Despite droughts, the recession and natural disasters,
California’s urban population continues to grow.
This population growth means increasing demand for water by urban
areas—home to most of California’s population [see also
Agricultural Conservation]. As of 2012, seven of the most
populated urbanized areas in the United States are in California.
The California Water Board released a Caution Advisory for
harmful algae blooms Monday in Lake Oroville. The blooms of
algae were discovered in the Middle Fork of the lake, according
to an advisory released on the board’s Twitter Monday.
In Part I of this series, we looked at the daily operations of
Folsom Reservoir this past winter from January through March to
see how much water from the reservoir was released or lost from
the system as “spills”. Here in Part II, we address the same
daily operations of Folsom Reservoir for the primary spring
months of April and May.
The bill would require the Bureau of Reclamation to fast-track
feasibility studies for four specific storage projects in the
Central Valley, including Sites Reservoir, Del Puerto Canyon
Reservoir, Los Vaqueros and San Luis Reservoirs, and provides
$100 million in storage funding. The bill also leverages
federal resources to identify prime locations for groundwater
storage and recharge in California and across the Western
The 1969 fire was not the first time the Cuyahoga River caught
ablaze — it had burned at least a dozen times since the end of
the Civil War — but it was the last. The Cuyahoga wasn’t the
only river to catch fire, either. Between the 1850s and 1950s,
urban waterways nationwide were routinely used as open sewers
and dumping grounds for debris and pollution of all kinds, no
matter how flammable.
Conversations in the Colorado River basin about impending
wide-ranging water shortages has created an anxiety in pockets
of the West. It’s akin to a modern folk tale, a story passed
from one person to the next, that one day water will be so
scarce, whole communities will see their faucets turned off.
That hasn’t happened on a wide scale, but this winter Paonia
got a taste of that possible future.
In the third year of the Trump administration, Congress and the
White House have repeatedly discussed a multi-trillion dollar
investment in the country’s roads, dams, levees,
telecommunication networks, power grids, drinking water pipes,
and sewage treatment plants. Neither side has agreed on such a
plan, and a deal seems out of reach at the moment.
Most of the settlement money — more than $580 million of it —
will go to agencies affected by the Camp Fire, including Butte
County and the nearly destroyed town of Paradise. Another $415
million will be divvied up among a long list of agencies
affected by the 2017 blazes, including Sonoma County, the city
of Santa Rosa, Napa County and the city of Napa.
A trial began last week in the suit, filed in 2017, claiming
the city pumped, diverted or discharged excess storm water into
the normally dry bed of Swan Lake, which overflowed during the
winter of 2016-17. It says the flood was exacerbated by
unchecked development in the area, where street paving
eliminated ground that normally would have absorbed rainfall
Santa Monica College professor Dr. Sheila Laffey knows a thing
or two about protecting the environment. When she’s not grading
papers and student documentaries, the former Program
Coordinator for the National Audubon Society in Hawaii directs
her own films, a majority of her oeuvre focusing on humanity’s
relationship to the environment.
It only took 18 years, but the county is finally closing in on
an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for 15,000
acre-feet of water. … The water will be taken annually from
Folsom Reservoir or from an exchange on the American River
upstream from Folsom Reservoir.
The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) requires
water users to develop plans to bring their basins into balance
in coming years and encourages wide public participation in the
planning process. Knowing some of the vocabulary is key to
engaging in the conversation. This glossary will get you
Most of the seven states that get water from the Colorado River
have signed off on plans to keep the waterway from crashing
amid a prolonged drought, climate change and increased demands.
But California and Arizona have not, missing deadlines from the
With some local agencies just months away from a deadline to
complete groundwater management plans, local and state
officials acknowledge there have been a few speed bumps in
distributing grant funding for planning and implementation. But
observers say they expect the grant process overall to benefit
groups working to comply with provisions of the Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act.
For almost half of California’s communities, the engineering
studies supporting flood insurance rate maps are over 20 years
old. Less than 30,000 miles of the State’s 180,000 stream miles
have been mapped by the National Flood Insurance Program, and
less than 23% of the flood-mapped river miles are designated as
Water is a complex problem on Earth: Some places get far too
little of it and some get far too much. That’s why NASA and its
international partners are tracking the flow of freshwater
across the world in hopes of improving access to it for the
billions of us who depend on it.
Awash in precious snow and water that will help meet the
demands of the state’s 40 million residents, the wetness also
is forcing California to confront an even greater threat of
wildfire. The soaking spring nourishing the Jeffrey pines and
sagebrush is giving way to a desert dry as soaring heat
scorches the new growth into blankets of kindling.
Customers of the Fontana Water Company saw increases in their
water bills the past three years, and now even more increases
could be on the way. Earlier this year, San Gabriel Valley
Water Company filed a general rate case application with the
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to increase water
rates in Fontana by more than 20 percent over a three-year
The California Climate & Agriculture Network called the State
Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program the most popular of
the Climate Smart Agriculture Programs, and the only program
that offered incentives for on-farm water conservation
While those in San Francisco worry about a large earthquake, in
Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties, when residents think about
“the big one,” they should be thinking about a flood.
Fortunately, we know how to meet this challenge – starting with
these key steps.
All options are still on the table in developing a wastewater
treatment system in Los Olivos, but the community needs to pick
one quickly — before the state takes over the decision,
according to the Los Olivos Community Services District.
Up for debate will be a series of adjustments to water rates
and service fees charged for providing potable (drinking) water
service to more than 20,000 residential customers. If the
adjustments are approved, DSRSD officials estimate the average
single-family residential customer will see an annual increase
averaging about $40…
Combat climate change, or clean up California’s water? Those
alarmed by the Legislature’s decision to dip into a greenhouse
gas fund to pay for clean drinking water may need to get used
to it: constitutional restrictions on spending that money are
set to expire in 2021. At issue is the decision to address one
environmental crisis—the lack of clean water for one million
Californians—with money set aside for fighting another: climate
The 13 acres was part of a 56 acre parcel bought in 1966 for
$34,333 to establish land disposal for the municipal wastewater
treatment plant. Technology changes have eliminated the need
for the land to dispose of treated wastewater. Those changes
are what allowed the city to develop the 30-acre complex as
well as create a 29-acre parcel for an indoor waterpark…
Rivers around the world are struggling to cope with changing
weather patterns. … California is emerging from a six-year
drought1 that restricted water supplies and devastated trees,
fish and other aquatic life. Across the US southwest, extended
dry spells are destroying many more forests and wetlands. What
should river managers do?
