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.
If there is a positive outcome of five years of drought in California, it’s the lessons learned about how to manage water during a shortage in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. On the up-side, farmers got creative to cut back their water diversions by 32 percent through a volunteer program. On the learning-curve side, complex water rights confound who gets water during shortage.
California water agencies that spent more than $350 million in the last two years of drought to pay property owners to rip out water-slurping lawns are now trying to answer whether the nation’s biggest lawn removal experiment was all worth the cost.
The San Juan Water District’s especially steep backslide stood out as part of a statewide trend: With mandatory state restrictions lifted, the overwhelming majority of local suppliers saved less this summer, according to a Times analysis of state water data.
As the state enters its sixth year of drought, Northern California is seeing some significant relief thanks to a series of powerful storms, while Southern California remains mired in record dry conditions.
It might have been sprinkling outside the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium on Tuesday, but inside the building some of the state’s brightest water experts were taking stock of California’s enduring drought. As we enter into what could be a sixth year of shortage, here are six lessons gleaned from Tuesday’s forum sponsored by the nonprofit Water Education Foundation:
As the rainy season begins in California, so too does the potential for dangerous flash flooding. … California agencies are using a new computer monitoring tool to understand ground conditions in real-time, including areas burned by wildfire.
Back-to-back bouts of rain that began Monday will make for an unusually wet week leading up to Halloween, said forecasters who are beginning to grow concerned about potential flooding this winter in fire-scorched areas.
As the days darken, all eyes are on the Sierra Nevada, then the sky, with a glance back at the mountains, to the Internet for forecast information, over to the thermometer — all in a fidgety search for a sign, any sign, that this winter will be wet.
For those with a financial stake in water, drought can mean boom or bust, depending on the investment. And even without a specific market to trade water, there are numerous ways to invest in it – from buying land with water rights to stocks in water-dependent companies to municipal bonds. Take Michael Burry, for instance, the hedge fund manager featured in the book and movie “The Big Short” who outsmarted the subprime housing market crash.
By any measure, California is confronting a complicated new chapter as it enters the sixth year of a drought that has forced it to balance huge demand for a sparse resource — water — from farmers, residents, municipalities and developers.
Forecasts are already showing a possibility of La Niña in our future, with the Climate Prediction Center for the National Weather Service rating our chances at about 70 percent. … La Niña was originally not in the cards as recently as early September, according to NOAA.
In a move that could have ramifications across the arid West, a government watchdog agency accused federal water regulators of wasting taxpayer funds when they gave Klamath Basin farmers more than $32 million to stop growing crops and to pump groundwater instead of drawing from lakes and rivers.
California’s drought has brought about a strange partnership that includes corporations like Coca-Cola and environmental groups like the Nature Conservancy. They’re partnering on projects aimed at helping increase water supply in California.
California has been trying to fill its reservoirs for 5 years, and it will get a little help from a storm expected to hit later this week. Right now, Lake Shasta is only at 60% capacity and Lake Oroville is at 44%, with other reservoirs across the state even lower.
Climate change from human activity nearly doubled the area that burned in forest fires in the American West over the past 30 years, a major new scientific study has found, and larger, more intense fires are all but guaranteed in the years ahead.
Four years into the drought, bark beetles did what was expected of them in the conifer woods of Tuolumne County. They bored into the trunks of moisture-stressed pines, cutting off the trees’ nutrient flow.
Wildfires in California and across the West have become twice as destructive over the past three decades due to climate change, taking a toll that will only continue to escalate, according to research published Monday.
Californians continued to backslide on water conservation during the hottest summer on record, worrying regulators and frustrating environmentalists critical of a new policy enacted this spring that allows most urban water districts to avoid mandatory cuts in water use.
Californians’ water conservation slipped for the third consecutive month in August, prompting new alarm from regulators about whether relaxed water restrictions may be causing residents to revert to old habits as the state enters its sixth year of severe drought.
Already dealing with parched conditions, the U.S. Southwest faces the threat of megadroughts this century as temperatures rise, says a new study that found the risk is reduced if heat-trapping gases are curbed.
