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

Q&A: California has 102 million dead trees — and no easy answers for what to do with them

California has more than 100 million dead trees in its forests — and no easy way to deal with them.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Another crisis for Trump: What to do about all the dead trees piling up in California

More than 102 million dead trees now litter California’s drought-flayed forests, according to the latest aerial survey, a finding likely to fuel a heated public-lands debate during the incoming Trump administration.

Aquafornia news KQED

Trump’s pledge to ‘open up the water’ for San Joaquin Valley farms: easier said than done

President-elect Donald Trump might have trouble living up to one of his more sweeping campaign promises in California. On the stump in Fresno last May, he made headlines for declaring, “There is no drought” here.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Water recycling may prompt new environmental concerns

Wastewater recycling is being hailed in many communities as the answer to ongoing drought problems. By cleaning sewage effluent to extract pure water, it’s possible to create a sustainable water supply that is cheaper than seawater desalination or buying a new water supply. But there’s a little-recognized downside to water recycling: It may damage wildlife habitats already imperiled by water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

102 million dead California trees ‘unprecedented in our modern history,’ officials say

The number of dead trees in California’s drought-stricken forests has risen dramatically to more than 102 million in what officials described as an unparalleled ecological disaster that heightens the danger of massive wildfires and damaging erosion. … Scientists say five years of drought are to blame for much of the destruction.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

A giant reservoir that supplies a California county’s drinking water is nearly empty

Lake Cachuma, a giant reservoir built to hold Santa Barbara County’s drinking water, has all but vanished in California’s historic drought. It reached an all-time low this summer — 7 percent capacity, which left a thick beige watermark that circles the hills framing the lake like an enormous bathtub ring.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

It’s not just California. The Deep South is reeling from a drought.

The Southeastern drought almost challenges the longstanding Western drought, centered in California, as the largest in the nation.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

New virus infected brains of last year’s Eel River salmon run

Researchers have identified a novel virus found in the brains of Eel River salmon from last year’s strenuous run, but the find is not generating any concerns for fish health this year.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: On the Colorado River, climate change is water change

How low can the Colorado go? When will we get back to “normal” winters? Can we blame it all on climate change? To address some of these questions, the Colorado River Research Group recently released a concise four-page paper explaining how climate change is affecting the river.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California’s drought divide — rainy North, dry South

The drought divide leaves California’s water managers and experts striving to finesse conservation messages for two wildly differing situations in the state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Monitor — Drought ends in nearly one-fourth of California

A heavy dousing of autumn rain in Northern California has lifted a quarter of the state out of drought, the highest percentage in more than three years, according to a new federal report.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Feds say 25% of California is drought-free, but state experts are still cautious

A rainy October in Northern California has lifted about a quarter of the state out of drought conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Northernmost California counties free of drought — highest share of state drought-free since 2013

October’s rains put a modest dent in California’s drought, leaving the state in its best shape in more than three years, according to data released Thursday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water conservation improved in September but is still worse than in 2015

Californians halted a three-month slide in water conservation in September, saving enough to hearten state regulators who previously had expressed alarm about possible drought fatigue.

Aquafornia news Western Water on Tap

Farming in the Delta with less water

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.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

California’s wet October exceeding historical norms

As California enters the sixth year of its historic drought, something unusual is happening: It’s raining. And raining.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

In California, a $350 million social experiment over lawns

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: The drought eased up, and these Californians turned on the spigot

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.

Aquafornia news NPR

As drought wipes out Western forests, how do Sequoias survive? (with audio)

It’s been a brutal forest fire season in California. But there’s actually a greater threat to California’s trees — the state’s record-setting drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Northern California is seeing two or three times more rain than normal. So why is Southern California so dry?

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.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Six takes on six years of drought

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:

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California rainy season begins; Wildfires increase risk of flash flooding (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Fears of flooding rise as rain returns

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought worries rise as La Niña reemerges in forecast

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought’s grip on Southern California to tighten with La Niña, forecasters say

After five years of withering drought, government forecasters say California is once again headed for a warm and dry winter, especially in Southern California.  

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The big shortage: how drought is impacting water investment

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.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

As California water use rises, some ask: were limits eased too soon?

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

La Niña may be back this winter

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds forecast a weak and fleeting La Nina coming next month

Federal forecasters see a weak and short-lived La Nina coming, probably next month.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Klamath Basin farmers were paid $32 million to pump and not farm. Was it a waste of money?

