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 The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Even in a drought, selling some water makes sense

In 2000, most of the Sacramento region’s water agencies and environmental groups came together in the historic Water Forum Agreement that established a framework to provide a reliable water supply through 2030 and to preserve environmental resources of the lower American River. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Poll: Large majority of Californians support water restrictions amid drought

Nearly two-thirds of Californians support mandatory water restrictions ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown amid the state’s historic drought, though many fear it will be hard to cut back and think farmers can do more to conserve, according to a new Field Poll.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Editorial: Oil waste doesn’t belong in California’s water supply

It’s time to stop temporizing about a bureaucratic foul-up that threatens underwater water supplies across a swath of California’s oil fields. … In a drought-damaged state, the situation is mind boggling.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds project Lake Mead below drought trigger point in 2017

Federal water managers have released a report projecting that Lake Mead’s water levels will fall below a point in January 2017 that would force supply cuts to Arizona and Nevada.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Homeowners face dizzying new choices to fund energy, water improvements

Sonoma County homeowners seeking to add a solar energy system, replace that old furnace or install artificial turf soon will have an array of options to fund the improvements.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Healdsburg looks to expand use of recycled wastewater

The persistent drought has put a new emphasis on using more recycled water for irrigation, a practice that has long been allowed for some lawns, vineyards, golf courses and parks in Sonoma County, but isn’t spreading fast enough for officials in one city.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard

Blog: What a load of…drought relief?

In addition to calling for an overall 25 percent reduction in urban water use, Governor [Jerry] Brown also announced plans for a statewide incentive program to replace appliances like inefficient clothes washers. While people commonly think of toilets and faucets (and even showers) as the greatest users of water indoors, older top-loading clothes washers—found in more than 4 million homes in California—are water guzzlers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Glendale considers lifting ban on artificial turf

Several years ago, Glendale restricted fake grass to residential backyards, where they were out of sight from the street. … But with the drought entering its fourth year, the city is considered lifting the ban as a way to conserve water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

USDA: Forest health can improve water supply (with audio)

USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie says controlled burns and forest thinning are imperative as California deals with drought and an increased threat of wildfires.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Uncharted territory: Delta farmers fear losing water supply

At the bottom of California’s Central Valley bathtub, Delta farmers always have drawn from the rivers and sloughs with confidence. … But now, in the fourth year of this drought, state regulators may cut off even riparian water users later this summer. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Recycled water not permitted for Candlestick demolition

Drought-shaming reached a new peak Friday when reports that the company working to tear down San Francisco’s Candlestick Park was using drinking water to control dust halted the demolition.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Q&A on survival of Delta smelt — on air and off air

Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse recently spoke with [UC Davis fish biologist Peter] Moyle about the survival of the much politicized tiny fish, a federally designated “threatened” species with protections that at times have curbed the flow of water to many cities and farms. The interview resulted in only 10 seconds of air time. However, the reporter and biologist later agreed to post on California WaterBlog this more insightful series of questions and answers they had drafted in preparation for the interview.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southland saying goodbye to lawns

When Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a 25% cut in urban water use, he declared war on the California lawn.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles getting no Owens Valley runoff for first time since 1913

For the first time since 1913 — when Department of Water and Power chief architect William Mulholland opened the waterway with the words, “There it is. Take it!” — the 233-mile Los Angeles Aqueduct has stopped carrying Owens Valley runoff to Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Orange County Water District eyes deal with planned desalination plant

Faced with the continuing drought, Orange County water officials are looking into the possibility of purchasing water from a proposed Huntington Beach ocean desalination plant.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water officials deliver sobering facts on depleted wells

Just a few months ago, the state’s top water officials said they had reason for optimism.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Way of life withers in California’s parched citrus belt

People don’t easily forget the moment the water dies. … In this corner of the scorched Tulare Lake Basin, where lives and livelihoods depend on water that comes from the ground, a human crisis is accelerating amid California’s unrelenting drought.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: As California withers, federal water bill mired in secrecy

Five months into a new Congress, and deep into a lasting drought, California water legislation still stymies and splits the state’s lawmakers. Draft copies are tightly held, as if stamped Top Secret. 

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Brown’s arid California, thanks partly to his father

When Edmund G. Brown Sr. was governor of California, people were moving in at a pace of 1,000 a day. … He was the boom-boom governor for a boom-boom time: championing highways, universities and, most consequential, a sprawling water network to feed the explosion of agriculture and development in the dry reaches of central and Southern California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

For California salmon, summer of truck rides, bucket lifts

What do you do when you have 30 million young salmon ready for their big journeys downstream, but drought and development have dried your riverbeds to sauna rocks? In California this year, you give the fish a ride.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

New water rules for Cal Water customers

How will newly-mandated conservation rules work for customers of California Water Service Company?

