Topic: Drought

Overview

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 Los Angeles Times

El Niño rains forecast to reach far into Northern California, where they’re most needed

On Thursday, a new federal forecast said El Niño is continuing to strengthen, with experts saying it’s on track to produce potentially record rainfall. … The forecast for a wet winter now covers the mountains that feed California’s most important reservoirs, Shasta Lake and Lake Oroville.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Warm weather complicates El Niño, drought outlook

It [the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] reiterated earlier predictions that California can expect one of the strongest El Niño winters ever, with above-average rains increasingly likely for the central and southern parts of the state. Northern California, home to most of the state’s major reservoirs, remains tougher to forecast.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Bel-Air water hogs spur move to impose stiff penalties on Los Angeles guzzlers

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power agreed Wednesday to study ways to curb excessive water use after the City Council called for a crackdown that could include “severe financial penalties” and “as a last resort, shutting off water.”

Aquafornia news Marin Independent Journal

Marin Municipal Water District sets date for rate increase hearing

The Marin Municipal Water District has set a public hearing as it looks to raise rates to deal with reduced water consumption, the drought and land management responsibilities. It is also looking at establishing a “drought surcharge” option.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Temperance Flat Dam dominates California Water Commission meeting in Clovis

As members of the California Water Commission convened Wednesday night in Clovis to update the public on the Water Storage Investment Program, conversation centered on one topic: Temperance Flat Dam. … Water bond money is seen as competitive.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Irrigation season ends with more in storage than expected

Some irrigation districts in the Northern San Joaquin Valley ended the season with more water than expected to carry over into 2016, but the drought still looms.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Folsom Lake hits lowest depths in 20-plus years

Even as Sacramento waits for the soaking El Niño forecast to hit this fall, Folsom Lake continues to lose water and will almost certainly fall Thursday to its lowest level in more than 20 years, government data show.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Oakdale Irrigation District reveals big-money water sale to outside buyers

Irrigation agencies in Oakdale and Manteca will reap $11.5 million selling Stanislaus River water to outsiders in coming weeks. Sensitive to pressure from local farmers, government officials and media, the Oakdale Irrigation District kept the deal under wraps until Tuesday’s announcement.

Aquafornia news San Bernardino County Sun

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Groups sue over Nestle water operation in San Bernardino Mountains

A group of environmentalists accused the federal government on Tuesday of not pushing Nestle Corp. to update its permits to tap and divert water in the San Bernardino Mountains, an operation they say is sapping vital water from public land.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Nestle drawing millions of gallons of California water on expired permit, suit claims

Environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service on Tuesday, alleging that the agency has allowed Nestle Waters to draw water from a creek in the San Bernardino Mountains under a permit that expired more than 25 years ago.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California drought: New poll shows growing majority calls it ‘extremely serious’

A new Field Poll released Tuesday showed that 76 percent of registered California voters now call the state’s water situation “extremely serious,” up from 66 percent in May and 60 percent in April 2014. … Some regional differences persist.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Capturing El Niño for the underground

A much-anticipated “Godzilla” El Niño this winter may refill California’s drought-diminished reservoirs, but it won’t do much to restock the severely depleted aquifers we rely upon to get by during droughts. One reason for this is the sheer depth of California’s precipitation deficit – the deepest of any drought in 120 years of recordkeeping. The state has been drier than normal for 10 of the past 14 years.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

A culture of nagging helps California save water

Californians sharply cut water use this summer, prompting state officials to credit their new conservation policies and the sting of thousands of warnings and penalties that they had issued to people for overuse. But the most effective enforcers may be closer to home: the domestic water police.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Evidence mounts for El Niño that could ease Calif. drought

Evidence is mounting that the El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific will spawn a rainy winter in California, potentially easing the state’s punishing drought but also bringing the risk of chaotic storms like those that battered the region in the late 1990s.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Poll — California’s drought heavy on the mind

California’s punishing drought has taken a firm grip on the electorate’s conscience, with more than 3 in 4 voters describing the state’s water shortage as extremely serious, according to a new poll.

Aquafornia news Wall St. Journal

Fines over water use rankle Californians

Cities under pressure from California for failing to slash water consumption enough during the prolonged drought are cracking down on residents. That’s prompting an outcry in places such as this Fresno suburb [Clovis], where officials handed out more than $500,000 in fines this summer for violations including lawn watering.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown clears way for artificial turf, blasts Prop. 218

With California withering through a multiyear drought, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed legislation banning cities and counties from prohibiting drought-tolerant landscaping, including synthetic grass and artificial turf.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun Washington Bureau

Drought relief legislation proves challenging in D.C.

Thursday’s Senate committee hearing on legislation to provide drought relief in the West showed why passing anything on this issue is so difficult.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Senators drill into California water bill

Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, [Sen. Lisa] Murkowski convened the two-hour hearing Thursday primarily to consider significantly different House and Senate versions of California water legislation. The morning hearing was the first to be held specifically on the bills.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Rain no help for California reservoirs (with audio)

A fifth year of drought is likely in California, and El Niño won’t end it, say water scientists and forecasters.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Massive El Niño is now ‘too big to fail,’ scientist says

A massive El Niño is among the strongest on record as it gains strength in the Pacific Ocean, and climate scientists say California is likely to face a wet winter.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Restaurants object, Fort Bragg reconsiders strict water rules

Fort Bragg officials will be reconsidering some of the strict emergency water rules they implemented last week following a flurry of objections from restaurateurs, who say ordering them to use only paper plates and plastic utensils is expensive, counterproductive and unfair.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

Could Israeli ingenuity (and seawater) help California slake its thirst? (with audio)

Along a picture-postcard stretch of coast in Carlsbad near San Diego, fishermen cast their lines into an emerald seawater lagoon. In a few short weeks, the lagoon will also be feeding a steady supply of water into what will be the largest operating desalination facility in North America.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California’s federal reservoirs even lower than last year

In the latest indicator of the severity of the drought, the federal government’s main reservoirs serving California have begun the new “water year” at just a quarter full and in worse shape than last year.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Could lake water from Alaska be shipped to Los Angeles, Long Beach ports?

