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OPINION: Bringing Water to the Markets

For some, the very idea of privatizing water — a substance essential to human life on this planet — is simply unthinkable. Clean water is the right of every person, they would argue.

But if the history of water management in the western states is any indication, treating water as the commodity it is would go a long way toward curbing waste, improving delivery and ensuring that thirsty, growing cities have enough water to sustain themselves in an era of ongoing drought.


Forecasters: Strong Storm Continues Today

If you thought Saturday was rainy, just give it a few more days. Between now and Monday, an expected 2-3 inches of rain is being forecast for the valley floor, with 5-7.5 inches in the foothills. The snow level will drop to 4,000 feet Saturday night, with 2-3 feet accumulating. Hazardous travel is likely over the mountains, and motorists should expect chain controls.

The Weather Service says downed trees and power outages are possible, along with urban and small stream flooding and the potential for rock slides along mountain roads.

Lessons for Renewal Flow from Freed River

The glassy, cold Carmel River surged through a little valley in the Santa Lucia Mountains, cascading in front of a half-dozen workers and observers one day last week down a series of rock outcroppings, as if its sinuous path had been designed by nature. Nature, of course, had nothing to do with it. The half-mile section of river, with steppingstones, pools and a tableau of freshly planted trees and bushes along the bank, flows through what was once the flooded plain of the San Clemente Dam, a Monterey County landmark for 94 years until it was removed last year.

Why Tracking California’s Snowpack is Important

Most of the rain that reaches the ground along the Central Coast actually begins as snow high in the atmosphere where temperatures are less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the freezing point of water. As the snow falls, it usually encounters warmer air and melts, changing to rain. If the temperature remains below or near freezing, snow will hit the ground.

Much of California’s precious precipitation falls as snow over the Sierra Nevada. This snowpack acts as a reservoir.

Timely Snowstorms Help Avert Another Disastrous Year for California Ski Industry

Peter Smith is dreaming of a white Independence Day. The longtime ski junkie from Claremont knows that the El Niño weather pattern has yet to put a significant dent in the state’s drought, but a series of storms over the last few months has him fantasizing about a monster ski season that can stretch deep into summer.

If big snow dumps continue through spring, Smith said, his ski club could schedule an extra trip to Mammoth Mountain for the Fourth of July weekend.

El Niño’s Not Dead Yet: Rain Headed to L.A. This Weekend, Snow to the Sierra Nevada

A massive storm system plowing through California this weekend is expected to dump several inches of rain on Southern California and add sheets of snow to the Sierra Nevada, where the drought-stricken state needs it most.

Forecasters say the cold front will arrive in two waves: one Saturday night and into Sunday morning and another Sunday night, continuing into Monday. In Los Angeles, the storms could bring as much as 2 inches of rain to downtown and as much as 3 inches in the foothills and mountains.

Orange County Faces More Competition for Drought-Strangled Colorado River

For the past five years, as drought sucked dry California’s water sources and depleted its reservoirs, Southern California water managers have turned increasingly to the region’s large out-of-state water source: the Colorado River.

Now, Orange County, which draws up to half its annual supply from the river that snakes from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico, and other thirsty coastal communities are facing increased competition for reduced flows from the drought-strangled Colorado.

Getting Ready as Back to Back Storms Hit

Waves of rain fell on California late Friday in a prelude to a powerful storm system expected to have heavy effects on much of the country in the week to come.

Heavy rainfall, mountain snow and strong winds will slam western states this weekend and early next week, the National Weather Service said. Heavy rainfall and severe weather will be possible in the central and southern U.S. starting on Monday and continue through the rest of the week. Residual river flooding is also possible.