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 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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Drought shows need to untangle California water rights

There is absolutely nothing in California government – or its politics – more complicated and contentious than water rights.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento water agencies brace for historic drop in Folsom Lake levels

Four years of dry, hot weather have raised lake temperatures and depleted many of the state’s reservoirs. In response, the state has cut flows from Lake Shasta to protect an endangered species of salmon and raised flows from Folsom Lake to prevent salt water from intruding into the Delta.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

San Francisco told to stop taking some water during drought

Regulators on Friday told San Francisco to stop taking some of the river water it routinely stores in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought resurrects old population growth concerns

With the state in its fourth year of drought, population growth – an issue that receded from public debate in recent years – appears resurgent in California’s consciousness.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Better reservoir management would take heat off salmon

Over the past few weeks, the state’s largest reservoir—Shasta—has been in the spotlight as managers struggle to meet multiple demands with dwindling reserves. Surface reservoirs are central to managing California’s water supplies for a variety of purposes. … This year the trade-offs at Shasta are particularly challenging, since the survival of a run of endangered salmon may be on the line.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Governors tackle drought at Lake Tahoe forum

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval welcomed water experts and managers from around the West on Tuesday to scenic Lake Tahoe, where they reviewed a final report on dealing with drought and meeting the myriad challenges that come with competing demands for a dwindling resource.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Impact of new water saving rules won’t show up until after June meter reading

The new state rules for water conservation kicked in June 1, requiring residential customers in Chico to use 32 percent less water than they used during the same months in 2013. Oroville customers have to use 28 percent less.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Another Los Angeles DWP bill? No: ‘You are in the top 1% of all residential water users’

City water officials are getting personal with their efforts to boost conservation. … The [Los Angeles Department of Water and Power] letters urging homeowners to improve their water-wasting habits went to about 4,600 homes, largely in upscale neighborhoods with big lots and lush lawns.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: House Republicans revive California water wish list

House Republicans are swinging for the fences with an ambitious new, but familiar, California water bill introduced Thursday. … The legislation speeds studies for water storage projects, including proposals for raising Shasta Dam and building a new reservoir at Temperance Flat on the Upper San Joaquin River.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Water recycling debuts at new housing tract

KB Home, one of the state’s largest builders, showed off a new recycling system in San Diego Monday that eliminates the need for much of the drinking water now used to quench thirsty landscapes.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Massive marijuana bust in Emerald Triangle continuing

A major multiday, multiagency law enforcement operation targeting large marijuana farms in the heart of the pot-rich Emerald Triangle has uncovered serious environmental damage along with huge numbers of pot plants, according to a state Fish and Wildlife officer participating in the operation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water conservation amid drought: Who made the grade?

On April 1, as California entered a fourth year of drought, Gov. Jerry Brown stood in a barren field that should have been smothered in snow and demanded a 25% cut in urban water use.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mono Lake’s ecological crisis is a blow to wildlife, L.A. water supply

In recent months, the Department of Water and Power has reduced its take from Mono’s tributaries by more than two-thirds. Still, the 1-million-year-old lake is within two feet of the level that state officials say threatens the alpine ecosystem at the base of the eastern Sierra Nevada.

Aquafornia news Mono Lake Committee The Mono-logue

Blog: How low can they go? Mono Basin streams in the drought

For residents and regular visitors, the expanded exposed lakebed, growing landbridge, and dramatically changing topography of key visitation sites are hard to miss. While less immediately visible, the effects of the drought on the streams of the Mono Basin are no less severe.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought brings a golden lining

As California’s prolonged drought dries up irrigation supplies for agriculture and forces cutbacks in urban water deliveries, it also creates opportunities for prospectors and miners panning, sluicing, chiseling and diving for gold.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Some water agencies in California consider defying state cuts

A handful of Central Valley water agencies that have been warned to stop pumping water from rivers to farms, in light of the drought, say they’re considering running their pumps anyway. … The State Water Resources Control Board said Wednesday that is not a good idea, warning that the water agencies could face penalties for drawing water illegally.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Artificial turf: Backlash amid water district rebates for fake grass

The East Bay Municipal Utility District Board is the latest to balk at subsidizing synthetic turf after hearing complaints that it has undesirable environmental effects even if it does well in reducing outdoor water use.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Obama turns up dial on California drought aid

The Obama administration is boosting its support for drought-stricken California, escalating a relief effort that congressional Republicans still consider misdirected and insufficient.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

State water system stretched to limit, officials say

A plan to save endangered fish has pushed California’s fragile water system almost to the breaking point, putting additional strain on farmers while drawing down reservoirs at Folsom and Oroville to historically low levels.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Regulations would allow removal of drought-killed trees (with audio)

California’s drought has killed so many trees that the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is adopting emergency regulations to remove them. The board is concerned about the growing threat of wildfires.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Town’s water woes resolved

A water crisis that never quite happened was officially averted on Tuesday after a south county water district agreed to sell water to the town of Mountain House.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Setback for Tracy-area farmers

Longtime farmers hoping to block state-imposed cuts suffered a defeat Tuesday after a San Joaquin County Superior Court judge said the case must be heard in another county, potentially leaving those farmers without a legal water supply. But in a new twist, attorneys for the farmers now are questioning whether the cuts actually are required in the first place. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Editorial: All cities must put in water meters

Valley cities — from the biggest to the smallest — have no excuse for not having water meters by now. Water is no different than gasoline or electricity: Consumers should pay for precisely what they use, especially during this historic drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Under new plan, Folsom Lake could be dangerously dry within months

Folsom Lake water levels will likely drop to historic lows by summer’s end, possibly hovering just above the point where cities and water agencies can still draw water from the reservoir, according to interviews with federal and local officials.

