Topic: Drought

Overview

Drought

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.

No portion of the West has been immune to drought during the last century and drought occurs with much greater frequency in the West than in other regions of the country.

Most of the West experiences what is classified as severe to extreme drought more than 10 percent of the time, and a significant portion of the region experiences severe to extreme drought more than 15 percent of the time, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Experts who have studied recent droughts say a drought occurs about once every 10 years somewhere in the United States. Droughts are believed to be the most costly of all natural disasters because of their widespread effects on agriculture and related industries, as well as on urbanized areas. One of those decennial droughts could cost as much as $38 billion, according to one estimate.

Because droughts cannot be prevented, experts are looking for better ways to forecast them and new approaches to managing droughts when they occur.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Mapping dry wildfire fuels with AI and new satellite data

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

Aquafornia news KRCR TV

Northstate lawmakers urge Newsom to reconsider proposed cuts to Paradise Irrigation District

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 water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Lean but still green

Drive through new developments across the Capital Region like East Sacramento’s McKinley Village or Folsom’s Folsom Ranch … and one will see a distinctly different landscape than ones installed just 10 years ago. Low- to medium-water-use plants are surrounded by bark mulch with little or no grass, irrigated primarily with a drip system.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: 2020 is a dry year on the Colorado River. What happens next year will be more important

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?

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Santa Barbara’s water outlook foresees sufficient supply to meet demands through fall 2022

The availability of water from Gibraltar Reservoir, upstream on the Santa Ynez River, in the past few years as well as Santa Barbara’s desalination plant operation and water conservation have enabled the city to accumulate a significant amount of stored water in Lake Cachuma… The water-supply planning positioned Santa Barbara to continue resting its groundwater basins through fall 2022.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: When life dries up: Klamath Basin faces renewed conflict, as drought saps the water and farmers run out of time

The Klamath Project, a U.S. government-operated waterworks that steers runoff from the towering Cascades to more than 200,000 acres of potatoes, alfalfa, wheat, onions and other produce on both sides of the state line, is running low on supplies. The local water agencies served by the project say they may not have water to send to farms beyond next month.

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Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: State Water Project allocation increases to 20 percent

The State Water Project now expects to deliver 20 percent of requested supplies in 2020 thanks to above-average precipitation in May, the California Department of Water Resources announced. An initial allocation of 10 percent was announced in December and increased to 15 percent in January. Today’s announcement will likely be the final allocation update of 2020.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Snow-water equivalent still down despite recent storms

Though the last couple of weekends have seen wet weather, it hasn’t been enough to keep up with the yearly average in time for summer in California. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which is tested regularly by employees of the California Department of Water Resources, has yielded some grim results so far in 2020 in terms of snow-water equivalent.

Aquafornia news KDRV

Klamath farmers and ranchers plan ‘convoy’ to protest water limits

Farmers and ranchers in the Klamath Basin are reportedly planning a rally to protest the water use limits enforced by the federal government to protect fish populations.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Nut of the future?

With droughts inevitable, more farmers are switching from almonds to pistachios, but not everyone is happy about it. Around the Central Valley, as far north as Colusa but mostly south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, pistachio production is rapidly accelerating. 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocations

Following spring storms, the Bureau of Reclamation today issued updated allocations for Central Valley Project contractors for the 2020 contract year. … The allocation for south-of-Delta agricultural water service contractors is increased from 15% to 20% of their contract total. Municipal and Industrial water service contractors south-of-Delta are now allocated 70% of their historic use, up from 65%, or health and safety needs, whichever is greater.

Aquafornia news Cornell Chronicle

Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study

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 factors.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

Looming drought concerns Arizona water group

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.

Aquafornia news KALW Radio

Audio: How climate change is fueling megadroughts in the western US

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 1500s.

Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

What does drought mean for endangered California salmon?

Increased frequency and severity of droughts threatens California’s endangered salmon population — but pools that serve as drought refuges could make the difference between life and death for these vulnerable fish, according to a study by researchers from UC Berkeley and California Sea Grant…

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Aquafornia news Plumas News

Agency petitions state water board for temporary change

South Feather Water & Power Agency proposes to transfer the water from July through November 2020 to participating agencies of the State Water Contractors and the Central Valley Project (CVP). The transfer would involve up to 5,000 AF of water previously stored in Little Grass Valley Reservoir under Permit 1267, and up to 5,001 AF of water previously stored in Sly Creek Reservoir under Permit 2492.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Regulators express concerns about Huntington Beach desalination project

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.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Marchlike storm could be last of the season to bring needed rain, Sierra snow to California

Northern California will have its most soaking rain from this storm into Monday. Through Tuesday, with the cold upper-level air in the jet stream trough overhead, showers and thunderstorms, some possibly with small hail, can be expected in Northern California.

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Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier Colorado River Basin

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.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

Blog: Shrub encroachment on grasslands can increase groundwater recharge

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 change.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Water resources management: Developing a water budget

A water budget is an accounting of the rates of the inflows, outflows, and changes in water storage in a specific area; however, as simple as that might sound, developing an accurate water budget can be a difficult and challenging endeavor. To address this problem, the Department of Water Resources has developed a water budget handbook…

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Questions Simmer About Lake Powell’s Future As Drought, Climate Change Point To A Drier Colorado River Basin
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: A key reservoir for Colorado River storage program, Powell faces demands from stakeholders in Upper and Lower Basins with different water needs as runoff is forecast to decline

Persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin combined with the coordinated operations with Lake Mead has left Lake Powell consistently about half-full. 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.

Aquafornia news KOBI 5 News

Water crisis looming on Klamath Project

Water could soon be shut off to farmers in the Klamath Basin, triggering major financial losses. Klamath Project farmers began hiring, and ordering supplies based on Bureau of Reclamation forecasts of 140,000 acre feet of water. Gene Souza of the Klamath Irrigation District says that water allocation has changed.

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Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Cal State Fullerton biologist looks into how native plants survive in the driest soil

This interdisciplinary study by plant biologists and physicists is important because it potentially explains how plants take up water in very dry soil — such as drought-tolerant plants in Southern California and in the desert — and survive, said Cal State Fullerton plant biologist H. Jochen Schenk, a co-author of the paper.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: Let’s refill lakes Mead & Powell now

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.

Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Double-whammy weather

Like an undulating seesaw, weather in some regions swings from drought to heavy rain under the weight of climate-induced changes, a new study finds. The analysis, published in Geophysical Research Letters, finds a link between droughts followed by heavy rain events, along with an increased rate of these successive extreme weather occurrences.

Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

Small water systems across Monterey County are bracing for the inevitable next drought

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.

Aquafornia news Comstock's Magazine

Storm chasers: Real-time weather forecasting is helping to balance the need to store more water while still preventing floods

The event was the first weather balloon launch from a Yuba Water Agency site near Beale Air Force Base. But it will not be the last. During atmospheric rivers, scientists plan to release a balloon every three hours from this point to collect data. And the more data, the better, because understanding the structure of these storms can help with forecasting and flood control.

Aquafornia news UC Riverside

Blog: Rethinking (waste)water and conservation

As a result of compliance with conservation measures through lower indoor water use, the amount of wastewater effluent was reduced. This reduction means less water for recycling and reuse — a source of water often thought of as drought-proof — and less water for stream augmentation, with a consequence of potentially impacting streamflow and downstream water quality…

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Drought, water shortages return to much of state

The return of drought to California has been widespread—58% of the state now experiences some level of dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor—with extreme drought concentrated in 4% of the state, primarily in the northwestern region of Siskiyou, Trinity and Humboldt counties.

Aquafornia news UC Merced News

Blog: Changing snowmelt threatens San Joaquin Valley ag, way of life

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.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion – Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how less than 10% of farmland could solve the Colorado River’s water deficit

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..

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The tale of two pipelines for desert cities

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.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Beneficial rain to quench parched Northern California, Oregon

An abnormally dry and warm spring has led to widespread drought across Northern California and Oregon, but beneficial rain is expected to help quench the parched area early this week.

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Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

‘A disaster on our hands’

The Klamath Project had already been anticipating an extreme shortfall in available water in 2020 but is now facing a possible water shutoff by or before July.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Southern California doesn’t have decades to figure out water recycling. We need it now

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 salmon.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Study: Southwest U.S. in midst of megadrought like no other

Southern Nevada has been in a drought for about 20 years. But now, we’re learning this isn’t just drought – it’s a megadrought. That’s a one in 500 years drought.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s shrinking snowpack raises concerns for wildfire season

After an extremely dry winter in Northern California, the window is closing for additional rain that could delay large summer fires. In fact, this week, the state is baking under a spring heat wave, while snow is vanishing from mountain slopes. It is shaping up to be a busy summer fire season not only in California, but in many parts of the West.

Aquafornia news U.S. Department of Agriculture

Blog; The Fox Canyon water market: A market-based tool for groundwater conservation goes live

Following passage of SGMA, The Nature Conservancy received a $1.8 million Conservation Innovation Grant from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop the Fox Canyon Water Market. TNC, supported by project partners Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency and California Lutheran University, sought to establish a market-driven approach to reduce groundwater pumping.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Term 91 curtailments expected; other water rights curtailments unlikely

During the May 5, 2020 State Water Resources Control Board Meeting, Staff and Board members provided an update on prospective water rights curtailments for 2020.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Video: The benefits of headwater forest management

At a virtual event last week, PPIC researcher Henry McCann described how improved management can make Sierra forests more resilient and avoid major wildfire-related disasters, and summarized the findings of a new report that identifies the benefits and beneficiaries of such management practices.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Western megadrought: Worsened by climate change, most severe in centuries

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.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Funding opportunity available to build drought resiliency through WaterSMART

The Bureau of Reclamation has released a funding opportunity for communities to take a proactive approach to drought through building projects that increase water supply reliability, improve water management, or provide benefits for fish, wildlife and the environment.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Drought makes early start of the fire season likely in Northern California

Expanding and intensifying drought in Northern California portends an early start to the wildfire season, and the National Interagency Fire Center is predicting above-normal potential for large wildfires by midsummer. Mountain snowpack has been below average across the High Sierra, southern Cascades and the Great Basin, and the agency warns that these areas need to be monitored closely as fuels continue to dry out.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Tribes need a seat at the Colorado River negotiating table

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Season’s last snowpack survey confirms dry winter. California inching toward statewide drought

The last Sierra Nevada snowpack measurement of the season on Thursday confirmed what California officials have feared for months: The state has suffered through a dry winter. … A broader measurement taken by 130 electronic sensors throughout the Sierra revealed an average snow water equivalent of 8.4 inches, or 37 percent of average for this time of year.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

‘Borrowing from the future’: What an emerging megadrought means for the Southwest

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 University.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Fair water

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.

Aquafornia news UC Santa Cruz

Watching the flow of water through oak woodlands at Arbor Creek Experimental Watershed

To understand how these beloved woodlands will fare in a rapidly warming climate, UC Santa Cruz researchers are putting a headwaters stream in the Diablo Range under a hydrological microscope.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin water district considers ‘very aggressive’ water purchase

Following poor rainfall this winter and rising water demand in recent years, the Marin Municipal Water District is considering a major purchase of Sonoma County water as insurance for a potential dry period.

Aquafornia news Mount Shasta Herald

County once again faces severe drought

As Siskiyou County slips back into severe drought, members of Siskiyou County’s Groundwater Advisory Committees met last week to continue drafting groundwater management plans as conservation groups, farmers and other special interest groups brace for another dry summer.

Aquafornia news Klamath Falls Herald & News

Monday Top of the Scroll: Oregon Water Resources Dept. takes charge of Upper Klamath Lake

Oregon Water Resources Director Thomas Byler sent a letter to Reclamation’s Klamath Basin Area Office manager Jeff Nettleton on Thursday, confirming it has taken exclusive charge of Upper Klamath Lake… The order said it prohibits U.S. Bureau of Reclamation from diverting stored water in Upper Klamath Lake through Link River for purposes of a 50,000 acre-feet flushing flow without a water right.

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Aquafornia news Capital Press

Klamath water allocation short of demand for farmers, ranchers

As expected, irrigators in the Klamath Project are getting less water than they will likely need this summer thanks to a combination of dry weather and more water being kept in-stream to protect threatened coho salmon.

