Topic: San Joaquin Valley

Overview

San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley stretches from across mid-California between coastal ranges in west and the Sierras on the east. The region includes large cities such as Fresno and Bakersfield, national parks such as Yosemite and Kings and fertile farmland and multi-billion dollar agriculture industry.

The federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project (about 30 percent of SWP water is used for irrigation) helped deliver water to the valley. Today, San Joaquin Valley crops include grapes, tomatoes, hay, sugar beets, nuts, cotton and a multitude of other fruits and vegetables. At the same time, water used to grow these crops has led to the need for agricultural drainage.

 

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder pushes for passage of water bill

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 United States.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Turning sewer into gold

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…

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Hurtado secures $15M for area drinking water projects

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced Monday she has secured a $15 million one-time investment of General Funds for the southern Central Valley. The funds will address failing water systems that deliver safe clean drinking water to California’s most vulnerable communities.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: Let’s protect San Joaquin Valley residents from floods

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.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Reclamation gives westside farmers another nudge for water

The Bureau of Reclamation once again revised its allocation for westside farmers in the San Joaquin Valley, announcing Friday it would provide 75 percent of its contracted amount of water. The announcement is an increase of five percent from late May.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: Progress in the fight for safe drinking water

California has a drinking water problem. A million people in the state lack consistent access to safe drinking water. Governor Newsom has called it a disgrace. So have many others. Because it is.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Treated wastewater to river being sought

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.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Opinion: ‘The Dreamt Land’ review: California’s precious resource

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.

Aquafornia news OnEarth

Blog: Why everybody is so excited about 23 salmon

For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn’t just strong—it’s imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California’s San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2019 Central Valley Project South-of-Delta water allocations

The Bureau of Reclamation Friday issued updated Central Valley Project South-of-Delta allocations for the 2019 contract year. “I am pleased to announce that South-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors’ allocations have been increased to 75% of their contract total because of May’s snow and rain totals,” said Mid-Pacific Regional Director Ernest Conant.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: California needs water, not stubborn political games

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.

Aquafornia news MyMotherLode.com

EPA issues letter rejecting water board plan submission

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Opinion: California and water: Half environmental nightmare, half remarkable success story

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 problematic achievement.

Aquafornia news National Public Radio

Planet Money: The water marketplace

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.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Fostering sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley

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.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Time to solve California’s unsafe drinking water crisis

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 water.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Fresno City Hall fountain up and running after year drought

The Cobb Fountain is back up and running after being down for a year because the pipes were stolen. The fountain that stands in front of City Hall, was first dedicated in 1991 and since then there have been several times when it has been out of operation. Now it is back.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

City of Fresno supports safe drinking water fund – with a catch

Two Fresno City Councilmembers made an atypical move at a press conference today by throwing in their support for a clean water drinking fund—as long as it doesn’t involve a tax.

Aquafornia news Business Insider

7 places that are sinking faster than anywhere else in the US

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 unique.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Manteca used lowest amount of groundwater in 16 years during May

A much wetter than normal May coupled with conservation is credited with Manteca using the least amount of groundwater last month since 2003. Water from the South San Joaquin Irrigation District surface water treatment plant provided 70 percent of the 380 million gallons used citywide in May. The other 30 percent came from groundwater.

Aquafornia news Taft Midway Driller

Cease and desist order issued against Valley Water Management

In issuing the order, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board found that the cumulative effect of disposing produced water at the Facility over many decades has created a highly saline wastewater plume that is migrating to the northeast, where it threatens higher-quality groundwater designated as supporting municipal and agricultural uses.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: How gambling losses could figure in bringing doctors, and clean water, to the valley

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.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Groundwater managers working in four critically-overdrafted basins discuss how their planning efforts are going

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.

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Aquafornia news Fox 26 News

Homeowners near San Joaquin River fear rising water levels

Parts of the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers are closed to recreation. But the high water levels don’t just mean people’s vacations are getting cut short. … Hilda Warren lives near the river and says she’s starting to get worried, watching the water levels rise day by day.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Fracking: Inside a BLM report, environmental impacts, and the public’s response

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Silicon Valley water agency might buy Central Valley farm

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 Act…

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday Top of the Scroll: 1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Canyon reservoir spurs some debate in Stanislaus County

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Seeking more water, Silicon Valley eyes Central Valley farmland

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 farmers.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

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.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Opinion: Safe drinking water must be a priority for this legislative session

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?

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Support Newsom’s ‘reset’ to a one-tunnel project

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

California agriculture & water history plays out in Traver

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.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Bureau of Reclamation bumps Westside water allocation to 70 percent

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.”

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Public hearing on fracking in Valley not recorded – ‘I feel like the process is rigged’

The majority of the dozens of commenters at the meeting spoke out against the analysis and the prospect of increased fracking in the region, expressing concerns about air pollution, drinking water quality, and climate change. … Tempers at the meeting also flared for what many attendees viewed as a lack of accountability from the BLM. The agency did not record the meeting, instead inviting attendees to submit written comments online, electronically, and only in English.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California Senate rejects proposed tax on water bills

The Senate voted 37-1 on Wednesday to approve a bill that would create a fund dedicated to improving the state’s drinking water. But the bill is clear the money could not come from a new tax on water bills. Instead, Senate leaders have signaled their intention to use $150 million of existing taxpayer money each year.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: What’s behind California’s lawsuit against Westlands, raising Shasta dam?

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his allies have filed a lawsuit to stop Federal water users from participating in the raising of Shasta Dam, a federal dam. … Plain and simple, this is a lawsuit waged against Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news The Ceres Courier

City to reluctantly extend water line to rural park

City water will be flowing to yet another community living in county jurisdiction with the state forcing the City Council’s Monday action to supply water service to the privately owned Ceres West Mobile Home Park. … The park, which was approved by the county in 1969, had limited options to supply drinking water to its residents because water from an on-site well exceeds state limits for arsenic and nitrates.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Cow manure: An unexpected climate solution

In 2016, California became the first state to pass legislation regulating dairy methane, requiring the farms to cut their manure emissions 40% by 2030. … Enter Neil Black. Black’s company builds multimillion-dollar projects at the state’s largest dairies to capture the gas.

Aquafornia news The Union Democrat

Before there was a New Melones Dam: A look back at efforts to save the Stanislaus River

Members of Friends of the River and the Sierra Club are planning a presentation on a controversial episode in Mother Lode history, when activists unsuccessfully tried to prevent flooding of a raftable section of the Stanislaus River by rising water levels in New Melones Reservoir in the 1970s and 1980s. … The event is scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday this week at Tuolumne County Library, 480 Greenley Road in Sonora.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Activists speak out against fracking on federal land in California

Kern’s oil industry took a pass Tuesday on a public hearing focused on the environmental impacts of fracking, handing the day to dozens of anti-oil activists who convened in downtown Bakersfield to rail against the technique and the threat of climate change. … The event was one of three hearings the BLM is hosting as part of its plan to reopen federal land in California to oil production.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California’s dairy industry faces water quality challenges

Contaminated groundwater is an ongoing problem in some of the state’s poorest rural communities, particularly in the San Joaquin Valley. One big threat is nitrate, caused mainly by many decades of crop fertilization with chemical fertilizers and dairy manure. We talked to Anja Raudabaugh of Western United Dairymen about what can be done to address these challenges.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘Flint Is everywhere’: California farmworkers confront a tainted water crisis

Water is a currency in California, and the low-income farmworkers who pick the Central Valley’s crops know it better than anyone. They labor in the region’s endless orchards, made possible by sophisticated irrigation systems, but at home their faucets spew toxic water tainted by arsenic and fertilizer chemicals.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Tulare County supervisors to support water over high-speed rail

Tulare County Supervisors will vote to approve a letter of support for proposed legislation that will bring up to $3.5 billion for water infrastructure improvements. The money comes at a cost to California’s biggest undertaking — high-speed rail.

