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 Monterey Herald

Monterey County water agency seeks fish-farms balance in reservoir releases

Fish have won another round against farms, this time in the Salinas Valley.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Brown says drought mandate will be adjusted

San Diego County and other parts of the state may get some flexibility in complying with California’s rigorous water conservation mandate, Gov. Jerry Brown hinted Tuesday. 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

New website helps catch water wasters

A newly launched state website logged more than 1,000 reports of water waste in its first five days of operation, California’s drought enforcers said.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lowering water levels leave two Lake Oroville launch areas open

State officials are estimating that Bidwell Canyon’s three available concrete lanes will close this week when the lake level drops 220 feet below the top of Oroville Dam. The dam is considered full at 900 feet above sea level. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: 200-plus Tuolumne wells run dry (with audio)

This week and next the Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services is holding six workshops so people can sign up to have water delivered at no cost in most cases.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Tulloch Lake dropping early to cool Stanislaus River fish

Fish concerns will force Tulloch Lake to drop sooner than water agencies had announced in a milestone spring accord, while construction work meant to ensure that 7,000 people won’t run out of water for drinking and fire protection has not yet begun. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

No enforcement, uneven transparency on golf water rules

With uneven transparency from the golf industry and no enforcement from the state, water use at many golf courses remains shrouded in mystery, a Desert Sun investigation has found.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California drought hasn’t killed summer vacations

At Russian River Adventures near Healdsburg, owner Larry Laba fields calls every day from people worried that California’s epic drought has pulled the plug on their summer rafting trips. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Where the drought has brought Head Start to a stop

The gutted cinder-block homes slated for demolition in the western Fresno County town of Five Points are a haunting symbol of [Diana's] Toscano’s struggle during one of the worst droughts in California’s history: finding enough children to keep the local Migrant Head Start Center from shutting its doors.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

River that runs through downtown San Jose goes dry; fish and wildlife suffer

The [Guadalupe] river that runs through America’s 10th-largest city has dried up, shriveling a source of civic pride that had welcomed back trout, salmon, beavers and other wildlife after years of restoration efforts. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Innovation is blooming at water-wise urban farms

Unlike the large industrial farms that give California its reputation as the salad bowl of the nation, urban farmers don’t have to let fields sit fallow to reduce water use. The small-scale operations leave room for more creative approaches to drought-friendly growing practices.

Aquafornia news High Country News

Drought renews push for water storage projects

The drought that’s been desiccating California for the past four years has added new urgency to a decades-old debate about the best way to secure reliable water supplies for a growing population: new dams or efficiency measures.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Judge halts release of names of Los Angeles DWP customers who got grants to replace lawns

Heeding the call to conserve water, tens of thousands of Southern California residents and businesses replaced their lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping with the help of $340 million in grants from the Metropolitan Water District.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Gov. Brown says Rocky Fire is a wake-up call, and the ‘new normal’ (with audio)

California Governor Jerry Brown says the state has a “new normal” when it comes to wildfires.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Jerry Brown says ‘California is burning’ and climate change is to blame

The imminent danger from the devastating Rocky Fire in Lake County diminished Thursday and residents began to return to their evacuated homes, but Gov. Jerry Brown made clear in a visit to the area that California is still in danger.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

El Niño signals are still iffy for northern reaches of state

While Southern California remains on track for a wet winter, the forecast for Northern California is still cloudy. … Precipitation in the top half of the state, where many of California’s big reservoirs are located, is most important water-wise, especially with supplies diminished after four dry years.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Brown’s climate message: ‘California’s burning: What are you going to do about it?’

Gov. Jerry Brown, who called a state of emergency last week and visited the [Rocky Fire] area Thursday, blamed climate change for hot weather that contributes to drier forests and increased fire danger.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Biologists fear repeat of 2002 salmon kill in Klamath River

The drought in the West could be creating conditions in the Klamath River straddling Oregon and California for a repeat of a 2002 fish kill that claimed tens of thousands of adult salmon, biologists said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown highlights climate change risks at site of Rocky fire

In his quest to force tougher action on climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown has traveled to China, Mexico, Canada, even the Vatican.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

The key numbers in the Calif. wildfires

The fires are part of a regional phenomenon of severe drought and heat that has gripped the West.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Calif. fire, aided by drought, defies tactics to defeat it

Feeding on tinder-dry terrain and woodlands that have been parched by drought, the Rocky Fire is now 106 square miles … In the last three years, rain levels in California have been 24 to 30 inches below normal, according to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, meaning the state has been missing about two years’ worth of rainfall.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Firefighting consumes Forest Service budget, sparks political clash

Lawmakers are seeking budget solutions amid a superheated political climate as the wildland fires now raging across California, Washington and other Western states burn through federal dollars as well as forests. A new report warns the funding problem will worsen.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Receding lakes reveal pieces of Calif.’s past

Tourists are flocking to the old Mormon settlement of St. Thomas, which was inundated by Lake Mead when the Hoover Dam was built and has slowly revealed itself in recent years. … In many ways, unearthing the past is a ritual of the drought cycle.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District agrees – again – to give farmers more water

Despite the drought, local farmers this year will get 44 inches of water per parcel instead of 40, Oakdale irrigation leaders decided Tuesday, because customers so far have used much less than expected.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Judge backs Calif. drought regulators