Californians conserved about a third less water in August than a year earlier, state regulators announced Wednesday, evidence that the decision to ease up on conservation mandates caused some to revert to old habits.
Devastating wildfires like the giant that is still chewing through Big Sur are driving the nation’s firefighting costs to unprecedented levels, prompting the Obama administration to say the government is ill-equipped to handle the increasingly busy fire seasons of the historically dry West.
The end of September meant both the end of the 2016 water year and a deadline for signing new legislation. In the past few weeks California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bevy of new bills into law, many of them addressing drought or water issues in the state.
After the state entered into its sixth year of drought on Saturday, Humboldt County walked away with its best rainfall total in the last five years. … A year ago at this time, the Eel River was approaching record low flow levels with salmon showing alarming signs of blindness and lethargy as they waited for heavy rains.
The Loma fire is one of 9 major active blazes burning across California, after a record-breaking heatwave last week and a weather phenomenon known as the Santa Ana wind, which brings hot, dusty air sweeping across the already-desiccated landscape of drought-ridden Southern California.
Who’s the homeowner who managed to use 11.8-million gallons of water in a single year? The city isn’t naming names, but the Center for Investigative Reporting has narrowed down the list to seven likely suspects.
Los Angeles officials have steadfastly refused to identify the Wet Prince of Bel Air, the homeowner who pumped an astonishing 11.8 million gallons of water during a single year of California’s crippling drought.
California’s five-year drought created ideal conditions for brewing toxic levels of the naturally occurring bacteria, which multiplies rapidly in hot temperatures, low water flows and stagnant water choked with fertilizers and nutrients.
In a move that foreshadows sweeping statewide reductions in the amount of river water available for human needs, California regulators on Thursday proposed a stark set of cutbacks to cities and farms that receive water from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries.
As Southern California firefighters battled the Blue Cut Fire last month, there was nothing they could do to fend off an unfortunate reality: Global warming is already lengthening wildfire season and increasing the likelihood of extreme fires across the West.
So far this 4,636 wildfires in California have burned more than 200,000 acres. That’s more fires than this time last year and more fires than the five-year average. … California has an added challenge of dealing with a five-year drought.
[Sen. Dianne] Feinstein asked Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to shift $38 million in the Department’s budget to pay for removing trees from federal land identified by the California Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force.
Years of drought have sapped California’s water supply, creating an accumulated deficit exacerbated by increasingly warmer temperatures, a top researcher said at a recent briefing.
Michael Dettinger, research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, said parts of California have fallen more than two years behind where they should be in terms of receiving “normal” precipitation. The situation augurs what would be expected under projected climate change conditions as average annual temperatures warm and the snow level declines.
La Niña may not happen after all. Federal climate scientists on Thursday dialed back their forecast for the influential weather pattern that is sometimes associated with dry years in parts of the Americas, including California — where another winter of scant rain could wreak havoc on the drought-plagued state.
Statewide water conservation numbers dropped again in July, the second month of the state’s new, relaxed plan to save water during a record drought. Californians used 20 percent less water in July as compared to the same month in 2013, state water officials reported Wednesday.
A hydrograph illustrates a type of activity of water during a specific time frame. Salinity and acidity are sometimes measured, but the most common types are stage and discharge hydrographs. These graphs show how surface water flow responds to fluxes in precipitation.
Locked in a multi-year drought, California’s urban water suppliers have, for the most part, happily enforced rules that prohibit specific wasteful water practices, such as hosing down driveways and over-watering lawns.
Lake Powell has been called “Jewel of the Colorado” by the federal agency that built it, the Bureau of Reclamation. It’s been a vital force for the intermountain West because of its ability to store vast amounts of water and generate electricity for farmers, cities and towns in 13 states.
Five years of drought have severely taxed California’s rivers, reservoirs and groundwater. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – the hub of California’s water supply, an agricultural center and a crucial ecological resource – hasn’t been immune from the impacts of the prolonged drought.
At this free one-day briefing in Stockton on Oct. 25, keynote speaker Jay Lund, Director of the UC Center for Watershed Sciences, and other experts will discuss the drought’s effects on the Delta.