California needs water. Blue Lake in Sitka, Alaska, has a lot. So a company that holds the rights to up to 9 billion gallons of the lake’s water is pitching an idea that would send some of it — via tanker ship — to the Golden State as it endures the fourth year of severe drought.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lemoore gets state relief on water mandate

California water officials have issued an alternative compliance order for Lemoore, which means the city will not have to meet the state’s mandate for cutting 32 percent of its water consumption. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Marijuana growers are new drought target

Pot growers have been put on notice by state regulators that they will have to follow the same rules as the rest of the agriculture industry in protecting the state’s drought-stricken water supply.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fort Bragg orders restaurants to use disposable plates, cups

Things are bad everywhere in California, but the big dry has gotten so severe in the coastal city of Fort Bragg that fancy restaurants are now being ordered to plop their filet mignons on disposable plates and pour wine into plastic cups to avoid washing dishes.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Will El Niño ‘solve’ drought? Not if the rain falls in Southern California

In recent weeks, conditions have gelled for what forecasters say could be one of the strongest El Niño weather patterns in recorded history. Will it substantially ease California’s historic drought?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

A sunny outlook for jobs in the Golden State

When Gov. Jerry Brown announced sweeping mandatory reductions in water use last spring, some questioned whether the California dream was over. But since then, cities across the state have adapted to the drier new reality by reshaping the way they operate.

Aquafornia news The Arizona Republic

Once a fishing paradise, Salton Sea withers in California drought

Long gone are the luxury boats that drew stars inland from Hollywood to this accidental sea that first filled with Colorado River water after a massive 1905 canal breach. … The Southwest’s worsening water shortage will make saving the Salton Sea difficult, because any fix requires water from an over-stressed Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Mendota water rally calls for special legislative session

More than 300 farmers, workers and elected officials from throughout the Valley gathered Friday at Rojas Pierce Park in Mendota to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to call a special legislative session to deal with California’s water crisis.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Millions of dollars in California fire prevention money goes unspent

Amid a drought that has created bone-dry conditions across much of California’s wildland area, a state fire prevention account has ended recent fiscal years with tens of millions of dollars unspent.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Felicia Marcus: Amid drought, no simple solutions on California water

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther, Jimmy Carter, Rahm Emanuel: All of them were quoted at the Southern California Energy and Water Summit in Palm Springs on Thursday. But the quote that best summarized the summit came from Felicia Marcus’ father.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Skiers, resorts cast hopeful eye toward El Niño

Forecasts of an approaching El Niño winter have ski resort operators dreaming of the kind of snowy peaks that were a common sight in California before a four-year drought dried up the state’s $3-billion ski industry.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California meets water savings target for third month

Californians cut water use by 27 percent in August, marking the third consecutive month that residents and businesses surpassed the 25 percent conservation goal set by Gov. Jerry Brown to deal with the relentless drought, officials said Thursday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Delta farmers: Voluntary water cuts pay off

Whether an act of goodwill or a desperate move under duress, an agreement by Delta farmers to voluntarily reduce their water use last spring likely spared them from deeper cuts in the middle of the summer growing season, a state official said this week.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s drought consequences are snowballing, so to speak

Conservation numbers for California come out Thursday. Residents have been seriously saving water in the last few months, spurred by severe drought conditions. … So how bad is the drought?

Aquafornia news Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

The Wet Prince of Bel Air: Who is California’s biggest water guzzler?

In the midst of a searing drought, one home in this exclusive West Los Angeles neighborhood used an astonishing 11.8 million gallons of water in one year – enough for 90 households. … It’s the same story throughout urban California. Despite the drought, well-heeled residential customers in affluent neighborhoods are being allowed to use as much water as they want to buy, according to a review of utility records from the state’s biggest urban water agencies.

Aquafornia news KCRA-TV Sacramento

California finishes water year with near record-low precipitation (with video)

State officials were preparing to close the books on California’s water year Wednesday and said 12-month precipitation totals were likely to be near record lows.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Officials: California meeting water conservation target

A state water official said Californians have met a mandate to save water for a third consecutive month during the grinding drought. The State Water Resources Control Board on Thursday will release statewide conservation figures for August.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Dramatic photos show California’s water-starved Folsom Lake Reservoir

The state’s ninth-largest reservoir, the main water source for the Sacramento suburbs, is currently at 18 percent capacity. The historical average for this time of year is 30 percent.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Poll: Californians willing to sacrifice in drought (with audio)

The Hoover Institution’s Golden State Poll focused on how to address the state’s fourth year of drought. It found 54 percent of likely voters back current water cuts. 