California’s drought police, slapped down in court just a few weeks ago, have been cleared to go after water districts accused of illegally diverting water.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge OKs state water restrictions on farmers

A Sacramento judge has given California water regulators the go-ahead to enforce pumping restrictions on a small Central Valley irrigation district, a decision seen as validation of the state’s broader authority to restrict water during the drought.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Tribes blast feds’ Klamath plan

A federal plan to prevent a potential fish kill this summer on the lower Klamath River drew criticism on Monday from Hoopa Valley and Yurok tribe officials, who condemned the proposal as a lukewarm response to the threat of rising water temperatures and deadly parasites.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Amid drought, Calif. experiments with leasing water rights

Last fall, farmers working the flat land along the Colorado River outside Blythe, California, harvested a lucrative crop of oranges, lettuce and alfalfa from fields irrigated with river water. But that wasn’t their only source of income.

Aquafornia news Wall St. Journal

In Calif., even firefighters conserve water

Wildfires scorching California this summer have already cost one life, 24 homes and millions of dollars. They are also consuming another precious resource: water. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought could hurt endangered fish caught in water fight

California’s historic drought could wipe out a tiny, endangered fish that’s played an outsized role in the state’s water wars.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Many snags ahead for Calif. water bills

Publicly and privately, California lawmakers are pushing to get a big water bill off its current glacial pace. But history cautions that California legislation this ambitious always takes time, and plenty of it.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

How to report water waste with a smartphone

Seen somebody wasting water? Don’t know who to call? The state of California can help.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Water & farmers: Things to know about AP-GfK drought poll

A new Associated Press-GfK poll finds most Americans think of water as a limited resource that can be depleted if people use too much.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Drought pushes Calif. hospitals to get serious about water savings

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, hospitals are among the highest water users in communities and have untapped potential to help California fight its ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Calif. fires lead Gov. Brown to call state of emergency

Gov. Jerry Brown has called a state of emergency across the state in response to wildfires engulfing parts of drought-stricken California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Trickle-down politics: Drought could force real change among city, state leaders

It’s something of a relief, if a mixed one, that the drought has surged into the role of the latest scourge to freak out California. … But it’s mixed, of course, because the drought carries its own dangers, and the ultimate solution — rain — remains wholly out of the power of politicians or everyday Californians.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Calif. site will let residents tattle on water wasters

California is launching a website that lets residents tattle on water wasters, from neighbors with leaky sprinklers to waiters who serve water without asking.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

#drylandsCA – The difference between knowing something and seeing something

We’ve seen a lot of low lakes this trip. But this was different. Oroville is the great-granddaddy centerpiece of the State Water Project.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Dry wells: Homeowners in Stanislaus County can apply for temporary water supply

Working with the nonprofit Self-Help Enterprises, the drought relief program will furnish a tank and small pump to restore water for homeowners with dry wells. … The costs are covered by the $1 billion drought relief package approved by Gov. Jerry Brown in March, officials said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Californians cut water usage by 27% in June, but officials remain wary

Despite record heat, drought-conscious Californians managed to slash urban water use by 27% in June and demonstrated once again that they were on track to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic 25% conservation order, state water officials said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

A torrid June, but water usage cut

Despite the hottest June on record, Californians cut back on their water use statewide by by 27.3 percent statewide compared with June 2013, a reduction that exceeded the level ordered in the governor’s emergency drought regulations.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Drought-dry Lake Mead recedes to unveil long-submerged Wild West town

Eighty years after being flooded by the waters of Lake Mead, an old Wild West town has become a major tourist attraction after revealing itself again thanks to the ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians step up, meet state goals for water conservation

Drought-ravaged Californians and the water agencies that serve them cut water use 27.3 percent in June — the second time that communities statewide met the governor’s 25 percent goal, but the first time they did so under the threat of fines.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Calif. zeroes in on conservation stragglers amid drought

California residents heeded the call to turn off sprinklers in the first month of mandated water conservation, leading to a 27 percent plunge in June.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Salmon surveys find low fish counts on Salmon, Trinity rivers

With recent fish counting surveys on two Klamath River tributaries showing alarmingly low numbers for one of the last wild Chinook salmon runs, local fisheries experts are growing increasingly concerned about the effects of the ongoing statewide drought and the possibility of a devastating fish kill in the near future when fall-run salmon begin to enter the system. 

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Drought top issue; partisanship roils greenhouse gas law

As the state suffers through its fourth year of drought, most Californians say the lack of water is the single most important environmental issue facing the state, a dramatic increase over the number who expressed similar concerns a year ago. A survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California reported that 58 percent of Californians ranked the drought as the top issue — up 23 points from July 2014 and up 50 points from July 2011.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

​Farmers, fighting back, say they’re unfairly blamed for worsening drought

California’s agricultural industry this week returned fire with a PR campaign that seeks to emphasize strides in conservation made by farmers in recent years.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Calif. to release June water-savings report amid drought

California regulators were expected Thursday to announce how much water cities conserved in June — the first month of mandatory cutbacks during the drought.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Sites Reservoir in Northern Calif. is 20th-century idea trying to fit the 21st

