A new report warns Kern County agriculture will face tough
challenges in the decades ahead as climate change makes
irrigation water scarcer and weather conditions more variable
and intense. The study concludes these hurdles “ultimately
challenge the ability to maximize production while ensuring
As the United States moves into the last weeks of
climatological summer, one- third of the country is
experiencing at least a moderate level of drought. Much of the
West is approaching severe drought, and New England has been
unusually dry and hot. An estimated 53 million people are
living in drought-affected areas.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release
projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will
dip slightly in 2021. … Despite the dip, Lake Mead’s levels
are expected to stay above the threshold that triggers
mandatory water cuts to Arizona and Nevada, giving officials
throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for a future when
the flow will slow.
At the July meeting of the Delta Stewardship Council,
councilmembers heard briefings on the activities of the Delta
Protection Commission and the Delta Conservancy, and an update
on the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.
Within as little as 50 years, many regions of the United States
could see their freshwater supply reduced by as much as a
third, warn scientists. … Shortages won’t affect only the
regions we’d expect to be dry: With as many as 96 out of 204
basins in trouble, water shortages would impact most of the
U.S., including the central and southern Great Plains, the
Southwest, central Rocky Mountain states, as well as parts of
Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may
take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional
harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass
over a decade with far less water than that used by
conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the
soil to mitigate climate change…
The California Energy Commission is about to launch a
process to update the state’s building energy code, known as
Title 24. It will set the rules for energy efficiency levels
and whether heating and hot water are powered by fossil or
clean energy in new construction beginning in 2023…
If California lawmakers set aside climate concerns like sea
level rise, and focus only on the pandemic, the state could be
setting itself up for an even worse economic hardship, the
nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office cautioned in a report
The Lakewood, California-based Water Replenishment District
announced that its Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and
Environmental Learning has been awarded Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the
highest rating offered to environmentally sustainable
buildings. Only 5.7 percent of LEED projects in the U.S. have
achieved this designation.
By the 2070s, climate change will reduce snowpack and increase
extreme rainfall in the Sierra Nevada and California’s
reservoirs will likely be overwhelmed. That’s according to a
new study by UCLA climate scientists, who predict that run-off
during so-called atmospheric rivers will increase by nearly 50
percent, leading to widespread flooding across the state.
Human-caused global warming is increasing drought risk across
much of the United States as rising temperatures accelerate
evaporation, increase water uptake by heat-parched plants, and
reduce the amount of winter snowpack available to refresh
regions during dry summer months.
By the 2070s, global warming will increase extreme rainfall and
reduce snowfall in the Sierra Nevada, delivering a double
whammy that will likely overwhelm California’s reservoirs and
heighten the risk of flooding in much of the state, according
to a new study by UCLA climate scientists.
Completion of groundwater sustainability plans for California’s
most over-pumped basins was a major step toward bringing basins
into long-term balance, as mandated by the Sustainable
Groundwater Management Act. We talked to Trevor Joseph—the
first SGMA employee at the Department of Water Resources, and
now a member of a groundwater sustainability agency in the
Sacramento Valley—about next steps and possible pitfalls.
The state will suffer dire long-term consequences if lawmakers
set aside concerns about rising seas to focus solely on
COVID-19, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office warned
Monday. Sea level rise will likely put at least $8 billion in
property underwater by 2050, and could affect tens of thousands
of jobs and billions in gross domestic product, according to
studies cited by the office. Sea level rise and related
flooding and erosion … also pose threats to water treatment
plants, roads, marinas, ports and railways.
California’s winter precipitation is expected to become 50%
more variable by century’s end, based on a Berkeley Lab-led
study of the impact of future greenhouse gas emissions on the
Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a rainfall pattern that covers
a quarter of the globe.
People hoping to get a handle on future droughts in the
American West are in for a disappointment, as new University of
Southern California-led research shows El Niño cycles are an
unreliable predictor. Instead, they found that Earth’s dynamic
atmosphere is a wild card that plays a much bigger role than
sea surface temperatures, yet defies predictability, in the wet
and dry cycles that whipsaw the western states.
We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost
data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the
need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies
by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington
County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do
not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.
This cluster of counties on Colorado’s Western Slope — along
with three counties just across the border in eastern Utah —
has warmed more than 2 degrees Celsius, double the global
average. Spanning more than 30,000 square miles, it is the
largest 2C hot spot in the Lower 48, a Washington Post analysis
found. … The average flow of the Colorado River has declined
nearly 20 percent over the past century, half of which is
because of warming temperatures, scientists say.
In California, many of the wildfires occur in the Sierra Nevada
mountains, which are the source of 70% of California’s water
resources. Understanding the feedbacks and implications of
disturbances on the hydrological cycle can help watershed
managers plan for future scenarios with wildfires and climate
The Santa Barbara City Council unanimously passed a motion
Tuesday to introduce and subsequently adopt an ordinance
authorizing a grant funding agreement with the State Department
of Water Resources in the amount of $10 million for
reactivation of the Charles E. Meyer Desalination Plant.
Crops require water to grow. By importing water-intensive
crops, countries essentially bring in a natural resource in the
form of virtual water. Agricultural virtual water is the amount
of water needed to grow a particular crop in a given region.
Now research led by scientists at PNNL has projected that the
volume of virtual water traded globally could triple by the end
of the century.
Nearly 200,000 people were evacuated when the spillways failed
at Oroville Dam in 2017, an infrastructure disaster that cost
around a billion dollars to repair. Three years later
scientists say events that partially led to the incident could
become more frequent. It comes down to how and when snow and
Now that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has released a
final California Water Resilience Portfolio, farm organizations
say they will monitor progress on implementing the plan’s
proposals—and on resolution of ongoing state-federal conflicts
that complicate achieving some of its goals.