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Even in drought, California water rights politically toxic

It was the worst drought in California’s history. … Facing a crisis, Gov. Jerry Brown decided it might be time to tackle a thorny political subject: water rights. … It was 1978.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Wildfires: This season has been one of the worst, with worse to come

Because of California’s drought, historically low humidity in brush is allowing flames to spread more quickly than ever, creating serious implications for residents and firefighters.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Water, 2015, California: The no-good, very bad year — now, ‘pray for rain’

“Water year” 2015 was hot, dry and fiery, compounding the misery brought on by a fourth year of drought. … Water watchers keep track of precipitation and storage using Oct. 1 as a starting point.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Rain barrels, washing machines join conservation effort

The last rainfall in Riverside was a windfall for Michael Hickman, a retiree who has a home project underway to use rain gutters and barrels to collect some of the precipitation that lands on his roof.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tiny mountain community finally gives up its old-school water district

Last winter, residents [of Lompico in the Santa Cruz mountains] agreed to have the neighboring San Lorenzo Valley Water District take over their mom-and-pop operation. … At least 18 districts have been consolidated since 2013, according to the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

In East Porterville, drought escalates mental health issues

Experts say people affected by the drought also face stress, which can escalate to anxiety, depression and a host of other mental conditions. Studies show those findings are especially true for people who rely on water for economic survival, such as farmers, and people living in rural areas with fewer options for income and care.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Orange County offers model for places without enough water

The [Orange] county’s diverse efforts to keep water flowing are a model for other communities across the nation with stressed supplies. Roughly 112 million Americans are now affected by drought, according to federal calculations.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Why El Niño won’t save us from the drought

For Californians, for whom the sound of rain has become an exciting novelty, the idea of a rainy season sounds like the promise of salvation. The drought will end, and we will be saved.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Exports suffer as Sacramento Valley rice crop takes hit in drought (with video)

It’s harvest time in Sacramento Valley rice country, and like a lot of farmers in the state, rice grower Fritz Durst loves the idea that California agriculture helps feed the world.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Despite rain, drought unchanged in California

“Across California and the Great Basin, drought remained unchanged as the region continued through its climatologically dry summer season,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released Sept. 24.

Aquafornia news KCRA-TV Sacramento

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Emergency drought measures move forward at Folsom Lake (with video)

Plastic pipes that will go over Folsom Dam and connect to pump barges were rolled out Thursday as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation continues to work on a temporary emergency floating pump system. … Currently, Folsom Lake is at 19 percent capacity and has dropped 3 feet this month. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

NASA satellite images show deep burn scars from Valley fire in Northern California

Flames from California’s third-most destructive wildfire on record not only consumed hundreds of homes but also left deep burn scars that can be seen from space. … Years of aggressive firefighting, drought and few prescribed fires left the forest overrun with brush and timber, according to NASA.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Q&A: California’s fire problem — Is it mostly a people problem?

The changing nature of fire, and its consequences, is Topic A at meetings of the Society of American Foresters, of which [Char] Miller is a member, and it’s also a fundamental part of his forthcoming book, “America’s Great National Forests, Wildernesses and Grasslands.”

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Groundwater recharge project moves ahead

The Eastside Water District board voted Thursday to ask its farmers for $6 million for a groundwater recharge project. The system would eliminate no more than 10 percent of the overdraft in the 61,000-acre district, which straddles Stanislaus and Merced counties southwest of Turlock Lake, but backers said it would be a worthwhile start.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Radio for Northern California

State officials scrambling to adjust to year-round fire season

The ongoing drought, combined with slower but significant shifts brought about by climate change, is changing the way California’s largest fire protection agency does business, according to state officials.

Aquafornia news Reuters

New California water bond seeks to plug funding holes

California environmentalists plan to file a new water bond proposal with the secretary of state next week, a measure backers say will provide critical money for programs that were under funded by the $7.8 billion bond passed by voters last year.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Salmon to swim above Shasta Dam for first time in nearly 80 years

In just two years, Chinook salmon could be swimming above Shasta Dam for the first time in nearly eight decades under a proposal that would truck endangered hatchery-raised fish into a cold-water tributary that feeds the state’s largest reservoir.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Blog: Here comes the sea — The struggle to keep the ocean out of California’s coastal aquifers

Saltwater intrusion challenges nearly every town and farm district in California that borders the Pacific. Many have been fighting back the ocean for generations. Bulletin 52, the first state report to document the salt problem in the Salinas Valley, a farming center just south of Watsonville, was published in 1946.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought test California’s water rights system (with audio)

Those with the longest rights get top priority; they’re called senior rights holders. But they were not immune to the ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Scientists: Drought stressing California’s Giant Sequoias

Giant Sequoias growing in California’s Sierra Nevada are among the largest and oldest living things on earth, but scientists climbing high up into their green canopies say they are seeing symptoms of stress caused by the state’s historic drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Metropolitan Water District aims to build plant to recycle sewage into drinking water

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Water District has paved the way for Southern California’s epic growth by securing water from hundreds of miles away. This week, the mammoth agency said it wants to invest closer to home in what would be one of the world’s largest plants to recycle sewage into drinking water.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Water pricing source of battle between north and south San Diego

Among the many consequences of California’s severe drought is an escalating dispute involving San Diego County’s northern and southern communities over the price of recycled water, which is treated sewage used primarily for irrigation.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California seeks to build one of world’s largest recycled water programs

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is in talks with Los Angeles County sanitation districts about developing what could be one of the largest recycled water programs in the world.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Drought supply spurs water taste complaints from some EBMUD customers

Some East Bay Municipal Utility District customers are complaining their water has tasted and smelled worse recently.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

How much rain will it take to end California’s drought?

