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 Orange County Register

Watchdog: Water fines rise as tempers flare

There’s that house in Yorba Linda owned by folks who live out of the country: The sprinklers were never adjusted for a state-ordered 36 percent water cut.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Governor Brown issues order to prepare for fifth year of drought (with audio)

California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an executive order to prepare for a fifth year of drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Drought sends Folsom Lake to record low as rain moves in

The 60-year-old reservoir held 140,501 acre-feet of water at mid afternoon [Nov. 14], or roughly 14 percent of capacity, according to California Department of Water Resources data.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California water cutbacks likely to be extended next year

Despite forecasts of a wet winter, Californians can expect another year of water conservation in 2016 under an executive order issued Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Mandate on California water cuts slated to continue if drought persists

California’s urban areas should prepare to keep conserving water until at least next fall, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

El Niño is here, and it’ll be ‘one storm after another like a conveyor belt’

The strong El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is becoming even more powerful, setting the stage for an unusually wet winter in California that could bring heavy rains by January, climate experts said.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Commentary: Many California lakes are shockingly low

In 35 years, nobody’s seen numbers like these. In a personal survey this week of 125 recreation lakes, 33 are under 25 percent full, and that includes 19 that are less than 10 percent full and four that are empty.

Aquafornia news San Diego Union Tribune

Rancho Santa Fe has top water user

California was scandalized when one home in the Los Angeles area was found to be using 11.8 million gallons of water a year amid a drought. Well, how does 13.8 million gallons sound?

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Environmentalists sue over Sacramento River water, fish perils

Escalating the fight over California’s diminished water supply, a coalition of environmental groups sued Central Valley farmers and the federal government over the possible extinction facing an endangered run of salmon.

Aquafornia news KCRA-TV Sacramento

Folsom Lake near historic-low depth despite rainfall (with video)

It will take dozens of rain storms to alter the effects of California’s four-year drought. … With Folsom Lake now at just 15 percent of capacity, water experts are once again urging Californians to conserve.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Another nice bit of rain, but with less drama

For the second Sunday and Monday in a row, Northern California got a pretty good soaking, without the thunderstorm drama of Nov. 2.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thunderstorm in Bay Area means snow in the Sierra

When hundreds of lightning strikes lit up the Bay Area during an early morning downpour Monday, Ed Beyeler looked out his window in San Francisco and thought one thing — snow.

Aquafornia news Water Deeply, Covering the Crisis

Blog: No relief for low-income homes as water rates soar

The drought is driving up water rates all over California as utilities scramble to cover revenue losses and pay for additional supplies. There will be no relief for low-income residents, who are caught in a legal conundrum that prevents most water agencies from discounting their rates.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

To save water, an underground movement to bank El Niño’s rainfall

When the California Water Commission this year surveyed water agencies about storage proposals that might qualify for funding under Proposition 1, the 2014 water bond approved by state voters, half the responses involved groundwater projects, including one from [Gary] Serrato’s [Fresno Irrigation] district.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Dueling drought relief bills reveal stark differences

As California enters the fifth consecutive year of unprecedented drought, Congress is debating two competing bills designed to provide federal drought relief to California agriculture. The proposals reveal stark differences in proposed federal water and environmental policy.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Early-season storm makes small dent in California’s drought outlook

Two areas of California considered to be in “exceptional” drought were upgraded to the “extreme” category —  the best either area has seen since at least the beginning of summer, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Rain brings some ‘drought relief’ to California, Nevada

The storms that brought rain and snow to California and Nevada over the past week brought slight improvement in the drought.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Bay Area country club gulps over 2 million gallons of water a week

It takes a lot of water to feed the lush lawns that drape in vibrant folds across the Menlo Country Club’s golf course on the edge of Woodside. And, apparently, a crippling drought is seen as no reason to pull back on the spigot.

Aquafornia news Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

Answers to your burning California drought questions

Despite prodigious reporting on California’s historic drought, many details remain hidden from view or shrouded in secrecy. So we decided to put a call out to our readers: What stones remain unturned?

Aquafornia news Associated Press

More states wade into legal fight on greenhouse gases

A legal battle is brewing in Washington over President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, setting states economically dependent on fossil fuels against those already suffering from longer droughts, stronger storms and higher seas.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California rice takes top spot in international competition

A rice variety developed and grown in California has won the top award in a worldwide competition, and the state’s drought may have had something to do with it.

