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.
Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, gathered the
reluctant hold-your-nose support of The Press Democrat
editorial board. But you should vote no on Proposition 1.
Here’s why: Proposition 1 is not a solution to our water
shortages or drought. But it does burden us with $14.4
billion of real debt obligations including interest …
With a drought in the atmosphere and a water bond on the
ballot, interest in the state of our water is soaring. Today
officials will offer a primer on the vital resource, assessing
the state of things with an update to the California Water
A few years ago I remember getting overly excited about an
upcoming storm and its potential for producing a powder day. A
friend, a little more grizzled in his Sierra Nevada lifestyle,
promptly shut me down with a “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Complete recovery from the drought gripping California and
other western states is not likely this winter, according to a
recent forecast. … Tahoe’s drought is predicted to persist,
according to a NOAA drought outlook map for Oct. 16, 2014,
through Jan. 31, 2015, with the potential for slow drought
recovery later in winter and early spring for the Sierra.
“In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in
between, the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.” The
newest issue of Western Water magazine examines salinity in the
San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary and critical
juncture of the state’s water delivery system. Read more
excerpts from this issue.
California’s historic drought has put the state’s water
problems in the forefront this year and those problems aren’t
likely to be solved when the clouds open up again. Nowhere is
that more apparent than in the water system’s central hub — the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
California’s stubborn drought helped push a $7.5-billion water
bond through the Legislature and onto the November ballot. But
even if voters approve Proposition 1, it won’t provide relief
any time soon.
Faced with a continuing drought, not to mention the ravages of
the olive fruit fly, this year’s olive harvest is expected to
start in a week or so, earlier than usual, and be about a third
smaller than last year. This will also be the first harvest to
come under new stricter grading and labeling standards that
took effect last month.
As one of two counties with fracking bans on the local ballot
this November, San Benito County has also become the site of a
heated political battle between oil companies and anti-fracking
ranchers, farmers, and residents. A similar fight is going down
in Santa Barbara County, where oil companies have funneled $7.6
million into a campaign against Measure P, a citizen’s ballot
initiative that would ban future high-intensity petroleum
operations on unincorporated county land.
East San Joaquin Valley growers are suing state water
authorities over drought decisions, claiming east-side
communities and farms got no federal water after the state
illegally denied deliveries to a separate group of landowners
with senior water rights.
The drought is causing low water levels at New Melones Lake.
“We are about 20 percent of our capacity,” park manager Alex
Michalek said Monday. … The Bureau of Reclamation said the
lake has not been this low in the past two decades.
In my last blog, I discussed how low rainfall and
higher-than-average temperatures are worsening the drought and
causing severe water shortages. The changes that are affecting
the drought in the Southwest – lower-than-average rain, higher
temperatures, and changes in snowpack and runoff patterns – are
consistent with the changes we expect to see with climate
Peter Walkowiak, Palomar Society president, said he talked with
dozens of people looking to say farewell to water-sucking grass
for low-consuming, easy-care plants. … Plant vendors saw more
than 1,500 plants go out the door Saturday and a like amount if
not more on Sunday, a projected increase this year over last of
more than 40 percent, Walkowiak said.
The city of San Diego’s vote for mandatory water limits took no
one by surprise in light of what is shaping up to be a
four-year dry spell. … The details of those rules, however,
puzzled city residents, who wondered, for instance, what the
measure meant for their low-flow irrigation system, or whether
an order to shut off ornamental fountains affected their water
A team of researchers from Stanford and the University of
Calgary say a ground-breaking geophysical survey of saltwater
intrusion into groundwater tables along 25 miles of Monterey
Bay coastline shows the wells are running a deficit.
Jennifer Bowles, the executive director of the Water Education
Foundation, recently did an interview with Radio Disney in San
Francisco to talk about various water issues, including the
drought and groundwater.
Nearly 1.8 million San Gabriel Valley water users are being put
to the test. In an effort to shine a light on the effects of
the drought, the San Gabriel Valley Water Association is
tallying the amount of water drawn from wells in local
groundwater basins every week, then handing out grades.
I’m hoping you’ll come visit us this winter and stay for a
while. I miss the wave after wave of storms from northern cold
fronts or the soothing Pineapple Express warm tropical storms
that stretch from Hawaii to California.