To nudge California out of drought territory, it will take almost double the amount of rain that falls in a normal year during the upcoming rainy season that starts in less than two weeks, according to a recent analysis prepared by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologists.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California allows some with historic water rights to pump again

Dozens of California farmers and water agencies that were told to stop drawing river water in June, even though they had what are known as senior water rights, have been allowed to resume pumping.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

South Valley irrigation districts fixing leaks in drought

Drop by drop, millions of gallons of irrigation water are lost every year due to leaks from aging underground pipes in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California eases water restrictions for some farmers, others

The state on Friday cleared some farmers, water agencies and others to resume pumping from three Northern California waterways, easing one of the toughest restrictions stemming from the state’s four-year drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Some growers can divert water again amid drought, regulators say

State regulators have lifted water-use restrictions that they had previously imposed on a handful of California’s most senior rights holders during the drought.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Southern Nevada Water Authority approves leasing water to California

Drought-stricken cities in Southern California will soon get some help courtesy of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. … Pending approval from its board, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will pay the authority almost $44.4 million for the water, which equates to about a six-month supply for the Las Vegas Valley.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Las Vegas, Los Angeles-area agencies ink water-for-cash deal

Water managers in Los Angeles and Las Vegas are poised to adopt a drought-driven deal to send enough water to serve about 300,000 homes annually from the Lake Mead reservoir to Southern California.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Madera County’s 2014 crop values hit record-high $2.2 billion

Strong market prices and increased production helped push Madera County’s 2014 crop values to a record-high $2.2 billion. … Hardest hit by the drought were field crops, including cotton, corn, oat hay and wheat.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Worst may be yet to come as drought-parched landscape is primed to burn

Experts said at least another month, possibly two, of extreme fire risk remains before hoped-for El Niño winter rains could begin to dampen dry grasses, shrubs and trees all over California.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Sierra Nevada snowpack is much worse than thought — a 500-year low

In a paper published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists estimate that the amount of snow in the Sierra Nevada was the lowest in more than 500 years. … The report is the latest in a series of studies that have sought to characterize the depth of California’s four-year drought and place it in a broader historic context.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Hemet targeted for not conserving enough water

Hemet’s water department has been ordered by the state to beef up its conservation efforts or face fines of $500 a day.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California drought factor in rapid growth of wildfires (with audio)

Extreme weather conditions and steep topography were factors in the rapid spread of the Butte Fire. But Daniel Berlant with Cal Fire says the state’s historic four-year drought was a factor in the Butte Fire and the Valley Fire.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Valley fire: 400 homes and hundreds of structures destroyed, no containment

Citing the damage to homes and crucial infrastructure, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Sunday for Lake and Napa counties, allowing the state to mobilize various resources, including the California National Guard. He had already declared a state of emergency Friday for Amador and Calaveras counties, where the Butte fire has forced residents to evacuate and threatened scores of homes and businesses.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers want special session to tackle drought

A bipartisan group of 47 state Assembly members delivered a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday asking him to declare a special session to tackle problems related to California’s ongoing drought.

Aquafornia news Sierra Sun

10,000-acre forest deal near Lake Tahoe to aid in drought studies

Researchers are hoping the preservation of 10,000 acres of watershed land west of Lake Tahoe can help provide solutions to California’s persisting drought and wildfire epidemic.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Gold Rush era mementos emerge at depleted Folsom Lake

Taxed by years of drought, the lake [Folsom Lake] is currently filled to 19 percent of its total capacity, with officials from the federal Bureau of Reclamation foreseeing it may yet drop below the 1977 record-low of 150 acre feet. Low water levels change more than the lake’s aesthetics.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Fish ladder gates open Monday in Oroville

The gates will open Monday on the fish ladder to the Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville, beginning the two-month process that will see 15 million chinook salmon eggs harvested for further continuation of the species.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought is no reason to ease environmental protections, California voters say

After four parched years, most California voters seem to be taking the drought in stride, saying it has had little to no effect on their daily lives. They oppose sacrificing environmental protections to expand water supplies and generally approve of how Gov. Jerry Brown has handled the crisis, according to a new statewide USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

For California, El Niño’s dark clouds could mean rain but also trouble

A soaking El Niño weather system is in the forecast, promising to pummel California with torrents of rain by the end of the year. That would seem like Champagne-popping news as this state suffers through its worst drought in a millennium.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Forecasters see 95% chance of El Niño this winter

As Sacramentans endured another round of triple-digit temperatures Thursday, weather forecasters offered predictions of relief in the months to come: A strong El Niño winter is almost certainly heading toward California, likely bringing heavy precipitation.

Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Blog: Extinction risk for native fish if drought persists

If the California drought continues, many of California’s native freshwater fishes are at imminent risk of extinction. This is a key finding of our recent report What If California’s Drought Continues?, which projects the potential consequences of ongoing drought on key sectors, including the environment. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: A monster El Niño is likely, but there are ‘no guarantees’

El Niño is on track to become one of the most powerful on record, strongly suggesting California could face heavy rainfall this winter, climate scientists say.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

What lay beneath is still off limits at New Melones, other dwindling lakes

For decades, bits and pieces of local history and the ghosts that guard them remained deep beneath the murky waters of New Melones Reservoir, Lake Don Pedro, Folsom Lake and other man-made drowners of artifacts.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Editorial: Judge’s water ruling comes as sweet relief

U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill of the Eastern District of California fired the latest shot in the most recent court skirmish in the Golden State’s endless water wars. In denying two Central Valley Project water districts’ attempt to halt fish kill prevention flows from the Trinity to the Klamath River, Judge O’Neill delighted Hoopa and Yurok tribal officials alike.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Fires in West have residents gasping on the soot left behind

Many counties throughout the state and the San Joaquin Valley have successfully reduced the amount of ozone in the air. But levels of soot, or particle pollution known as PM-2.5, have started to increase after years of decline, according to state figures. Officials are blaming the drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California struggles with high heat, wildfires, storms

Wildfires burned amid a week of triple-digit temperatures across California, while some sections of the state saw sudden thunderstorms and flash floods that left one hiker dead.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

With El Niño threatening to turn California’s drought into drenching winter, worries mount

Among all the apocalyptic disasters that Californians routinely prepare for — earthquake, drought, wildfire, carmageddon — the most welcome is rain, even though giant El Niño events like the one currently massing in the Pacific can bring their own set of calamities: flooding, mudslides, carmageddon with hydroplaning.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Almond harvest saw clear skies and water woes