Aquafornia news KGET TV

Bureau of Land Management to hold meeting on White House proposal to expand oil drilling, fracking

The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield office is set to hold a meeting Tuesday over a White House proposal that would expand oil drilling and fracking on more than a million acres of public land across the state. … The proposal includes 40 new wells over the next 10 years on roughly 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estate — land where the surface is owned privately, but the mineral rights beneath the ground are managed by the federal government.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Madera Tribune

Council ponders building 2.5 million-gallon tank

A presentation to the Madera City Council Wednesday evening focused on current water usage, projected peak water demands and highlighted the immediate need for a new 2.5 million-gallon concrete water storage tank to meet the water needs of today’s users and also to meet required fire-flow targets. The estimated cost of the project is more than $18 million…

Aquafornia news High Country News

Can small-scale farmers grow a healthier California?

Aidee Guzman is focusing on these small farms to find out whether, ecologically, this diversity has any positive effects on soil health. Her work won’t be published for another two years, but there is already a large body of research that explains how large monocropping operations strip soils of their nutrients and make them less capable of storing carbon… As she works, she is documenting a potential alternative to the industrial mega-farms of the valley and the West.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: A new water tax? California has a $21 billion surplus, use that instead

Clean water is important, and there are a million people in the Central Valley without access to it. But do we need a new tax to pay for it? Maybe we don’t. Just last week, a state Senate budget subcommittee eliminated Gov. Newsom’s recommendation for a water tax and replaced it with a $150 million continuous appropriation from the General Fund.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California record cherry crop, season at risk due to May rains

Bruce Blodgett is executive director of the farm bureau in San Joaquin County, California’s cherry bowl. The mid-May downpour and his windshield wipers told him everything he needed to know: His county’s record ready-to-pick yield of sweet cherries – one of San Joaquin’s most lucrative crops even amid the county’s winemaking renaissance – was in serious danger.

Related article:

Aquafornia news KQED News

Mark Arax: Chasing the water and dust behind the California dream

Mark Arax’s new book, “The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California,” explores how the quest to find and move water has always been essential to the California Dream. … He sat down with California Report Magazine Host Sasha Khokha.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Unsafe drinking water is bad enough: But what if you’re the one tasked with fixing it?

When the federal government reduced how much arsenic it would allow in drinking water in 2006, the water system in Jim Maciel’s Central Valley community was suddenly considered unsafe to drink. Bringing that arsenic content back down to a safe level required a lot of work, as he explains to a few colleagues at a water leadership institute in Visalia.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

NASA’s GRACE: What researchers have learned from water in motion

When you hear news about ice loss from Greenland or Antarctica, an aquifer in California that is getting depleted, or a new explanation for a wobble in Earth’s rotation, you might not realize that all these findings may rely on data from one single mission

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Tribal groundwater rights and SGMA: A new underlying tension?

At the 28th California Water Policy conference held in April of 2019, a panel discussed how tribal lands and tribal representatives, as independent nations, can be integrated into SGMA implementation, what some of the obstacles to doing so are, and how those hurdles might be transcended.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

April water use up 8% in Manteca; growing faster than city population

Last month there was an 8 percent increase in water compared to April 2018. Meanwhile the population over the same time period went up 2,759 residents or just over a 3 percent increase. … Using a five-year yardstick with the city adding just over 9,000 residents since 2014, per capita water consumption is down by more than 10 percent from April 2014 to April 2019.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Stanislaus leaders support bottled water as alternative for small water systems

Stanislaus County will ask the state to consider use of bottled water as a permanent alternative for small public water systems that are in violation of safe drinking water standards.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: Newsom administration is getting closer to water deals

With the administration’s leadership, representatives of farmers, cities and conservation groups are having productive negotiations on a complex package of actions that would increase river flows and improve fish habitats, collectively called a “voluntary agreement.” A possible final agreement is months away, but we are making progress.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Opinion: Newsom crafts smart water portfolio for California

In reality, the WaterFix could not increase water exports while protecting the Delta ecosystem. That’s because California’s snow and rainfall are highly variable, making it unlikely that existing supplies can meet increasing water demands reliably into the future. Plus, the science demonstrates that San Francisco Bay’s fish and wildlife need more water, not less, to flow from the Central Valley to the Bay.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

The massive snowmelt is coming. Are we ready?

Estimates vary, and can change as the water year progresses, but the Kern River basin, the rivers and streams that collect the water that flows into Isabella Lake and downstream toward Bakersfield, is estimated to be at 172 percent of normal, possibly more. And all that ice and snow is starting to melt, big time. Are local water managers ready?

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must make drinking water safe for all consumers

No family should have to live in a community in which the water that comes from their taps puts their children’s health at risk. Over the last several years, the state has authorized millions of dollars for emergency actions and one-time patches, but has shied from doing what’s necessary to sustainably solve this problem.

Aquafornia news Legal Planet

Blog: Groundwater recharge in the SGMA era

Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) was always going to be tricky. Part of the necessary growing pains of SGMA is determining how the revolutionary statute interacts with traditional tenets of water law. As with any other sweeping legislative change, SGMA does not provide direct answers for every practical question which arises as the law is put into place.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

CVP districts seek ways to enhance water supplies

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the Central Valley Project, may update its 65% allocation for south-of-delta agricultural contractors later this month. But Lon Martin, general manager of the Los Banos-based San Luis Water District, said landowners who are planting crops and must secure water for the remainder of the year “cannot wait until May and June to make decisions.”

Aquafornia news Physics World

Weighing water from space

By monitoring tiny changes to the Earth’s gravitational field, the GRACE satellites have been pinpointing the distribution of fresh water on our planet for almost two decades. But as Marric Stephens explains, a new follow-on mission is also helping with plans for a space-based gravitational-wave detector

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will Newsom end oil drilling in California? Many environmentalists are betting yes

Newsom … said he would announce his administration’s detailed strategy on energy policy in the next few weeks. The governor was coy about core aspects of that policy, and declined to say if it would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracking, a process that uses drilling and large volumes of high-pressure water to extract gas and oil deposits.

Aquafornia news KRON TV

Contaminated tap water in California at center of debate between lawmakers

Lawmakers have said fixing contaminated water systems is costly but ongoing maintenance will be even more expensive. They say a constant funding stream is necessary.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Residents reminded of water conservation rules

The winter was wet, and the memories of California’s record-setting drought years are receding. But as the weather warms and irrigation systems are once again operating, city officials remind local residents that Newman’s water conservation rules remain in effect.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Experts weigh in on the snowpack, and how a new water treatment facility benefits the valley

There’s a need to use the available surface water from rivers, lakes, and reservoirs so the groundwater can replenish itself. That’s where the new Southeast Fresno Surface Water Treatment Facility comes in. … Michael Carbajal, Director of Public Utilities for the City of Fresno. says that before 2004, we used 100% groundwater to meet drinking water demand. “We’re hoping to get up over 50% meaning, 50% of our drinking water demand through surface water,” says Carbajal.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Congress needs to permanently fund land and water program to conserve public places

Have you visited Woodward Park recently? The 300-acre park in Northeast Fresno … exist thanks to a little known, but important federal program called the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It was started 50 years ago with a simple yet brilliant goal: Take money from oil and gas drilling and put it toward the conservation of America’s public lands, parks and other outdoor places.

