Topic: 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 San Jose Mercury News

Plan to enlarge Los Vaqueros Reservoir gains momentum

For nearly two decades, Los Vaqueros Reservoir — a sprawling lake in eastern Contra Costa County nearly 3 miles long and 170 feet deep — has been a popular spot for boating, fishing, hiking and a key source of water for local residents.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Loretta Sanchez says relaxing species law ‘on the table’ to help state

Democratic U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez, campaigning for U.S. Senate, said Tuesday that she would consider amending the federal law governing endangered species to help improve the water supply across the parched state of California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

This gated community insists California’s drought is over, wants green lawns again

With El Niño-fueled storms drowning out reminders that most of California remains in a state of severe drought, a growing number of communities and water associations are demanding an end to emergency water restrictions that were first imposed more than a year ago.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Thousands of Sierra trees getting cut to prepare for summer

Once bathed in deep green, the forests in the foothills and Sierra east of the San Joaquin Valley are increasingly turning reddish-brown as drought- and beetle-weary trees die by the month. … Local and state officials want the ponderosa pine’s territory, generally above 3,000 feet in elevation, declared a federal disaster area.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Lawsuit over Delta flows: Feds fail in oversight role, environmentalists say

Environmental groups sued federal regulators on Friday for allowing river flows in the fragile Delta to decline below levels that would normally be required even in the driest of years.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

On Earth Day, take a moment to consider these 10 local environmental issues

Earth Day, celebrated today across the globe, reminds us of the fragile state of our planet. From land contaminated with toxic chemicals to bad air spewed into the atmosphere, the most of us have been affected by pollution in some way. To bring all of this closer to home, we’re listing the 10 most critical environmental problems in Southern California.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

UC Davis reports Lake Tahoe clarity down in 2015, lake level returns to natural rim

Lake Tahoe’s famed water clarity took a hit last year in part due to California’s fourth consecutive year of drought. … With spring snowmelt continuing, the lake is currently 2 inches above its rim and has begun spilling over into the Truckee River for the first time since October 2014.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State Water Project increases allocations to 60 percent

The State Water Project announced Thursday that it will supply 60 percent of the water requested by its 29 contractors.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Extreme and exceptional drought decline in California (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor says extreme and exceptional drought was reduced slightly in California last week and, for the first time since the week of July 2013, there is no exceptional drought in Nevada.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California water districts say drought emergency has ended

California water districts large and small urge regulators to toss out or significantly relax emergency drought orders requiring residents to take shorter showers and let their lawns turn brown.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California water agencies want conservation requirements relaxed or eliminated (with audio)

California may not be completely out of the drought, but water agencies around the state told regulators that it’s time to further relax or eliminate emergency water conservation requirements.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Interior Secretary Jewell: ‘Major course correction’ needed on conservation

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday called for “a major course correction” in the way the nation conserves its public lands, waters and wildlife, saying climate change and other trends threaten natural areas “in existential ways.”

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville within 18 feet of crest

With Lake Oroville at its highest level in nearly four years, state officials were cautiously optimistic that the reservoir will reach the crest this year. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

What drought? East Bay gated community orders homeowners to green up

The homeowners association for this upscale, gated community [Blackhawk] has threatened to fine homeowners for brown or dead lawns and landscaping despite a continuing state drought emergency.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Living with less snow in the West

Among firs and cedars high in the Sierra Nevada, scientists are using an array of instruments to monitor the health of the forest, measure the snowpack and track the water that melts and seeps into the soil. … Already, as the winters have grown warmer, the snow has been melting earlier after storms pass.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Drought proposals in Congress are so last century

Politicians in Washington could have passed laws four years ago that would be yielding benefits today. These would be things like assistance with groundwater recharge, water conservation on farms, stormwater capture and wastewater recycling. I [Matt Weiser] call these non-nuclear options, because they don’t peg the Geiger counter in many lobbying offices in the land.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pacific salmon may be scarce, pricy in stores this summer

Four years of bruising drought in the West has strained inland rivers where salmon spawn, putting the fish in sharp decline. … The salmon industry in California and Oregon alone is valued at $2 billion annually.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Scientists confirm: El Niño a disappointment in still-too-dry Southern California

The National Weather Service has confirmed what many Southern Californians suspected during a scorching February: El Niño, and its badly needed rainstorms, are pretty much kaput.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Delta pumping to Southern California restricted despite rainy winter

For the first time in five years, Northern California’s rivers are roaring and its reservoirs are filled almost to the brim. But you’d hardly know it, based on how quiet it’s been at the two giant pumping stations at the south end of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Poll: Most Californians see serious water shortage despite rains

Despite the wettest winter in five years, an overwhelming majority of Californians believe that the state faces an extremely serious water shortage and plan to continue conserving water, according to a poll released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

El Niño weakens, here comes El Niña, meteorologists say

In the midst of an epic El Niño, federal meteorologists say its flip side, La Niña, is around the corner.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

El Niño weakens, and here comes La Niña, meteorologists say

As if drought-stricken Southern California’s El Niño bust wasn’t bad enough, now the experts say we’re headed for a bona fide period of bone-dry weather.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California salmon season cuts planned to protect struggling fish

