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 Associated Press

Celebrities make splash with California drought awareness

From drought-shaming to eco-boasting, willing or not, celebrities are playing a role in raising awareness about California’s debilitating drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Pool industry touts water savings in California drought

The California swimming pool and spa industry has launched a campaign to market itself as a drought-friendly landscaping option as the state enters a fourth summer of drought that has residential pools and other conspicuous water users in the crosshairs.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

A look at competing math on pools versus lawns

The drought gripping California has the swimming pool and spa industry on the offensive.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Water shortages mean less rice planted this year

If this had been a normal year, it would have been a perfect season for planting rice — clear skies, not much wind and plenty of time to do things right.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Past thinking about California’s water may still bear pointers for future

The decline of Lake Mead to a water level not seen in nearly eight decades, or since the giant reservoir was still filling behind the just-completed Hoover Dam, is more than a visual reminder of the severity of the drought.

Aquafornia news NPR

For California swimming pools, this is hardly a dry spell (with audio)

Despite the severe drought, Californians built more backyard swimming pools in 2014 than in any year since the peak of the housing boom.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

L.A. County drought plan decried by residents facing big water bills

To conserve during the statewide drought, the letter said, Antelope Valley water customers would have to collectively reduce consumption 32%. But Chadd’s family of seven would be required to cut consumption 70% or potentially see their bill triple.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Rebates drive grass removal frenzy during California drought

There’s a torrent of Californians taking advantage of rebates for ripping out water-guzzling lawns during the drought, and that’s providing a big boost to landscapers.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Amid California drought, oil industry wastewater attracts new scrutiny

In the fourth year of an unrelenting drought emergency, every use of water in California is being put under the microscope. Watering a lawn, filling a pool, washing a car, growing food — all are familiar practices now viewed with a more critical eye. The same is true of California’s oil industry, the nation’s third largest.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma County homeowners ditching lawns for drought-friendly options

And lawn, whether real or synthetic, is not the only surface safe for play. As homeowners turn away from water-guzzling, time-sucking lawns, they’re looking at other grounds materials, from decomposed granite and bark to shredded tires.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Assembly OKs artificial grass for homeowner associations

A bill that would allow Californians who live in homeowner associations to replace their lawns with artificial turf, without fear of fines, was resoundingly approved by the state Assembly on Thursday.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Hundreds turn out to oppose San Jose Water Company’s strict drought rules

More than 350 people turned out, and nearly all in opposition, to voice their concerns at the only public hearing on strict new water conservation rules that will affect 1 million people across Silicon Valley starting June 15.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Farmers’ ’senior’ water rights under siege

A 143-year-old piece of paper proves that Rudy Mussi has a legal right to water from the gently meandering Middle River that nourishes his family farm.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Some water officials save, some don’t

Thirty-seven public officials who set the region’s water policy have collectively cut back 11 percent on their home use so far this year, falling short of the 20 percent reduction sought by state officials amid a historic drought.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California’s largest lake is slipping away amid an epic drought

The Salton Sea needs more water — but so does just about every other place in California. 

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Southern California immigrants face the drought with conservation habits learned long ago (with audio)

It doesn’t take much water to wash dishes — not in Jess Cullen’s kitchen, at least.  … Cullen is one of a multitude of Southern California residents who grew up in countries where water wasn’t unlimited.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Water Company to allow extra drought allocations for larger families

Silicon Valley’s largest water company is changing how it will roll out some of the state’s strictest water conservation rules to address complaints that the new per-household allocations unfairly penalize large families.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

First William Shatner, now Moby: Celebrities’ ideas for tackling California drought

Move over Capt. James T. Kirk. Now Moby wants to boldly go forward with a plan to ease California’s drought.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

El Niño won’t end dry times in California (with audio)

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and meteorologists in other countries show that strong-to-moderate El Niño conditions are present in the tropical Pacific. But it won’t end the drought in California.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Folsom Lake’s recreation stays afloat despite drought conditions (slideshow)

Capital Public Radio’s Andrew Nixon captured these images of Folsom Lake … 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Bring your water conservation questions to BMU in Chico Wednesday night

In just a few days, people in Chico will be expected to use 32 percent less water than they did two years ago.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

‘Cash for grass’ program gets $350 million boost

Rebates for turf removal and other water-saving efforts got a $350 million boost from Metropolitan Water District leaders Tuesday.

