Drought Watch 2014
Recent polling indicates that Californians now consider the drought the most pressing environmental issue facing the state.
In July, regulators issued the first statewide water restrictions, which carry potential fines of up to $500 per day for repeat violators. More significantly, local water agencies themselves are now subject to steep daily fines if they fail to enforce the new rules. Accordingly, local agencies were moving toward more mandatory water restrictions. In a July statewide survey, three-quarters of the respondents said that they favored mandatory restrictions on water use.
The state’s $45 billion agricultural sector faces severe cuts in water supply. A study by U.C. Davis projects that 430,000 acres of farmland will remain unplanted this year, leading to high unemployment in some farm communities, particularly in pockets of the San Joaquin Valley.
State and federal water managers 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.
State and federal officials are preparing for a long and difficult wildfire season. By early August, the number of California wildfires was running 35 percent above average.
2013 is in the books as California’s driest calendar year on record. 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 begun to affect many communities.
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Watering your lawn or washing your car may become a lot more expensive. State regulators have approved new fines aimed at water wasters, hoping the penalties will lead to a reduction in water use.
Economists estimate that the drought will cost the state's farm economy about $2.2 billion this year, including the loss of more than 17,000 jobs.
Wasting water outdoors amid the state's drought will begin hitting Californians in the wallet under get-tough restrictions being proposed by state regulators.
$10.5 billion plan now includes more money for reservoirs, but not enough to win Republican votes. ...Read More
Fights are breaking out over controversial water sales. Some farmers say they need the water to keep trees alive, while others say groundwater pumping depletes supplies for neighboring farms, and could threaten California's already-stressed aquifers.
Mountain meadows that would normally be covered with wildflowers have nothing to offer the bees this year, as the flowers lie dormant in the drought. Beekeepers are looking at drastically reduced production, and in some cases are just trying to keep their bees alive.
Two prominent California water experts advise: don't bet on wet.
A new report echoes some of the worst fears of a fourth straight drought year.
Two competing camps have emerged about how to boost California's water supplies during dry times: conserve more water or build more water storage.
The unrestrained race to drill new wells could put California's biggest water source in jeopardy.
Some farm water districts are flouting requirements to measure and report water deliveries to customers.
Some 'senior rights' holders can get virtually all the water they want as the rest of state cuts back. ...Read More
The polluted beaches that made the 'Beach Bummers' list suffer from problems like poor circulation and outdated sewage systems.
Moody's Investors Service says even in agricultural counties, the financial effects are limited. ...Read More
Sacramento is nearly ten years into a program to install 100,000 water meters in homes. The project is running late and costs are ballooning.
Seasonal firefighters started training months earlier than usual this year. It may seem like common sense that it's dry out there, but there is a science to knowing how dry, and to knowing when the threat of wildfire is at its worst.
Don't be deceived by a balmy Monday: Region is in for an early heat wave starting Tuesday. ...Read More