Almost 40 years after it began operation, California’s four-year drought has turned the state’s fourth largest reservoir, capable of storing 2.4 million acre-feet of water, into a shallow brown pool that holds 343,000 acre-feet, less than 15 percent of its capacity.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s drought spurs unexpected effect: Eco-friendly development (with audio)

The drought in California has gone on so long, and is so severe, that it’s beginning to change the way people are designing residential communities — in unexpected ways, and unexpected places.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Sen. Feinstein introduces $1.3-billion Calif. drought-relief bill

 Sen. Dianne Feinstein filed her long-awaited legislative response to California’s water crisis on Wednesday, hoping to broker a compromise that has eluded Congress through four years of fallow fields and brown lawns.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Most Californians link climate change, drought; split is partisan

Nearly two-thirds of Californians say global warming is contributing to the state’s drought, but there’s a distinct partisan divide, according to a survey released Wednesday. … When it comes to drought-fighting measures that hit closer to home, the survey found strong support …

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought now Californians’ top concern, poll finds

Voter concern over California’s drought is “extremely high and intensifying,” according to a new poll, while a majority of respondents said they would willingly pay “a few more dollars a month” to improve state water infrastructure.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

EBMUD board rejects offering rebates to switch from grass to fake turf

Saying it might cause more harm than good, East Bay water officials Tuesday rejected the idea of giving homeowners a break for ripping up live grass and replacing it with plastic turf — drought or no drought.

Aquafornia news NPR

Squeezed by drought, California farmers switch to less thirsty crops (with audio)

Water scarcity is driving California farmers to plant different crops. Growers are switching to more profitable, less-thirsty fruits, vegetables and nuts. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Keeping up with the Joneses’ drought-friendly yard boosted MWD’s tab for rebates

When it came down to it, the number crunchers at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California knew they saved a lot more water for every dollar spent subsidizing low-flush toilets than drought-friendly lawns.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

State extinguishes fires at whirlwind speed – but more keep emerging

Through July 25, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had responded to about 3,900 wildfires in 2015 – about 1,300 more fires than the agency typically fights by July’s end, preliminary state data show. California fire officials blame the drought and historically dry conditions.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

The Great Plains’ invisible water crisis

The depletion of groundwater stores also is a problem familiar to farmers struggling with drought in California, where pumping for irrigation has put the state’s Central Valley Aquifer under the most strain of any aquifer in the U.S., according to NASA satellite data.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Top of the Scroll: Worldwide strengthening El Niño giveth and taketh away

In California, they’re counting on it to end an historic drought; in Peru, they’ve already declared a pre-emptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Funding will help farm workers hurt by the drought (with audio)

New state and federal funding will provide relief for farm workers hurt by California’s drought. The U.S. Department of Labor is providing $18 million, and the state is providing $7.5 million.

Aquafornia news KVPR Valley Public Radio

The ‘Almond Doctor’ says salt is slowly crippling California’s almond industry (with audio)

High salinity levels in groundwater used for agriculture on the Westside of Central California is commonplace, but this year the issue is compounded.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Increasing evaporation influencing historic changes at Lake Tahoe

While Lake Tahoe’s iconic blueness and clarity often garner all the attention during annual State of the Lake reports, it was the lake’s increasing rate of evaporation in 2014 that most surprised the report’s author this year.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Salt worries building in Delta waters

Normally, rivers from interior California help push back that saltier water and keep the Delta fresh, which is important for people and fish alike. But this year the rivers are low, which allows the Bay water to move toward the east and invade portions of the tidally influenced estuary.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Almond harvest looks early this year, rice may mature early as well

Almond farmers who planned a mid-summer getaway may need to put those plans on hold. Already the nuts are at the phase of hull split, which comes just before its time to shake the trees. Butte County Agricultural Commissioner Richard Price said all crops are early this year.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water, and hope, run dry for East Porterville woman caught in drought

[Donna] Johnson is known as the water angel. … The 72-year-old is her town’s biggest advocate, sitting in on drought funding meetings with county and state leaders, shepherding reporters from around the globe so no one forgets East Porterville.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Nearly 1 in 10 gallons of water disappears in Sacramento

Almost half of the city [of Sacramento] utility’s nearly 126,000 residential connections don’t have meters tracking and tallying how much they use. Because of this, there’s no way of precisely knowing how much water goes missing because of leaky pipes, loose connections, theft or at city hydrants.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: More fires across Calif., but less acreage burned

The drastic drop in acres burned in the past year is in large part because of an increase in the number of crews and aircrafts CalFire was able to obtain through the state declaring a drought emergency last year, officials say.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

#drylandsCA – A wildfire in front of us, drylands all around us

It’s one thing to read about crumbling water infrastructure, another to bump down a road, beneath water level, after freaky July rains in the middle (end? beginning?) of an epic drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wildfires near Sacramento signal start of potentially dangerous fire season

Firefighters battled flames in mountainous terrain Thursday above opposite sides of the Sacramento Valley, signaling the start of what could be a particularly combustible fire season in drought-stricken California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Proving illegal water grabs tough in California’s drought

California’s vast network of reservoirs, canals and rivers is among the world’s most engineered water systems, but it is tough to prove when water is illegally siphoned because of sparse metering, infrequent reporting and a complex web of tens of thousands of water rights.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: Your faucet as power switch — Water’s hidden energy cost