Responding to profound threats to California’s quintessential catch, federal fishery regulators laid out new restrictions Thursday for the state’s commercial salmon fishing season, scheduled to begin next month, as well as to the sport season, which started April 2.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Odds of La Niña increase for next winter, bringing concerns the drought may drag on

In what may be an ominous sign for the end of the drought, the El Niño that brought Northern California its wettest winter in five years is continuing to weaken and appears to be giving way to its atmospheric sibling — La Niña.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Before-and-after photos of California reservoirs show impact of drought, El Niño

Dramatic photographs showing California’s diminishing, drought-ravaged reservoirs circulated all over news sites and social media last year. Images of exposed lake beds with parched, cracked earth became symbols of the Golden State’s water crisis.  The story changed this winter.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

California drought and drainage bills could collide on Capitol Hill

The politics of California water is becoming three-dimensional chess in Congress as lawmakers balance competing anti-drought ideas with a proposed San Joaquin Valley irrigation drainage settlement that’s going to get bigger.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought fears ease, don’t vanish, with rain

A wetter winter has dampened Californians’ anxiety about the drought, though large majorities remain deeply concerned about ongoing water shortages and committed to consuming less.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Navy to require climate change reporting from vendors

The U.S. military has characterized climate change as a threat to national security since at least 2014, saying drought and other natural disasters can foster instability, conflict and extremism.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wildfires, once confined to a season, burn earlier and longer

The first Alaska wildfire of 2016 broke out in late February, followed by a second there just eight days later. … And on the border of Arizona and California this month, helicopters dumped water on flames so intense that they jumped the Colorado River, forcing the evacuation of two recreational vehicle parks.

Aquafornia news KOLO 8 ABC News

Lake Tahoe reaches natural rim (with video)

Here at the Gatekeepers Museum, onlookers see something that until now has been a rare occurrences. Lake Tahoe at its natural rim, slightly above as a matter of fact, to allow water to overflow into tributaries — like the Truckee River.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Sierra Nevada snow won’t end California’s thirst

Thanks in part to El Niño, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada is greater than it has been in years.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

More rain and mountain snow expected this week in the West (with video)

A pattern change will continue to bring rain and some mountain snow to parts of the drought-stricken West this week. … This pattern change is good news for California, where drought remains a concern and any precipitation is beneficial. 

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Water woes divide California into haves, have nots

People have long predicted that California could eventually collapse into the ocean following a mega earthquake. Now, an eerily similar true-life scenario is playing out — but it’s thanks to the weather. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California storm brings mostly light rains, minor nuisances

Scattered statewide showers forced baseball players to sit through rain, horses to run through mud and caused other nuisances. But the rainfall once again fell short of wet expectations for the dry California.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Was flood insurance a mistake for Southern California homeowners?

In record numbers, homeowners throughout the state rushed out to buy flood insurance in anticipation of the widely hyped – and feared – monster El Niño. …. And some are asking: Did all these insurance buyers make a monster mistake?

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Higher water rates likely due to mandate

This is the time of year when water utilities set their rates, which almost inevitably go up. But this year, the rate hikes are likely to be higher than usual, as water utilities cope with the unexpected impact of mandatory conservation on their budgets.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

California’s water conservation targets have been revised

Under standards posted Thursday afternoon, the water districts that provide water around California have new conservation targets.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Exceptional and extreme drought persists in California

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor shows slight improvement in California’s drought last week even though there was “little or no precipitation.”

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Central Valley communities get lower state water conservation goals

Central Valley water suppliers and customers got a break Thursday when new conservation goals for the coming months were announced by the state Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Drought woes continue at New Melones

In another sign that the drought isn’t over in this neck of California, state officials are considering temporarily loosening water quality standards on the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers for the third year in a row. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

The next step in California’s drought

Some residents of drought-stricken California who let their lawns turn brown and took shorter showers could soon get some relief, while others may continue to feel the pain. In the coming months, state officials will undertake a monumental task of rewriting conservation orders for a fifth year of drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County moves toward water fee for new developments, looks at stormwater funding

Los Angeles County will consider new water-saving requirements for developers and look at tax options to pay for future drought planning under a pair of measures adopted Tuesday.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Why Southern California may see easier water conservation goals despite state missing target

On April 20, the [State Water Resources Control] board will meet with hundreds of cities, water utilities and private water companies in an effort to reduce targets and adjust a new conservation plan that runs through October. On May 5, the board will consider reducing targets due to water availability and hydrology.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought still grips Southern California, keeping pressure on state water supplies

El Niño has been little more than a cruel joke in Southern California this winter. … Northern Californians who believe the drought is over should think again.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water-saving rules to ease, but nobody’s off the hook

Poised to ease California’s mandatory drought rules after rebounding rain and snow levels this winter, state water officials on Monday made it clear that — even where reservoirs are 100 percent full — no community is likely to get an entirely free pass from conservation targets this summer.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California barely misses 25% water-savings drought goal