Aquafornia news E&E News

California drainage deal sinks into doldrums

An ambitious California irrigation drainage deal is now mired deeper than ever in legislative and legal limbo, alarming farmers, spinning government wheels and costing taxpayers money with no relief in sight. Though nearly four years have passed since the Obama administration and the Westlands Water District agreed to settle their high-stakes drainage differences, the deal remains incomplete. Progress, if there is any, can be measured in inches.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water supply and quality challenges in the San Joaquin Valley

Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, testified today (April 30, 2019) before the Assembly Subcommittee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, at a hearing on balancing water needs into the future in the San Joaquin Valley. Here are her prepared remarks.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Editorial: It’s OK to stop, take a deep breath with state water policy

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call on Monday for a new comprehensive water plan for California looks like a smart timeout on one of the state’s trickiest and most intractable battlefronts. As with many political hot potatoes, there is no way to make everyone happy when it comes to water management, because the sides have mutually exclusive goals…

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Experts tell how water availability affects land values

One of the most frequently recurring themes of last week’s business conference of California agricultural appraisers was the impact the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, known as SGMA, is having on land values. … Another recurring theme was the tight availability of farm employees and the rising costs associated with those employees. One result has been the increase in plantings of nut crops, which require fewer people to tend and harvest.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Opinion: Small fee would yield safe drinking water in California

We have a drinking water crisis in California—a crisis that has disproportionately impacted disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities of color for years. There is however hope as many voices, from many different people, with various political views, have now joined the fight to address this crisis.

Aquafornia news YourCentralValley.com

Despite abundant snowpack, water still limited for some farmers

It’s an exceptional year for Sierra snowpack — 150 to 200% in some places. Mountain snow is the main water source for agriculture on the Valley’s west side. But those farmers are getting just 65% of their allocation… Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says it’s frustrating that in a water year this good, some farmers still can’t get enough of it to grow food.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Trump administration unveils plan to open up 1 million California acres to oil drilling

A 174-page environmental report released by the U.S. Interior Department will expedite new extraction on roughly 1 million acres of Central and Southern California, primarily in the historical oil fields around Bakersfield and the deep petroleum deposits near Santa Barbara but potentially in the Sierra Nevada as well.

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

Harder water bill a bipartisan effort

As a full Tuolumne River flowed behind them, a diverse set of government leaders and water stakeholders gathered alongside Congressman Josh Harder Wednesday afternoon in Modesto to unite under one important cause: protecting water in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news KCET

Monday Top of the Scroll: Thick and Viscous: California oil production among the dirtiest in the country

A recent report from the California Water Quality Control Board found “multiple lines of geochemical evidence” indicating that “groundwater is mixing with oil field fluids.”

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

After 65 Years, Salmon Are Returning to the San Joaquin

Surviving an exhaustive maze of manmade barriers and hungry predators, a hardy group of salmon have beat the odds and returned to spawn in one of California’s most-heavily dammed rivers. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says for the first time in over 65 years, threatened spring-run Chinook adult salmon have returned to the San Joaquin River near Fresno to complete their life cycle.

Aquafornia news Wired

How the Blockchain Could Protect California’s Aquifer

In Solano County, near Sacramento, [Alex] Johnson is working on what he says could be a model for parched ag regions around the state. … Last month, working with IBM and a company called SweetSense, Johnson’s team began deploying simple, solar-powered sensors, originally developed to monitor creaky groundwater pumps in East Africa. The sensors will be used to detect how much water is flowing in real-time. … Farmers will use that data to trade their water on (what else?) a blockchain platform.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Josh Harder unveils water plan for Central Valley

Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, thinks there is a better way to find water solutions for California’s Central Valley and to stop squandering water in wet years that’s needed in dry years. His bipartisan water legislation unveiled Wednesday promises federal support for storage and innovation projects to address shortages that too often plague Valley agriculture and communities.

Aquafornia news Futurity

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Can sensor data save California’s aquifers?

In California, the amount of water exiting aquifers under the state’s most productive farming region far surpasses the amount of water trickling back in. That rampant overdraft … has ignited interest in replenishing aquifers in California’s Central Valley through managed flooding of the ground above them. But until now there has been no reliable way to know where this type of remedy will be most effective.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Contaminated water: California town may get help from neighbor

The 80 homes that make up Tooleville nestle against the mighty Friant-Kern Canal, thousands of gallons of fresh water flowing each day past the two-street town. But none of that water can help Tooleville’s decades-old problem of contaminated water, chronicled at the start of this decade in a three-part series by The Bee on the San Joaquin Valley water crisis. Nearby Exeter might, though, giving a rise of newfound hope.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: California fights Trump administration on water supplies, fish

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is taking unprecedented steps to combat President Donald Trump’s efforts to ship more water to his agricultural allies in the San Joaquin Valley. Saying Trump’s water plans are scientifically indefensible and would violate the state’s Endangered Species Act, the state Department of Water Resources on Friday began drawing up new regulations governing how water is pumped from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the southern half of the state.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Environment report: Lawsuits are a weapon in major water conflicts

In court, the California Environmental Quality Act is a familiar obstacle to projects large and small — housing developments, solar projects, even bike lanes. It’s also lately become a weapon in the state’s major water conflicts.

Aquafornia news Hanford Sentinel

Westlands officials disappointed by water allocation announcement

While all other Central Valley Project contractors’ allocations were previously increased to 100% of their contract totals in recent months, the Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that agricultural districts South-of-Delta will receive only 65% percent of their historic water allocation. … In light of current hydrologic and reservoir conditions, Westlands Water District officials said this minor increase in water allocation is “astonishing.”

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Beloved Bloomingcamp Ranch near Oakdale could be closed due to water problems

The cider, the apple pies and the scenery are just some of the things that draw people to Bloomingcamp Ranch near Oakdale. Today, the business that’s served customers for more than 40 years faces an uncertain future because of state regulations that target small public water systems, the owners said.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

California has farmers growing weeds. Why? To capture carbon

For some, like almond grower Jose Robles of Modesto, climate change was an afterthought, if that. That’s something they talk about in Sacramento, he says, not where he lives and works. But in December, the ground under Robles’ almond trees was a carpet of green, full of mustard plant and clover. … His neighbors really don’t understand it.

Aquafornia news Politico

Interior’s Bernhardt worked closely on matters he promised to avoid

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt began working on policies that would aid one of his former lobbying clients within weeks of joining the Trump administration, according to a POLITICO analysis of agency documents … Newly disclosed schedule “cards” prepared by Interior officials for Bernhardt show more than three dozen meetings with key players on California water issues, including multiple lengthy meetings on specific endangered species protections at the heart of his previous work.

Aquafornia news GVWire.com

West-side water ticks up to 65% of allocation. will it hit 100%?

The Bureau of Reclamation announced Wednesday that it will supply South-of-Delta growers with 65% of their contracted water total. … Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), who is a grower and one of the top water policy experts in Congress, said that he expected the initial west-side allocation in February to be 50%, followed by a 75% revise.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Legionnaires’ disease found in adjacent California prisons

Legionnaires’ disease bacteria that killed one inmate and sickened another is more widespread than expected in a California state prison, officials said Wednesday, citing new test results. Preliminary results found the bacteria in the water supply at a prison medical facility in Stockton and at two neighboring youth correctional facilities… The bacteria weren’t detected in the Stockton city water supply, though the city supplies water to the state facilities.

