through powerful partnerships, resilient solutions can be found to improve the quality and reliability of the region’s water supply. 

Aquafornia news Phoenix New Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Federal shutdown weighs on Arizona drought negotiations

First, the good news: The negotiators of Arizona’s Drought Contingency Plan have crafted the most detailed, concrete proposal to date laying out how Arizona will deal with expected cutbacks to its supply of Colorado River. Now, the bad: The partial shutdown of the federal government is squeezing these negotiators.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Water 101 offers newbies and veterans a deeper understanding of California water

One of the Water Education Foundation’s most popular events, Water 101 offers a once-a-year opportunity for anyone new to California water issues or newly elected to a water district board – and anyone who wants a refresher — to gain a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource. It will be held Feb. 7 at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water supply impacts eyed as PG&E seeks hydropower plant sale

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is seeking to auction off its Potter Valley Project hydropower plant, which contains two reservoirs and dams, to a new operator. PG&E cited increasing operation costs, a competitive energy market and lower energy generation needs as reasons for its decision. Questions remain as to what extent Marin County water supplies will be affected by a potential change in ownership and operation of the 110-year-old hydropower plant more than 100 miles to the north. 

Aquafornia news Capitol Media Services

Gov. Ducey inaugural speech focused on Arizona water

Gov. Doug Ducey used his second inaugural speech Monday to exhort lawmakers and others with a claim to Colorado River water to approve a drought contingency plan before a solution is imposed by the Bureau of Reclamation. “It’s simple: Arizona and our neighboring states draw more water from the Colorado River than Mother Nature puts back,” the governor told his audience. “And with critical shortfall imminent, we cannot kick the can any further.”

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District begins drawing stored water from Lake Mead

At Monday’s meeting of the Metropolitan Water District’s Planning & Stewardship Committee, officials said that with no Drought Contingency Plan in place (Arizona being the hold out), they are beginning to draw down their storage in Lake Mead. “If there is no Drought Contingency Plan, we don’t want to leave potentially half a million acre-feet or more locked up in Lake Mead if we go into shortage,” said General Manager Jeff Kightlinger.

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

A Moonshot for Solving America’s Water Crisis

A government-funded five-year, $100 million effort to develop technologies around water desalination is seen as the best hope in generations for making the technology accessible.

Aquafornia news Washington Post

Hundreds of scientists to miss world’s largest weather conference due to federal shutdown

Each year, several thousand weather forecasters, researchers and climate scientists from all over the world gather for the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting to exchange ideas to improve weather prediction and understanding of climate change. This year, due to the partial federal government shutdown, hundreds of scientists will not attend the conference set to begin this weekend in Phoenix.

Aquafornia news Politico

‘Existential threat of our time’: Pelosi elevates climate change on Day One

Democrats put climate change back on the forefront of their governing agenda Thursday, portraying the issue as an “existential threat” even as the caucus remains split over how forcefully to respond.

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Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Climate change effects on the State Water Project and Central Valley Project

In the latter half of 2018, both the federal and state governments released new climate change assessments that outline the projected course of climate change and its potential effects on water resources. At the December meeting of the California Water Commission, staff from the Department of Water Resources and the Delta Stewardship Council were on hand to present an overview of the newly released assessments.

Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

A ‘zombie pipeline’ rises to bring water from the Green River to the Front Range

It has been called speculative, foolhardy and overly expensive, but Aaron Million’s plan to pump water from the Utah-Wyoming border to Colorado’s Front Range just won’t dry up. Now seeking water rights from the Green River in Utah for a new version of his plan, Million thinks he has fashioned a winning proposal to feed Colorado’s thirsty, growing population.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Charting a new course for water supply in the Southwest

Colorado River water managers were supposed to finish drought contingency plans by the end of the year. As it looks now, they’ll miss that deadline. If the states fail to do their job, the federal government could step in. Luke Runyon, a reporter with KUNC who covers on the Colorado River Basin recaps what’s been happening and why it’s so important.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News Release: Environmental Impact Study Released on Klamath Dam Removal

The report issued by California’s State Water Resources Control Board marks a key step in a decade-long effort to remove four hydroelectric dams and restore the health of the Klamath River. The dam-removal project is part of a broader effort by California, Oregon, federal agencies, Klamath Basin tribes, water users and conservation organizations to revitalize the basin, advance recovery of fisheries, uphold trust responsibilities to the tribes, and sustain the region’s farming and ranching heritage.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California bill would require more solar, wind and geothermal — possibly at Salton Sea

With 10 days left for California lawmakers to pass bills this year, renewable energy companies are rallying around legislation that could jump-start geothermal energy development by the Salton Sea — and also give a boost to solar, wind and bioenergy.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Lukewarm reception for water, energy program overhaul

Congressional Republicans and Democrats yesterday took a mostly wait-and-see approach toward the Trump administration’s aggressive proposal to reorganize federal agencies, including those with jurisdiction over energy, water and environmental programs. E&E News talked with several lawmakers on Capitol Hill, many of whom were unfamiliar with the White House plan unveiled late yesterday morning.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

A new type of public power is growing in California, and raising alarms

Eight years ago, Marin County created a new kind of public power agency in California — over the strenuous objections of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. … Community choice allows local governments to band together in something like a buyer’s club for electricity, purchasing in bulk from operators of power plants, wind farms, hydroelectric dams and solar facilities. Each community choice program’s governing board sets its own electricity rates.


Lower Colorado River Tour 2018

Lower Colorado River Tour participants at Hoover Dam.

We explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour.