Aquafornia news National Geographic ScienceBlogs

Blog: The California drought — Almonds and the bigger picture

Significant figures by Peter Gleick —In a climate where rainfall is so variable from one year to the next, it makes little sense to talk about what is “normal” but California farmers know to expect that some years will very dry and that sometimes there will be a string of dry years back-to-back.

Aquafornia news Best Best & Krieger LLP (BB&K)

Legal Commentary: Drought bill to combat water shortages passes in California Legislature

The California Legislature approved a budget bill that would grant the state authority to force water systems to consolidate to serve disadvantaged communities where a steady supply of clean drinking water is not available. Senate Bill 88 also would give public water suppliers the power to impose civil fines of up to $10,000 for violations of water conservation programs, impose new measuring and reporting requirements for water diversions, and suspend environmental review for certain drought-related projects. 

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: How to manage drought — Ask an economist

The economics of water scarcity is crucial to sustainable water management, particularly during droughts. … Luckily, California has a wealth of young, talented economists already active in public water policy and who will be around for future droughts. California WaterBlog asked five of them what California should be doing to prepare for a fifth year of drought and beyond.

Aquafornia news Sea Change Radio

Abrahm Lustgarten: Water management breakdown (audio)

The importance of water conservation during this record dry spell notwithstanding, sound water management turns out to be about a lot more than just water use. Today on Sea Change Radio, host Alex Wise speaks with Abrahm Lustgarten of ProPublica, who is writing a multi-part series exposing unfortunate policies and practices vis-à-vis our most precious, life-sustaining resource.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Deal keeps Mountain House water flowing

Water will continue to flow to Mountain House under a deal reached Monday, and a separate water sale pending approval Tuesday would slake the community’s thirst for the rest of the year, officials said.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Big difference in water use between wealthy communities and everyone else

Whether it’s East Palo Alto and Hillsborough, Beverly Hills and Compton, or Richmond and Orinda, a huge disparity in residential water use is posing a challenge for water agencies as they try to curb consumption and write rules that treat all customers fairly. The divide is the focus of the latest installment in this newspaper’s series “A State of Drought.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Most water rights holders facing cuts miss state compliance deadline

The majority of California growers, irrigation districts and others who have been ordered to stop drawing water from rivers and streams due to worsening drought conditions have failed to register their compliance before an official deadline, officials said Monday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Master-planned community will get water under new agreement

Mountain House, an upscale community near Tracy, learned of its precarious situation this month when the State Water Resources Control Board issued a notice ordering the [Byron Bethany Irrigation] district to “immediately stop diverting water.”

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Lawsuits challenge California’s drought plan

The lawsuit, filed in Stanislaus Superior Court, challenges the State Water Resources Control Board’s decision last week to ban diversions by 114 different rights holders in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river watersheds.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto-area irrigation districts sue state over water restrictions

Modesto-area irrigation districts are suing the State Water Resources Control Board after the agency last week curtailed century-old water rights for some of them.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Threatened salmon die after utility temporarily shuts canal

More than one-tenth of the largest wild population of threatened salmon in the Central Valley died after repair work near a power plant led Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to cut off a cooling flow of water into a creek, wildlife and utility officials said Friday.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Saving salmon — California orders new water restrictions

The Delta smelt, a tiny fish, steals most of the attention in the war of words over water use and environmental goals in California. But other species play a role, too. This week, state and federal agencies ordered water restrictions for two northern California watersheds in order to guard the health of endangered salmon.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

As its water dwindled, Fresno cracked down hard

With water monitors like [Don] Wells on the prowl, Fresno is taking a more aggressive tack than most cities in California’s battle against the severe drought. In one month, Wells and his water conservation team handed out 347 of the 838 penalties issued by all the water districts statewide.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Deepest drought issue: Beyond shallow look at groundwater

The history beneath your feet in this Valley goes far deeper. It’s a piece of the story about the nation’s second-largest groundwater basin — California’s Central Valley, the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California water districts challenge state’s drought order

Three California irrigation districts sued the state on Friday, claiming officials overstepped their authority by ordering farmers with some of the strongest water rights to stop pumping from some rivers during the drought.

