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.
Exclusive Water Summit Sponsorship Opportunities Available
The Water Education Foundation’s
39th annual Water
Summit will be held Wednesday, Oct. 25,
in Sacramento with the theme, Taking On the
Improbable in Western Water. Exclusive sponsorships
are available for the breaks, lunch and evening reception, all of
which are prime networking opportunities for the water
professionals in attendance.
The typically parched, brown hills above Los Angeles are a
vibrant shade of green — a rarity for early October. In
state parks, waterfalls and rivers that were vastly reduced are
now gushing with water. And in Lake Oroville, boats
float on deep blue water that only a year ago
was shrinking toward record lows. The transformed
landscape is the result of a remarkable California water year
that saw 141% of average rainfall statewide, officials
announced this week. … But with abundance comes risk:
Forecasters are warning of another potentially wet
winter fueled by El Niño, which could bring levee breaches
and flooding to the state once again.
A second straight wet winter may be in store for California,
but state water regulators are turning their attention to the
prospect of long-term water shortages, with plans for permanent
statewide restrictions. Under a first-of-its-kind proposal,
about 400 cities and suppliers, including most in the Bay Area,
will soon have to meet state-mandated targets on water use,
requiring some to cut consumption by 20% or more within two
years, regardless of how wet or dry it is. Fines for violators
could run as high as $10,000 per day. … On Wednesday,
the state water board is holding a workshop to hear public
comment on the plan, which is dubbed Making Conservation a
California Way of Life. A final policy is expected to be in
place next year.
A summit in Fresno last week was upbeat on a dour topic: the
megadrought of the American West. … At the meeting, a
new vision of water in the valley emerged. … By
expanding the supply of water that can be bought and sold, the
Valley’s agricultural economy could defy climate change and
drought, and grow by $1 billion dollars by 2040, instead of the
alternative – a $4 to 6 billion shrinkage over the same time
span if water trading isn’t utilized. To get more
groundwater trading done between farms, and from agriculture to
cities, the state needs a new water rights system, said Karla
Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water
Federal officials say they’re one step closer to finalizing a
plan to remove invasive fish from the Colorado River below Glen
Canyon Dam. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials announced
Tuesday that they had initiated the formal process to make
adjustments to the river’s flow. The department has proposed
altering the dam’s output to reduce water temperatures and
disrupt the spawning of predatory smallmouth bass that thrive
in warmer waters. The altered flows could run through 2027. As
levels in Lake Powell have dropped smallmouth bass and other
invasive species have passed through the dam and have gained a
foothold in the river.
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.