Hampton Inn Tropicana
4975 Dean Martin Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Aquafornia news The New York Times

Cyberattacks put Russian fingers on the switch at power plants, U.S. says

The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of engineering a series of cyberattacks that targeted American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems, and could have sabotaged or shut power plants off at will.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California officials, protesters fight offshore drill plans

Commissions that oversee coastal lands and water pushed the Trump administration to leave California out of plans to expand offshore drilling, saying the state will throw up any barriers possible to prevent pumping and transportation of oil. The warning came weeks after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he wants to open nearly all U.S. coastlines to offshore oil and gas drilling.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

California taxpayers could foot the bill to shutter old oil rigs in the Pacific

It’s been nearly three years since an oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County, coating seven miles of beaches with crude oil and killing dolphins, birds and sea lions. Area parks and fisheries have since re-opened. The pipeline has not, and the company that owns it is under criminal indictment. But the financial impacts of the 2015 Refugio oil spill continue to wash up in California.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR could have lost control of Oroville spillway gates during crisis

The state Department of Water Resources could have lost control of the spillway radial gates for days during the Oroville Dam crisis if crucial power lines had gone down, according to department officials. DWR leaders Cindy Messer and Joel Ledesma stated this Jan. 10 during a legislative oversight hearing on the dam at the State Capitol.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A silver lining from California’s drought: Water conservation led to reduced energy use and less pollution

In April 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown called on the people of the most populous state to reduce their water use by 25% in response to a punishing four-year drought. It was an audacious goal, and Californians came close to meeting it.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Utilities celebrate Trump’s tax cuts, but will customers benefit?

Utilities from California to Florida are seeing their expenses drop dramatically with the GOP tax overhaul, which could save these regulated electric, gas and water utilities billions of dollars each year. … California is home to numerous investor-owned utilities, ranging from Pacific Gas & Electric to private water companies.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Big unknowns: What legal marijuana means for water in Western states

States throughout the West have rushed to legalize marijuana over the last four years. The biggest by far is California, where recreational use of the drug became legal on January 1. The states are clamoring for the tax revenue in these new markets, but they seem less concerned with how they may affect water resources.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should utilities turn off electricity when wildfire risk is high?

With the number of fires in the West growing due to climate change, and a recent decision by the state Public Utilities Commission to require that a utility — not ratepayers — pick up the costs for fires caused by its power lines, it’s likely that Californians are going to see more deliberate, pre-planned power outages when there is extreme wildfire risk, experts say. … Among the problems from planned blackouts … Water pumps may not work.

Tour Nick Gray

Lower Colorado River Tour 2019
Field Trip - February 27-March 1

Explore the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs is the focus of this tour. 

Best Western McCarran Inn
4970 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Why hydroelectric utilities are endangered by soaring solar and wind

The success of solar and wind energy in California is having a surprising side effect: It may be undercutting revenue for hydroelectric dams, the longtime stalwart of “green” energy in the West. Four years ago, officials at the California Independent System Operator (ISO), which manages electricity demand across the state, identified a phenomenon called the “duck curve.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California could mandate new Salton Sea geothermal plants at 11th hour

As state lawmakers debate far-reaching bills that could reshape the energy landscape in California and across the West, some groups are urging the Legislature to require new geothermal power plants at the Salton Sea before a key deadline Tuesday* night — but those groups can’t agree on what the geothermal mandate should look like.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Renewable sources of electricity outpace nuclear plants

The growth in renewables has been fueled by scores of new wind turbines and solar farms. Recent increases in hydroelectric power as a result of heavy snow and rain in Western states last winter also provided a boost.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US bucks trend amid increases for clean energy research

Energy ministers from around the world gathered in Beijing this week to report increased spending to help counter climate change. Yet one prominent voice, that of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, delivered a starkly countervailing message as the Trump administration seeks to roll back spending on clean energy and promote fossil fuels.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How hydroelectric power has roared back in California

After slowing to a trickle during the past five years of punishing drought, hydroelectric power in California is poised to make a major comeback this spring and summer, thanks to the wet winter. Across Northern California, hydroelectricity producers say their reservoirs are brimming at levels not seen in decades.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

Hydropower poised for comeback in California, thanks to a wet winter

California’s years-long drought put hydroelectric power flat on its back. But one of the cleanest and cheapest energy sources may be poised for a comeback as the state has been drenched with rain and its mountains blanketed in snow in recent months.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Trump’s Interior Department pick has some California family and fundraising roots

Coastal California has claims, of a sort, on Rep. Ryan Zinke, the Montana Republican named Thursday as the Trump administration’s pick to head the Interior Department. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Perry would bring oil industry ties to Energy Department

Rick Perry, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Energy secretary, has close ties to the Texas oil industry and has corporate roles in two petroleum companies pushing to get government approval for the proposed 1,200-mile crude oil pipeline that has stoked mass protests in North Dakota.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Monterey poised to become state’s first oil-producing county to ban fracking

With the passage of Measure Z, which has captured nearly 56 percent of the vote so far, Monterey County would become the first oil-producing county in California to ban fracking and expansion of risky oil operations. … Monterey County, which ranks fourth statewide in oil production, becomes the sixth county in California to ban fracking.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Energy storage is saving water utilities money and easing grid demand

A new frontier in the energy-water nexus is being forged in Southern California. Teaming up with Advanced Microgrid Solutions, Irvine Ranch Water District will be using an energy storage system to reduce its costs and help ease demand on the grid during peak hours.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge puts hold on plan to open California lands to fracking

A federal judge on Tuesday tentatively rejected a plan by the federal Bureau of Land Management to open more than 1,500 square miles of lands in central California to oil drilling and fracking.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

U.S. hydropower grows by going small

Hydropower in the United States is primed for a shakeup. On one hand, utilities and governments are tearing down old dams with increasing frequency. … On the other hand, lawmakers and officials are keen to wring more power from rivers.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Popularity of big hydropower projects diminishes around the world

Earlier this year, in an announcement that has become more routine around the world, Suy Sem, Cambodia’s minister of mines and energy, declared a moratorium on the construction of big hydropower dams until at least 2020. … Cambodia joins a lengthening list of nations around the world that are reassessing big hydropower dams in an era when wind and solar power are less expensive, much easier to build, less damaging, and far less vulnerable to droughts and floods.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Will water sector help or hurt on climate change?