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Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Oakwood may send sewage to Manteca treatment plant

Oakwood Lakes Water District that serves a gated community and a mobile home park just outside of the southwest Manteca city limits needs to expand and upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. Manteca needs to find a way to send storm water from a large swath of southwest Manteca to the San Joaquin River. The two needs have led to a proposed agreement between the water district and the city …

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Blog: Temperance Flat Dam Could Minimize the Devastation of SGMA

If farmers cannot prove that they are replenishing the amount of groundwater as they are taking out, they are not going to be allowed to use the groundwater pumps. … Temperance Flat would provide additional storage opportunities—up to an additional 1.2 million acre-feet—and will allow farmers to have carryover water from year to year. This will carry the farmers through the dry years, and it will give the allowance to stabilize the groundwater condition.

Aquafornia news Roll Call

Interior Secretary Bernhardt under investigation by inspector general

At least 11 Democratic senators asked the inspector general to investigate a range of claims against Bernhardt … The inspector general also received a request from Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, asking the office to examine whether Bernhardt played a role in the department’s handling of endangered species in the San Francisco Bay Delta…

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Aquafornia news AgNet West

Effort to repair Friant-Kern Canal passes first hurdle

A bill moving through the state legislature looks to make repairs and enhancements to the Friant-Kern Canal. Senate Bill 559 was authored by Senator Melissa Hurtado, representing the 14th Senate District, and was co-authored by several other San Joaquin Valley lawmakers. The legislation recently advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water with a vote of 7 to 0.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Full water allocations hard to reach despite storms

Even as winter and early-spring storms have filled reservoirs to the brim and piled snow on Sierra Nevada mountaintops, state and federal officials say they’re limited in how much water they can send south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Opinion: Fishy reasoning behind the state’s Stanislaus River water grab

Farmers, by trade, are experts in sustainability and by extension common sense. Growers along with 1.5 million Northern San Joaquin Valley residents could end up on the receiving end of an economic Armageddon perpetuated by the state Department of Water Resources on behalf of the threatened Chinook salmon.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Friday Top of the Scroll: Activists seek a California fracking ban

Should the governor want to do away with fracking, he could issue an emergency order placing a moratorium on it. But the public hasn’t heard from Newsom on the issue as he has laid out his initial priorities, and his staff did not answer questions from CALmatters about his current leanings.

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Aquafornia news Science Magazine

Drought is not just about water. It affects air pollution, too

The severe drought that struck California from 2011 to 2015 had an obvious impact on rivers, forests, and wildlife. Now, a new study shows it also had some surprising effects on the state’s notorious air pollution, adding new wrinkles to the state’s efforts to clear the skies.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Turlock flushes water system after coliform detected

The city of Turlock reported that routine testing detected coliform bacteria in the city’s drinking water last month, triggering additional tests to make sure the water was safe to drink.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

David Bernhardt confirmed as Interior secretary despite ethics concerns

David Bernhardt, President Trump’s pick to the lead the Interior Department, was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday amid persistent ethical concerns and doubts about his independence from the energy and water industry groups he long represented as a lobbyist.

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Western Water Gary Pitzer Delta Sustainability Map Gary Pitzer

Bruce Babbitt Urges Creation of Bay-Delta Compact as Way to End ‘Culture of Conflict’ in California’s Key Water Hub
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Former Interior secretary says Colorado River Compact is a model for achieving peace and addressing environmental and water needs in the Delta

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt gives the Anne J. Schneider Lecture April 3 at Sacramento's Crocker Art Museum.  Bruce Babbitt, the former Arizona governor and secretary of the Interior, has been a thoughtful, provocative and sometimes forceful voice in some of the most high-profile water conflicts over the last 40 years, including groundwater management in Arizona and the reduction of California’s take of the Colorado River. In 2016, former California Gov. Jerry Brown named Babbitt as a special adviser to work on matters relating to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Delta tunnels plan.

Aquafornia news The Porterville Reporter

Legislation to repair Friant-Kern Canal receives bipartisan support, advances to appropriations

The legislation, which received bipartisan support, will invest $400 million from the State’s General Fund towards the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the Central Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.

Aquafornia news Sanger Herald

State-ordered project will raise water bills

While the city struggles with the final phase of a state ordered rezone for affordable housing, it’s tackling the first phase of a possibly more complicated state ordered project based on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … Part of the increased cost would be for the purchase of water from Consolidated Irrigation District and part would go toward servicing a debt incurred for building the infrastructure and other capital costs associated with getting the project ready to go. 

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

In bid for cleaner water, California seeks arranged utility marriages

The State Water Board was given the power to force a larger, better run utility to absorb a smaller neighbor that consistently fails to deliver clean water. They would like South Kern to connect to Bakersfield’s system, which serves high-quality water to 144,000 people. … The three sides have been in negotiations for two and a half years, a struggle between one of the largest cities in California’s Central Valley, state officials, and two tiny water suppliers that is the first significant test of the four-year-old statute.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun Times

Central Valley assemblymember calls out Water Board for claim that contaminating drinking water in disadvantaged communities is not “significant”

Assemblymember Adam C. Gray (D-Merced) ripped the State Water Resources Control Board on Tuesday for arguing that the harm caused by the Bay-Delta Plan to the drinking water of disadvantaged communities is not “significant”. Gray’s comments came as his legislation, Assembly Bill 637, cleared the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee with bipartisan support.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Irrigation district leader in Turlock will retire

Casey Hashimoto, general manager of the Turlock Irrigation District since 2010, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of 2019. The leader of one of Stanislaus County’s largest water and power providers disclosed his plans at the morning board meeting. Hashimoto, an electrical engineer, joined TID in 1985 and was an assistant GM for 10 years.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: State and federal experts discuss San Joaquin Valley’s water future

How can state and federal agencies help California’s largest agricultural region address its difficult water management problems? This was the theme of an event last week that brought together PPIC experts with top officials working on issues related to water, agriculture, and natural resources.

Tour Nick Gray

2020 Clone of Central Valley Tour 2019
Field Trip - April 3-5

Venture through California’s Central Valley, known as the nation’s breadbasket thanks to an imported supply of surface water and local groundwater. Covering about 20,000 square miles through the heart of the state, the valley provides 25 percent of the nation’s food, including 40 percent of all fruits, nuts and vegetables consumed throughout the country.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Harder asks EPA for close review of Delta Plan

Political leaders from the valley are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to closely scrutinize new water quality standards proposed for the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. … “The State Water Resources Control Board’s proposal to the EPA misses the mark,” said Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, who joined almost a dozen congressmen, including conservatives Kevin McCarthy and Tom McClintock, in sending a letter to the EPA.

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Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Federal government challenges the State Water Board’s amended Bay-Delta water quality control plan

The Amended Plan … has touched off a series of lawsuits due to its controversial unimpaired flow requirements for the Lower San Joaquin River and its tributaries … The Federal Government’s lawsuits challenge the Amended Plan by asserting that it fails to comply with CEQA and congressional mandates that control the operation of the New Melones Dam, which is part of the federally run Central Valley Project (CVP).

