The Water Education Foundation’s
just-released 2020 Annual Report recaps how, even in
the midst of a global pandemic, we continued educating about the
most crucial natural resource in California and the West –
The annual report takes readers along to see the array of
educational events, trainings and articles we produced last year,
including engaging virtual water
tours that educated participants on pressing water
issues and allowed them to interact with each other and a wide
range of experts offering different viewpoints.
To the north of the Yuba Watershed, the Dixie Fire has burned
nearly a million acres. To the south, the Caldor Fire has
destroyed hundreds of homes as it continues to burn near South
Lake Tahoe. Meanwhile, the Yuba Water Agency is leading an
effort to avoid similar catastrophic fire by focusing on a plan
to treat 275,000 acres in the Yuba Watershed.
The California drought has been brutal over the past few years,
but to see just how devastating it has been, you need to see
before-and-after pictures side by side. Bay Area News Group
photojournalist Nhat V. Meyer went out to the San Luis
Reservoir in Merced County this week and took pictures in
approximately the same places that he did in January 2019. The
reservoir is one of the largest in California. The results are
startling. It shows how California’s reservoir water levels are
way below what they should be at this time of year.
The global average temperature will rise 2.7 degrees Celsius by
century’s end even if all countries meet their promised
emissions cuts, a rise that is likely to worsen extreme
wildfires, droughts and floods, the United Nations said in a
report on Friday. That level of warming, measured against
preindustrial levels, is likely to increase the frequency of
deadly heat waves and threaten coastal cities with rising sea
levels, the country-by-country analysis concluded.
Risk Rating 2.0 has been called the Federal Emergency
Management Agency’s (FEMA)’s most significant reform in 50
years. Roughly 77% of customers of the National Flood
Insurance Program (NFIP) nationwide will see increases in their
premiums, while the other ~23% will see reductions or no
change. FEMA will formally introduce Risk Rating 2.0 on
October 1, 2021, and most premium increases will kick in on
April 1, 2022.
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.