California has been diligently trying to reduce use of fossil fuels and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 350, which requires 50 percent of the electricity from utilities to come from renewable sources by 2030. But it’s not just energy utilities that can add more renewables to their portfolios – water suppliers can, as well, although they aren’t mandated to do so.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water conservation has saved energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

As debate continues in San Diego County and around the state over how aggressively to conserve water amid a historic drought, a new study finds that reductions in urban water use have saved significant amounts of electricity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Colorado court strikes down local bans on fracking

Colorado’s Supreme Court on Monday struck down local government prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, handing oil and gas companies a victory in a lengthy battle over energy production in the environmentally conscious state.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District critics welcome class-action lawsuit over electricity subsidy

News of a class-action lawsuit against the Modesto Irrigation District brought similar reactions from its most frequent critics, all of whom said it’s about time.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Focus: California’s energy and water are in short supply (graphics)

California needs energy and water equally, and residents are being asked to cut back on both.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the Ocean: What is the Role of Desalination?
Winter 2016

This issue looks at the role of ocean desalination in meeting California’s water needs today and in the future.

Aquafornia news Merced Sun-Star

Feds ease water requirements for Merced County farmers in dam relicensing

Farmers depending on irrigation water from the Merced Irrigation District heard better-than-expected news Thursday about the future of their water supplies.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Solar surges past wind, hydro as California’s No. 1 renewable energy source

Not only did solar beat wind power for the first time, but it also topped drought-depleted hydropower, the long-standing leader in California electricity generation outside fossil fuels and nuclear.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Extreme weather poses increasing threat to U.S. power grid

An Associated Press analysis of industry data found that severe weather is the leading cause of major outages on the nation’s power grid.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

On Salton Sea and energy, it’s Imperial Irrigation District versus the world

At least at the Salton Sea, the district’s [Imperial Irrigation District] hardball tactics seem to be working: There’s been more political progress this year than ever before. Gov. Jerry Brown has asked for a plan of action, and several long-stalled pilot projects are finally getting underway.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study: No fracking bonanza for California’s Monterey Shale

A U.S. Geological Survey report out Tuesday downgrades the fracking potential of California’s vast Monterey Shale oil deposits.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Biological opinion slows Oroville Dam facilities relicensing process

What’s holding up the relicensing of Oroville Dam facilities? Fish. Specifically, an opinion on how three threatened species might be affected, according to local Department of Water Resources officials.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Felicia Marcus: Amid drought, no simple solutions on California water

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Jimmy Carter, Rahm Emanuel: All of them were quoted at the Southern California Energy and Water Summit in Palm Springs on Thursday. But the quote that best summarized the summit came from Felicia Marcus’ father.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Drought is killing California’s hydroelectric power. Can solar make up the difference?

Although the state’s electrical grid has taken a punch from the drought and record-high summer month temperatures, it has remained standing. A state mandate to convert from burning oil, coal and natural gas, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming, to solar, wind and geothermal energy has helped.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start

Across California this summer, residents have been racking up water conservation numbers that defy expectations — a 27% reduction in June, followed by 31.3% in July. … The conservation performance raises a host of possibilities, and profound questions, for water policy analysts and managers … 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California fines oil companies for failing to report water use data

The state fined 30 oil companies on Thursday for failing to meet a deadline to report information about the source, volume and disposal of water used in oil and gas production.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How Edison uses water to store excess power

Nestled high in the Sierra mountains among the pine and fir trees, a little-known man-made wonder may help resolve a pressing energy concern: how to store wind and sun power that the grid increasingly can’t handle.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Salton Sea remedy document draft is released

Call it a first step. … The Imperial Irrigation District has released a 260-page document that provides short, medium and long-term plans to avert a health crises and spur the development of up to 1,700 megawatts of new geothermal energy at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Environmental hurdle adds a year to SMUD’s massive $800 million Iowa Hill hydroelectric project

SMUD’s big bet on a system to store energy by pumping water uphill just got a little more complicated. The state wants the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to monitor groundwater at the site, a remote spot near Camino, for an entire year before moving ahead.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Your faucet as power switch — Water’s hidden energy cost

Most of us hardly think about it, but when we turn on the tap, we’re not just using water — we’re also using energy. And you may be surprised to learn just how much. … It takes a lot of power to get water to our taps — conveyance from the source, treatment, and distribution — not to mention cleaning the wastewater we send down drains.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Inland Empire irrigation district sues state grid operator

The Imperial Irrigation District has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the manager of most of the state’s electricity grid, alleging that it is using its monopoly power to limit options for the district, which is a major player in the effort to mitigate the shrinking Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Summer power supply ‘looking good’ (with audio)

The California Independent System Operator, or CAL-ISO, which manages the state’s energy grid, releases its summer assessment Thursday. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg News

Commentary: California’s doomsday water cycle

Even as [Gov. Jerry] Brown rations water for urban lawns, computer manufacturing and toilets, California continues to dedicate enormous amounts of water to producing energy. This year, 1.3 billion gallons of water are being injected into oil fields to extract heavy crude — 320 gallons for every barrel of oil pumped. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State launches push to accelerate drought innovation

The Brown administration’s effort to speed innovation to address the state’s endemic droughts was launched to little fanfare Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water and power agencies sharing drought plans (with audio)

John Sweigard is General Manager of the Merced Irrigation District. He says the district will file a petition with the State of California next week regarding the operation of the dam and the lake.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Blog: Does California’s water use drive climate change?