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Trump’s pick for Interior Dept. continued lobbying after officially vowing to stop, new files indicate

A previously unreleased invoice indicates that David Bernhardt, President Trump’s choice to lead the Interior Department, continued to lobby for a major client several months after he filed official papers saying that he had ended his lobbying activities. The bill for Mr. Bernhardt’s services, dated March 2017 and labeled “Federal Lobbying,” shows, along with other documents, Mr. Bernhardt working closely with the Westlands Water District as late as April 2017, the month Mr. Trump nominated him to his current job, deputy interior secretary.

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Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Opinion: Water board staff tries end run around negotiations

When the State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to adopt the Bay-Delta Plan, its members ignored the direction of former Governor Brown and current Governor Newsom to pursue voluntary agreements with our irrigation districts. Many saw this as an act of defiance by former Chair Felicia Marcus, the executive director, and many of the activist staff.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: A California tax to clean up toxic drinking water has lawmakers jumpy

The water tax will require a two-thirds vote in each house. Democrats have that and a little to spare. Still, the governor will need to use all his power of cajolery and coercion to win passage of any tax increase.

Aquafornia news Ag Alert

Farmers welcome federal agencies’ suits on flows plan

Now that the federal government has filed its own lawsuits against an unimpaired-flows plan for San Joaquin River tributaries, farmers and other parties to the lawsuits wait to learn where they will be heard–and prepare for a lengthy court battle. California Farm Bureau Federation … filed its own lawsuit against the unimpaired-flows plan in February…

Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: California fixes a major problem with oilfield wastewater injection

A new rule goes into effect today that will help protect California’s groundwater. … The new standards for oilfield injection are some of the strongest in the nation. They require stricter permitting standards, regular mechanical integrity testing and routine pressure monitoring – all necessary ingredients for safeguarding groundwater.

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Feds accused of holding back on California fracking plans

Armed with a recent court ruling that climate change must be considered in decisions to open federal land to oil and gas drilling, conservationists shot the opening volley Thursday in what promises to be a protracted legal battle over the future of fracking and oil drilling in Northern California.

Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Groundwater recharge project shows encouraging results

A pilot project banking groundwater in the Newman area is showing positive results. … The pilot project is testing the feasibility of increasing water storage by recharging groundwater aquifers, which can then be drawn upon in dry years.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Former Gov. Jerry Brown’s days filled with grazing cows, drawing well water at Colusa ranch

Brown and former first lady Anne Gust Brown, in their first public appearance since he left office in January, spoke to about 100 attendees about the daunting challenges they face living on a self-sustaining farm: installing solar panels for power, collecting water from a well, and tending to an olive tree orchard.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Trump administration sues California to block water plan for fish

Turning the tables on California, the Trump administration sued Thursday to block the state’s ambitious plan to reallocate billions of gallons of river water to salmon and other struggling fish species. … The State Water Resources Control Board voted in December to reallocate the flows of the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. The move is designed to help steelhead and salmon by taking water from San Joaquin Valley farmers and a handful of cities.

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As Deadline Looms for California’s Badly Overdrafted Groundwater Basins, Kern County Seeks a Balance to Keep Farms Thriving
WESTERN WATER SPOTLIGHT: Sustainability plans required by the state’s groundwater law could cap Kern County pumping, alter what's grown and how land is used

Water sprinklers irrigate a field in the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County.Groundwater helped make Kern County the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has come at a price, however. Decades of unchecked groundwater pumping in the county and elsewhere across the state have left some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and protects groundwater for the long term, yet ensures that Kern County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Thursday Top of the Scroll: As deadline looms for California’s badly overdrafted groundwater basins, Kern County seeks a balance to keep farms thriving

Groundwater helped make Kern County the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has come at a price, however, as decades of unchecked groundwater pumping in the county and elsewhere in California have left some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and protects groundwater for the long term yet ensures that Kern County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Stockton wastewater rates may be going up; public hearing set for May 21

Rate increases are being proposed in part to help pay for improvements to the Regional Wastewater Control Facility, which is set to go through the first phase of a modification project aimed at extending the life of existing amenities at the plant. The modification project will also improve working conditions for employees, and bring the site into compliance with national pollutant discharge standards.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Governor Newsom’s clean water tax a ‘moral imperative’ to some, a burden to others

Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he will introduce a tax of up to $10 a month to water customers in order to fund safe drinking water in disadvantaged communities. Valley Public Radio has reported in the past about how many of those communities are right here in the San Joaquin Valley. To learn about Newsom’s plan, we spoke to Jonathan Nelson, policy director at the Community Water Center.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Editorial: California water tax plan is back — and Newsom’s version is the worst yet

This is a very worthy cause. But needed improvements can easily be paid for with the state’s multibillion-dollar budget surplus or with the billions in approved state water bonds. Imposing a first-ever tax on something as basic as water is a horrible idea.

Aquafornia news Fast Company

Can Silicon Valley make farming more efficient?

Field D-17 on the Bowles Farming Company’s ranch in California’s Central Valley is dry and unplanted when I visit it with Emery Silberman in the spring. … Mounted there, he shows me, is a small piece of equipment from a company called WaterBit that’s designed to provide more granular control of conditions in the field … to save on valuable resources like water and fertilizer.

Aquafornia news California WaterBlog

Blog: Groundwater and agriculture: A comparison of managing scarcity and droughts in France and California

France and California face a common challenge of managing overdraft in intensively exploited aquifers. As of 2018, large areas of France and California have overexploited groundwater (see maps below). And both regions have passed landmark groundwater legislation, the Loi sur l’Eau et les Milieux Aquatiques (LEMA) of 2006 in France and the Groundwater Sustainable Management Act (SGMA) of 2014 in California.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Heavy snowpack makes Modesto-area rivers dangerous

Water levels and flows on area rivers are looking similar to conditions in 2017 when there were more than double the water rescues compared to average years. “Everyone should treat the river like a wild animal,” said Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District Captain Jeff Frye. “Enjoy it from afar.”

Aquafornia news Valley Voice

Visalia’s new wastewater facility is greener, safer

The upgraded facility can now handle an average of 18 million gallons per day, with a wet weather flow capacity of up to 36 million gallons. There’s also room for growth, with the facility designed to accommodate up to an average of 22 million gallons per day with the addition of added MBR cassettes.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

A fix is proposed to address sinking land beneath the Friant-Kern Canal

Probably the least expensive option, estimated to cost $150 million to $250 million, would expand the canal’s upper portion — the part visible from the surface — from about 60 feet to as much as double that width, but only along the 25-mile problem section. … An alternative approach, estimated to cost about $400 million, would be to build a nearly identical canal adjacent to the existing one in the areas that have experienced the most subsidence.

Aquafornia news Calaveras Enterprise

Reservoirs release more water in anticipation of snowpack

Water storage at New Melones Reservoir in southeastern Calaveras County is currently at 84 percent of its 2.4 million acre-feet capacity – 35 percent higher than its 15-year average for March… Although the dam’s emergency spillway has never been tested, Reclamation has been proactively releasing water in anticipation of snowpack runoff.

Aquafornia news KVPR

Why President Trump’s fast-tracked water allocations are raising alarm

The Trump administration has fast-tracked a process to deliver more water to farms. But an investigation by KQED reveals those changes are raising alarm among federal employees. In this interview, we speak with KQED science reporter Lauren Sommer about why, and what’s at stake.

Aquafornia news KGET

Thursday Top of the Scroll: State increases water allotment for local water agencies

Good news for state water contractors: The State Water Project allocation just doubled from last year’s estimate for the 2019 water year. The California Department of Water Resources announced that the allocation has increased from 35 to 70 percent for most state water contractors. The department transports state water to 29 contractors, including the Kern County Water Agency.