Aquafornia news Highland Community News

Sterling mid-project update

As of March, the East Valley Water District’s Sterling Natural Resource Center construction project reached the halfway point to scheduled completion⎯about 18 months in and 18 months left to work. The water recycling plant will be capable of treating up to 10 million gallons per day, depositing the clean water into percolation ponds in order to recharge the Bunker Hill Basin groundwater.

Aquafornia news NBC Los Angeles

Opinion: Spring rain and heat add up to heavy vegetation growth and a potentially explosive fire season

Recent rains and now rising temperatures will promote fuel growth throughout California, adding up to an explosive fire season. But while firefighters focus on the national emergency, there is another deadly danger ready to spread – wildfire. Wildfire season is around the corner, and COVID-19 creates even more challenges for the fire service, requiring our communities’ help and cooperate more than ever.

Aquafornia news Noozhawk

Wet spring provides a big boost to Santa Barbara County’s water supply

It wasn’t exactly a “March Miracle,” but the precipitation Santa Barbara County received this spring rescued what otherwise had been a fairly sorry rain season, and gave a healthy boost to local water supplies. As of Monday, the county as a whole had received 95 percent of its average rainfall to date, according to the county Flood Control District.

Aquafornia news Redding Record-Searchlight

California ranks small water agencies for drought vulnerability

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.

Aquafornia news KXTV

‘Extreme’ drought conditions popping up in far Northern California

The US Drought Monitor update released Thursday morning lists far Northern California as the most impacted by a lackluster rain and snow season. Some areas such as Eureka and Mount Shasta are down more than 15″ of rain from their averages for the season so far.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

UC researchers study Valley drought in Canada

Samantha Ying and Michael Schaefer, both from the Department of Environmental Sciences at University of California (UC) Riverside, are part of a team set on untangling the mystery of a practice upon which farmers have relied for centuries to reduce water use—cover crops.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Water availability for San Joaquin Valley farms: A balancing act

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.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

California’s urban water suppliers must report monthly use

California’s 410 urban water suppliers will be required to report monthly use and conservation data to state regulators, under a resolution the State Water Resources Control Board passed Tuesday. The vote makes permanent a voluntary program that dates back to California’s devastating 2012-2016 drought.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Report: Arizona’s Colorado River water supply will hold steady next year

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.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation updates 2020 Central Valley Project water allocation for Friant Division

Today, the Bureau of Reclamation updated the water supply allocation for Friant Division Central Valley Project contracts for the 2020 contract year. The Friant Division provides water for 15,000 family farms and several cities in the Central Valley. … Given the current hydrologic conditions, Reclamation is increasing the Class 1 allocation from 40% to 55%; Class 2 remains at 0%.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Dry season with summer fast approaching renews drought threat in Sonoma County

Battered by fires, flooding, power outages and a mass evacuation in recent years, Sonoma County residents now have to brace for revival of the D-word — for drought. … Sonoma County experienced a bone-dry February, a first in the area’s history and the nadir of a rain season, now nearly over, that has given Santa Rosa just 18 inches of rain — well over a foot shy of the nearly 34-inch average for this time of year.

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Aquafornia news ScienceDaily

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Changes in snowmelt threaten farmers in western US

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.

Aquafornia news AgNet West

150 ag and water groups call for water relief

Two separate letters sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress highlight the importance of providing support for enhancing water management, particularly in light of the tumultuous conditions created by COVID-19.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

‘Megadrought’ could hit western U.S., scientists say

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 said.

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Aquafornia news Monterey County Weekly

The coming battles over Monterey Peninsula water will be fought on Zoom

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 conference. 

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Framework for agreements to aid health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a starting point with an uncertain end

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.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Baley v. United States: Water users in the Klamath Project petition the U.S. Supreme Court for certiorari

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Among the ‘climate monsters’ that afflict California, Megadrought is the most reliable

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 journal Science.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USBR forecasts “Tier Zero” shortage on Colorado River

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Northwest California drought grows, south benefits from rain

Record-breaking April rains eliminated all drought and abnormal dryness from Southern California and up the Central Coast through Monterey County, but drought has worsened in northwestern California, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: Study — CA and West suffering worst ‘megadrought’ in centuries

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.

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Aquafornia news Science

Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers

Groundwater science is taking on a new urgency as California and other regions around the world face growing threats from drought—and are increasingly drilling wells to make up for missing rain and snow. Globally, aquifers are “highly stressed” in 17 countries that hold one-quarter of the world’s population… Water and food supplies for billions of people are under threat. California is a case study in the challenges of protecting those resources.

Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Heart of Santa Cruz: Updates from the State of the San Lorenzo Symposium

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 management plans…

Aquafornia news Science

How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model

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.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: DWR releases drought planning report

The Department of Water Resources has released a draft report with recommendations and guidance to help small water suppliers and rural communities plan for the next drought, wildfire, or other natural disaster that may cause water shortages.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

‘Uncharted territory’ as wildfire fighting adapts to pandemic

Federal and state officials are scrambling to develop plans to fight the West’s wildfires during a pandemic, before a fire season forecast to be worse than normal flares up next month. One thing is clear: The coronavirus will put a “hard stop” to the traditional way federal agencies attack wildfires, with large groups in close quarters, said Kerry Greene, public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting efforts.

Aquafornia news NBC Los Angeles

Wave of spring storms wipes out drought in all of Southern California

Spring storms that included five consecutive days of soaking rain last week knocked out drought conditions in Southern California, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

More drought on tap for Western US amid low river flows

The models show drought is expected to keep its hold over the mountains along the New Mexico-Colorado border that feed the Rio Grande, while California, Nevada and other southwestern states aren’t likely to see a reprieve from dry conditions through June.

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Aquafornia news GVWire.com

Feds cut water to exchange contractors, wildlife refuges

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced a water allocation update Monday and it had disappointing news for some San Joaquin Valley farmers, as well as wildlife refuges. The San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors saw their allocation cut from February’s announced 100% to 75%, which is their contract minimum. Wildlife refuges likewise were reduced from 100% to 75%.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: What if California faces a disaster during the pandemic?

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.

