Just inside the construction site, however, improved beach access, new room for vehicle parking, a pedestrian walkway and ocean-themed bench walls beckoned to visitors. Less visibly, sunk beneath the sand near the road’s edge, a new underground stabilization wall sat tied into the area’s into underlying bedrock, ready for the harshest projected winter storm lashings and sand shifting.
Waterfalls are a testament to each winter’s rain and snow. … About 33 percent of this winter’s total precipitation is locked in the snowpack and released as it melts, according to the Department of Water Resources.
California cities and towns may find themselves on a water budget in the next decade under a pair of bills approved Thursday by the legislature. The measures follow Gov. Jerry Brown’s call to make water conservation a permanent way of life in a state long accustomed to jewel-green lawns and suburban tracts studded with swimming pools.
As a result of California’s highly variable climate, the practice of storing water predates statehood. And for more than a century, storage projects in California have generated heated controversy. A century ago, John Muir led a famous and unsuccessful effort to stop the damming of Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Using measurements from Earth-observing satellites, NASA scientists have tracked changes in water supplies worldwide and they’ve found that in many places humans are dramatically altering the global water map. … Their findings in a new study reveal that of the 34 “hotspots” of water change in places from California to China, the trends in about two-thirds of those areas may be linked to climate change or human activities, such as excessive groundwater pumping in farming regions.
California voters are being asked to weigh in on new borrowing, new government restrictions and a drought-friendly tax break on the statewide primary ballots that will be counted June 5. There are five propositions in all, a small menu of proposed laws all written by the California Legislature.
Farmer Steve Murray is learning just how fortunate he is to have orchards in the Edison-Lamont area rather than somewhere else in the southern Central Valley. Thanks to his property’s relatively high elevation, Murray’s cherry trees weathered the unusually warm winter and the hard freeze that hit in late February. Other growers weren’t as lucky.
The relatively dry 2017-18 winter in California resurfaced recent memories of drought conservation mandates. From 2013-16, urban water utilities complied with voluntary, then mandatory, water use limits as part of Executive Order B-37-16. Urban water utilities met a statewide 25 percent conservation target, helping the state weather severe drought. Winter rains in 2016-17 led to a reprieve from mandatory conservation.
James Bruggers, a veteran environmental journalist, has joined InsideClimate News as a reporter covering the U.S. Southeast, the first position in ICN’s newly launched National Environment Reporting Network. … At least four ICN hubs are planned around the nation.
Access to precise, real-time data about the amount of water in the Sierra Nevada snowpack has become more critical than ever, California water managers say, in order to assist them in making informed decisions about an ever-less-predictable supply of water. That’s why water managers came to a panel discussion about advancements in snow-measurement technology during an Association of California Water Agencies conference in Sacramento last week.
Amid all the excitement around marijuana legalization in America, another newly legal crop has received comparatively little attention: hemp. And yet hemp may prove to be even more transformative, especially in the West’s arid landscapes. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that is not psychoactive.
Fire officials and San Diego Gas & Electric are girding for what could be a blistering fire season. A dry winter, lingering drought conditions and chronic growth of brush around homes in the backcountry have raised worries as summer approaches.
After two heavy winters following five years of drought, grass and brush are thick in the Tahoe Basin, putting local firefighting agencies on high alert for the fire season ahead. “We will see more intense fire because there is more fuel. That’s the message we’re getting from our fire behavior analysts and fuel specialists,” said Brice Bennett, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Amador/El Dorado Unit.
A new study from NASA reinforces the idea that droughts are getting worse and could become more frequent in the Western U.S. The culprit is human-caused climate change. Droughts aren’t just about precipitation, said NASA scientist and the study’s co-author Benjamin Cook.
Catching up after a busy final week of the semester at the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program, I [John Fleck] had time today to sit down and and think through the implications of this remarkable Bureau of Reclamation press release. It did a great job of achieving one of the primary goals of a news release, capturing a news cycle with the message of increasing risk of a “shortage” declaration by 2020, which would impose water delivery cutbacks on Nevada, Arizona, and Mexico.
This spring in California several orchards around Solano and nearby counties sported a new look: lush carpets of mixed grasses growing as tall as 3ft beneath the trees’ bare branches. By summer the scene will change as farmers grow and harvest their nut crops, but the work of the grasses will continue unseen. Cover cropping, an agricultural technique as old as dirt, is taking root in California.
In a pointed message Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said drought and low flows continue on the Colorado with no end in sight, so it’s up to those who rely on the river to stave off a coming crisis.
The last time water was this scarce in the Klamath Basin, a rugged agricultural area straddling the California-Oregon border, farmers clashed with U.S. marshals and opened locked canal gates with blowtorches so they could irrigate. … Now the stage is set for another round of conflict on the Klamath River, the result of a dry winter and a court ruling by a federal judge in San Francisco.
Imagine the snow in the Sierra Nevada mountains as a giant reservoir providing water for 23 million people throughout California. During droughts, this snow reserve shrinks, affecting water availability in the state.
I [John Fleck] went out to the Rio Grande yesterday morning to talk to KOB’s Eddie Garcia about the prospect of a drying Rio Grande through Albuquerque this summer. The final forecast numbers put this year’s runoff at just 18 percent of the long term average.