Great horned owls hang out at the San Luis National Wildlife
Refuge. … But this year, predators may be the least of the
worries for these birds. Starvation, avian cholera and botulism
may be bigger killers than usual. It’s another dark twist from
California’s destructive drought.
Rangers at Yosemite National Park are in a constant battle to
keep wild black bears — with their ultra-keen noses and
powerful paws and jaws — far away from humans. … The
instances of bears raiding campgrounds and parking lots for
human food are up by 35 percent from Jan. 1 to Oct. 19 compared
to the same period last year — the second such increase during
the state’s three consecutive dry years.
In his first policy speech as California’s Senate leader, Kevin
de León said one of his key priorities will be combating
climate change by setting policies that promote energy
efficiency. … In his speech to the water officials Thursday,
de León also stumped for Proposition 1 …”
A demonstration house unveiled in El Dorado Hills last week by
national builder KB Home recycles drain water for toilets and
landscaping and can power itself entirely with solar panels.
… Water recycling has been gaining momentum in
California’s historic drought.
Earlier this week, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and
released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving
water management in the United States in the face of scarce
Things were bad enough for Rochelle Landers before her well
went dry. … She has an acre in the Sierra foothills, in a
sparsely populated town an hour northeast of Sacramento with a
seemingly abundant water supply despite the drought.
An in-depth analysis of the $7.5 billion water bond
(Proposition 1) on the Nov. 4 ballot finds that it could
benefit California’s communities and the environment but that
those benefits (water supply, water reliability and
environmental quality improvements) are not guaranteed.
The drought has moved to the top of Californians’ worry list.
And that’s a first. Asked to name the “most important issue”
facing the state, 26 percent of respondents to a statewide
survey earlier this month said “water” and “drought.”
The newest issue of Western Water magazine examines salinity in
the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta, a vital estuary and
critical juncture of the state’s water delivery system. Written
by the Foundation’s Gary Pitzer, the September/October issue
discusses the how salinity during drought is affecting fish,
wildlife and farms. In wet years, dry years and every type of
water year in between, the daily intrusion and retreat of
salinity in the Delta is a constant pattern.
Faced with a state mandate to balance groundwater basins within
the next two decades, Monterey County officials on Tuesday took
the first step toward meeting that goal in the long overdrafted
Salinas Valley groundwater basin.
This drought year, as in those past, California water
regulators have given away to cities and farms some river flows
critical to fish and wildlife. … There are, however, legal
backstops to prevent harmful reductions in fish flows, even
during a drought as severe as this one.
There’s a plan for water transfers could move up to 511,000
acre-feet of water each year for the next 10 years from the
Sacramento Valley to the San Joaquin Valley and the Bay Area.
… The Bureau [of Reclamation] is in the middle of writing the
“Long-Term Water Transfers Environmental Impact
Statement/Environmental Impact Report.”
The [Public Policy Institute of California] survey, produced
with support from The James Irvine Foundation, determined
likely voter sentiment on other issues, including: … On
Proposition 1, the $7.5 billion water bond, 56 percent say they
would support it after being read the ballot title and label
for the measure.
A plan by PG&E to temporarily shut down a powerhouse that
feeds water from the Eel River to the Russian River may cut
into consumer supplies this winter by further reducing the
amount of water coming into Lake Mendocino.
Turns out the UCLA flood was just a drop in the sea of potable
water that leaks or blows out of underground pipes.
California’s water distribution systems lose up to 228 billion
gallons annually, the state estimates — more than enough to
supply the entire city of Los Angeles for a year.
In wet years, dry years and every type of water year in between,
the daily intrusion and retreat of salinity in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta is a constant pattern.
The cycle of ebb and flood is the defining nature of an estuary
and prior to its transformation into an agricultural tract in
the mid-19th century, the Delta was a freshwater marsh with
plants, birds, fish and wildlife that thrived on the edge of the
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced
Monday that last month the globe averaged 60.3 degrees
Fahrenheit (15.72 degrees Celsius). That was the hottest
September in 135 years of record keeping.
The signs appear about 200 miles north of Los Angeles, tacked
onto old farm wagons parked along quiet two-lane roads and
bustling Interstate 5. “Congress Created Dust Bowl.” “Stop the
Politicians’ Water Crisis.” “No Water No Jobs.”