Aquafornia news NPR

California’s drought makes it rain big bucks for local businesses

[Leigh] Jerrard’s company helps homeowners with the complicated process of installing their own Greywater systems.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

EBMUD makes another emergency water purchase

The [East Bay Municipal Utility District] EBMUD board agreed Tuesday to buy up to 12,000 acre feet of water from the Placer County Water Agency this year. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Southland water importer OKs $350-million boost in lawn-removal rebates

Responding to a surge of interest in removing grass amid California’s worsening drought, the Metropolitan Water District agreed Monday to spend an additional $350 million to help homeowners and businesses replace the turf.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California looks to Australia for tips on surviving drought

California has turned to the world’s driest inhabited continent for solutions to its longest and sharpest drought on record. … But Californians may find Australia’s medicine tough to swallow.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Popular cash-for-grass program expands during drought

A major water wholesaler on Tuesday added $350 million to its budget to replenish a cash-for-grass program that has gained popularity during the California drought with homeowners, landlords and businesses looking to replace water-draining lawns.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee Earth Log

Blog: Fresno’s million-dollar water deal — What a bargain in this drought

Fresno bought nearly 3,000 acre-feet of Millerton Lake water last week for $1 million — a deal so uncommon this year that I [Mark Grossi] had to read reporter George Hostetter’s story twice.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought angst shrivels Californians’ views of state

A new poll shows Californians’ perceptions of the state have soured in recent months as Gov. Jerry Brown and others imposed new conservation mandates.

Aquafornia news BBC News

California Governor Jerry Brown defends drought management (with video)

As California struggles through the fourth year of a historic drought, Governor Jerry Brown is taking measures to preserve the state’s dwindling water supply.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Drought looms over summer Russian River recreation season

There will be less water in the Russian River this summer than last year, a fact that some river-oriented business people don’t want to talk about.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Central Coast cattle region, drought continues to shrink the herds

From the front porch of the ranch house where Daniel Sinton grew up, the toll of drought is all too plain to see.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Stream fishing on the decline in Nevada due to drought (with audio)

Stream fishing around Lake Tahoe and western Nevada is struggling because of the drought. But fishing may actually be better at the lake itself.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Forest Service ready for wildfire season (with audio)

The U.S. Forest Service has finished hiring most of the firefighters needed this summer in California. 

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Local water suppliers await state response on lower conservation request

Five local municipal water suppliers are currently awaiting the response from the State Water Resources Control Board that will determine whether they will be granted a low monthly water conservation quota or be hit by cuts up to seven times that amount.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Parks cutting wet play to save water

Memorial Day weekend traditionally signals the start of summer and the opening of popular water play areas at Inland parks, but that wasn’t the case everywhere this year.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

California redwood trees stressed to breaking point by drought, dying in Southern California (with video)

These colossal columns of nature are dying throughout Southern California, victims of a prolonged drought, unseasonably hot winter temperatures and reduced irrigation from a state-mandated 25 percent water conservation order.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

State losing market share as water shortage cuts rice planting

With California farmers not planting as much rice due to water restrictions, Southern rice-growing states are jumping in to fill the gap by expanding their production and taking some of the Golden State’s markets in the process.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California, farmers reach water deal, but enforcement a challenge

When California officials struck an unprecedented conservation deal Friday with a group of farmers who have the strongest claims on the state’s dwindling water supply, it showed no one was immune from the fallout of the drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Voluntary cuts approved by state

Delta farmers can voluntarily reduce water use during the drought without capitulating to outside interests who are targeting their water rights, according to supporters of an unprecedented plan approved Friday.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California builds emergency barrier in Delta to protect water supplies (with audio)

In a normal year, fresh water flowing from rivers into the Delta pushes back tidal ocean water. In this fourth year of drought, not enough water is flowing down river.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Amid huge demand, MWD considers $350 million for more turf replacement

Citing heavy demand for fake turf and other drought-tolerant landscaping, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is considering a $350-million increase in the money it spends on conservation rebate programs.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water agency approves farmers’ voluntary water reduction plan

In a move reflecting the growing severity of California’s drought, state water regulators have accepted a historic proposal by Delta region farmers to voluntarily cut water usage by 25%, or, alternatively, to allow a quarter of their fields to lay idle.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farm economy surprisingly resilient amid drought

The land is bare, except for a few weeds, and the ground is cracked. For the second year in a row, Dan Errotabere is fallowing one third of his ranch: 1,700 acres of California farmland that might have grown tomatoes, garlic, onions and garbanzo beans.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Your contribution to the California drought (interactive graphic)

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

No Klamath water left to combat salmon-killing parasite

A deadly parasite is thriving in the drought, infecting all the juvenile chinook salmon in the Klamath River in Northern California as they prepare to migrate to the ocean.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Q&A: California farmers with oldest water rights face cuts

Farmers in drought-stricken California with nearly guaranteed rights to water are bracing for historic orders to stop diverting water from rivers and streams.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought-ridden California faces decision on new water cuts

Farmers along the river delta at the heart of California agriculture expected to get an answer Friday on their surprise offer to give up a quarter of their water this year in exchange for being spared deeper mandatory cutbacks as California responds to the worsening drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: It’s not just a ‘California drought’

In a somber opening to wildfire season this month, federal and state officials meeting in Nevada warned that kindling-dry forests and a rainless forecast could lead multiple states in the Great Basin to erupt in flames at once, stretching firefighters and equipment thin across the region. … Dryness stretches throughout the American West. Yet the nation is captivated by the notion of a “California drought.”