Aquafornia news McClatchy Washington, D.C., Bureau

McCarthy: Use high-speed rail funds to quench California’s drought

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a persistent critic of California’s high-speed rail program, said that the funds for the project should be diverted to quench the state’s severe drought.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

To build or not to build, that’s the dam question in dry California (with video/audio)

Across California, after years of punishing drought, reservoirs that normally fill canals and make crops bloom are greatly depleted or even empty. Some say that getting more water into storage by building more dams is key.

Aquafornia news PBS NewsHour

Why dams are at the heart of California’s water wars

California is soul searching right now on how to deal with the drought. Should it build more dams? Or are there already enough dams — more than 1,400 — in the state, and not enough water to fill them up anyway?

Aquafornia news Tahoe Daily Tribune

Not El Niño yet: Tahoe Basin sees significant snow from first winter storm

With portions of the Tahoe region reporting 465 percent above the average snowpack following the first winter storm of the season, Monday, Nov. 2, it’s clear the Sierra Nevada is in for a winter for the ages. Right?

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Recycled wastewater to give Los Angeles County some water independence

Unfazed by the taint of “toilet-to-tap,” the Water Replenishment District of Southern California unveiled another in a series of water recycling projects Tuesday that will help end its reliance on imported water and provide drought-insurance for its customers.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Water purification plant would eliminate need for imported water, officials say

As the worst drought in California history threatens to enter a fifth straight year, officials are advocating a variety of water reuse projects they say will reduce Southern California’s unquenchable thirst for imported water.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

California drought keeps water delivery companies busy (with audio)

More than 2,000 California homeowners have run out of water in the drought, according to the state website that tracks such data. But many homeowners whose wells have run dry haven’t reported it.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: Heavy snows in Sierra Nevada raise hopes of relief from drought

A day of heavy snow may have turned swaths of the Sierra Nevada into a winter landscape, but it’s too early to tell if it will have a lasting effect on the winter snowpack, forecasters say.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

California dead tree ‘emergency’ could fuel wildfires, El Niño floods

Calling it “the worst epidemic of tree mortality in modern history,” Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency this week, asking for swift removal of dried-out trees either through controlled burns or as feed for biomass energy plants.

Aquafornia news The Fresno Bee

Central Valley communities get drought-related grants

East Porterville and other Valley communities suffering the effects of California’s worst drought in decades are getting financial aid from the federal government to buoy their water supplies.

Aquafornia news Mono Lake Committee The Mono-logue

Blog: New twists as Mono Lake’s level falls — Spotlight on lake level forecasting in 2016

California’s four-year drought has lowered Mono Lake more than five feet. … In this case, another dry winter that pushes the state into a fifth drought year would push new and potentially contentious Mono Lake management issues to the forefront.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Should we be carving jack-o’-lanterns during a drought?

You may have heard a few things about pumpkins: There’s a shortage nationwide or there’s a shortage in California due to the drought.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Jerry Brown declares emergency for dying trees

Lamenting “the worst epidemic of tree mortality” in the state’s modern history, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday sought federal aid to remove dead trees from California forests and called for more controlled burns to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Aquafornia news Riverside Press-Enterprise

Why a UC Riverside economist says there is no drought

UC Riverside economist Christopher Thornberg told hundreds of business leaders at a recent economic forecast that there is no drought. … The content of his address surprised and frustrated some water officials, who said the declaration of drought is based on hydrology, not economics.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

California fines water suppliers for failure to cut back

State officials for the first time are fining California water suppliers for failing to meet a mandated 25 percent reduction in water use in the battle against a widespread drought.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

New plant tests appetite for seawater desalination

There’s far more riding on the Americas’ largest seawater desalination plant than the 50 million gallons of drinking water it will produce for the San Diego area each day.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Drought transforms Sacramento Valley, right in our own backyards

Acre by acre, Sacramento Valley farmland is being transformed. Pastures and row crops are giving way to more valuable orchards.

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

First fines in California drought issued to cities and agencies (with audio)

Regulators are praising the Californians who conserved water in September, but issuing the first fines to four urban water suppliers who waited too late to conserve or failed to enforce conservation standards.

Aquafornia news KQED Public Media for Northern CA

Folsom Lake: Stark, wondrous landscape amid drought (with video)

Thanks to the drought, a visit to Folsom Lake right now is a chance to walk through California history.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

As East Bay water use drops, snitching on the rise

In their zeal to conserve water during the fourth year of a historic drought, many East Bay residents have become water snitches, tattling on neighbors for hosing down driveways, leaving sprinklers on all night and even excessive bathing.

