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Twin Satellites Circling The Globe Find California’s Losing Groundwater At A Steady Pace

The earth’s wet regions are getting wetter, and dry ones, like California, are getting drier, according to a first-of-its-kind study that used NASA satellites to track 14 years of change in how water is moving around the globe. Southern California loses the groundwater equivalent of the volume of Lake Mead every 15 years due to drought and farming.  That’s 32 gigatons of water, said Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A gigaton is one cubic kilometer of water. That loss matters because groundwater makes up about one-third of our water supply.

Water Planners Work To Enhance Snowpack Data

Access to precise, real-time data about the amount of water in the Sierra Nevada snowpack has become more critical than ever, California water managers say, in order to assist them in making informed decisions about an ever-less-predictable supply of water. That’s why water managers came to a panel discussion about advancements in snow-measurement technology during an Association of California Water Agencies conference in Sacramento last week. The discussion focused on the Airborne Snow Observatory, or ASO program, developed by researchers at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

Hemp Legalization Poised To Transform Agriculture In Arid West

Amid all the excitement around marijuana legalization in America, another newly legal crop has received comparatively little attention: hemp. And yet hemp may prove to be even more transformative, especially in the West’s arid landscapes. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that is not psychoactive. Whereas marijuana plants can produce both the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and the non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) extracts, hemp produces only the latter.

This Zombie Dam Project Underscores California’s Dilemma Over Water

Despite what you may have gleaned from television and the movies, zombies aren’t always constituted of flesh and blood. Sometimes they come in concrete and rock. Exhibit A is a $3-billion dam proposal on the San Joaquin River known as Temperance Flat. The project’s beneficiaries, chiefly growers in the San Joaquin Valley, have struggled for years to justify its construction. Its critics say they’ve done so by exaggerating the probable water yield from the dam and reservoir while understating its negative impact on the region’s ecology and cultural and recreational environmental impacts, and overstating its recreational resources.

NASA Finds ‘Human Fingerprint’ In Many Areas Of Water-Supply Change Worldwide

Humans are dramatically altering water supply in many places worldwide, say NASA scientists who have been tracking regional changes via satellite. The researchers analyzed 14 years of data from NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites, which the space agency has dubbed GRACE. They studied areas with large increases or decreases in freshwater — including water stored in aquifers, ice, lakes, rivers, snow and soil — to determine the most likely causes of these changes.

IDE Technologies Opens California Wastewater Reuse Demo Facilities

IDE Technologies’ technology is being used in two new wastewater reuse demo facilities in California: the Central Coast Blue Advanced Water Purification Demo Facility, in partnership with the City of Pismo Beach, and the Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center Demo Facility, in partnership with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County.

OPINION: Bond Measure Will Protect The State’s Future

On Tues., June 5, you will be able to vote on Proposition 68, a $4.1-billion ballot measure that will provide funds toward parks, the environment and water projects throughout California. This is a simple majority vote, general obligation bond. As a bond, it is paid back through the state’s general fund over a 20- to 30-year period of time. It is not an assessment or tax on local property. The advantages to our area in helping protect and enhance our quality of life makes this a proposition worthy of your support.

New Agency Builds Momentum For California Water Tunnels

A joint powers authority has been formed to oversee design and construction of California’s delta water tunnel project, a milestone in the multibillion-dollar plan that has been in the works for more than a decade. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Santa Clara Valley Water District and Zone 7 Water Agency, three agencies that agreed to fund the project, have seats on the board of the newly formed Delta Conveyance Design and Construction Joint Powers Authority. A board slot is reserved for the Kern County Water Agency, whose board will vote May 24 on whether to accept the seat.