This Hamilton Project memo presents nine economic facts that
provide relevant background context to the water crisis in the
United States. … We examine these issues through the lens of
economic policy, with the aim of providing an objective framing
of America’s complex relationship with water.
Step by step, sewage flows through the city’s Donald C. Tillman
Water Reclamation Plant in the San Fernando Valley. Ultimately,
the cleaned effluent flows into lakes and rivers.
… Mayor Eric Garcetti, who prefers the term “showers to
flowers” instead of “toilet to tap,” also lobbied for
groundwater cleanup funds.
Water has become a huge issue in the desert. On our You’ve Got
Issues Facebook group, Vic Yepello of Palm Springs writes that
homeowners associations are violating the rules about watering
during daylight hours.
Broken sprinklers, water running on streets and neighbors
hosing down driveways are increasingly prompting complaints to
water agencies as drought-conscious residents across the
Coachella Valley are reporting incidents of waste.
He’ll [Gov. Jerry Brown] dive further into the world of water
at a policy conference today at Stanford University, hosted by
The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution and the
Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. … His
speech, scheduled for 9:20 a.m., will be webcast.
San Joaquin County is missing out on millions of dollars in
state grants to fight the drought, in part because some private
landowners are reluctant to share confidential information
about their wells.
In the midst of a historic drought, public health officials are
searching for clues as to why cases of West Nile virus have
exploded statewide since last year, making this season the
worst for human infections in California since 2005.
The pending closure of the Paradise Pines Golf Course may be a
matter of simple economics, but it may also be a sign of these
dry times in California. … The course is an economic asset, a
recreational asset, and a scenic asset for many of the
residences built along the fairways.
For months now California leaders have been telling people to
conserve water, let their lawns go brown and switch to
drought-tolerant yards. But Los Angeles rules have, in some
cases, made it hard to be water wise.
Along this patch of the Pacific Ocean, welders and pipefitters
nearly outnumber the surfers and sunbathers. … They are
building the Carlsbad Desalination Project, which will convert
as much as 56 million gallons of seawater each day into
drinking water for San Diego County residents.
Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. That line is
all that remains in my brain from an early exposure to “The
Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the endless poem that has been
cruelly inflicted upon generations of American schoolchildren.
Lingering drought has helped push Lake Tahoe’s water level
below its natural rim for the first time in five years, cutting
off flows into the Truckee River, which has been reduced to a
shallow stream as it meanders down the Sierra through Reno.
Even ideas are being conserved as Santa Cruz continues its hunt
for alternative water supply solutions. … The so-called
ideas convention was hosted by the city’s 14-member Water
Supply Advisory Committee.
The reduction of water use in new homes has long been a focus
of California’s homebuilding industry. … The good news is the
state has a golden opportunity to use the emergency drought
funds available to retrofit older homes to comply with current
building standards – potentially saving hundreds of billions of
gallons a year.
Drought is rampant these days in many parts of
the American West, so consider this a pretty sweet gift:
You’ve just been given the rights to some water. … Your
job is to turn around and use that resource in the most
valuable way possible.
The Water Education Foundation’s popular Northern California
Tour features a diverse group of experts talking about
groundwater, flood management, the drought, water supplies,
agricultural challenges, and the latest on salmon restoration
efforts. The tour also includes a houseboat cruise on Lake
Shasta. … The tour travels the length of the Sacramento
Valley with visits to Oroville and Shasta dams.
A winter outlook released Thursday by the National Weather
Service suggests drought is likely to continue in many parts of
California for a fourth straight year. Although that prediction
is early and marked by some uncertainty, it’s enough to keep
water officials on edge.
The State Water Resources Control Board recently
solicited public comments on how to improve its
drought curtailment of water rights. Here is a summary of
insights and recommendations from a group of seven California
In his first career, Tim Thornhill stuck about 4,000
tensiometers – instruments that measure soil moisture and
thereby help regulate irrigation – into the earth as he
developed botanical gardens around the country.
An international consortium of water economists gathered at the
World Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. earlier this fall
for two days of meetings on water policy research. … In light
of the national and international attention to California’s
ongoing drought, I was asked to give keynote remarks about
lessons from California for other regions of the world.