Most of us hardly think about it, but when we turn on the tap, we’re not just using water — we’re also using energy. And you may be surprised to learn just how much. … It takes a lot of power to get water to our taps — conveyance from the source, treatment, and distribution — not to mention cleaning the wastewater we send down drains.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Hope grows that El Niño will reach Northern Calif. — and key reservoirs

The El Niño hitting the mountains of the north is critical because California’s vast waterworks rely on rain and snow from the Sierra to supply farms and cities. By contrast, much of the rain that falls in Southern California ends up in the ocean.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial video reveals drought-ravaged lakes worse than imagined

Ugly brown rings where waves used to lap at the shore. … Barren boat ramps. Trickles of water.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

High court hands setback to water conservation fight

Rejecting the pleas of California officials worried about water conservation, the state Supreme Court on Wednesday left intact a lower court ruling that makes it tougher for cities and water districts to impose punishing higher rates on water wasters.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

#drylandsCA – Levees and ferries and sloughs and bridges that go up and down

Ever since we crossed the first bridge into California’s delta, I’ve been in a world that ambles and rambles and moves with the river. … There are 1,100 miles of sloughs and tributaries and 55 islands surrounded by the water that California is fighting over.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Long-term climate forecast — Heat, humidity and El Niño rains

What climatologists disagree on is whether there will be enough rain to break the four-year punishing drought wreaking havoc on California farms and urban centers.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New ’super scooper’ firefighting plane at Lake Tahoe (with audio)

The U.S. Forest Service in Lake Tahoe says the agency’s Bombardier CL415 aircraft, nicknamed the “Super Scooper,” will be based out of the South Lake Tahoe Airport this summer.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tracy-area district faces first fine

The stakes got higher Monday for water users across the Central Valley who may be forced to choose between saving their crops or paying a severe penalty.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Another month, another global heat record broken – by far

Earth dialed the heat up in June, smashing warm temperature records for both the month and the first half of the year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: State proposes $1.5-million fine of water district for improper diversions

Regulators proposed a record $1.5-million fine Monday against a Northern California irrigation district after it allegedly diverted more than 670 million gallons of water illegally — a rare enforcement action that escalates the legal battle between Gov. Jerry Brown and the state’s oldest water rights holders.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State levies $1.5 million fine for illegal water use

California regulators are seeking a $1.5 million penalty from a Tracy-area water district for allegedly illegally tapping the delta for farmers and thousands of homes, marking a significant escalation in the state’s push to get big users to go along with drought-forced reductions.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought agency goes after another water district

State drought regulators went on the offensive against another agricultural irrigation district Monday, proposing a $1.55 million fine against a Delta-area agency accused of diverting water illegally over a two-week period.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

New apps take much closer look at water use

When it comes to watching water use as California’s four-year drought drags into midsummer, water districts statewide are turning to software apps that show both customers and utilities gallon-by-gallon details unavailable a few years ago.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Drought will have little impact on California economy, says Moody’s

The credit rating agency Moody’s said last week that California’s drought would have little economic impact on the state in the short term.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Here’s the secret weapon to curb water hogs — the flow restrictor

A 2-inch-long brass cylinder, the modest-looking plumbing device is to water wasters what handcuffs are to shoplifters and parking boots are to motorists piling up unpaid tickets. And now water agencies struggling to meet California’s tough new conservation rules have the devices at the ready and are giving them a fresh look.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Finding a way to truck water when drought hits Butte County wells

It’s hard to know how many people are scrambling to get water this summer. … If the long-term solution is waiting for well driller to deepen a well, the quick-fix is calling a man with a truck who will deliver water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Weird weather brings record rain, beach closures and a freeway washout

Rain, sometimes heavy and accompanied by thunder and lightning, fell over Southern California on Sunday, the second wave of a rare summer storm system that brought a weekend of beach closures, power outages and warm, muggy air to the parched region.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Commentary: Water war of yore still resonates with New Melones protester

Mark DuBois did the impossible for five days in May 1979. With boats and helicopters combing the Stanislaus River canyon searching for him, the rising water of New Melones Reservoir practically lapping at his feet and chained to a rock in the canyon, DuBois hid beneath a small ledge to avoid detection and possible arrest.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Blog: 10 questions — Ralph Petroff, gray-water recycling pioneer

Ralph Petroff is changing the way California homes use water. As executive chairman of Nexus eWater, Petroff last week unveiled the first housing subdivision in the United States with on-site water recycling standard in every home.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento’s new Mexican consul to help drought-stricken farmworkers

With California’s historic drought evaporating the livelihood of thousands of Mexican migrants, Mexico will start offering them emergency rent assistance, clothing, food and even a plane ticket back home, said the region’s new consul general in her first major media interview.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Five questions crucial to future of California drought legislation

The House of Representatives’ passage Thursday of an ambitious and controversial California water bill now starts a round of maneuvering that will show whether a divided Congress can get its act together and legislate.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Shrinking Colorado River is a growing concern for Yuma farmers — and millions of water users