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño conditions strengthening, but don’t break out the galoshes yet

It was the big tease of 2014. Scientists reported that El Niño conditions were shaping up in the Pacific Ocean, potentially bringing winter rains that could end California’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Colorado’s rain isn’t helping Southwest reservoirs

The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday a series of recent storms have dropped up to four times the normal weekly rainfall in some areas of the West. However, three-quarters of the region remains in a long-term drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Emergency drought response part of Brown’s budget revisions (with audio)

The bulk of the funding, $1.7 billion, would go to water recycling and sewer projects and help clean up groundwater and drinking water.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Despite drought, demo crews douse Candlestick Park rubble with drinking water

California’s historic drought is so bad people are banned from even hosing dirt off their front steps, but as iconic Candlestick Park is being demolished, thousands of gallons an hour of drinking water — fresh from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir — are being dumped on the rubble to hold down dust.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Proposed state budget allocates $2.2 billion for drought response

As Californians prepare to confront the coming hot, dry summer months, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed more than $2 billion in additional drought funding Thursday as part of his revised state budget.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Bottled water companies under fire amid California’s drought

Environmental groups have long taken aim at bottled water companies for contributing to the glut of plastic bottles that clog landfills, streams and waterways. Now, amid California’s drought, they’re looking at the water itself.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought relief, at last? New signs point to strengthening El Niño

Some experts have believed that the first signs of California’s drought easing could emerge thousands of miles away in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Reclamation, water users reach agreement to provide water to Friant Division

The Bureau of Reclamation and water users in California’s Central Valley have forged an agreement that will bring some much-needed Central Valley Project water supplies to farmers in the CVP’s Friant Division this summer. … Weeks of negotiations involving nearly all Friant Division contractors, the Exchange Contractors, Westlands Water District, Reclamation and other agencies paid off in an agreement reached May 7.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California agency misses deadline on reporting oil-industry water use

The state’s oil and gas agency has missed the deadline for reporting on the use of water by oil producers in California, saying that the large volume of information required could not be processed in time.

Aquafornia news KQED News

Water flows freely in drought-resistant farm towns of Southern California — for now

In a wide field along a narrow two-lane road in the town of El Centro, the grass is tall and rusty brown. … It’s a lush wheat field, in tiptop health, today getting harvested by a guy riding one of those big green combines.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California pool construction soars during drought (with audio)

Californians built more backyard swimming pools last year than in any year since the peak of the housing boom. … All this - during one of the worst droughts in California history.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

California seeking help from landowners to save coho salmon

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is hoping to foster partnerships with Sonoma County landowners in four critical coho salmon spawning watersheds to help juvenile fish survive a fourth year of drought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Blog: Dead orchards may go up in smoke

The San Joaquin Valley’s tainted air might be getting an extra dose of soot and ozone-forming gases this spring as growers wrestle with the woody waste from dead citrus orchards. … It’s more drought expense and woe in this broad farm belt where thousands of growers for the second straight year have lost river irrigation water for an area six times the footprint of Los Angeles.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Despite cutbacks, Sacramento Valley ponders big water sale in drought

Even as they cope with their own cutbacks, several Sacramento Valley water agencies are contemplating major water sales to huge farming interests south of the Delta. … While the dollars are tempting, area officials say water sales are also a means of helping their fellow Californians.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Before we can address the California drought, we need a geography lesson

Many of us could use a refresher course in California geography as we debate how to manage the drought and prepare for an uncertain water future. For starters, calling the hardest-hit farm region the Central Valley is much too simplistic.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Blog: For Delta smelt, eight is not enough

After locating just one Delta smelt in extensive surveys last month, officials apparently found eight this month, clustered in the area of the Sacramento Deep Water Channel.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta receives temporary dam

California water managers, reacting to the state’s increasingly dire four-year-old drought, have taken an uncommon step to ensure the quality of the fresh water flowing through California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary that supplies drinking water to southern California communities and irrigation water to Central Valley farmers.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California golf courses tee up water-saving measures

Pressed by the four-year dry spell and state-mandated water cuts, some of the finest courses in California are taking such steps as tearing out the grass in places where it won’t affect the game, planting drought-resistant vegetation, letting the turf turn brown in spots and installing smart watering systems.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought may mean the end for some native fish (with audio)

The Delta smelt, the small fish that is often at the center of California’s water wars, is likely headed toward extinction.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers receive grim view of drought (with audio)

The picture of the drought is bleak. Water managers told lawmakers almost 2,000 wells are dry. They’ve observed groundwater levels drop by more than two feet in over 40 percent of measured wells this spring.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California urban water cuts are matter of ‘self-interest,’ state says

Facing resistance to sweeping mandatory restrictions approved last week for urban water districts, California water board Chair Felicia Marcus defended the cuts as a matter of “self-interest” at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Few seem to mourn street medians’ slow death

Under sweeping drought rules adopted last week, cities and towns are now barred from using drinking water on the ornamental turf on medians, portending a slow death for these ribbons of green.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Lake Oroville entry, camping fees cut in response to drought-related drop in attendance

Facing a sharp drop in attendance after four years of drought, California State Parks is cutting parking and camping fees at Lake Oroville. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought update: Dry wells, debate over water cutbacks

With Californians increasing efforts to deal with the drought, lawmakers got an update Tuesday on exactly how bad things are and heard little to cheer them.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

Colorado River water shortage in 2016 more likely

California’s drought emergency woes have worsened, with a shortage on the Colorado River next year becoming increasingly likely. Odds of a shortage rose from 33 percent to 50 percent from April 1 to May 1, Metropolitan Water District, Southern California’s largest water wholesaler, said Monday.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Feds need to help with California drought

The Obama administration and Interior Department officials have been absent as Californians grapple with the drought. They seem content to plan and promote surface-water projects that won’t contribute a drop of water for 20 to 25 years and will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose to face mandatory water rationing with monthly allotments

The water rationing plan, unveiled late Monday by the San Jose Water Company, will make San Jose the largest city in California so far to embrace strict rationing as the drought drags into its fourth year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Crystal Geyser to tap Siskiyou County groundwater

A private water bottling company will soon be sucking up thousands of gallons a day from an aquifer that feeds the Sacramento River, the primary source of drinking water for millions of thirsty Californians struggling to cope with a four-year drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Celebrities are now targets of California #DroughtShaming (with video)

As California enters its fourth year of drought, #DroughtShaming has become a big thing.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Regional tensions linger in California’s drought

The drought shaming started at the top last month, when Gov. Jerry Brown, announcing water restrictions from a barren meadow in the Sierra Nevada, mocked “the idea of your nice little green grass getting lots of water every day.”