Caring for the annual snowpack would become a core industry in
Calaveras County under an economic development vision being
championed by county Supervisor Cliff Edson of San Andreas. …
Now, he’s putting together an ad-hoc coalition of water
agencies, utilities, forest managers, property owners and
others who have an interest in either the prosperity of
Calaveras County or in increasing water yield.
In an attempt to reduce water use during California’s severe
drought, Sonoma’s City Council will consider raising water
rates next month and imposing a new tiered-pricing system that
puts the financial squeeze on the city’s heaviest water users.
The drought has reached a tipping point, according to several
area landscape contractors and designers. More residents are
converting some or all of their lawn to drought-tolerant
landscapes, while others are mulling it over.
Spurred by the drought, but planning for long-term
sustainability, Mayor Eric Garcetti has set an ambitious and
important goal for Los Angeles: to reduce the amount of water
it purchases by 50% in 10 years.
As this year’s El Niño sets in, early signs are pointing toward
the possibility of a rare occurrence: back-to-back El Niño
years. If it happens, it would virtually guarantee a new global
heat record in 2015 and could help usher in a decade or more of
This summer, California’s water authority declared that wasting
water — hosing a sidewalk, for example — was a crime. Next
door, in Nevada, Las Vegas has paid out $200 million over the
last decade for homes and businesses to pull out their lawns.
The threat of rain in mid-October would typically have
winemakers and vineyard managers scrambling as they look to
limit any damage caused by severe rot or other moisture-related
harm to the North Coast’s most valuable crop.
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday challenged Los Angeles
residents, businesses and city agencies to cut water use by 20%
over the next 21/2 years and warned of new water restrictions
if conservation targets aren’t met. … The mayor’s move
comes as statewide conservation efforts appear to be producing
Not only are temperatures across the Southland expected to drop
below normal for the rest of the week, but some areas could
even see rain overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday morning,
according to the National Weather Service.
For three years now, Californians have fixed leaks, ripped out
lawns and shortened showers, adjusting to what officials call
the most severe drought in memory. Imagine what changes might
come next if the drought continues for the rest of our
Get a group of farmers and ranchers together and they will tell
you without hesitation California’s historic drought is driving
up the cost of food. The Center for Land-Based Learning, a
non-profit teaching people how to farm, held its annual
fundraiser at the Oracle Conference Center in Redwood City this
The wild elk and domestic cows simply do not mix, according to
the ranchers who lease the fields from the National Park
Service, which administers 28,000 acres of agricultural land in
the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes
seashore. The ranchers say the competition from the elk for
scarce vegetation threatens their very existence after three
years of drought.
Rugged and isolated, the Rubicon River Valley on the border of
El Dorado and Placer counties was for many years an idyll of
old growth trees and icy swimming holes. … Experts now worry
that the devastation and the extreme temperatures of the fire,
which scorched much of the soil and reduced its ability to hold
together and absorb runoff, could lead to floods and mudslides
when winter storms arrive.
California’s drought has created mandated water conservation
efforts, but some communities in Southern California, from
Huntington Beach to Los Angeles, are doing something extra:
trying to become water independent.
Three straight years of desperately dry conditions in
California are igniting hills in walls of towering orange
flames, turning reservoirs to sandpits, and causing residents
across America’s most populous state to clamor for water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the
2014 WaterSense Partners of the Year for their commitment to
promoting water efficiency and strengthening the drought
resiliency of communities across the country, during the
WaterSmart Innovations Conference today [Oct. 9] in Las Vegas,
They’re a dozen men and women riding horseback on a modern-day
cross-country cattle drive, but with fistfuls of petitions
instead of a herd of steers. … But environmentalists have
lashed out at protesters as a selfish, entitled group with no
business running private cattle on public lands, especially
during years of prolonged drought.
The Sierra Nevada water year for 2014 ended on Sept. 30 and the
snowfall and precipitation totals aren’t pretty. The 194.5
inches of snowfall measured last season at the Central Sierra
Snow Lab tied with 1924 as third least snowiest since 1879,
well under the 409 inch seasonal average.
This year’s much-anticipated El Niño is closing in, federal
climate experts said Thursday, but it’s also looking weaker
than ever — meaning there is little chance it will help squelch
California’s lingering drought has lowered the water level in
Castaic Lake so dramatically that authorities said a fisherman
on Thursday recovered a badge and handgun that a federal agent
lost in the lake nearly 22 years ago.