Californians cut water use 12 percent in February, concluding a nine-month mandatory conservation initiative that fell just short of the governor’s 25 percent saving goal, according to state data released Monday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: After lackluster February, Californians fall a bit short of Brown’s call for 25% cut in water use

After nine months of fervent conservation, drought-fatigued Californians narrowly missed meeting the water-savings target set by Gov. Jerry Brown a year ago. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought-stricken California ponders future of conservation

Officials on Monday will launch a discussion about the best approach to saving water as California’s drought modestly improves, but clearly hasn’t ended as it stretches into a fifth year.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Slow start for salmon season at Santa Cruz harbor

After the disastrous loss of the crab season, the sport salmon season kicked off with a slow start at the Santa Cruz harbor on Saturday.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Experts: Folsom Lake levels 10 feet higher than last month (with video)

Folsom Lake is 10 feet higher Sunday as compared to a month ago.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s drought: Get used to it, scientists say

The Bay Area and the rest of the state may as well get comfortable with drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Many Central Valley farmers face severe water shortages despite easing drought (with video)

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in an eagerly anticipated announcement, outlined the initial 2016 water allocations from the Central Valley Project, the federal government’s massive network of reservoirs, pumps and canals.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds to announce water allotment for some California farms

Federal officials will say how much water some California farmers can expect to receive this year in one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Average snowpack could prolong California water conservation

A nearly average spring snowpack in the Sierra Nevada will likely prolong tough water conservation measures in drought-stricken California — although the restrictions could be loosened in some areas after an El Niño storm system drenched the northern half of the state this winter, officials said.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

US Sen. Dianne Feinstein says water wars tougher than assault-weapons ban (with video)

Moments before release of a crucial snowpack survey Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein warned against loosening the mandatory water restrictions imposed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Capitol Park gets a drought-minded makeover

“California’s front yard” is getting a water-wise makeover. Work crews Wednesday started sheet mulching swaths of lawn outside the state Capitol as the iconic Capitol Park begins transforming its landscape for a more drought-tolerant future.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Survey Shows Nearly Average California Snowpack

The latest Sierra Nevada snow survey finds that the statewide snowpack is at 87 percent of normal for March 30 and 87 percent of the April 1 average.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

How one botanist turned to old methods to treat drought-stressed trees

“And don’t forget the trees,” would be the refrain from State Water Resources Control Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus at the end of every meeting. Marcus wants Californians to conserve water but not at the expense of yard trees and park specimens that provide shade and reduce energy use.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Improved California spring snowpack won’t end drought

State drought surveyors will trudge through deep snow Wednesday to manually measure what could be close to a normal Sierra Nevada snowpack for this time of year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Unimpressive El Niño leaves California in water limbo

The rain storms and blizzards that were supposed to come with El Niño were conspicuously non-biblical in California this winter, leaving the state in an ecological limbo that has regulators thinking about easing water-use restrictions in some places but not in others.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought rules likely to be relaxed

With the wettest winter in five years having taken the hard edges off the historic drought and a key Sierra snowpack reading Wednesday expected to show big gains, Californians can look forward to substantial relief from mandatory statewide water restrictions.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State snowpack has changed a lot in the last year — as have Californians’ attitude toward water

One year ago Friday, Frank Gehrke hiked out to Phillips Station and stuck a tube onto a tuft of brownish-green grass. There was no snow, but Gehrke had quite an audience. … On Wednesday, when Gehrke hikes out to the field again, he’ll have something to measure.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

4 things to know about federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. … Discerning the helpful proposals from the hyperbole can be difficult. So as a guide to the process, Water Deeply offers the following four themes to watch as the bills are debated.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Granite Bay water district says it will no longer follow state water conservation mandate

Pointing to improved conditions at Folsom Lake, a water district serving one of the region’s wealthiest areas announced Friday that it would not follow conservation targets mandated by the state this year and would instead ask its customers to voluntarily cut water use by 10 percent.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Feinstein, Republicans ask Obama for more water pumping from Sacramento Delta

Adding to the debate over Northern California’s winter stormwater, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and congressional Republicans asked President Obama on Thursday to increase the volume of water pumped through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the drought-stricken San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Extreme drought ‘entrenched’ in most of California

The U.S. Drought Monitor released March 24 says from a water supply perspective, there is nearly normal snowpack to melt off and northern Sierra reservoirs are filling. But long-term to extreme drought is still “entrenched” across much of central and southern California.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Largest California reservoirs releasing water for flood safety

After years of drought, Northern California has so much water that the state’s two largest reservoirs are releasing water to maintain flood-control safety. … Shasta and Oroville are the twin anchors of California’s giant water-delivery networks. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville hits flood control limit, may have to release water

With Lake Oroville rising more than 82 feet this month, the water level is now cutting into the buffer needed for flood control. … Other north state reservoirs have increased their outflows as they encroach on flood control limits.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: In first-of-a-kind summit, White House rallies corporate investment in water supplies

The White House on Tuesday unveiled several billion dollars’ worth of corporate commitments to water research and development during a high-level summit. Pegged to World Water Day, the summit was intended to draw attention to specific state and corporate pledges as well as new Obama administration initiatives prompted in part by Western states’ drought and the Flint, Michigan, drinking water scandal.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fight over senior water rights splashes into the Capitol

Late last spring, amid the depths of California’s punishing drought, state officials made a historic determination that rivers and creeks were too low for many farms and cities to draw from. Not everyone agreed, however.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Will El Niño’s water bounty in Northern California provide for dry southern cities?