The City of Lathrop has taken another step towards achieving
the long-awaited goal of being able to discharge tertiary
treated wastewater into the San Joaquin River. With the
approval of the Lathrop City Council, the city is now in a
contract with Ascent Environmental to initiate the
environmental documentation necessary to acquire the permit to
discharge of water from the city’s water treatment plant into
the river – a move that could pay sweeping dividends to the
city in the future.
The question of whether the Colorado River system is a reliable
source of water for the future was the topic of a presentation
held at the Washington County Water Conservancy District on
Thursday. … Utah is entitled to 23%, or about 1.4 million
acre feet under the compact. Utah currently uses 1 million acre
feet, Millis said. This leaves the state with 400,000 acre feet
to left to develop.
Native California flora such as oaks, mugwort and monkeyflower
are vital in watershed habitats to filter pollutants and
prevent erosion. But theses species have often succumbed to
quickly spreading disease. When the San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission had to plant these natives in the Alameda
Creek Watershed, it took extreme measures to prevent infection,
but they were ineffective. So now, the commission is growing
its own native plants. If successful, the project could provide
a new model for restoring disease-ravaged ecosystems.
After years of defending its proposed water grab from our
region’s rivers, the state Water Board chose to ignore all
science and impose orders to take the water anyway. Likewise,
until recently when Gov. Newsom wisely said “no” to the twin
tunnels, the state insisted on devastating the Delta by
stubbornly refusing to consider alternatives. And five years
after passage of the historic 2014 water bond, no new water
storage facilities have even started construction.
Here’s a safe prediction: Generations to come will be thankful
for everything done today to protect the Russian River. Here’s
another: Restoring and preserving the river’s health will
become more challenging and expensive each time action is
The Golden State is cursed with some of the finest weather and
richest soil on earth. Its luminous skies and airy loam have
been crucial to California’s transformation into our most
populous and agriculturally most bountiful state. But
capricious nature has withheld one essential resource needed to
sustain this dizzying growth—water. In his sprawling,
provocative book “The Dreamt Land,” journalist Mark Arax
examines California’s long-building water crisis with the keen,
loving, troubled eye of a native son.
The Los Angeles River is on the verge of a new era. In the few
years since the flood control channel was reclassified as a
“navigable waterway,” the region has re-embraced its oddball
amalgam of concrete and nature, which winds roughly 51 miles
from the San Fernando Valley out to the ocean in Long Beach. A
$1-billion-plus plan to restore 11 miles north of Downtown LA
is (slowly) working its way through federal approvals.
Blythe is on the California side of the Colorado River where
Interstate 10 crosses, with a freeway fast food/motel strip and
the sort of beleaguered economy you see in desert ag towns of
the Lower Colorado. Average per capita annual income here is
$16,329, just 55 percent of the state average, according to the
U.S. Census Bureau. I have a few different stories about why my
life is so entwined with the Colorado River. This is one of
Pollution in the oceans of the world is a major problem. It’s
also a problem close to shore. But a relatively small invention
called the Seabin is making a big difference in cleaning San
Diego’s coastal waters.
The agencies want ideas for actions needed now to help
California cope with more extreme droughts and floods, rising
temperatures, year-round wildfires, species declines, aging
infrastructure, contaminated water supplies and changing
demands for water. The input will help determine priorities and
identify complementary actions to ensure safe and dependable
water supplies, flood protection and healthy waterways for the
state’s communities, economy and environment.
The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge
facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert,
was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10
years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the
San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water
Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of
The states that share the river completed a drought plan
earlier this year that brings them closer to living within
currently available supplies, and a new round of negotiations
on long-term management of the river is due to begin next year.
However, a new report warns that planning for gradually
declining water supplies, as difficult as that is, may not be
enough to adequately prepare for the future.
The proposed rule changes include an expansion of “categorical
exclusions.” These are often billed as tools that give land
managers the discretion to bypass full-blown environmental
studies in places where they can demonstrate there would be no
severe impacts or degradation to the land.
The agreement on how to address dwindling reservoir levels
along the Colorado River comes after years of negotiation
between two nations, seven states, ten tribes, and the
countless internal interests involved. TPR presents the
following interview with Metropolitan Water District General
Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger discussing how a complex consensus
among the parties was finally reached…
The Amethyst Basin flood control and groundwater recharge
facility, aimed at meeting the water needs of the High Desert,
was formally dedicated on Thursday. The 27.4-acre project, 10
years in the making, has been a cooperative effort between the
San Bernardino County Flood Control District, the Mojave Water
Agency, the City of Victorville and California Department of
The San Diego Water Board is asking 10 local agencies,
including the city and county of San Diego, to curtail the flow
of human fecal matter into the San Diego River. The problem has
gotten worse over the last few years to the point it’s being
compared with similar issues along the U.S.-Mexico border,
according to the state agency that monitors the region’s water
Senate Republicans lambasted the previous administration’s
water regulations as a federal power grab Wednesday in a
hearing on the new policy rolled out by President Donald Trump.
The Environmental Protection Agency revised the rule known as
Waters of the United States in December, following Trump’s 2017
executive order aimed at minimizing regulations and promoting
The possible residential and commercial development of the
Northern Waterfront area received a boost Tuesday night as the
Vallejo City Council approved spending $200,000 to have 1.51
acres of wetlands filled in with soil. … An initial 8.8 acres
was filled by 1994 before the permit expired. Through a second
permit, city hall has until November 2020 to fill the remaining
Governor Newsom has stated that he supports a single
tunnel—building on the planning and analysis for modernized
conveyance in the Delta done to date with an increased focus on
how to make the project work for the Delta communities. …
Under this direction, the Department of Water Resources (DWR)
will launch a new environmental review and planning process
toward the end of this year.
An algal bloom in Black Butte Lake could be harmful and even
deadly if visitors or their pets swallow the water, the
California Water Board said Thursday. Regardless of the heat,
boaters, dog owners and other recreational users of the lake
are asked to be aware of the dangers in the water since harmful
algal blooms (HABs) were found in a recent water test.
The Northern California summer steelhead is closer to being
listed under the state’s Endangered Species Act as the state
Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously 4-0 on Wednesday at
its June meeting in Redding to review the species’ status over
the next year.
Increasing Upper Colorado River Basin water use by just 11.5
percent would double the risk that the Upper Basin fails to
have enough water to meet its obligations under the Colorado
River Compact, according to a new modeling study to be rolled
out in a big meeting in Grand Junction, Colorado, next week.
