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California Snow Pack Dwindles After Generous January Storms

A drier February is having an impact on the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada.

The State Department of Water Resources said Tuesday the statewide snow pack water content is 7 percent below normal despite the fact that precipitation since October 1st is only about 5 percent above average.

An Important First Step Toward a Water Market

What gets measured gets managed, ” management guru Peter Drucker once said.  In the fourth year of a historic drought, Drucker’s statement is especially relevant.

Simply put, in spite of numerous databases containing information on hydrology, biology, water quality, water use and other technical information, there is no single entity responsible for collecting and reporting all the data necessary for regulatory and water supply managers to make informed and science-based decisions to manage our precious water resources.

BLOG: California Ag Water Woes Alive and Kicking Despite El Niño. Is Policy to Blame?

With the El Niño weather phenomenon lingering lightly across the U.S. West Coast, many Californians have breathed a sigh of relief. The recent showers triggered by the weather anomaly so far this year could potentially aid the state’s growers in the short term. But will they abate the accumulated effects of nearly five years of drought in the long term? At we caught up with water experts and local growers to find the answer.

Western Growers (WGA) vice president of federal government affairs, Dennis Nuxoll, said one year of stable weather conditions will not curb the long-term effects of the accumulated water shortage

MWD Budgets No Money for Popular Cash-for-Grass Program

The Metropolitan Water District has no plans at the moment to continue funding an extremely popular turf removal program that has been credited with helping Southern Californians replace more than 100 million square feet of lawn.

Last year, in response to the continued drought, the district added a major injection of funding for conservation programs from its reserve funds. The injections turned what is typically a $20 million conservation budget into a whopping $450 million.

Old Tensions Boil Over Once More in House Hearing on California Water

The year’s first congressional hearing on California’s water crisis incited stern voices and familiar feuds Wednesday, but showed no sign of legislative progress.

Instead, for two hours, lawmakers largely remained in trenches dug over many years as they lobbed shells at one another and, at times, the assembled witnesses.

California Boosts Water Deliveries to Cities, Farms — Slightly

With a bit more snow in the Sierra than in years past, California officials on Wednesday boosted the amount of water they expect to deliver this year from the state’s mountain-fed reservoirs.

The 29 water agencies served by the massive State Water Project, which provides about 25 million Californians with water, are set to receive 30 percent of the supplies they requested — up from 15 percent estimated last month, the Department of Water Resources announced.

Congressmen Back Feinstein’s Water Bill

Two members of Congress that represent the Galt area and the Delta support federal legislation that would provide $1.3 billion for short- and long-term solutions to California’s historic drought.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein earlier this month introduced the California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act.

Sierra Snowpack Melts With Dry February

The water content in the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack has decreased significantly due to dry conditions and record warm temperatures across California in February.

Precipitation in January increased the statewide Sierra snow water content to 115 percent of normal. But to date, the snow water content is 92 percent of normal.

Feds Allocate Water for Endangered Fish, Leave Calif. Farmers High And Dry

Despite wetter-than-average weather in California, some farmers are looking at another year of a zero federal water allocation even as the billions of gallons of water continue to be dumped into the ocean in order to save a three-inch fish.

The worst part for many lawmakers at Wednesday’s House subcommittee hearing is that the Delta smelt remains as vulnerable as ever after the loss of 1.4 trillion gallons of water since 2008 under the federal Endangered Species Act.

BLOG: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: New California Groundwater Regulations Missing Metrics to Define Sustainability

Several days ago, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released draft regulations for public comment regarding key provisions of the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which was passed in 2014. These regulations describe what should be included in the new groundwater sustainability plans that many local groundwater agencies are required to submit to the state by 2020, and how DWR will evaluate the plans that they receive.

The soundness of these regulations will determine whether we can effectively transform the current unregulated chaos—which has led to unprecedented groundwater declines—into a system that will preserve and enhance our water resources for years to come.