The so-called March Miracle has unleashed the largest allocation of water from Northern California in four years, more than doubling the flow of imported water from the State Water Project into Central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama seeks more coordination on dealing with drought

President Barack Obama on Monday directed the federal government to come up with a less reactionary and more long-term strategy for dealing with drought. … The White House is hosting a “water summit” on Tuesday, which is World Water Day, to raise awareness of the importance of safe, sufficient and reliable water resources.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Documentary focuses on crisis of groundwater depletion

The film, titled “Pumped Dry: The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater,” was co-produced by Steve Elfers of USA TODAY and Ian James of The Desert Sun, and was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Aquafornia news NPR

In California, dealing with a drought and preparing for a flood (with audio)

As Californians hope for rain and snow to end the state’s extreme drought, a decades-old rule prohibits reservoirs from filling up in the winter, so some water ends up being released. The rule may sound odd given how chronically dry California is, but it’s actually to prevent a bigger disaster: flooding.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Four things to note in federal drought legislation

Congress is about to try again to help ease California’s drought. A handful of bills — some new, some held over from last year — will come up for debate in the weeks ahead. The subject is as partisan as the presidential race, and a lot more complicated.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Nestle’s bottled water operation under scrutiny

The Forest Service is conducting an environmental review of Nestle’s controversial bottled water operation in the San Bernardino Mountains, and could require the company to monitor the impacts of its withdrawals, officials said Friday, March 18.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Why some reservoirs don’t fill as quickly

Years of drought followed by the recent pounding storms to hit the Bay Area and Northern California has turned water watching into a spectator sport.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California SWP will deliver most water since drought began

California farmers and urban areas that rely on the State Water Project will receive the largest allocation of water since 2012.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Dramatic images show El Niño beginning to rescue California from its drought

No, California’s drought isn’t over. But this week, the state came to terms with the fact that the series of El Niño influenced storms has made a dent.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Extreme and severe drought decline in California (with audio)

The ‘Miracle March’ storms have reduced the severity of drought in California.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

March rains prompt California to boost water project deliveries

Deliveries from the State Water Project are now forecast to be 45 percent of what was requested, still less than what’s supplied during most wet years but more than what’s been allocated since the first year of the drought. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers again headed to Australia

Seeking to impart lessons from Australia’s 15-year “millennium drought,” the nonprofit California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy is paying for a handful of lawmakers to fly across the world during the Legislature’s spring recess next week.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California eases water cutbacks as drought loosens

The state Department of Water Resources announced it would be able to give its client water agencies 45 percent of their water allocations this year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farms added 30,000 jobs in 2015 despite drought

California’s farm industry kept growing in 2015 despite a fourth year of drought, adding 30,000 jobs even as farmers idled huge swaths of land because of water shortages.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Salmon season faces significant cuts

California’s 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman stated the proposed harvest reductions will have a significant economic impact on California’s $1.4 billion salmon industry which he said could be exacerbated should Congress fail to pass legislation to address the ongoing drought conditions.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Los Angeles DWP board OKs plan to start fining major water users up to $40k (with audio)

The board for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power passed an ordinance Wednesday setting up a mechanism to fine major water users who don’t cut back their consumption.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

March storms brighten future of winter-run Chinook salmon

Seasonal storms that have raised the region’s reservoir water levels to their highest points in the last two years could bolster this year’s run of Chinook salmon, water and wildlife officials said Wednesday. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Latest storms are filling reservoirs and bringing hopes of a ‘March miracle’

Ever since a series of winter storms began dumping rain and snow in Northern California last year, officials have been looking for tangible signs that all those storms were making a dent in the state’s four-year drought.

Aquafornia news Sea Change Radio

Desalination: Is it time to drink the Pacific? (audio)

This week on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with energy reporter from The Desert Sun, Sammy Roth. He recently researched a piece about efforts to make desalination more commonplace in California.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California experiencing ‘Miracle March’ says water manager (with audio)

The northern Sierra has seen nearly double the average precipitation since the beginning of March. It may seem hard to believe after such a dry February, but some of California’s largest reservoirs have approached flood operations.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Troubled waters: California salmon season facing big restrictions

Federal fishery regulators unveiled plans this week to limit this year’s chinook salmon catch in an effort to protect the state’s signature seafood amid the growing threats of a warming ocean and drought-parched rivers and creeks.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s biggest reservoirs recover, putting water limits in question

With California’s two largest reservoirs hitting historically average levels following a weekend of heavy storms, the state’s chief water regulator is cautiously optimistic that the drought may finally be relaxing its grip.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Rain fills reservoirs, but California still suffers drought’s effects