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

SB 559 would unblock Valley’s major water artery

A collection of legislators are taking another shot at getting state money to repair the canal carrying water to thousands of farms and several cities along the Valley’s eastside. … The bipartisan supported legislation will secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million in general funds to repair subsidence in the Friant-Kern Canal caused during the historic drought. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor pushes for fee to clean up tainted water

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to charge California water customers up to $10 per month to help clean up contaminated water in low-income and rural areas, but he will face resistance from some legislative Democrats hesitant to impose new taxes. … Newsom wants to combine it with fees on animal farmers, dairies and fertilizer sellers to raise about $140 million per year.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Opinion: Government meddling in groundwater creates more problems

Move over global warming or cooling, California has a new environmental disaster called groundwater. And where there’s an emergency, we have ambulance-chasing regulators and lawmakers with bureaucratic fixes. Why are we having groundwater problems? It’s plain and simple: Groundwater is replacing surface water.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Western droughts caused permanent loss to major California groundwater source

According to new research, the San Joaquin Valley aquifer in the Central Valley shrank permanently by up to 3 percent due to excess pumping during the sustained dry spell. Combined with the loss from the 2007 to 2009 drought, the aquifer may have lost up to 5 percent of its storage capacity during the first two decades of the 21st Century, according to … a new study published in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Widening the conversation about safe drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley

Here in California, the San Joaquin Valley is a hot spot for unsafe drinking water. The region has more than half of all public water systems that are out of water-quality compliance in California, but just 10% of the state’s population. … We talked to Veronica Garibay—co-founder and co-director of the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability—about ways to ensure community involvement in water management decision-making.

Aquafornia news KMPH News

Battle to eliminate destructive nutria in California is three years away

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has been battling the destructive Nutria for two years. State biologists believe it will be another three years before they win the war against the pesky rodent. The nutria is considered a triple threat to Valley wetlands, agriculture and water delivery systems.

Aquafornia news KCLU

Oceanographer says not so fast with declaring drought over; groundwater recovery could take years

We’re having one of the best rainfall seasons in years, with drought conditions easing for much of the state. But one of the nation’s leading oceanographers says there’s much more involved before the impacts of the drought are completely gone, and that it could take years to replenish groundwater supplies.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

One increasingly popular way to control floods: Let the water come

When a wild river floods, water and sediment spills over its banks onto adjacent land, it builds up a natural floodplain. Floodplains allow a river’s high flows to spread out and slow down, forming temporary reservoirs that pool over the rainy season. That means more water percolating down into underlying aquifers … and less floodwaters barreling toward cities.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

Life before the dam: ‘Houses floating’ down the streets of Visalia

The statewide snowpack has reached 160 percent of its annual year-to-date average and the snow-covered peaks of the Sierra Nevada can be seen from Highway 198. … But, if you think that’s a lot of rain, think again. Sunday marks the 113th anniversary of the 1906 flood, which filled Visalia’s downtown streets with about a foot of water. The water didn’t dissipate for 10 days.

Aquafornia news ABC30

Dam operators release water into valley rivers as rapid warm up melts Sierra snowpack

Water is coming out from Friant Dam into the San Joaquin River. The dam is at about 82 percent of capacity, and the warm weather is melting the mountain snow. Michael Jackson, area director for the Bureau of Reclamation, says the flow out of the dam is being increased. Flood releases don’t usually start until April, so the extra water is good news for valley growers, with extra irrigation water available.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Manteca spending $14.3M to improve city drinking water

Manteca is preparing to spend $14.3 million to make sure ground water from five wells meet higher standards implemented by the state of California when it comes to acceptable levels of 1,2,3-Trichloroprane — a Shell Oil and Dow Chemical product used in certain soil fumigants area farmers used between 1950 and 1980 — that is found in drinking water.

Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Yes, a disappointing 55 percent water allocation for farmers

The Bureau of Reclamation announced that the water allocation for South-of-Delta Central Valley Project (CVP) agricultural water contractors has been increased from 35 percent to 55 percent. The increase is an improvement for the farmers and farmworkers in the Westlands Water District, but, given the healthy hydrological conditions throughout the state, today’s announcement is a disappointment.

Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

West Side ag faces ongoing challenges

West Side agriculture, the diverse industry which is the background of the local economy, faces an array of challenges in the year ahead. … Water continues to be an uncertainty for growers served by federal agencies such as the Del Puerto Water District which runs along the I-5 corridor, despite heavy snow packs and filling reservoirs.

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Aquafornia news Mother Nature Network

This invasive 20-pound rodent could devastate California’s agriculture industry

They are a semiaquatic South American rodent a bit smaller than a beaver. Females can give birth three times a year and have up to 12 babies each litter. They are really good at tearing up crops, burrowing tunnels into levees, and other destructive behavior that is tough on farmers. And they’ve been discovered in California’s San Joaquin Valley, a major food-producing area.

Aquafornia news Westsideconnect.com

Opinion: Farm Bill important to Central Valley agriculture

The 2018 Farm Bill is an example of bipartisanship and what can be accomplished when leaders from both sides of the aisle work together for a common cause. The Farm Bill is America’s food bill and for years it has given support to farming communities. It also serves as a safety net for the old, young and working poor.

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Hundreds wade into complex, challenging world of California water

Hundreds of Bakersfield agriculture, oil and political leaders came together March 7 to examine the challenges and opportunities associated with providing California residents and businesses with a secure, reliable supply of clean water. Lest the wet winter create a sense of complacency around one of the state’s most vital needs, specialists from various fields urged collective attention to the costly and increasingly complex problems that surround sourcing, storing and conveying water.

Aquafornia news The Delano Record

Momentum builds for public investment in California water-storage projects

It won’t arrive in time for this wet winter, but hopes are rising that Central Valley politicians will soon deliver on one of their top political goals in recent years: investment in California water storage. Bills introduced last week by Bakersfield Republicans in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., would redirect money from the state’s high-speed rail project toward a series of reservoir projects, as well as repairs to a canal serving Kern County farmers.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Valley farmers need Sacramento to sustain water levels

Sacramento law makers have shown little interest in helping the Valley solve its water problems yet the only path forward is to get them to take interest in the area that grows most of the state, and the nation’s food. A panel discussion last Wednesday at the Citrus Showcase, an industry conference for growers hosted by Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual (CCM), discussed the looming deadline for local governments to comply with the Groundwater Sustainability Management Act (SGMA).

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: The challenges of changing land use in the San Joaquin Valley

Implementing the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act—which requires overdrafted groundwater basins to achieve balance between supply and demand by the 2040s—could require taking at least 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland out of production in the San Joaquin Valley. … We talked to Soapy Mulholland, president and CEO of Sequoia Riverlands Trust, about this impending challenge.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Oakdale company wants to make hemp a major California crop

California’s Central Valley is already the bread basket for the nation. But now a new Oakdale company — in partnership with the University of California, Davis — wants to help make it the hemp capital of the country. The California Hemp Corporation was formed by Oakdale residents Jeff McPhee and Kent Kushar last year… “We want to grow hemp up and down the San Joaquin Valley, just like every other one of our crops,” McPhee said. “This crop will change California.”

Aquafornia news The Valley Citizen

Blog: Subsidence? Socialize it!

Subsidence and socialism are two “S” words that wouldn’t seem to have much in common, especially here in the San Joaquin Valley. Nevertheless, for insiders in the Valley’s intricate water game, the words are inextricably linked.

