Posts Tagged: drought

News

Drought’s back broken — or not?

A man shielded against the rain looks across L.A. from the Hollywood Hills. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Despite the torrential rains of the last few weeks, experts say it’s too early to tell whether California’s interminable drought is really over. It will be necessary to monitor rainfall through at least March to make an assessment.

News

Delta tunnels: A steady trickle of progress

An aerial view of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. (Photo: Jeffrey T. Kreulen)

Gov. Jerry Brown’s massive Delta tunnels project is moving forward through a series of state and federal environmental reviews. But it still faces an array of major hurdles including public opposition, financing and approvals by state water contractors. The $15 billion project, known as California Water Fix, is on track to finish the environmental reviews by the end of the year.

Analysis

How bad is water management in California?

Oroville Lake. (Photo by Pauk, via Wikipedia)

California’s combination of climate, native ecosystems, and human uses makes water management inherently hard, unsatisfactory, and evolving. California is doomed to have difficult and controversial water problems. No matter how successful we are.

News

Drought emergency: The need for a biodiversity policy

Lake Oroville ravaged by drought. (Photo: State Department of Water Resources, 2014)

Analysis: California ecosystems are losing their resilience and their ability to sustain native plants and animals. In the past, even in droughts, there were natural refuges to sustain native species. Today, most of these ecosystems are changing rapidly from human impacts and many have deteriorated to critical condition. Refuges are scarce.

News

Groundwater: The crucial challenge

A California Department of Water Resources geologist measures and records a pumping water level in a production well. (Photo: John Chacon,/DWR, 2013, via California Water Blog)

Analysis: California’s single most urgent water policy priority is preserving our groundwater supply. In normal years, groundwater provides one-third of our state’s urban and agricultural water. In dry years, it provides up to nearly two-thirds.

News

Drought: El Niño is not the cavalry

Storm clouds over Mt. Baldy, east of Los Angeles. (Photo: Joel Shawn)

Even if this El Niño brings California an unusually wet winter, continuing to invest in science-based drought-related policy is essential to California’s continued success as a global innovation economy, a leader in environmental and public health, and being a darn nice place to live.

News

A torrid June, but water usage cut

A suburban home with a lawn that hasn't been watered in months. (Photo: Suzanne Tucker, via Shutterstock)

Despite the hottest June on record, Californians cut back on their water use statewide by by 27.3 percent statewide compared with June 2013, a reduction that exceeded the level ordered in the governor’s emergency drought regulations. The cut in usage amounted to more than 182,000 acre-feet of water, or about 59.4 billion gallons by urban water suppliers.

News

Drought top issue; partisanship roils greenhouse gas law

Shasta Lake in August 2014. (Photo: David Greitzer, Shutterstock)

As the state suffers through its fourth year of drought, most Californians say the lack of water is the single most important environmental issue facing the state, a dramatic increase over the number who expressed similar concerns a year ago. A survey by the nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California reported that 58 percent of Californians ranked the drought as the top issue — up 23 points from July 2014 and up 50 points from July 2011.

News

Felicia Marcus navigates drought’s rough water

Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, is at the heart of California's efforts to deal with an unprecedented drought. (Photo: Phil Kampel for Capitol Weekly)

No matter what you might have heard, Felicia Marcus wants you to know she doesn’t hate your lawn. At least not on general principle. “No, no, no,” Marcus, the chair of the Water Resources Control Board, says emphatically when asked about a quote from California Farm Bureau Federation president Paul Wenger that claimed Marcus has a personal vendetta against green lawns.

News

Historic drought trumps economy

The dry bed of Ivanpah Lake in San Barnardino County, which had been filled by the 2004-05 rains. (Photo: Ed Berlen)

Water and the lack of it is the No. 1 issue confronting California, and most people across the state believe their neighbors aren’t doing enough to deal with the drought. The nonprofit Public Policy Institute of California reported that nearly four in 10 of those surveyed said water and drought was the most important issue, about double those – 20 percent – who saw jobs and the economy as the key issue.

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