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The Recovery of California’s Biggest Reservoir, as Seen by Satellite

Last December, any swimmer attempting to blindly jump into Lake Shasta—the biggest reservoir in California—would tumble, Homer Simpson cliff-jump style, down a barren, bruising drop. Water levels in the lake had fallen to more than 100 feet below their historic averages but, thanks to recent rains, they’re doing remarkably better today.

Evidence comes from a series of NASA images made with USGS Landsat data, documenting a year in Shasta’s journey from dusty decrepitude to water-plump health. They begin on April 13, 2015, when the lake surface was at a low 995 feet, exposing hundreds of miles of new, tan-colored beach:

It ain’t over

A year ago this month, Gov. Jerry Brown called for mandatory water conservation efforts throughout California’s 400-plus urban water agencies. This emergency measure calling for a 25 percent reduction statewide compared with usage in 2013 came during the fourth consecutive year of drought.

This week, the state announced that water users had slacked off, missing that target for the past five months and ending the nine-month cumulative savings at 23.9 percent—1 percent short of the target.

Agency Relaxes Restrictions on Water Use

With indications that water tables rose during winter rains, the Perris-based Eastern Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors Wednesday decided to lift some restrictions on outdoor water use.

“The time was right for us to act,” said EMWD Vice President David Slawson. “We sincerely appreciate our customers’ continued efforts during this unprecedented drought, and we look forward to making further adjustments as conditions continue to improve.”

MET Water prepares to squeeze more money out of Southland

New proposed permanent charges on treated water by the big seller of the commodity to Southern California could have an impact on Valley Center ranging from “significant to devastating,” according to local water chief Gary Arant.

San Diego County residents who have responded to Governor Jerry Brown’s mandates for cutting water use could find their water bills going up dramatically as a result as the supplier, the Metropolitan Water District (MWD, “The Met), thrashes around for a way to make up the money it is losing.


High Water at Lake Shasta has Tourism Operators Optimistic

Lake Shasta is nearly full, gasoline prices are under $3 a gallon, significantly down from a year ago, and the overall economy continues to improve.

So there was a good bit of optimism in the room at Thursday’s Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association Tourism Summit in Redding. The event at the Red Lion Hotel drew tourism officials from across the state as they gear up for what they hope is a busier 2016 summer season.


Drought Continues to Improve in Northern California

There has been a nice improvement for the Sacramento valley region regarding the serious 4-year drought.

El Niño rain has helped to fill the reservoirs in far Northern California and has helped reduce the drought by one category in the area. It’s worth mentioning that at the beginning of this water year, 46% of the state was in top-level drought and two years ago it was 58%. With the latest update we are down to 32% of the state, which is massive, but it’s a slow and steady march to improving our water situation.

Climate-Change Models Wrong on Predicting Rain, Drought Extremes: Study

A newly released international study debunks climate models on global warming that forecast extreme rainfall and drought tied to temperature swings, casting doubt on disaster scenarios promoted by the climate-change movement.

The study in the journal Nature published Thursday examining Northern Hemisphere rainfall data going back 1,200 years found that today’s climate models were frequently wrong on predicting extreme rain and drought.

Israeli Water Solutions Can Help World, Author Says at Cal Poly

Israel’s water efficiency and productivity have enabled a country made up of mostly desert to maintain a reliable, plentiful supply of fresh water — and even export some of its supply, according to author and activist Seth M. Siegel, who addressed about 400 people at Cal Poly’s Spanos Theatre on Wednesday night.

Siegel said Israel has always faced severe and urgent water challenges, and had to overcome them to support a rapid influx of Jewish immigrants during the Zionist movement.

Colorado River Runoff Forecast Keeps Dropping

Drought continues to put the squeeze on the Southwest’s water supplies, with Colorado River runoff forecasts declining for the second straight month.

Drought-Stricken California Looks to Australia for Tips on Recycling Water

As hopes that a much-hyped “Godzilla” El Niño event will banish California’s record drought fade, the state is starting to look for clues from overseas on how to conserve each increasingly precious drop that does fall on its parched land.

The water capture efforts of Australia, itself plagued by a lengthy recent drought, are in the sights of Californian politicians mindful of how the pulses of rain that did arrive in January resulted in much of the water washing out into the sea.