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California Journal: Barren a Year Ago, a Snowpack Station Comes Up Deep and Dense

It was 22 degrees and snowing Tuesday morning. State snow surveyor Frank Gehrke slowly crossed a blanketed field.

He periodically jabbed a hollow pole into the snow and then hung it from a portable scale, reading nature to draw a bead on where, exactly, the California drought is heading.

Dear Drought Fighter: Graywater Can Be Recycled

Q: Is it feasible to run washing machine water onto the grass? I remember my father doing this and it kept our grass green in the hot San Fernando Valley.

A: Homeowners don’t need permits for recycling graywater from washing machines to irrigate certain types of landscaping such as grass when leach-line systems comply with rules set by local agencies (such as the cities of Oceanside or San Diego). Graywater also includes wastewater from bathtubs, showers and sinks, but recycling water from those sources requires a permit. Graywater does not include water from toilets and other sources that could spread pathogens.

Feds Sharply Increase Flows from Folsom Lake

Just two months after Folsom Lake hit historically low depths, federal officials have increased water releases from the lake for flood control.

Folsom Lake has filled up at a near-unprecedented pace since early December, thanks to rain, snow and what had been a sharp curtailment on water releases because the drought had left the reservoir severely depleted. In recent weeks, regular rainfall and runoff from higher-than-average Sierra snowfall helped return the reservoir to above-average levels for this time of year.