Almond harvest is wrapping up in the Sacramento Valley, with a harvest earlier than most can remember.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Homeowners in high fire-risk areas are upset over soaring insurance rates

[John] Stoffan is among the California homeowners living near wild lands who have seen their rates increase sharply because insurance companies are increasingly wary of high fire-risk areas. Factors fueling insurer’s fears include the drought and some huge recent blazes, such as the 2013 Rim fire that burned more than 250,000 acres in and around Yosemite.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Heat wave marks end of Sacramento’s second-hottest summer on record

The unseasonably high temperatures have sweeping, statewide repercussions well beyond adding a few extra dollars to a homeowner’s September electricity bill. Almond farmers across the state face an unexpectedly urgent need to keep their lucrative trees’ roots soaked in the middle of the harvest, when the trees are at their most vulnerable.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

More than 200,000 trout die at American River Hatchery

More than 200,000 rainbow trout suffocated in a matter of minutes Tuesday at the American River Hatchery near Rancho Cordova due to an unexpected release of gunk from Folsom Dam that clogged water intakes.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Drought is killing California’s hydroelectric power. Can solar make up the difference?

Although the state’s electrical grid has taken a punch from the drought and record-high summer month temperatures, it has remained standing. A state mandate to convert from burning oil, coal and natural gas, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming, to solar, wind and geothermal energy has helped.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To battle drought, Burbank is giving free access to recycled water

In a new move to battle the drought, Burbank residents will get access to free recycled water starting this month and running through the end of October. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Amid drought, thousands of Californians cancel their flood insurance

Californians across the state have responded en masse to the call for lifestyle changes, curtailing water use, particularly when it comes to watering their lawns. And some have responded in a manner more concerning to government officials: They canceled their flood insurance.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Officials work to stop thefts of Native American artifacts

The four-year drought that has ravaged California and the wildfires charring through the state’s dry forests have exposed prehistoric Native American sites as water levels drop and thick brush and poison oak are burned away.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown acts to protect homeowners installing artificial turf

California homeowners who replace their water-gulping grass lawns with artificial turf in response to the drought would be protected from sanctions by homeowner associations under one of 10 bills signed Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news KCRA-TV Sacramento

Mormon Island ruins re-emerge from shrinking Folsom Lake (with video)

The ruins of a California town built during the California Gold Rush have re-emerged above the water at Folsom Lake.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Water added to Camp Meeker’s Dutch Bill Creek a ‘lifesaver’ for young fish

Thanks to a novel injection of cold, clear water from Camp Meeker’s water system, about 3,400 imperiled coho salmon and steelhead trout have a better chance of surviving in Dutch Bill Creek until rain sweeps them to safety in the Russian River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California law sows seed for artificial lawns

Drought-resistant artificial turf can’t be prohibited by California homeowners associations under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start

Across California this summer, residents have been racking up water conservation numbers that defy expectations — a 27% reduction in June, followed by 31.3% in July. … The conservation performance raises a host of possibilities, and profound questions, for water policy analysts and managers … 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

After the drought: Private well owners left behind?

The state Legislature last month balked at a measure that would have provided $10 million for grants and low-interest loans to replace private dry wells. The bill is now in limbo, even though many lawmakers seemed to like it.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Feds scramble to avoid another mass salmon die-off in Sacramento River

A year ago, California lost nearly an entire generation of endangered salmon because the water releases from Shasta Dam flowed out warmer than federal models had predicted.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

El Niño and California’s historic drought (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor report released September 3 showed no changes for California or the southwest.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Backup water pumps for city of Folsom (with audio)

The federal Bureau of Reclamation has leased ten pumps for four months so the city of Folsom will have water if Folsom Lake levels fall below the intake of existing pumps.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farm revenue grew in 2014 despite drought

California growers took in more revenue in 2014 compared to the year before, although their profits declined by about 10 percent, according to new figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service and the Pacific Institute, a water policy think-tank. … Farm advocates say the numbers for 2015, which won’t be calculated until next year, will show a more pronounced impact.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

In drought-stricken California, the drops that divide farmers and tribes (video)

In California’s fourth year of drought, officials are finding it increasingly difficult to fulfill their legal and contractual obligations to distribute water.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State orders California firm to stop tapping Sierra springs

Armed with evidence captured by surveillance cameras, California regulators have ordered a business to stop tapping Sierra Nevada spring water that is later bottled and sold in stores, officials said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Sonoma Valley residents offered free recycled water for irrigation use

A new recycled water fill-up station opened in Sonoma Valley this week, becoming the second facility in the county where residents can go to get highly treated wastewater to irrigate their gardens and ornamental landscaping.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: State gathers up data on number of wells that have gone dry

How many domestic wells are having trouble throughout the state? More than 2,500. That’s not an exact figure, but its better than the smattering of reports that had been collected before the most recent statewide summary. 