The link between delivering or treating water and expending energy will be the topic of a Senate Select Committee on Climate Change hearing in Calabasas today.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

The Water Footprint of California’s Energy System, 1990–2012

A new article by Julian Fulton and  Heather Cooley  evaluates the amount of water consumed in meeting California’s energy needs – also referred to as the water footprint of energy. The article, published in Environmental Science and Technology, examines how the water footprint of energy changed between 1990 and 2012 – finding that the amount of water consumed substantially increased over recent decades without utilizing more of the state’s water resources, but rather by relying more heavily on water resources from outside the state.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Clean Power inks deal for floating solar panel project

Sonoma County’s new public electricity supplier is turning to the sun and water — the airspace over treated sewage ponds, specifically — to generate power for local homes and businesses.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Cooling upper Feather River is centerpiece of plan for thermal curtain

In an environmental study nine years in the making, the State Water Resources Control Board has proposed lowering the temperature of the [Feather] river 40 miles below Lake Almanor through enormous devices known as thermal curtains. … The thermal curtain project is part of PG&E’s application to renew licenses on its Feather River hydroelectric projects at Rock Creek and Cresta.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

MID drought strategy pondered

Modesto Irrigation District leaders Tuesday morning could revive last year’s drought-combating measures, which enjoyed only marginal success, for the coming season. … The MID board Tuesday morning also will continue discussing a historical inequity in rates that has electricity customers subsidizing farmers’ water prices.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers take step toward fulfilling state climate change goals

State lawmakers are preparing a sweeping package of bills that would fulfill several of Gov. Jerry Brown’s climate change objectives by increasing California’s reliance on renewable energy and alternative transportation fuels.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of the Interior

News Release: President proposes $13.2 billion budget for Interior Department

President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request of $13.2 billion for the Department of the Interior continues the Administration’s strong support for Interior’s core missions, protecting the nation’s cultural and natural heritage, responsibly managing energy development on public lands and waters, investing in science, and honoring the nation’s trust responsibilities to Native Americans and Alaska Natives and our special commitments to affiliated island communities.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

MID subsidy will come under microscope

Fairness of prices charged by the Modesto Irrigation District for its two core services – water and power – will be examined at public workshops starting Tuesday morning.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento State launching environmental research institute

Sacramento State plans to launch a new institute that will merge environmental science and policymaking, particularly concerning climate change and water-related issues that challenge California and the world.

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

State Water Project now using solar power to meet pump loads

The Department of Water Resources announced on Jan. 8, 2014, that it has begun using renewable power purchased from a Dominion Solar Holdings’ solar project to help move water through the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: California’s bold attack on climate change

California is moving toward its goal of generating a third of its electrical power from solar, wind and other renewable sources by 2020, as promised five years ago by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Rice may become first crop in cap-and-trade program

Rice could soon become the first crop in California’s cap-and-trade program, but it is unclear if the program provides enough incentives to motivate farmers to change their growing practices.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mary Nichols has ‘rock star’ influence as top air quality regulator

A meeting with Gov. Jerry Brown and Chevron executives was ending when an oil company official turned to Mary Nichols, California’s top regulator for air pollution. … The October conversation, recalled by Nichols in a recent interview, echoed many others in her decades-long career as an environmental lawyer and regulator.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Rice growers could help reduce greenhouse gases

Growing rice requires flooding fields, which produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The California Air Resources Board is discussing allowing growers to obtain greenhouse gas “offsets” that could then be sold on the state’s cap and trade market.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Turlock Irrigation District power rates will rise 2 percent overall

Electricity customers of the Turlock Irrigation District will get a rate increase averaging 2 percent as of Jan. 1, following a 5-0 vote by its board Tuesday morning. … TID also has proposed a far larger increase – more than double – in farm water rates.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: Modesto Irrigation District, Stanislaus supervisors are moving in right direction

Two actions taken Tuesday – one by the Modesto Irrigation District Board of Directors and one by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors – show that our elected officials are not only listening, they are responding.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District’s culture of imbalance: Farmers coddled, power customers gouged

An intriguing public debate over electricity customers subsidizing farmers has focused on what the farmers get: irrigation water at bargain basement prices. Somewhat lost in the dialogue is how much more power customers are paying – not just to benefit agriculture, but to keep afloat the Modesto Irrigation District’s entire operation.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Dutch seek to harness energy from salt water mix

Dutch researchers are seeking to add a new, largely untapped renewable energy source to the world’s energy mix with the opening of a “Blue Energy” test facility on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: Modesto Irrigation District must make water pay its own way

Modesto Irrigation District needs to divorce its two primary functions, ending once and for all the relationship that has required power customers to subsidize water customers.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Editorial: Planning for California desert’s renewable-energy and conservation future makes sense

It’s not surprising there are quite a few objections to and reservations about California’s massive Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Yuba River flows may drop

With storage in New Bullards Bar Reservoir dwindling, the Yuba County Water Agency wants to reduce releases into the Lower Yuba River.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Imperial Irrigation District considers rate hike