Faced with the increasing probability of shortage on the
Colorado River, municipal water providers in Arizona,
California, Nevada and Colorado, and the Bureau of Reclamation
are implementing a landmark Colorado River System Conservation
program. … At a later date, water users in the Upper Basin
will be invited to participate in this unique agreement.
October 1 marks the beginning of the water year, a term
hydrologists and water managers in the western United States
use to define the period when snow begins to accumulate in
mountain basins rather than melt. … Going by the calendar
year – the January to December period that governs most record
keeping – 2013 was the driest in state history.
The biggest changes to California groundwater law in 150 years
are on the way. What it means for local water leaders is a lot
of work. The goal within 20 years is for all groundwater basins
in the state to achieve sustainability.
Five new wells are on the drawing board for Glenn-Colusa
Irrigation District, the biggest surface water district in the
Sacramento Valley. … Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District is
considering the five wells as a backup to surface water during
dry and critically dry years, presenters explained.
A series of videos available online is a great resource for
water wonks and newcomers alike. Researchers and cooperative
extension specialists from the University of California’s
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, with support
from the California Department of Water Resources, have put
together these video seminars on drought-related water
Some of the biggest savings have come in Southern California,
which faced criticism earlier this year for increasing water
use at a time when the rest of the state was cutting back,
according to state records released Tuesday.
When Tracy city workers first ran the numbers suggesting that
residents saved 41 percent more water in August than they did
the previous year — one of the highest conservation rates in
the state — Steve Bayley was stunned.
San Diego’s water supplies could be seriously tested if a
punishing four-year drought extends through another winter. But
there is relief on the horizon. It’s not coming from rain
clouds; relief is coming from the West Coast’s first seawater
desalination plant in Carlsbad.
One of the most extreme droughts in California’s history has
been hitting agriculture hard, forcing cutbacks in water
deliveries in parts of the Central Valley and leaving more than
400,000 acres of farmland fallow and dry.
Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday are expected to adopt a
far-reaching plan that seeks to locally manage and protect
groundwater resources through scientific study and voluntary
measures such as well monitoring.
Storage was the key sticking point in getting the legislature
to pass the water bond with the two thirds vote it needed. That
portion of the bond includes reservoirs and projects to clean
up or store more groundwater.
Water bills obtained via the state’s Public Records Act show
that in 2013, nearly half of the officials who supervise the
state’s biggest water agencies used more water than the typical
Exports of California food products took a dive in August, with
fruit and tree nuts decreasing by 8 percent when compared to
the same time last year and vegetables dropping by 7.8 percent,
according to data released Friday by Beacon Economics.
The Sacramento Region is one step closer to reducing its
reliance on Folsom Reservoir. The state of California has
recommended the Regional Water Authority receive almost $10
million for projects to improve water supply.
The Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project began water
year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015) with 3.1 million
acre-feet of water in six key CVP reservoirs (Shasta, Trinity,
Folsom, New Melones, and Millerton reservoirs and the federal
share of the joint federal/state San Luis Reservoir). This is
less than half of the 15-year average annual carryover of 6.4
million acre-feet and about 2 million acre-feet less than the
amount with which the region started WY 2014.
Biologists strode along the cracked, dry mud surrounding this
evaporating north Los Angeles County lake last week, pausing
periodically to pick up an emaciated turtle and wash alkaline
dust off its head and carapace.
California swimming pool companies just regaining their
financial footing after the recession are now facing a new
challenge: a devastating drought that has put the state’s
ubiquitous backyard pools under the microscope.
A few years ago a group of researchers used computer modeling
to put California through a nightmare scenario: Seven decades
of unrelenting mega-drought similar to those that dried out the
state in past millennia.
With high unlikeliness that Santa Cruz will receive enough
precipitation in the coming year to escape the persistent
drought, Water Director Rosemary Menard recommends extending
residential rationing on a month-to-month basis.
In the Gallegos household and more than 500 others in Tulare
County, residents cannot flush a toilet, fill a drinking glass,
wash dishes or clothes, or even rinse their hands without
reaching for a bottle or bucket. Unlike the Okies who came here
fleeing the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, the people now living on
this parched land are stuck.