Aquafornia news NPR

Trump push to give California farmers more water may shortchange science

When then-candidate Donald Trump swung through California in 2016, he promised Central Valley farmers he would send more water their way. Allocating water is always a fraught issue in a state plagued by drought, and where water is pumped hundreds of miles to make possible the country’s biggest agricultural economy. Now, President Trump is following through on his promise by speeding up a key decision about the state’s water supply. Critics say that acceleration threatens the integrity of the science behind the decision, and cuts the public out of the process.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Momentum builds for public investment in California water-storage projects

Bills introduced last week by Bakersfield Republicans in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., would redirect money from the state’s high-speed rail project toward reservoir projects, as well as repairs to Friant-Kern Canal. … The proposals by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and state Assemblyman Vince Fong seize upon a common frustration among many valley Republicans that billions of state and federal dollars dedicated to high-speed rail would be better spent on capturing water from wet years…

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: A winning approach for managing groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley

The San Joaquin Valley is in a time of great change. Decades of groundwater overuse have caused drinking water and irrigation wells to go dry, increased the amount of energy required to pump water, harmed ecosystems, and reduced the reserves available to cope with future droughts. Groundwater overdraft has also caused land to sink, damaging major regional infrastructure, including canals that deliver water across the state.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Engineers design repairs to sunken Friant-Kern Canal while politicians look for funding

When it opened in 1951, the Friant-Kern Canal carried at least 4,000 cubic feet of water per second along its route from Millerton Lake, north of Fresno, to Bakersfield. Then something unfortunate happened. A 25-mile stretch of land between Terra Bella and Pixley began to sink, and kept sinking, to the point that the canal’s gravity-powered water flow has slowed to about 1,700 cubic feet per second. … Federal and state officials would like to restore the canal to its original capacity, as would the seven municipalities and 18,000 family farms using the canal. But how? And where would money for repairs come from?

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

‘Major problem’ floods Tulare County homes, crews work to pump water

A “major problem” in southeast Tulare County forced hundreds of people out of their homes and endangered thousands of animals. … Tulare County Sheriff’s Department was sent scrambling to notify residents in the area of Strathmore that Frazier Creek Canal spilled over and water levels were rising. Frazier Creek is directly linked to the Friant-Kern Canal. … Friant-Kern Water Authority officials later determined the flooding wasn’t caused by “overtopping” of the Friant-Kern Canal’s banks. The issue was drainage from Frazier Creek.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

With the drought over, will cities loosen their strings on watering?

Months of record rain and snowfall has officially lifted the Central Valley — and much of the state — out of official drought conditions. Just 1 percent of California is experiencing moderate drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s a far cry from 2014 when 54 percent of the state was in severe drought. With the drought declared dead in California, will Tulare County cities begin to ease restrictions on residential watering?

Aquafornia news Madera Tribune

Growers tackle water issues

Local growers and others met Friday for a triple tour of Madera County water users and an on-farm groundwater recharge workshop Wednesday. Participants visited AgriLand Farming Company in Chowchilla, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmead, and the Ellis Recharge Basin in northeast Madera. These include farmers struggling “to figure out how to farm” under the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which requires the formation of local agencies to manage underground water.

Aquafornia news Pasadena Journal

Can Newsom’s tap water tax plan stay afloat?

More than 300 communities across the state and one out of every four schools in the Central Valley lack access to safe drinking water, according to the state Water Board. … Responding to the crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for a new water tax. If the proposal passes, the levy will generate $110 million in annual revenue. But some Californians – many working directly with the state’s water authorities – oppose the plan. They say there are better ways to raise the money needed than taxing tap water.

Aquafornia news KBAK

Rep. McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects

Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation  Thursday to repurpose federal funding for the high-speed rail project. The Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act would take funding from the high-speed rail project and use it for water infrastructure projects in California and the West… McCarthy’s proposed legislation is cosponsored by every Republican member of the California Congressional Delegation.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Hundreds wade into complex, challenging world of California water

Hundreds of Bakersfield agriculture, oil and political leaders came together Thursday to examine the challenges and opportunities associated with providing California residents and businesses with a secure, reliable supply of clean water. Lest the wet winter create a sense of complacency around one of the state’s most vital needs, specialists from various fields urged collective attention to the costly and increasingly complex problems that surround sourcing, storing and conveying water across the Golden State.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Timeline for Success Dam widening project released

The Success Dam Enlargement Project, headed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, has been working its way towards construction since October 2018. … On Tuesday morning the timeline was published, and it reveals that construction on the Success Dam Enlargement Project will begin in mid 2020. Until then, plenty of work is scheduled to happen before construction starts.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

Trump pressure on California water plan excludes public, rushes science, emails show

The Trump Administration has ordered federal biologists to speed up critical decisions about whether to send more water from Northern California to farmers in the Central Valley, a move that critics say threatens the integrity of the science and cuts the public out of the process. The decisions will control irrigation for millions of acres of farmland in the country’s biggest agricultural economy, drinking water for two-thirds of Californians from Silicon Valley to San Diego, and the fate of endangered salmon and other fish.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Dried out: Big ag threatens clean water in rural California

Residents of Allensworth, a historic town established by a former slave, have struggled with clean water access for decades. … The community’s water system comes from two blended wells, serving 521 residents with 156 connections. A chlorination process removes most harmful bacteria, but the water still tests high for arsenic, a known carcinogen that damages the kidneys.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Measuring success in groundwater management

One of the key challenges facing newly formed local government agencies responsible for groundwater management is to establish and implement quantitative metrics for sustainability. To help local agencies do this, a new report from Water in the West examines how four special  districts in California have used quantitative thresholds to adaptively manage groundwater. These case studies provide valuable insights on the development and implementation of performance metrics and will be important in guiding local agencies.

Aquafornia news Clean Water Action

Blog: Community participation in groundwater sustainability: A tale of two rivers

In some California basins, sustainable groundwater management can mean the difference between whether a species goes extinct or a community’s drinking water becomes contaminated. The stakes are high. Felice Pace, an activist who works for the North Coast Stream Flow Coalition, talks to Clean Water Action about salmon, surface flows, and the importance of community involvement in the Smith and Scott River Groundwater Sustainability Plans.

Aquafornia news The Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Department of Water Resources hits pause on WaterFix

The real-world implications of Gov. Newsom’s rejection of the twin tunnels project became more apparent last week as the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation requested and were granted a 60-day stay of hearings with the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB).

Aquafornia news ABC 30

Fresno Irrigation District takes advantage of excess water, starts deliveries to farmers

A spectacular snowpack and a series of storms in the San Joaquin Valley are bringing smiles to valley farmers’ faces. On Friday, the Fresno Irrigation District started moving water to farms in the cities of Fresno, Clovis, and their surrounding ag land. While this isn’t an early start compared to typical years, the water is especially welcome after several drought years.

Aquafornia news Digital Trends

California uses blockchain and IoT to manage groundwater use

If California is going to prevent further depletion of aquifers and survive droughts like the one that afflicted it from 2011 to 2017, the state will need to manage its groundwater usage. In the central valley, a group of organizations is working on a project that could stem the tide by combining two technologies: the internet of things (IoT) and Blockchain.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington Bureau

Trump interior secretary draws complaints over Westlands

Complaints are mounting against Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt over allegations he used his position to help the interests of his former lobbying client, California’s powerful Westlands Water District. The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint accusing Bernhardt of ethics violations by partaking in decisions directly related to his past lobbying work, resulting in rules that would free up more river water to Fresno-based Westlands and weakening protections for certain endangered fish populations.

