water

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In late April, we launched a series called “Contaminated” where our team explores communities in the region affected by water unsafe to drink. In our first story, we visited a Fresno County community that can’t afford to maintain the arsenic treatment plant the federal government funded 10 years ago. 

We continue today with a look at a Madera County mountain community where residents have been exposed to a different hazardous material in water for decades—but they could have clean water by the end of the year.

Valley PBS

Earlier this month Valley PBS launched a documentary miniseries called "Tapped Out: The History and Battle over Water in California’s San Joaquin Valley." 

The four-part series examines the history of water in California. Each episode delves into a different part of the history and future of water in the region and includes the voices of farmers, water leaders and environmentalists.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In 2012, California made history when it became the first U.S. state to declare that clean drinking water is a human right. But five years later, nearly 300 communities still can’t drink their water, according to new state data—many of which are in the San Joaquin Valley.

Today we debut a series about drinking water, in which we explore where these communities are and why it’s so difficult to get clean water. We begin in rural Fresno County north of Lemoore.

Fresno State Facebook page

There’s a new set of public opinion polls out on the views of San Joaquin Valley residents on a variety of issues, from the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to water and immigration.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Some of the same people who warned state leaders about the probability of Oroville Dam failing are now sounding the alarm at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County.

It’s the first time since before the drought began that San Luis Reservoir in the hills west of Los Banos is nearly full at about 97 percent.

Ezra David Romero

Farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta got some good news this week. For the first time since 2006 farmers and ranchers who buy water from the federal Central Valley Project will have a full water supply. The Bureau of Reclamation announced Tuesday they will increase deliveries from the 65 percent forecast in late February to 100 percent.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought.

All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.

National Geographic

The new documentary "Water & Power: A California Heist" takes a look at past and current water wars in California. It's told through the eyes of Valley voices like journalist Mark Arax and Bakersfield Californian Columnist Lois Henry. 

"This is a very serious issue," says the films director Marina Zenovich. "We show people in the film with wells going dry. One of our characters says watch out. You could be next."

PPIC

Despite a rain and snowfall year that is among the wettest in memory, Central California's water supply and quality problems are not going away anytime soon. A new report from the non-profit Public Policy Institute of California looks at those issues and offers a variety of management solutions.

US Army Corps of Engineers

When Isabella Dam was built back in the 1950’s northeast of Bakersfield it was hailed as a great engineering achievement. The structure held back the mighty Kern River to provide water for farmers and communities, and helped protect the Southern San Joaquin Valley from floods.

Friant Water Authority

While a major “atmospheric river” storm system is expected to pummel Central California with historic amounts of rain and snow this weekend, there’s one place you won’t find floodwater: the Friant Kern Canal.

The Friant Water Authority says the 152 mile canal, that carries water from Millerton Lake on the San Joaquin River near Fresno all the way to Kern County has been shut down since late last year for maintenance and construction. 

This weekend’s storm could be good news for valley farmers, who hope they’ll be able to store some of the anticipated runoff.

Ara Azhderian is the water policy administrator for the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, which represents 29 water contractors that use the San Luis Reservoir. He says the outlook for 2017 is already good.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Following November's election, congressional representatives from the San Joaquin Valley are becoming increasingly influential in Washington. From House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's efforts to pass a bill that aims to divert more water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and deliver it to valley farmers, to Rep. Devin Nunes' role in President-elect Donald Trump's transition team, local leaders are in the national headlines. 

http://tularecounty.ca.gov/emergencies/index.cfm/drought/drought-effects-status-updates/2016/november/week-of-november-28-2016/

Tulare County is perhaps the hardest hit region of the state when it comes to drought. Today there are almost 600 dry domestic wells in the county alone. Now the board of supervisors there is considering whether the county needs an emergency groundwater ordinance to help stop wells from going dry.

 

Ken Lund / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

A new study calls for more freshwater to make it from Valley rivers all the way to the San Francisco Bay Delta. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

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The Bay Institute found that flows from Central Valley rivers into the bay is less than half of what it could be if river diversions weren’t in play. Bay Institute Scientist Jon Rosenfield says these water diversions for agriculture and cities has serious ramifications for marine ecosystems.

 

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