The Imperial Irrigation District is poised to raise electricity rates for the first time in 20 years — a move that is sure to anger ratepayers, but that district officials say is long overdue.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: WaterSMART grants available from Reclamation to conserve water and improve energy efficiency

Reclamation is inviting States, Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts and other organizations with water or power delivery to apply for a funding opportunity to cost-share on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency. The projects should support water sustainability in the west.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: De León says ‘green jobs’ will be priority as Senate leader

In his first policy speech as California’s Senate leader, Kevin de León said one of his key priorities will be combating climate change by setting policies that promote energy efficiency. … In his speech to the water officials Thursday, de León also stumped for Proposition 1 …”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Geothermal power industry lost steam but may be poised for comeback

Geothermal power was once king of California’s renewable energy. So many companies were clamoring to transform steam into electricity that they sucked the world’s largest geyser field dry.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Receding Salton Sea could make room for geothermal

The shrinking of the Salton Sea might pose a serious public health hazard, but it could also boost renewable energy development in the region, officials said Thursday at the Southern California Energy Summit.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Public can comment on La Grange Dam studies

The public will get another chance Monday to weigh in on La Grange Dam, erected on the Tuolumne River decades before the far larger Don Pedro Reservoir came along.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Western U.S. governors begin drought discussions

In the midst of a record-smashing dry cycle in the United States, the organization with the most influence over state and federal drought policy wants to do a better job managing the crisis. … On September 18 and 19, the Western Governors’ Association, a forum for state leaders, will welcome to Norman, Oklahoma, agency officials, industry representatives, and technical experts who will offer insight on how a multi-year drought in the western United States is challenging the energy sector.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Glen Canyon Dam marks 50 years as power source

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other officials on Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of power generation by Glen Canyon Dam, a structure that helped usher in a new era in the Southwest.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Renewable energy plan hinges on huge Utah caverns

A proposal to export twice as much Wyoming wind power to Los Angeles as the amount of electricity generated by the Hoover Dam includes an engineering feat even more massive than that famous structure:


Restoring a River: Voices of the San Joaquin

This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an overview of the geography and history of the river, historical and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was agreed to.


A Climate of Change: Water Adaptation Strategies

This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an excellent overview of climate change and how it is already affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are underway to plan and adapt to climate.


Stormwater Management: Turning Runoff into a Resource

20-minute DVD that explains the problem with polluted stormwater, and steps that can be taken to help prevent such pollution and turn what is often viewed as a “nuisance” into a water resource through various activities.


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (60-minute DVD)

Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from, how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress Wendie Malick. 


Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst (30-minute DVD)

A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water: Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to households throughout the state.


Water on the Edge (30-minute VHS)

A 30-minute version of the 2005 PBS documentary Water on the Edge. This video is ideal for showing at community forums and speaking engagements to help the public understand the complex issues surrounding the New River.


Water on the Edge (60-minute VHS)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.


Water on the Edge (60-minute DVD)

Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system, there have been some critical events that had a profound impact on California’s water history. These turning points not only forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.


Groundwater Quality: Managing the Resource

This 15-minute video explains in an easy-to-understand manner the importance of groundwater, defines technical terms, describes sources of groundwater contamination and outlines steps communities can take to protect underground aquifers. Includes extensive computer graphics that illustrate these groundwater concepts. The short running times makes it ideal for presentations and community group meetings. Available on VHS and DVD.

Maps & Posters

Klamath River Watershed Map
Published 2011

This beautiful 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, displays the rivers, lakes and reservoirs, irrigated farmland, urban areas and Indian reservations within the Klamath River Watershed. The map text explains the many issues facing this vast, 15,000-square-mile watershed, including fish restoration; agricultural water use; and wetlands. Also included are descriptions of the separate, but linked, Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and the Klamath Hydroelectric Agreement, and the next steps associated with those agreements. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Maps & Posters

Carson River Basin Map
Published 2006

A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin. Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin Area Office.

Maps & Posters

Colorado River Basin Map
Redesigned in 2017

Redesigned in 2017, this beautiful map depicts the seven Western states that share the Colorado River with Mexico. The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the country of Mexico. Text on this beautiful, 24×36-inch map, which is suitable for framing, explains the river’s apportionment, history and the need to adapt its management for urban growth and expected climate change impacts.


Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River
Updated 2018

The Colorado River provides water to more than 35 million people and 4 million acres of farmland in a region encompassing some 246,000 square miles in the southwestern United States. The 32-page Layperson’s Guide to the Colorado River covers the history of the river’s development; negotiations over division of its water; the items that comprise the Law of the River; and a chronology of significant Colorado River events.


Layperson’s Guide to California Water
Updated 2015

The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to California Water provides an excellent overview of the history of water development and use in California. It includes sections on flood management; the state, federal and Colorado River delivery systems; Delta issues; water rights; environmental issues; water quality; and options for stretching the water supply such as water marketing and conjunctive use.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

MID, TID Boards Vote to File Don Pedro License Application

From The Modesto Bee:

“The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts took a key step Tuesday morning toward using Don Pedro Reservoir for perhaps another half-century.”

Read more from The Modesto Bee


Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

MID, TID Consider Next Step on Relicensing of Don Pedro Reservoir

From The Modesto Bee:

“The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts could take another step Tuesday morning toward a new federal license for Don Pedro Reservoir.”