Aquafornia news KQED

Blog: Court battles loom over California’s senior water rights

Now that California officials have ordered water cutbacks for some of the oldest and most protected water rights holders in the state, we’re about to see if those orders will stick.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Drought disaster in East Porterville turns to budding health crisis

Nearly a year and a half after East Porterville’s first dry well was reported, residents and experts say not having running water and breathing increasingly dusty air is worsening their pre-existing health issues and contributing to the development of new ones.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California Legislature passes drought bill imposing fines, water system consolidation

A California budget bill that would allow the state to force consolidation of water systems, exempt certain water projects from environmental review and make other far-reaching changes in response to the drought cleared the Legislature on Friday over the angry objections of Republicans.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Despite drought, some San Joaquin Valley cities still lack water meters

Thousands of homes, businesses and apartments in the drought-stricken central San Joaquin Valley lack water meters, complicating efforts by city officials to reduce consumption as mandated by the state. … By state law, all urban water hookups in California must be metered by 2025, and the drought is prompting some communities to speed up their programs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara’s cautious relationship with water offers a drought lesson

Santa Barbara, known for its landscapes fed by coastal fog, has always had a cautious relationship with water. And its history of conservation may hold lessons for other upscale communities such as Beverly Hills and Rancho Santa Fe being forced to slash their hefty water consumption because of the drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Dry spell pushes boats out of Folsom Lake ahead of schedule – and on a cool day

Though Sunday is expected to feature the most pleasant conditions in the middle of a stretch of hot weather, it marks the end of boating season on Folsom Lake.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Water supplies ‘alarmingly low’

The U.S. Drought Monitor report released June 18 shows “Severe Drought” increased slightly in California and “Exceptional Drought” decreased in Nevada.

Aquafornia news Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Bureau makes a call for water

More water shutoffs are anticipated in the Klamath Basin.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Lake Fire scorches 10,000 acres amid dry heat, wind

Less than a day after igniting, the wind-whipped Lake Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains grew to more than 10,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of 200 people and sending smoke billowing over the northern Coachella Valley on another very hot, dry day on Thursday. … Closer to home, trees are dying in unusually high number in the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountains.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Butte Creek’s threatened salmon try to survive in low-water year

The state’s wildlife department has counted about 1,950 spring-run salmon swimming upstream past a Vaki River Watcher video system located in a fish ladder. Last year, the department counted 5,083, with an estimated 16,782 in 2013 and 16,317 in 2012.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Meetings and training for cannabis cultivators in Eel River watershed

The Eel River Recovery Project is offering free field training and public meetings to promote sustainable cannabis cultivation in the Eel River watershed. The events will cover the best ways to water gardens with the least amount of water and nutrients, ERRP co-founder Patrick Higgins said.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

First lawsuit filed in water rights clash

The Banta-Carbona Irrigation District filed its complaint in San Joaquin County Superior Court, asking a judge to overturn the decision last week by the State Water Resources Control Board to temporarily suspend water rights dating back as far as 1903.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought legislation part of budget package (with audio)

Late-emerging legislation designed to deal with the drought could be part of the budget package California lawmakers will vote on Friday.  Part of the legislation would give state water regulators the ability to force local water agencies to consolidate.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: CEQA exemptions for water projects inserted into budget bill

Some drought-related groundwater and water recycling projects would gain exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act under late-emerging legislation at the Capitol. … The bill includes language related to the consolidation of water agencies, among other measures.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Shasta releases to be even lower

Releases from Lake Shasta will be up to 20 percent less than originally planned this summer, although the impact to local farmers’ water supply from that change is still uncertain.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Highlights of the pope’s case for environmental protection

The pope [Pope Francis] says “a very solid scientific consensus” indicates that global warming is real, and will limit drinking water, harm agriculture, lead to some extinctions of plant and animal life, acidify oceans and raise sea levels in a way that could flood some of the world’s biggest cities.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought keeps Bay Area beaches cleaner, for now

California’s drought has a silver lining: Water is cleaner at beaches all over the state because there’s little pollution runoff, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Beach water quality improved due to drought

It’s safe to go in the water this summer, thanks to a lot of sewer upgrades and maybe thanks just a little bit to the drought.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Local water districts score $2 million in grants

Three water districts in Riverside and San Bernardino counties were awarded $2 million in federal grants for drought-related projects.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Why don’t we just give saving water a try?

The inevitable legal sparring over the state’s water conservation rules has begun, with the city of Riverside having the distinction of filing the first lawsuit.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento River flow decreased to save cold water for fish

State and federal fish and water managers are trying to find a way to avoid a massive die-off of young fish in the Sacramento River. … The changes in river flow might further impact the amount of water that Sacramento River Settlement Contractors are able to draw from the river for farms.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

What’s blamed for California’s drought? Basically everything

Mother Nature isn’t the only one blamed for California’s drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought devastates cherry crop, puts some growers out of business

Dave Shields started the engine of his tractor on a recent weekday and began toppling the hundreds of drought-stricken cherry trees he and his wife planted 15 years ago in this north Los Angeles County foothills community.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Master-planned community at risk of losing all water within days