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought, money issues delay opening of Tahoe Keys Marina (with audio)

The Tahoe Keys Marina in South Lake Tahoe would normally be open by now. But because of the drought, it’s expected that the marina won’t open until mid-June.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Drought keeps some Orange County splash pads dry

Splash pads have exploded in popularity across Orange County, springing up inside parks and outdoor shopping centers.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water Commission: Everyone scrambling to deal with drought’s blows

Drought makes everyone scramble, including homeowners, farmers and county water leaders.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

New state rule could impact how Marin would build desal plant

With drought impacts in full effect, some water agencies are looking at desalination as way to improve water supplies. Now the state Water Resources Control Board has passed an amendment to its codes requiring new or expanded seawater desalination plants to use the best available technology to protect all forms of marine life.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Green waste: Another drought casualty

“Less watering — less growth,” Public Utilities Director Thomas Esqueda says. The result could be a blow to City Hall’s efforts to meet state guidelines for solid-waste recycling and landfill deliveries. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento water agencies plan gentle approach on drought cutbacks

The decision is final, the deadline is non-negotiable, and the targets for conserving water are the most stringent in California.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California pool, hot tub filling bans have industries steaming

It’s hard to imagine a California summer without long days lounging by the pool. But as unprecedented drought sears the state, the backyard swimming pool has become a target for cities desperate to save water.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Sewer water put Tri-Valley on the map

In the fourth year of drought, the most popular place these days appears to be in line to fill up on free sewer water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento wants to grow; will drought say no?

Blessed by its perch at the confluence of two major rivers, the Sacramento region has grown for generations in sprawling style, confident that water would be there in ample supply. Even now, amid a historic drought that has prompted deep, state-mandated water cuts for urban users, capital area leaders show no sign of backing off their plans for another major growth surge.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California water cuts ignore past changes by some cities

In California’s second-largest city, memories are still fresh of a devastating drought 25 years ago that saw the area’s water supplies slashed by about a third.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

East Bay residents to get steady diet of foul water

The acrid tap water that flowed for several days last month into thousands of East Bay homes, prompting a flurry of complaints about its bad taste and smell, will be making an extended comeback starting next week — perhaps through the year, or longer.

Aquafornia news The Seattle Times

Starbucks shifting Ethos water source from drought-stricken California

Starbucks says it has started to phase out production of its Ethos brand water in drought-stricken California …

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Taste, smell of water is about to change for EBMUD customers

The high-quality taste of drinking water for 1.3 million East Bay residents is going to change — and possibly worsen for the rest of the drought.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

New drought rules could impact local water revenues

Local water suppliers and cities could now face major cuts in revenue from water sales after the State Water Board approved a set of drought regulations this week that seek to achieve a 25 percent in water use throughout the state.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

City of San Diego pumps drinking water into lake

As the drought intensifies, the City of San Diego continues to pump tens of millions of gallons of drinking water into Chollas Lake for recreational fishing.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Want to save water? Kill the lawn, time your showers

Californians have been bombarded with pleas to save water during the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought inspires creative suggestions to address water shortage

Last month, after Gov. Jerry Brown ordered Californians to cut back their water use, a retired engineering professor in Carmel revived a decades-old proposal for easing the drought: icebergs. … The suggestion was dutifully filed away in a database of drought-relief ideas sent from around the state and nation, compiled since the beginning of last year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Building boom and drought collide on Catalina Island

Signs of drought and anxiety are everywhere in this quaint harbor town.

Aquafornia news Sacramento Business Journal

Builders turn to ‘greywater’ at construction sites

New mandates to cut water use already are being felt at construction sites. But many people may not notice.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Brown defends Delta tunnels project, agriculture industry (with audio)

California Gov. Jerry Brown says opponents of his Delta water tunnel proposal should just “shut up.” He spoke to the Association of California Water Agencies in Sacramento Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Water slide gets boost from supporters

A permit application for the slide said the inflatable requires 16,000 gallons of water. … But Ryan Johnson, Slide the City owner for events in Northern California, said it’s possible the slide that comes to Redding may only need to use 10,000 gallons of water, which would be trucked in from either Idaho or Oregon.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Brown lawns loom this summer in California

It was with more hope than accuracy that the founder of this Orange County city picked the name Garden Grove in 1874 for what was little more than an open plain under the Southern California sun.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State sets environmental rules for desalinating water

California adopted new rules Wednesday to help cities and water agencies figure out the best way to siphon water from the sea and turn it into drinking water without killing fish.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Meeting water-saving goals will be ‘huge lift for everyone,’ regulator says

With hot summer months around the corner and new conservation rules taking effect, Gov. Jerry Brown and other officials Wednesday called on Californians again to radically cut their water use in cities and towns to cope with the drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