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

40 atmospheric rivers have hit West Coast since October, but California had just 1 strong one and it’s paying the price

More than three dozen atmospheric rivers made landfall on the West Coast from fall through early spring, but a lack of strong events in California led to the development of drought conditions in parts of the state.

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Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: NASA study adds a pinch of salt to El Niño models

When modeling the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ocean-climate cycle, adding satellite sea surface salinity — or saltiness — data significantly improves model accuracy, according to a new NASA study.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Opinion: It’s time to start a different conversation about water

Against the terrible news of a national emergency, it’s perhaps difficult to focus on our water situation. Recall that January and February were bone-dry; March and April bore us a couple of storms, but it was too little, too late. It was a very dry winter, overall. … That puts us in the position of another “do or die” year for precipitation next winter, an altogether familiar proposition in California. We all know: It rains a bunch all at once in some years, and then we go dry for a number of years after that.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Stormwater capture is undervalued in California

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.

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin

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.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Will climate change push these amphibians to the brink?

California newts faced the worst drought conditions in 1,200 years, but new research finds that the lack of precipitation may not have been their biggest threat.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: What Gov. Gavin Newsom needs to do to protect state’s water future

Today, responding to a global pandemic is every governor’s top priority. When we emerge from this crisis, Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a challenge to ensure California’s future economic and environmental health. In this context, his water policies will represent critical decisions.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Following California’s water as another dry spell looms

What does a Central Valley almond farmer have in common with a San Diego homeowner? The answer is simple: Water. More specifically, the amount of water they need to sustain their respective lifestyles — which is a lot.

Aquafornia news California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Blog: Wildlife Conservation Board funds stream flow enhancement projects

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.

Aquafornia news Climate.gov

Blog: April 2020 temperature and precipitation outlook

For precipitation, it’s a wet forecast for much of the contiguous United States. April precipitation is favored to be among the wettest third of Aprils from 1981-2010 across much of the Plains, Gulf Coast, Tennessee and Ohio Valleys and West Coast. This would be a relief along the West Coast from northern California to Washington after a drier-than-average March.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: There was no March Miracle: California’s dry winter continues, Sierra snow survey shows

So much for the March Miracle. Despite a few March storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack remains well below average, California officials reported Wednesday, suggesting that water supplies will be tight this summer and fall.

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Aquafornia news NASA

Blog: NASA, University of Nebraska release new global groundwater maps

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

After a dry winter, the outlook calls for a wet start to April in all of California

An extended forecast for California shows an above-normal probability of precipitation during the week of April 6-10, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

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Aquafornia news KCRA TV

Below-average snowpack recorded across Sierra

Snow surveyors will head into the Sierra on Wednesday to take the most important measurements of the season. … Statewide, the snowpack and the water it holds is just 53% of average, according to the daily report on the California Data Exchange.

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Aquafornia news Futurity.org

How dead trees help forests tolerate drought

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.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

News release: Fourth Phillips Station snow survey of 2020 this week

On April 1, 2020, DWR will conduct the fourth Phillips Station snow survey of the season. Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and California Department of Public Health guidance to limit gatherings, DWR will be conducting the April Phillips Station snow survey without media present and will be providing video of the survey and the results via Facebook live.

Aquafornia news Visalia Times Delta

‘We’re in bad shape’: San Joaquin Valley lags in rainfall, despite storms this week

The past week brought much-needed showers to Tulare County — but not enough to catch up to the amount of rain the area should have by this time in the water year. … The past week brought about .78 inches, a decent amount, considering the average rainfall over the past 30 years for the entire month of March is 1.9 inches. But the rainfall broke an all-time record dry period for the season, as not a drop fell in February.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Early April precipitation is expected to be below normal where it is most needed in Northern California

While snow cover has increased thanks to a series of March storms, the Northern Sierra 8-Station Index stands at 56% of normal for the season. As of March 24, another 29.25 inches would be needed to reach the season normal of 54.52 inches. But the area normally gets just 9.42 inches from March 24 through June 30. So a daunting 310% of normal precipitation would be required to make up the deficit, according to Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services.

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Aquafornia news Agri-Pulse

California edges toward a water-short summer and fall

After a very wet and snowy early 2019, which pumped up the state’s reservoirs, California has averaged less than half of average precipitation and snowpack so far in its rain year

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Building upon 50 years of interagency ecological science in the Bay-Delta

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.

Aquafornia news UCLA News

As climate change messes with temperature and precipitation, California newts suffer

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.

Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Relentless storms continue to soak Golden State with rain, mountain snow

While California will not receive a soaking rain similar to what occurred at the beginning of the week, residents across the state can expect unsettled weather to stick around through Wednesday.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona: Groundwater aquifers can expect a boost from March rains

March rain has left Salt River Project reservoirs as full as they’ve been in a decade. The utility is discharging water to make room for the runoff, providing a boost to the underlying aquifers. The utility says the Salt and Verde river systems are at a combined 94% of capacity, almost 20 points higher than last year.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Trump pushes legal limits with virus disaster declaration

President Trump has become the first U.S. president to declare a health epidemic a “major disaster” in his recent decisions to approve requests for that designation from the governors of California, New York and Washington in their battles against COVID-19. … Trump’s determinations could open the door for FEMA to step into a wide range of future events including droughts, extreme cold weather and the contamination of drinking water.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Active pattern to bring rain and snow to the West in the week ahead

A pair of low-pressure systems will bring rain and mountain snow to the West, including communities in worsening drought, in the early part of the week ahead. The first of the low-pressure systems arrived on the California coast Sunday. The second system, the larger of the two storms geographically, will swing southward from the Gulf of Alaska through midweek.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The West is in an expanding 20-year drought that a ‘March Miracle’ will do little to change

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows that although recent rains have provided some relief for Southern California, Northern California remains locked in moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions.

