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OPINION: Big ground water find not a Christmas gift after all

There was big, very big, ground water news for California in 2016, but almost no one paid attention because it came in the midst of the most heated presidential campaign in modern memory. For those who did notice, it seemed almost like Christmas came early, at midyear.

The news was this: A Stanford University study found huge and previously unknown supplies of ground water far beneath the surface of the ever-thirsty Central Valley. At a minimum, the newfound water supply amounts to twice the amount pumped from Central Valley aquifers since California was settled, or about 270 million acre-feet (one acre foot is the amount of water needed to cover an acre of land, weighing about 10 tons).

What you need to know about Folsom Lake water releases

The Bureau of Reclamation is preparing for a rare event in recent drought years — to release water from Folsom Lake. Outflow at Folsom Lake will more than double from 3,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 8,000 cfs by Wednesday, according to Justin Moore with the Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region. Here’s what you need to know about water releases from Folsom Lake, even though the region is still considered to be in a drought:


Folsom Lake has a total capacity of 977,000 acre-feet of water. Currently, it’s at 599,500 acre-feet — around 61 percent of capacity.

Rain, snow and ice to blast western US coast later this week

A double-barreled storm will aim at California with drenching rain while areas farther north are hit with more snow and ice from Wednesday to Friday. While the storm will bring beneficial moisture to the region, it will also cause travel disruptions to heavily-populated areas along the Pacific coast.

Storm has potential to bring heavy rain to California

A few inches of rain are likely to fall on central and northern California, especially along the west-facing slopes of the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada.

Ninth Circuit Favors Feds in California Water Fight

Two of three judges on a Ninth Circuit panel Monday indicated they believe the federal government had the authority to release 355 million gallons of water from California’s Trinity Reservoir to prevent a salmon die-off, despite water districts’ claims to the contrary.

San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District sued the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation in 2013 after the government ordered them to release the water to prevent a salmon die-off in the lower Klamath River, rather than deliver the water to cities and farmers during the state’s searing drought.

BLOG: Does Water Bill Override Biops? Sure Looks Like It.

There was much talk Friday night on the floor of the U.S. Senate about whether the controversial California drought legislation now awaiting the president’s signature overrides the biological opinions that protect Delta fish or, by extension, the Endangered Species Act itself. Depending on which senator was doing the talking, it definitely does or it definitely doesn’t. I haven’t had the opportunity yet to speak with ESA experts on the very specific and technical language in the bill.

BLOG: Six Experts to Watch on the Economics of California Water

The economic impacts of five years of drought have been felt across California, from urban water agencies to the agriculture sector. As the state plans to increase conservation and efficiency efforts, pricing mechanisms may need to be changed for some water suppliers. Plans for new infrastructure – from big projects like desalination or water conveyance – to smaller recycled water and green infrastructure projects, will also have varying economic impacts. Meet six of the top experts in the field of California water economics that are helping our editors and contributors understand the issue better.

Toxic Water Plagues Rural California

Californians relying on small water utilities to bring drinking water into their homes, or who work or go to school in places providing their own water, are far more likely to be exposed to lead, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agencydata by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY. Small public water systems across the state made up the vast majority of systems found to have high levels of lead in their drinking water or testing violations since 2010, the analysis found.

No Hands Lake: Rain Means Norcal Reservoirs Filling Fast

It’s feast or famine in the water-supply world for California, with Northern California feasting and Southern and Central California regions still struggling with drought conditions. Folsom Lake reservoir is one of the storage facilities in Northern California benefiting from the rain and snowfall that recent storms have left in the American River watershed.


OPINION: John G. Wetzler: Why Haven’t Any Dams Been Built With All That Prop 1 Money?

In 2014, Proposition 1, a water bond for $7.545 billion, was passed by the voters in California so that new reservoirs could be built to prevent future droughts. I might ask where is the action? Why isn’t it full speed ahead? Are we playing another shell game with taxpayer money? Is all the water being dumped into the sea because nothing is being done? Time to light a match!

California: Why Tiny Insects Are Tearing Up Sierra Forests

Western pine beetles, native inhabitants of Sierra Nevada forests, typically go unnoticed. The grain-of-rice-sized insects live a quiet life, spent mostly beneath the bark of weak, diseased or injured trees. But the beetles of late have been causing an uproar. They have been decimating ponderosa pine trees throughout the central and southern Sierra, turning entire hillsides red — the color the pines turn just before they die.