How to drought-proof your lawn (with audio)

If you’re watering your lawn at all, there’s a good chance you’re watering it too much. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Forest Service chief expects busy firefighting season

The head of the U.S. Forest Service warned Tuesday of an “above average” fire season that could cost the agency more than $1 billion and require shifting funds from programs designed to prevent wildfires.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

It’s final: New rules mandate water savings

After 10 hours of debate and testimony, state regulators Tuesday approved emergency rules to meet drastic conservation measures ordered by the governor.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought kills 12 million trees in California’s national forests

Years of extremely dry conditions are taking a heavy toll on forest lands across California and heightening the fire risk as summer approaches.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Press Club focuses on water (with video)

California’s drought has gone on long enough that many of the state’s reporters­—whether or not they cover the environment—have found they need to learn more about how water is managed in the state. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Things to know about new water rules in California drought

Brown lawns, dusty cars and idle sprinklers loom this summer under Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to reduce urban water use by 25 percent to get through the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Fracking — Jerry Brown’s environmental blind spot

Gov. Jerry Brown may prove to be the greenest government official in American history — emphasis on “may.” … But Brown continues to support fracking in the state’s oil patch, and oil production increases. … And even worse, fracking in a time of drought is a remarkable obscenity.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Emergency 25% cut in California cities’ water use approved

State data released Tuesday painted a stark portrait of the uphill struggle Californians face in achieving a mandated 25% reduction in urban water use, with one official joking grimly that dealing with severe drought was similar to grappling with the five stages of grief.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County supervisors want to cut water for fish

Fresno County supervisors renewed their commitment to getting more water for the Valley by approving a more strongly worded drought resolution they expect other Valley counties will support. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California needs to turn down the tap, state OKs historic cuts

Californians have a lot of work to do when it comes to water conservation.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: State water board passes first mandatory urban water limits in state history

Bringing California’s historic drought directly to every home and business in the state, the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday imposed the first mandatory urban water conservation rules in state history.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California water regulators approve massive cutback orders

California regulators unanimously adopted emergency drought regulations Tuesday that for the first time will require tens of millions of Californians and tens of thousands of businesses to sharply reduce water use, a response to the state’s unprecedented and deepening drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Ag Secretary Vilsack announces $235 million for conservation

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday announced up to $235 million in funding for conservation projects to protect water quality and combat the drought that is ravaging parts of the West.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Cal Fire says fire conditions in 2015 worst on record

Cal Fire says four years of drought and the timing of the rains this spring have combined to make 2015 the worst fire conditions on record. About a dozen fire chiefs kicked off Wildfire Awareness Week in Pollock Pines on Monday.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Coachella Valley residents worry about water cutbacks

Last month, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Mission Springs Water District, which serves Desert Hot Springs, Whitewater and several unincorporated Riverside County communities, to cut its water usage by 32 percent. … Mission Springs has appealed the order, arguing that it doesn’t account for the significant cuts its users have made in the past few years.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Mapping the drought: How much water must your community save?

California water officials are expected to sign off on first-ever water cuts this week.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Not if, but when: Lake Tahoe fire season could be busy amid drought

Since the area’s drought-aided dry conditions are prime for an active wildfire season, officials are touting preventive measures to stop fires before they start.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Watering bans, conservation mandates on tap for regulators

Residents and businesses across California would be forced to slash their water use under unprecedented drought restrictions regulators will take up Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought’s extremes tallied at record-low Lake Mead

The Colorado River system directs water to states throughout the region and into Mexico, but years of drought have raised concerns about its sustainability.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Plans to make State Water Project flow backward shelved for this year

An emergency $6.7 million plan to make the State Water Project’s California Aqueduct flow backward for roughly 100 miles to bring water from the Bakersfield area to Silicon Valley has been shelved for this year.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Smart water meters help users, agencies gauge usage

For Californians with traditional water meters, conservation is more or less a guessing game as they await their monthly bill detailing usage. But some utilities have done away with the guesswork by installing smart meters, which provide customers with real-time consumption data.

Aquafornia news Mono Lake Committee The Mono-logue

Blog: 2015 will be the driest year on record, by far

Based on precipitation, snowpack, and recent runoff, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) has run its forecasting equations and issued its runoff forecast: 19% of average runoff is expected for April–September, and 25% over the next year—assuming median precipitation falls. 2015 April–September runoff is not only going to be less than 1977, the driest year on record—it is expected to be less than half of 1977’s runoff.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Coachella Valley golf courses pumping groundwater must cut use by 25%

Golf courses in the Coachella Valley and elsewhere that rely on private wells will have to reduce water use by 25% or limit watering to twice a week as part of the governor’s mandate for cutbacks. But the courses will not have to report their water usage, meaning compliance is largely on the honor system.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Brown’s water fine proposal questioned (with audio)

California Gov. Jerry Brown wants to give local water agencies new authority to fine water wasters during the drought. That’s raising some concerns about possible government overreach.

Aquafornia news Bloomberg News

Commentary: California’s doomsday water cycle

Even as [Gov. Jerry] Brown rations water for urban lawns, computer manufacturing and toilets, California continues to dedicate enormous amounts of water to producing energy. This year, 1.3 billion gallons of water are being injected into oil fields to extract heavy crude — 320 gallons for every barrel of oil pumped. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Officials: Stockton water safe to drink despite water-quality violation

Chalk it up as yet another consequence of the drought. The Stockton East Water District, which sells drinking water to Stockton, experienced a rare water-quality violation at its treatment plant east of town.