Other confirmed speakers include Delta Watermaster Michael Patrick George, Michelle Banonis, Manager of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Bay-Delta Office, Michael Dettinger, senior scientist and research hydrologist at USGS, and Peter Moyle, one of the foremost experts on California’s freshwater fish.
Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium
525 N. Center Street
A law signed late Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown requires retail urban water suppliers with more than 3,000 customers to put in place rules that define “excessive water use” and impose them during drought emergencies.
Farm revenue in California dropped by more than $9 billion last year as the drought forced farmers to scramble for water and crucial commodities declined in price, according to data released by the state and federal governments Tuesday.
At the height of California’s fierce wildfire season, the Sierra Nevada and North Coast forests are choked with tens of millions of dead and dying trees, from gnarly oaks to elegant pines that are turning leafy chapels into tinderboxes of highly combustible debris.
The Bureau of Reclamation released water from the Trinity Reservoir early Thursday morning to the lower Klamath River to help prevent the spread a parasitic fish disease, within Chinook salmon. Supplemental flows from the Lewiston Dam will also extend into late September to protect the fall salmon run.
Ill-timed releases from New Melones Reservoir led to a 75 percent drop in rainbow trout on the lower Stanislaus River last year, according to two water purveyors that could have used some of the supply.
The drought has consequences for human health, both physical and emotional. One study in Tulare County recently attempted to quantify these effects via door-to-door polling. This was one survey in two small communities. Now Kurt Schwabe at the University of California Riverside plans a statewide study to assess the drought’s effect on human health.
California’s iconic natural features, from salmon runs to Joshua trees, could dwindle or disappear, as climate change rearranges the state’s weather patterns and landscape, leaving much of the state hotter and drier, scientists warn.
A measure to expand public disclosure of commercial, industrial and other institutional water uses in California fell far short of passage in the state Senate on Friday. … Another bill this year also sought more disclosure as part of a “drought-shaming” campaign to discourage excessive water use.
Despite previous vows of close monitoring, State Water Resources Control Board leaders said they expect independent researchers – such as environmental groups, journalists and other members of the public – to scrutinize water suppliers’ data that the board posted online Tuesday.
Under fire from water agencies who were losing millions of dollars in lost water sales, Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration two months ago dropped all mandatory water conservation targets and allowed cities, water districts and private water companies across the state to set their own targets.
State officials will not force most California water districts to reduce water use this year, even as they caution that the five-year drought persists and note that drought-fueled wildfires continue to wreak havoc.
The ferocious spread of the Clayton fire offers fresh evidence of how five years of unrelenting drought in California leave the state particularly vulnerable to destructive wildfires this year. Wildfires this year have already burned more than 360 square miles and destroyed more than 400 homes and other structures.
While Lake County has suffered more than its share of devastation in the last 12 months from wildfires, this weekend’s destructive Clayton Fire has been one of the few blazes to cause major damage in Northern California this fire season.
Surrounded by barren brown hills and cracked, dry clay, San Luis Reservoir was so empty this week that the nearly milelong, meandering path from the old high-water mark to the waterline could have doubled as a set in the post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” film franchise.
Robert Haskins walked across a vast expanse of cracked mud, littered with old beer bottles and millions of tiny clam shells, that in most Augusts would be 50 feet underwater. But the San Luis Reservoir, the vast inland sea along Highway 152 that is a key part of Silicon Valley’s water supply, is only 10 percent full, its lowest level in 27 years.
State leaders are paying attention. Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency. More than 80 federal, state and local agencies, electric utilities and other organizations have formed the Tree Mortality Task Force, co-chaired by Pimlott, to combat the problem.
Californians are continuing to save significant amounts of water despite the decision by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to relax drought rules two months ago. Statewide, urban residents cut water use 21.5 percent in June, compared with the same month in 2013, the year the state has been using as a baseline, according to new data released Tuesday.
In a paper published Monday in Geophysical Research Letters University of Southern California post-doctoral research associate Pouya Vahmani and USC civil and environmental engineering professor George Ban-Weiss analyze what would happen to the city’s overall temperature during the month of July if every lawn was replaced with drought-tolerant plants.
