Maven marks a milestone: Ten years of covering California water news

Dear readers,

It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago today, I started my very first California water news website on a whim on April 17, 2007.  The last ten years have been an incredible journey, a professional as well as personal evolution.

I adopted the name “Aqua Blog Maven”, later shortened to simply “Maven”, because blogs in 2007 were mostly about silly cat videos or dinner recipes and bloggers at that time rarely used their real names.  In the early years, I stayed behind my website, which was primarily news aggregation, instead, dragging my family around on ‘vacations’ that were centered around water infrastructure or agriculture.

In the middle years, as the kids grew older, I went on a lot of bus tours, and in later years, started attending meetings and conferences.  Through the years, it has been my pleasure to get to know a lot of great, committed people working on all sides of California water issues.

I started Maven’s Notebook in June of 2012 with the vision to create a website that would organize the vast amount of information available on the internet in a coherent manner, as well as supplement that with coverage of meetings and conferences that usually go unnoticed and uncovered.  In this way, Maven’s Notebook is not meant to supplant other internet sources, but instead to complement them, with the intent of giving readers a fuller picture of the world of California water.

One of the most gratifying things has been to see readership steadily grow, from just 113,000 page views in 2013 to over 573,000 page views in 2016.  The website is on track to hit 2 million page views within the next 30 days.  There are over 3000 subscribers on daily email service, 5700+ Twitter followers, and over 725 Facebook likes, with more signing up each day.

So what do the next ten years hold?  I plan on continuing to bring you unique web projects that help organize the internet world of California water, the kind of innovation with integrity that you’ve hopefully come to expect from Maven’s Notebook.  I have a vision for this website and head full of ideas – and some of them are even good!  I want to publish the very best website on California water news, and I’m not done yet.  So stay tuned – watch this space!  I’ll likely never be done.  There’s always more here at Maven’s Notebook!

I certainly didn’t get to this point on my own, so first of all, a huge heartfelt thank you to my sponsors and my donors!  Please take a moment to visit my funder’s page, because without these organizations and sponsors in addition to my reader donations, this website couldn’t continue to operate.

A big thank you to the Bechtel Foundation, who provided a capacity building grant for Maven’s Notebook last summer.  The grant funds were used for fundraising consultants, a facilitator to help create a multi-stakeholder advisory committee, and a new webtool that I hope to be launching at the end of the month.  Maven’s Notebook will also be eternally grateful for the seed funding provided in the early years of Maven’s Notebook by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.

Maven’s Notebook is honored to have a great, energetic group on the multi-stakeholder advisory committee who are helping with policies and organizational development.  Thank you, committee members!

I also couldn’t do without my fiscal sponsors, the good folks at the Trust for Conservation Innovation who handle my grants and donations, and Thomas Newman of OpenThink Technologies who has the unenviable task of trying to keep my website(s) running.

And thank you to my husband, Rick, and my two sons for putting up with my many,many jaunts out into the distant parts of our state in search of water infrastructure.

And last, but certainly not least, a huge heartfelt thank you to all of my readers, for without you, I truly still wouldn’t be here ten years later.  I am honored by the trust you have placed in me to get it right, and it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously.  It is because you keep showing up here every day, that I show up here, too.

With your continued readership and support, there’s a lot to look forward to in the next ten years!

With warmest regards,


P. S.  You’re invited to join me today at the Hook and Ladder Happy Hour (1630 S Street, Sacramento) at 5pm.  I’ll have a sneak preview of my new forthcoming webtool.  Hope to see you there!

My Top 10 …

These are the top products I have published that still exist over the years, as best as I can tell.  (This list does not include the BDCP Road Map, a project is no longer on the website, but logged over 12,000 hits during the public comment period.)

  1. My Delta Slideshow:  I first produced this in 2009, and it’s been on a number of websites, including the photoblog and Slideshare.  I licensed it to KCET back in 2015.  I’m guessing this has got to be the most popular piece I have ever produced.
  2. California Water Systems: Written in July of 2015, this page has received 49,509 hits.
  3. Electricity slideshow:  I produced this slideshow in 2011 because I was curious to learn more about electrical generation.  It’s actually a little dated now.  37,946 hits.
  4. Photo tour of the Imperial Valley: We visited the Imperial Valley right after the first of the year: lettuce, broccoli, cantaloupe and more growing in the field.  25,060 hits.
  5. Los Angeles Aqueduct:  I completed this in 2009.  I moved it about six years ago, but since then, it’s received 23,698 reads.
  6. The Edmonston Pumping Plant Tour:  I’m a bit infamous for this one.  15,393 hits.
  7. Imperial Dam to the Salton Sea:  In  this slideshow, I traced the path of water from Imperial Dam, across the fields, and to the Salton Sea.  11,435 hits.
  8. Rock-a-hoola abandoned water park:  Outside of Barstow, there’s this creepy deserted water park I’ve visited a few times …  10,403 hits.
  9. Groundwater and subsidence in the Central Valley: This presentation by Michelle Sneed has gone viral a couple of times.  9,954 hits.
  10. This Just In: President Obama signs the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act:  Another post that went viral on Facebook.

Maven through the years …

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