Government is Scaling Back Water Quality Protections. Surfers are Picking up the Slack.

The Government is Scaling Back Water Quality Protections. These Surfers are Picking up the Slack

Photo: A surfer rides a wave against the industrial backdrop of Lake Michigan. (Credit: Mike Killion/Courtesy of Surfrider)

Decades ago, California surfers decided to fight coastal pollution. Today, their massive network of citizen scientists is monitoring water quality in places the government doesn’t.

In 1984, a small group of California surfers were fed up with the development and water pollution at their favorite break, Malibu’s Surfrider Beach. They took their … [more…]

Feds say Tule groundwater could continue to sink

photo: canal in California's Central Valley

Despite groundwater sustainability plans, Bureau of Reclamation says capacity of Friant-Kern Canal could fall by another 10% in the coming years; impact could be felt by rural communities as well

TULARE COUNTY – Without the construction of the 152-mile Friant-Kern Canal in 1951 at the cost of $61 million, many of the best producing ag areas along the east side of the San Joaquin Valley would be out of business. … [more…]

Judge Refuses to Divert Water for Endangered Salmon on Klamath River

Judge Refuses to Divert Water for Endangered Salmon on Klamath River

Photo: The Klamath River near its mouth on the Pacific Ocean in Klamath, California. (By Daniel Wade – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0)

By SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Despite claims the federal government is pushing threatened Coho salmon closer to the brink of extinction by cutting off extra water flows to the Klamath River, a federal judge on Friday refused to intervene in the long-running water dispute.

U.S. District Judge … [more…]

Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans End the Problem of Dry Drinking Water Wells?

Will Groundwater Sustainability Plans End the Problem of Dry Drinking Water Wells?

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, work continues on managing groundwater for long-term sustainability, as required by California’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the 36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where excess … [more…]

It’s Time to Plan for Drier Western Rivers

It’s Time to Plan for Drier Western Rivers

Three recent studies highlight how climate change will jeopardize the water supply from Western rivers. The best antidote, researchers say, is to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. | Illustration by Maddy Olson

A strange thing happens during particularly wet winters in California: farmers flood their fields. Never mind that crops are dormant and soil is already saturated — these farmers are more concerned about what lies beneath their land. Aquifers … [more…]