You are now in San Diego County category.

Water Savings Slip as Drought Persists

Water savings by Californians continued to dip in January for the sixth straight month, raising questions about whether conservation efforts will satisfy Gov. Jerry Brown’s aggressive 25 percent reduction target.

Regulators announced Thursday that residents cut water use by 17.1 percent last month when compared with the same time period in 2013, the baseline year under the mandate.

NASA maps El Nino’s shift on US precipitation

This winter, areas across the globe experienced a shift in rain patterns due to the natural weather phenomenon known as El Niño. A new NASA visualization of rainfall data shows the various changes in the United States with wetter, wintery conditions in parts of California and across the East Coast.

“During an El Niño, the precipitation averaged out over the entire globe doesn’t change that much, but there can be big changes to where it happens. You end up with this interesting observation where you get both floods and droughts just by taking the usual precipitation pattern and doing a shift,” said George Huffman, a research meteorologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

What California Can Learn from Australia’s 15-Year Millennium Drought

California has experienced, over the past few years, its most severe drought on record. In response to worsening conditions, Governor Jerry Brown announced the first ever statewide mandatory reduction in urban water use in April 2015. This calls on Californians to reduce their use of potable (safe for drinking and food preparation) urban water by 25% from pre-drought levels. Californians are meeting the mandate.

California is entering its fifth consecutive year of drought, with many areas experiencing “exceptional” drought levels. While rain and snowfall have improved recently, water storages remain low and the long-term drought signal has not changed.

California: Water Conservation Beginning to Lag

Residents are starting to fall behind California’s mandatory 25 percent water conservation target, state officials said Thursday. As of January, water users in California’s cities and towns have used 24.8 percent less water since mandatory conservation began last year, the State Water Resources Control Board said. The latest numbers mean that for the first time since June, urban Californians missed the overall mandatory water-conservation target.

California Water Districts Appeal to Fractured Congress for Drought Relief

Water district officials from California’s Central Valley are looking to a deeply fractured Congress for relief from what they expect to be a third straight year of no federal allocations.

Westlands Water District general manager Tom Birmingham compares the drought-related water shortages bedeviling valley communities to the drinking water contamination crisis in Flint, Mich.

California Groundwater Crisis Creates Burdens, Opportunities for Growers

While some growers may see the emerging new state groundwater regulations as a potential burden, Helm, Calif., farmer Don Cameron sees them as an opportunity.Few growers understand California’s groundwater crisis better than Cameron, who farms almonds, walnuts and about two dozen other crops on 7,000 acres on the north fork of the Kings River in the San Joaquin Valley.

Cameron’s Terranova Ranch isn’t in an irrigation district, so he relies entirely on groundwater pumping. In 2011, he used a federal conservation grant to start using flood water from the river to replenish the aquifer beneath his sandy property, and he hopes to someday flood more of his ranch during wet winters to recharge the groundwater supply.

Tahoe Lake Level Rising, Snowpack Near Average

While Tahoe’s lake level has been on the rise, experts say it remains a concern — especially given a relatively dry February. But even with temperatures hovering between 5 and 14 degrees above normal for the region, snowpack water content has remained close to average thanks to a strong start to winter.

“(Lake level has) climbed up a decent amount the last couple months,” National Weather Service Reno office senior hydrologist Tim Bardsley said, describing the current level as 0.77 feet below the natural rim. “It’s encouraging to have the last couple months be near average inflow. The bad news is we’re starting so low.”

Strong El Niño No Help for Long-Term California Drought

The U.S. Drought Monitor says warmer weather has increased concerns of early snow melt in California and the overall trend is for the multiyear drought to continue or even worsen.

“Out west, progressively warmer weather heightened concerns of early snow melt, with early-week rain and mountain snow falling short of weekly normals and doing little to ease long-term drought,” according to the weekly report released Feb. 25.

Is This El Niño a Dud?

Sacramento is in the peak of its rainy season, but there is no substantial rain in the forecast for the next two weeks. The Sierra snowpack has fallen below normal levels for this time of year. The state’s three largest reservoirs remain far below capacity.Whither El Niño?

Throughout the summer and fall of 2015, California residents waited in anticipation as they heard about the strong El Niño weather pattern brewing in the Pacific Ocean. We remembered the winters of 1997-98 and 1982-83, when such strong El Niños corresponded with deluges. And we hoped for relief from our long, brutal drought.

Dodd Hopes to Improve Water Storage and Reliability

Assemblyman Bill Dodd, D-Solano, introduced new legislation to help save water during heavy rains that would otherwise flow out to the ocean.

Dodd’s bill will make it easier for farmers to use small ponds to collect and save water during wet months, which means less water will need to be pumped from streams and rivers when flows are low.