Regional water board member Kris Murray is on track later this
week to vote on a controversial desalination plant sponsored by
a company and interest groups she took money from during past
Environmental engineers at the University of California, Irvine
have developed a new framework for characterizing snow droughts
around the world. Using this tool to analyze conditions from
1980 to 2018, the researchers found a 28-percent increase in
the length of intensified snow-water deficits in the Western
United States during the second half of the study period.
The Program on Water in the West at Stanford University is
pleased to announce that Felicia Marcus, a preeminent water
policy expert and the previous chair of the California State
Water Resources Control Board, is joining the program as this
year’s William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow.
When Brenda Goeden first started working on mud, silt, and sand
in the San Francisco Bay two decades ago, dredgers and
contractors couldn’t get rid of all the sediment they excavated
fast enough. … But today sediment is a hot commodity, as
restorationists and developers scramble to elevate salt marshes
and building sites before rising tides claim them. Now, a new
plan is in the works to optimize allocation of this critical
The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19
percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict
that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent.
The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious
Poseidon Resources wants to build a $1.4 billion desalination
plant near a power plant that is about to be shut down. They
say it could produce 50 million gallons of water per day,
enough for about 100,000 Orange County homes. Friday marked the
second day of hearings before the Santa Ana Regional Water
Quality Control Board. Its approval is needed for the plant to
discharge salty brine left over from the treated water.
After hearings this week for one of two remaining major permits
needed for the project, several members of the Regional Water
Quality Control Board indicated they were dissatisfied with the
proposed mitigation for the larvae and other small marine life
that would die as a result of the plant’s ocean intake pipes.
Droughts are common in California. The drought of 2012-2016 had
no less precipitation and was no longer than previous
historical droughts, but came with record high temperatures and
low snowpack, which worsened many drought impacts.
The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional
conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet
year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on
other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river
still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical
year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.
The Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority’s notice of an
upcoming public hearing on a basin replenishment fee has
attracted a lot of attention from water users in the valley,
but not everyone understands what the IWVGA is.
Following the Imperial Irrigation District’s recent win on a
monumental water case in California’s appellate court against
Michael Abatti, the water district is back in court filing the
opening brief against the other large water district is
Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District.
Desperate to complete a historic but complicated dam removal on
the California-Oregon border, Gov. Gavin Newsom has appealed to
one of the world’s wealthiest men to keep the project on track:
financier Warren Buffett. Newsom dispatched a letter to Buffett
and two of his executives Wednesday urging them to support
removal of four hydroelectric dams on the lower Klamath
Water is a big deal in California, and climate change is
threatening the precious resource. That’s why Gov. Gavin Newsom
finalized a broad plan this week to help prevent future water
challenges … The Water Resilience Portfolio outlines 142
actions the state could take to build resilience as the effects
of warming temperatures grow.
Demonstrators in northern Mexico have burned several government
vehicles, blocked railway tracks and set afire a government
office and highway tollbooths to protest water payments to the
Gov. Gavin Newsom released strategies Tuesday to improve
drinking water quality, revive a stalled multibillion-dollar
tunnel and build new dams. Newsom says the sweeping water
portfolio will help the Golden State prepare for global warming
by reinforcing outdated water infrastructure and reducing the
state’s reliance on groundwater during future droughts.
NEWS RELEASE: Governor Gavin Newsom today released a final
version of the Water Resilience Portfolio, the
Administration’s blueprint for equipping California to cope
with more extreme droughts and floods, rising
temperatures, declining fish populations, over-reliance on
groundwater and other challenges.
After more than 20 years of developing plans for a Huntington
Beach desalination plant and winding its way through a
seemingly endless bureaucratic approval process, Poseidon Water
comes to a key juncture as the Regional Water Quality Control
Board votes on whether to grant a permit after hearings this
When it was measured last year, the clarity of the lake was
about 80 feet. … But, consider this, about 20 years ago, the
clarity of lake was 100 feet. That’s the trend scientists are
trying to reverse.
The Third Appellate District has ruled that the State Water
Resources Control Board has the authority to issue temporary
emergency regulations and curtailment orders which establish
minimum flow requirements, regulate unreasonable use of water,
and protect threatened fish species during drought conditions.
What was extraordinary was the unusually deep snow recorded in
the northern Sierra Nevada mountains before the storm event.
Subsequently, several records were set for how much snowmelt
occurred during the atmospheric river. The melt took place
because of unusually warm and wet conditions, and it increased
water available for runoff by 37 percent over rain alone,
straining the capacity of California’s second-largest
The state of California, long derided for its failure to act in
the past, says it is now moving full-bore to address the Salton
Sea’s problems, with ambitious plans for wildlife habitat
expansion and dust suppression.
With state and federal administrations fighting in court about
delta water operations—and with a pandemic and election year
both underway—work has slowed on voluntary agreements meant to
avoid severe cuts to northern San Joaquin Valley water
supplies. At issue is the first phase of a State Water
Resources Control Board plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin
As part of a settlement reached with fishing and environmental
groups, the California State Water Resources Control Board says
it will increase transparency and conduct heightened
evaluations when deciding water quality standards and flow
limits for the state’s critical waterways. …
Environmentalists celebrated the deal as a “landmark
settlement” that stands to boost protections for fish by
improving water quality in the Sacramento River and the San
Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based startup company, is one of
several high-tech aerial monitoring companies helping
California farmers, including those in Kern County, increase
their production, while decreasing their demand for water. It
is a logical marriage between agriculture and innovators in
California’s Silicon Valley.
In June 2018, scientists first noticed that aspen trees around
the basin were looking more defoliated than usual… “It was
concerning because, from a landscape diversity perspective,
aspens are so priceless in terms of what they contribute up
here,” said Will Richardson, executive director of the Tahoe
Institute for Natural Science.
“We believe olives are California’s crop of the future,” said
Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center.