The drought isn’t over, but the recent storms that many hope are part of a “March miracle” have put California a lot further down the road to recovery.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Pine Flat, Millerton lakes rise thanks to winter rains

Recent rains have dramatically increased the volume of water flowing into major central Sierra lakes and reservoirs that are vital to San Joaquin Valley farmers and communities. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

The latest: Rain-swollen Sacramento River flows over barrier

Water from the rain-swollen Sacramento River is spilling over a 33.5-foot-high concrete wall and into a bypass built to divert flood water.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

Catching storm runoff could ease droughts, but it’s no quick fix (with audio)

Stormwater is starting to get some serious attention in California, as the state’s drought enters a fifth year. … In Walnut Creek, behind a ranch-style home, landscape designer Ryan Kelsey is helping people do that—at least in the short term, and on their own properties.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s biggest reservoir, Shasta, rises to key milestone

Sunday’s storms brought more rain to Northern California, but they also helped the state hit a key milestone in its efforts to recover from the historic four-year drought. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Fourth day of wet weather saturates parts of California

A storm brought strong winds, heavy rain, snow and high surf to California on Sunday, the fourth day of wet weather that has inundated rivers and roads and led to some evacuations.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Worries rising as Colorado River water runs low

For the past five years, as the drought drained California’s water sources and depleted its reservoirs, Southern California water managers have relied increasingly on the region’s largest out-of-state water source: the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

As rain falls in California, tensions rise over who gets the water

Saying too much water is flowing out to sea, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Friday called on operators of the federal and state water projects to pump more water south through the Delta to drought-stricken farms and cities in Central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

El Niño’s winter storms are no cure-all for California drought

The El Niño storms drenching California won’t suffice to solve the state’s drought and won’t permanently save the Central Valley’s vulnerable salmon, federal scientists are cautioning.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

El Niño hasn’t helped Colorado River Basin much

El Niño has been a washout so far for the Colorado River Basin, which has led to a lower than normal forecast for the all-important spring-summer runoff into Lake Powell.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Why not fill Folsom Lake? What’s the worst that could happen? (with video)

Two days after dam operators began releasing additional water from Folsom Lake, the lake’s level has dropped by about one foot.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Holy El Niño! It’s possible Shasta Lake will fill up this month

Shasta is the state’s largest and most important water reserve, and if it were to fill, it would be for the first time in four years. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds: Still hope for El Niño drenching Southern California

Even though Southern California hasn’t gotten the drought-busting rainy windfall some might have expected from El Niño, federal scientists hold out hope for the next several weeks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s largest water district, accused of misleading investors, settles with the SEC

A sprawling Central Valley water district run by some of the state’s wealthiest growers papered over its drought-related financial struggles and misled investors, federal regulators said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Storms predicted to bring rain this weekend, continue into March

Going into the weekend, rain and snow is predicted from San Diego up through Northern California, promising to fluff ski conditions, feed crops and continue filling reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Delta smelt count hits record low

An endangered fish in the middle of California’s struggle over water allocations is becoming scarcer. … An indicator species of the environmental health of the Delta, the smelt also figures into the criteria for regulators determining how much water can be pumped from the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles officials seeded clouds during El Niño storm in hopes of more rain

Clouds over Los Angeles County were seeded with silver iodide to increase the amount of rainfall during Monday’s storm, marking the first cloud seeding done by the Department of Public Works since 2002.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

9,000 dying trees to be removed in Tuolumne County (with audio)

Tuolumne County will start on the job of removing  9,000 dead and dying trees that threaten roads, water supplies, and infrastructure this month.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Storms send billions of gallons of water into state reservoirs

This weekend’s soaking rains delivered just what drought-weary Northern California needed: billions of gallons of water pouring into the state’s major reservoirs — and more predicted for later this week.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California slammed by rain and snow; more is on the way

Northern California was slammed by powerful storms over the weekend that dumped rain across coastal regions and plenty of snow in the Sierra, while Southern California was expected to see another round of showers and thunderstorms Monday after a rainy weekend.

Western Water Magazine

Tapping the Ocean: What is the Role of Desalination?
Winter 2016

This issue looks at the role of ocean desalination in meeting California’s water needs today and in the future.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

March storms needed to build Sierra snowpack (with audio)

California reservoirs are ’stable’ with help from above-average January precipitation, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Strong winter storm to bring several feet of snow to Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe

An atmospheric river drawing moisture from the tropics is expected to blanket the Sierra Nevada and Lake Tahoe area with more than 3 feet of snow through the weekend, forecasters say.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Ocean salmon estimates plunge; restricted fishing likely

Due to the drought and poor ocean conditions, the number of fall-run salmon in the Pacific Ocean has plummeted this year, increasing the likelihood that federal and state officials will restrict commercial and recreational salmon fishing.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

El Niño leaves much of drought-stricken California in dust

Residents had hoped that El Niño would drench California with enough water to end the drought that is now in its fifth year.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño returns: Big weekend storms coming to Bay Area

Remember winter? It’s about to come roaring back.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Weekend storms expected to drop rain on north valley

