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In Northern California, Skiers and Water Officials are Grateful for the Recovering Snowpack

Here at one of the snowiest places in the country, Ed Bischoff marveled at a view that had been absent for years.

A number of early winter storms, strengthened by El Niño conditions, had covered the northern Sierra Nevada in white. Fresh snow weighed down towering evergreens along Interstate 80. On local roads, street signs peeked out of snowbanks more than 7 feet high.

Storm Water, Long a Nuisance, May Be a Parched California’s Salvation

The winter rains finally arrived in Southern California, bringing drenching relief this week to a part of the nation suffering one of the worst droughts in history. But the El Niño storms brought something else as well: a reminder of lost opportunity, on display in this coastal city, as millions of gallons of storm water slipped down the usually dry Los Angeles River and out into San Pedro Bay.

After a year in which Californians cut water use by 25 percent, storm water has become the next front in what amounts to a fundamental restructuring of Southern California’s relationship with its intricate water network. More than 200 billion gallons of storm water, enough to supply 1.4 million households for a year, could be captured statewide — but instead end up spilling down sewers, drains and into the ocean, as was on display Thursday, in the hours after the rainfall had ended, at the spot where the Los Angeles River ends

Dear Drought Fighter: Live Landscape Has Many Benefits

Q: For water conservation and the environment, is it better to install artificial turf or drought-tolerant plants?

A: Think holistically. When choosing between artificial turf and drought-tolerant plants, consider multiple factors, including environmental sustainability.

Dud El Niño is Weakening, But Could Still Go Out With a Bang

The promised “second peak” of this year’s El Niño still hasn’t really shown up, and instead of prolonged torrential rains, Southern California has instead gotten some heavy winds and a freaky-hot February. Now, says the Associated Press, El Niño is “weakening ever so slightly.” The World Meteorological Organization says that, as far as El Niño goes, the phenomenon has passed its peak in terms of wind/temperature/pressure conditions. Yes, like an old racehorse, “It’s still strong, but it has reached a peak value and it’s starting its decline,” says a meteorology professor at the University of Oklahoma.

New Limits on California Well-Drilling Sought

Warning that a drought-driven surge in well drilling is causing the earth to sag and imperiling long-term water supplies, a California senator wants to place more stringent limits on new wells.
In an effort sure to inflame ever-sensitive disputes over water rights, Senate Bill 1317, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would have people hoping to sink new wells in strained basins obtain conditional use permits and furnish proof that a new well would not have “undesirable impacts” like causing the earth to sink or dropping water levels too low. It would halt new wells in critically overdrafted basins, of which there are currently 21 across the state.

No Drought Buster, But March, April Could Bring Rain

Two words. Nine letters. That’s what it takes to sum up Ventura County’s rainfall so far this year.
Not enough.

“The rain we’re getting now is not enough,” said Casitas Municipal Water District’s Ron Merckling as showers started earlier this week.

OPINION: When Drought Became Deluge 30 Years Ago

History is best not forgotten, especially when lives could be at stake.
Earlier this month, operators of the federal dam at Folsom Lake significantly increased releases into the American River, even though California’s water crisis is far from over.

Though the reservoir was sitting at 40 percent of capacity, a manual drawn up in 1987 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers required the action, The Bee’s Ryan Sabalow, Phillip Reese and Dale Kasler reported last week. Some regional water managers and experts frowned that too much water was being released when California is still gripped by drought.