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Plan to enlarge Los Vaqueros Reservoir gains momentum

For nearly two decades, Los Vaqueros Reservoir — a sprawling lake in eastern Contra Costa County nearly 3 miles long and 170 feet deep — has been a popular spot for boating, fishing, hiking and a key source of water for local residents.

But now, after years of drought and new money available from a 2014 state bond measure to fund water projects, a long-standing idea to dramatically enlarge the reservoir to help provide drought insurance to cities all the way to San Jose is gaining momentum.

Little rain, but El Niño brings deluge of data for local scientists

Still, the phenomenon did bring warmer than average ocean temperatures and some extremely high tides. And that was a big silver lining for scientists hoping to learn more about how climate change is expected to affect coastal areas in the future.

Over the past few months, researchers spent days surveying beaches, wetlands and tide pools to see how warmer, rising seas affect ecosystems and coastal communities.

“It’s incredibly useful for thinking about our future” said Sarah Giddings, a researcher with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.


Is El Niño Over? Not By a Long Shot

“Don’t count it out yet,” Klaus Wolter, a research scientist at CU Boulder and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association’s Earth System Research Laboratory, told me recently. It was a warm April day in Boulder, Colorado, where the lab is located, and Wolter, an El Niño expert wearing a short-sleeve floral print shirt, seemed excited for the change of season. We were on our way to the “War Room”—an otherwise innocuous conference room save for the large screen on the wall featuring various spinning, crimson-splashed El Niño weather models.

“Unreasonable” Water Use Could Earn Angelenos A $40,000 Fine

Los Angeles water wasters could be fined up to $40,000 per month under new regulations created in response to a crushing drought that’s poised to stretch into a fifth year.

Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the new regulations into law Wednesday. They allow the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to fine homeowners between $1,000 and $40,000 for what Garcetti described in a statement as “unreasonable use.”


L.A.’s water wasters will soon face heavier fines and audits

As regulators mull softening the state’s drought restrictions amid outcry from some Northern California water districts, water wasters in Los Angeles will soon face stiffer fines and water audits under a plan approved this week by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Under the city’s amended water conservation plan, which will take effect Tuesday, the Department of Water and Power will be able to fine residents between $1,000 and $40,000 a month for what it deems “unreasonable use” of water when the city is in an elevated phase of its emergency drought plan.