“Because as the water supply tightens up, either through state
policy or extended drought periods, we’re seeing a longer,
warmer season — olives are really well-suited to manage that
more than other crops…”
Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) is a pretty simple technology.
… The effect is not to create energy. In fact, these
facilities are net consumers of energy. But by making renewable
energy available when it is most needed, PSH helps renewables
better match demand, reducing the need for gas on the grid.
A potential harmful algal bloom (HAB) has been identified at
New Melones Reservoir downstream of the log jam and Camp Nine
bridge in Calaveras County. … This is the first HAB
identified in Calaveras County this year, based on the state
HAB Incident Reports Map.
FEMA maps show that roughly 500,000 California properties are
at substantial likelihood of flooding, with a 1% chance of
being flooded in any given year. The study found that more than
twice that amount—1.1 million properties—are already at this
level of risk, and that an additional 150,000 properties will
join them in the next 30 years, mainly because of rising seas.
While it’s fair to say that salmon and steelhead are dying the
death of a thousand cuts in the Eel River, Scott Dam is by far
the deepest and most damaging of these injuries. Dam removal
efforts from Maine to Washington State to here in California
have shown time and again that restoring access to historical
spawning grounds is key to rebounding fish populations.
Da Yang, an atmospheric scientist at UC Davis and his
co-authors predict the entire West Coast will experience
greater month-to-month fluctuations in extremely dry and wet
weather, especially in California. The study explores the
Madden-Julian oscillation (MJO), an atmospheric phenomenon that
influences rainfall in the tropics…
California’s wild weather swings, from pounding rain to drought
and from fires to floods, are widely expected to worsen as the
climate warms. A new study shows just how severe things might
get, and it’s not pretty.
The high-tide flooding that inundated the streets of Newport
Beach’s Balboa Peninsula over the Fourth of July weekend will
grow ever-more common throughout the state — and nation —
thanks to rising seas, according to a National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s report released Tuesday, July 14.
In November 2019, a diverse group of nine organizations, known
as the North Yuba Forest Partnership, announced its commitment
to using best available science in planning and implementing
forest restoration at an unprecedented pace and scale within
the North Yuba River watershed. Today, the group released an
online interactive story map highlighting the ecological and
human values within the watershed…
Electric utilities that operate coal plants face growing water
supply risks in the western United States, where water is
scarce and increasingly threatened by hotter and drier
conditions driven by climate change. That’s the focus of a new
Energy and Policy Institute report, which explores the water
supply risks facing coal plants in the American West…
On a hot June evening, UC Merced Professor Josh Viers joined
farm advocate and small farmer Tom Willey on his front porch
near Fresno to talk about California’s water, disadvantaged
communities, agricultural production and the future as part of
the new “Down on the Farm” podcast that’s now available for all
To live in Colorado is to know drought. Since 2000, there has
been only one month-plus-long period (from late May to mid July
of 2019) when no drought has been desiccating the earth here.
Other than that, at least one part of the state has been in a
perpetual state of crisp.
A vision first formed in the early 1990s finally came to
fruition when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the San
Bernardino Valley Water Conservation District authority to
manage a long-awaited project that will benefit water,
environmental, economic and community interests in the Upper
Santa Ana River Wash.
This legislation will ensure the nation’s water supply is safe
and sustainable. The Water for Tomorrow Act will combine the
water sustainability measures from Sen. Harris’ Water Justice
Act with key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act,
led in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jared Huffman
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman says
she’d like to see more cooperation from California officials as
talks aim to resolve a legal dispute over competing biological
opinions governing the management of their respective water
For 50 years, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have
unintentionally stifled conversations of flood risk. They have
encouraged property-owners and governments at all levels to
dwell on map details for one static event, rather than flood
risks for a range of events… Now, First Street Foundation has
released a new tool that can change how these conversations
Sustainability plans developed by groundwater sustainability
agencies outline how water users can restore depleted water
sources. But fights have arisen and disputes about the
reliability of those water sources have come to light.
The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in
a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern
California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the
implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for
the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton
Sea is also considered.
To those who opposed the dam, Glen Canyon Dam’s history reads
like an obituary about the loss of an incomparable sandstone
and water wonderland… Those on the other side of the issue
feel the dam has improved Glen Canyon – now providing greater
access to its breathtaking contrast of towering crimson
sandstone walls and vast expanses of crystal blue water.
The large and rapid variations in rainfall recorded in the LSC
stalagmites demonstrate that climate in Northern California is
sensitive to changes happening elsewhere in the world, and that
rainfall in this area may be capable of increasing or
decreasing in response to relatively small changes in global
In five decades of public service Phil Isenberg has served as
mayor of Sacramento, a member of the Assembly, a lobbyist,
chairs of the Marine Life Protection Blue Ribbon Task Force,
the Delta Vision Blue Ribbon Task Force, and, until 2016, the
Delta Stewardship Council. … In a two-part oral history with
Chris Austin, editor of Maven’s Notebook, Isenberg details the
myths and complexities of California water politics.
Imperial Irrigation District made the first notable follow-up
to its petition to hit the brakes on the Lower Basin Drought
Contingency Plan for the Colorado River with an opening brief
This brown bag seminar is part of the selection process for a
California Sea Grant Extension Specialist who will be hired
jointly with the Delta Stewardship Council. The position with
the Delta Stewardship Council will provide leadership in
advancing collaborative partnerships and initiatives and in
catalyzing and implementing social science research to inform
management of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region of
Researchers in the Grand Canyon now spend weeks at a time,
several times a year, monitoring humpback chub, which has
become central to an ecosystem science program with
implications for millions of westerners who rely on Colorado
Here at 12,000 feet on the Continental Divide, only vestiges of
the winter snowpack remain, scattered white patches that have
yet to melt and feed the upper Colorado River, 50 miles away.