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Aquafornia news AgAlert

Cattle ranchers cope with dry pastures

California’s bone-dry February didn’t leave a lot of forage for Todd Swickard’s cattle—though mid-March rains should provide some help. … Swickard noted conditions on the hills were what one would expect in mid-April or later, with land gradually fading to brown and poppies everywhere.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Audio: The time for this water-saving grain in Nevada is now

Researchers with the University of Nevada, Reno, have been working to evaluate and commercialize crops that use less water. Professor John Cushman and his team think they’ve found an alternative. It’s called teff.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council

Blog: NRDC’s response to the climate resilient water portfolio

While the first draft of the governor’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio wasn’t the transformational vision many had hoped it would be, there is still time to deliver on a plan that will help us rise to the challenges ahead.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Groundwater management is a team effort at DWR

Besides reviewing and making final determinations on submitted plans that show how local agencies will manage their groundwater basins for long-term sustainability, DWR staff provide essential resources to local water agencies to help them better understand and manage their local basins. … Below are some examples of DWR staff contributions to groundwater management…

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Aquafornia news Environmental Defense Fund

Blog: How water managers can build recharge basins to boost resilience for farmers and birds alike

Recharge basins are becoming increasingly popular in overdrafted regions in California, where water managers are seeking solutions to balance groundwater supply and demand to comply with the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Friday Top of the Scroll: ‘Miracle March’? Feet of Sierra snow beginning this weekend is just what California needs

Much-needed snow will blanket California’s Sierra Nevada high country this weekend into next week, bringing hope of a “Miracle March” that could replenish vital, water-providing snowpack after a record-dry February.

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Aquafornia news Stanford Water in the West

Blog: Driving water conservation

Stanford researchers have developed a machine learning model that detects unexpected water-use consumption patterns – data water utilities can use to inform resource planning and water conservation campaigns.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Drought expanding in California — nearly half the state now affected

Drought conditions continue to spread across California, with nearly half the state now affected, federal scientists reported Thursday, as recent rains weren’t enough to significantly slow a drying trend that has been growing more serious all winter. Overall, 48% of California is classified as being in moderate drought — up from 34% a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor…

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Western water reuse, conservation bills approved by House panel

The House Natural Resources Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to approve bills offered by California Democrats to reauthorize grant programs to provide reliable water supplies through reuse and desalination projects. Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he supported the water bills because Western states have been hit hard by drought conditions worsened by climate change.

Aquafornia news AgAlert

Report predicts how water losses will hit SJ Valley

San Joaquin Valley farmers say they hope a newly released report will capture the attention of Californians about the potential impact of water shortages in the region. The report, released last week, said water shortages could cause 1 million acres of San Joaquin Valley farmland to be fallowed and cost as many as 85,000 jobs.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Atmospheric river to unleash heavy rain in Southern California

The storm— fed by a plume of subtropical water vapor at the lower and middle levels of the atmosphere — could bring 1 to 3 inches of rain to the area through at least Wednesday. … The heaviest rain is expected throughout Tuesday, upping the chances for both an ugly morning and evening commute.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Collaboration is the new game in California water

If agriculture in the valley is going to survive, water leaders need to get cozy with new ideas and new allies. And, yes, that means environmentalists.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Monday Top of the Scroll: Southern California may see its biggest soaking this week since Christmas; some flooding, debris flows possible

We expect most of Southern California, including the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego metro area, as well as parts of Arizona, to pick up at least an inch of rain through Thursday. Some heavier amounts in higher terrain on southern- and southwestern-facing slopes are possible. Flash flooding of flood-prone, low-lying streets, freeways and normally dry washes and arroyos is possible in some areas.

Related articles;

Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Helping the snow gods: Cloud seeding grows as weapon against global warming

The scramble for water has intensified as global warming has battered much of the West during the last 20 years with heat waves, droughts and wildfires. With projections for declining snowpack and river flows, cloud seeding is becoming a regional climate adaptation measure costing several million dollars each year.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Study: Fallowing cattle-feed farmland simplest way to alleviate western U.S. water shortage

An important new study finds that irrigated crop production accounts for 86 percent of all water consumed in the western US — and of all the water used on western farms, by far the largest portion goes to cattle-feed crops such as alfalfa and grass hay. To alleviate the severe shortage of water in the region, study authors suggest rotational fallowing farmland could be a simple and affordable means of dramatically reducing water use in the region.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday Top of the Scroll: The portion of California considered to be in moderate drought continues to expand

Drought conditions in California continued to expand, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor data released Thursday. After what experts are calling California’s driest February on record, slightly more than 34% of the state was deemed to be in moderate drought. That’s an increase of about 11% over figures released a week ago.

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Aquafornia news The Architect's Newspaper

Space Saloon, Designers on Holiday will host design festival addressing California’s water scarcity

The organizers of camp residency programs Space Saloon and Designers on Holiday have announced the launch of DeSaturated, an eight-day design-build festival in California’s Cuyama Valley, a two-hour drive north of Los Angeles. With the rugged high desert landscape as its backdrop, the “community-in-residence” program will draw attention to the state’s water scarcity.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The dam truth about the Colorado River

If you followed the news about the Colorado River for the last year, you’d think that a political avalanche had swept down from Colorado’s snow-capped peaks and covered the Southwest with a blanket of “collaboration” and “river protection.” I won’t call it fake news, but I will point out errors of omission.

Aquafornia news Santa Barbara Independent

Cuyama Valley carrot growers get the stick

The Cuyama Valley is the driest agricultural region in the county; the valley floor gets just a little more rain than the Sahara. Yet for the past 75 years, this high desert region has been a mecca for water-intensive farming on an industrial scale — first alfalfa, and now carrots, a $69 million annual crop. … Now, to the rescue — belatedly — comes the state Groundwater Sustainability Act of 2014…

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Thursday Top of the Scroll: San Francisco could see its first rainfall since January as a potentially wetter California weather pattern takes shape

Much-needed rain will finally return to California and will likely end a month-plus dry streak in San Francisco and Sacramento. … The upper-level ridge of high pressure will slowly shift away from California this week. This will allow a cold front to move through Northern California Friday into Saturday.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California had its driest February on record. Here’s how bad it was

The lack of snow and rain in February comes after a January that was also drier than average, and a record dry autumn for much of Northern California. A series of storms dumped a considerable amount of snow in late December, raising hopes that this winter might proceed normally. But that now seems less likely.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: February among driest on record in California. Forecasters hoping for ‘miracle March’

Forecasters and water managers keeping a close eye on precipitation are hopeful that a wet month, a phenomenon known by weather experts as “miracle March,” may help bolster lackluster winter rain totals.

