Drought Watch 2015
How Bad Is It?
It’s bad. After heavy rains raised hopes in December, what should have been the heart of the rainy season then turned into the driest January-March period on record, exacerbated by record-high temperatures. Firmly into the fourth year of drought, one of the state’s top water regulators calls it “the most serious challenge our generation has ever faced.” In April, Governor Jerry Brown issued a first-ever executive order mandating statewide reductions in water use.
More than two-thirds of California remains in “extreme” drought, with more than 40 percent of the state in “exceptional” drought, the most extreme category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Water is cheaper in California than you might think. Just as it is in most of the United States, it's less than a penny a gallon. That is because water is delivered to residents exactly at cost. There are no extra fees or charges on this vital resource. This raises ...Read More
As California's drought continues, social media and smart phone apps let just about anyone call out water waste, often very publicly.
Nearly nine in ten Californians believe the drought is serious, according to a new California Field Poll. But only about half say they could easily use less water.
Justin Butchert drops bags of ice into huge coolers and lifts them onto his pickup truck. “This is our only form of refrigeration up there,” says Butchert, owner of Kings River Expeditions. He's referring to his company's base camp on the Kings River, east of Fresno in the Sierra Nevada. The ...Read More
The tiny Delta smelt is famous for being a target in California's water wars, but it's dangerously close to extinction. That's bringing attention to anything that could harm the fish, including something rarely discussed: dredging Delta waterways for big cargo ships.
Here’s the thing: Water rights in California are based on who got there first. It’s as if you had to line up with all your coworkers to get a cup of coffee at work, and maybe the pot’s empty when the new guy gets to the front. Some are asking, in a drought like the one we’ve been having, is that really fair?
State officials officially hand the ball to local water agencies to squeeze 25 percent more water savings out of their customers. And ultimately, it is up to those customers to respond -- or not.
In promoting his new greenhouse gas reduction targets, the governor invokes World War II, climate-change deniers in Washington, and the recycled toilet water in our future.
The governor offers help with enforcement but no easing of conservation targets for local water suppliers.
New drought restrictions are prompting cemetery managers to look at the water they use to keep lawns green. Some worry that for family members who visit this summer, parched grass might feel like insult on top of loss.
Esthetics and water conservation clash as California cities find their own laws at odds with the governor's water reduction mandates.
Gov. Brown blasts ruling that some fear could outlaw a valuable tool to enforce water savings.
The rural town of Woodside combines the leafy luxury of Marin County with the remoteness of Mendocino. Woodside is nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, but its rustic setting off scenic Highway 280 south of San Francisco is anything but high tech. Woodside has a swanky Zip ...Read More
Water agencies win some relief valves in the latest version of draft water regulations designed to achieve the governor's 25 percent statewide savings.
Meager river flows may not be enough to stem the tide of salt water that threatens freshwater supplies.
Agriculture consumes about 40 percent of the state's water, or 80 percent of water available for human use. Critics question the viability of growing water-intensive crops like almonds and rice, but others argue the state's water woes are too complex to pin on a single industry.
Madera County's DA tries to get out in front of an expected wave of water-related thefts.
The latest figures on water conservation in California would seem to bear out the need for more strict, mandatory measures, such as the governor recently announced.
Builders and developers are pondering the governor's new water mandates -- and scratching their heads.