Aquafornia news U-T San Diego

Dams & reservoirs: The ‘dinosaurs’ of California water storage?

With dead almond trees propped on the Capitol steps and school children clutching signs that read “We need water. Build storage now!”, advocates for new dams and reservoirs in California offered a striking set of visuals in Sacramento last week.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: House passes water bill, but drought solutions still under debate

The $35 billion bill includes money for the California status quo, ranging from Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta restoration to operations of the sprawling Central Valley Project. It also includes drought-related language, with directives to speed completion of water storage project studies.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento water coalition works to avoid feared ‘dead pool’ at Folsom Dam

It happened last February, in year three of what state officials are now calling California’s millennial drought. … The [Folsom] lake was within months of becoming a “dead pool.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dozens of agencies seek to alter reports on how much water residents used

When California’s State Water Resources Control Board announced last month that it was basing its orders for mandatory water cutbacks on each community’s per capita water use, it elevated a somewhat obscure figure into the spotlight: residential gallons of water used per person per day.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Big fines might be next phase of California drought battle

Is California about to get tough on water wasters?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Senate Democrats prod Gov. Jerry Brown for more drought spending

Democrats in the state Senate want Gov. Jerry Brown to take swifter action to battle California’s drought, such as spending relief funds faster and prodding farmers to use water more efficiently.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Yosemite’s Half Dome opens three weeks early because of California’s drought

Yosemite National Park will allow hikers up its iconic Half Dome trail this weekend — three-weeks ahead of the trail’s traditional opening — because of California’s drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid drought, the West is no place for a lawn, as Nevada has learned

When Gov. Jerry Brown ordered that California rip up 50 million square feet of lawns to conserve water amid the West’s deadening drought, the Golden State gasped. Meanwhile, the Silver State yawned.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Alaska bulk water shipments to California proposed

An entrepreneur attempting to pioneer the shipment of large volumes of water from an Alaskan town to thirsty global markets claims his company is a step closer after signing a contract to deliver 10 million gallons per month to a buyer in dry California.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

With little water, Lake Tahoe wildflowers are off to an early start

The peak of the Lake Tahoe wildflower season is typically somewhere around the middle of July, but, with remaining snow melting away and water in scarce supply, area blooms are off to an early start and may not last long.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

$10,000 fines a potent PR tool against water waste

Nobody knows how many water wasters there are in California. And it’s far from clear that converting them to zealous conservationists would make a major dent in the drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New Brown drought proposals: larger penalties, faster environmental reviews (with audio)

If you’re caught wasting water in California, the most you can be fined right now is $500 a day. Governor Jerry Brown wants to raise the maximum penalty 20 times that amount – to $10,000 per water violation.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water agencies react to Brown drought legislation and conservation requirements (with audio)

Felicia Marcus, chair of the the State Water Resources Control Board, says the Governor’s proposed legislation would give all water agencies consistent standards for enforcement.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California governor seeks fine for water wasters

California businesses and residents that waste the most water as the state copes with a drought should face $10,000 fines, Gov. Jerry Brown said, as his administration rejected calls from cities to relax its mandatory water conservation targets.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

East Bay utility district seeks to buy Sacramento Valley water

On Tuesday, the board of the East Bay Municipal Utility District, or EBMUD, unanimously authorized district staff to negotiate the purchase of up to 21,000 acre-feet of Sacramento River water from the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, Sycamore Mutual Water Co. and Reclamation District 1004 outside of Colusa.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

‘That’s a serious number’: Governor proposes water-wasting fines up to $10,000

Water wasters could face fines as high as $10,000 if the Legislature acts on Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal Tuesday to increase penalties.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Tahoe-Truckee districts adopt water conservation measures

The North Tahoe-Truckee region’s three major water providers recently committed to follow state-mandated regulations as the drought continues to dry up the West.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento-area communities get little reprieve under state’s new water cuts proposal

A revised draft of water conservation regulations released Tuesday night by the State Water Resources Control Board offered little reprieve to Sacramento-area communities that had pushed back against mandated cutbacks of up to 36 percent.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Jobs per drop irrigating California crops

The amount of water applied to crops also translates into dollars and jobs — the main reasons for agriculture’s existence in California. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Latest revision to proposed drought regs would ease cuts for some

Proposed drought regulations released Tuesday would reduce the amount of water cuts some local agencies would have to make to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s order to slash statewide water use 25%.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

State launches push to accelerate drought innovation

The Brown administration’s effort to speed innovation to address the state’s endemic droughts was launched to little fanfare Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Lake Mead water level falls to a landmark low, and is likely to get worse

For California, Arizona and Nevada, which draw water from [Lake] Mead, a grim situation is about to get worse: Officials estimate that Mead will drop to the unprecedented low elevation of 1,073 feet as the hottest summer months bear down, with less snowpack in the Rocky Mountains to recharge the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: Would an open water market improve things?