Nearly 40 million people in seven states depend on the [Colorado] river, a population some forecasts say could nearly double in the next 50 years. … In the decades to come, federal officials say, significant shortages are likely to force water-supply cutbacks in parts of the basin, the first in the more than 90 years that the river has been managed under the 1922 Colorado River Compact.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

­Commentary: How the West overcounts its water supplies

Paul Matuska is the closest thing the American West has to a water cop, and his beat includes Needles, Calif., a beleaguered desert town midway between Flagstaff, Ariz., and Los Angeles. … Mr. Matuska, a hydrologist, is one of about a dozen accountants for the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which controls water distribution along the lower half of the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Healdsburg man uses heat to make clean water

Healdsburg’s Aaron Mandell wants to build a $30 million desalination plant in the San Joaquin Valley that would use the warmth of the sun to distill former irrigation water and reuse it on thirsty farms. … “I think everybody is trying to stretch the supplies every way they can,” said Jennifer Bowles, executive director of the nonprofit Water Education Foundation in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Climate change meets drought in California (with audio)

Jay Famiglietti is a Senior Water Scientist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and a Professor of Earth Systems Science at UC Irvine. We asked him if California is seeing an intersection of the drought and climate change.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California plans cease-and-desist water action against farm district

A week after getting slapped down in court, California drought regulators went back on the offensive Thursday in their campaign to curb water use, launching a crackdown against a small irrigation district that allegedly took water illegally from a river in San Joaquin County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water managers dodge bullet with ‘May miracle’ rains

At a time when water levels in Lake Mead were getting so low that officials prepared for drastic cutbacks, it started raining. A series of powerful storms pummeled the mountains that feed the Colorado River, a key source of water for California, Arizona and Nevada.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Many of the world’s water basins are being depleted, studies find

More than a third of the largest groundwater basins in the world are being depleted faster than they are getting replenished, and there are little to no accurate data showing just how much water is left in them, according to two new studies published Tuesday.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought bill roils Capitol Hill waters

A Republican-drafted California water bill approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday now faces a serious test in the Senate and beyond.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State issues first action to enforce a water rights curtailment

State regulators Thursday took another step in the escalating battle over drought-related curtailments of thousands of California water rights.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California flexes muscles in water tussle with farmers

California water regulators flexed their muscles by ordering a group of farmers to stop pumping from a branch of the San Joaquin River amid an escalating battle over how much power the state has to protect waterways that are drying up in the drought.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Bill advances to allow HOA members to install turf without fear of fines

A bill allowing residents of homeowners associations to install artificial turf without fear of fines was approved unanimously this week by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

New curtailment letters issued

State water officials backed down a bit on Wednesday, formally rescinding portions of letters that seemed to require thousands of water users up and down the Central Valley to stop diverting.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

DWR increases water flow in Oroville Feather River

Yes, there is a drought, and yes, water releases have been increased in the Feather River in Oroville.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

After years of drought, wildfires rage in California

The hotshot crew from Big Bear, Calif., pushed along the steep, smoky ridge after a long night battling a blaze that spread fast, burned hot and just would not die.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State softens approach to curtailing water use in drought

State water officials on Wednesday softened their approach to telling thousands of California farmers to stop pumping from rivers to irrigate crops during the drought but warned that stiff penalties still await anybody who takes water they don’t have a right to use.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California curbs lawns for new homes, businesses

State officials, who are already urging people to let their grass yards wither during the drought, passed new rules Wednesday essentially banning them from being planted around new commercial buildings, while limiting grass to about 25 percent of the landscaping at new homes.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House GOP’s California water bill still a long way from port

Four years into California’s latest devastating drought, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday will pass another catch-all water bill that’s nowhere near done.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California adopts strict lawn-reduction rules for drought savings

Drought-tolerant plants must dominate lawns around new homes and businesses across California under new regulations unanimously approved by the California Water Commission.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To save water, new California homes will have less lawn

The sprawling suburban lawn — a symbol of the good life in postwar California — moved a step closer Wednesday to being consigned to the history books.

Aquafornia news Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard (KMTG) Natural Resources Law Blog

Legal Commentary: State Water Board rescinds curtailments

Today [July 15] the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued a letter rescinding and clarifying its previous curtailment notices. Today’s letter walks away from the strong language of the previous curtailment notices issued by the SWRCB, which the Sacramento Superior Court found coercive and in violation of constitutional due process safeguards in a ruling last Friday. … Friday’s ruling was a setback for the SWRCB and it demonstrated the difficulty in swiftly administering the water rights system during the ongoing critical drought.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Oakland’s water treatment plant generates its own energy and then some

Although treating wastewater generally ranks alongside police and fire safety, schools, and transit as the top priorities of any sensible city hall, new ideas about cleaning up sewage almost never attract headlines or TV airtime. … It has taken a four-year drought in California to change that.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

#drylandsCA – A journey into the drylands

The only thing that’s certain is that this drought is changing California and the West. So we’re going on a road trip, traveling between what was and what will be.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: More lawn restrictions could remake California landscape

The California Water Commission is scheduled to consider new rules Wednesday that would significantly slash the amount of water that can be used by landscapes surrounding newly built houses, businesses and schools.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Water released from Millerton Lake into San Joaquin River

