As we wind down 2021 at the Water Education Foundation, we are
hosting a few more educational events and fun virtual journeys to
boost your water knowledge.
Water Summit, Oct. 28:
Despite the deluge of rain sparked
by an atmospheric river in Northern California this week, the
state is still gripped by an unprecedented drought.
Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water
Resources, and others will discuss how the drought has impacted
wildlife, farms, cities and more at our Water Summit on
Thursday, and explore what longer-term projects and
partnerships are aiming to make the state more drought resilient.
to find out more and register for
Thursday’s Water Summit virtual forum and the optional
in-person reception cruise aboard an open-air yacht on the
Sacramento River. Foundation members get discounted prices
This weekend’s atmospheric river brought record-breaking
amounts of rain to drought-plagued California. But they didn’t
give the state’s water supply much of a boost, data shows. The
state Department of Water Resources compared the amount of
water in select reservoirs across the state as of midnight Oct.
25 to the capacity of each reservoir and to historic levels for
the same date. The data shows that, even after all of Sunday
and Monday’s rainfall, many of California’s largest reservoirs
are still holding less water than the historic level for this
time of year.
California has always been a state known for its weather
variability. There have been other instances of intense
precipitation, like the heavy rainfall in 2017 that led to the
Oroville dam crisis. But [UCLA climate scientist Daniel]
Swain said that particularly intense precipitation during
periods of dryness are expected to become the norm due to
With so many extremes hitting California, the state is now
talking about Climate Insurance. The next disaster – combined
with a lack of insurance that many can’t afford and is getting
even more expensive – has the state considering a new
community-based approach to lower risk, and make sure more
people are protected against catastrophic weather events.
… Ideas to lower risk include building wetlands to store
water in floods, creating statewide hazard maps so residents
are clear on the risks where they live, and naming heatwaves
like hurricanes so people properly prepare.
Despite the deluge of rain sparked by an atmospheric river in
Northern California this week, the state is still gripped by an
unprecedented drought. Karla Nemeth, director of the California
Department of Water Resources, and others will discuss how the
drought has impacted wildlife, farms, cities and more
at our Water Summit on Thursday, and explore what
longer-term projects and partnerships are aiming to make the
state more drought-resilient.
As part of the historic Colorado River Delta, the Salton Sea
regularly filled and dried for thousands of years due to its
elevation of 237 feet below sea level.
The most recent version of the Salton Sea was formed in 1905 when
the Colorado River broke
through a series of dikes and flooded the seabed for two years,
creating California’s largest inland body of water. The
Salton Sea, which is saltier than the Pacific Ocean, includes 130
miles of shoreline and is larger than Lake Tahoe.
Drought—an extended period of
limited or no precipitation—is a fact of life in California and
the West, with water resources following boom-and-bust patterns.
During California’s 2012–2016 drought, much of the state
experienced severe drought conditions: significantly less
precipitation and snowpack, reduced streamflow and higher
temperatures. Those same conditions reappeared early in 2021
prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom in May to declare drought emergencies
in watersheds across 41 counties in California.