That’s normal for mid-June in the Rockies. What’s unusual this
year is the speed at which the snow went. And with it went
hopes for a drought-free year in the Southwest.
Tapan Pathak, University of California Cooperative Extension
specialist based at UC Merced, is doing applied research that
farmers and ranchers can use to adapt to new conditions created
by a variable and changing climate. “You don’t have to shift
your practice tomorrow, but if you are thinking of making a
30-year investment, it’s important to know what risks there are
for planting different crops,” said Pathak…
California has just adopted an energy code specification for
grid-friendly and super-efficient water heaters that will help
decarbonize buildings and the electric grid while saving
Californians money on their utility bills.
The Sacramento region is preparing for the long term impacts of
the climate crisis when it comes to water supply. Central to
the plan is a groundwater storage program with two to three
times the space of Folsom Lake.
Scientists estimate the earth’s soil holds two to three times
more carbon than the entire atmosphere. That’s a good thing,
because cars, planes, factories, and farms churn out CO2 at
astounding rates. If farmers could coax their fields to suck up
more of the gas and deposit it underground in the form of
organic carbon, it could go a long way toward mitigating
greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change will impact the reproductive success of fish
worldwide, according to an alarming new study. The researchers
estimate that rising water temperatures will limit the
reproductive ability of up to 60 percent of all fish species.
The study authors report that the risks for fish are much
higher than previously realized, especially given the fact that
in certain developmental stages they are extremely sensitive to
rising water temperatures.
For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models
from the world’s top climate modeling groups have been “running
hot” – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme
than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been
confounding scientists because it challenges decades of
If you want to know what climate change means for California’s
water supply, consider the last two Februaries. In 126 years of
statewide record-keeping, you can’t find a drier February than
the one we just experienced. But February 2019 was the third
wettest on record. The extremes underscore how global warming
is exaggerating the year-to-year swings in California
precipitation, which is naturally the most variable in the
Already affected by the warming temperatures of climate change
the flow of the Colorado is once again being challenged by a
proposed $2.24 billion taxpayer-funded pipeline taking 86,000
square-acre-feet of water to a community that already uses 234%
more water than the average community — and does not need it.
The amount and location of available terrestrial water is
changing worldwide. An international research team led by ETH
Zurich has now proved for the first time that human-induced
climate change is responsible for the changes observed in
available terrestrial water.
We are preparing now for the tougher negotiations that lie
ahead to develop new operating rules for the Colorado River.
Last week, Arizona’s water community began work preparing our
state’s vision of what Colorado River management should look
like after the current set of rules expire in a little more
than six years.
Across much of the United States, the flood risk is far greater
than government estimates show, new calculations suggest,
exposing millions of people to a hidden threat… That new
calculation, which takes into account sea-level rise, rainfall
and flooding along smaller creeks not mapped federally,
estimates that 14.6 million properties are at risk from what
experts call a 100-year flood, far more than the 8.7 million
shown on federal government flood maps. [See the map to explore
county flood risk in California and the West.]
While there are numerous factors that can lead to increased
wildfire risk, a growing body of scientific evidence finds that
climate change is a wildfire “threat multiplier,” amplifying
both natural and human risk factors. But how climate will
influence western communities and ecosystems varies
considerably. Two recent studies in California and the Pacific
Northwest help to bring some of this into better focus.
As the Salton Sea retreats, leaving the dry playa exposed, dust
particles become airborne and mobilize lung-damaging toxins
from agricultural runoff. Red Hill Bay, located near the
southeastern corner of the sea, would restore habitat by
flooding the area, but it’s one of several mitigation projects
that have taken flack for progressing so slowly.
Voters approved a $90 million general obligation bond for the
project in 2018, and construction was supposed to be complete
by December of this year. Now officials are expecting the
project to cost about $109 million and not be complete until
There can be little argument that many of the more than 90,000
dams in this country are in need of immediate attention. The
catastrophic failure of two dams in Michigan last month
following an extraordinary amount of rain in a relatively short
period, highlights a number of issues:
The water has made development possible and is used for farms,
homes and businesses. Meanwhile, recreation has risen to over 4
million annual visitors in Glen Canyon National Recreation
Area, with tourists bringing in over $420 million to local
communities. But climate scientists studying the Colorado River
find the lake’s water source is quickly declining.
The Delta is changing much faster than we can respond to, and
if we want to start to get ahead of things, we need to think
about what changes lie ahead and what managers and decision
makers will need to manage those changes. That was the topic
for the second Science Needs Workshop hosted by the Delta
Science Program which brought together Jennifer Pierre with the
State Water Contractors, Paul Souza with the US Fish and
Wildlife Service, and Campbell Ingram with the Delta
It seems some are willing to wait forever for a new water
supply. After 25 years of failure, they still trust Cal Am to
come up with a solution. But the Monterey Peninsula Water
Management District is clearly done waiting. Last Monday, the
district board withdrew its support for Cal Am’s proposed desal
Water and the question of what constitutes its sustainable use
is becoming an increasingly important subject everywhere with
each passing year, but in few places is it more crucial than in
the Carrizo Planning Area of California Valley
Researchers at Stanford are working on a technology that may be
needed more than ever over the next decade, especially if new
predictions are accurate. … “To us, desalination is kind of
the wave of the future,” says Stanford researcher William
Tarpeh, Ph.D. Tarpeh and colleagues have been refining a
technology that could eventually make widespread desalination
cheaper, and safer for the environment.
A recent paper on climate change in California and the West has
been in the news and raising concerns. Based on extensive
analysis of tree ring data—a good measure of summer soil
moisture—the authors postulate that most of the region is in an
unfolding “megadrought” that began in 2000 and is the second
worst in the past 1,200 years. … If the state is in a
megadrought, it means a great deal. We should plan accordingly.
Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and
Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved
in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought
contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials
are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next,
while other states have had more informal discussions.
House Democrats attached a provision to the bill that would
look to introduce additional dam and hydropower safety
inspections and analysis to the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission permitting process. … House Democrats included
various provisions that would boost drinking water protections
and infrastructure, harden water systems against the threat of
climate change, and provide a financial lifeline for tribal
water and wastewater systems.
The recovery from the COVID shutdown gives us a rare
opportunity to rethink our relationship with the global
ecosystems on which we depend. Like so many others, I long for
a return to normalcy. But that’s not what we need. We must come
out of this pandemic looking to address other looming crises.
Our unsustainable agricultural system, along with climate
change, are at the top of the list.
Encouraged by a recently vetted new method for creating carbon
offsets from wetlands, a flurry of new climate adaptation
projects on publicly owned islands strewn along the central
Delta corridor aim to defend against sea-level rise, restore
habitat, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University
analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that
took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in
the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant
increases in power costs for three major investor-owned
utilities in the state… They also found that increased
harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to
hydropower losses during drought in the future, even as more
sources of renewable energy are added to the grid.
As winter rains intensify with climate change, flooding will
worsen in Santa Clara County, the Bay Area’s largest by
population… The Coyote Creek system — 1,500 miles of
waterways that drain a 350-square-mile watershed — connects
half a dozen elements that are key to climate adaptation, from
reservoirs to creek confluences to the Bay shore.
A team led by a researcher from North Carolina State University
analyzed the downstream effects of a drought in California that
took place in 2012-2016, and was considered one of the worst in
the state’s history. They found that drought led to significant
increases in power costs for three major investor-owned
utilities in the state… They also found that increased
harmful emissions of greenhouse gases could be linked to
hydropower losses during drought in the future…
There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts
across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming
dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s
largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at
the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually
controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was
the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week
As Utah pushes forward with its proposed Lake Powell Pipeline –
an attempt move over 80,000 acre feet per year of its Upper
Colorado River Basin allocation to communities in the Lower
Basin – it is worth revisiting one of the critical legal
milestones in the evolution of what we have come to call “the
Law of the River.”
In October 2019, the Public Policy Institute of California
(PPIC) released the report, Priorities for California’s Water,
which outlined California’s water management challenges and
their top priorities for addressing those challenges. At the
May meeting of the California Water Commission, Alvar
Escriva-Bou, a PPIC research fellow, gave a presentation on the
findings and how they align with the actions of the draft water
Under current SGMA proposals, known as groundwater
sustainability plans, the study estimates that as many as
12,000 domestic wells could run dry by the year 2040.
Commissioned by the Water Foundation and put together by a
group of drinking water advocacy organizations, the study
estimates that as many as 127,000 residents could lose their
water, and that the costs of repairing these wells could run up
hundreds of millions of dollars.
States have grappled in the last two decades with declining
water levels in the basin’s main reservoirs — Mead and Powell —
while reckoning with clear scientific evidence that climate
change is already constricting the iconic river… For water
managers, the steady drop in water consumption in recent years
is a signal that conservation efforts are working and that they
are not helpless in the face of daunting environmental changes.
Driving on Highway 101 from the South Bay, up the Peninsula,
commuters zoom by nearly invisible infrastructure keeping the
highway and nearby communities dry. Beyond the highway, at the
edge of the San Francisco Bay, are levees and tide gates
protecting roads and neighborhoods against high tides and storm
flooding. Unless you visit the bay lands to walk the levee
trails, you might never know these important structures exist.
UC San Diego will host the Cooperative Institute for Marine,
Earth and Atmospheric systems, and it will get up to $220
million in funding for research over a five-year period. …
The research institute will help federal scientists understand
the complicated interaction between ocean and atmosphere, and
the interaction’s effects on the planet’s climate [including]
…West Coast rainfall, the abundance or lack of abundance of
water, drought conditions…
Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and
the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State
reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that
stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that
serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of
the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational
industry and environmental protection takes expertise,
leadership and a steady hand. Colorado has that in Becky
Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board
Hundreds of studies on nature-based solutions to extreme events
show that “green infrastructure” is often cheaper and more
effective than engineered projects like dams, levees and sea
walls, according to a new analysis. Experts say federal and
state governments should heed those findings and increase
funding for natural landscapes and systems to reduce climate
disaster risk. Solutions include floodplain restoration and
“living shorelines” along vulnerable coasts and rivers.
A note from another former colleague the other day prodded me
into some rethinking — as with everything in this economic
crisis, partly in light of the need for California to think
small. By which I mean, think local.
After nearly two decades of declining water flows into the
Colorado River Basin, scientists have decided the word drought
doesn’t cut it anymore. We need different terms, they say, to
help people fully grasp what has happened and the long-term
implications of climate change — not just in the Southwest, but
across the country. The term that’s caught the most attention
lately is “megadrought.”
Under the 1944 treaty, the US is committed to sending 1.5mn
acre-feet of water from the Colorado River basin to Mexico in
12-month periods, which represents 10% of the river’s average
flow, according to the US Congressional Research Service.
Meanwhile, Mexico must send 1.75mn acre-feet in five-year
cycles from the Rio Grande’s six major tributaries that cross
The Delta Science Program is convening a Science Needs
Assessment Workshop in October of 2020 to explore rapid
environmental change facing the Delta relative to climate and
other change impacts and to develop a comprehensive science
needs assessment that will contribute to a long-range science
The water keeps rising, shrinking the window for implementing
solutions. Sea-level rise already threatens the bay shore,
which, at about 500 miles, is half the length of the entire
California coast. The worst is yet to come: The Bay Area needs
to plan for a 2-foot rise by 2050 and up to 7 feet by 2100.
Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity.
They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new
programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water.
… Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in
the basin, less intent on building a new community than on
supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest
The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and
agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to
be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing
land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply
chains and bring decline to rural communities that have
developed around irrigated agriculture.
The 2008 financial market crash was called a “black swan” event
— an extreme catastrophic event that was not anticipated. We
hope that when a catastrophic dam failure occurs in the United
States it will not be called a black swan, since there is
already strong evidence that the combination of aging and
poorly maintained infrastructure and climate extremes could be
A recent study published in the journal Science helps explains
why, revealing that the south-western US is in the grip of a
20-year megadrought – a period of severe aridity that is
stoking fires, depleting reservoirs and putting a strain on
water supplies to the states of the region.
The report could revive past attempts to mine uranium in the
Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo and Ventura
counties, including a tract of land near Lake Casitas in the
Ojai Valley, a source of drinking water for Carpinteria Valley
Water District. Many of the report’s recommendations will
require additional action before taking effect, such as changes
to agency rules or regulations, or passage of legislation.
The metric identifies the amount of carbon dioxide per
acre-foot of water transported by the State Water Project.
Water districts receiving water from the SWP can use this
metric to understand the emissions of their water supply
chains, and customers can better understand the ‘carbon
intensity’ of the water they purchase.
Anticipating where a fire is likely to ignite and how it might
spread requires information about how much burnable plant
material exists on the landscape and its dryness. Yet this
information is surprisingly difficult to gather at the scale
and speed necessary to aid wildfire management. Now, a team of
experts in hydrology, remote sensing and environmental
engineering have developed a deep-learning model that maps fuel
moisture levels in fine detail across 12 western states
Northstate lawmakers and local leaders gathered in Paradise,
Tuesday, urging Governor Gavin Newsom to reconsider proposed
state budget cuts that would impact the Paradise Irrigation
District. … Earlier this month, Newsom proposed cutting the
second year of backfill funding to the district meant to help
them stay afloat after the Camp Fire decimated the ridge’s
This winter’s decent snowfall has turned into an abysmal runoff
on the Colorado River, thanks to the dry soils heading into the
winter, along with a warm spring. … Our bigger concern is
what happens next year. Are we headed for a multi-year drought?
No one can say yet whether the intense rainfall that preceded
this disaster [in central Michigan] was made worse by climate
change. But global warming is already causing some regions to
become wetter, and increasing the frequency of extreme storms,
according to the latest National Climate Assessment. … That
puts more of the nation’s 91,500 dams at risk of failing,
engineers and dam safety experts said.
A marshy tract known as Sherman Island is one of the most
sensitive and geographically important locations for water
conveyance in California. On May 11, DWR began a restoration
project on the southeast side of the island that combats
climate change while protecting statewide water supply.
Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more
than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as
scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the
Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate
and demand as a result of management practices and other
The Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona likes to say it
represents Arizona agriculture “from ditch bank to dinner
plate” indicative of the fact that its members range from
farmers and ranchers to irrigation groups and trade
associations — all of them concerned about water flow along
the 1,450-mile-long Colorado River.
On this edition of Your Call’s One Planet Series, we’re
discussing a new study from Columbia University about an
emerging climate-driven megadrought in the Western US.
Researchers used hydrological modeling and tree-ring
reconstructions of summer soil moisture to show that the period
from 2000 to 2018 was the driest 19-year span since the late
The authors provide an overview of how water supports Earth’s
resilience and propose an approach for analyzing and better
understanding global water cycle modifications focused on three
central questions: What water-related changes could lead to
global tipping points? How and where is the water cycle
particularly vulnerable? And how do local changes in water
stores and fluxes affect regional and global processes and vice
The Poseidon desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach
could be facing rough waters ahead, as several regulatory
officials on Friday expressed concerns over the controversial
plan.. During a Regional Water Quality Control Board workshop
held online, three of the agency’s six board members
persistently pressed local officials about the need, consumer
cost and environmental harm of the $1 billion project.
Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border,
Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its
sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River
reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out
as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate
is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future.
A new study led by Adam Schreiner-McGraw, a postdoctoral
hydrology researcher at University of California, Riverside,
modeled shrub encroachment on a sloping landscape and reached a
startling conclusion: Shrub encroachment on slopes can increase
the amount of water that goes into groundwater storage. The
effect of shrubs is so powerful that it even counterbalances
the lower annual rainfall amounts expected during climate
Sprawled across a desert expanse
along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high
bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges
of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How
those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water
amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about
Gov. Gavin Newsom used his daily coronavirus briefing Thursday
to outline an austerity budget with deep cuts to cover a
massive $54.3 billion deficit. Newsom’s proposal includes major
cuts to environmental programs, including a $681 million slash
in spending for environmental protection compared to last year,
and a $224 million cut to the state’s natural resources
In March, the California Department of Water Resources released
a nearly completed draft report on the risk of water shortage
in rural areas and the drought vulnerability of small systems.
… Across the state, Monterey County is among the most
vulnerable counties, with one of the largest numbers of highly
impacted rural communities, according to the report. Also, the
county’s small water systems are on average the 13th most
vulnerable out of those of 58 counties.
As of Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s forecast for this year’s expected water
supplies in the Colorado River is at 59% of average. That’s not
good news. If that prediction proves true, this will be one of
the driest water years since Lake Powell was constructed nearly
60 years ago.
A new study published in Nature Climate Change indicates that
about 50 percent of current runoff comes directly from Sierra
snowmelt, and the Valley stands to lose between 13 percent and
50 percent of snowmelt runoff as the climate warms.
There is a better, more equitable pathway for reducing the
deficit without forcing arbitrary cuts. It involves 3 million
acres of irrigated agriculture, mostly alfalfa and forage
crops, which consume more than 80% of total water use in the
basin. By retiring less than 10% of this irrigated acreage from
production, we could eliminate the existing million acre-foot
overdraft on the Colorado River..