Water burst out of Friant Dam Tuesday in a new release into the San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Pleasanton limits free reclaimed water amid surging popularity

Reclaimed water from California’s first sewer plant to give it away free has become so popular in the drought that operators are limiting who can use it. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water conservation in small towns, slightly different rules

By now, most customers of a water district know the new conservation rules. … However, what about people who live in more rural areas and in smaller water districts that have different water conservation rules?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Blog: Sacramento Valley farmers save 50,000 ducks with help from Cal Waterfowl (with video)

While harvesting 350 acres of wheat, farmer Deke Dormer collected 819 eggs in his field. The eggs were then placed in egg cartons, taken to incubators for hatching, and will be returned to wetlands when the ducklings are old enough to survive on their own.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Disputed San Joaquin River water will go to west San Joaquin Valley farmers

Federal officials Tuesday will begin releasing a disputed allotment of San Joaquin River water from Millerton Lake to a group of west San Joaquin Valley growers with water rights dating back to the 1870s.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill barring fines for dead lawns during drought

Cities and counties will no longer be able to impose fines on residents for unsightly brown lawns while the state is in a drought, under a bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday afternoon.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s driest region finds short-term drought aid (with audio)

Rural Tulare County, Calif., is now being called the epicenter of this drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought may be slowing Valley Fever outbreak (with audio)

California health experts are surprised that the incidence of Valley Fever has gone down during the drought. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Blame the drought: Inmates sweat out the ban on prison yard showers

To save water, California has turned off outside showers on its inmates. No longer can they wash down in the prison yard after a hard workout.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought, beetles preying on weakened California forests

Frank Cody wasn’t surprised to learn that at least 12 million trees across California recently have died from a lethal mix of bugs and long-term drought. Business is booming for the South Lake Tahoe tree service business owner.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

West Nile virus spreads: Is California drought to blame?

Health officials haven’t reported any infections in California yet this year. But as the West Nile season begins, summer temperatures rise and the 4-year-old drought drags on, the virus has now been detected in birds in 31 California counties — six more than were reported at this point last year.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Scientists have learned a lot about El Nino, but they still have many questions

Long-range forecasters are growing increasingly confident that a strong El Niño weather pattern will at least put a dent in California’s four-year drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Farmers prevail in court

An effort by state officials to stop some Delta farmers from diverting water during the drought amounts to a taking of private property rights without due process, a judge ruled Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Is a strong El Niño on the horizon? Forecasters say count on it

Californians should brace themselves for one of the strongest El Niño events to hit the Pacific Ocean in years.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water rights ruling a setback for California drought regulators

In a significant ruling that could hinder California’s ability to order mass water cutbacks, a judge told state drought regulators Friday they can’t slash the water rights of four Central Valley irrigation districts until each had a chance to defend itself.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: As California drought rebalances Sierra forests, fire danger mounts

During the July 4 weekend, the U.S. Forest Service issued urgent instructions to hikers and campers to be exceedingly cautious in lighting campfires across California’s tinder dry Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Got sand? Drought prompts California state beaches to shut off outdoor showers

Thousands of beachgoers will soon feel the drought’s impact in the dry shower heads of dozens of state beaches.

Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Drought conditions cause Central Valley homes to sink into the ground (with video)

Homes in a Central Valley neighborhood are the latest casualty of California’s historic drought. The parched, dry weather is causing them to literally sink into the ground.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California city’s desalination push sparks debate over costs, coastal impact

The slumbering desalination plant that rests off the Ventura Freeway in a seedy area called the Funk Zone might one day be the answer to this coastal city’s desperate need for water.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Republicans’ California drought bill triggers debate

A California water bill easily passed the Republican-controlled House Natural Resources Committee on a near party-line vote after a lengthy, heated debate between the two political parties.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Strengthening El Niño could mean wet winter

The chances that California will begin clawing its way out of the drought with a wet winter got a bump Thursday with a federal report showing an El Niño weather pattern continuing to strengthen in the Pacific.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño weather event is biggest since 1997, may trigger soaking winter storms

As Pacific Ocean temperatures continue to warm and trade winds shift, federal scientists now say that the El Niño weather event that’s emerging could be one of the strongest on record.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southland water district ends popular lawn-removal rebate program

When Gov. Jerry Brown called on drought-weary Californians to reconsider their love of thirsty, nonnative landscaping, some businesses and homeowners responded by tearing out their once-cherished lawns.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Fish extinction ‘increasingly likely’

It’s been nearly 60 years since a species went extinct in the Delta, but the latest survey of the diminutive Delta smelt makes their demise “increasingly likely” this year, a leading expert said this week.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte Creek salmon survive with help from canal

For salmon to survive in Butte Creek, the fish will need as much water as they can get from Pacific Gas and Electric Co. … PG&E showed the Enterprise-Record that water system Tuesday during a helicopter tour.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California regulators discuss water pricing in drought

California water regulators heard proposals for a statewide drought fee and hefty fines for water-guzzling homeowners as part of a Wednesday workshop discussing how to implement Gov. Jerry Brown’s order for water pricing to maximize conservation.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

No more showers at state beaches

Starting Wednesday, outdoor showers at all state beaches are shut off as a way to conserve water during the drought, California State Parks officials announced this week. The move is designed to save up to 18 million gallons of water annually.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Stress from heat, drought on fish spurs push to reduce kills

Drought and record hot weather are producing lethal conditions for salmon and trout in rivers across the West.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Some urban water suppliers far from conservation goal

A close review of water conservation numbers shows some urban water suppliers in California still have a long way to go to meet mandatory conservation targets. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles, pushing big water rate increases, seeks 18% more from typical users

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials are seeking an increase in rates over the next five years in a bid to boost water conservation amid California’s drought and expand repairs of crumbling water mains and electricity infrastructure.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California OKs drought curb on Sacramento River flows

California regulators have given final approval to a controversial drought plan to restrict the flow of water pouring out of Lake Shasta this summer in a bid to preserve an endangered fish species.