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Strange bedfellows form coalition to increase water supply (with audio)

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. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Don’t expect much snow from soaking storm approaching 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. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Northern California will get a soaking, but will it ease the drought?

A pair of warm storms expected to hit Northern California later this week could dump more than 8 inches of rain in the mountains and have North Coast rivers roaring.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Forest fires have doubled in West due to climate change, study finds

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Bark beetles ravage forests of Tuolumne County

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Human-caused warming doubled how much of the West has burned since 1984, study finds

Human-caused warming in the West has nearly doubled the area burned by wildfires over the last three decades, researchers reported Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wildfires getting worse due to climate change, study finds

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: San Joaquin County reports half billion dollar loss in agricultural production (with audio)

More than half a billion dollars…that’s how much San Joaquin County lost in farm production last year. The drought and lower prices were to blame.

Aquafornia news The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado

Recent sloshy weather puts Lake Powell levels above last year

Recent and prolonged wet weather across regions that help feed water levels in Lake Powell has had a downstream effect that has water-watchers encouraged.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

With standards relaxed, water use on the rise throughout California

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Weaker water conservation numbers prompt fears that California is going back to its old bad habits

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

US southwest faces threat of megadroughts with rising temps

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California Water Board fears water-saving has been abandoned

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Official: California water conservation slipping

Water conservation continues to slip in drought-stricken California after officials lifted mandatory cutbacks, officials said ahead of formally releasing the figures on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

White House calls for firefighting funds after near-record costs

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Six new California laws impacting water

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.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Humboldt County records above average rainfall in past drought year

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.

Aquafornia news NPR

After record heat, California fires burn into the fall

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.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Since La Niña is a no-show, does that give us hope for rain this winter?

It’s an infamous milestone at best. Friday marked the end of the California water year. The fifth consecutive year of the drought is officially in the books.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Catalina Island surrounded by water yet hammered by drought

The graves of veterans are surrounded by dried-out brown grass. Hoteliers ship dirty linens across the ocean on a barge to be washed.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Will California see a wet winter? Forecasters call it a ‘crapshoot’

Last year at this time, weather forecasters had a pretty good idea of what was in store as California headed into the rainy season. … The so-called “water year” ends Friday.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Modesto-area lawmakers blast river flow proposal

Two lawmakers from the Modesto area urged a state board on Tuesday to rethink a plan for greatly increasing river flows. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The suspect list narrows: Who is the ‘Wet Prince of Bel-Air’? – LA Times

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.

Aquafornia news Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting

Who is the Wet Prince of Bel Air? Here are the likely culprits

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.

Aquafornia news East Bay Times

Toxic algae troubles many California lakes and waterways

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: An era of limits — California proposes steering more water to fish, less to farms, cities

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Record temperatures are making wildfire season worse. And it’s only getting hotter.

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. 

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

The surprising science of wildfires and tree-killing beetles

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: Sen. Feinstein asks for more cash to cut down dead trees in California before they catch fire

[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.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Punishing Drought Pushes California’s Water Supply Deeper in Arrears

Lake Oroville September 2015. Photo by DWR

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Lugging buckets and coping during California’s hottest summer on record

In small communities scattered across California, more wells have been failing as the drought persists for a fifth year.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

La Niña no longer seen as likely this winter

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.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians’ water savings dropped again, but just barely

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s water conservation dips in July — are eased rules to blame?

Urban water conservation across California dipped slightly during the second month that less stringent conservation requirements have been in place, state regulators said Wednesday.

Aquapedia background

Hydrographs

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.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Sturgeon thriving where salmon struggling

While the drought has created perilous conditions for one run of salmon in the Sacramento River, another species has thrived.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California’s heavy water users could face penalties if drought persists

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California’s native salmon struggling in 5th year of drought

The sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen hauled aboard the rolling Salty Lady charter boat near the Golden Gate Bridge were the survivors of the survivors.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Lake Powell could dry up in as little as six years, study says

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.

Foundation Event

Drought and the Delta
Free Oct. 25 Briefing in Stockton

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.

Eventbrite - Drought and the Delta

Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium
525 N. Center Street
Stockton, CA
Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California water guzzlers to face new penalties, possible public disclosure of names

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California farm revenue plunges in 2015

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.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Poisonous algae blooms threaten people, ecosystems across U.S.