The latest snow survey in the Sierra Nevada showed that an above-average snowpack in January gave way to a dry February, which reduced the statewide snowpack to 83 percent of normal. It was slightly better in the norther Sierra/Trinity area, the drainages that feed lakes Oroville and Shasta, but still below average at 89 percent.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dwindling salmon put fishing season in peril

[Jym] Gritzfeld was among about 150 people – mostly recreational and commercial anglers – who filed into a conference room in Santa Rosa on Wednesday to hear presentations from state and federal fisheries managers about the dire state of salmon off the coast of California.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Water restrictions eased along Sonoma County creeks

Enhanced water-use restrictions imposed last year on more than 10,000 Sonoma County landowners whose properties lie along four critical salmon-bearing streams will be lifted this spring in recognition of improved winter rainfall.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought restrictions lifted in Russian River area

California regulators have ended mandatory water cutbacks along tributaries of the Russian River, but will continue to require property owners to report how much water they use.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Dry spell ate away at snowpack of drought-ridden California

An unwelcome three-week winter dry spell left the California snowpack at just 83 percent of average, a setback for the state as it tries to break out of record drought, state snow surveyors found Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sierra snowpack falls below average

In another sign that a once-promising El Niño weather pattern is proving to be no drought-buster, California officials say an unseasonably warm and dry February shrunk the Sierra snowpack to below average depths.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought hasn’t been all bad—we’ve learned some things too, California water chief says

“Crazy-making” is how Felicia Marcus, chair of the state water board and the political face of the ongoing drought, characterized a February in which nature suddenly turned off its taps. “Nervous-making.”

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette-Journal

Warm month saps Sierra snowpack, late winter storms needed

An unusually warm and sunny February took a toll on the Sierra Nevada snowpack, leaving mountain snow lovers to hope for a comeback in March.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s drive to save water is killing trees, hurting utilities and raising taxes

Eight months after California’s governor ordered cities to cut water consumption by a quarter, residents and businesses have exceeded expectations. … Now, the state’s furious conservation drive is not only threatening trees but also resulting in sluggish sewer lines and possible increases in water and tax bills.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Will El Niño’s punch return in March? California snowpack needs renewal of drought-busting storms

After a dismally dry February, drought-weary Californians are hoping a series of storms predicted to roll through in early March blanket the Sierra Nevada with a much-needed additional layer of snow, building up the state’s vital snowpack that all but disappeared last year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Devastated salmon population likely to result in fishing restrictions

Northern California’s commercial anglers are bracing for restrictions on the upcoming salmon-fishing season after federal regulators projected there are half as many Central Valley Chinook salmon in the ocean compared to this time last year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Names, addresses of Los Angeles DWP customers who received turf rebates are released

After a seven-month legal battle, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on Friday released the names and addresses of thousands of Los Angeles residents who received cash rebates for replacing their lawns.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Strong El Niño no help for long-term California drought (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor says warmer weather has increased concerns of early snow melt in California and the overall trend is for the multiyear drought to continue or even worsen.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Clean water versus the sucker fish: Drought creates a bizarre dilemma

The California drought has created many oddities over the last few years but none as bizarre as a scene that unfolds regularly on a tributary of the Santa Ana River.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite drought, Californians fall short in water cutbacks

Californians are starting to fall behind the state’s mandatory 25-percent water conservation target even though the state remains in drought, state officials said Thursday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State falling short of 25 percent goal in water cutbacks

California fell short of water conservation goals in January, officials said Thursday, and for the first time the state is lagging behind Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to cut usage by 25 percent.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California cut water use 17.1% in January, falling short of target for the first time

When Gov. Jerry Brown called for a statewide 25% cut in urban water use last April, drought-weary Californians snapped quickly into compliance.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Is this El Niño a dud?

Sacramento is in the peak of its rainy season, but there is no substantial rain in the forecast. … Whither El Niño?

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Old tensions boil over once more in House hearing on California water

The year’s first congressional hearing on California’s water crisis incited stern voices and familiar feuds Wednesday, but showed no sign of legislative progress.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sierra snowpack melts with dry February (with audio)

The water content in the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack has decreased significantly due to dry conditions and record warm temperatures across California in February. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California water politics could get choppier with new House bill

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, said his proposal would provide for new dams, spur water transfers and fund emergency drought aid.

Aquafornia news High Country News

A dry future weighs heavy on California agriculture

On a hot summer afternoon, California farmer Chris Hurd barrels down a country road through the Central Valley city of Firebaugh, his dog Frank riding in the truck bed. … Agricultural land stretches out in every direction.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: El Niño — Summer drought rules likely to continue unless big storms come in March and April

Even in the midst of a strong El Niño, California’s sunny weather this February is not surprising, experts say: The longest dry spell this month — 14 days — is actually less than the average for a strong El Niño winter.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Under sunny skies, Folsom Dam operators to double releases

Even with unseasonably warm temperatures and little to no rain in the forecast for at least the next seven days, the operators of Folsom Dam are going to more than double the flows in the lower American River to protect against flooding.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Storm Water, long a nuisance, may be a parched California’s salvation