Almonds take too much water. Wait, alfalfa is the bad guy.  What about those water hogging geeks in Silicon Valley? No, no, no — that “evil” fracking is to blame.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Water restrictions adopted in Desert Hot Springs

The Mission Springs Water District adopted new water restrictions on Monday, limiting the days and times when people in Desert Hot Springs will be allowed to water outdoors.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California drought water-reduction mandates set for revision

State water regulators are set to release on Tuesday an updated plan for conservation during the drought after their previous water-use reduction targets have come under fire from some local water departments.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Big water buys to ease East Bay drought shortages

With one emergency water supply already flowing in, the East Bay’s largest water district plans to buy three others to bolster its drought defenses. The East Bay Municipal Utility District board on Tuesday will consider authorizing the purchase of up to 21,000 acre feet of water from three Northern California suppliers with water to spare. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Hundreds of water permits expired in national forests

The permit that the bottled water company Nestle is using to pipe water out of a national forest lists an expiration date of 1988, and it’s just one of hundreds of permits that the U.S. Forest Service has allowed to fall out-of-date in California. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Desalination plants aren’t a good solution for California drought

As surely as the hot, dry Santa Ana winds bring blue skies to the coast and wildfires to the hills, severe California droughts bring calls to build desalination plants up and down the seashore.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Reaching high conservation rate may be difficult for Sacramento area (with audio)

Proposed regulations from the State Water Resources Control Board would require more than a dozen local water suppliers to conserve 32-percent or more. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Shorter showers? Nine more ways the state has to change its water ways

Heading into the fourth summer of drought, water agencies are looking for ways to get Californians to conserve at home. … Opinion asked nine water experts what needs to change about how California handles its water.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Commentary: Almond joy? Not out on Horseshoe Road

From their homes along Horseshoe Road east of Oakdale, residents can’t help but notice the prominent mast of a well-drilling rig atop the hill to the west. … Like so many other wells in the area, it will pump water from deep in the ground to feed orchards.

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

South Tahoe Public Utilities District faces steep water reduction

South Tahoe Public Utilities District’s (STPUD) hope to have mandatory water reductions reduced drowned on April 17 when the State Water Resources Control Board released revised numbers of California’s water districts. 

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

What Nevada has done to conserve water may serve as example for California

With more than 38 million people, a multibillion-dollar agricultural industry and a complex water system that relies on multiple sources, including the Colorado River, California’s problems are of a different magnitude than those Southern Nevada faced. But the steps taken here offer a road map to making the most out of every drop of water.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Debate over dry farming divides Wine Country

For some, the practice of dry farming — where natural rainfall, not irrigation, is used exclusively to produce a crop — is rooted in history. Yet, it is relevant to modern times as Napa wines that won the historic 1976 Paris tastings were all dry farmed.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought frames economic divide of Californians

The fierce drought that is gripping the West — and the imminent prospect of rationing and steep water price increases in California — is sharpening the deep economic divide in this state, illustrating parallel worlds in which wealthy communities guzzle water as poorer neighbors conserve by necessity.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

Could Israel’s water technology ease drought conditions in California? (with audio & video)

Could the technology used in Israel that successfully turned the country’s water shortage into a surplus be implemented in California to ease the state’s drought? KQED Public Media reporter Daniel Potter joins Alison Stewart via Skype from San Francisco to discuss.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Waive CEQA to use recycled water to alleviate drought

Battles have also commenced over solutions, with proposals for desalination plants, tunnels and new storage projects competing for priority. Each merits exploration, but none can be implemented quickly enough to address our crisis. We can do better by focusing on strategies within our grasp, starting with conservation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Critics take aim at Nestlé bottled water plant in Sacramento

As Californians face deepening cuts in water usage because of the drought, critics are raising concerns about tens of millions of gallons of Sacramento municipal water being tapped by a local plant that bottles and resells it at a profit.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought tests strength of Gold Rush-era water rights

Earlier this year, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered more than 1,000 property owners to prove their water rights. This month, the board warned claim-holders to expect curtailments of their ability to divert water from rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California drought puts old features in new perspective

The drying power of a four-year drought is steadily shifting day-to-day expectations, challenging traditional norms, breaking apart business and social conventions, and compelling people in Santa Barbara and across California to confront new ecological conditions so powerful that behaviors thought completely normal and acceptable are now starting to be viewed much differently.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

In drought-stricken California, firefighters transport water to battle wildfires (with audio)

The California drought is not only making fire season longer and more dangerous, it’s making fires harder to fight. Low water levels mean there may not be enough natural supply to fight fires.

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Water partnership asks state to let Marin, Sonoma work together on drought

Water agencies in Marin and Sonoma want to join forces to battle the drought. The move is in response to new requirements being considered by the state Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Drought shakeup continues as Friant Water Authority general manager steps down

In the wake of zero water allocations again this year, Ronald D. Jacobsma has stepped down as general manager of the Friant Water Authority, representing 13 water districts on the San Joaquin Valley’s east side. Jacobsma’s separation from the authority follows the departure of eight water districts over differences with the board of directors. 