San Mateo County officials are moving forward on a green
infrastructure plan that aims to transform the urban landscape
and storm drainage systems. The plan will help the county
transition from relying solely on traditional drain
infrastructure, which allows stormwater to flow directly into
drains and bodies of water, to a more environmentally friendly
model that disperses runoff to vegetated areas and collects it
for nonpotable uses.
California water regulators received a federal rebuke this week
over an incomplete water quality plan submission. Feeling the
irony, Tri-Dam Project partners, the Oakdale (OID) and South
San Joaquin (SSJID) irrigation districts, which hold senior
water rights on the Stanislaus River and are among over two
dozen agencies suing the State Water Resources Control Board,
were quick to comment.
As part of the budget negotiations, lawmakers shelved Gov.
Gavin Newsom’s controversial “water tax” that would have raised
$140 million a year to help low-income communities finally
clean up their contaminated water systems. Instead, lawmakers
plan to fund the much-needed water cleanups with $100 million a
year in cap-and-trade dollars — money that is paid to the state
by polluters and which is legally required to be spent on
projects to reduce the greenhouse gases responsible for global
A new law signed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is designed to
provide legal protections to those who drill wells into
underground streams they are not legally entitled to tap. The
measure repeals existing laws that make it a crime when a well
owner “uses water to which another is entitled.” … Now, that
criminal penalty will be available only when someone knew they
were breaking the law.
An attempt to restore the population of endangered Southern
California steelhead trout living in the Santa Ynez River is
being opposed by some jurisdictions that rely on the river and
Cachuma Lake for their water supply.
The newly-adopted regulations create a new statewide wetland
definition that expands to features not previously covered
under federal law and creates a new permitting program for
activities that result in the discharge of dredge or fill
materials to any Waters of the State. … At the recent
Nossaman Land Use Seminar, attorney and partner Mary Lynn
Coffee gave an overview of the new regulations.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, though, a faint
fixed pattern becomes discernible among the randomness, a quiet
but strengthening note against a background symphony. Some
regions—California, the Mediterranean, Australia—dry out. It is
a small, almost imperceptible-to-humans drying, but it is a
pattern that no natural cycle can reproduce.
An on-again, off-again effort by state regulators to better
protect the Russian River and its tributaries against failing
septic systems, livestock waste and other potential sources of
bacterial contamination is in its final stages, with hopes that
an action plan for the entire watershed will be approved this
August and go into effect next year.
The rate hikes follow an increase of nearly 20 percent over the
past two years. EBMUD officials said the average single-family
residential customer using 200 gallons of water a day will see
their bill rise by $3.62 per month starting on July 1 and
another $3.73 per month on July 1, 2020. … The water district
says it needs to increase its water rates in order to upgrade
its pipes and infrastructure.
After seven years of drought in California that drained
aquifers and brought many farmers to the brink, legislators in
Sacramento crafted a bunch of rules governing water usage.
Those rules, many of which kick in next year, cap how much
water farmers and cities can use. The regulations have caused a
lot of anger and panic in the farming community. But also…a
lot of innovation.
A new proposed rule from the U.S. Forest Service designed to
make environmental reviews more efficient would shortcut
important oversight of industry plans, environmentalists say.
The rule comes after months of complaints by President Trump
that the agency is mismanaging forests and not doing enough to
prevent fires in California and other states.
Climate variability, competition for water from other users
including urban and environmental, and groundwater depletion
threaten the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. To face
these challenges, the irrigation industry must develop and
adopt innovative technologies and management practices that
optimize economic outcomes, while also minimizing environmental
Jason Mead at Wyoming’s Water Development Office says more dams
could help ranchers survive the coming droughts, but some
scientists say, building more dams might actually worsen
climate change. University of Wyoming soil scientist Jay Norton
says, dams that manage for flood control, for example, could
have a damaging effect.
Today subverted water is reappearing in inconvenient ways
because we have constrained the space it once had to ebb and
flow, and climate change is amplifying storms and droughts. To
cope, cities are increasingly funneling runoff into green
infrastructure such as permeable pavement and bioswales. But a
scientific research center, the San Francisco Estuary Institute
(SFEI), is proposing a more ambitious approach…
Championed by state and local water planners and decried by
conservation groups, the Lake Powell Pipeline project continues
to be a focal point for discussion among Southern Utah
residents. As to the current status of the pipeline project, a
public comment period connected to a permitting process
overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – more
commonly known as FERC – recently concluded.
Earlier this week, environmental activists and people who lack
access to clean water rallied on the capitol steps to urge
state lawmakers to act. Among them were longtime labor activist
Dolores Huerta and Susana De Anda, executive director and
co-founder of Community Water Center. She joins Insight to
discuss the issue of unhealthy water and its impact on
communities. UC Davis associate professor and faculty lead of
the Center for Regional Change, Jonathan London, discusses his
research on the regions and people who lack access to clean
Many factors go into making political deals – ideology,
self-interest, expediency and emotion to mention just a few.
Logic rarely enters the equation, and if it does, it usually
dwells at the bottom in importance.
The Paradise Irrigation District is still working to restore
clean water to the ridge. So far, the district is making big
strides toward turning non-potable water into drinking water in
the town. The district put a call out for volunteers in the
Camp Fire burn scar that would be willing to let them test
their water for the first two weeks of June.
Through the Airborne Snow Observatory program, NASA and
California’s Department of Water Resources use instruments
mounted on airplanes to create high resolution estimates of
snow water content for priority watersheds in the Western U.S.
The collected data helps determine the timing of the spring
melt, which has downstream effects on hydroelectric power
generation and planning for how much water can be held in
Like 90 percent of his neighbors, Doug Teeter lost his home in
last November’s Camp Fire. … Little has been done in
Teeter’s opinion to ensure the health of people living in the
Camp Fire burn zone, who are bathing in and in some cases
drinking potentially contaminated water.
California is at the epicenter of major natural and human
created disasters. At the top of that list are fires, floods
and earthquakes. … As fire season is now upon us, with
warnings of excessive heat, Mark Ghilarducci, the director of
Cal OES joins Insight to talk about fire, floods and
A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky
Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the
southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening
to push rivers over their banks.
The effort, particularly in California, amounted to a wholesale
re-engineering of the existing hydrology to suit the needs of
ranchers and farmers. It was “California’s irrigated miracle,”
as Mark Arax calls it in his new book, “the greatest human
alteration of a physical environment in history.” “The Dreamt
Land” is Arax’s exhaustive, deeply reported account of this
Nestlé, the world’s largest bottled water company, continues to
take millions of gallons of free water from the San Bernardino
National Forest two hours east of Los Angeles, 17 months after
California regulators told them they had no right to much of
what they’d taken in the past. And federal officials are
helping them do it, despite concluding Nestlé is drying up
springs and streams and damaging a watershed.