Aquafornia news Eureka Times-Standard

Eel River salmon go blind awaiting rain

Recent high tides and brief mid-September rains gave some Eel River salmon a fleeting chance to move closer to their spawning grounds. But a lack of adequate flows on the river is causing many fish to fall ill as they crowd within small pools for weeks at a time, according to a recent survey by the Eel River Recovery Project.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

New list of water hogs includes bankers, lawyers, former Warrior

The batch of 1,098 East Bay Municipal Utility District customers who sucked up more than their share during a 60-day billing period this summer was a who’s who of some of the richest people in the Bay Area.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Farmers near Sacramento River save water for winter birds

Right now, migrating waterfowl are looking for wet places to land and feed. … This week, several Sacramento River farm water districts finalized a deal with the federal Bureau of Reclamation to use water later in the year, to provide water for birds in November.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: State releasing latest water figures, discussing penalties

State officials plan to tell Californians what penalties they are taking against communities that fail to meet a mandated 25 percent reduction in water use when they announce usage figures Friday, in the state’s battle against a widespread drought.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Stanford project maps underground water — aimed at taking the guesswork out of well drilling

In the drought-ravaged Central Valley, scientists are using a new imaging technology to find ancient worlds of trapped water, hidden hundreds of feet underground. … This week, a helicopter swept 60 linear miles of parched fields in the Tulare Irrigation District in one of the most arid regions of California.

Aquafornia news Reuters

California officials outline preparations for El Niño flooding

As California braces for torrential downpours this winter from El Niño, authorities have stockpiled extra sandbags across the state while putting hundreds of personnel through flood-control training, officials told state lawmakers on Wednesday.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

After long summer, water pumping resumes

With the harvest ending and demand for water on the decline, senior water-right holders can once more draw from the San Joaquin River, state officials announced this week.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Lingering drought heightens worries of extinction for salmon

Another deadly summer of drought has heightened fears of extinction in the wild for an iconic California salmon, federal officials said Wednesday.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

What El Niño could mean for California: 5 takeaways

A Wednesday state Senate hearing dove into a topic on the mind of many Californians, examining how an anticipated El Niño surge of wetness could affect residents and force a pivot from drought preparedness to flood response.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Thursday’s Top of the Scroll: Drought-driven salmon deaths could have far-reaching impact

One of the last wild runs of chinook salmon in California is sinking fast amid the four-year drought and now appears perilously close to oblivion after the federal agency in charge of protecting marine life documented the death of millions of young fish and eggs in the Sacramento River.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Feds: Winter salmon run nearly extinguished in California drought

For the second straight year, huge numbers of juvenile winter-run Chinook salmon appear to have baked to death in the Sacramento River because of California’s drought-stretched water supplies, bringing the endangered species a step closer to extinction.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Chinook salmon spawning season looks like a disaster for second year in a row

This year’s spawning season for endangered winter-run Chinook salmon is looking like another disaster, placing one of California’s most prized native fish in an even more precarious position.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

These water districts are way short of their conservation targets

Over the last four months, the residents and businesses of the Indian Wells Valley Water District have cut their water consumption by about 25%, and General Manager Don Zdeba thinks that’s “pretty darn good.”

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Despite hype of El Niño Grande, California rainy season starts with a whimper

Many Californians have already mentally deposited oceans of rainwater into our depleted reservoirs, thanks to the hype surrounding a projected Godzilla El Niño this year. The only problem is that actual deposits haven’t really amounted to much just yet. 

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Wednesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lifts restrictions on senior water rights

With the harvest largely over, the State Water Resources Control Board said there’s enough water in the Sacramento-San Joaquin watersheds so that holders of senior water rights could once more divert water from rivers and streams.

Western Water Magazine

Rewriting History: California’s Epic Drought
September/October 2015

This issue examines the impacts of California’s epic drought, especially related to water supplies for San Joaquin Valley rural communities and farmland.

Aquafornia news San Gabriel Valley Tribune

This new app, Smart H2O, wants you to report water waste

Running your lawn sprinklers when you shouldn’t? Got a leaky pipe that’s sending water onto the street?