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

Amid low oxygen levels, Lake Tahoe trout relocation goes swimmingly

Anglers, many with Trout Unlimited, were catching with rod and reel in an effort with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to relocate the stranded fish to a more suitable habitat. … Tuesday marked the first time CDFW did a fish relocation effort at Fanny Bridge.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Exceptional’ drought expands in Sierra

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows that conditions worsened in the Sierra as California is in the midst of a fourth year of drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California Assembly acts to prohibit fines for brown lawns in droughts

Alarmed that some cities have fined residents for allowing their lawns to turn brown during the drought, the state Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit penalties for failing to water grass.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Environmental group sues to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

Spurned at the ballot box three years ago and facing an even more uphill battle now because of California’s historic drought, an environmental group has filed a lawsuit attempting to drain Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, a linchpin of the water supply for 2.6 million Bay Area residents from San Francisco to San Jose to southern Alameda County.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Oh, dry up — being a good Californian in bad times

A California court of appeal ruled that San Juan Capistrano can’t, under the state constitution, charge more for water than it costs the city to provide the water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles could require covers on residential swimming pools

Los Angeles water officials approved new watering restrictions Thursday that could be imposed if the city’s conservation efforts flag in the coming summer months.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California orders no water diversions despite legal rights

About 1,500 farms and individuals in the Central Valley were ordered Thursday to stop taking water from rivers and streams for irrigation, the latest move by state regulators to save water amid intensifying drought conditions. … About 100 farms along the Scott River watershed in rural Northern California were also ordered to stop diverting water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Pipeline advocate William Shatner holds senior water rights

William Shatner generated modest buzz when, in an interview with Yahoo’s David Pogue last week, he proposed a Kickstarter fund-raising campaign to build a $30 billion pipeline to bring water to drought-ravaged California.

Aquafornia news Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard (KMTG)

Blog: State Water Board orders immediate curtailment of water diversions on San Joaquin, Scott rivers

The State Water Resources Control Board (“State Board”) has just issued two water diversion curtailment orders that affect water diversions on the San Joaquin and Scott rivers.  The curtailment notices direct all post-1914 water right holders within the San Joaquin River watershed and junior priority class right holders in the Scott River watershed to cease surface water diversions until further notice.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

County, tribe seek promised dam water for Trinity

While the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation began releasing Lewiston Dam water into the Trinity River on Wednesday as part of an ongoing restoration project, Humboldt County and the Hoopa Valley Tribe are seeking for the agency to make another release later this year to prevent fish-kill conditions. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California government cut water usage 22 percent

With California ravaged by an epic drought, state-run facilities collectively cut water use 22 percent last year, according to government data released Wednesday, although some departments used far more than in 2013.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Beverly Hills OKs limit on watering lawns, backed by $1,000 fines

The Beverly Hills City Council has cracked down on water waste, agreeing to enact a slew of new rules aimed at slashing the city’s consumption amid an unrelenting drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Airbnb for water seeks to help farmers transfer surplus

SWIIM, which stands for Sustainable Water and Innovative Irrigation Management, seeks to streamline the water transfer process, selling its service to farmers and water districts. Already operating in Colorado, the startup is working with Western Growers, a trade group, to start pilot programs in Kern County, the Sacramento Valley, the Imperial Valley and Coachella Valley this year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

‘Water tech’ finally ready to rise amid California’s drought

In a tech-obsessed state that’s part desert, creating new technologies to save or clean water should be a no-brainer. … As water agencies scramble to make deep cuts after another dry winter, water tech may finally get its moment.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento-area water agencies call state drought program illegal

Representatives of the Placer County Water Agency, San Juan Water District, city of Roseville and Sacramento County Water Agency, in a joint letter, took exception to being lumped in with communities that don’t have strong water rights under California law and largely import their water from other regions.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Soquel Creek district retains status quo water restrictions

The decision, approved in a 3-2 vote, aligned with results of a recent [Soquel Creek Water] district phone survey of 300 customers, 90 percent of who said they were already doing everything they could to conserve water and who were less supportive of mandatory water rationing and penalties.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District farmers to pay more for less water

Farmers enjoying cheap water prices will pay more money for less water this year, the Oakdale Irrigation District board decided Tuesday. For the first time in 105 years, OID will restrict water amounts, and as they did last year, farmers will pay a $6.10-per-acre drought surcharge. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Salton Sea on backburner as California deals with drought

As the historic drought drags on and Californians turn their attention to using less water, the Salton Sea continues to shrink — as do the chances of finding near-term solutions for revitalizing the ailing lake.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

As drought persists, desalination could be California’s last resort

For nearly 25 years, the desal plant has sat unused. That’s about to change. As nearby beachgoers swam, sailed and paddle boarded on an overcast morning last week, Santa Barbara officials showed off those tanks and pumps, describing their plan to turn seawater into drinking water.

Aquafornia news Public Radio International

California faces the worst water emergency since the Dust Bowl, and it needs solutions fast (with audio)

“It’s the most significant ecological emergency in the United States since the Dust Bowl,” says Keith Schneider, senior editor of Circle of Blue, a news outlet that covers the global water crisis. … That’s why he suggests California look to Australia for some answers.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local suppliers may get water cut easement in new drought regulations

After hearing concerns from a coalition of local water suppliers and policy makers on the newest set of drought regulations, the State Water Resources Control Board included a clause within its draft rules that would ease up water mandates for areas with prolonged, ample water supplies.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

The drought not likely to cause higher grocery bills (with audio)

California farmers are making choices to insulate consumers from the drought.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: State, federal agencies and Sacramento River Settlement Contractors agree on framework for water operations in fourth year of drought

Federal and state agencies along with Sacramento River Settlement Contractors (SRSCs) agreed this week on an integrated framework of actions for Central Valley Project/State Water Project operations for mid-April through November. The actions will flexibly manage and operate the system to serve multiple beneficial purposes that include water for cities and rural communities, farms, fish and wildlife and their habitats in the Sacramento Valley. The suite of actions will also help provide water for areas of the state that are in dire need of additional water supplies.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