It might not be what you expect to hear about California agriculture in the throes of drought: After four years of historic water shortages, farm earnings in the state increased 16 percent, and total employment increased 5 percent. Yet those are real numbers gathered by federal agencies that track economic data.
The leaves atop giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada are better at storing water than those closer to the ground, an adaptation that may explain how their treetops are able to survive 300 feet in the air, researchers at American River College and Humboldt State University have found.
Tribes are apprehensive, cities are more upbeat and farmers stand somewhere in between over a proposed plan to cut CAP water deliveries to keep Lake Mead from falling to dangerously low levels. … The drought-contingency plan is being discussed by Arizona, California and Nevada as a way to avert catastrophic cuts later.
A poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows, despite a partisan divide, 62 percent of likely voters favor the law [AB 32]. … The poll also found that water supply and drought remain the top environmental concern for Californians.
California wildfires often become massive infernos that destroy lives and livelihoods, especially during the summer and fall months. Because of a drought that has persisted since 2012, the fire season seems to be expanding, with some fires even occurring during the winter months.
State Water Resources Control Board officials issued a warning last week for the North Coast, noting that high temperatures and continuing drought conditions increase the likelihood of potentially lethal algal blooms in area streams, rivers and lakes.
Thousands of firefighters were battling wildfires on Monday in central and Southern California that have burned through nearly 50,000 acres and prompted thousands of people to evacuate their homes, the authorities said.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office recently held the first in what’s expected to be a series of private meetings with scientists, conservationists and fire professionals to discuss how to prevent massive blazes in the face of climate change and prolonged drought.
During the past year of drought, while many Californians have heeded the call to conserve and managed to achieve water-savings of nearly 25 percent statewide, one group of water users hasn’t measured up: the golf courses that spread out across thousands of acres in the desert.
In California, cyanotoxins have become more of a problem amid the drought and the same toxin that shut down Toledo’s water supply has been detected in lakes, reservoirs and streams across the state. But because standard treatment processes usually get rid of cyanotoxins, water officials say it’s unlikely a similar crisis would unfold here.
The state is currently investigating whether it is feasible to develop standards for direct potable reuse, which would allow treated wastewater to be sent direct to customers for drinking without first being stored in a reservoir or aquifer.
California and parts of the Southwestern United States have now endured a fifth consecutive year of drought. … A few states that were drought-stricken just last year are no longer in drought. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed drought levels estimated as of the week ended July 4 and as of early July last year from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
California has shifted its message on the drought. Now, instead of calling on residents to cut their water consumption collectively by 25 percent, water agencies are saying something akin to this: “Trust us, it’s all under control.”
California’s drought, now in its fifth year, has grabbed headlines – many of them focused on the state’s mandatory conservation measure enacted last year or the impacts on the agricultural sector, said Heather Cooley, the water program director of the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank. … That’s changed since the Pacific Institute teamed up with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and eight grassroots organizations to put together a community-based participatory research project on Drought and Equity in the San Francisco Bay Area.
California water will retake the Capitol Hill stage in coming days, with compromise nowhere in sight. … Underscoring the many complications entangling California water, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority and the Westlands Water District on Friday sued the federal Bureau of Reclamation over measures intended to protect endangered species.
While mandatory statewide conservation is over, California water officials say conservation remains a “top priority.” “Rain or shine, drought or no drought, state mandated target or not, Californians should keep conserving,” said State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus.
Los Angeles has chalked up yet another dreary milestone in its growing almanac of drought. … News of L.A.’s record low precipitation comes as the State Water Resources Control Board announced a 28% drop in residential water use for May, compared with the same month in 2013.
It has been a scene playing out daily in the Sierra this spring and now summer: Cal Fire firefighters cutting down trees and thinning out parts of the forest in the wake of an unprecedented crisis, the deaths of 66 million California trees, said Edwin Simpson, a forester with Cal Fire.