Read more from The Modesto Bee


Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP

Legal Alert: CPUC Issues Decision to Protect Solar Customers for 20 Years

From Best Best & Krieger LLP:

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently ruled to protect all existing solar, biogas and wind customers under their current net-energy metering (NEM) contracts for a 20-year grandfathering period.
Aquafornia news

Commentary: Water Conservation’s Other Benefit: It’s a Power Saver

From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Catherine Wolfram and David Zetland:

“Our conservation efforts, even the tiniest ones, have a second overlooked benefit: They also save energy. Water is essentially liquid energy. We don’t think about it that way. But every drop must be moved, treated and heated. Each step takes energy.”

Read more from the LA Times


Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

New Sonoma Utility Promises Cleaner, Cheaper Power

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“On Thursday, the governing board of Sonoma’s new public power agency plans to set rates for its electricity service, which will begin in May. Most customers will save money, compared to what they currently pay Pacific Gas and Electric Co.”

Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle


Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Folsom Park History Trail Hike is Hit

From The Sacramento Bee:

“This is the third year California State Parks has participated in the nationwide movement of offering First Day Hikes. … “At the 17-acre Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park, docents expected five to 10 people to show for the hike along the old canal route leading from the powerhouse to Folsom Dam.”

Read more from The Sacramento Bee  

Aquafornia news [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat

Yuba County Water Agency Bids to Renew License

From the [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat:

“The Yuba County Water Agency is filing to renew its operating license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the first time since the agency’s creation almost 50 years ago, and it will dictate how the YCWA will run the Yuba River Development Project for the next 50 years.”

Read more from the Appeal-Democrat


Aquafornia news [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat

Conservation Groups Decry Lack of Protection for Fish

From the [Marysville] Appeal-Democrat:

“While some groups are excited about the what the Yuba County Water Agency’s FERC relicensing applications contains, other groups are lamenting what is missing — namely, provisions that address removing barriers to native spawning habitat for endangered fish.”

Read more from the Appeal-Democrat


Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

What Water Can Learn from Energy Sector’s Efficiency Programs

From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):

“This week [Dec.
Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Clean Power Projects Rates that Beat PG&E’s

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

“Customers enrolled next year with Sonoma County’s startup public power agency could see some savings on their electricity compared to rates proposed by PG&E for 2014. …

The public venture is seeking to displace Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News Release: Energizing Water Efficiency — California Energy Sector Experiences Can Advance State’s Water Conservation and Efficiency

From the Pacific Institute:

“As a dry December accentuates the stress on California’s limited water supplies, the success of the state’s energy sector in implementing efficiency programs offers valuable lessons to the water sector. A new report from the Pacific Institute examines the rules, regulations, and policies that promote energy efficiency and finds models for water management in drivers like the energy sector’s appliance standards, building codes, pricing policies, and utility-sponsored efficiency programs.
Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District Board Looks at Electricity Rate Hikes, Ponders Report on Drought Conditions

From The Modesto Bee:

“Whether area electricity customers could face higher rates in 2014 was called into question at Tuesday’s Modesto Irrigation District board meeting, with no clear answer. …

“Also Tuesday, staff presented potential reactions to drought, and the board continued taking steps to correct mistakes in expanding a water treatment plant that will cost taxpayers an extra $24 million.”

Read more from The Modesto Bee


Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

New Modesto Irrigation District Leaders Told of Legal Issues Involving Rates

From The Modesto Bee:

“A different legal interpretation could make it easier for the Modesto Irrigation District to raise electricity prices, the utility’s lawyer told leaders Monday in their first gathering since three men were elected to the five-member board. …

“MID leaders last year declined to raise power rates, a departure from sharp increases every year since 2000, noting that prices had stabilized for natural gas used to produce energy.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Foreign Staff

Technology Giving New Nations a Shot as Energy Producers

From McClatchy Foreign Staff:

“New technologies to unlock energy below the earth’s surface could transform the global energy picture, allowing a handful of nations not ordinarily thought of as energy producers to emerge.”

Read more from McClatchy


Aquafornia news New York Times

Shale’s Effect on Oil Supply Is Forecast to Be Brief

From The New York Times:

“The boom in oil from shale formations in recent years has generated a lot of discussion that the United States could eventually return to energy self-sufficiency, but according to a report released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency, production of such oil in the United States and worldwide will provide only a temporary respite from reliance on the Middle East.”

Read more from The New York Times

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

EPA Report Examines Water’s Importance to U.S. Economy

From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):

“A new informational report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency details just how important water is to the U.S. economy.

“Synthesizing recent studies on the topic, ‘The Importance of Water to the U.S. Economy’ report released this week finds that energy production, water supply and food production together account for over 94% of water withdrawals from the nation’s groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes.

Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

IID Begins Presentations on Newly Changed Residential Energy Efficiency Rebates Program

From the Imperial Valley Press:

“Recent changes to the Imperial Irrigation District’s Residential Energy Efficiency Rebates program has an IID representative going to all the city councils in the Imperial Valley to make presentations on the changes.”

Read more from the Imperial Valley Press


Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

IID Board Takes First Look at Budget

From the Imperial Valley Press:

The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Director s reviewed the energy department’s budget in La Quinta on Monday.
Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

Dippy Duck Takes Energy Safety Message to Schools

From the Imperial Valley Press:

“Dippy Duck is growing up. The Imperial Irrigation District recently revamped its iconic mascot’s appearance and safety program to include an older audience. …

“Like the Dippy Duck canal safety program, the energy program’s message is simple and vital: electricity can kill.”

Read more from the Imperial Valley Press


Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto Irrigation District Decides to Kick the Can Down the Road on Electricity Rate Hike

From The Modesto Bee:

“The Modesto Irrigation District’s power customers will have to wait until after the Nov. 5 election to learn whether they’ll pay more next year.

“Board members this morning will consider a $442.7 million proposed budget for 2014, but will punt on the politically sensitive question of raising electricity rates.”