Clean water is a human right, essential to good health and to
the resiliency of California. Yet, more than one million people
from every region of our state have unsafe water at home.
California is the fifth largest economy in the world, but for
far too long, the state has neglected the basic right to safe
Less than a year after the Camp Fire became the deadliest blaze
in state history, California is once against facing a spate of
wildfires that threaten its residents and land. There have been
nearly 240 wildfires in California over the past week, causing
one evacuation and two power shut-offs while fire fighters and
utility companies attempt to prevent another catastrophe.
California’s largest farming region faces two linked
challenges: balancing groundwater supply and demand in
overdrafted basins, and addressing water quality in the
region’s aquifers. We talked to Ashley Boren, executive
director of Sustainable Conservation, about tackling these
issues in the San Joaquin Valley.
Domestic well users in some areas were greatly impacted by
additional agricultural groundwater pumping during California’s
2012-2016 drought… Implementation of the 2014 Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) should improve long-term
groundwater availability during drought for all system users by
requiring groundwater management to avoid significant and
unreasonable impacts of decreased groundwater levels.
The California Farm Water Coalition (CFWC) continues its effort
to better educate urban water users about the issues the
agricultural industry is working to overcome. The coalition has
been shifting its focus to deliver information to a more select
group of consumers in order to have the most beneficial impact.
A second plant, similar to Carlsbad, is being built in
Huntington Beach, Calif., with the same 50-million-gallon-a-day
capability. Currently there are 11 desalination plants in
California, and 10 more are proposed. … For decades, we have
been told it would one day turn oceans of salt water into fresh
and quench the world’s thirst. But progress has been slow. That
is now changing, as desalination is coming into play in many
places around the world.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer touted an infrastructure investment of
more than $700 million, the largest in the city’s history. A
large portion of that spending will fund construction of the
Pure Water program, which the city says will produce one-third
of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.
Water officials struck with the task of hammering out a plan to
manage Santa Clarita Valley groundwater are looking for seven
people to serve as the agency’s advisory group. … “We need
their input to move ahead,” Tara Bravo, spokeswoman for SV
Strategies, told the Santa Clarita Valley Groundwater
Sustainability Agency board.
The Coachella Valley Water District board of directors voted
4-0 on Tuesday to increase domestic water rates by an average
of $1.82 per month, effective July 1. The final rate was lower
than the average $5.62 rate hike recommended by staff, who had
outlined the need for important upgrades to infrastructure,
including replacing miles of water mains and scores of
reservoirs requiring inspections and rehabilitation.
Earlier this year, the seven states that rely on Colorado River
water signed a collective drought contingency plan. At a
conference last week in Colorado, Arizona Department of Water
Resources Director Tom Buschatzke said his state will take
about half of the water reductions under that plan when a
California is looking to scale up this strategy. The snowpack
that historically has supplied water into the dry spring and
summer is predicted to largely disappear with the climate
crisis. And its winter storms are predicted to grow more
intense. Water managers and scientists, led by the California
Department of Water Resources, are looking for the best places
to move water from winter storms underground for use during the
A Marin Audubon project that seeks to restore lost wetlands and
bolster sea-level rise defenses for San Rafael’s Canal
neighborhood cleared a major funding hurdle on Friday after
being awarded a nearly $1 million grant. The San Francisco Bay
Restoration Authority voted unanimously to fulfill Marin
Audubon’s request for $985,300 to conduct an environmental
review and design its planned restoration and expansion of the
20-acre Tiscornia Marsh.
Facing an $81 million shortfall, the Coachella Valley Water
District’s board will vote on a potential rate hike Tuesday
that their staff says is necessary to replace badly corroded —
and in some cases leaking — pipes and other infrastructure. The
increase would cost the average residential or business
customer about $5.62 per month, but would only cover two years
worth of the projected deficit.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Monday filed a
comment letter opposing a U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
plan to open up more CA CCD Kettleman hillsthan one million
acres of public lands in Central California to oil and gas
drilling, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Ventura’s elected officials on Monday heard details about the
city’s current water situation, accepting a recommendation to
remain in a Stage 3 drought. … Monday’s action doesn’t mean
rates will go up — rates will remain the same through fiscal
year 2019-20, at least — but it means they won’t go down
either, as they would for some users were the city to leave the
As the West faces more demand for water and less water
available to meet that demand, decision makers are working to
figure out how Colorado could implement recently signed
agreements to reduce water use in the Colorado River basin,
which includes the Yampa River.
The state issued a “no drinking” order for the 364 homes and
businesses because of elevated nitrate levels, a contaminant
linked to “blue baby” syndrome. Within a couple days, emergency
hookups to two neighboring agencies were in place, allowing
people to again drink the tap water. But that supply depends on
fire hoses that wind along roadsides – a connection all agree
has a short shelf life.
Shorelines in South Bay San Diego will never be fully immune
from the sewage and chemical pollution that flows north from
Mexico over the border through canyons and the Tijuana River.
However, beach closures triggered by contaminated stormwater
and Tijuana’s leaky sewer system can be dramatically reduced…
That was the message last week from President Trump’s U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, which released the most
comprehensive blueprint to date…
California legislative leaders agreed Sunday to spend $130
million a year to improve water systems in communities where
people can’t drink from their taps… To pay for it, the state
would tap a fund dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas
emissions, a move that alarmed some environmental activists who
say its set up an unfair choice between clean air and water.
Ventura Water officials are recommending the city stay in a
Stage 3 Water Shortage Event, a position it’s been in for
nearly five years. … Stage 3 was first set by city officials
in September 2014, as the state was in the midst of a
years-long drought. It means the city’s projected
water supply is between 20% and 29% below a normal year’s
Despite all the rain locally, water rates could be going up for
more than 30,000 city residents served by Camrosa Water
District. According to a five-year water rate study released
last month, Camrosa proposes residential water rate increases
each year through July 2023.
Transferring the canal to local control is likely good news for
the 500,000 residents of East and Central Contra Costa County
who depend upon the 48-mile-long canal for at least a portion
of their water supply.
