Will State Water Resources Board Protect the Delta?

When a company sells tainted ice cream, we ask, “When did the FDA know about the contamination?” When a train carrying crude oil derails, we ask, “When did the NTSB know the safety equipment was not installed?”

We ask because those are the agencies that need to be held accountable for protecting us.

 

But agencies are made up of individuals who make conscious choices about whether they will act. Most take their responsibility very seriously. The state Air Resources Board, for instance, helped uncover the Volkswagen diesel fraud.

It’s Official: 2015 ‘Smashed’ 2014’s Global Temperature Record. It Wasn’t Even Close

Last year shattered 2014’s record to become the hottest year since reliable record-keeping began, two U.S. government science agencies announced Wednesday in yet another sign that the planet is heating up.

 

2015’s sharp spike in temperatures was aided by a strong El Niño weather pattern late in the year that caused ocean waters in the central Pacific to heat up. But the unusual warming started early and steadily gained strength in a year in which 10 of 12 months set records, scientists said.

Could Insurance Markets Help Water Utilities Respond to Drought?

Last Friday, the California Water Resources Control Board extended for eight months an emergency water conservation mandate that Governor Jerry Brown first ordered on April 1, 2015. The goal of the regulation, issued in response to California’s worst-ever drought, was to reduce urban water use by 25 percent compared to 2013, a year before water reserves began to plummet.

 

By and large, the mandate worked. Californians, despite bristling at the top-down order, followed the governor’s directive. Through November, the 411 urban water suppliers that are covered by the regulation had reduced water use by 26 percent. Homeowners tore out lawns, stopped washing cars, and took shorter showers,

Mountain Snows That Feed Colorado River Look Good So Far

Snowpack in the mountains that feed the Colorado River was slightly above the long-term average on Wednesday — welcome news in the drought-stricken Southwest. But water and weather experts said it’s too early to predict how deep the snow will get or how much of it will make its way into the river and on to Lake Powell in Utah and Arizona, one of two major reservoirs on the Colorado.

OPINION: Another View: Don’t Ease Up On Water Conservation

State and federal agencies seem to disagree about California’s drought. The Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s 2016 Drought Contingency Plan, released Friday, painted a grim picture, but that same day, the State Water Resources Control Board staff proposed to relax emergency drought regulations.

 

Some farmers in California’s Central Valley are bracing for a third year without federal irrigation water. So how can we rationalize backing off conservation, recognized as the least expensive, fastest and most environmentally sound way to meet water needs?

El Nino-Fueled Storms Expected To Rise Lake Oroville 25 Feet in Next Week

El Nino-fueled storms are expected to help Lake Oroville rise about another 25 feet in the next week, according to the California Department of Water Resources. The department said with the lake rising rapidly due to the rain, the lake is now 47 feet higher than its low point of elevation, about 650 feet above sea level on Dec. 25.

 

“Rising lake levels will allow for the Spillway concrete boat ramp to be opened by Friday and Lime Saddle Boat Ramp is expected to be open sometime this weekend,” according to spokesman Ted Thomas.

State Proposes Extending Emergency Drought Conservation through October

The California State Water Resource Control Board on Friday Jan. 15 released a draft proposal to extend state mandated water conservation rules through October. If adopted, the extension will mean that the current water conservation goal of 25 percent less water use compared to 2013 will continue.

 

As written, the latest draft will extend conservation rules through October of this year. The water board is asking for public comment on the proposal.

Many El Niño Storms Blocked Off West Coast

A high-pressure system is chasing El Niño storms away from Southern California, shrinking the region’s chances for a winter wet enough to ease the drought. The same system has been blocking Pacific rainstorms from California for several years, National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Stachelski said.

 

“It moves around slightly, but overall it’s been there most of the winter. It’s generally the same pattern we’ve seen in the last few winters, which is why we’re in such a severe drought,” Stachelski said Tuesday.

Lake Oroville’s Surging Water Levels Becomes Trending Item on Facebook

Lake Oroville is seen down a Bidwell Canyon Marina boat ramp Wednesday. The lake has come up almost 28 feet since Jan. 1, triggering a Facebook swarm Wednesday, but it obviously still has a long way to go. Bill Husa — Mercury-Register

 

The lake was a trending item on many users’ news feeds for quite a while Wednesday. Although trending items vary based on a user’s preferences, including location, staffers from this publication saw Lake Oroville topping the racism flap over the Oscar nominations, Netflix’s new shows and Planet Nine.

Don’t Worry: Rain From El Niño is Still Coming to SoCal

Wonder when El Niño is really coming to SoCal? NBC4 Meteorologist Anthony Yanez has some answers:

 

It’s the number one question I get about our weather: “Where is the rain from El Niño?”

 

If you’ve been paying close attention, you know the NBCLA weather team has been saying for months that we should be prepared for February and March. Everything is still on track for that time frame. But we have to be careful for what we wish for.