California’s Rim Fire in 2013 was the third largest in the state’s history, and the 2012 Rush Fire, the second largest. And last year’s Butte and Valley fires were some of the most destructive in state history. These grim statistics are part of an alarming trend in western states: The number of large fires is growing, and so is the area burned and the length of the annual fire season.
The drought in California is now in its fifth consecutive year and conditions throughout the state have increased potential for wildfires. Cal Fire says it has already responded to more than 2,400 wildfires in 2016.
The Central Valley has been hit hard by the long-running drought. La Niña has failed to deliver the relief everyone was hoping for, but researchers at Stanford have discovered what could be good news for the region and for the state.
Under the state’s newly relaxed conservation rules, California’s 400 urban water district were to submit an analysis of their supply conditions and conservation outlook by last Wednesday. The water board won’t publish the responses until next month.
There are now 66 million dead trees in California’s forests due to several years of drought and native bark beetles, creating a “catastrophic” wildfire threat—or so claims U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. While Vilsack’s assertion may resonate with many in the general public because it makes intuitive sense, it simply isn’t true.
The fire tore through small communities of houses and mobile homes that surround the lake [Lake Isabella] - actually a reservoir – and the Kern River, a popular spot for fishing and whitewater rafting.
A year after California attacked the drought with an unprecedented water rationing program that drove cities and towns to cut back 24 percent collectively, state officials have changed course and given local agencies the leeway to come up with their own water-saving goals. But the agencies are not exactly setting a high bar.
At least 80 homes have burned and 1,500 others are threatened by a wildfire racing across Kern County that grew to 8,000 acres in less than 24 hours and quickly became the state’s most destructive fire of the year.
Municipal water agencies across California are required to report to state officials by midnight Wednesday on whether they have enough water to withstand three more years of drought. … Officials with the State Water Resources Control Board are calling it a “stress test.”
The number of trees in California’s Sierra Nevada forests killed by drought, a bark beetle epidemic and warmer temperatures has dramatically increased since last year, raising fears they will fuel catastrophic wildfires and endanger people’s lives, officials said Wednesday.
The state announced plans to spend $10 million to begin connecting unincorporated East Porterville in Tulare County to the water system of neighboring Porterville. … Statewide, officials said roughly 2,000 wells have run dry during California’s most severe drought on record and stretching into its fifth year.
The Sierra snowpack, which is responsible for more than 60 percent of California’s water, won’t likely make it back to its pre-drought levels until 2019, scientists said in a study published this week, dashing the hopes of those who believed one extremely wet El Niño year could alleviate the state’s water crisis.
The California drought is carving an unprecedented path of ruin through Sierra forests, killing trees by the millions and setting the stage for a potentially devastating wildfire season that’s already burning homes and closing freeways in the southern half of the state.
A lethal combination of drought, heat and voracious bark beetles has killed 26 million trees in the Sierra Nevada over the last eight months — an alarming finding for a state already raging with wildfires fueled by denuded landscapes and desiccated tinder.
California is no stranger to drought. When conditions become dry, water storage declines and water conservation mandates make news headlines; questions from the public often surface about what appear to be easy solutions to augment the state’s water supply. But the answers can be complicated and, in the end, there is no silver bullet to ensure a resilient water supply, especially during drought.
We explore “frequently asked questions” often posed by the public and provide answers below. Simply click on the question for the answer to appear.
Improving weather conditions overnight have diverted resources from a brush fire burning in Santa Barbara County to a pair of blazes burning above communities in the San Gabriel Valley foothills and a third in San Diego County, where hundreds of homes remain under threat.
Some forest fires should be considered natural disasters and their damage paid for like hurricanes and tornadoes, according to the chief of the U.S. Forest Service, who laments that 56 percent of his budget is going to suppressing fires. … A bill pending in the House would allow for supplemental appropriations, like those made for natural disasters like hurricanes, as needed.
It could take California four years to recover from the most severe drought on record, even if the next several winters bring above-normal snowfall to the Sierra Nevada, researchers said Tuesday releasing a study.
