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Spring-Like Weather Will Likely Give Way to Storms Next Week

Mild weather with daytime highs 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal is expected through Saturday across the Central Sierra Nevada, and there’s a 50-50 chance of light rain in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties early next week, forecasters said Tuesday.

The same high pressure ridge that’s allowing clear skies, sunshine and a drying trend this week could be a factor in whether the next spell of wet weather tracks south far enough to bring more rain and snow to the Mother Lode.

Salton Sea Could Get New Geothermal Power Plant

An Australian company hopes to build a massive geothermal power plant by the Salton Sea, in a development that could raise hopes for clean energy advocates and supporters of Salton Sea restoration.

The Imperial Irrigation District’s board of directors voted Monday to approve a 1,900-acre lease agreement with Controlled Thermal Resources, which has proposed a 250-megawatt geothermal plant along the lake’s southern shore, near Calipatria. The facility would generate five times as much electricity as any of the 11 existing geothermal plants in the area.

Loss of Water During Storms Causes Frustration

Steady rains during the past week have restored California reservoirs to storage levels not seen in nearly four years, but swollen river flows into the Pacific Ocean renewed concerns from water users and elected officials about lost opportunities as billions of gallons of fresh water headed out to sea.

By Monday night, Sacramento River flows were expected to exceed 100,000 cubic feet per second—equal to dumping about 750,000 gallons of water per second into San Francisco Bay.

Zone 7 Board to Weigh Supporting California WaterFix Tonight

The Zone 7 Water Agency board will decide whether to give its sign of support for a $15 billion statewide water project at its meeting tonight.

The board, which regulates the organization that sells water to Tri-Valley cities including Pleasanton, will vote whether to approve a resolution supporting the California WaterFix, a proposal to create large underground pipes to funnel water from the Sierras to participating agencies more reliably than the current infrastructure.

Desal Investment Eases San Diego’s Water Cuts

After months of lobbying, San Diego is getting a break on water conservation requirements imposed by California regulators.

“In response to the recently launched Poseidon desalination plant in Carlsbad, state officials have agreed to dramatically ease water conservation goals in San Diego for almost all residential water users. The adjustments will nearly cut in half required water savings throughout the region, the San Diego County Water Authority announced [in March],” The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

El Niño: Preparing now for disasters later

For much of this year, some of the world’s most vulnerable people have found themselves in the grip of El Niño, a profound and confounding natural disaster that brings with it severe floods, severe drought and, potentially, more intense and more frequent cyclones.

Arriving every three to seven years to warm parts of the Pacific – in turn affecting weather systems around the globe – El Niño is anything but benign, as it builds on an already changing climate and strains the ability of millions of people to cope.

Boost in Flows Underscores Need for Delta Improvements

With a series of recent downpours sending huge volumes of water into rivers, streams and reservoirs, drought-weary Northern Californians are seeing images they haven’t seen in years.

Lake Shasta picked up about 1 million acre-feet of storage in two weeks, while the Bureau of Reclamation is making flood control releases from Folsom Reservoir, which was at near-historic lows just two months ago. Sacramento River water flowed into the Yolo Bypass for the first time since 2012, and the statewide snowpack is close to average.


Want these public records? Pay $202,500

U-T Watchdog made an unusual records request to mark Sunshine Week, a nationwide push to raise awareness of government transparency issues. We asked local agencies to search official employee email accounts for 19 phrases that might indicate trouble is afoot(“Yekes,” “OMG,” “what a disaster”). The costs quoted to fulfill the requests varied widely.

Metropolitan Water District will participate in water saving program

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and two other western water agencies will take part in a federal program that solicits ideas for water-saving devices and technologies and awards grants to develop them, officials announced Wednesday.

Also taking part in the innovative Conservation Program — a project of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation — are the Central Arizona Project and Southern Nevada Water Authority. Southern California Gas Co. also participates in the program.

Could Sites be California’s next big reservoir?

California’s latest drought has made the need for additional water storage self-evident to a larger segment of the population. So much so that lawmakers were pressured into putting a new water bond on the ballot – albeit smaller than the plan approved several years earlier that lawmakers refused to let voters decide upon.

Perhaps the one project closest to the top of any list for consideration is the Sites Reservoir project, an off-stream facility hidden from view by most Californians in a quiet foothills location on the western edge of the Sacramento Valley.