What we in Los Angeles should want from the Met is a continuing
flow of clean water from the faucet — but this time with
planning and infrastructure that reduce reliance on diminishing
imports, minimize damage to our fellow Californians in the
delta and elsewhere, and sustain iconic species like migrating
Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental
victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along
the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply ––
including Great Salt Lake.
New research shows that carbon capture and storage (CCS) could
stress water resources in about 43% of the world’s power plants
where water scarcity is already a problem. Further, the
technology deployed in these water-scarce regions matters, and
emerging CCS technologies could greatly mitigate the demand CCS
places on water consumption.
Since 2000, the West has been stricken by a dry spell so severe
that it ranks among the biggest “megadroughts” of the past
1,200 years. But scientists have found that unlike the
decades-long droughts of centuries ago, this one has been
supercharged by humanity’s heating of the planet.
There are 29 federally recognized tribes across the Colorado
River Basin. Together, these tribes have water rights to
roughly 20% of the water that flows through the river annually.
In Arizona, the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) and the
Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) were critical partners in
making the Drought Contingency Plan possible.
The California Environmental Quality Act scoping period
concluded on April 17, 2020 after an extended 93-day public
comment period. DWR is reviewing all submitted comments and
will publish a scoping report summarizing the information this
On a recent sunny, windy March day – just before COVID-19 sent
the [San Francisco] Bay Area into lockdown – Dave Halsing stood
on the trails at Eden Landing Ecological Reserve and
pointed out what used to be old industrial salt ponds. He noted
how they’re gradually being restored into a rich mosaic of
tidal wetlands and other ecosystems in the South Bay Salt Pond
Dr. Laurel Larsen, an expert in hydroecology, landscape
dynamics, complex environmental systems, and environmental
restoration, was unanimously appointed by the Delta Stewardship
Council on Thursday as lead scientist. Most recently, Dr.
Larsen has served as an associate professor in the Department
of Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the UC
With swelling seas now posing a greater threat to California’s
economy than wildfires or severe earthquakes, authorities want
those who live along some of the state’s famous shores to do
what they’re loath to do: retreat.
It’s the early 1990s, and Park Williams stands in the middle of
Folsom Lake, at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills in
Northern California. He’s not walking on water; severe drought
has exposed the lakebed. “I remember being very impressed by
the incredible variability of water in the West and how it’s
very rare that we actually have just enough water,” said
Williams, who went on to become a climate scientist at Columbia
Fairness – or at least the perception of fairness – could play
a determining role in the future of California’s groundwater,
according to new research. The study, published in Society and
Natural Resources, evaluated 137 surveys of Yolo County farmers
to gauge their perceptions of fairness for groundwater
allocation strategies and dispute resolution options.
For the past decade, Kane County leaders have argued their
southern Utah community will need water piped from the Colorado
River to meet future needs, but the local water district
abruptly announced Thursday it was pulling out of the costly
Lake Powell pipeline project, leaving Washington County as the
only remaining recipient of the water.
To develop the rankings, the state took into account numerous
factors, including each water system’s vulnerability to climate
change and projected temperature changes, projected sea level
rise, recent water shortages, whether the system is in an
overdrafted groundwater basin or was located in an area with
underlying fractured rock.
In January, water users in 21 critically overdrafted basins
delivered their groundwater sustainability plans to the state
Department of Water Resources. In this series, we examine the
36 plans submitted for 11 critically overdrafted basins in the
San Joaquin Valley—California’s largest farming region, where
excess pumping is a major challenge.
Under the drought contingency plan hammered out by Colorado
River Basin states last year, Arizona agreed to voluntarily
reduce its water use by 192,000 acre-feet, or about 7%, leaving
that water in Lake Mead to help reduce the likelihood of
greater cutbacks down the road. Tom Buschatzke, director of the
Arizona Department of Water Resources, says data from a new
Bureau of Reclamation report show that plan is working.
The findings pinpointed basins globally most at risk of not
having enough water available at the right times for irrigation
because of changes in snowmelt patterns. Two of those high-risk
areas are the San Joaquin and Colorado river basins in the
western United States.
The western United States and northern parts of Mexico could
experience a record-breaking megadrought, according to the
Earth Institute at Columbia University. “A new study says the
time has arrived: a megadrought as bad or worse than anything
even from known prehistory is very likely in progress, and
warming climate is playing a key role,” the Earth Institute
From the safety of their coronavirus shelters, the water
warriors of the Monterey Peninsula carry on the fight, and so
can you. … The environmental merits of removing the local
water system from private ownership and placing it under the
control of a government agency will be discussed in a virtual
public scoping meeting on April 21 at 5pm, via Zoom video
On March 13, 2020, water users in the Klamath Reclamation
Project (Project) petitioned the United States Supreme Court to
review the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in Baley,
et al. v. United States, et al. (Baley). The decision denied
the water users’ takings claims for the 2001 Project water
shutoff on water law grounds.
The world’s seas are simmering, with record high temperatures
spurring worry among forecasters that the global warming effect
may generate a chaotic year of extreme weather ahead. …
Worldwide, sea temperatures were 1.49 degrees Fahrenheit above
average in March. That’s the second highest level recorded
since 1880 for the month of March, according to U.S. data.
Voluntary agreements in California have been touted as an
innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions
in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed
it. … Yet, no one said it would be easy getting interest
groups with sometimes sharply different views – and some, such
as farmers, with livelihoods heavily dependent on water — to
reach consensus on how to address the water quality and habitat
needs of the Delta watershed.
For the last four years, our team at UC Davis has been
conducting scientific studies on reintroduced spring-run
Chinook salmon in the San Joaquin River and we wanted to take a
minute to share some of what we’ve learned. Plus, everyone
loves a good comeback story right?