Word of the vanishing Sierra snowpack, which usually helps replenish reservoir levels later in the summer, arrives amid uncertainty over how California’s dams will be managed in coming months to protect endangered fish. It also comes at a critical juncture for urban water officials across the state.
California’s drought has revealed that when it comes to water, not every community is equal. … Now, a bill by a Bay Area state lawmaker aims to slow the spread of little “mom and pop” water providers by making it very difficult to create new ones.
When the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last month that the country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, had fallen to its lowest-ever level at 1,074ft (327m), the question many asked was: How will it affect one of California’s primary drinking sources? … Falling water levels are the result of a drought in the Colorado River Basin that has dragged on for 16 years and counting.
California’s drought and a bark beetle epidemic have caused the largest die-off of Sierra Nevada forests in modern history, raising fears that trees could come crashing down on people or fuel deadly wildfires that could wipe out mountain communities.
President Barack Obama mixed business with pleasure here Saturday, touting the importance of national parks and then seeing one up close for himself as he took in the sights at what is arguably the crown jewel of the national park system.
Summer starts Monday, and the state faces another fire season. Many worry it could be a repeat of last year, when massive wildfires tore through populated areas and ravaged landscapes parched by years of drought.
The El Niño-fueled storms that coated the Sierra with nearly normal snow this winter brought blasts of hope to drought-weary California. But after the flurries stopped and the seasons changed, the melt-off from the high country has been swift and disappointingly scant, according to new water supply estimates from the state.
For anyone who doubts that we’re still in a drought, San Joaquin County’s groundwater “savings account” was even more depleted this spring than last, despite improved rainfall over the course of the winter.
Wednesday will be a day of reckoning for California water wholesalers like Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District (MWD). They have to prove to the state that they have enough water to get through three more years of drought.
The DWR [California Department of Water Resources] hired [Dave] Meko and his crew to perform the massive tree-ring study beginning last year. … The Southern California watershed data will be analyzed and compared with tree-ring data from Northern California and the Colorado River area, three key sources of drinking water for a state of 36 million people.
What does the future hold for California’s weather and climate? Is drought the new normal? And what about La Niña? We talked to Daniel Swain—founder of the popular California Weather Blog and a Stanford University climate scientist—about our volatile climate.
Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor announced more than $30 million in funding through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program for seven projects that will provide clean water to California communities and promote water and energy efficiency.
This year was supposed to be different. With Northern California’s reservoirs finally brimming and cities liberated from stringent conservation rules, farmers were expecting more water for their crops. The worst of the drought seemed over. Or maybe not.
Though El Niño’s impacts in the state, particularly Southern California, fell short of expectations, worldwide effects from the event were significant, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. . . . in its declaration, NOAA estimated a 75 percent chance for a La Niña phase, characterized by cooler-than-average sea temperatures, to roll around this fall, though it’s unlikely to cause extreme changes in the Bay Area’s rainfall, forecasters said.
In its monthly update Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the El Nino has ended, 15 months after its birth in March 2015. El Nino is a natural warming of parts of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide.
At the first hearing on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s controversial drought legislation, it emerges that the Obama administration supports the bill. But a deeper look shows that many concerns remain, leaving consensus still in doubt.
Following the wettest winter in five years, water conservation rules for Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents are likely to be relaxed in the next few weeks. The staff of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, the wholesale water provider for the county, is recommending a 20 percent cut in water usage compared with 2013 levels through Jan. 31, down from the current 30 percent.
State officials lauded Californians’ continued water savings Monday while issuing a stern warning: State-mandated restrictions will be imposed again on suppliers that fail to take extended conservation needs seriously.
Last month, state water officials eased conservation mandates in response to slightly above-average winter rain and snow in much of California, leading many to speculate that the state’s long-running drought has tapered off. If only.
The state Water Resources Control Board has launched an investigation into Nestle’s water rights in the San Bernardino National Forest, adding a new layer of scrutiny to the growing public outcry into the water bottler’s operations during a drought.
Parts of the Western U.S. are getting an early taste of scorching summer heat, forcing officials in California, Oregon and desert Southwest states to heed the warnings of dangerous, triple-digit temperatures in this first week of June.