A California water fight pits pistachio growers against the U.S. Navy

A legal dispute over water rights in California's Mojave desert has growers for The Wonderful Co. on one side and a town reliant on a sprawling naval base on the other. As Brent Crane reports in FERN's latest story, published with Bloomberg Green, the case offers a glimpse of the coming water wars in California, as the state's all-powerful agriculture interests increasingly square off against thirsty communities over a dwindling supply of fresh water. (No paywall)

Arizona farms on the front lines of a climate and water crisis

Arizona's farmers are facing a water crisis, as the state diverts scarce Colorado River resources to booming population centers, reports Stephen R. Miller, in FERN's latest story with National Geographic. To deal with the situation, farmers are drilling deeper into aquifers or selling off land, but pressures will only mount with climate change.

Colorado farmers pump less and pay more for water

A decade or more ago, farmers in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado began to run out of irrigation water. The solution, after years of court cases and finger-pointing, was an agreement to raise the price of water, says the NPR blog The Salt.

Lawsuits pile up against the Delta tunnels project in California

At least 57 groups, ranging from local governments to crab boat owners, filed suit against the mammoth twin-tunnel project in the Sacramento River delta, using "one of the most powerful legal weapons found in any courtroom — the California Environmental Quality Act," reports the Sacramento Bee. "History suggests that suing under the California environmental law won't be enough to kill the tunnels."

Massive California water project clears wildlife hurdle

Already more than a decade in the planning, California’s proposal to build two massive tunnels stretching 35 miles beneath the Sacramento River delta has received an important green light from federal wildlife experts.

Agricultural irrigation cools Yellow River basin, scientists say

The seventh-longest river in the world, the Yellow River, irrigates 15 percent of China's farmland, such a broad dissemination of water that it has a measurable effect on temperature, says a team of scientists. In a paper published in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, they said that when irrigation is in use, air temperatures are lower.

Congress approves revision of California water rules

By a 3-to-1 margin, the Senate passed and sent to President Obama a water infrastructure bill that changes how much water is shipped to Southern California and San Joaquin Valley farmers from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The bill was criticized by environmentalists and the fishing industry, reports the Los Angeles Times, and a court challenge is likely if Obama signs the bill into law.

Keeping agriculture in an urbanizing county

Weld County, just northeast of Denver, "is the epicenter of urban growth and changing land use in Colorado," says public broadcaster KUNC.

California proposes first fine of a senior water rights holder

The State Water Resources Board proposed a $1.5 million fine against the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District in northern California for "unauthorized diversion and use of water," the first such action against a senior rights holder, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Water districts sue over California cutbacks

Five water districts sued California's State Water Resources Board over its decision to ban senior water rights holders from drawing water out of rivers and streams in the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds, said the Sacramento Bee.