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Aquafornia news UC Irvine News

Blog: Driven for desalinization

Fresh water shortages have made desalination a possible solution for supplementing the overall water supply. To address this issue, a team of industry professionals and researchers have formed National Alliance of Water and Innovation to jointly examine the critical technical barriers and research needed to lower the energy cost of desalination and other water processing methods.

Aquafornia news San Joaquin Valley Sun

Opinion: California’s inner-struggle for common sense on water

While this February could be the driest February on record, one year ago most farmers didn’t know when it would be dry enough to work their fields. This sums up the argument for additional water infrastructure for surface supplies…

Aquafornia news SJV Water

Blog: Price of water going up as the snowpack shrinks

Another block of water has been offered for sale in Kern County at $950 per acre foot. With a dry January and extremely dry February, California’s water outlook has worsened. And that has bumped the price of water for those who have it to sell.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Editorial: Depending on vitality of a river

A major contributor to the Southern California water supply is the Colorado River, which pumps in about 26 percent of the region’s water supply via the Colorado Aqueduct, which was built in the 1930s. … There’s a problem, and it’s happening at the source. Years of multiple water allocations and persistent drought have put the Colorado River under stress.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Monday Top of the Scroll: Northern California’s driest February since the Civil War an increasing drought concern; Any relief ahead?

Northern California has just concluded one of its normally wettest months without a drop of rainfall. Even with an extra day on the calendar, February – a month that usually brings 20% of San Francisco’s annual rainfall – just added to the streak of dry days dating back to late January.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Climate change is threatening winter sports’ very existence

A warming planet has major ramifications on winter snowpack across the globe, including a long-term drying trend for many. That’s a concern for winter sports enthusiasts and communities that depend on snow throughout the year.

Aquafornia news Santa Ynez Valley News

Editorial: Depending on vitality of a river

A major contributor to the Southern California water supply is the Colorado River, which pumps in about 26 percent of the region’s water supply via the Colorado Aqueduct, which was built in the 1930s. … There’s a problem, and it’s happening at the source. Years of multiple water allocations and persistent drought have put the Colorado River under stress.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

What is xeriscaping, and why you should try it

The idea was that people living in Mediterranean-type climates (moist winters and dry summers) should landscape with plants suited to dry landscapes rather than plants that need lots of water to survive… Unfortunately, the term “xeriscape” quickly became synonymous with austere landscapes.

Aquafornia news The Guardian

‘Without water we can’t grow anything’: Can small farms survive California’s landmark water law?

The Central Valley is America’s fruit bowl, and the heart of California’s $50bn agriculture industry. But the 2011-2017 drought raised serious questions about the future of that industry and forced the state to grapple with regulating the one thing fueling much of it: groundwater.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Bills that would strengthen rural groundwater rules die in Arizona Legislature

Two bills that would make it easier for state regulators and county officials to limit well-drilling and groundwater pumping have died in the Arizona Legislature despite support from lawmakers and pleas from county officials who are asking for help to protect their rapidly declining aquifers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday Top of the Scroll: California snowpack: Sierra range below half of average statewide

Officials at Phillips Station recorded a snow-water equivalent of 11.5 inches, only 47 percent of average for the end of February, according to Sean de Guzman, chief of snow surveys for the California Department of Water Resources… DeGuzman called the month’s minuscule rain and snow totals “quite disappointing,” noting that it will almost certainly go down as the driest February ever measured by DWR officials in the Northern Sierra Nevada range over 99 years of recorded history.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: California abnormally dry after low precipitation winter

Drought has expanded to nearly a quarter of the state, mainly in central California, the heart of the state’s agricultural sector, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map made public Thursday. The map shows 70 percent of the state is abnormally dry.

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Aquafornia news CALmatters

Water is life. It’s also a battle. So what does the future hold for California?

Scientists say climate change will bring more unpredictable weather, warmer winters and less snowpack in the mountains. These challenges and some ideas for remedies are outlined in a new plan, called the California Water Resilience Portfolio, released by Gov. Gavin Newsom in January to a mix of praise and disappointment. Below, an explanation of the state’s water development — as well as the challenges, today and tomorrow, of providing water for California’s people, places and things.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: Trump promised CA farmers water. But he can’t overrule weather

Turns out President Donald Trump is no match for another California drought. Less than a week after Trump told San Joaquin Valley farmers in Bakersfield that he was taking bold steps to increase their water supply, his administration announced Tuesday farmers on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley may only receive about 15 percent of their contracted water supply for the upcoming growing season.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: SF expecting first dry February in 156 years, but rain possible Sunday

The lack of precipitation in downtown San Francisco this month is nearing a historic feat. The city has not had a February with no rainfall since 1864, according to the National Weather Service. There is a 20% to 30% chance of rain across the region Sunday… Of course, that would be March 1.

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Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Climate change threatens Colorado River and the water supply for 40 million people

Climate change has dramatically decreased natural flow in the Colorado River, jeopardizing the water supply for some 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland, according to new research from the USGS. The decline is expected to continue unless changes are made to alleviate global warming and the impacts of drier, hotter temperatures.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Oceanside leads county with plan to make recycled water safe to drink

Oceanside celebrated the start of construction Wednesday on a project that could make it the first city in San Diego County to be drinking recycled water by 2022. At least two other cities or water districts are close behind on similar projects, and several more agencies are considering plans to make potable recycled water a significant portion of their supply.

Aquafornia news Foothills Sun Gazette

Online tool assesses drought risk for residents on private wells, public water systems

California is doing more to preserve its groundwater levels than ever before, but a new, interactive tool by a local water advocacy group suggests it may not be enough. Last Wednesday, Visalia-based Community Water Center … argued that California will experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change.