After a year in which Californians cut water use by 25 percent, storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California’s relationship with its intricate water network.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Waning El Niño could signal state’s water woes not over

El Niño, as all things must, will be coming to an end over the next couple months, possibly to be replaced by its sister phenomenon, La Niña, which could spell a drier than average summer and fall, a foreboding prospect for a thirsty region suffering through an extended drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

New limits on California well-drilling sought

Warning that a drought-driven surge in well drilling is causing the earth to sag and imperiling long-term water supplies, a California senator wants to place more stringent limits on new wells.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Here’s what El Niño’s storms meant for Lake Mead’s water levels

Even one of the strongest El Niños on record can’t seem to dent the drought on the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Considerable’ long-term drought in California

Record high temperatures and a dry spell in California the past week has ”renewed concerns of early snowmelt” in the Sierra and “considerable long-term” drought impacts remain.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Northern California, skiers and water officials are grateful for the recovering snowpack

Going into March, there’s a good chance most of California will see above-average precipitation, climate experts said. But judgment day is not until April 1, when officials start calculating just how much snow might be available to supply California’s water demands over the summer and fall.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Rain, snow hit California shifting weather back to winter

A storm packing rain and high winds downed power lines, toppled trees and delayed flights in parts of California, bringing back winter weather after several days of record-heat in the West.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State’s snowpack back down below average

Here’s a reality check for anyone thinking the drought might be over: The snowpack in California has dipped back down below average for this time of year.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Rain, snow head for California after days of record heat

California’s touch of summer will be interrupted by a weather system that will bring cool temperatures and rain to a large part of the state and snow of up to 2 feet to the mountains.

Aquafornia news PolitiFact California

Fact & Fiction: Ending California’s drought

California’s soggy start to winter had many predicting the end of the state’s record drought. Myths and overstatements popped up like weeds after winter rain.

Aquafornia news Valley Public Radio NPR for Central California

Despite drought, government to release water for San Joaquin River Restoration

Despite promises that El Niño storms will not bring an end to California’s drought, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday that it will begin releasing more water into the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Where did El Niño go? Heat, dry spell stoke drought worry

Winter has suddenly switched off the rain and flipped on heat up to 95 degrees in California, raising jitters that the strong El Niño might not be the drought-buster the crispy state had hoped.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought improvement will ‘take quite a while’ (with audio)

Despite heavy rainfall in January, an above-average snowpack and rising reservoirs in some areas, the U.S. Drought Monitor says more than one above-average winter will be needed to ease all the impacts of long-term drought in California. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fight brews over federal wildfire funding after devastating year

After the costliest of wildfire seasons ravaged the West last year, with three catastrophic blazes ripping through Lake County, the U.S. Forest Service may be headed for a showdown with Congress over how to cover the surging bill.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Feinstein water policy bill could signal a compromise in sight

Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed a 184-page water policy bill Wednesday, calling it one of the most difficult bills she’s worked on in 23 years representing California.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Sen. Dianne Feinstein tries yet again with California water bill

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Wednesday relaunched a big California water bill, in what might be cast as the triumph of hope over experience.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s drought adds $2 billion in electricity costs

It’s one of the lesser-known costs of California’s drought: the drying-up of the state’s normally abundant cheap hydroelectric power.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Bridge over troubled Stanislaus about to be inundated again

Sometime soon, and possibly by the end of this week, we’ll again bid goodbye to the old Parrotts Ferry Bridge. It’s been nice revisiting the 78-year-old concrete crossing, north of Columbia State Park in Tuolumne County, since it re-emerged from the murky waters of New Melones Reservoir last summer.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern California

California’s water supply at risk from warmer winters

Any sign of precipitation in the forecast is a welcome sight for Californians these days. But with temperatures expected to be above normal this winter, California’s snowpack may not reach the heights it could.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Calendar says winter, but it’s hot and dry

Last fall, the consensus was that El Niño would give Southern California the best chance for above-average rains and much less of a chance to Northern California. But the opposite has turned out to be true.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Analyst urges California lawmakers to back Gov. Brown’s drought measures

A report released Friday by the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) — a non-partisan fiscal and policy adviser to the California Legislature — says that the ongoing drought necessitates continuing support.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought’s hardest-hit sectors may need years of support

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office also urged officials to study the effectiveness of the state’s more than $3 billion in drought programs to learn lessons for managing the next drought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Dry February could bring problems for drought-stricken Valley

El Niño has given Central California a wet – and welcome – start to the rainy season, raising water levels in foothill reservoirs and blanketing the Sierra with snow. But the tap has been turned off for the foreseeable future.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

State fire prevention fee money to fund Sierra dead tree removals

Money from a controversial “fire prevention” fee paid by many California foothill and mountain residents will be used to cut down trees that are dead or dying because of the drought and bark beetle infestation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Why your Super Bowl vegetable platter might cost more this year

Drought followed by the rains of El Niño, and heat followed by cold snaps created a cauliflower price boom that now has turned to a bust, and a celery inflation that lingered just long enough, growers and industry experts say.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: El Niño ‘takes a break’ (with audio)