Read more from The Modesto Bee


Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

IID Works to Reach Students With Energy Safety Message

From the Imperial Valley Press:

“In honor of the 27th annual anniversary of Public Power Week, Imperial Irrigation District officials began rolling out a new energy safety campaign to reach seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Imperial and Coachella valleys on the importance of indoor and outdoor electrical safety.

“A newsletter, the ‘Safety Surge,’ has been distributed to junior high schools, according to a press release from the district.”

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Modesto, Turlock Irrigation Districts’ Deadline Nears for Don Pedro Reservoir Documents

From The Modesto Bee:

“A milestone is approaching for the effort by the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts to renew their federal license for Don Pedro Reservoir.

“They plan late next month to file their draft application, a huge set of documents on how the reservoir and its powerhouse affect the Tuolumne River and nearby resources.”

Read more from The Modesto Bee


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s Alternative-Energy Program Under Scrutiny

From the Los Angeles Times:

Even as California has scaled back education, law enforcement and assistance to the disabled in this era of financial stress, the energy program has continued unrestrained and is expected to grow significantly in coming years.

“State agencies have invested in milk trucks that run on cow manure, power plants fueled by ocean tides and artificial photosynthesis for powering vehicles and buildings.

“The spending is drawing increasing scrutiny.”

Read mo

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News Release: River-Friendly Landscaping Calculator Adds New Benefits for Sacramento

From the Pacific Institute:

“Sacramento County is promoting ‘River-Friendly Landscaping’ as a way for residents and businesses to beautify the county while saving water, energy, and money, and even reduce their carbon footprint.
Aquafornia news Associated Press

Federal Regulators: Columbia River Treaty Should Be Renegotiated

From The Associated Press:

“A U.S.-Canada treaty that governs operations of the fourth-largest river in North America — affecting everything from power prices and water supplies to grain shipments and recreation in the Pacific Northwest — should be renegotiated to make the system more flexible amid climate change and to aid threatened and endangered species that weren’t considered when the treaty was created decades ago, federal regulators recommended in a draft document released to The Associated Press.”

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State PUC’s Proposal for Utilities to Store Energy

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“This month, California energy regulators proposed requiring the state’s utility companies to buy more than 1.3 gigawatts of electricity storage by 2020 – enough electricity to supply 993,750 typical homes at any given instant.

“The storage would help ensure that the lights stay on as California adds large amounts of solar and wind power – both highly variable – to its grid. Big energy storage projects would also cut the number of new fossil-fuel power plants built in the state.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Power Plant Possible for Anaheim Basin

From the Orange County Register:

The Orange County Water District’s board on Thursday will consider whether to launch negotiations with a company that wants to build a power plant capable of generating up to 300 megawatts of energy on the same plot of land where Anaheim city officials want to open a park that would serve community sports leagues.”

Read more from the Orange County Register


Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News Release: Electricity Pricing Practices Offer Lessons for Water Sector in Promoting Conservation and Efficiency

From the Pacific Institute:

“Because water utilities are dependent on the sale of water to recoup costs, reduced sales can result in deficits – and per capita water demand in California has been stagnant or decreasing for the past several decades. Over the coming years, California municipal water utilities are required to reduce water use by 20%. Thus, the ‘new normal’ or an era of declining demand and rising costs is a trend that is likely to continue.
Aquafornia news Water in the West

News Release: Report Reveals Missed Opportunities to Save Water and Energy

From Water in the West:

“Water and wastewater managers are missing substantial opportunities to save energy and money, according to a report published Wednesday (Sept. 4) by Water in the West, a research center at Stanford University.

“The report, ‘Water and Energy Nexus: A Literature Review,’ also identifies the amount of water used to extract resources such as natural gas, oil and coal, and to generate electricity.

Aquafornia news KCET ReWire blog

Blog: Report — Saving Water Saves Energy, And Vice Versa

From the KCET ReWire blog:

“Savvy Californians know that cutting down the amount of water we use saves lots of energy. It takes a huge amount of electrical power to pump water to our thirsty cities, and when it gets there we burn natural gas to heat it. But did you know that saving energy also saves water?”

Read more from the KCET ReWire blog

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

News Release: Study Shows Untapped Potential for Coordinating Efficiency Programs in California to Save Both Water and Energy

From the Pacific Institute:

“All forms of energy – from hydropower to solar panels – use water to extract and process the fuels, construct the processing facilities, or generate the electricity. Likewise, water supply, treatment, use, and disposal use considerable amounts of energy.
Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Yosemite Fire: San Francisco Power Plant Back On Line

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

“One of two San Francisco-owned hydroelectric power plants damaged in a huge wildfire that continues to scorch Sierra timberland was back on line Tuesday, with the other plant expected to be running in a few weeks. …

“The fire burned to the shoreline of Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, the source of drinking water for 2.6 million people in the Bay Area.”

Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle


Aquafornia news Monterey County Herald

This Time, Water Agency Officials Keeping Power Price Tag Secret

From the Monterey County Herald:

“After losing out on a deal to sell hydroelectric power at double the price they were getting from PG&E, county Water Resources Agency officials aren’t taking any chances.

“This time around, they’re not telling anyone what kind of a price they’re getting for power from the newly repaired Lake Nacimiento power plant.”

Read more from the Monterey County Herald


Aquafornia news Sacramento Bee

Hydro Firm to Repay State $750 Million

From The Sacramento Bee:

“It was called ‘megawatt laundering,’ a scheme invented by Enron to maximize profits during the California energy crisis. On Friday, one of its most aggressive practitioners agreed to give the state a $750 million refund.