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

News release: Metropolitan launches new water waste campaign

What’s scarier than a malevolent clown under your bed? More tragic than the story of Romeo and Juliet? More offensive than a comedian with terrible jokes? Wasting water. That is the message of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s new digital and social media campaign “Wasting Water Is…”

Aquafornia news Colusa County Sun-Herald

Growers needed for on-farm, groundwater recharge program

The Colusa Groundwater Authority, the California Department of Water Resources and The Nature Conservancy have partnered to conduct an on-farm, multi-benefit demonstration program for growers in two select project locations around Colusa County.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Western snowpack is in great shape, except the Sierra

The season has been looking very good for most areas, with the exception of the Sierra, where an extended period of recent dry conditions has brought up the “D” word – drought – again.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Trump OKs more California water for Valley farmers. Gavin Newsom promises to sue

Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a pre-emptive strike against President Donald Trump, said Wednesday he plans to sue Trump’s administration to block a controversial plan to increase water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley. Newsom’s office said he “will file legal action in the coming days … to protect highly imperiled fish species close to extinction.”

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: California agriculture in 2050: Still feeding people, maybe fewer acres and cows

Water supply concerns, regulations, labor issues, tariffs, climate change, and other challenges have prompted some rather dire predictions about the future of California agriculture. We talked to Dan Sumner—director of the UC Davis Agricultural Issues Center and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network—about his research on California agriculture in 2050.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s Sierra Nevada snowpack barely half of normal

The National Weather Service tweeted satellite images of the Sierra on Tuesday, showing the stark difference between this year and the above-average snowfall from 2019. The mountain snowpack — a crucial element in the state’s annual water supply — is 53 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Department of Water Resources.

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Aquafornia news WBUR

Driven by climate change, desalination researchers seek solutions to water scarcity

Extracting salt from water seems like an easy fix to a global problem, but the process of desalination can be expensive, and it can also have a huge impact on the environment. That’s why some researchers are looking into how to lower the cost and improve efficiency.

Aquafornia news Times of San Diego

City of Oceanside to break ground on Pure Water Oceanside

Marking a historic moment for the city of Oceanside and the region, city officials and water industry leaders will break ground on Pure Water Oceanside on Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 10 a.m. at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. Scheduled to be completed before the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be on the map as the first operating recycled water project in San Diego County.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Opinion: Time to act is now on California’s water system

Access to reliable, clean drinking water should be a fundamental human right for all Californians. Unfortunately, many disadvantaged communities throughout the state lack access to clean drinking water, and our aging water delivery infrastructure threatens water reliability for millions of California residents.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Is California headed back into drought, or did we never really leave one?

A persistent ridge of high pressure has taken up residence in the eastern Pacific, and it shows no sign of budging. It is diverting storms into the Pacific Northwest region, which means more dry weather for California. But did the drought in California ever really end? Climatologist and weather expert Bill Patzert thinks Southern California continues to be mired in a two-decade drought…

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Is California headed back into drought, or did we never really leave one?

A persistent ridge of high pressure has taken up residence in the eastern Pacific, and it shows no sign of budging. It is diverting storms into the Pacific Northwest region, which means more dry weather for California. But did the drought in California ever really end? Climatologist and weather expert Bill Patzert thinks Southern California continues to be mired in a two-decade drought…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Arizona weighs water bills, farms push back against reporting data

While the Arizona Legislature considers how to respond to problems of falling groundwater levels in rural areas, the agriculture industry is pushing back against proposals that would require owners of large wells across the state to measure and report how much water they’re pumping.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California may be sliding back into drought; lawmakers and advocates warn now is the time to prepare

New federal data show that California may be sliding back into drought, just as the Legislature is starting to pursue ways to make sure residents are prepared for water shortages. Due to weeks of dry weather about 10 percent of California and more than half of Nevada are in drought mode, the federal government reported Thursday.

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Aquafornia news Patch.com

Water use remains low in Santa Cruz County, report finds

As the county reports advances in water protection and conservation technologies, water use continues to remain lower that previous years, the Santa Cruz County Water Resources Management Status Report shows.

Aquafornia news KSBW TV

New online interactive tool helps Californians prepare for future drought

This rain-year has brought an alarmingly dry winter in California so far, according to climate change experts. Now, there’s a new tool to help Californians navigate your water supply. It’s an online tool that allows a person to see the groundwater levels in their area. The tool then gives a representation of what could be at risk or impacted if a drought hits.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Rockies snowpack good, but dryness could threaten Colorado River flow

Warren Turkett, a natural resource analyst for the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, told commissioners Tuesday that a warm summer and lack of precipitation in the upper Colorado River Basin last year left soil drier than normal, which is expected to cut the amount of water flowing into Lake Powell to 20 percent below average based on current projections.

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Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: California is dry with no rain in sight. Should we start worrying about drought and wildfire?

California’s alarmingly dry winter continues, with no meaningful snow or rain in sight. Although it’s far too soon to predict a drought, experts said wildfire risks could worsen this summer as a result of the shortage of precipitation.

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Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: A February without rain could boost wildfire danger in Northern California

Meteorologists say much of Northern California likely will not see a drop of rain in February, heightening concerns that summer will arrive with below-average rainfall and tinder-dry hillsides susceptible to wildfire.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Bloomberg

There are rivers in the sky drenching the U.S. because of climate change

Climate change is spurring a new, deep dive into a complex, little-studied weather system blamed for creating billions of dollars in flood damage across the western U.S. Atmospheric rivers are narrow ribbons of concentrated moisture that originate in the Pacific and can flow thousands of miles before dropping rain and snow on land.

Aquafornia news National Parks Traveler

Traveler special report: As goes the Colorado River, so go the parks

A warming climate has been linked to human activity around the world, and has affected the Colorado River System as well. The impacts are substantial, from reduced water flows, threats to indigenous species and the influx of new invasive species along the river system.

Aquafornia news Delta Stewardship Council

Blog: Reducing reliance on the Delta and improving regional self-reliance: Two sides of the same coin

One of the top priorities outlined in the Newsom Administration’s recently released draft Water Resilience Portfolio is reducing reliance on any one water source and diversifying supplies – key strategies for making our water supply systems more flexible, adaptable, and resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Aquafornia news SFGate.com

Friday Top of the Scroll: What happened to the rain? California in a dry rut, snowpack shrinks

California is stuck in a dry spell amid what is historically the wettest time of the year. But while the Sierra snowpack is dwindling and rainfall totals are below normal, weather watchers are not concerned about a drought. “One dry year doesn’t make a drought,” said Chris Orrock, a spokesperson for the California Department of Water Resources.

