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Rain Fills Reservoirs, But California Still Suffers Drought’s Effects

The drought isn’t over, but the recent storms that many hope are part of a “March miracle” have put California a lot further down the road to recovery.

By Monday, seasonal rainfall jumped above the historic average across much of the state — uncommon territory over the past four years — with San Francisco notching 21 inches of rain since July 1, more than the city has seen in an entire year going back to 2011. California’s reservoirs, meanwhile, got a much-needed boost.

California Water Cutbacks Draw Flood of Complaints as Reservoirs Rise

Rick Williams stood on his dead front lawn near Sacramento, California, wondering why he still pays a drought surcharge on his water bill and cannot run his sprinklers as often as he needs when a nearby reservoir is so full it could overflow come spring.

After four years of catastrophic drought and nearly a year of mandatory water conservation measures, Williams is joining a growing chorus of consumers in the wetter parts of the state to call for an end to restrictions they see as overbearing.

OPINION: Saving for When California’s March Miracle Goes Away

The snowpack is back and the water is rising. Between last weekend’s storms and this weekend’s forecast, drought-weary California appears to have gotten the March miracle we were all hoping for. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, between this state’s natural climate and global warming, drought is now perpetually around the corner, and, as usual, people are already beginning to forget that.

So as much as we hate to sound like a broken record – or a dripping faucet – it bears repeating: No, California, you can’t stop conserving water just because we have wet weather.

High Water Levels Could Lead to ‘Interesting’ Runoff Season

Federal water managers warned Tuesday that northern California could be headed for an “interesting” runoff season following a series of late-season storms. Officials with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation made the statements during a meeting of the State Water Resources Board in Sacramento.

“This is an area where we tend to want to be very cautious with people’s lives and livelihoods,” said Ron Milligan, operations manager for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Central Valley Project. The Bureau of Reclamation manages several reservoirs, including Folsom Lake and Lake Shasta. Both are more than three-quarters full and still rising following recent storms.

OPINION: Lance W. Johnson: Californians Must Demand Accountability for all this Wasted Water

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Put into action, that looks like the federal water policy that sends millions of gallons of water to the ocean for the purpose of protecting Delta fish that continue to die.

Since 1992, federal water regulators have increased Delta outflow requirements repeatedly; they now total millions of acre-feet per year. Despite these releases, regulators have never been able to prove, through peer-reviewed science, that any Delta fish have benefited – not even during wet years

OPINION: Linking Water Rights to the Train a Horrible Idea

As I write this opinion from my home in the Sacramento Valley, our rivers are at or near flood stage and the reservoirs are continuing to fill. The bad news is that the water not being captured in our reservoir system is mostly blowing out under the Golden Gate Bridge with little diverted south of the Delta.

Most of us who farm up here have state or federal contracts that are the basis of our water rights, which are an integral part of our land and its value.

Recent Storms Cause Problem for Drought Tolerant Plants

Recent rain has refilled reservoirs and replenished ground water, but it’s also created a new problem. The plants people bought to help conserve, don’t like all the extra water. March has been a very wet month. For those who tried to conserve water with drought tolerant plants, all the rain on the Central Coast may have done those plants in.

“Just a plant that saw way too much water. In the case of this bunching bamboo it’s not going to make it,”said Salinas Councilman, and owner of McShane’s Nursery, Steve McShane.

DWP Unveils a Plan to Punish Water Wasters–But it Could Take Some Time to Implement

The revelation was as shocking as it was incomprehensible: Someone in Bel-Air used 11.8 million gallons of water in a single year. Appalled officials had no choice but to react when they found out last fall. Councilman Paul Koretz called the consumption “a slap in the face to neighbors” who had conserved during four years of drought and demanded that the Department of Water and Power explain how it planned to deal with such “irresponsible” users.

Now, more than five months later, the city’s water utility has unveiled its plan to punish its most wasteful residents with hefty fines.

Latest Storms are Filling Reservoirs and Bringing Hopes of a ‘March Miracle’

Ever since a series of winter storms began dumping rain and snow in Northern California last year, officials have been looking for tangible signs that all those storms were making a dent in the state’s four-year drought.

This week delivered some pretty powerful evidence. The latest storms over the weekend pushed California’s biggest reservoir past its historical average for mid-March and put the second-largest one at its historical average, officials said. The rising reservoirs, along with growing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, are important because both are key sources of water for California.

‘H2O’ Program Aims to Ease Burden of Water Bills for the Poor

Four months after increasing water rates, the San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved a program to help poor water customers pay their bills. The program, branded Help to Others, or H2O, would solicit tax-deductible donations from ratepayers through their water bills. That money would subsidize the water bills of low-income San Diegans.

The program has to be voluntary because of a state law that requires utilities to charge their customers no more than the actual cost of service.