The San Francisco Peninsula city opened its $30 million sewage
sludge processing facility, replacing an incinerator operating
since 1972. As part of Palo Alto’s regional water quality
control plant, the project funded by California Water Board
loans is designed to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, eliminate a hazardous waste stream and reduce energy
Central Valley residents know their land is sinking. They’ve
seen cracks in their walls, holes in their roads, and soil
that’s started to slowly disappear below the foundation of
their homes. Though the agricultural hub is still reeling from
one of the worst droughts in California history, its encounter
with subsidence — the gradual caving in of land — is far from
The DA’s lawsuit alleges that Monterey Mushrooms’ growing
facility on Hale Avenue violated multiple Fish and Game and
Business and Professions laws from 2012 to 2017. Specifically,
the DA’s office states the facility allowed its farm production
waste and other wastewater to flow into Fisher Creek and its
tributaries, which border the north Morgan Hill facility.
A new study analyzes patterns of urban irrigation and
vegetation health during extreme drought. Its findings could
inform urban water conservation and water infrastructure
development under climate pressures.
Anderson Valley Unified School District on Tuesday held its
public opening ceremony to celebrate new gardens and rainwater
catchment systems designed to improve the district’s stormwater
pollution prevention infrastructure.
With temperatures soaring and strong winds blowing through
forests across Northern California over the weekend, rural
areas in the Sierra Nevada foothills plunged into darkness
after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. shut off high-voltage
transmission lines to avoid sparking wildfires. The first
formal deployment of its new “public safety power shutoff”
rules left more than 20,500 PG&E customers in portions of
Butte and Yuba counties without power…
Members of EPA’s Science Advisory Board grappled with whether
and how to weigh in on the Trump administration’s rollback of
clean water standards given the administration’s insistence
that the proposal is a question of policy, not science. “They
have the right to change the policy, but the science isn’t
right,” member Robert Merritt said.
The people of Santa Clarita Valley are invited to weigh in on
water issues Monday afternoon, when members of the SCV
Groundwater Sustainability Agency is scheduled to meet.
Concerns about local water resources and, of course,
groundwater, are expected to dominate discussion.
For the deal to come together, Newsom had to abandon his
proposed $140-million tax on residential, commercial and
agricultural water users — money he said was needed for helping
communities without a reliable source of clean drinking water.
… Instead, lawmakers will spend $133.4 million on clean water
projects, with the lion’s share of the cash coming from
proceeds raised by the sale of greenhouse gas emission credits
— the centerpiece of California’s cap-and-trade program.
There is nothing new about political divisions in California.
Congested coastal cities skew from moderately liberal to
relentlessly progressive. Rural inland regions, with vast and
bountiful fields, range from independent to hardcore
conservative. But the state’s divided political tribes may have
found a unifying goal — safe, sustainable drinking water.
The bankruptcy proceedings surrounding Pacific Gas and Electric
could pose a risk to the reliability of water supplies to
nearly 300,000 residents in parts of Placer and Nevada
counties, according to reports issued by the Placer County
Water Agency and the Nevada Irrigation District.
Members of the Tuolumne Utilities District gave California
water leaders a tour focused on the challenges the county faces
when it comes to water supply, with hopes that it will bring
This year, we are blessed with an abundant supply of snow
storage in the Sierra. But the inability to bank this bounty,
beyond our existing reservoirs, is a serious missed
opportunity. This wonderful wet winter will ironically elevate
political complacency around one of the state’s most vital
necessities – a reliable and sustainable water supply.
The Russian River watershed was once a stronghold for Central
California’s coho salmon population, but Obedzinski says things
like extreme habitat loss and drought years have led to the
downturn. According to California Sea Grant, the state’s coho
has dwindled down to an estimated 15% of its population in the
In a first-of-its-kind move, the Fox Canyon Groundwater
Management Agency agreed to pay up to $3 million to help
recharge overstressed groundwater resources in Ventura County.
The money will buy roughly 15,000 acre-feet of water, which
started spilling out of Santa Felicia Dam at Lake Piru on
Americans consume more than 70,000 microplastic particles every
year from the food they eat, the water they drink, and the air
they breathe, according to a new study published in the journal
Environmental Science & Technology. Scientists warn that while
the health impacts of ingesting these tiny particles are
largely unknown, there is potential for the plastic to enter
human tissues and cause an immune response, as well as release
toxic chemicals into the body.
California is sinking. Literally. Right before our eyes, even
as we struggle to see it. In parts of the state’s Central
Valley, the 50-mile-wide and 400-mile-long agricultural engine
of America immortalized by John Steinbeck and Joan Didion, the
earth is receding back into itself at a rate of more than a
foot per year. Why? The ceaseless drilling and pumping of water
to fuel a region that produces one quarter of the nation’s
Local officials plan to huddle over the next few weeks to pick
a strategy to control the region’s cross-border pollution
problem. … Since April, more than 110 million gallons of
sewage-tainted water has flowed into the Tijuana Estuary in the
United States and out to the ocean.
Assemblyman Adam Gray’s bill, which he calls the Inland
California Healthy Communities Act, would provide a good start
at the expense of a relatively few wealthy gamblers. … Smart
ones deduct gambling losses from state and federal income
taxes, costing California $320 million a year on the former.
That’s money we could keep by simply discontinuing state
deductions for wagering losses, Gray figures.
Dr. Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water
Resources, says while we would like to believe we are returning
to the days when California rain and snowfall averages were
normal more years than not, there is little or no indication
that is the case. … “We’ll never be in a place where we can
coast or just relax on water issues.”
In an effort to spur development of new residential
construction City Council approved a temporary reduction in
developer impact fees… The city will temporarily waive the
$1,649 water impact fee, $1,898 sewer impact fee and the $2,150
residential water connection fee.
It can be difficult to precisely define a drought in a state
known for being hot and dry. … Arizona and the Southwest’s
standards for drought are far different from standards in other
parts of the country that may be wetter or have the capacity to
store large volumes of groundwater.
The US Navy is seeking ideas to improve water and energy
resilience for bases on two islands off the coast of
California: San Clemente and San Nicolas. … The Navy hopes to
collaborate with private industry “to develop holistic energy
and water solutions” on the islands, according to the white
The state has created a visual guide with photos to help users
recognize harnful algal blooms (HABs)… Direct exposure to a
HAB, if it is toxin-producing, can result in eye irritation,
skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea, or cold and
flu-like symptoms. Pets can be especially susceptible, because
they tend to drink while in the water and lick their fur
Woodland’s water is cleaner and safer to drink than in the
past, according to the just-released 2018 Water Quality Report.