“Powerex, a government-owned hydroelectricity supplier from British Columbia, cut a deal with California officials to settle years of litigation over alleged market manipulation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Power Grid Increasingly Vulnerable to Severe Weather, Report Says

From the Los Angeles Times:

“A decade after a vast power outage shut down the Northeast, the electricity grid remains ‘highly vulnerable’ to blackouts because of extreme weather fueled by climate change, a report by the White House and the Energy Department concludes.”

Read more from the Los Angeles Times


Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources (DWR)

DWR Water Plan eNews: This Week’s Update

From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):

This week’s Water Plan eNews includes:
  • Desalination is next in the lineup of workshops for the Water Plan;
  • Stakeholder input at IRWM workshops is detailed in new report;
  • Research council report gives federal agencies guidance on sustainability issues;
  • DWR posts guidelines and PSP for Delta flood emergency response projects;
  • Watershed University offers information on flood risk and hazard mitigation; and
  • Toolkit helps build on relationship between water and en
Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Voices on Water blog

Blog: Spreading the Word on Water-Energy Connection this Summer

From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Voices on Water blog:

“A statewide education and outreach campaign urging Californians to save water and energy this summer has launched through a partnership among ACWA, representatives of the Governor’s Office, the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) and electric utilities, ACWA Deputy Executive Director for External Affairs and Operations Jennifer Persike writes in the latest entry in the Voices on Water blog.”

Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

‘Save Water & Save Energy’ Outreach Tools Available in Spanish, English

From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):

“A statewide outreach campaign that launched earlier this month to remind consumers to use water and energy wisely this summer now has public education tools available in both Spanish and English.

“The ‘Save Water & Save Energy This Summer’ outreach campaign has developed numerous communications tools for water agencies and utilities to use to educate their customers about the importance of conserving both water and energy.”

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard blog

Blog: DOE Says Climate Impacts, Especially Water Scarcity, Pose Threat to Energy Resources

From the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard blog:

“The Department of Energy (DOE) released a study last week that, in my opinion, reads a little bit like an ironic B-level horror movie screenplay. …

“The report identifies several climate change vulnerabilities of oil and gas production, electric power generation and fuel transport – many due to climate impacts on water resources.”

Read more from the NRDC Switchboard blog


Aquafornia news Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)

Outreach Effort Reminds Public to Save Water, Energy this Summer

From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):

“A statewide public outreach campaign is launching this week to remind consumers about the need to use water and energy wisely this summer.
Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: California, Catch the Next Big Energy Wave

From the Los Angeles Times:

“The first U.S. offshore wind turbine hooked into the U.S. power grid in June, but not in the ‘green’ state of California. …

“California is the state most associated with alternative energy development, yet the state’s greatest potential source of clean power (and its main geographic feature), the Pacific Ocean, is largely ignored.”

Read more from the Los Angeles Times


Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

IID, State Grid Reach Energy Transmission Agreement

From the Imperial Valley Press:

“The Imperial Irrigation District has reached an agreement with the California Independent System Operator that allows the IID to control the interconnection and transmission of renewable energy projects in its service territory that bypass the district’s grid.”

Read more from the Imperial Valley Press


Aquafornia news Imperial Valley Press

IID Modifies Attic Insulation Rebate Program to Benefit More Customers

From the Imperial Valley Press:

“In an effort to extend energy savings benefits to more Imperial Irrigation District customers, the IID Board of Directors on Tuesday, approved modifications to the district’s attic insulation Energy Rewards Program, according to a press release from the district.”

Read more from the Imperial Valley Press


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Study: Geothermal Plants Trigger Small Quakes Near San Andreas Fault

From the Los Angeles Times:

“The geothermal power plants at Southern California’s Salton Sea don’t just produce electricity, they also trigger thousands of temblors not far from one of the West Coast’s most dangerous earthquake faults, a new study says.
Aquafornia news KCET Rewire blog

Blog: Study – Renewable Energy Production Causing Earthquakes in California

From the KCET Rewire blog:

“A study published Thursday in the journal Science has linked geothermal energy production in the Salton Sea area with an increase in local earthquakes.”

Read more from the Rewire blog


Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Climate Change Report: Weather, Rising Seas Imperil Power Plants

From the Los Angeles Times:

“Power plants across the country are at increased risk of temporary shutdown and reduced power generation as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise and water becomes less available, the Energy Department said Thursday.
Aquafornia news Associated Press

Northern Californians Urged to Conserve Power

From the Associated Press:

“Northern Californians sweltering in a heat wave are being urged to reduce power consumption for the next two days to maintain electrical reserves and avoid the possibility of outages.

“The California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the state’s grid, said a so-called Flex Alert will be in effect from Monday through Tuesday evening.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Clean Power Expected to Tweak Policies at Meeting

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

“Sonoma County officials are set to debut a fledgling public power agency next week by taking on several key decisions in the first open meeting of the Sonoma Clean Power Authority.”

Read more from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat


Aquafornia news New York Times

Obama Readying Emissions Limits on Power Plants

From The New York Times:

“President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, senior officials said Wednesday.”

Read more from The New York Times


Aquafornia news Tehachapi News

Bear Valley Planning for Solar to Power Water Pumps

From the Tehachapi News:

“A plan to develop solar power for water pumps that serve Bear Valley Springs is under consideration by the Bear Valley Community Services District.”

Read more from the Tehachapi News


Western Water Magazine

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality: A Cause for Concern?
September/October 2012

This printed issue of Western Water looks at hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in California. Much of the information in the article was presented at a conference hosted by the Groundwater Resources Association of California.