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections for the
Colorado River’s water supply for the next two years. … Lake
Mead is projected to fall into “Tier Zero” conditions for 2021
and 2022. That’s a new designation under the Drought
Contingency Plan which requires Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take
cuts in their water supply.
As is appropriate for the state that is home to Hollywood, the
“climate monsters” that bedevil California have names that
sound like they came from B-movies — the Blob, Godzilla El
Niño, Megadrought. One monster in particular, Drought, has more
than overstayed its welcome, according to a new study in the
The flagship of DWR’s Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP),
the Sentinel is used as a floating laboratory that monitors
water quality and ecosystem biology in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Estuaries.
Officially, California’s most recent drought lasted five
painful years and ended in 2017. But a new study released
Thursday says California and the rest of the West are enduring
a continuing megadrought that ranks among the worst on record.
Since this year marked the first since 1862 that not a single
drop of rain fell in Santa Cruz County during the month of
February, efforts to sustainably manage water were at the
forefront of the conversation. The symposium kicked off with an
introduction from County Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who
discussed the ongoing work to develop sustainable groundwater
A new study in Nature Scientific Reports says the possibility
of extreme flooding along U.S. Coastlines is going to double
every five years, and that dangerously high water levels we now
expect to see every 50 years will become: Annual occurrences by
2050; Daily occurrences by 2100.
Chris Funk, climate scientist, and geographer Greg Husak at the
UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center, practice what they
call “humanitarian earth system science.” Working with partners
funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, they
have refined their forecasts over 20 years from basic weather
monitoring to a sophisticated fusion of climate science,
agronomy, and economics that can warn of drought and subsequent
famines months before they arise.
California has evacuation plans for earthquakes, floods,
mudslides and, of course, wildfires, but what if one of those
disasters occurs as the state is dealing with the coronavirus
outbreak when everyone is being urged to stay home? State and
local officials are trying to figure that out.
Led by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development
Commission, the report takes study findings from throughout the
region to demonstrate the shared impacts of sea level rise
ranging from 12 to 108 inches on housing, transportation
networks, critical environmental habitat, jobs and
Stormwater is the rain and other water that runs off of streets
and sidewalks into nearby gutters or waterways. Communities
throughout the western U.S. are expanding efforts to collect
this valuable water resource. These projects range from
capturing water from a single rooftop or driveway to developing
large infiltration basins that recharge billions of gallons of
water each year in groundwater basins.
This report, “Scaling Corporate Water Stewardship to Address
Water Challenges in the Colorado River Basin,” examines a set
of key corporate water stewardship actions and activities, with
associated drivers and barriers, to identify how the private
sector could help tackle Colorado River water challenges.
An analysis led by Stanford University found that temperatures
rose about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit statewide while precipitation
dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn
days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the
ignition of wildfires.
An empty lot on a 70-foot-high bluff above the ocean seemed
like the perfect place to build a house when the owners bought
the parcel for $1.8 million. Now a state ruling means they’ll
have to put the house farther away from the water, where they
won’t see the shore. It’s a result of climate change and
California’s response to it.
In California, a changing climate has made autumn feel more
like summer, with hotter, drier weather that increases the risk
of longer, more dangerous wildfire seasons, according to a new
The Wildlife Conservation Board has approved approximately
$24.3 million in grants to help enhance flows in streams
throughout California. … The approved projects will lead to a
direct and measurable enhancement of the amount, timing and/or
quality of water in streams for anadromous fish or special
status, threatened, endangered or at-risk species, or to
provide resilience to climate change.
NASA researchers have developed new satellite-based, weekly
global maps of soil moisture and groundwater wetness conditions
and one to three-month U.S. forecasts of each product. While
maps of current dry/wet conditions for the United States have
been available since 2012, this is the first time they have
been available globally.
A 48-inch increase in the bay’s water level in coming decades
could cause more than 100,000 Bay Area jobs to be relocated.
Nearly 30,000 lower-income residents might be displaced, and
68,000 acres of ecologically valuable shoreline habitat could
be lost. These are among the findings in the most detailed
study yet on how sea level rise could alter the Bay Area.
As the climate changes, forests have figured out a way to adapt
to drought, a new study shows. … The results indicate that
tree communities, particularly in more arid regions, have
become more drought tolerant, primarily through the death of
less hardy trees.
We’ve all seen photos of clear-cut forests with swathes of
razed trees or deep scars in the ground from an open-pit mine.
The damage to the species that live in these habitats isn’t
hard to imagine. But the damage we’ve done to freshwater
ecosystems isn’t so visible. In rivers or lakes, trouble often
lurks out of view beneath the surface of the water …
State regulators are giving mixed responses to the EPA’s
relaxed enforcement on a range of environmental obligations by
facilities affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The
Environmental Protection Agency said this week it wouldn’t seek
penalties for violations covered by the emergency policy. …
The California Environmental Protection Agency said its
enforcement authority “remains intact” in spite of the EPA
During a week full of COVID-19-related uncertainty, a pair of
new lawsuits are a reminder of one constant: disputes over
Klamath Basin water. This past week, PacifiCorp and Klamath
Water Users Association each filed petitions for review of
Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for temperature in the Upper
Klamath and Lost River subbasins.
This year marks a significant milestone for the Interagency
Ecological Program (IEP) – now nine state and federal agencies
that first joined forces 50 years ago for cooperative
ecological monitoring and coordination in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay Estuary. As the IEP Lead
Scientist, I have been reflecting on who we are, how we’ve
evolved, and what we need to do to ensure we’re still working
collaboratively for another 50 years.
Just three years after the 2011–2017 drought, one of the
severest in recorded history for the state, the driest February
in 150 years has spurred discussion of whether we’re in another
drought — or if the last one even ended. That’s bad news for
Los Angeles’ only newt, California newt, Taricha torosa, and
other newts in the Taricha genus, particularly in the southern
half of the state south of Big Sur.