Unlike the vast majority of communities in California, Mountain House purchases all its water from a single rural irrigation district. And that agency was covered by the state’s order curtailing water rights for some of those who have held them for more than century due to the state’s worsening drought.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: House Democrats float new California water bill

California water bills continue to fill the Capitol Hill hopper, and now one comes with a new twist. It’s crowd-sourcing drought solutions, in a long-shot bid to break a congressional stalemate. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s trout hatcheries hurt by drought, disease

As streams holding rare native fish dry up, it will put more pressure on the Department of Fish and Wildlife to choose between two distinct and sometimes competing mandates: sheltering endangered species to prevent their extinction, while simultaneously producing ample fish stocks for recreational anglers.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

State imposes well water cuts on users near Russian River

Winemakers, small farmers and rural residents near the Russian River, accustomed to reveling in Mother Nature’s bounty, were slapped with restrictions on well water use Wednesday, including a ban on lawn watering, in the latest effort by the state to cope with a fourth year of drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Officials revise strategy for California’s largest reservoir

State and federal officials said Tuesday that they’re revising their strategy for releasing water from the California’s largest reservoir for the coming long, hot summer to avoid killing off this year’s run of endangered salmon.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council Switchboard

Blog: Is 2% enough to save the salmon industry?

Less than 2%. That’s how much water has been provided from the entire Central Valley in 2015 to help salmon and other fish survive the drought. Here’s a pie chart prepared by staff from the State Water Resources Control Board showing this breakdown graphically:

Aquafornia news NPR

Endangered species protections at center of drought debate

Travel up and down California farm country, the Central Valley, and you hardly hear people lamenting the lack of rain or how dry this past winter was.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

State consumer agency calls San Jose water restrictions unfair, plans to fight them

A state agency representing consumers said Tuesday that it will try to overturn strict water conservation rules that took effect this week for 1 million residents of San Jose and neighboring Silicon Valley communities, on the grounds that they violate state law by imposing penalties on homeowners but not businesses or apartment owners.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Blog: State relaxes some conservation standards

Some cities won’t have to save as much water as they originally thought this summer, after the state revised its standards based on new and better data.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Amid drought, more water for farmers

Eastside farmers will receive more water than expected next month from already depleted New Hogan Lake, even though not everyone wants that water.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: California’s water strategy deserves an open debate and real solutions

In response to the worst drought in our state’s long memory, our public institutions – with one unfortunate exception – are stepping up. … That’s why I [Rep. Jared Huffman] developed the kind of serious, comprehensive legislation this crisis demands.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Coalition — California farmers illegally taking river water

The State Water Contractors, which has 27 members that include the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, filed a complaint with state officials, accusing some Delta farmers of illegally using water that the public agencies have stored in reservoirs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County’s plan to capture stormwater could be state model

Amid a worsening drought, California water officials adopted new rules Tuesday aimed at capturing and reusing huge amounts of stormwater that have until now flowed down sewers and concrete rivers into the sea.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Urban water districts accuse Delta farmers of stealing water

The tension between California farm interests and the state’s urban water users ratcheted up Tuesday, as a consortium of mostly urban water districts filed a complaint alleging Delta farmers are stealing water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought in California is killing large patches of trees (with audio)

A U.S. Forest Service aerial survey in April found 20 percent of the trees in a 4.1 million acre area in the Southern Sierra were dead. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

State agency revises rules on grass (with audio)

The California Department of Water Resources has proposed changes to an ordinance that would prohibit installing grass at most new commercial and residential properties. 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Dry, pest-ridden trees could spark catastrophic blaze, scientist says

Logging in the Inland forest has become commonplace, not so much to generate timber for the lumber industry as to rid the area of dead and diseased trees and create fire breaks.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Company plans to siphon groundwater from Mojave Desert

As California’s drought enters its fourth summer, government officials and enterprising citizens are looking further and further afield for new water supplies.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Blog: Water thieves are on the rise in drought-stricken California

As California drought conditions worsen, water thieves are on the rise. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds project higher Lake Mead level following wet May

A 24-month look ahead by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said the surface level of the largest Colorado River reservoir should remain above a benchmark level used to determine if full deliveries will be made in a seven-state region home to about 40 million residents, farms, tribes and businesses.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California cuts farmers’ share of scant water

Only once before in the state’s history have the most senior water rights been curtailed. But now, with the drought persisting into a fourth year, state officials say that more reductions for so-called senior water rights holders are nearly certain, and the need for additional cuts will be evaluated weekly.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A thirsty Colorado is battling over who owns raindrops

To encourage conservation, cities and water agencies in California and other states have begun nudging homeowners to use captured rain for their gardens, rather than water from the backyard faucet. But Colorado is one of the last places in the country where rainwater barrels are still largely illegal because of a complex system of water rights in which nearly every drop is spoken for.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Federal agencies pledge another $110 million in drought aid

Federal agencies pledged another $110 million in aid Friday to help states struggling with the crippling drought after President Barack Obama talked to leaders from seven western states.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why do they keep building homes during a water crisis?