San Diego County farmers pleased at changes in water cutback rules

After a vigorous effort to alert the state water board about what they saw as the unfairness of proposed drought rules, San Diego County farmers were pleased at how the rules were modified.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Dry, warm conditions keep California’s national forests parched

California’s dwindling snowpack and warmer temperatures continue to increase the risk of fires in already parched national forests.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Editorial: Drought provides opportunity for Los Angeles to get gray water right

Not just during drought but even in times of normal precipitation, there is something absurd about taking precious drinking water — imported at great cost from environmentally fragile areas hundreds of miles away, pumped over the mountains using enormous amounts of energy, filtered, treated and tested so as to be safe for human consumption — and spraying it on lawns and flowers.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Most Sacramento communities get even bigger water cuts under revised mandates

The revised conservation mandates unveiled by state water regulators Saturday would require most Sacramento-area communities to make even bigger cuts in water use than originally proposed, disappointing area leaders who argue the state should take into account the region’s hot weather and large lot sizes.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Oroville hit hard by new water conservation targets

New water conservation targets released by the state Saturday hit Oroville hard, while other north state water agencies saw limited changes.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

News worsens for rare Delta fish

The survey earlier this month is the bleakest showing yet for the smelt, an imperiled finger-long fish whose poor health reflects on conditions in the Delta as a whole as the drought drags on.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought relief legislation starts slowly in Washington (with audio)

Drought relief legislation this year has gotten off to a slow start on Capitol Hill — unlike last year, when bills were floated in both the House and the Senate.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette-Journal

Drought cuts flow from Boca, Truckee River to drop

In a further sign of a drought of historic intensity, flow from a diminished Boca Reservoir into the Truckee River halted Thursday. … The Truckee River Basin’s snowpack Thursday was measured at 15 percent of normal for this time of year. The Carson River Basin’s was at 1 percent.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

What you need to know about the state’s proposed water restrictions

The state water board has modified its proposed conservation regulations  in an attempt to incorporate feedback from urban water suppliers, interest groups and members of the public who had roundly criticized its framework.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Governor urges unity in drought fight during visit to Sonoma County’s Iron Horse Vineyards

Gov. Jerry Brown used an Earth Day celebration at Sonoma County’s Iron Horse Vineyards on Sunday to applaud California’s environmental leadership and reassure residents the state will survive its historic four-year drought by tapping its reservoirs of innovation and creativity.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water saving mandate shrinks cuts for some cities

In an acknowledgment that some areas have done a better job of conserving water during California’s severe, and worsening drought, state water officials on Saturday rolled out a revised water-reduction plan that eases required cutbacks for some communities while increasing mandatory targets for others.

Aquafornia news NPR

As Lake Mead levels drop, the West braces for bigger drought impact (with audio)

The historic four-year drought in California has been grabbing the headlines lately, but there’s a much bigger problem facing the West: the now 14-year drought gripping the Colorado River basin.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Water managers announce mandatory cuts

Dead lawns and dirty cars may be the future for California under mandatory water reductions of up to 36 percent rolled out Saturday by state water officials.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: State water board issues revised drought regulations for Californians

In response to numerous complaints, state regulators Saturday issued a revised plan for California’s first-ever mandatory water cuts, emphasizing the need for urgent action as summer looms.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Valley rice farmers say they will grow less due to drought

Rice farmers from north of Sacramento said Friday that further water cutbacks this year will force them to shrink their acreage even more than they did in 2014.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southland gets a preview of its premature fire season

Southern California got an unwanted preview of its premature fire season Thursday as brush fires stoked by winds broke out in five counties.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Drought rescue: State to build rock dam across Delta slough

State water officials have decided to build one rather than three proposed rock dams in the Delta to block seawater from fouling drinking water for 25 million Californians.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Talks sprout in water conflict

Farmers within the Delta and farmers south of the Delta aren’t exactly bosom buddies. Not when it comes to water. 

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Gov. Jerry Brown says no relaxing on conservation mandates

As California inches closer to implementing its first mandatory statewide limits on water use, Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday said he won’t relax the new rules following complaints from some cities that they’re too tough.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Drought means 75% water for Sacramento River farmers

Farmers along the Sacramento River who have long-time water rights will receive 75 percent of their historic supply again this year. Last year cutbacks occurred as well for these growers, known as Sacramento River settlement contractors.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Facing resistance, Gov. Jerry Brown defends order to cut water use

With criticism of new conservation regulations pouring in from local officials, Gov. Jerry Brown and other state leaders defended Thursday his executive order requiring a 25% reduction in water use.  

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

5 ways to save water in your house right now

You are freaking out about this drought, and you want to do something, anything, to conserve water. But where to start?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Some say they’ll get soaked by state’s big water cutbacks

Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for mandatory water reductions is not sitting well with some Californians, particularly those in the crosshairs of a sweeping plan to make the state’s biggest guzzling communities trim the most. … The state plan is scheduled to be finalized Friday and adopted the first week of May.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California almond growers to expand orchards, despite drought

Representatives of the state’s almond farmers defended the decision to expand California’s orchards, saying growers with adequate water supplies are making rational economic decisions based on the price they can get for their crop.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown argues against ‘Big Brother’ picking crops in drought

With almonds and alfalfa coming in for criticism amid California’s drought, Gov. Jerry Brown argued Thursday against any “Big Brother” effort to curtail production of water-heavy crops.