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California Department of Water Resources Makes Progress in SGMA Implementation by Releasing Draft Regulations for Groundwater Sustainability Plans

The Department of Water Resources’ (DWR) recent release of draft emergency regulations for developing and evaluating groundwater sustainability plans marks continued progress toward implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), California’s comprehensive groundwater regulatory framework enacted in 2014. SGMA and its implementing regulations are likely to impact availability of groundwater throughout California, especially for users in basins that have historically experienced overdraft conditions. A copy of the new draft regulations can be accessed here.

The draft regulations are important for private landowners and developers because they provide a role for public participation during the groundwater sustainability plan development and adoption process and during DWR’s approval of the plans. Additionally, California Public Utilities Commission-regulated water corporations and mutual water companies that hope to participate in their basin’s groundwater sustainability agency (GSA) should view these regulations as an opportunity to preview the kinds of issues likely to arise during development of groundwater sustainability plans

California on Course for Another Drought Year

Even though the region is going into a wet cycle, that news isn’t enough to lift California out of its four-year drought. While the snow survey at Phillips Station today was the best March reading since 2011, statewide the water content is below average.

At the field adjacent to the road leading to Sierra-at-Tahoe the snow depth on March 1 was 58.3 inches, water content 27.1 inches, which is 105 percent of the long-term average. Statewide the snowpack is 83 percent of average.

Save the Rain – And Your Yard

During recent winter storms, many Sacramentans had the same thought: How can I save some of that rain for later?

Forget buckets; instead, rethink your flow. Traditionally, most of our home landscapes were designed for maximum runoff, whisking any excess water away from homes into streets, then rivers and out to the ocean.

Drought Hasn’t Been All Bad — We’ve Learned Some Things Too, California Water Chief Says

It was the final Wednesday of a warm, dry February, and here as in much of California it seemed that spring had made an early arrival.

The sky was blue, temperatures mild. Almond and fruit trees were ablaze with blossoms. Along the highways, poppies were in full flower, competing for attention with ubiquitous Caltrans message boards that warned: “Severe drought/Limit Outdoor Watering.”

El Niño No-Show Could Damage California’s Water Conservation Efforts

We have been snookered, hoodwinked, bamboozled and beguiled.
We bought a “Rolex” watch from some guy on the street corner. We believed we won millions in some foreign lottery. We gave money to the nice young man at the front door who said he was supporting an orphanage. We took financial advice from Bernie Madoff.

And when we were told we would be subjected to monster storms this winter, we believed it.
We repaired the roof and replaced the gutters. We laid in a supply of sandbags. We placed cisterns beneath the downspouts. We bought kayaks. We stopped conserving water.

Big Projects Floated to Save the Salton Sea

Although there are some short- and medium-term fixes already in the works, the job of saving the Salton Sea is a long-term proposition – one that requires planning well into the next decades.

A group of local leaders – known as the Long Range Plan Committee – has been assembled under the auspices of the California Natural Resources Agency to convene a series of meetings to listen to presentations that address long-term solutions for the sea.

Protecting Wildlife and Human Life

In the 1980s, Bill Toone helped save condors from near extinction as the curator of birds for San Diego Zoo. Now, the Escondido resident is working on ways to save endangered animals and the imperiled people who live alongside them.

Toone, 60, is executive director of ECOLIFE, a conservation organization that promotes sustainable technology that benefits both people and nature.

A Tale of Two Water Systems

This growing region needs more water, and it’s spending hundreds of millions to get it. A $72 million plant opened here in 2014 to turn wastewater into drinking water, and the Santa Clara Valley Water District is planning to build five more plants to purify water in the region

Water is scarce and expensive in California, and facilities like this one, the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Plant, use some of the most advanced technology in the world to make sure Silicon Valley’s booming population will have water when it turns on the tap.

State Surveyors Return to Sierra Nevada to Measure Snowpack

State surveyors will travel up the Sierra Nevada Tuesday to take their monthly measurements of the snowpack after a mainly dry and warm February.

The Department of Water Resources will conduct the survey in Echo Summit in the Central Sierra, which includes Lake Tahoe.

El Niño Eclipses Continued Need to Conserve Water

With a lot of recent publicity about El Nino, it can be easy to forget about the drought and saving water.“I don’t think it’s a question of relaxed so much as it is fatigued,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. “You can send the message over and over and over again, but sooner or later people think, ‘Well, my neighbors are watering, so I’m going to water.’ It’s a domino effect.”

Poway’s mayor said he reminds residents about water conservation at every city meeting. Though El Nino has brought some rain this winter, Californians have also seen plenty of hotter-than-normal temperatures.