The report, presented to the City Council this week, shows
minimal levels of cancer-causing chemicals that were present
years ago when the city still relied on well water. Today the
city obtains its water from the Sacramento River after which is
treated and delivered to homes and businesses.
Following through on its threats, on May 21 the group Save the
El Dorado Canal filed suit against the El Dorado Irrigation
District over plans to pipe the El Dorado Canal (also called
the Upper Main Ditch) in Pollock Pines. … The canal is seen
as a historical, environmental and recreational asset in the
community as well as a conveyance that protects and enhances
The agency was incorporated in 1956 by Matthew P. Flynn and
eventually handed down to his son F. Patrick Flynn and later
grandsons Timothy and Thomas Flynn, who jointly negotiated this
week’s acquisition. … Four years ago, the brothers began
looking for a larger company to take over the business, citing
strict state water regulations and the rising costs of
infrastructure improvements as primary reasons for selling.
Lake Powell is benefitting considerably from this year’s runoff
following a strong snow year in the Rocky Mountains. The lake
has risen 16 feet in the last month and is experiencing an
inflow of 128% the average.
Seven months ago, the California Camp Fire ravaged through
Butte County destroying thousands of homes and ruining crucial
infrastructure. Water is still unsafe to drink and toxic debris
is still waiting to be taken away.
Local leaders and representatives of several federal agencies
met Wednesday to look for a solution to the ongoing sewage
spills contaminating the Tijuana River Valley and the shoreline
from Imperial Beach to Coronado.
The water district would reroute an average 2.32 million
gallons a day of the about 8 million gallons a day of treated
wastewater otherwise discharged into the Monterey Bay Marine
Sanctuary. … Pure Water Soquel’s final product would then be
pumped back into underground aquifers, depleted due to decades
of overpumping, to replenish the Mid-County region’s major
At the spring conference of the Association of California Water
Agencies, a panel discussion brought together groundwater
managers in four critically overdrafted basins to discuss their
near-term goals and regional challenges in complying with the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
A coalition of California residents affected by unsafe drinking
water held a symbolic “water strike” at the Capitol on
Wednesday, pressing lawmakers to fund a plan that would clean
up their water sources.
As the sun sets on California’s solar farms, a backup energy
source deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains springs to life. The
huge system of reservoirs and turbines can store energy during
the day and then crank out electricity for 900,000 homes, using
just water and gravity. As the state tries to make wind and
solar work around the clock, officials want to build more like
it. It won’t be easy: such projects take years to develop, are
expensive and face stiff opposition.
A plan to underground about 2.5 miles of the Escondido Canal
through and near the San Pasqual Indian reservation has moved
forward with an agreement reached recently for Escondido to pay
the tribe for an easement through its land. The 14-mile-long
Escondido Canal transports water from Lake Henshaw to Lake
Wohlford where it is stored for use by Escondido and Vista
Irrigation District consumers.
First adopted in 2013 amid drying wells over the basin, the
county offset ordinance put a theoretical moratorium on
agricultural pumping. But the policy is set to expire later
this year when North County leaders adopt a basin-wide
sustainability plan—even though that plan could take another
several years to fully take effect.
Each year, humans produce, prescribe, and ingest more
antibiotics than they did the year before. … But the drugs’
influence persists in the environment long after they’ve done
their duty in human bodies. In a new study that surveyed 91
rivers around the world, researchers found antibiotics in the
waters of nearly two-thirds of all the sites they sampled…
The Obama administration violated the law when it issued its
embattled definition of “waters of the United States,” a
federal court ruled yesterday. In a long-awaited decision, the
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas sided
with three states and a coalition of agriculture and industry
groups that have been trying to take down the joint EPA and
Army Corps of Engineers rule since 2015.
This segment contains two interviews: In the first, KVPR
reporter Kerry Klein sheds light on what this document says and
does, and shares how San Joaquin Valley residents have
responded. In the second, Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback
explains some fracking basics, including what is and isn’t
known about the technique’s impact on the environment.
Last week three local entities — California Trout, Mendocino
County Inland Water and Power Commission (IWPC) and Sonoma
Water — announced they will be signing a project planning
agreement with the hopes of looking at pathways to relicense
the Potter Valley Project. The Potter Valley Project is a
hydropower project that sits in the middle of the Eel River and
Russian River watershed basins and is integral in providing
water to both Mendocino County and northern Sonoma County.
California regulators have approved allowing utilities to cut
off electricity to possibly hundreds of thousands of customers
to avoid catastrophic wildfires like the one sparked by power
lines last year that killed 85 people and largely destroyed the
city of Paradise.
A Pleasanton company has an unusual idea to cool data storage
machines that they say uses a fraction of the energy and cuts
greenhouse gasses. But local environmentalists are against the
plan because of the possible impact it could have on San
On the ground, it’s hard to get a fix on the Central Valley; it
flashes by as dun-colored monotony — a sun-stunned void beyond
the freeway berms. … But in “The Dreamt Land,” former L.A.
Times reporter Mark Arax makes a riveting case that this
expanse … as much as the world cities on its coast, holds the
key to understanding California.
In order to address the impacts of climate change on the
state’s water resources, the Department of Water Resources
(DWR) has been developing its own comprehensive Climate Action
Plan to guide how DWR is and will continue to address climate
change for programs, projects, and activities over which it has
Hermosa Beach, partnering with neighboring cities, was supposed
to receive the money from the State Water Resources Control
Board to help design and build the Greenbelt Infiltration
Project … meant to help clean the Herondo Drain Watershed,
which has consistently had elevated levels of bacteria. But the
city put the funding in jeopardy in March when the council
voted to dissolve a deal with neighboring cities and instead
find a new home for the project.
Of all the issues that have crossed Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk
during his first 100 days in office, water might very well be
the most complex. … I am an almond grower from Merced County,
and we in the California almond community are all rooting for
the governor, his fellow policymakers and regulators to succeed
in finding viable solutions and common ground.
By the State Water Resources Control Board’s estimates, more
than a million Californians don’t have safe drinking water
flowing through the pipes into their homes. … As Gov. Gavin
Newsom prepares to send his revised $213 billion budget to the
legislature for approval, a trailer bill proposes that the
legislature appropriate $150 million a year to a Safe and
Affordable Drinking Water Fund.
An affiliate of Aberdeen Standard Investments has agreed to buy
the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California for more
than $1 billion, according to people with knowledge of the
matter. A transaction could be announced as soon as this week,
said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because
the matter is private.