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Central Basin Municipal Water District programs for K-12 schools could help with drought

With California mired in the fourth year of a drought, Central Basin Municipal Water District officials say their free programs for K-12 schools can serve as another tool to reduce water consumption. The district offers nine programs about water, energy and the need to conserve for teachers to use in their classrooms.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Unintended consequences of conserving water: leaky pipes, less revenue, bad odors

Under orders to slash water use amid a historic drought, cities and towns across the state saved about 75 billion gallons in July, eclipsing Gov. Jerry Brown’s once-daunting order for a 25% reduction.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought making some California fruit smaller, tastier (with audio)

The drought is changing the size and flavor of California’s fruit.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Feds reduce flows out of Folsom Lake to conserve Sacramento region’s water supply

The U.S Bureau of Reclamation will cut flows out of Folsom Lake in half by the end of the week as water levels at the reservoir near historic lows. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Heat waves and droughts are holding steady, but they’re much more likely to mix

In fact, the longer and hotter the heat wave, the bigger the jump in the odds that it coincided with drought conditions, according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

California beats water mandate target once again

The number of water agencies that met or exceeded their mandate increased to 290 in July, from 265 in June. … Longtime California water watcher Rita Schmidt Sudman [adviser to the Water Education Foundation and former executive director of the Sacramento-based nonprofit] said the response is encouraging. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

Company aims to ship fresh water from Alaska to drought-plagued California

An Alaska company is planning to be the first to ship massive amounts of fresh water to drought-plagued California, potentially as much as 10 million gallons a month. … Water experts in California are skeptical, not necessarily because of the idea but as a result of the cost.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Improving your soil will prevent problems when the rains come

If you’ve tried being green by going brown, things could get a bit troublesome if hopes for an El Niño year develops.

Aquafornia news Orange County Register

Largest Orange County jail implements water-saving programs, while some have existed for a decade

Jail officials are revamping the environment in and around the Theo Lacy jail, embarking on a conservation effort that ranges from tearing out grass to testing low-flow toilets and upgrading shower valves and testing low-flow toilets.

Aquafornia news UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences California WaterBlog

Blog: Delta smelt’s unsung relative seems verging on extinction, too

In the past two years, the lesser-known longfin smelt has slipped down to the single digits in trawl surveys of Delta fish populations. The dramatic downturn is likely a result of the drought, as with the tinier delta smelt.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Sonoma County residents’ battle with wineries is about more than water

These days, the redwood-shaded creek by Laura and Ray Waldbaum’s house is a bone-dry path of rocks and gravel, its occasional stagnant pools a somber reminder of the salmon that once thrived there.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

When the wells run dry: California neighbors cope in drought

Living with a dried-up well has turned one of life’s simplest tasks into a major chore for [Tino] Lozano, a 40-year-old disabled Army veteran and family man.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As wildfires rage and budgets dwindle, more federal funds sought for firefighting

The record wildfire season scorching the West is prompting renewed calls for Congress to change how it funds firefighting, a push that comes as the head of the Forest Service said the agency would soon exceed its firefighting budget for the year — again.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

A future of dams — Floodgates open to add barriers to combat drought

Driven by drought, California stands ready to build a water system for the 21st century. Ideas are flowing: conservation, recycling, desalination, aquifer recharge, floodplain restoration, storm water capture. But the biggest, most expensive, most popular item of all is the foundation of the 20th century water system — dams.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California takes new approach on water regulation for pot farms

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife helicopter circled over steep timberland in Humboldt County’s coastal mountains, prowling for potential water diversions and environmental damage caused by what is arguably the state’s most lucrative agricultural product: marijuana.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Blog: Time for another water bond? Draft language floating

Gerald Meral, a former deputy secretary of the state’s Natural Resources Agency, sent draft language for “The Water Supply Reliability and Drought Protection Act of 2016” to water agency officials, environmentalists and others in recent days.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

California beats water conservation goal for 2nd straight month

Californians cut water use by more than 31 percent in July, the largest savings the state has logged since a drought emergency was declared last year.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Suit targets company’s plans for California bottling plant

A fight over Crystal Geyser Water Company’s plans to tap water at the base of Mount Shasta is headed to court after a group sued to block the company from starting up a bottling plant that would produce sparkling mineral water, tea and juice drinks.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno State study says drought causes $3.3 billion in farm losses

The state’s historic drought has hit the San Joaquin Valley hard, with farm losses in the billions, an increase in health issues and a decline in income, according to a Fresno State study released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Drought-shamed Los Angeles County cuts supervisors’ car washes

After a very public drought shaming, Los Angeles County employees may soon be driving dirtier cars.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Big month for conservation — Californians cut water use by 31% in July

After Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a 25% reduction in urban water use statewide, regulators spent much of the spring chastising water districts for not conserving enough during California’s stubborn drought. Data released Thursday suggest the message is getting through.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Californians cut water use 31.3% in July, crushing governor’s target

Californians answered the call for conservation in July, slashing water use by 31.3 percent and exceeding state targets for the second straight month that communities face potential fines for falling short.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Californians cut water without state imposing fines

For the second straight month, Californians exceeded hefty water conservation mandates during the relentless drought without the state imposing fines, officials said.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California residents cut water use 31 percent in July

They [Californians] are saving billions of gallons of water every day. The extent of this commitment was evident Thursday as the state released new figures showing that urban water use statewide dropped by 31 percent in July compared with 2013.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

As giant sequoias get a drought checkup, there’s good news and bad

[Anthony] Ambrose is one of four biologists whose work in the trees this summer has led various media to report that the state’s drought could be killing one of California’s most famous treasures.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

These researchers want California to be a global advocate about climate change

Researchers from California’s top universities agree with scientists across the globe that climate change is not some future threat but is already happening, causing extreme weather, record-breaking heat, mega wildfires and shifting migration patterns.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Thinking outside the pipe

Last month, U.S. Rep. Jerry McNerney ripped the governor’s twin tunnels plan, calling it “misguided” and wasteful. … “But I can’t just say ‘No,’ ” McNerney said Tuesday after hosting a drought forum at the Robert J. Cabral Agricultural Center in south Stockton.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

El Niño likely no help for Northern California’s reservoirs (with audio)

“The strongest signal for El Niño for the storm track to increase in activity is for Southern California,” says Meteorologist Michelle Mead, with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Court sides with Klamath River fish flows over Central Valley districts

