In praise of ‘Aqua Blog Maven’

Founding editor Chris Austin has stepped aside as compiler of the California water news feed "Aquafornia."

Imperial Valley and Salton Sea

Aquafornia editor Chris Austin's slide show on the Imperial Valley and Salton Sea.

Delta 101

Chris Austin, editor of the newsfeed Aquafornia for the Water Education Foundation, has added yet another slide show to her personal website Maven’s Photoblog. This time her subject is the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the largest estuary on the US Pacific Coast. “Northern Californians think Southern Californians want to drain it dry,” she writes. “Southern Californians, for the most part, don’t even know where the Delta is, much less why it would be important to them.”

It’s important because, fed by the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Mokelumne, Cosumnes and Calaveras rivers, roughly half the state’s snowmelt, including drinking water for more than 20 million Californians,  runs through its tributaries. For anyone wishing to learn about the Delta, its fisheries, its farms, its wildlife and the water that we export from it, Austin’s new slide show is a good place to start. To understand the modern world logic of how

Juicy new website

Click on the image to be taken to the electricity tutorial from

We all want the cleanest possible electricity, but to understand what that might eventually be, it helps to understand what fuels juice up our outlets now. This is an introduction to a new link from the editor whose day job is to compile Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation. At her new website,, Chris Austin can’t seem to stop herself from teaching and offers a selection of tutorials on California water and power. This mavensmanor link looks at electricity.

The Los Angeles Aqueduct, explained

THE  dams and aqueducts that make modern life possible in Southern California — Hoover Dam (1931-36), the Colorado River Aqueduct (1933-1941) and the State Water Project (1957– __) — all owe their existence to the Los Angeles Aqueduct (1905-1913.) This gravity-fed canal extending from high in the Eastern Sierra 223 miles southwest to Los Angeles proved that 20th century Californians needn’t go to water, water could be brought to them. Cities could be built in the sand. Call it a water grab, call it ingenuity, the story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct foretold the story of the modern West.

In a boon for teachers, conservationists and anyone with a passably curious mind, Chris Austin, editor of the Water Education Foundation’s newsfeed Aquafornia, has produced a sweeping photo essay on the Aqueduct. Moreover, she has allowed us to imbed it here. Congratulations to Chris and many thanks to her
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