Tour

Drought Tour 2015
Field Trip (past)

Millerton Lake behind Friant Dam near Fresno

This 2-day, 1-night tour traveled through the San Joaquin Valley to explore the impacts of California’s unprecedented four-year drought on the nation’s breadbasket and what steps are being taken to avert disaster.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Effects of the California drought on farming is regional and coastal farms are thriving

The disparity between the Salinas Valley and hard-hit areas of the San Joaquin Valley is the latest installment in this newspaper’s series “A State of Drought.” 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California agency considers water prices to save in drought

California Gov. Jerry Brown called for an overhaul in water pricing as part of his sweeping drought order, and regulators on Wednesday will discuss how to best do that in light of legal questions over rates designed to encourage conservation. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Folsom Lake now being drained more slowly

Water regulators are easing off on plans to draw down Folsom Lake, responding to concerns from Sacramento-area water agencies about the availability of supply, officials said Tuesday. 

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: House panel will approve California water bill, but then what?

It’s a familiar Capitol Hill script, where the ultimate plot twist for California water legislation would be bipartisan compromise that leads to relevant, real-world success.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Plant experts hope for a drought of invasives in ‘water-wise’ yards

Many Californians appear to be taking up Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for the removal of 50 million square feet of lawn energetically and enthusiastically.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Rural residents decry water restrictions

A feisty crowd of west county residents peppered state regulators Monday night with questions about why new water conservation rules aimed at saving endangered coho salmon do not apply to vineyards.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto poised to move forward on recycled-water project

Modesto is poised to take a big step Tuesday in its project to send highly treated wastewater to drought-stricken West Side farmers as soon as 2018, though the Turlock Irrigation District remains a staunch opponent over concerns of how the project will affect its groundwater basin. 

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Orange County’s plans to turn rainwater into a resource (with video)

With California four years into a drought and water sources scarce, engineers, environmentalists and water officials today see stormwater not as a threat, but as a wasted resource.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

USFS: Conditions ideal for megafires this summer (with audio)

The U.S. Forest Service is re-examining how it manages wildfires this summer. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Apps help farmers with efficiency during the drought (with audio)

As the drought continues and the weather heats up, California farmers are grappling with how to allocate dwindling water supplies.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California looks to Australia for drought tips

The state signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian state of Victoria to share knowledge and training in wildfire and flood management Monday.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek hydrant flushing may be history with new tech

Soquel Creek Water District leaders are looking at purchasing a new piece of water main-flushing technology as one of several potential water-saving projects that they could fund through fees paid by new district development permits.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Blog: Delta voluntary cuts challenged

The latest lawsuit by a water district with senior rights is significantly different from its predecessors.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Editorial: As lakes drain, we must rethink water

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials, who operate the Central Valley Project, relied on a faulty gauge in April and overestimated the amount of cold water behind Shasta Dam. That error might seem trivial, but not in this fourth parched year of the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Baja California farmers confront prospect of water shortage

Blocks from the U.S. border on a recent afternoon, inside a packed auditorium, the farmers’ voices rose with their anxious questions.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought sends U.S. water agency back to drawing board

For most of the 1900s, the bureau’s [of Reclamation] system — which grew into the largest wholesale water utility in the country — worked. But the West of the 21st century is not the West of Roosevelt.

Aquafornia news KCRW

The flood of water rights lawsuits begins (audio)

He’s a fifth-generation cattle farmer, who bought land in the 1960’s — with water rights that were granted before 1914. But two weeks ago, the pumps were turned off and there’s no water now in his irrigation canal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water agencies baffle conservationists with water use surge

They stuck out like skunks at a drought-resistant garden party.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Lake Mead hits a new low, but the drought has a silver lining – tourism

Bruce Nelson was just a baby when Lake Mead was at its mightiest. That was 1983 — ancient history to the 32-year-old whose family has run marinas here for three generations — when the lake gushed over Hoover Dam like a desert Niagara Falls.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess - a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation in drought-stricken California is turning things around, proving it’s possible to get people to change their ways.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s rural poor hit hardest as groundwater vanishes in long drought

For many Californians, the state’s long drought has meant small inconveniences such as shorter showers and restrictions on watering lawns. But in two rural valleys, the Coachella southeast of Los Angeles and the San Joaquin to the north, farmworkers and other poor residents are feeling its impact in a far more serious and personal way.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Highlights: Californians paying more for water in drought

Some California residents are finding themselves in an ironic bind where they have to pay more while using less water in the drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California water rates rise as cities lose money in drought

Saving water doesn’t always mean saving money in parched California. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought drives greater household use of gray water

Strands of silver hair fell into Annie Costanzo’s face as she wielded a sledgehammer against the brick walkway in her backyard. Plumes of dust and debris filled the air, and reddish-pink shards scattered in the wake of the 64-year-old sculptor’s latest water conservation project.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Baja California’s first desalination plant to open in 2017 in Ensenada

Far from the Colorado River, Baja California’s coastal regions are increasingly looking to alternative sources of supply — and desalination has become a favored option.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To encourage Californians to conserve, a tweak in wording can help

Officials at the state’s Save Our Water conservation program recently tweaked their “brown is the new green” message, advising instead that residents let their lawns “fade to gold.”

