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BLOG: Federal Policies Add to Groundwater Strain


The San Joaquin Valley floor has been sinking for decades. So much water has been pumped out of wells in this arid agricultural zone that the land’s surface has caved downward almost 30 feet in places. As groundwater pumping continues amid the ongoing drought, it’s still sinking as rapidly as two inches per month. On the surface, the subsidence is causing roads and canals to crack as the earth collapses. Below the surface, much of the aquifer space is being lost and can never be recovered.



AWWA Symposium Showcases Potable Reuse

Water managers, federal and state regulators and public health experts will convene in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 25-27, at the first International Symposium on Potable Reuse to discuss advanced technologies that purify wastewater and ultimately turn it into high quality drinking water.


The event is hosted by the American Water Works Association, the world’s largest association of water professionals.

‘Super Soaker’ Of an ‘Atmospheric River’ Headed For North Bay

Federal forecasters say an “atmospheric river” is headed for the soggy North Bay.


Following an inch of rain overnight Wednesday, the El Nino forecast calls for bands of rain Thursday, Friday and Saturday before a “super soaker” that amounts to a “firehose pointed at the North Bay” moves in late Sunday or early Monday.


National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said it will be “an atmospheric river … a long, continuous string of moisture” Sunday and Monday that could alone dump 3 inches or more, doubling rainfall over the previous several days. “It will be a big shot of rain.”

If You’re 26, These California Water Disputes Have Lasted Longer Than You’ve Been Alive

The now-distant December of 1988 was a big month for California water lawsuits that would last a generation and eventually land in Congress’ lap, where their ripples linger to this day.


Each of the two major lawsuits, introduced within weeks of each other 27 years ago, offers enduring lessons – in law, in politics and in the long, long time it takes to get things done in Washington.

After Two Years, Final Round of Drought Aid Distributed

It turns out “emergency drought relief” can take up to two years to distribute. On Wednesday, California regulators awarded the final pieces of the $680 million drought aid package Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers approved in March 2014.


As the harshness of California’s drought first came into focus two years ago, the state’s leaders scrambled to respond. They put together a package that included emergency aid for farmers, farm workers and communities running out of drinking water.

Water Leak Forces Shutdown of California Aqueduct

A break in the California Aqueduct has halted the flow of water in the canal that supplies millions of Southern California residents, but there’s no concern that taps will run dry, officials said Wednesday.


Reservoirs below the break hold enough water to supply customers until a work crew repairs the damaged canal lining, said Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Water Resources.

Dry Week a ‘Break in the Action’ In El Nino Winter

Don’t let this week’s sunny skies and balmy temperatures fool you — El Nino isn’t gone, it’s just taking a bit of a breather, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service said Wednesday.


While last week’s saturating storms have been notably absent this week, meteorologist Emily Thornton said the expectation is still that Southern California will see more rain than usual this winter.

When It Pours in Dry LA, Water Quickly Runs Out To Sea

Winter rains finally hit water-starved southern California in January. The first bands of El Niño storms delivered around three inches to Los Angeles alone, and more is expected. But nearly all that water went straight into the Pacific Ocean. After four years of punishing drought, that may seem like a colossal waste, but the people who built this sprawling West Coast metropolis wanted it that way.


To understand, rewind to the early 20th century, when rain was seen as a threat to the city’s rapid economic development. A series of deadly floods hit the city, killing hundreds of people, destroying homes, railroad lines, bridges and roads. Woody Guthrie sang about one of those disasters in “The New Year’s Flood.”

One of the Early Lessons of El Niño – Catch That Water

El Niño-driven rainstorms can be captured for precious water resources, or they can create millions of dollars of damage to cities, businesses and homeowners. It just depends on timing.


When the first storms dumped several inches of rain on Southern California last week, water coursed off the driveways, parking lots and streets of Inland Empire cities like Riverside and San Bernardino and into a network of gutters, where it drained, eventually, into the Santa Ana River.

San Diego Misses Water Savings Target for December

Residents and businesses in the San Diego region consumed 18 percent less water in December than the same month in 2013, below the state target of 20 percent for the area, the County Water Authority reported Wednesday.


Despite the decline in conservation, which continues a local and statewide trend, San Diegans have reduced usage 24 percent overall since June.