California is in a severe drought, the outlook is uncertain, yet residential development continues unabated. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento considers lifting longtime ban on artificial turf

While the artificial-turf industry points to studies that show its products are safe and environmentally friendly, some critics worry about toxins from synthetic yards and fields leaching into air and waterways. … Some of those raising concerns, including a California state senator, cite potential risks to human health.

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Drought drains water resources for firefighters

Cal Fire officials are taking stock of water resources typically tapped during large fires.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California’s water czar, part empathetic confessor and part friendly scold

Felicia Marcus peered over her desk the other day as the State Water Resources Control Board came to order in a hearing room here, bracing for another day of bad drought news.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Gov. Brown preaches adaptation but ducks big fights

As for the drought, [Gov. Jerry] Brown told [Los Angeles Times Publisher Austin] Beutner that Californians need to “take water and use it and use it again and use it again. The metaphor is spaceship Earth. In a spaceship you reuse everything.” OK, but where’s the state’s crash recycling program?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Gov. Jerry Brown pushes budget measure to consolidate water agencies

The Brown administration is pushing late-emerging budget legislation to let state officials force the consolidation of troubled water systems with larger, better-funded agencies, with the goal of improving Californians’ access to safe drinking water after four years of drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California curtails senior water rights

In a dramatic and controversial move that reflects the severity of the drought, California water regulators Friday ordered farmers and others with some of the oldest water rights in the state to stop pulling water out of California’s rivers.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Sacramento Valley senior water rights cuts fall unevenly

Even in dry years, water rights that date back before 1914 usually hold strong. However, Friday the State Water Resources Control Board announced water rights would be curtailed even for landowners who had rights dating back to 1903.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California moves to restrict water pumping by pre-1914 rights holders

For the first time in nearly 40 years, state regulators are telling more than 100 growers and irrigation districts with some of the oldest water rights in California that they have to stop drawing supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Decades-old water rights in California halted amid drought

Despite California’s drought, Richard and Danna Jones’ cattle grazing pasture has stayed green thanks to water flowing free from a gulch claimed by his grandfather in 1911.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Breaking News: California moves to restrict water pumping by pre-1914 rights holders

For the first time in nearly 40 years, California regulators are telling more than 100 irrigation districts and others with some of the oldest water rights in the state that they have to stop pumping supplies from drought-starved rivers and streams in the Central Valley.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Good news on groundwater

San Joaquin County is once again eligible for millions of dollars in grants to bolster the region’s water supply, after landowners agreed to provide private well construction details to the state, officials announced Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Switchboard

Blog: Now or never — It’s time for State Board to require stormwater capture and help California mitigate the drought

California is at a critical moment in deciding how we’ll deal with stormwater in Los Angeles … and beyond. Next Tuesday, June 16, the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) will consider whether or not it will uphold the current stormwater permit for Los Angeles County, which was last renewed in 2012.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Extreme Drought’ expands in California (with audio)

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

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California tries to save salmon in wine country creeks

California is taking desperate steps to save the last endangered salmon in Wine Country creeks that are going dry because of over-pumping and the drought, officials said Thursday. … Threatened steelhead trout are also being pulled from drying stretches of the waterways.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Surprise storm means 48-hour sprinkler ban

Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency drought regulations prohibit outdoor watering within 48 hours of rain, with fines of up to $500 for violators.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Sticky seats? California ballparks get creative to conserve

Earlier this season, the grounds crew that watches over the lush green playing field where the San Francisco Giants play tried something new: They cut back on overnight watering.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño continues to build, bringing increased chances of a wet winter

In a promising trend that increases the likelihood of steady storms this winter that could ease California’s historic drought, federal scientists on Thursday reported that El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean are continuing to grow stronger.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Odds of a strong El Niño climb

El Niño, which dragged its feet last year and ended up a big disappointment, continues to intensify this year and holds increasing promise for delivering a wet winter to parched California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Dying trees may force a new outlook on irrigation during drought

The unrelenting drought that has ravaged parts of California’s forest land is now taking a toll on the trees that line urban parks, boulevards and backyards.

Aquafornia news NPR

Californians look to Sierra Nevada Native Americans for drought solutions (with audio)

In the Sierra Nevada mountains, North Fork Mono American Indians are working to thin the forest.

