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Eyes In The Sky Help Farmers On The Ground

The Central Valley of California doesn’t begin so much with a gradual change in the landscape as with an abrupt line. Suddenly, a barren plain that looks like an apt cue for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” theme song is interrupted by the first row of leafy, irrigated crops.

Since the 1930s, the region has run on human control of water, carefully distributing the melting mountain snowpack through reservoirs and dams, pumping stations and irrigation pipelines, through drips, sprinklers and intentionally flooded fields.

Demise Of Key Environment Bill Could Escalate California’s Water Wars

The smoke has (partly) cleared from the legislative battlefield, in the aftermath of a struggle pitting the leader of the California Senate against not only powerful water and agricultural interests but also Gov. Gavin Newsom. And California’s two largest water-delivery systems may soon be operating under rules that differ ever more significantly.

Newsom has said he won’t approve Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins’ bid for a legal backstop against environmental rollbacks by the Trump administration. And Washington is poised to reduce protections for endangered fish species in the state’s largest watersheds.

How Rock Expands Near Soil Surface In Southern Sierra Nevada

A University of Wyoming researcher and his team discovered that weathering of subsurface rock in the Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California occurs due more to rocks expanding than from chemical decomposition, as previously thought.

Porosity, the void space in rock, was conventionally thought to be produced when water flows through the rock, thus resulting in minerals chemically dissolving. Because mountain watershed provides large reservoirs of water, the new findings are relevant to water resource management throughout the U.S.

Cities In North Santa Clara County Explore Water Recycling Technologies For a Sustainable, Resilient Water Supply

With increased water demands due to climate change and population growth, solutions for a sustainable and resilient water supply are more critical than ever. That’s why the Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, and the cities of Palo Alto and Mountain View are exploring a potential partnership to help fill the need for future drinking water supplies through new regional water reuse programs. Water reuse can include either traditional recycled water for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation and industrial needs, but it can also include reusing water for future drinking water supplies through advanced water purification technologies.

Drought Tolerant Crop Being Studied In The Valley

Big research is happening at the Kearney Agriculture and Extension Center in Fresno County.

Sorghum, a crop that looks similar to corn, is under a microscope.

Jeff Dahlberg, director of the center, said that sorghum is very drought tolerant.

“What we are looking for is the mechanism behind the drought tolerance in sorghum and if we can elucidate the genetics behind that, what we believe is we can use those genetics to see if the genetics in corn, or in rice, or in wheat,” he said.

Could Sea Level Rise Threaten The Water Coming Out Of Some California Taps?

Most Californians turn on their taps without thinking about where the water comes from or if that flow might trickle out someday. They may not realize how local, state, and even federal water managers work together to ensure a steady water supply now and in the future.

Flooding from earthquake-caused levee breeches or climate change-caused sea level rise could result in more saltwater invading our water supply that travels through the Delta. DWR’s climate scientists and water managers will address ways to plan for potential climate change impacts such as sea level rise at the Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Summit in Sacramento on September 17, 2019.

Trump Administration Threatens Jail Time For California Officials Over River Project

The Trump administration and California officials have sued each other, swapped insults on Twitter and clashed on everything from climate change to immigration.

But threatening someone with jail time? That might be a new one.

The threats came in a dispute over reintroducing winter-run Chinook salmon into the McCloud River, a pristine river above Shasta Dam, as part of a federal plan approved under the Obama administration to try to stave off extinction for the critically endangered fish.

State To Increase Flows On Santa Ynez River To Protect Steelhead

State officials have ordered increased water flows on the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara County to protect steelhead trout, which are endangered in Southern California.

The State Water Resources Control Board says Tuesday that its action follows two decades of legal efforts to address long-term declines in native fish populations in the Santa Ynez.

The order requires the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to increase flows below Cachuma Reservoir to provide additional habitat for steelhead. To minimize impacts on local water users, higher flows will be required only during wetter years.

California’s New, $100 Million, Low-Income Solar Program

DAC-SASH has been approved, and now GRID Alternatives will have $120 million to work with over the next decade to bring solar power and job training to disadvantaged communities across the state.

A new program expanding solar access to low-income families in California has been unanimously passed by state regulators.

Disadvantaged Communities – Single-family Solar Homes (DAC-SASH) aims to increase the adoption of solar power by low income households in disadvantaged communities by investing $120 million dollars into incentives annually through 2030. Specifically, the program will provide $8.5 million in annual total to customers who meet income qualifications and live in the top-25% most disadvantaged communities in the state.

Governor To Act On Key Legislation For Farms, Ranches

A hectic week for the state Legislature ended with welcome news for California farmers and ranchers—Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he intends to veto Senate Bill 1, which sought to preserve existing California environmental and labor standards from federal changes initiated by the Trump administration.

Water-related provisions of the bill proved problematic for farmers, ranchers and water agencies. For example, SB 1 would apply the California Endangered Species Act to the federally operated Central Valley Project. That provision threatened negotiations to establish voluntary settlement agreements concerning water flows from the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems into the delta.