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Aquafornia news California Ag Today

Optimism still alive for Temperance Flat dam

Funding awarded for the new Temperance Flat Dam may have fallen short, but hopes for construction are still very much alive. Jason Phillips, Director of Friant Water Authority and alumni of the San Joaquin Valley Water Infrastructure Authority, has insight as to why those involved with the project are still optimistic.

Aquafornia news Porterville Recorder

Self-Help Enterprises to host free Water Managers Leadership Institute

To help build leadership capacity and acquire water management tools for valley communities, Self-Help Enterprises invites water board members and staff, water leaders, and residents from rural communities to participate in the 2019 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute. The six-month program is scheduled for March through August, with sessions held one Saturday per month at Self-Help Enterprises in Visalia.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times-Delta

California Senator proposes $400M bill to fix sinking Friant-Kern Canal

State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) said Senate Bill 559, will “help secure California’s water supply by investing $400 million toward restoring lost (delivery) capacity on the Friant-Kern Canal, one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most critical water delivery facilities.” … The $400 million would be appropriated from the state general fund to the Department of Water Resources to administer the repairs.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Agencies plan for water rationing under SGMA

Local groundwater regulatory agencies set up under 2014 legislation in California are discussing future rationing schemes with irrigators as they scramble to submit long-term aquifer sustainability plans to the state by a deadline of early next year. Local regulators are discussing a combination of new supplies and land-use conversions, says David Orth, a principal at the Fresno-based New Current Water and Land, LLC, a strategic planning firm.

Aquafornia news OurValleyVoice.com

Water and the future of the San Joaquin Valley overview

The San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest agricultural region and an important contributor to the nation’s food supply—is in a time of great change. The valley produces more than half of the state’s agricultural output. Irrigated farming is the region’s main economic driver and predominant water user. Stress on the valley’s water system is growing. Local water supplies are limited, particularly in the southern half of the region.

Aquafornia news Manteca Bulletin

Manteca is green leader for treating wastewater

The most eco-friendly wastewater treatment plant in the Northern San Joaquin Valley will be Manteca’s by the time 2020 rolls around. Not only is the treated water returned to the San Joaquin River meeting the latest standards established by the state for water quality, but within six months or so methane gas — a major byproduct of the treatment process that typically has to be burned — will no longer contribute to valley air quality issues.

Aquafornia news E&E News

EPA stalls review of ‘Erin Brockovich’ chemical

Last July, career EPA officials were set to unveil their plan to complete a long-awaited health review of the toxic metal hexavalent chromium, but more than half a year later, the plan is still under wraps … The setback — revealed in emails obtained by E&E News — was part of a broader slowdown of chemical reviews ordered by EPA leadership, according to an agency source.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: What’s Gavin Newsom’s plan for sustainable water in California? We still have little idea

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s references to water in his first State of the State address were brief and a bit patchy, but they were enough to make fiercely competing factions each believe the new governor had their backs. But water policy in California is never that easy.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Opinion: There is nothing ‘fresh’ about a new water tax

Not surprisingly, the Governor’s “fresh approach” was nothing close to fresh but the same old Sacramento dance: creating a new tax.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio

Climate science: Adapting to change in the San Joaquin Valley

Since 2006, California has been releasing periodic reports on how the state should adapt to the potential impacts of climate change. The most recent report is unique in that it also looks at key climate risks from a regional perspective. Our news director Alice Daniel recently spoke with Joshua Viers, a watershed scientist at UC Merced and one of the authors of the San Joaquin Valley assessment.  

Aquafornia news E&E News

Interior: Did Bernhardt once try to blow up Endangered Species Act?

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in 2012 filed a 14-page lawsuit demanding  the Fish and Wildlife Service protect the American eel as a threatened species under the ESA. Bernhardt filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of a California-based organization called the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy & Reliability, also known as CESAR. CESAR was, in fact, a group spun together by conservatives with roots in Western farming and the Bush administration.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: How can California capture more water? Competing interests will have to compromise

If you stand on a fragile levee of the Sacramento River these days and watch the chocolate brown water rushing toward the delta only a few feet under your boots, one can’t help but wonder why the state and federal governments aren’t capturing more of this precious resource. Why is all but a tiny fraction heading out to sea?

Aquafornia news Turlock Journal

TID to update community on river flows, dam relicensing

This year, the water agency plans to inform farmers and the community about not only the amount of water the Tuolumne River Watershed has received so far this year, but also will provide information regarding the final license application for Don Pedro, which first began eight years ago, and the ongoing legal battle surrounding the State Water Resources Control Board’s decision to implement 40 percent unimpaired flows along the San Joaquin River and its tributaries for the betterment of fish.

Aquafornia news Fresno Bee

Opinion: Central Valley farmland must be retired to get new water

Although ending groundwater overdraft will bring long-term benefits, it entails near-term costs. We find that only about a quarter of the Valley’s groundwater deficit can be filled with new supplies at prices farmers can afford. The rest must come from managing demand. We estimate that ending the overdraft will require taking at least 500,000 acres of irrigated cropland out of production.

Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Visalia makes first ever deliveries of recycled waste water to irrigate crops, golf course, and landscaping

In December, the city began delivering recycled water through its purple pipeline to the Tulare Irrigation District (TID) following approval by the Department of Drinking Water (DDW). Under an agreement signed in 2013, the city is obligated to deliver 11,000 acre feet of recycled water to TID per year in exchange for 5,500 acre feet of surface water used to recharge the city’s groundwater. Since 2016, the city has received enough surface water from TID to off set one year of groundwater pumping for the entire city.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Opinion: Newsom offers Delta compromise to end California water wars

A single tunnel would perform almost as well as two tunnels, particularly when operated in tandem with the existing pumps in the south Delta. It would cost substantially less. And it would give assurances to environmental groups and Delta residents that the project would not create the large impacts many fear. Environmental groups should take this opportunity to sign on to a new approach for managing the Delta.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Feds: 35 percent water for west side, 100 percent for Friant

San Joaquin Valley farmers on the east side will be getting their full allocation of San Joaquin River water, while farmers on the west side will be getting only 35 percent to start, according to the 2019 initial water supply allocation released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Reclamation. … The forecast prompted Westlands Water District, which covers more than 1 million acres on the west side, to express concern that the bureau is being too restrictive. 

Related articles:

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Brown was obsessed with twin-tunnel vision. Newsom has a more realistic view

A potential grand compromise to settle a decades-long water fight has been obvious for years but blown off. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is forcing all combatants to consider it seriously.

Aquafornia news Modesto Bee

Federal commission accepts MID, TID plan for river flows

A federal environmental analysis recommends relicensing the Don Pedro hydroelectric project and accepts a Modesto and Turlock irrigation district plan for well-timed flows to boost salmon in the Tuolumne River. The flows, combined with other measures to assist spawning and outmigrating young salmon, would commit less water to the environment than a State Water Resources Control Board plan that’s unpopular in the Northern San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield.com

Oilfield wastewater disposal operation near Bakersfield closes under pressure from regulators, environmentalists

A controversial oilfield wastewater disposal operation east of Bakersfield has been shut down amid a years-long regulatory crackdown and opposition by environmental activist organizations. The Jan. 3 closure … puts an end to a practice regional water quality regulators say threatened to foul Bakersfield’s water supply through a slow process of underground migration.

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