Aquafornia news KCRA Sacramento

Cities eye Riverside’s legal challenge to drought rules (with video)

Communities across California are waiting to see the outcome of the city of Riverside’s legal challenge to the state’s new mandatory water cutbacks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Crisis or not? Jerry Brown avoids offering stern advice on drought

[Gov. Jerry] Brown has always had the capacity to be fascinating and maddening in the same instant, and he was both during an hour of questioning at USC by Los Angeles Times publisher Austin Beutner. The governor offered little in the way of advice for Californians wondering how, exactly, to trim a quarter of their water usage, the level necessary statewide to satisfy his plan.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California rice farmers find Japanese trade negotiators a bit starchy

Yet even as California farmers eye what could be a lucrative expansion into the world’s most discriminating rice market in Japan, their ambitions have been complicated by the state’s severe drought and the surge in the dollar.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Pools, water slides not affected by conservation mandate

Families from San Bernardino to Temecula will still be able to cool off at their neighborhood pools and water slides this summer, despite orders from the state to cut water use an average of 25 percent.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Amid drought, Indio, Desert Hot Springs get lower water cutbacks

State officials have reduced the mandatory water cutbacks required of Indio and Desert Hot Springs. But the Desert Water Agency had no such luck with a similar request.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California water wasters beware: #DroughtShaming on the rise

[Tony] Corcoran alone estimates he’s put more than 100 videos of water-wasters, complete with their addresses, up on YouTube. Others tweet out addresses and photos of water scofflaws on Twitter, using hashtags such as (hash)DroughtShaming.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought and record-breaking heat are bad combination as fire season begins

Record-breaking heat and continuous drought could make for an active and dangerous fire season this year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco water supply in OK shape, but officials keep on pressure

Four years into a drought that has left many cities and farms desperate for water, the vast Sierra-fed water system that serves San Francisco and much of the Bay Area is in relatively good shape — and should get the region through the dry months ahead, officials said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California’s rice crop predicted to be 30 percent below normal (with audio)

California’s drought is contributing to a sharp drop in rice production, about 30 pecent below normal. This raises concerns for both the ecnoomy and wildlife that call the shallow flooded fields home.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

More water may flow for some

The Stockton East Water District might send more water to farmers than originally expected next month, despite the fact that the reservoir on which the district relies has dwindled to 18 percent of capacity.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California lawmaker proposes steep tax for water guzzlers

California’s worst water-guzzling residents and businesses could get slapped with 300 percent taxes on their bills under drought-inspired legislation that was proposed Tuesday but faces a tough path before it could actually affect local water bills.

Aquafornia news Oakland Tribune

Editorial: CEQA fast track for Silicon Valley water recycling could include Delta tunnels

The governor’s obsession with building massive tunnels under the Delta could muck up what should be a simple issue: granting CEQA exemption requests for emergency drought projects. The request in the form of Trailer Bill 831 is part of the budget process for dealing with the drought.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

EBMUD approves higher water rates to reduce use and buy extra supplies

As East Bay water officials on Tuesday were about to increase rates and impose the toughest penalties yet against water wasters, Raven Brown had one concern. She’s held off from bathing her dog, which has fleas, for fear her water bill would go up and she might be fined.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

24 percent water rate hike approved for East Bay

East Bay residents will see an average 24 percent hike in their water bills, starting next month, after the East Bay Municipal Utility District on Tuesday approved a bump in rates, largely to make up for revenue lost during the drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Jerry Brown sees California getting through drought

In a broad-ranging conversation that touched on the “existential threat” posed by man-made global warming, as well as the arcane laws delineating state water rights, [Gov. Jerry] Brown said Californians must learn to live more frugally when it comes to their most precious resource.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds say Southwest, Northwest could see major wildfires

[Interior Secretary Sally] Jewell said climate change and drought are to blame for worsening wildfires, which she said destroy homes and businesses, threaten power grids and drinking water and cause damage river valleys that cost millions and take decades to restore.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Colorado River Basin conservation agreements take shape

With water levels in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir and a bellwether for water supplies in the Southwest, setting a new record low every day, the seven states of the Colorado River Basin are finalizing a pair of novel water conservation agreements that will keep more water in the shrinking lake.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

North County districts expand use of recycled water

Recycled water, and more of it, will flow into new corners of Carlsbad under a recently approved $30 million expansion of the city’s production and distribution system.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Drought barrier wreaking havoc on Delta currents, ferry service

Ever since the state’s salinity barrier stopped water from flowing through a segment of False River on May 29 — a last-ditch drought effort to keep salty bay water from encroaching on the clean Delta drinking water — the currents have shifted dramatically, endangering boaters and threatening nearby levees, island officials and residents say.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Three Sacramento water agencies get breather on drought cutbacks

The city of Lincoln, Sacramento Suburban Water District and Georgetown Divide Public Utility District have been told they have to reduce water consumption by 32 percent over the next nine months compared to 2013.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: City of Riverside sues state over water-saving drought rules

The city of Riverside has filed a lawsuit against the state over water-cutting drought mandates ordered by the governor.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

In drought and desperate times, an unlikely water source: the desert?

Mining desert groundwater, as far-fetched as it may seem, seems among the most plausible additions to the region’s existing sources of imported water: the Colorado River, and State Water Project – which transfers water from Northern California to Southern California. But, like many grand water schemes, this one is attracting its share of detractors.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Gov. Jerry Brown says $10,000-a-day fines for water-wasting cities are not ‘bluster’

Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday said he won’t back down on his threat to fine cities, water districts and private water companies $10,000 a day if they fail to meet strict water conservation targets during California’s relentless drought.