We talked the other day about the most exciting project now
going on in California, public or private. That would be
Poseiden Water’s Carlsbad desalination plant north of San
Diego, scheduled to begin operating next year.
A federal judge ruled Wednesday that a federal water agency did
not violate the law when it made special reservoir releases
last year to help salmon in Northern California’s Klamath River
survive the drought, rather than save it for farms.
The state Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed California
regulators to order farmers along the Russian River to reduce
cold-weather water sprays that have helped preserve their crops
while killing thousands of endangered salmon.
In the midst of a record-smashing dry cycle in the United
States, the organization with the most influence over state and
federal drought policy wants to do a better job managing the
crisis. … On September 18 and 19, the Western Governors’
Association, a forum for state leaders, will welcome to Norman,
Oklahoma, agency officials, industry representatives, and
technical experts who will offer insight on how a multi-year
drought in the western United States is challenging the energy
Help will soon be on the way for about 100 residents who live
in the Big Bend Mountain Mobile Home Park in Yankee Hill.
… Luckily, the park was added to a list for emergency
water supply funds, with money recently approved by the state.
As the state ends the fourth-driest water year on record with
no guarantee of significant rain and snowfall this winter,
Californians face the prospect of stricter rationing and meager
irrigation deliveries for agriculture.
Farmers and ranchers forced to sell livestock due to the
drought have an extended period of time to replace their
livestock and defer tax on any gains from the sales, the
Internal Revenue Service announced.
If the severe drought gripping California continues much
longer, there’s a good chance that many of the Golden State’s
residences will be assigned a daily allocation of water and
then charged extra for exceeding that amount.
Rebates received by homeowners for replacing their lawns with
drought-tolerant landscaping will not be counted as income,
according to a bill authored by a Los Angeles lawmaker and
signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday.
The stubborn high-pressure systems that block California rains
are linked to the abundance of human-caused greenhouse gases
that heat the oceans, according to a major paper released
Monday by Stanford scientists. But two other new studies
disagree — saying there’s no evidence that warming ocean waters
are to blame for our drought.
Scientists looking at 16 cases of wild weather around the world
last year see the fingerprints of man-made global warming on
more than half of them. … The California drought, though,
comes with an asterisk.
As officials crack down on homeowners who waste water, more
drought-conscious Californians are using social media to
broadcast video of what appear to be government agencies
breaking their own water-use rules: sprinklers running at city
parks in the middle of the day, public workers hosing grass
until it becomes a muddy mess.
A change in releases at Lake Mendocino is helping water
suppliers hold back precious reserves as the region’s dry spell
wears on and threatens to cut historically low reservoir stores
to critical levels.
California Gov. Jerry Brown has asked restaurants not to serve
water unless diners ask for it. He’s letting lawns at the state
Capitol turn brown. Farmers in the Central Valley are getting
just a trickle of the water they usually do. Conspicuous water
wasters – commercial and residential – face fines of $500 a
day. Even Lady Gaga is pleading with Californians to conserve.
Most of California’s major reservoirs are now less than
half-full — or at what officials call a “seriously low” level
— but that’s still nowhere near the historic lows set in 1977,
the state’s driest year on record.
Living in the semi-arid, Mediterranean climate of California,
drought always lingers on the horizon. People believe they are
ready to face the next dry period, then conditions arrive testing
whether that is the case.
This 3-day, 2-night tour travels the length of the San Joaquin
Valley, giving participants a clear understanding of the State
Water Project and Central Valley Project. Stops include the Kern
County Water Bank, the San Joaquin River,
Terminus Dam, Mendota Pool, Friant Dam, San Luis
National Wildlife Refuge and San Luis Reservoir.
A report released this week shows that many Sierra Nevada
forests are in critical condition, and that natural benefits
they provide — such as clean air and water — are at risk from
large, intense fire.
After a sweaty day outdoors, you’re only halfway through an
evening shower with shampoo stinging your eyes when it hits
you: You’ve just about used up your water ration for the day.
And you still have to water your petunias and wash your dirty
socks. What to do?
Tuesday, the Santa Cruz City Council unanimously approved a
five-year water rate increase and temporary drought-recovery
fee designed to fund long-needed infrastructure improvements,
grow reserves and replace revenue lost during mandated