Drought Watch 2014
No matter what happens in the remaining few weeks of the “wet season,” California's drought is unlikely to be quenched. 2013 is in the books as California's driest calendar year on record. More than half of our precipitation typically falls in three months: December, January and February. There was virtually nothing in the rain gauge for December and January and the precipitation window has essentially closed as we move into summer, with profound implications for life and livelihoods in California.
All Eyes on the Sierra
Snow that accumulates in the Sierra accounts for about a third of the state's water supply. Water content of the snowpack is a small fraction of what's considered normal.
Officials are also watching key reservoirs that supply the complicated plumbing that carries water to farms and cities throughout the state. Reservoirs are low without the benefit of much recharge from winter rain and snowfall. Last winter was dry, too, especially the latter part. That means there is little carryover supply to help get us through the summer.
The list of cities and water districts announcing water restrictions – both voluntary and mandatory — is growing rapidly.
The state’s $45 billion agricultural sector faces severe cuts in water supply, too, which could mean acres — reportedly as many as a half-million — taken out of production, leading to high unemployment in farm communities and, potentially, higher food prices.
State and federal water managers have set planned allocations from the state's two largest water delivery projects at zero for the first time ever, though “health and safety” supplies, like drinking water, will be provided.
Scant rainfall in the new year has set the stage for more than 600 wildfires and added a new threat for endangered salmon.
Gov. Jerry Brown declared an official statewide drought on January 17, as he called for a voluntary statewide reduction in water consumption. The drought declaration outlines 20 steps, some mandatory, some merely advisory, to meet water shortages that have already started to affect many communities. State water officials have released monthly plans for operating the state's reservoirs and rivers in an attempt to balance the needs of people and wildlife.
Following the ups and downs of a key state reservoir and what they mean for the drought water supply. ...Read More
Water managers are walking a tightrope this year, balancing three competing needs: how much water to deliver to people and agriculture, how much to provide for wildlife and how much to save for next year, in case it’s just as dry.
First the freeze, now a crippling water shortage confront citrus growers in the Central Valley.
Distributing enough water to everyone has never been an easy task in perennially thirsty California. But making sure that residents, farms and the natural environment are all sufficiently hydrated becomes a particularly difficult balancing act during prolonged droughts. Simply put, there's just not enough to go around. Cartoon journalist Andy ...Read More
A key indicator of California's water prospects is likely to peak out at about one-third of normal.
The drought is putting a spotlight on water use around California, including for hydraulic fracturing. How much water does fracking use and will it increase as companies tap into the Monterey Shale, estimated to be the largest oil resource in country?
Dry years stifle a key tourist attraction, creating challenge for supporters of state's largest park. ...Read More
Wildlife officials say trucking is the only way to make sure hatchery salmon reach the Pacific. ...Read More
These are bone dry times for California. Even with the recent rains, the state is still mired in one of its worst droughts in recorded history. And that spells trouble for the vast agriculture industry here. Cartoon journalist Andy Warner explains. View as slideshow Andy Warner's comic journalism has ...Read More
We're expecting rain late Tuesday and Wednesday, but it's unlikely to help boost water storage. ...Read More
When do amber waves in your toilet bowl begin to become socially unacceptable, and other questions. ...Read More
Talk of California's drought shifts this week to a place that knows a little bit about water scarcity: the deserts of the Coachella and Imperial Valleys. That's where state officials are meeting with local farmers, residents and decision makers. ...Read More
California's landscape is peppered with a huge collection of dams and reservoirs, providing water — and in some cases power — to cities and farms throughout the state. Most of these reservoirs typically fill up during the wet winter months and are slowly depleted over the course of the summer ...Read More
Everything's in place, including drought, to allow agency to tap water it has tried to get for decades. ...Read More
Less consumption in places with water meters, which will be required in all homes and businesses by 2025.
Scientists are finding that dust storms in Asia and Africa influence how much snow falls in the Sierra Nevada. The research could help make weather forecasting more accurate and improve how California manages its water supply.
Recycled water plant relies on technology used successfully from Singapore to Orange County. ...Read More