As atmospheric rivers blasted across California this year, they
brought epic amounts of rain and snow follwing a three-year
Devastating and deadly floods hit parts of the state and now all
eyes are on the potential for more flooding, particularly in
the San Joaquin Valley as the record amount of snow in the
Sierras melts with warmer temperatures.
With anticipated sea level rise and other impacts of a changing
climate, flood management is increasingly critical in California.
Our 2023 California Water Leaders
cohort completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations
for leveraging green infrastructure, such as restoring
floodplains, meadows and wetlands, to help manage water
The cohort of
22 up-and-coming leaders – engineers,
attorneys, planners, scientists, water managers and other
professionals from water-related organizations – worked
collaboratively and had full editorial control on the
Updated and redesigned, the easy-to-read overview comes as
the nation’s largest dam removal project is underway with
the first of four Klamath River hydropower dams
demolished this year.
The Layperson’s Guide covers the history of the region’s tribal,
agricultural and environmental relationships with one of the
West’s largest rivers. The river’s vast watershed straddles
Cailfornia and Oregon and hosts one of the nation’s oldest
and largest reclamation projects.
A new law expanding California’s atmospheric river research
program goes into effect next year. It connects flood and
reservoir control operations with new technologies and
strategies that can help operators accurately predict the
arrival of these storms. California first established the
program in 2015. It’s allowed officials to better understand —
and respond to — the intense storms that are a regular part of
wet years in the state. In January , a series of
atmospheric rivers hit California hard, causing intense
flooding, power outages and evacuations throughout the state.
But although these storms can have devastating effects, they
also crucially feed into California’s water supply.
Over the next two decades, Los Angeles County will collect
billions more gallons in water from local sources, especially
storm and reclaimed water, shifting from its reliance on other
region’s water supplies as the effects of climate change make
such efforts less reliable and more expensive. The L.A. County
Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted the county’s first
water plan, which outlines how America’s largest county must
stop importing 60% of its water and pivot over the next two
decades to sourcing 80% of its water locally by 2045. The plan
calls for increasing local water supply by 580,000 acre-feet
per year by 2045 through more effective stormwater capture,
water recycling and conservation. The increase would be roughly
equivalent to 162 billion gallons, or enough water for 5
million additional county residents, county leaders said.
Earth’s temperature was off the charts this year, and
scientists just confirmed what much of planet already felt
coming: 2023 will officially be the hottest year on record. The
analysis from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change
Service found this year’s global temperature will be more than
1.4 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels — close
to the 1.5-degree threshold in the Paris climate agreement, and
beyond which scientists say humans and ecosystems will struggle
to adapt. Every month since June has been the hottest such
month on record, and November piled on. … “As long
as greenhouse gas concentrations keep rising, we can’t expect
different outcomes from those seen this year,” Copernicus
Director Carlo Buontempo said. “The temperature will keep
rising and so will the impacts of heatwaves and droughts.”
Join a virtual Q&A session Dec. 7 to learn
more about applying for our 2024 Colorado River Water
Leaders cohort. The biennial
program, which will run from March to September
next year, selects about a dozen rising
stars from the seven states that rely on the
river – California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah
and New Mexico. During the seven-month program designed for
working professionals, the cohort members explore issues
surrounding the iconic Southwest river. They deepen their water
knowledge, build leadership skills and work with a mentor.
Wetlands are among the most
important and hardest-working ecosystems in the world, rivaling
rain forests and coral reefs in productivity of life.
They produce high levels of oxygen, filter toxic chemicals out of
water, sequester carbon, reduce flooding and erosion, recharge
groundwater and provide a
diverse range of recreational opportunities from fishing and
hunting to photography. They also serve as critical habitat for
wildlife, including a large percentage of plants and animals on
California’s endangered species
Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the
Bay Model is a giant hydraulic replica of San Francisco
Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin
Delta. It is housed in a converted World II-era
warehouse in Sausalito near San Francisco.
Hundreds of gallons of water are pumped through the
three-dimensional, 1.5-acre model to simulate a tidal ebb
and flow lasting 14 minutes.
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.