Serious algae outbreaks have hit more than 20 states this summer. … And water managers are rattled.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Like tens of millions of matchsticks, California’s dead trees stand ready to burn

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

East Porterville residents, tired of drought, say end is in sight

Five years of drought have left East Porterville residents exhausted. As of Monday, 628 homes countywide have dry wells and no county-supplied water tanks. … Residents say they see the end in sight.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Feds, tribes react to Trinity water releases

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.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Trout decline on Stanislaus raises concern

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Lawmakers pass drought bill to help homeowners drill deeper wells

A drought relief bill providing $15 million in loans and grants to homeowners to deepen dry wells passed the Assembly unanimously, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California firefighters stretched thin as blazes sweep state

California’s state fire department is stretched thin just as the bone-dry state enters the peak of its wildfire season, with vacancy rates exceeding 15 percent for some firefighters and supervisors.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Q&A: California drought’s impact on health to be revealed

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.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Mosquitoes winning under climate change, salmon losing

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Water-use disclosure bill sinks in California Senate

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.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

State water board releases new conservation targets

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

84 percent of California water agencies choose zero as conservation target

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Most water agencies can ease up on conservation under new standards

California may be in its fifth year of drought, but on Tuesday, state water regulators effectively turned back the clock to 2013.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California water districts: We can handle three more years of drought

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Man arrested on suspicion of arson in wildfire that has devastated Northern California community

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Northern California towns are running out of water

Paskenta, population 112, is an out-of-the-way place where rustic ranches grace grass-covered hills rolling west toward Mendocino Pass. … A water crisis has triggered a rude awakening.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought costs California farms $600 million, but impact eases

California’s drought is costing farmers an estimated $603 million this year, although the impact is far less than a year ago, according to a study released Monday by UC Davis.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

California wildfires: Where have the most fires raged this year?

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: What’s behind Lake County’s back-to-back wildfire catastrophes? Blame the drought

The last two years have been some of the worst for California wildfires, with record heat and historic drought weakening trees and drying the landscape.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California’s summer of slime: Algae blooms muck up waterways across state

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

San Luis Reservoir at lowest level in 27 years

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.

Aquafornia news CALmatters

Forests of fatalities: after 70 million tree deaths, worst ’still to come’

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. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Almonds lead all crops in Fresno County for gross value

Fresno County’s overall crop value fell to $6.61 billion last year from a high of $7 billion in 2014 as the region battled drought, lower commodity prices and production issues.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

8 dead, 350 square miles burned, 300 homes destroyed in grim beginning of California fire season

As California enters traditional brush-fire season, there is something ominous in the air and on the ground. … Already, the fire statistics for 2016 are grim.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California agencies warn of harmful algal blooms across state (with audio)

The algal blooms are occurring all over the state – in San Luis Reservoir, Lake Shasta and Oroville, coastal and inland areas and even in the Sierra. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

The ‘new normal’ for wildfires in California (with audio)

Blame the increase in frequency and severity of wildfires in California on drought and climate change.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Californians using more water as drought controls ease

Urban consumption grew by 8 percent in June compared to a year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the State Water Resources Control Board.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Californians continue water conservation with 21.5 percent cut despite relaxed drought rules

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Californians conserve less water under new rules (with audio)

Californians used 21 percent less water in June than they did in 2013. That wasn’t as much savings as last month or even last year, but state water regulators say they expected conservation to dip.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California water conservation dips as relaxed drought rules take effect

Water conservation in California dipped slightly during the first month that the state’s mandatory water-savings rules were significantly relaxed, regulators said Tuesday.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Californians’ water conservation returns to local leadership

State water regulators will release the month’s [water conservation] figures on Tuesday as California endures a hot, dry summer in a fifth year of historic drought.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Will replacing thirsty lawns with drought-tolerant plants make Los Angeles hotter?

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Despite drought, California farming prospered

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought intensifies as wildfires grow in Western U.S. (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor reports July 28 that drought intensified in the Western U.S. as the region bakes under record-setting heat and firefighters battle large wildfires.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

A warmer, less clear Lake Tahoe in 2015, UC Davis scientists say

Lake Tahoe got warmer and cloudier last year, according to UC Davis researchers.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Lake Tahoe: Warmest water temperatures ever recorded threaten famed clarity, new study shows

Lake Tahoe’s average surface temperature last year was the warmest ever recorded, the latest evidence that climate change is altering California’s iconic Sierra Nevada landmark.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sierra Nevada giant sequoias respond to water stress with clever adaptations

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.

Aquafornia news The Arizona Daily Star

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Tribes, farms wary of proposed cuts in water deliveries from Lake Mead

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

New poll shows Californians’ opinions on climate change, water (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Why wildfire relief is nearly impossible this time of year in California

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Hotter weather expected near blaze that killed 1

Firefighters are bracing for hotter weather and lower humidity in the area near Big Sur where a wildfire has destroyed 34 homes and killed a bulldozer driver working to contain the massive blaze.

