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Overview

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Water news you need to know

A collection of top water news from around California and the West compiled each weekday by veteran journalist Matt Weiser. Send any comments to Foundation News & Publications Director Doug Beeman.

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Please Note: The headlines below are the original headlines used in the publication cited at the time they are posted here, and do not reflect the stance of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial nonprofit that remains neutral.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump delivers on water pledge for wealthy California farmers

Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

On eve of Trump visit, critics ask why Newsom hasn’t fought president’s water moves

During President Trump’s visit to California this week, the commander in chief who campaigned on a pledge of shipping more water to Central Valley farms plans to stop in Bakersfield to boast about a promise kept. … But what confounds some who are worried that Trump’s water plan could undermine the environment is how little the state has done to stop Washington.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack barely half of normal

The National Weather Service tweeted satellite images of the Sierra on Tuesday, showing the stark difference between this year and the above-average snowfall from 2019. The mountain snowpack — a crucial element in the state’s annual water supply — is 53 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Latest Western Water article explores plan to bring climate resilience to California water with Nancy Vogel

Shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom called on state agencies to deliver a Water Resilience Portfolio to meet California’s urgent challenges — from unsafe drinking water and climate change risks to severely depleted groundwater aquifers and declining native fish populations — he appointed Nancy Vogel, a former journalist and veteran water communicator, to pull it together.

Aquafornia news WaterWorld

Presidential candidates talk water infrastructure at Las Vegas forum

While all presidential candidates, including President Trump were invited to participate in the event, only Joe Biden, Tom Steyer, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Pete Buttigieg took the stage to discuss their outlook on infrastructure issues.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Nearly half the country working on PFAS rules as EPA drags feet

More states are stepping up to protect people from drinking water contaminated with “forever chemicals” in the absence of federal enforcement. Twenty-three states are writing their own guidance, regulations, or legislation that would address drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.

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Aquafornia news The Hill

Green groups plan to sue over Trump rollback of Obama waterway protections

A coalition of environmental groups informed the Trump administration Tuesday that it would sue over a major rollback of water protections designed to replace the Obama-era Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

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Aquafornia news Phys.org

Mediterranean rainfall immediately affected by greenhouse gas changes

Mediterranean-type climates face immediate drops in rainfall when greenhouse gases rise, but this could be interrupted quickly if emissions are cut. … The study, led by the University of Reading in collaboration with the National Research Council of Italy (CNR-ISAC, Bologna) and Imperial College London, reveals new ways in which climate change affects regions characterised by such climates, such as California, central Chile, and the Mediterranean region itself.

Aquafornia news Monterey Herald

Pajaro River flood reduction project gets federal funds

A long-planned Pajaro River flooding prevention project has secured its first federal funding for engineering and design. Earlier this week, Rep. Jimmy Panetta announced that the Pajaro River Flood Risk Reduction Project had been provided $1.8 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2020 work plan budget.

Aquafornia news Sierra News Online

Mariposa Utility District upgrades wastewater treatment facility

Reportedly a number of Mariposa County residents don’t believe the Mariposa Public Utility District’s (MPUD) decades-old sewage management system could provide service to potential new motels or hotels and multi-family housing units. … In fact, upon completion of the current retrofit and upgrade, MPUD officials say the wastewater treatment facility could easily handle three times as much capacity as it now processes.

Aquafornia news WBUR

Driven by climate change, desalination researchers seek solutions to water scarcity

Extracting salt from water seems like an easy fix to a global problem, but the process of desalination can be expensive, and it can also have a huge impact on the environment. That’s why some researchers are looking into how to lower the cost and improve efficiency.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside

Marking a historic moment for the city of Oceanside and the region, city officials and water industry leaders will break ground on Pure Water Oceanside on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. Scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be on the map as the first operating recycled water project in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Valley Economy

Blog: Delta voluntary agreement costs soar from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion

In the latest update, the cost of implementing the voluntary agreements has soared by over $4 billion to a whopping $5.3 billion. Governor Newsom failed to mention the enormous and growing costs in his oped praising the voluntary agreement framework.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California agriculture in 2050: Still feeding people, maybe fewer acres and cows

Water supply concerns, regulations, labor issues, tariffs, climate change, and other challenges have prompted some rather dire predictions about the future of California agriculture. We talked to Dan Sumner—director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about his research on California agriculture in 2050.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California headed back into drought, or did we never really leave one?

A persistent ridge of high pressure has taken up residence in the eastern Pacific, and it shows no sign of budging. It is diverting storms into the Pacific Northwest region, which means more dry weather for California. But did the drought in California ever really end? Climatologist and weather expert Bill Patzert thinks Southern California continues to be mired in a two-decade drought…

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Trump’s visit to Bakersfield remains a mystery after White House confirms travel plans

While Trump will be in town Wednesday to discuss agriculture issues with local farmers, as of Friday the Kern County Farm Bureau remained in the dark about the president’s visit, and the Kern County Republican Party similarly had not been informed of Trump’s plans. … A White House statement released to the media said Trump’s Bakersfield visit would focus on efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states.

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Aquafornia news Salon.com

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Local reservoirs and municipal water supplies might become so polluted from the fires that the current water supply infrastructure will be challenged or could no longer treat the water. … But most of the fire-prone areas in North America lack large-scale vulnerability assessments of their municipal water supplies…

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news AgGrad

Audio: Water economics with Dr. David Zetland

David joins me today to discuss the water economy and where we are right now as a civilization. He shares why we should be in a global state of panic and why we’re no longer in a world where water is sustainable. He explains the need for water to be priced and how it can positively affect the ag industry. David also discusses water rights, “free water,” the water market, and possible solutions to water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Kern’s shift to specialty crops expected to accelerate

There are many reasons for the shift, from rising incomes overseas and a shortage of farm labor to scarcity of water for irrigation. But as expected, the bottom line is the bottom line: growers generally plant what sells best.

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