The 2012–16 drought caused unprecedented stress to California’s ecosystems and pushed many native species to the brink of extinction. It also tested the laws, policies, and institutions charged with protecting the environment. Eight case studies on environmental water management during the drought reveal both strengths and weaknesses in federal, state, and local response that can inform how California addresses future droughts.
With nary a word, the Senate on Thursday night passed a California drought-relief bill that sets up serious negotiations with the House over water storage, river protection, irrigation deliveries and more.
“The Colorado River System Conservation Program, as the fund is known, will be seeded with $2 million each from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Denver Water.
“Livermore became the East Bay’s first city to raise water rates in response to ongoing drought conditions and shortages when the City Council voted unanimously Monday to enact the third stage of the city’s conservation plan.”
“California water agencies plan to sell the first $200 million in bonds toward a $25 billion project to bolster supplies for about 25 million people as the worst drought in a century threatens farms and cities.”
“People who have ditched their lawns in favor of water-sparing landscapes reel off the benefits with hardly a pause. Lower water bills. More wildlife. Less maintenance. And not least, a feeling of satisfaction.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping new emergency drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of government functions to help water agencies find new supplies, and to press the public to use water carefully.”
“With every part of California suffering from the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a new executive order on Friday in an attempt to provide some relief from the persistent dry conditions across the state.”
“The rain that’s fallen in fulsome fits and spattering starts this spring has punched enough of a dent in the drought that state officials now say just three towns and rural areas are in danger of running out of water — a sharp dip from the 17 that were facing Dust Bowl disaster in January.”
“Like many fieldworkers in Mendota, a rural community 35 miles west of Fresno dubbed the Cantaloupe Center of the World, [Jose Pineda] Rivas finds his seasonal job of more than two decades at risk of disappearing because of the statewide drought.”
“California’s drought is imperiling tricolored blackbirds, large trees and native fish, with some of the affected species already on the state’s endangered list and others likely headed there because of rapidly declining numbers, scientists say.”