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Dead trees and dread: State’s worst wildfire peril east of Fresno

Californians trembled two years ago as 200-foot flames from the Rim fire sent up pyrocumulus clouds visible 100 miles away from the central Sierra Nevada. Burning from August to October, it left a charred footprint nearly the size of Los Angeles — a reminder that the state had just passed through two dry winters.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

In California’s drought, canal now flowing backward

The drought has become so severe that water is beginning to flow backward along a major artery in California’s increasingly distressed water delivery system.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians shoot past Gov. Jerry’s Brown’s water conservation targets

Californians in May shot past Gov. Jerry Brown’s water conservation targets in response to the drought emergency — a profound shift in behavior for a state that until recently prized its hot tubs, lush landscaping and spotless cars.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: In drying Colorado River Basin, Indian tribes are water dealmakers

Mired in drought and torched by one of the hottest years ever measured, the seven states of the Colorado River Basin are acutely aware of how a desert can bully water supplies. They are not alone.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

North Coast Sen. McGuire: Drought and pot farms cause ‘severe’ crisis for fisheries

A Mendocino County lawman and a former marijuana grower defended small-scale cannabis cultivation Wednesday at a legislative hearing on the impact of the drought and marijuana on North Coast fisheries.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Californians getting drought message: Water usage plunges

California residents cut their water use by nearly 29 percent in May compared with the same month in 2013, the steepest reduction since officials began calling for people to conserve last year, according to figures the state released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

‘Unbelievable’: Emergency plan could make canal flow backward

Ever since its construction in 1951, the whole point of the Delta-Mendota Canal has been to ship Northern California water to farmers south of the Delta.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California: Record water savings shows big cuts possible

Water use in drought-stricken California plunged by record levels in May, and Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration cited that as proof cities can hit steep summer conservation targets they have blasted as unfair.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Californians cut water use 29 percent in May

In a rare bit of encouraging news in a state gripped by drought, regulators reported Wednesday that urban Californians reduced their water consumption by 28.9 percent in May from the same month two years ago.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California bill could allow tax on water wasters in drought (with audio)

A bill authored by Democratic Senator Bob Wieckowski would allow water districts to tax excessive water users up to 300-percent of the purchase price.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

On the depleted Kern River, rafting companies look to ride out the drought

Dismal snowpack levels in the southern Sierra Nevada have forced rafting companies up and down the 165-mile Kern River to make tough business decisions this year. 

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Congressman seeks to end California water wars with wastewater recycling, desalination

Northern California Rep. Jared Huffman came to Southern California to push his $1.4 billion drought bill and find some common ground in what he called the state’s water wars being waged in the halls of Sacramento and Washington.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water-independent Riverside fights 28% reduction order

The city sued the state this month after it learned it would be rejected for inclusion in a special reduction tier that allows suppliers to reduce water use by just 4% if they do not import water and have at least a four-year supply.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought trips up real estate development backed by CalPERS

It looked like the perfect real estate investment, a sparkling suburban development that would provide thousands of weary Bay Area refugees with a more affordable place to live.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought leads to significant drop in Sacramento Valley breeding waterfowl

Breeding waterfowl populations have suffered a 19 percent drop in the Sacramento Valley this year and a steeper decline statewide due to the drought and poor habitat conditions, according to the latest annual survey released by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Agriculture irrigation transforming farming

Madera County farmer Tom Rogers thought he knew a lot about how to irrigate his family’s 175-acre almond ranch. But several droughts, including the current four-year dry spell, made him reconsider his approach on how to get the most out of his ever-shrinking water supply.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

New round of big state water cuts to hit San Francisco

State water officials not only told more Central Valley farmers Friday that they need to stop drawing water from low-flowing rivers and creeks — but they tossed the city of San Francisco onto the list as well.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: In California’s Central Valley, dry wells multiply in the summer heat

Some wells gurgle and hiss before they die. Others expire with a puff of sand. Either way, the result is the same: no more running water. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Lawsuits over California water rights are a fight a century in the making

The lawsuits hit the courts within days of the state mailing notices to some Central Valley irrigation districts: They were to stop diverting from rivers and streams because there wasn’t enough water to go around. 

Aquafornia news Education Week

In drought’s firm grip, California schools try to cope

With Gov. Jerry Brown imposing new mandatory water reductions to respond to the statewide emergency, school districts are grappling with how to adhere to those requirements while continuing to meet the needs of students and communities. … Some wells serving schools are drying up.

Commands