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: Grower says Oakdale Irrigation District broke state law with secret water sale

Irrigation leaders illegally agreed to sell Stanislaus River water to outsiders, an Oakdale Irrigation District customer alleges in a formal complaint. … The district has explained the deal in meetings, a news release and an Oct. 18 advertisement in The Modesto Bee.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

In drought-ridden California, the classic lawn loses ground

The cash-for-grass program has existed for years in Southern California, but it reached a pinnacle this year, as the drought intensified and local water districts increased the size of the rebates, sometimes to as much as $4 a square foot. … But the costly initiatives are not simply about conservation.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: South state storms show no easy remedies for California drought

An epic rainstorm brought mudslides, flooding and road closures to Southern California recently, but it did little to ease the state’s four-year drought. … The problem revolves around El Nino’s typical behavior and the lopsided nature of California’s mostly man-made plumbing system.

Aquafornia news Australian Broadcasting Corporation

US politicians hoping to learn from Australia’s experience of drought (with audio)

With California in the group of a five-year drought, a group of politicians from the state are in Australia, hoping to learn from the experiences here in the millennium drought.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

El Niño: Californians urged to buy flood insurance even if they’re not near water

With the strongest El Niño conditions in nearly 20 years already underway in the Pacific Ocean and chances increasing for heavy storms this winter, federal emergency officials on Friday urged Californians to buy flood insurance — even those who don’t live near creeks or rivers.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Water district opens doors to wastewater plant, serves residents treated sewer water

Former sewer water was the drink of choice Saturday at an event in Alivso to show off the county’s new advanced water purification plant and tout the potential for recycled water. … The verdict? Many thought it tasted pretty good.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

Commentary: Place some limits on new pumping until drought ends

The governor should use his emergency powers under the existing drought to ban new wells in areas where groundwater pumping is causing significant economic damage. I [Gerald H. Meral] don’t take this position lightly. I understand it would harm people who need groundwater to keep their farms going.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Big water users, take note: Los Angeles DWP is considering outing you

Decades before someone coined the Twitter hashtag #droughtshaming and people began posting YouTube videos of their neighbors’ drowning lawns, California water suppliers encouraged conservation by releasing the names of their biggest water hogs.

Aquafornia news Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

Vote for the California drought question you want answered

For all our reporting on the secrets of California’s historic drought, we know there still are many stones left unturned. … Which question do you most want our reporters to answer?

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Congressional Republicans demand plan for collecting El Niño water

The Republican members of California’s delegation are demanding a government plan to store the deluge of water that could come with El Niño this winter.

Aquafornia news East Bay Express

Commentary: Damning California’s future

Few places in California are more remote from urban life than Round Valley, but the watershed and [Richard] Wilson are central to understanding why Governor Jerry Brown and other powerful interests are avidly pursuing several multibillion-dollar dam projects and two massive water tunnels that are strikingly similar to plans laid out in economic and engineering charts in California in the early-1950s.

Aquafornia news The Modesto Bee

Secret water sale complaints spill into Oakdale Irrigation board meeting

Irrigation leaders agreed to refund drought surcharges paid by farmers this year, an action that was overshadowed Tuesday by a dispute over a recently unveiled sale of water to outsiders.

Aquafornia news The Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers head to Australia to study drought response

While the rest of us hope for a strong El Niño this winter, California lawmakers are looking to farther-flung locales for solutions to the state’s historic drought, now deep into its fourth year.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

El Niño on the way

It was the latest in a series of October storms that could provide a preview of what’s in store in the coming months as an El Niño system moves in and threatens to bring unstable weather to the Southwest…. California is bracing for a rainy winter, potentially easing the drought while creating new problems such as flooding and mudslides.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Daily News

Los Angeles DWP, other utilities to raise water rates because of drought

Throughout California, consumers have conserved during this four-year drought and purchased less water from their utilities, leaving some water agencies operating in the red and drawing down reserves.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Tuesday’s Top of the Scroll: California lawmakers travel to Australia for drought lessons

California lawmakers are joining environmental, labor and business leaders on a trip to see how Australia managed its longest and most severe drought on record.

Aquafornia news Whittier Daily News

How the drought lowered Central Basin Municipal Water District’s bond rating

Citing concerns the drought might reduce revenue for Central Basin Municipal Water District, Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded by one notch its rating for the district from Aa3 to A1.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Monarchs get help from unlikely source: California’s drought

Suburban homeowners ripping out thirsty lawns are dotting their new drought-tolerant landscapes with milkweed native to California’s deserts and chaparral – plants that have the potential to help save water and monarchs at the same time, because the female monarch will only lay her eggs on milkweed.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought-stressed California forests face a radical shift (with video)

The Forest Service had estimated that nearly 12.5 million trees in the state’s southern and central forests were dead. But as [Greg] Asner peered down upon the same forests from his airplane at 6,000 feet, he saw something far worse.

