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In an Era of Dam Removal, California is Building More

When the largest dam removal in U.S. history began on the Klamath River this year, it seemed as if the era of dam building was over in the West. Just a month later, however, the federal government finalized $216 million dollars in funding for a controversial dam project south of the Klamath, adding to the $1 billion in direct grants already pledged to the project known as Sites Reservoir. Rights for the water are being distributed this summer.

This would be California’s first major new reservoir in half a century. The project will require building two main dams on a pair of streams that typically only run during big winter rains. Most of the water would come from much farther away, however: Filling the reservoir means piping water from the Sacramento River uphill, away from the Central Valley. If it’s built, the reservoir will inundate Antelope Valley, 14,000 acres of hilly grassland in the California Coast Range, northwest of Sacramento.

California Farmers Set to Cut Use of Colorado River Water, Temporarily Leaving Fields Dry

Farmers who grow hay in the Imperial Valley will soon be eligible to receive cash payments in exchange for temporarily shutting off water to their fields for up to two months this year.

Under a program approved by the board of the Imperial Irrigation District, farmers can now apply for federal funds to compensate them for harvesting less hay as part of an effort to ease strains on the Colorado River.

Water Reuse in the U.S.: a Comprehensive Look at Progress, Challenges, and Future Prospects

Water reuse stands at the intersection of technology, policy, and public trust. The journey from basic agricultural reuse to advanced potable applications highlights the adaptability and potential of this approach.

Water scarcity and quality issues have increasingly pushed the boundaries of traditional water management practices. Among the innovative solutions gaining traction is water reuse, a concept that has evolved from agricultural and industrial applications to potable water supply. To explore the evolution, policy advancements, technological readiness, and future trends in water reuse in the United States, Smart Water Magazine spoke with three leading experts: Ben Glickstein, Director of Communications at WaterReuse Association; Eva Steinle-Darling, PhD, Water Reuse Technical Practice Director at Carollo Engineers; and Peter Grevatt, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of The Water Research Foundation.

California Supreme Court Reverses Public Utilities Commission on Water Surcharges

The California Supreme Court on Monday reversed the state’s Public Utilities Commission’s 2020 order that stopped water companies from using certain surcharges when their revenue falls short because of conservation efforts.

The court agreed with a group of water companies that the commission hadn’t clearly informed them that it would consider eliminating the so-called decoupling mechanisms — initially prompted by years of drought and the need to conserve water — in the scoping memos for the yearslong rulemaking proceedings that culminated in the 2020 order.

Federally Unprotected Streams Contribute Most of the Water to U.S. Rivers

The dry-looking stream in your backyard may play a major role in feeding U.S. rivers.

Channels that flow only in direct response to weather conditions like heavy rain, called ephemeral streams, on average contribute 55 percent of the water in regional river systems in the United States, researchers report in the June 28 Science.

California Adopts Sweeping Statewide Water Conservation Framework

After years of deliberation, California water officials have adopted landmark rules that will guide future water use and conservation in the state.

According to officials, the Making Conservation a California Way of Life framework will help save 500,000 acre-feet of water annually by 2040 — enough to supply more than 1.4 million households for a year — and apply to the state’s largest water utilities, not individuals or households.

Hoping to Reduce Colorado River Dependency, Southern California Bets Big on Wastewater Recycling

Can wastewater be made potable again on a mass scale? Water-district managers in California think so. At a wastewater treatment plant in Carson in the Los Angeles area, scientists and engineers have been fine-tuning their purification process since 2019.

The facility — known as the Grace F. Napolitano Pure Water Southern California Innovation Center — purifies 500,000 gallons of water each day with the goal of someday processing 300 times that amount, or 150 million gallons daily.

Over $100 Million is Going Toward Projects to Combat Drought and Climate Change — here’s What’s Being Done

Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $179 million will be invested in water reuse projects across the American West. According to CleanTechnica, these projects will be centered in California and Utah, areas that often struggle with drought.

Projects receiving funding include water recycling in Los Angeles and Ventura, California, groundwater replenishment in Los Angeles, and water reuse initiatives in Washington County, Utah. These projects will help the areas have more options when it comes to their water supply and make that supply more resistant to drought.

Feds Tout Colorado River Deal Despite Concern Over Residents, Wildlife Near Salton Sea

The federal government and Imperial Irrigation District on Friday unveiled a key environmental assessment of a potential huge Colorado River conservation deal that could save nearly 1 million acre-feet of water through 2026 — and yield the agency and area farmers as much as $700 million in public funds.

Growers said they’re ready to begin summertime fallowing and other measures as soon as the paperwork is finalized, and the clock is ticking. But a veteran analyst of intertwined Colorado River and Salton Sea issues and an area environmental justice advocate both said they have concerns.

How One of California’s Largest Reservoirs Permanently Lost Room for 36 Billion Gallons of Water

California got a particularly rainy winter, but state officials have uncovered another reason why Lake Oroville overflowed with water this spring. The massive reservoir, the state’s second largest behind Lake Shasta, has slowly but surely shrunk.

New research from the California Department of Water Resources shows that the lake, used for millions of Californians’ drinking water and irrigating hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland, isn’t quite the size it once was. The agency released its findings June 26, writing that in the 56 years since Lake Oroville was filled, rock and silt settling on the reservoir floor have cut its capacity by almost 113,000 acre-feet, or more than 36 billion gallons.