State Agencies Present Framework for Voluntary Agreements to Improve Habitat and Flow in the Delta

The California Natural Resources Agency and the California Environmental Protection Agency released a framework for potential voluntary agreements to improve river flows and habitats in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta last week.

The framework, which expands on previous commitments, outlines a 15-year program that would provide substantial new flows for the environment to help recover fish populations, create 60,000 acres of new and restored habitat, and generate more than $5 billion in new funding for environmental improvements and science.

MWD to Update Plan for Meeting Southern California’s Future Water Needs

The board of directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) formed a special committee to provide input on how the region’s water supplies will be developed and managed over the next two decades.

After hearing from staff and experts, the committee will be making recommendations to the full board on how to update MWD’s Integrated Water Resources Plan. The plan was originally adopted in 1996 and is updated every five years.

Study Shows Droughts Affecting So Cal Water Sources Six Times A Century

The University of Arizona recently announced results from a study that studied the annual growth rings of trees to reconstruct a long-term climate history and examine the duration and frequency of “perfect droughts” in Southern California’s main water sources. According to the research, severe droughts happened simultaneously in the regions that supply water to Southern California almost six times per century on average since 1500.

Mojave Water Agency Celebrates New Near Net-Neutral Hydroelectric, Clean Energy System

Mojave Water Agency (MWA) cut the ribbon on a $4.3 million, clean-energy system last week after yeas of planning. The new hydroelectric project will take advantage of water from the California Aqueduct to the district’s groundwater basin in the Victor Valley by converting existing pressure into electrical energy. The process will provide a near net-neutral status in its energy consumption — a byproduct that will save MWA millions of dollars over the next 30 years and provide numerous environmental benefits.


Eastern Municipal Water District Receives $36M State Grant for Groundwater Improvements

Eastern Municipal Water District’s (EMWD) proposed Perris North Groundwater Program received a major boost with a $36.3 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The proposed project is a long-term solution to improve groundwater quality in the North Perris Groundwater Basin, in the Moreno Valley area of Riverside County. The program would also make beneficial use of available local groundwater supplies, further reducing reliance on imported water supplies, by up to 6,700 acre-feet per year.

The grant award covers up to 50 percent of the estimated $72 million program to remove and contain nitrates, perchlorates, volatile organic compounds, and total dissolved solids from groundwater in the basin. It is the largest grant in EMWD’s history.

Federal Agencies Focused On Improving Water Prediction For Western U.S. With Action Plan

The Western United States has increasing been subject to the whims of Mother Nature regarding the availability of water supplies. Managing in an era of multi-year droughts, deluges and floods, and the need to protect and replenish dwindling groundwater basins is a challenge for any water manager.

Last year President Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West to aid water manager in knowing where, when, and how much precipitation will occur in a certain area. The memo directed the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) to develop an action plan, in coordination with water experts and resource managers, to improve forecasts of water availability. The Federal Action Plan for Improving Forecasts of Water Availability (Action Plan) has now been released.

Stored Water Provides Strong Start to Water Year 2020

A year ago, at the start of Water Year (WY) 2019 water storage in the State Water Project’s (SWP) largest reservoir, Lake Oroville, was at just 62 percent of average. Although many of the state’s other large reservoirs were posting better averages, water managers and state and federal agency staff were concerned that California may be headed into another drought.

Whereas the next California drought is not a matter of “if” but rather “when,” the concerns of a year ago have been put to rest for the short-term. California began its WY 2020 on Tuesday with significantly more water in storage than the previous year thanks to above-average snow and precipitation.

Recycled Water Now Flows Through Repurposed Agricultural Pipeline Benefiting Area’s Watershed

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, Riverside County Flood and Water Conservation District and the City of Lake Elsinore recently celebrated the transformation of an abandoned agricultural pipeline that has now been converted to move water from EVMWD’s Regional Water Reclamation Facility into Lake Elsinore. The supplemental recycled water provides an additional source of water for the lake.

Oilfield Activities In Western Kern County Are Increasing Groundwater Salinity

In accordance with Senate Bill 4 authored by former Senator Frances J. “Fran” Pavley (D-27st District-Agoura Hills) in 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board, is now required to develop and implement a regional groundwater monitoring program. The State Water Board has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to monitor regional groundwater quality in oil production areas. Thus far a study by the USGS has revealed higher than normal salinity levels in groundwater near three oilfields in western Kern County.

Metropolitan Water District To Study Rainfall and Stormwater Runoff

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has launched a new pilot program to provide vital data on the most efficient and cost-effective methods to capture and use rainfall and stormwater runoff. The $5 million pilot program will help fund the construction of new direct-use stormwater capture projects and the installation of monitoring equipment on existing projects.

Information on the costs and volume of water produced by different types of projects will be collected over three years and will inform the possible funding of stormwater capture efforts in the future. The goal is to understand the potential water supply benefits of local stormwater capture projects and how to best use that information.