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

California faces a tough test to tame its unquenchable thirst for water

In the fourth year of the most severe drought in state history, Californians are finally starting to turn away from arcane rules and practices that have allowed them nearly unlimited use of water since the era of the Gold Rush.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Mandatory usage cuts loom even for those with senior water rights

In the 1976-77 drought, the state ordered growers with some of the oldest water rights in California to stop pumping from many rivers and streams. Now, in a sign of the spreading pain of another punishing drought, regulators are preparing to do the same thing.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno City Council buys water, passes water-conservation law

The Fresno City Council on Thursday bought some much-needed water and brought some unexpected peace to a dust-control program. … Weeks of negotiations with the Friant Water Authority and the federal Bureau of Reclamation led to a something-is-better-than-nothing scenario.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

As California thirsts, these apps help save water (with video)

California’s drought is a powerful reminder of the vulnerability and precious nature of our water resources. To become more responsible with water usage and waste, a few apps can help people learn about and reduce their water consumption.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Delta farmers offer to take 25 percent less water

Dozens of California farmers whose century-old claims to rivers and streams have assured them a nearly endless water supply, at least up until now, are offering to give up a quarter of their water in exchange for a guarantee that the drought-plagued state won’t come clamoring for a whole lot more.  … State officials have not yet acted on the offer.

Aquafornia news City News Service

Drought-minded protesters want Nestle to stop bottling water at Los Angeles plant

Protesters rallied outside a Nestle water-bottling plant in Los Angeles today [May 20], demanding that the company halt its operations in response to the state’s drought. A simultaneous rally was held at a plant in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

People support water conservation, in theory

Californians widely support Gov. Jerry Brown’s call for mandatory water cuts amid the deepening drought, according to a new poll of state residents — but many don’t know if they can pitch in.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Despite drought, Desert Water Agency not raising rates for water wasters

With mandatory 36 percent cutbacks looming, the Desert Water Agency has no plans to change the low, flat rate it charges for water.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County formally requests promised Trinity River flows

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to send a letter to the federal government making a formal request for its promised 50,000 acre-feet of Trinity River water in advance of another summer of drought and possible litigation.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno’s dilemma: Save water or pollute the air?

The [Fresno] council on Thursday will consider an emergency water-conservation law that, among other things, would give City Hall authority to suspend its hydrant-meter program.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Owens Valley ranchers and environmentalists brought together by drought (with video)

The drought has worked a miracle in the Owens Valley, as environmental activists and ranchers have buried decades of enmity to forge a plan to save ranch land — at the expense of hard-fought environmental protections.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Town fights turning on long-installed water meters

Morada, located northeast of Stockton, is one of three small towns in the county where water meters have been installed that aren’t being used because of Proposition 218. The other two, Acampo and Fairway Estates, surround Lodi.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Tough choice for Delta farmers

A plan under consideration by the state will allow farmers who claim senior riparian rights to continue taking water later this summer, if they will agree now to leave 25 percent of their land barren, or to conserve 25 percent of the water they would normally use.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Silicon Valley faces sweeping water cuts

Nearly 1 million Silicon Valley residents will face strict water quotas — and pricey premiums for going over — under what will soon be the Bay Area’s most far-reaching rationing plan in four years of drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farms added workers in 2014, even amid drought

Despite the drought, the number of workers employed in California’s agricultural industry rose to its highest level in at least 24 years, as many farmers shifted toward labor-intensive, permanent crops, according to the latest state and federal statistics.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: California farms use how much water? Nobody really knows

Information is the heart of California’s $US 2 trillion economy. … In nearly every sector, data — and the strategic decisions it enables — are a principal source of the Golden State’s economic triumph. But in agriculture, the bedrock water-consuming industry in a state buffeted by a deep four-year drought, water data are not collected with anywhere near the same rigor and dedication.

Aquafornia news The Bakersfield Californian

Commentary: We need a plan for the next inevitable drought

I [Lois Henry] fear more and more people will soon experience first-hand the lack of a true disaster plan for our prolonged drought.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Temecula: Water park dead again; drought blamed

Another deadline has come and gone and Temecula is no closer to getting a water park.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Modesto’s water cops now out looking for waste

Modesto is stepping up its enforcement of its drought restrictions by sending water cops out in the early morning to check for homeowners, businesses and others watering their lawns and other landscaping when they shouldn’t or wasting water because of malfunctioning sprinklers.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought — New poll finds residents think it’s serious, but aren’t sure they can conserve more

An overwhelming majority of Californians believe the state’s drought is extremely serious and support Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandatory new water conservation rules, according to a new statewide poll released Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Golf courses slice water use to cope with ongoing drought

Golf courses across the central San Joaquin Valley — like courses and country clubs throughout the state — are throttling back on irrigation and reducing the acreage of grass that they must water as they cope with California’s drought.

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.