Aquafornia news Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Awareness of toxic algae urged when swimming in North Coast streams, lakes

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Homes on edge of the wilderness complicate wildfire efforts

When Pat Telleria saw the wind-driven flames sweeping across the grass foothills toward his dream home, he picked up the phone.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Wildfires sweep through nearly 50,000 acres in California

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California wildfire season at ‘extreme point’ with months to go

Wildfires are nothing new in Southern California, but as the record-breaking drought stretches into its fifth year, conditions in the southern part of the state are ripe for severe wildfires.

Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Governor’s office considering various strategies to combat wildfire amid drought and tree mortality

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Judge — Yorba Linda residents can’t use a referendum to void water rate hikes

Orange County Superior Court judge ruled Monday in a closely watched case that customers of a water district cannot void rate increases using a referendum.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Algae in drinking water causes Santa Clara Valley water officials to scramble

On most sunny summer weekends, Coyote Lake, a 4-mile-long reservoir in the hills east of Morgan Hill, would be busy with people boating, water skiing and fishing for bass and blue gill.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Regulators ordered Californians to cut water use 25%. In the desert, golf courses cut back 8%

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.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

Toxic algae is blooming more often in lakes, reservoirs. Does that threaten drinking water?

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

California eyes recycling wastewater for drinking

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California rice harvest expected to be near normal

Jim Morris with the California Rice Commission says this year is an average planting, but it’s welcome news to rice farmers who have had to idle fields during the drought.

Aquafornia news MSN

7 states recovering from severe drought

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Concern raised over water agencies’ stress tests

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.”

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Drought felt in low-income Bay Area communities

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.

Aquafornia news The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Experts: Why California should be stingy with water

Water suppliers are loosening water-use restrictions and reporting they’ll have enough water to meet demand for the next three years. But is that a good idea in the midst of ongoing drought?

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought and water bills are stuck on Capitol Hill

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought persists, conservation still ‘top priority’

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

How much did your community conserve during California’s year of water cuts?

A year ago, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered urban districts to meet conservation standards or face penalties.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Low or no water conservation targets ’shortsighted’ (with audio)

California water suppliers are increasingly shifting to voluntary conservation targets for their customers. And, some water experts say the move may be premature.

Aquafornia news The Orange County Register

Californians still saving water, even after restrictions are loosened

In May, the month when state officials said they would ease up on a year-old water conservation plan, consumers used less water than they did three years before.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Big drops in urban water use, state finds

Californians are saving an extraordinary amount of water, new records show, even after winter rains prompted state regulators to begin easing drought-driven restrictions on cities and towns.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California May water conservation rate is 28 percent (with audio)

The California Water Resources Control Board says the 28 percent May water conservation rate, compared to May 2013, was “phenomenal.”

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Downtown L.A.’s five-year rain total is lowest ever recorded

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

California wildfires burn more than 50,000 acres as crews make gains on containment

A series of wildfires continued to burn throughout California on Tuesday as flames charred more than 50,000 acres and occupied the efforts of nearly 3,000 firefighters, authorities said. 

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Before battling blazes, firefighters chop down dead trees in Sierra

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Summer of Fire: Climate change driving wildfires

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Summer of wildfires as drought persists in California

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.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

How Stanford researchers discovered a gigantic underground reservoir in California’s Central Valley (with audio)

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California has an immense groundwater supply, study finds

A recent study that found that there is more water beneath California than previously thought would seem like great news for a drought-stricken state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Science groups to Congress — Climate change is real threat

Thirty-one of the country’s top science organizations are telling Congress that global warming is a real problem and something needs to be done about it.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

More wildfires, starting sooner, burning more acres (with audio)

A report by the nonpartisan Climate Central says that 11 million people in California are at risk of wildfire and that climate change is lengthening the wildfire season.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento region to California: We’ve got plenty of water

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. 

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Commentary: Dead trees aren’t a wildfire threat, but overlogging them will ruin our forest ecosystems

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Fire crews making inroads against deadly California wildfire

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: How much water are top suppliers committing to save this year? Zilch.

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.

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

California’s drought isn’t over. Why are so many water agencies ending mandatory conservation?