El Niño, which helped increase precipitation in California last month, is taking a break. … The U.S. Drought Monitor says “exceptional drought” was reduced slightly in just one area of the northern Sierra this week: El Dorado County.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought remains ‘very serious’ in California (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor says exceptional drought was reduced in one area of the northern Sierra this week, “despite heavy precipitation and rebounding stream flows in the short term the past few weeks.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

El Niño rainstorms improving wildfire conditions throughout California, fire agency says

Higher-than-normal rainfall associated with El Niño has diminished the risk of wildfires in California for the next four months, according to a national fire agency report.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Official — El Niño could signal easing of California drought

In the strongest indication yet that the California drought could be easing, officials said strict water conservation orders could be dramatically scaled back or even ended if El Niño storms keep pummeling the state into the spring.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water conservation continues downward slide (with audio)

Californians used 18 percent less water in December than the same month in 2013, but water regulators say the state is still reaching the long-term 25 percent savings goal set by Governor Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite El Niño rains and deep snowpack, state board extends mandatory water conservation

Despite record January rainfall, an above-average snowpack and rising reservoirs, the state water board stuck to its conservation guns Tuesday, approving an eight-month extension of the existing drought-related emergency regulations with minor adjustments.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California extends mandatory water cuts despite growing snowpack

The snow keeps piling up, but the rules requiring water conservation aren’t going away.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

State refuses pleas for major weakening of water conservation rules

Nine months after California imposed its first-ever mandatory statewide water conservation rules to cope with the state’s historic drought, dozens of leaders of water agencies on Tuesday pleaded with the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown to relax them.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water officials vote to extend California drought emergency

State water regulators voted to extend emergency conservation measures because of a drought, even though an increase in rain and snow this winter has improved California’s snowpack. But with the drought still severe, conservations efforts fell off in December.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Northern California salmon run devastated, again, by drought

One of California’s last great salmon runs tallied a perilously low number of surviving offspring in 2015, scientists said Monday, marking a second year of drought-driven problems for the Sacramento River chinook, which loom on the verge of extinction.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Agencies find new water source from the sewer

In the wake of drought and environmental concerns, more water agencies in California and across the West are finding a new water source for human consumption in an unexpected place: the sewer.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Drought’s harm to forests more severe than feared, study finds

Worsening drought conditions may be doing more damage to forests in California and throughout the West than their ecosystems can handle, causing a spiral of death that could have a devastating impact, a U.S. Forest Service study concluded Monday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: 2nd disastrous drought year for endangered California salmon

Endangered native salmon suffered a second straight disastrous year in California’s drought, with all but 3 percent of the latest generation dying in too-shallow, too-hot rivers, federal officials said Monday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California weighs extending drought conservation orders

Following a welcomed parade of El Niño storms drenching drought-stricken California, state officials on Tuesday will decide whether to extend emergency conservation orders, and reveal how much water Californians saved in December.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Buoyed by recent rains, Folsom Lake levels triple

What a difference a month of rain makes. … Still, lots of water in Folsom Lake doesn’t mean the drought is over.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Crop report: Good news, bad news for California farmers

Despite a historic drought, California farmers and ranchers are bringing in more money than ever, the state’s latest crop report shows. But that doesn’t mean they are living high on the hog.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Reservoirs slowly filling, Sierra snowpack above normal (with audio)

The second Sierra snowpack measurement of the winter is Tuesday. January has brought much needed snow, but February may start a bit more slowly.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought-depleted Folsom Lake is rising, but it’s still far from its level-best

Folsom — which dwindled to 14% of capacity last year and became a global image of the California drought — has more than tripled in size since December, thanks to a series of storms that has brought above-average snow and rainfall to Northern California.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Predicting El Niño’s flood risk: How new warning systems save lives, property

Four winters ago, as worried rescuers watched the quickly rising waters of a Peninsula creek and tried to decide whether to alert local residents, they turned to a small green plant for guidance.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California almonds, partly blamed for water shortage, now dropping in price

The decline also could influence whether farmers south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will agree to help pay for Gov. Jerry Brown’s Delta tunnels, the $15.5 billion plan to re-engineer the fragile estuary with the goal of improving reliability of water deliveries to Southern California cities and farms.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Big surf, rain and snow heading toward California

Big surf, rain and snow are heading toward California, including the first significant rains predicted for the southern half of the state since early this month, forecasters said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Modest dents’ in long-term California drought (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor released January 28 partly credits El Niño moisture for “some modest dents in the armor of the multi-year drought in California.”

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California to release more reservoir water thanks to El Niño storms

The Department of Water Resources, mindful of the fruits of the El Niño weather pattern, boosted expected water deliveries to cities and farms from last month’s scant projection of 10 percent of what was requested to a slightly better 15 percent.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño lets landslide scientists get back to their research

… After four dry winters, scientists are finally getting a chance to gather information that may improve their ability to predict landslides — a science that has been notoriously imprecise.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

$1 billion insured losses in California fires

Damages from two destructive Northern California wildfires that killed six and sent thousands fleeing their homes topped $1 billion in insured losses, according to a preliminary estimate by the state’s insurance department.