Aquafornia news Mono Lake Committee The Mono-logue

Blog: One drop and a dozen options — Sierra Watershed Progressive

This is a follow-up post to the “One drop, a dozen options” article in the Summer 2015 Mono Lake Newsletter. The article mentions longtime Mono Lake Committee member Regina Hirsch and her business Sierra Watershed Progressive with respect to the greywater system she helped us create in 2012.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Keeping fish on track

Yes, it will rain again someday. And when it does, and the Calaveras River once more becomes a flowing stream, officials want to give migrating fish their best possible chance at journeying to prime spawning habitat below New Hogan Dam.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought, heat suggest West Nile virus danger in Sacramento region

Rising temperatures and a historic drought suggest that the Sacramento region and Central Valley will likely see high West Nile virus activity this summer, researchers say.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: How DC can help fight the drought in California

The tremendous challenge of upgrading our water infrastructure will require federal cooperation. That’s why I [Dianne Feinstein] plan to introduce drought legislation soon to lay out the federal role in this long-term effort.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

No rain, but ‘the sky is not falling’

The Santa Ana River is a robust and beautiful sight these days. Five miles west of the Prado Dam in Yorba Linda, the water has cut a narrow channel in a sandy bed and courses briskly over submerged rocks and tree limbs.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Thirsty valley east of Lake County could become massive reservoir

Cattle rancher Mary Wells lives in a remote valley of summer-gold grass where eagles wheel in the sky, wild pigs roam the surrounding hills and rattlesnakes slither over a parched 14,000-acre domain that looks almost untouched by humans.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought spurs sports to look at water use on fairways and fields

In coming months, his [Jack Nicklaus] design firm will oversee the installation of high-efficiency irrigation and add native plants to the Thousand Oaks course. Workers will strip away seven or more acres of turf in places where members rarely hit the ball.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water losses ‘huge,’ new thinking required on drought, panel says

panel of water experts on Sunday mapped out the challenges California faces in meeting future demands for water at a time when water sources are under stress and future supplies appear uncertain.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California farmers dig deeper for water, sipping their neighbors dry

There’s a well-drilling boom in the Central Valley, and it’s a water grab as intense as any land grab before it.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Imperiled fish add to California’s drought stress

Their populations dwindling, Northern California’s fish suddenly are taking a leading role in the drought-related drama gripping the state.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Who needs an ocean? San Joaquin Valley projects give new life to salty water

A glistening spectacle on the west Fresno County prairie could be a rock star in California’s next drought. It’s a mirrored solar array longer than a football field, collecting heat to boil salt and other impurities out of irrigation drainage. … The technology is among Valley water stories that The Bee will tell this month in a weekly series.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s congressional delegation can’t agree on response to drought

The state’s splintered congressional delegation — despite its size and influence — has been stymied by fundamental disagreements over the causes of the drought and the role of the federal government in mitigating its consequences.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Can Californians create enduring drought relief?

On the perennially vexing subjects of water and the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown has been on something of a roll. … The drought has risen to the top of the list of Californians’ concerns, a new poll shows, and not just in regions of the state where water is a constant problem.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s war over water has farmer fighting farmer (with audio)

Most of the Delta’s small, family farms trace back to the Gold Rush, when the wetlands were dammed and levies were built to grow food to feed the miners. It was only later that the federal government began pumping water from here, through canals, to farms in more arid areas hundreds of miles to the south.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

‘Extreme’ drought expands in California

Extreme drought conditions expanded by 3 percent in California the past week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released June 4.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds, California agencies sued over water management plan (with audio)

A federal lawsuit claims California and federal water managers are harming several fish species in the way water is allocated.

Aquafornia news Red Bluff Daily News

3 million infected hatchery fish quarantined, could be euthanized

Some 3 million hatchery rainbow and brown trout are in quarantine at two North State hatcheries after captive-raised fish at the Darrah Springs Trout Hatchery in Paynes Creek tested positive for whirling disease.

Aquafornia news ProPublica

Killing the Colorado Series: Las Vegas Water Chief Pat Mulroy preached conservation, but pushed growth

One afternoon last summer, Pat Mulroy stood in 106-degree heat at the broad concrete banister atop the Hoover Dam, the wall that holds back the mighty Colorado River, and with it the nation’s largest reserve of water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Correction: California drought story

In a story June 2 about the California drought, The Associated Press, relying on figures from the State Water Resources Control Board, reported erroneously that the city of Escondido performed worst in the state on water conservation in April 2015, with a 20 percent increase in use from April 2013.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California’s drought spurring water recycling at home

The Berkeley couple – she runs a pre-school, he’s an architect – are early adopters of a home plumbing do-over that’s becoming more popular during California’s record four-year dry stretch.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Environmentalists sue over California drought management plan

In a fresh challenge to California’s management of the drought, a group of environmentalists has sued state and federal officials, charging that they’re harming fish and wildlife in their efforts to deliver more water to farms and cities.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

See which California cities are conserving the most water

California residents cut their water use by 10 percent between June and April compared to 2013 but conservation varied widely across the state.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New growing technique relieves drought stricken avocado farmers (with audio)

Farmers are being widely criticized during the California drought because agriculture uses the majority of the state’s water. But some farmers are cutting back by employing new techniques. A recent study used half as much water to yield twice as much fruit.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Contra Costa Water District raises rates to prompt conservation

Water rates are going up immediately for 208,000 central Contra Costa County residents in response to a state push to slash water use. 