Coachella Valley residents have slashed their water use nearly 25 percent over the past year in response to California’s historic drought. Now they face a new conservation mandate: zero percent.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

80 homes burned, 1,500 threatened in ‘extremely dangerous, extremely volatile’ fire in Kern County

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.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Elevated fire danger in California as drought persists (with audio)

The “dry season” in the western U.S. is not expected to bring any major changes to the level of drought, but four consecutive years of drought has increased wildfire concerns in California.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Some water agencies say ‘no’ to mandated water cuts despite drought (with audio)

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.”

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun Washington Bureau

Southern California braces for severe wildfire season

The thousands of acres burning across Southern California this week foreshadow what’s expected to be a severe wildfire season, the head of the U.S. Forest Service said.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds: Drought kills 66 million trees in California’s Sierra

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

State: Dry California town soon to have running water return

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Study shows Sierra snowpack 3 years away from pre-drought levels

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Alarm over fire danger as California tree die-off hits 66 million

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

26 million trees have died in the Sierra since October, raising fire risk

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.

Post

Drought FAQs

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Snowpack unlikely to recover from drought until 2019, study finds

When forecasters last year warned of a massive El Niño, some Californians held out hope that a single extremely wet year could bust the state’s severe drought.   

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

In Southern California, firefighters jump from one forest blaze to the next

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.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Forest Service pushes for fire funding change

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. 

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California snowpack won’t recover from drought for years (with audio)

The winter of 2015 capped four years of drought that resulted in an unprecedented water deficit in Sierra Nevada snowpack. Much of California’s water comes from snowmelt.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wildfires rage across Western US, but homes mostly spared

For days, wildfires have raged amid spiking heat across Southern California and much of the West, driving hundreds of people from their homes.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Research: California years away from making drought recovery

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.

Aquafornia news Redding Record Searchlight

Forest service: Tree die-off epidemic hasn’t yet hit North State

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has not yet seen the die-off from drought and beetles that has killed large swaths of forest in the Sierra Nevadas, a forest official said Monday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Melting snow, water releases and La Niña complicate California’s drought picture

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Should California limit the number of small, new water systems?

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

What Lake Mead’s record low means for California

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California to fire up burners to battle dead tree epidemic

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.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Obama gets personal with Yosemite in speech, long hike

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Fire torched us last year, and the blazes keep coming

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: California drought bummer — Sierra water runoff coming up short

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.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Santa Barbara fire bad omen for dangerous California fire season

The fire started smoldering Wednesday afternoon off a curvy mountain road in the coastal hills north of Santa Barbara.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Fires threatening communities around West

Fueled by hot and dry weather, wildfires threatened homes in California and other Western states as crews struggled to corral flames that have scorched miles of brush and timber.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: Water supply a ‘concern’ this summer in California (with audio)

The U.S. Drought Monitor says a lack of rain in May and in early June has caused the expansion of abnormally dry conditions in northwest California.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Wildfire near California oil refinery burning out of control

Winds and rising temperatures across the dry Western U.S. also worsened wildfires in other states.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Is drought causing a health crisis in California?

For the first time ever, a survey tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control to assess public health in disaster settings has been applied to a drought.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

San Joaquin County groundwater levels still falling

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.

Aquafornia news KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Do Southern California water wholesalers have enough supply for 3 more years of drought?

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.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: How long can droughts last? Los Angeles County’s trees may have the answer

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.

Aquafornia news PPIC

Blog: A weatherman explains California’s volatile climate

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.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News Release: Interior Department Announces $30 Million for Water Reuse and Reclamation Projects in California

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.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: How plans to save fish species could cut summer water supply

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.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Scientists bid farewell to a slightly underwhelming El Niño

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.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Earth’s super-sized El Nino is over; coming up, La Nina

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.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply

Sen. Feinstein: ‘We’ve got to reach consensus’ on drought bill

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.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Santa Clara County prepares to ease conservation rules

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.

Aquafornia news Charter Local Edition

Video: California Assemblyman James Gallagher on water, drought

Charter Local Edition Host Brad Pomerance interviews California Assemblyman James Gallagher about water, the drought and transportation.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Illegal pumping cases dismissed

State water regulators on Tuesday formally dismissed complaints against two Delta water districts accused of diverting water illegally during the worst of the drought last summer.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought sparks larger wildfires throughout California

Firefighters are tackling larger and more aggressive wildfires as drought conditions continue for a fifth year in California, drying out swaths of forest land.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: State water board drops record $1.5-million drought fine

State water regulators Tuesday dismissed a record $1.5-million fine against a Northern California irrigation district accused of diverting water last year in violation of a drought order.

Commands