Western Water Excerpt

Rewriting History: California’s Epic Drought
September/October 2015

Drought doesn’t instantly ravage the way flooding does. It advances at a steady, determined pace, building and spreading during several years. Fields wither, reservoirs drop to dangerously low levels and the memory of what constitutes a normal water supply becomes more distant.

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

Aquafornia news Capital Public Radio

Drought creates fresh produce shortage at Central Valley food banks

The four-year drought in California is beginning to squeeze food banks.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought takes toll on ‘agritourism’ farms that once thrived on Halloween crowds

Around California, drought has taken a toll on small “agritourism” farms that once thrived on the Halloween season crowd. Some have shut down, while others have stopped growing their own pumpkins or trimmed acres from their corn mazes and canceled activities that require water.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Gov. Brown’s link between climate change and wildfires is unsupported, fire experts say

The ash of the Rocky fire was still hot when Gov. Jerry Brown strode to a bank of television cameras beside a blackened ridge and, flanked by firefighters, delivered a battle cry against climate change.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday’s Top of the Scroll: In the drought-parched Central Valley, a waiting game begins

With October comes a waiting season. Californians have more or less survived one more dry year — with shower buckets and brown lawns, with ever deeper wells and fallowed croplands; in short, with every trick known to those who consume or manage water.

Aquafornia news Bay Area News Group

Naming high water users in the drought — It depends where you live

Water suppliers take different approaches on what they reveal about guzzlers even though California’s more than 400 water districts are under state orders to reduce use. … East Bay water officials said it’s simple to them: Customers were outed for violating a district policy.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Commentary: Congress can help California with comprehensive water plan

As Congress considers an appropriate response to the Western drought, our experience in California gives us a keen sense of how Congress can best help. … I [California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird] take passage of Proposition 1 as a resounding endorsement of a constructive approach that does not pit urban or agricultural users against one another and does not undermine water rights or environmental protection laws.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Oakland A’s Billy Beane is among water district’s top users

Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane and a retired Chevron Oil executive are among the top excessive water users in a district east of San Francisco, utility records show.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

A’s Billy Beane near top of East Bay water hogs list

Oakland A’s big cheese Billy Beane, famous for his statistical money-saving approach to assembling a baseball team, has been far less economical with his water, according to an East Bay Municipal Utility District roster that places him among the top water hogs in the East Bay.

Aquafornia news Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting

Billy Beane and oil exec among East Bay’s biggest water guzzlers

The East Bay Municipal Utility District on Thursday released a list of customers who were hit with monetary penalties because they pumped about 1,000 gallons of water per day during the past two months. That’s compared to what the average residential customer uses: about 250 gallons per day.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Why some homeowners are no longer cool with backyard pools

As California enters a potential fifth year of drought, the swimming pool demolition industry — a niche, to be sure — is thriving, operators say, with new companies entering the business to profit from Californians’ concerns about water scarcity.

Aquafornia news Stockton Record

Our driest days: The sad state of local reservoirs

The tow trucks are busy these days at Lake Camanche, rescuing drivers who get stuck on the sandy road that drops toward the receding shoreline. … And at New Melones Lake, a ghostly forest and portions of an old town have emerged as the water drops nearly one vertical football field below the spillway at the dam.

Aquafornia news Chico Enterprise-Record

Wildlife managers use careful management to prepare for winter bird migration

Wildlife managers are worried again this year: Will there be enough wet habitat for millions of birds in the Sacramento Valley? Before the drought, 250,000-300,000 acres of California rice lands was flooded each winter.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles County mudslides trap numerous cars; I-5 closed to traffic

Northern Los Angeles County was pummeled Thursday by a series of torrential downpours that caused mudslides and flash floods that inundated roads, trapped drivers and forced the closure of nearly 40 miles of Interstate 5, cutting off California’s main north-south artery.

Aquafornia news San Jose Mercury News

Friday’s Top of the Scroll: El Niño — Wet winter likely across California, not just in south, new report says

In the latest sign that El Niño conditions are likely to bring wet weather to drought-parched California, federal scientists on Thursday announced for the first time that the entire state — including the northern part of California from the Bay Area to the Oregon border — is now expected to receive average or above-average rainfall this winter.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

El Niño looking like a rainy winner for state’s watersheds

The areas that need strong El Niño storms the most are likely to get them, forecasters said Thursday.

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.

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