Aquafornia news NPR

Drought may cost California’s farmers almost $3 billion in 2015

California’s drought isn’t just turning green lawns brown or #droughtshaming into a trending topic. It’s taking a multi-billion dollar toll on the state’s agricultural industry as well.

Aquafornia news Capitol Weekly

Historic drought trumps economy

Water and the lack of it is the No. 1 issue confronting California, and most people across the state believe their neighbors aren’t doing enough to deal with the drought, a survey reported.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

It’s the drought, stupid: Water worries surpass jobs, economy in poll

For the first time, Californians are more concerned about the state’s dogged drought than they are about jobs and the economy, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Californians say drought is top issue for state (with audio)

The Public Policy Institute of California survey results show that 39 percent of Californians identified drought and water as the state’s biggest issues.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Steamed: Californians critical of neighbors’ response to drought, poll finds

Most Californians don’t believe others in their region of the state are doing enough to respond to the four-year drought, with the harshest criticism being dished out in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, according to a new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians cite drought as state’s biggest problem

A survey released Wednesday found state residents for the first time put the water shortage ahead of jobs, housing and state finances as California’s most pressing issue, with a large majority thinking that they and their neighbors should be doing more to address the problem.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Backers of desalination hope Carlsbad plant will disarm critics

For the expected 1,500-plus people attending the International Desalination Assn. World Congress, the highlight will be a Sept. 4 tour of the $1-billion desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Californians are encouraged by sharp drop in water use

The report on water conservation, issued Tuesday by the California State Water Resources Control Board, was encouraging but not conclusive.

Aquafornia news Brookings Institution

Population surging in drought-stricken areas

Water may be scarce in California and other parts of the Southwest, but people are flooding in, according to newly released Census data. The influx of residents into these areas not only coincides with a changing labor and housing market, but also has far-reaching implications for water infrastructure.  

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought defies easy solutions at U.S. Senate hearing

Expanding California’s San Luis Reservoir may present a “great opportunity for increasing water supplies,” a key Obama administration official said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Harsher drought impacts forecast for California agriculture

The drought is expected to be worse for California’s agricultural economy this year because of reduced water availability, according to our preliminary estimates released today. The study, summarized below, estimates farmers will have 2.7 million acre-feet less surface water than they would in a normal water year — about a 33 percent loss of water supply, on average.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Drought cost: $2.7 billion to California economy, says UC Davis

The drought is expected to cost California’s agricultural economy $1.8 billion this year, about four percent of California’s $45 billion agricultural economy, according to a new economic analysis by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farmers brace for more water cuts

In a potentially significant setback for a system already stressed by epic drought, California regulators have ordered a temporary curb in the flows being released from Lake Shasta in order to protect an endangered species of salmon.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Study: California farmers to fallow 560,000 acres of crops this year

California farmers will fallow hundreds of thousands of acres and employ fewer workers in 2015, but the drought will not cripple the state’s agricultural industry, UC Davis researchers said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Californians conserved more water ahead of mandatory cuts

Californians are using less water, but they’ll have to conserve a lot more to reach the mandatory drought cuts taking effect this month, according to the latest numbers released Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water use dropped 13.5% in April, state board reports

After lagging during the first part of the year, water conservation in California improved significantly in April following Gov. Jerry Brown’s historic order requiring big cuts in water use amid the worsening drought.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Water releases from Lake Shasta to be reduced to help fish

Citing drought conditions and low water levels in Lake Shasta, state officials have ordered releases from Keswick Dam into the Sacramento River be reduced to help salmon spawning later this summer and fall. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As California drought worsens, experts urge water reforms

As mandatory water restrictions took effect Monday across California, a panel of experts called upon the drought-plagued state to upgrade its water infrastructure and reform its antiquated water rights system.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Editorial: Lack of water starts to take economic toll

Most of the state has no idea the drought isn’t just an inconvenience about brown lawns. In farm country, it’s actually an economic catastrophe for many.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Sacramento region water conservation on par with 2014

The Sacramento Regional Water Agency released its April conservation figures Monday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Warm water, limited supply for salmon run (with audio)

The California State Water Resources Control Board has temporarily suspended a Sacramento River management plan in order to protect a salmon run. The Board is expected to consider its next moves during its Tuesday meeting. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: California agriculture — It’s worth the water

Pundits here in drought-stricken California have become fond of proclaiming that farms consume 80% of the state’s water and generate only about 2% of its gross domestic product.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s required statewide water cuts kick in

California on Monday officially began its unprecedented effort to conserve water in the midst of a fourth year of severe drought, marching out orders for communities statewide to make reductions of up to 36 percent.