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Aquafornia news Bakersfield Californian

Opinion: Water management in California is crossing a major milestone, and we still have more work to do

Jan. 31 marked a major milestone for building groundwater sustainability and climate resilience into California’s complex and increasingly stressed water systems. It was the first major planning deadline for implementing the state’s historic Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Four Corners drought in 2018 was worsened by human-caused climate change, researchers say

The Four Corners drought of 2017 and 2018 caused $3 billion in losses and prompted the Navajo Nation to issue an emergency drought declaration. Now, new research in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society suggests a sizable portion of the drought’s impacts stemmed from human-caused climate change.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Vast amounts of valuable energy, nutrients, water lost in world’s fast-rising wastewater streams

Vast amounts of valuable energy, agricultural nutrients, and water could potentially be recovered from the world’s fast-rising volume of municipal wastewater, according to a new study by UN University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Aquafornia news Maven's Notebook

Opinion: Ecologists see little difference between unimpaired and (truly) functional approaches to flow

From an ecologist’s perspective, river habitat and species population sizes and life histories were shaped by unimpaired flow patterns (including volume and natural variability) across seasons and years. Science from across the world, other regions in the US, and right here in California suggests that we can take some of that flow for other uses, but must preserve adequate volume and natural patterns of variation if we want native species to survive.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

To study atmospheric rivers, scientists need to get close. So they fly to them

The Air Force research crew on the WC-130J Super Hercules airplane was cruising at 28,000 feet over the Pacific Ocean, preparing to deploy 25 weather-sensing devices over a long band of water vapor known as an “atmospheric river” when the hazards of air travel got in the way of science.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Some droughts are ‘perfect.’ Here’s why

Connie Woodhouse and David Meko, professors at the University of Arizona’s Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, found the most recent span of 100 years, when five perfect droughts hit California, was not unusual compared to past centuries.

Aquafornia news Stanford News

Stanford student’s invention gives her a worldwide platform to advocate change

Kiara Nirghin, ’22, developed a unique polymer that can keep crops hydrated during dry spells. The innovative research has garnered her global recognition, including top honors at the Google Science Fair.

Aquafornia news Western Farm Press

California ag faces a decade of challenges

On the heels of a seemingly perpetual drought that has slowed surface water deliveries to a trickle and made water transfers complicated and expensive, Joe Del Bosque and other growers face new pumping restrictions under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. … The farm’s water costs have already more than doubled in the past 10 years…

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Placer County continues work on French Meadows restoration project

Placer County, along with the U.S. Forest Service will continue restoration efforts at the French Meadows reservoir, 30 miles south of Soda Springs, with plans to treat over 3,800 acres of forest this year. … This year they expect to remove 9 million board feet of timber, three times the amount removed last year, and 15,000 green tons of biomass that will be chipped, hauled and used for energy production.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

As forests burn around the world, drinking water is at risk

The situation in Australia illustrates a growing global concern: Forests, grasslands and other areas that supply drinking water to hundreds of millions of people are increasingly vulnerable to fire due in large part to hotter, drier weather that has extended fire seasons, and more people moving into those areas, where they can accidentally set fires.

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Aquafornia news California Trout

Blog: The California Environmental Flows Framework

One of the major questions fish biologists are often asked is “how much water do fish need?” In 2016, a group of scientists from California Trout, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, The Nature Conservancy, Utah State University and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, with funding in partnership from the State Water Board, began to delve into this question and others.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Water levels in South Bay reservoirs well below average

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County’s 10 reservoirs combined are at about two-thirds of their normal levels at this point in the year. Lexington Reservoir, near Los Gatos is just half full. Water managers say local groundwater supplies remain strong so the reduced Sierra snowpack is not yet of critical concern.

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Aquafornia news Ventura County Star

City of Ventura faces calls to drop legal action, water adjudication

People crowded into an Ojai junior high school auditorium recently after thousands received legal notices or a court summons from the city of Ventura. The city notified 14,000-plus property owners in the Ventura River watershed of a potential adjudication of water rights. That move came years after the city faced legal action over its own water use.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Less turf, fewer pools shrink per-home water use in Phoenix area

Large lawns and backyard pools were once common features of new homes in the Phoenix area, but not anymore. A recent study of single-family homes in the Phoenix metropolitan area showed that nearly two-thirds of homes do not have a swimming pool.

Aquafornia news KQED Science

After a dry January, California snowpack is trending below normal

The California Department of Water Resources conducted the second monthly snow survey of the year Thursday morning at Phillips Station snow course in the Sierra Nevada, south of Lake Tahoe. Snowpack across the state is averaging 72 percent of what’s normal for the start of February.

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Aquafornia news Santa Monica Daily Press

City Council approves water rate hike to fund water self-sufficiency projects

The Santa Monica City Council approved a water self-sufficiency plan Tuesday that will double the price of water and wastewater removal by 2024. The rate increases will finance about $42 million in infrastructure projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California by 2023.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

As California preps for more ‘horizontal hurricanes,’ Air Force gathers intel over Pacific

The 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron’s mission over the coming months: C-130s — departing from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii; or from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield — will each release 25 sensors called dropsondes into a forming atmospheric river system. As the dropsondes fall from 25,000 feet along two V-shaped paths covering hundreds of miles, they send back readings on the gathering storm’s water vapor content, temperature, wind speed and direction.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Opinion: California must include desalination in water portfolio

Understanding why desalination is so critical to California’s water future is a lot like building a personal budget. With a changing climate, growing population and booming economy, we need to include desalination in the water supply equation to help make up an imported water deficit.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Wildfires a hot topic during national weather conference at Stateline

Wildfires are feasting on overgrown, overcrowded and undermanaged forests, warmer temperatures have created longer fire seasons and officials are trying to prevent another environmental catastrophe. That was all just part of the discussion Monday during Operation Sierra Storm, a national weather conference sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority…

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Aquafornia news The Sun-Gazette

Program preps communities for next drought

In preparation for the inevitable, Self-Help Enterprises … has launched a new and innovative Emergency Services Division that will reach and engage diverse and vulnerable populations around natural disasters, such as drought, fire, flood and earthquake. The program will also help families receive urgent access to clean water, help with water well replacement and water filtration services as needed.

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