A U.S. District Court judge has denied two Central Valley Project water districts’ attempt to halt fish kill prevention flows to the Klamath River on Wednesday, making it the second year in a row that the federal court has sided outright with protections of Klamath River fish.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Crowdfunding campaign started for California drought relief

A coalition of non-profit organizations and businesses has started a crowd-funding campaign called the California Drought Relief Fund to provide assistance to families affected by the state’s unprecedented drought and wildfires, said Dianne Saenz of Climate Nexus.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Official — Californians understanding need to conserve water

The state water board on Thursday is expected to release water conservation figures for July, revealing how each community is performing.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles cuts water use 21% in July, easily beating state target

Los Angeles residents cut their water use by 21% in July, surpassing the mandatory conservation standard set by state regulators to combat the drought, Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

There’s no drought of cash for California farmers

Agricultural employment soared to a record 417,000 jobs, largely because gains in the Central Coast, deserts and Sacramento River Valley overcame losses in the San Joaquin Valley, according to a report by the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Oakland.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Fresno County sets record in 2014 crop report

Fresno County agriculture set a record in 2014, with crop values reaching $7 billion for the first time. … The county’s total value was just the third best in the state – behind Tulare and Kern counties – as the drought continued to drag down Fresno’s overall crop production.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Drought-plagued California readies for El Niño storms

While drought-plagued California is eager for rain, the forecast of a potentially Godzilla-like El Niño event has communities clearing out debris basins, urging residents to stock up on emergency supplies and even talking about how a deluge could affect the 50th Super Bowl.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Unusual Delta algae bloom worries researchers

In what researchers suspect is another troubling side effect of the state’s epic drought, the Delta is exploding with algae particles that in intensified concentrations could pose a substantial threat to the central hub for California’s vast water delivery network. The algae bloom is not limited to the central Delta.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Resident group files suit over Mount Shasta water bottling plant

Neighbors and activists in Mount Shasta have been pressing Crystal Geyser Water Co. for months to conduct a full environmental review before opening a bottling plant just outside the small Northern California town.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: California has other calamities to worry about

Gov. Jerry Brown says California’s drought and the wildfires it has spawned are wake-up calls about the potentially cataclysmic effects of climate change. That may be true.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

One good thing about the drought? Lake Tahoe water clarity

In recent months, California’s drought and raging wildfires have served as backdrop to Gov. Jerry Brown’s appeal for greater measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wildfire threat hangs over Lake Tahoe Summit (with audio)

Though there was no smoke in the sky, the threat of wildfires still hung over the annual Lake Tahoe Summit. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The drought’s hidden victim: California’s native fish

Last summer, a narrow, rock-rimmed stretch of the Sacramento River near here turned into a mass graveyard for baby salmon. Upstream releases of water from Shasta Dam were so warm that virtually an entire generation of endangered winter-run Chinook was wiped out. 

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds release extra water to save Klamath salmon from disease

With water scarce in Northern California’s Klamath Basin, a federal agency is again releasing cool, clean water into the Klamath River to prevent a repeat of the 2002 fish kill that left tens of thousands of adult salmon dead.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California drought may exacerbate wildlife-human encounters

The scarcity of food in the wild has been blamed for unusual animal activity during California’s drought including a recent bear attack, mountain lion sightings and an uptick in orphaned animals.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

How Edison uses water to store excess power

Nestled high in the Sierra mountains among the pine and fir trees, a little-known man-made wonder may help resolve a pressing energy concern: how to store wind and sun power that the grid increasingly can’t handle.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown says California’s groundwater management ‘not aggressive enough’

Gov. Jerry Brown said in an interview aired Sunday that California is not aggressive enough policing use of the state’s groundwater, promising stepped-up oversight in future years.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Naraghi Lake is Modesto Irrigation District customer

Whether because of imposed restrictions such as limits on lawn watering or personal choices such as taking shorter showers, the drought has made people more water-conscious.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

In San Joaquin Valley, drought fight has landed in cities

The San Joaquin Valley now battles California’s epic drought in cities as much as its nation-leading farm fields. From Bakersfield to Modesto, people struggle to meet some of the highest state-ordered cutbacks anywhere in California.

Western Water Excerpt Gary Pitzer Jennifer Bowles

Allocating Water in a Time of Scarcity: Is it Time to Reform Water Rights?
July/August 2015

California’s severe drought has put its water rights system under scrutiny, raising the question whether a complete overhaul is necessary to better allocate water use.

(Read the excerpt below from the July/August 2015 issue along with the editor’s note. Click here to subscribe to Western Water and get full access.)

Introduction

California’s severe drought has put its water rights system under scrutiny, raising the question whether a complete overhaul is necessary to better allocate water use.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Gov. Jerry Brown: Climate change worsening California’s drought

Citing a new report, Gov. Jerry Brown said Thursday that climate change is worsening the effects of California’s four-year drought.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Feds, tribes agree on fish-kill preventative flows

On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation agreed to release fish-kill preventative flows from a Trinity River dam starting this weekend in order to protect fish on the lower Klamath River from deadly pathogens caused by warm, low-flowing water conditions, tribal fisheries officials said. 