The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network’s largest
conservation project to date is moving upstream. This month the
group secured over half a million dollars to complete the
second phase of its effort to improve habitat for endangered
salmon in Lagunitas Creek between the ghost towns of Jewell and
Sentinel Peak Resources has cleared an environmental hurdle
that could allow it to move forward with years-old plans to
increase drilling in the Arroyo Grande Oil Field — but whether
it will or not is still up in the air. The Environmental
Protection Agency granted Sentinel Peak Resources an aquifer
exemption on April 30, exempting portions of the aquifer under
the oil field from protections guaranteed by the federal Safe
Drinking Water Act.
Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the
devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little
Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up
this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to
Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including
scores of homes. Efseaff is floating an idea that some may
think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of
In my 40 years at the California Department of Water Resources,
I have seen changes in climate that have convinced me that the
full picture is changing and our extrapolation methods are
losing value rapidly. This is especially true in extreme years,
wet or dry – such as 2015, when the statistics are just not
going to be accurate enough to meet our growing water
Slurries of mud increasingly threaten the water we drink. This
rush of sediment, known as “debris flow,” is a type of erosion
where mud and boulders in steep catchments suddenly tumble down
the stream channel, often traveling at speeds of several meters
per second. … Last year, California saw mudslides that
destroyed more than 100 homes and killed 21 people.
The plan calls for pumping 8 billion gallons of water in the
first few years, and more than 30 billion gallons over 50
years, from the aquifer adjacent to, and connected with, the
one beneath neighboring Joshua Tree National Park. … A better
use for the land, which ceased to be mined more than 30 years
ago, would be to return it to the fold and make it part of
Joshua Tree National Park.
While wildfire lawsuits have typically targeted electric
utilities and their downed powerlines that ignite the blaze,
some recent lawsuits have also focused on the water systems
that are supposed to provide the water for firefighters to put
out the flames. The group, known as the Coalition for Fire
Protection and Accountability, wants to be included in
legislative efforts to reduce utilities’ liability, a prime
topic of discussion this year following Pacific Gas & Electric
The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water
supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. For example …
many farm workers in California’s Central Valley have to buy
bottled water because their tap water contains unsafe levels of
arsenic and agricultural chemicals that have been linked to
elevated risks of infant death and cancer in adults. … So I
was distressed to hear EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tout
the quality of drinking water in the U.S. in an interview on
March 20, 2019.
Mono and Inyo counties were handed a reprieve by the Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission last Friday. The Commission’s
Division of Hydropower Licensing found Premium Energy’s
application for a closed loop system from reservoirs in the
Owens Gorge to the White Mountains “patently deficient.” That’s
the good news. The FERC did not find the project patently
deficient because of environmental or common sense reasons…
Del Puerto Water District and Central California Irrigation
District have developed the reservoir project without many
public concerns rising to the surface. That was until Patterson
city staff members showed up for Wednesday’s meeting. Maria
Encinas, a city management analyst, asked about a risk
assessment for adjacent communities like Patterson. A failure
in the dam on Del Puerto Creek, on the west side of Interstate
5, would appear to flood part of the city of 23,700, including
perhaps the downtown area in Patterson.
Once again, a big thirsty metropolis is looking at buying
Central Valley farmland with an eye toward boosting its water
supplies. And once again, neighboring farmers are nervous about
it. … And any proposal involving the movement of groundwater
from a rural area creates controversy, especially as farmers
begin to implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management
After several failed attempts, there is momentum this
legislative session to establish a fund for small water
agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water
because of the high treatment costs. But several hurdles remain
before the June 15 deadline for the Legislature to pass a
budget — most precariously, a resistance among lawmakers to tax
millions of residential water users and others while California
enjoys a surplus of more than $21 billion.
Earlier this month the governor’s Drought Interagency
Coordinating Group unanimously voted to inform the governor
that Arizona’s long-running drought declaration should
continue. This means Arizona has been in a state of drought for
more than 20 years, surpassing the worst drought in more than
110 years of record keeping. Now that our drought has been
extended yet again, it leaves many to wonder what it will take
to get us out of this drought.
Even though the Russian River watershed has received roughly
130 percent of the average rainfall this season, it is time to
discuss the impacts of overwatered landscapes as the dry
weather returns and irrigation controllers turn on.
Wastewater agencies produce highly treated water that is
increasingly being reused as a water supply. While it’s still
only a small portion of overall water use, the use of recycled
water has nearly tripled since the 1980s―and is continuing to
rise as water agencies seek to meet the demands of a growing
population and improve the resilience of their water supplies.
California’s rich landscape of rolling hills and steep canyons
has potentially hundreds of thousands of microclimates, which
makes fire prediction an incredible challenge. That’s why
PG&E wants to build a dense network of weather stations,
which they hope will illuminate the humidity, wind speed, and
temperature of Northern California’s varied landscape.
Crescenta Valley Water District’s board of directors have
proposed rate increases for both its water and sewer rates. If
approved, customers could see their combined monthly bills
increase by about $7.
The largest water agency in Silicon Valley has been secretly
negotiating to purchase a sprawling cattle ranch in Merced
County that sits atop billions of gallons of groundwater, a
move that could create a promising new water source — or spark
a political battle between the Bay Area and Central Valley
A congressional bill includes almost $14 million in funding for
water projects in the Central Valley and Northern California.
Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, said he was successful in working
the funding into an Energy and Water Development appropriations
bill that includes spending for infrastructure across the
Steve Frattini, mayor of Herrin, Ill., went to a water
conference a few years ago in California amid a severe drought.
So he started working on a plan to send water to the area. The
water is from the city’s wastewater treatment plant … The
Wastewater Treatment Plant has a rail line nearby that would be
used to transport the water… Initially, Frattini said the
water would go to the area near the Salton Sea in southern
California, a sea that’s been drying up for years.
Despite years of scientific research pointing to prescribed or
“controlled” burns as a successful method of clearing brush and
restoring ecosystems, intentional fire-setting by federal
agencies has declined in much of the West over the last 20
years, the study found. “This suggests that the best available
science is not being adopted into management practices…” the
It took two consulting groups, but a project charter for the
Sierra Valley Flood Hazard Restudy Project is finished and now
approved by members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors
on Tuesday, May 14.
Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East
Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of
legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for
communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the
legislature to support what’s being termed the Safe and
Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It would be financed by the tax
payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on
every water bill in California.
For years, nonprofits, politicians, state agencies and the U.S.
