Tensions Are Bubbling Up at Thirsty Arizona Alfalfa Farms as Foreign Firms Exploit Unregulated Water

A blanket of bright green alfalfa spreads across western Arizona’s McMullen Valley, ringed by rolling mountains and warmed by the hot desert sun.


Redding City Council Opposes New State Water Regulations, Argues for Local Resource Consideration

On Tuesday night, the Redding City Council unanimously voted to sign a letter of opposition regarding water regulations that have been approved for the state of California.

City council voted to take a stand against “Making Conservation A Way Of Life” a strategy approved by the State Water Board in early 2023 and now officially in effect.


Sonoma County Backs Well Water Regulations, Favoring New Era of Groundwater Oversight

Hailed as a complex and historic step, Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously endorsed plans to guide use and governance of groundwater relied on by rural residents, farmers and cities.

The plans, required by a 2014 state law crafted amid California’s past drought, will eventually include well water use fees in three basins underlying the Santa Rosa Plain and Sonoma and Petaluma valleys.

Satellites Reveal the Secrets of Water-Guzzling Farms in California

In a new push to stop further depletion of California’s shrinking aquifers, state regulators are turning to technology once used to count Soviet missile silos during the Cold War: satellites.

Historically, California’s farmers could pump as much as they wanted from their wells. But as a consequence of that unrestricted use, the underground water table has sunk by hundreds of feet in some areas, and the state is now trying to stabilize those aquifers.

Regulators need to calculate just how much water each farmer is using across California’s vast agricultural lands, and scientists and private companies are now offering a technique that uses images from orbiting satellites.

New Mexico Farmers Along Rio Grande Face Early Water Cutoff

Hundreds of farmers along central New Mexico’s stretch of the Rio Grande face a second straight year of having their irrigation supplies cut off early.

The board that oversees the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District voted Friday to end deliveries for irrigation a month early because of low water availability.

The Oct. 1 shutoff means winter crops like those grown by Travis Harris just north of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge are at risk.

Drought-Stricken Colorado Mulls Water Measuring for Agriculture

Colorado is proposing to ramp up requirements that agricultural water users, ranging from big companies to small mom-and-pop farms, measure the amount of water they divert from streams, rivers and waterways.

The state engineer says a statewide rule is necessary to prepare Colorado for a water-scarce future. Some water users, however, accuse the state of taking a heavy-handed and overly expensive approach that will force landowners to install devices in areas that don’t need them.

As Drought Intensifies, State Warns Users to Stop Pumping Water From Major Rivers

In a sign of worsening drought, the state on Tuesday warned about 4,300 users to stop diverting water from the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta watershed, stretching from Fresno to the Oregon border.

The notifications, which indicate that demand from farmers and cities is exceeding supply, are the widest-ranging move by state regulators since 2015 to restrict the use of water rights in a major watershed.

Pendulum Swings in Clean Water Act Regulation

The regulatory pendulum is expected to swing toward stricter Clean Water Act enforcement, though experts say the Biden administration’s changes probably won’t be immediate. Farmers and environmentalists have been in a political tug-of-war over the law’s scope for years, largely due to ambiguous legal interpretations of the statute. While Democrats will now have power over Congress, their majority is too slim to make changes to the law, said Don Parrish, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s senior director of regulatory relations.

How Biden Could Undo Trump’s Water Regulations

California Tightens Reporting for Rocket Fuel Chemical in Water

California water regulators on Tuesday cut the level at which water suppliers must report detecting perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel, fireworks, airbags, and other products. The federal Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year declined to regulate perchlorate, which has been linked to thyroid conditions.