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Water district to challenge penalty

A water district accused of taking water illegally will have a chance to fight a proposed $1.5 million fine — the first of its kind during the drought.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Drought brings soul searching to California winemaking

From the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, to El Dorado in the Sierra Foothills, to Napa Valley and the Sonoma Coast, the drought, now in its fourth year, has affected every area differently.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Dead and dying trees from drought pose danger (with audio)

Weakened trees can pose a threat because they can fall on power lines and homes, cause injuries, power outages and wildfires. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

July was Earth’s hottest month on record; scientists say climate change is worsening California drought

In a dramatic sign of climate change’s growing impact, this July was the warmest month on Earth since modern temperature records were first kept in 1880, federal scientists announced Thursday. While climate change isn’t causing California’s drought, it’s making the disaster worse, according to a separate report released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

July was warmest month on Earth in 136 years, NOAA says

Another month, another record high for global temperatures, U.S. government scientists announced Thursday. … The report bolstered predictions from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center that an El Niño is likely later this year. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles schools teach kids to deal with the drought

The Enadia [Way Elementary School] garden expanded to its current size in 2010, before the drought choked many California resources. … Now, students use extra mulch to keep the soil moist, plant the crops close to each other, and only hand-water the plants that need water. 

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Drought: Colorado River saves Inland farmers

The drought is expected to cost the state $2.7 billion in agriculture losses this year, but farmers in eastern Riverside County are faring well because of steady supplies from the Colorado River, according to the authors of a new economic forecast.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California drought: Climate change plays a role, study says. But how big?

A growing number of scientists have made the claim that climate change is at least partly responsible for California’s crippling drought. Now researchers have estimated the extent to which humans are to blame: between 8% and 27%.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Lake Elsinore: 2015 Grand Prix canceled due to drought

The Lake Elsinore Grand Prix will bite the dust this year because of the drought. … The water shortage stems from the drought-induced state of emergency declared by Gov. Jerry Brown and mandated restrictions imposed on the area’s purveyor, Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Climate change intensifies California drought, scientists say

Global warming caused by human emissions has most likely intensified the drought in California by roughly 15 to 20 percent, scientists said Thursday … “The whole water system that we have in California was designed for the old climate,” said Noah S. Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford who edits the journal that published the new paper. 

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Lawn replacements not all they promise

Well now that most of our lawns are brown, many folks are pining the loss of their lush, green landscapes and looking for a potential quick fix. There’s lot of talk about installing fake grass or painting or dying the lawn green, but what are the ramifications?

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Central Valley sinking fast because of groundwater pumping

The floor of the Central Valley is sinking at a record pace as drought-gripped farmers pump out the groundwater beneath them, new satellite data show.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Leadership gap hinders federal drought response

The federal response to the Western drought has been hindered by high-level vacancies, bureaucratic caution and political calculations that have thrown sand in the gears.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Another 2 or 3 years of drought? Report looks at what it might mean

Should the current drought extend for another two or three years, most California cities and much of the state’s agriculture would be able to manage, but the toll on small rural communities dependent on well-water and on wetlands and wildlife could be extensive.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Central Valley sinking fast in drought, NASA study shows

Portions of the San Joaquin Valley floor are sinking at an alarming rate as farmers pump ever more groundwater during California’s extended drought, according to a NASA study released Wednesday. The report, generated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the state Department of Water Resources, sheds new light on the phenomenon known as subsidence.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Report: Groundwater pumping in California has land sinking

Vast areas of California’s Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past … Meanwhile, the Department of Water Resources is launching a $10 million program to help counties with stressed groundwater basins to develop or strengthen local ordinances and conservation plans.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study sees dying wildlife, bigger fires if drought lasts

Written by water and watershed experts working at the policy [Public Policy Institute of California] center, at the University of California, Davis, and elsewhere, the report urges California to do more now to deal with what researchers project to be the biggest drought crises of 2016 and 2017 – crashing wildlife populations, raging wildfires and more and more poor rural communities running out of water entirely.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

The next target in Southern California’s drought conservation? Renters

As the water police pick low-hanging fruit by curbing homeowners’ outdoor watering, cities and state agencies are now targeting renters and condominium owners who account for nearly 50 percent of the state’s population but are less likely to save water because they don’t pay their own water bills and therefore have no incentives to conserve.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Losing water, California tries to stay atop economic wave

At a time when Gov. Jerry Brown has warned of a new era of limits, the spate of construction, including a boom in building that began even before the drought emergency was declared, is raising fundamental questions about just how much additional development California can accommodate. 

Aquafornia news Santa Cruz Sentinel

Beach lagoon breached to alleviate flooding

About a quarter of Main Beach was fenced off from sunbathers Monday as workers bulldozed a massive diagonal trench from the San Lorenzo River’s mouth to the Monterey Bay.

Aquafornia news Appeal-Democrat

Glenn County halts well permits for 6 months

Glenn County supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday for a six-month moratorium on the issuance of well permits. 

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Glenn County passes six-month moratorium on new well permits

The Glenn County Board of Supervisors Tuesday passed a ban on new well permits, which will slow but not halt the number of new wells drilled in the primarily agricultural county. … One project that will be put on hold, at least for the next six months, is the five new wells planned by the Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District, the largest supplier of ag water in the area.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought causing $2.7 billion economic hit in California (with audio)

The drought this year will cost California’s economy more than $2.7 billion and could result in nearly 21,000 job losses, according to a UC Davis study. … Direct agricultural costs of the drought will be about $1.8 billion and result in 10,100 seasonal job losses.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Farmers cope with $1.8 billion drought impact

California farmers are faring “remarkably well” this harvest season, despite the drought and an overall $1.8 billion hit to the state’s agricultural economy, experts said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California drought impact pegged at $2.7 billion

The drought is costing California about $2.7 billion this year, according to a new UC Davis study, although the statistics suggest the state’s overall economy can withstand the impact. … At the same time, the study said farmers are holding up reasonably well in spite of significant water shortages and the fallowing of 542,000 acres of land.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Climate change could bring twice as many big El Niños

If human beings don’t slow their emission of planet-warming greenhouse gases, extreme El Niños could nearly double in frequency — from once every 28 years to once every 16 years on average, the new study found.

Commands