Forest Service have pointed to the East Fork of the upper San
Gabriel River as one of the more polluted fresh water rivers in
the state. This week, Heal the Bay … rated the upper East
Fork and the portion adjacent to the Cattle Canyon picnic area
— exactly where thousands would recreate on summer weekends —
100 percent Green, the highest rating in its 2018 River Report
A public meeting erupted into an impassioned rally in San Luis
Obispo Wednesday night as activists and local residents took
turns bashing a federal plan to resume leasing public land in
Central California to new oil and gas drilling, including
As the Colorado River’s flow declines, water supplies in seven
states are imperiled by potential shortages. That includes
Arizona, which passed legislation outlining steps it would take
if water from the river continues to decrease. But what does a
water shortage mean for Phoenix?
A facility designed to increase water supply reliability for
the Inland area was dedicated in a light rain at the foot of
the hulking Seven Oaks Dam near Highland on Thursday, May 23.
Officials used a new concrete diversion box to move water
rushing from the dam to a new sedimentation basin and beyond.
The water is intended to spread out and seep into a groundwater
basin, which officials have said is historically low due to a
The Kern County Water Agency supports the state’s “reset” to a
one-tunnel approach because it is more cost effective and still
prepares California’s water system for earthquakes and climate
change while protecting the Delta’s fish and communities.
An investigation into the Bay Conservation and Development
Commission found mismanagement and disorganization so rampant
that the once-celebrated watchdog agency allegedly neglected
its primary responsibility — to protect San Francisco Bay. A
state audit of the regulatory agency known as the BCDC
describes slow and inefficient enforcement, a huge backlog of
cases and an inability to perform key duties.
It’s hard to respond effectively to a crisis when you don’t
have clearly defined priorities. This is true for sudden-onset
crises, like floods and wildfires, and also for slow-onset
crises, like droughts.
Rather than unquestioningly celebrating Powell and his legacy,
this year gives us the chance to think about a couple of
points: First, how are we telling Powell’s story now, and how
have we told it in the past? Is it, and has it been, accurate
and useful? Second, whose stories have we excluded, ignored,
and forgotten about in the focus on Powell?
After much speculation about whether Janet Nguyen might run for
one of Orange County’s hotly contested congressional seats in
2020, the Republican former state senator has thrown her hat in
a surprising ring. And she’s not alone. Nguyen is one of seven
people vying to fill a board of directors seat with the
Municipal Water District of Orange County.
The Santa Clara stretches 84 miles and through two counties
from the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean just south of
Ventura Harbor. Over the past 20 years, millions of dollars
have been invested to protect and restore the river, work that
some say has reached a tipping point.
The Center for Biological Diversity and San Francisco Baykeeper
sued the Trump administration to force the addition of the
longfin smelt, the Sierra Nevada red fox and six other species
to the Endangered Species List… According to the lawsuit, the
agency had previously found the species worthy of endangered
species protections under the Obama administration but
the Trump administration had slow-walked the process…
A beach closure that has been in place for months for the
southern part of the Imperial Beach was extended Sunday to
include the city’s entire shoreline. The San Diego County
Department of Environment Health issued the order to close the
coastline to swimmers as a result of sewage-contaminated runoff
in the Tijuana River.
It is hard to fathom how the fifth-largest economy in the world
can settle for letting public water systems serve up
contaminated water. How will our economy continue to grow and
how will we attract new businesses and new workers if the state
can’t provide a basic human need?
The southernmost portion of Southeast Alaska, including
Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell and Metlakatla, has
been in a drought for the last two years… Last week, though,
the drought was updated to a D3, or “extreme” drought, the
second-highest category the U.S. Drought Monitor measures. It’s
the first time those conditions have ever been recorded in
Alaska, according to the Drought Monitor.
Good news, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend: The clarity
of the famed, cobalt-blue waters of Lake Tahoe improved
dramatically last year, with visibility increasing 10 feet from
the year before, a study released Thursday by scientists at UC
Davis found. The jump is the largest annual improvement in 50
years, since measurements at the iconic Sierra Nevada lake
began in 1968.
Giant green stems with budding yellow flowers greeted hikers
along a narrow path beneath the soaring Santa Monica Mountains
on a recent drizzly day. This is where, just seven months ago,
the worst fire in Los Angeles County history swept through,
destroying more than 1,000 homes and blackening miles of
hillsides and canyon. But thanks to one of the wettest seasons
in years, rains have transformed the fire zone back to life
with great speed.
It appears Solano County and Vallejo have avoided a potentially
costly state shift in the groundwater sustainability priority
for the Napa-Sonoma Lowlands. While the final decision by the
Department of Water Resources has not been made, the state
agency has for now backed off its proposal to increase the
priority status from very low to medium for the lowlands.
Slow moving plumes of potentially toxic water are sitting
underneath homes, businesses and schools throughout Arizona.
… While some cities like Phoenix do not use groundwater for
drinking water, much of the state does.
The proposal is to increase both base and usage rates by
approximately 40% in the first year, and by about 70% of the
current rate by July of 2023. … The last set of rate
increases ended in 2016, yet system costs have been increasing
each year due to inflation and maintenance expenses associated
with an aging system…
Nevada ranchers, environmental groups and American Indian
tribes are sounding the alarm over legislation they say could
drain the water supply from rural areas throughout the state.
They’re worried about Assembly Bill 30 in the Nevada
Legislature after negotiations over arcane language in the bill
broke down in recent days.
University of Colorado Professor Emeritus Charles Wilkinson …
described the Western icon and one-armed Civil War veteran as a
complex character, a larger-than-life person and an early
visionary of wise water use in an arid West. Wilkinson spoke
recently with Western Water about Powell and his legacy, and
how Powell might view the Colorado River today.
The history of Traver, preserved in many books and archives, is
a study in land development, agriculture and irrigation. It
started when a civil engineer named Peter Y. Baker conceived a
plan to convert thousands acres of rangeland in northern Tulare
and southern Fresno counties into fields of wheat by diverting
water by canal from the Kings River.
The Bureau of Reclamation updated its 2019 allocation for the
Central Valley Project South-of-Delta, increasing the westside
water allocation to 70 percent of the contract total. Said
Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant: “The late storms
provided an added boost to the already above average
precipitation for 2019. Snowpack throughout the state is still
about 150% of average for this time of year.”
Precipitation in California is highly variable from year to
year, and climate change is increasing this variability. … To
address this and other challenges, the state passed Assembly
Bill (AB) 1668 and Senate Bill (SB) 606 in June 2018. Known
jointly as the Water Conservation Legislation, these bills were
drafted in response of Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016 executive
order to “make water conservation a California way of life.”
There are six key components…