While one federal agency wants to go forward with plans to raise the height of Shasta Dam, the congressman whose district includes the dam called it a “rumor that is going around all the time,” and said it is not his top priority for water projects in Northern California.
State Parks workers were pulling cable up a launch ramp at Bidwell Marina Thursday because the water level in Lake Oroville is on the rise. March’s storms have brought the lake level up almost 13 feet since the start of the month, according to the Department of Water Resources website.
Sites Reservoir advocate Mary Wells was named Woman of the Year by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Tehama, at a ceremony in Sacramento this week. Wells, of Sites, allowed her family’s land to be used as part of the future site of the proposed reservoir in Colusa County.
Every storm helps improve the state’s summer water picture, scientists and state water planners said Thursday. But even taking into account this storm and a big one two weeks ago, the Sierra Nevada snow pack — the source of nearly one-third of California’s water supply — still is only about half of normal for this winter season, with this month’s totals measuring just half of the 1991 miracle month’s final tally.
According to the National Water and Climate Center’s forecast for the Rio Grande Basin, the water supply outlook for spring and summer remains “dire.” … And conditions on the Colorado River, which feeds Lake Mead, don’t look good this year. The March forecast for the Colorado River Basin remains “well below average.”
The proposal to raise the height of Shasta Dam is back on the table, with a 2019 federal budget request of $20 million for pre-construction and design work on the structure. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and several other water agencies in the state have been interested in raising the height of the dam for decades.
In recent weeks, there have been howls of protest aimed at the California Water Commission from the proponents of big new dams like Temperance Flat and Sites Reservoir, because the Commission rigorously reviewed the applications for Prop 1 funding to ensure that they really are eligible for public funds and that public funds are only spent on public benefits.
A Kafkaesque scene is unfolding deep in the bureaucracy of the California Water Commission that could undermine efforts to adapt the state’s water system for climate change and threaten the reliability of the water you drink.
Frank Gehrke trudges through snow and ice, as he’s done for nearly four decades in the Sierra Nevada. He’s one of many state workers who takes monthly snow surveys, in the same spots, to figure out how much water is in the snowpack. And this old-fashioned way of measuring the snowpack is quite laborsome.
March could be the start of a come back for Tulare County’s dry winter. Last week’s three-day storm brought parts of California more rain in hours than the state received the previous month. … Phil Deffenbaugh, general manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Kaweah, said the lake is just where it needs to be, for now.
California water officials tromped through long-awaited fresh snowdrifts in the Sierra Nevada mountains Monday, but a welcome late-winter storm still left the state with less than half the usual snow for this late point in the state’s important rain and snow season.
The storm that wrought avalanches at ski resorts and whiteouts on mountain roads last week was so fierce that California water officials postponed their much-anticipated monthly survey of snow depth, setting the stage for potentially better news this week.
The Chronicle archives overflow with photos documenting the downstream journey of Hetch Hetchy’s water — an engineering marvel that feeds power stations and fills reservoirs. So here’s a follow-up to our previous column on O’Shaughnessy Dam and Hetch Hetchy Valley.
Last week’s major snowstorms brought a welcome change to the Sierra Nevada Range — the source of nearly one-third of California’s water — boosting the overall snowpack by nearly 80 percent. But despite the blizzards dumping 5 to 8 feet of fresh snow, the overall snowpack remains well below normal.
Scientists have found dramatically declining snowpack across the American West over the past six decades that will likely cause water shortages in the region that cannot be managed by building new reservoirs, according to a study published Friday.
A new University of California report forecasts kick-to-the-gut climate-change realities for California farmers, especially those who grow permanent crops in the Central Valley. In a nutshell, the report anticipates big trouble ahead for crops such as almonds, peaches, table grapes, corn and rice.
With about four weeks left in the normal wet season, the Sacramento Valley is at about 65% of average precipitation (less than 1/3 of last year’s precipitation). The southern Central Valley has less than 50% of average precipitation and southern California is still drier. Snowpack is much less, at 28% statewide. Surface reservoirs, which almost all refilled and spilled in record-wet 2017, are now at 98% of average for this time of year, and will fall quickly as there is well-below-normal snowpack to melt.
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water managers and others are trying to face the future.