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San Andreas fault ‘locked, loaded and ready to roll’ with big earthquake, expert says

Southern California’s section of the San Andreas fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll,” a leading earthquake scientist said Wednesday at the National Earthquake Conference in Long Beach.

The San Andreas fault is one of California’s most dangerous, and is the state’s longest fault. Yet for Southern California, the last big earthquake to strike the southern San Andreas was in 1857, when a magnitude 7.9 earthquake ruptured an astonishing 185 miles between Monterey County and the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles.

OPINION: It’s still About the Water: A Piece of My Mind

My husband and I took a road trip a few weeks ago, driving from Los Altos down to Bakersfield on Interstate 5 and then east to Sedona, Ariz., returning via Bakersfield and then up Highway 101.

As far as the Pacheco Pass, the landscape was lyrically green with oaks and buckeyes sporting fresh foliage, and wildflowers filling the crevices between the hills with streams of yellow mustard, buttercups and golden poppies. Rock outcroppings were wreathed in ribbons of late-rising fog like the karst peaks in traditional Chinese landscapes.

Undamming this major U.S. River is Opening a World of Possibility for Native Cultures and Wildlife

Flowing over 250 miles to from the high desert of southern Oregon through the Cascades Mountains before emptying out into the Pacific Ocean in northern California, the Klamath River and its Coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead runs were vital to Native American tribes for thousands of years before settlers arrived.

But within decades of their arrival there would be half a dozen dams constructed on the river, effectively blocking salmon and steelhead migrations on what was once the third-highest salmon producing river on the West Coast.

Inside the Fight to Rehabilitate the Image of California’s Most Infamous Crop

When things go wrong — especially if they go really, historically wrong — people tend to look for answers. So when California entered the fourth year of one of the worst droughts the state had ever seen, everyone — the media, politicians, scientists — wanted to know what had gone wrong.

In the process, a number of things were set upon the altar of public opinion as scapegoats for the drought: lawns, golf courses, wealthy Californians taking more than their fair share of the state’s dwindling resources, climate change. But none provoked the maelstrom that surrounded the almond, which seemingly transformed overnight from a healthy snack to the evil source of California’s water woes.

State must brace for big water supply changes

California faces major changes in its water supply. The sooner everyone realizes these changes are coming, the better the state will be able to cope with what lies ahead.

Today’s changes are driven by efforts to end groundwater depletion, by sea level rise and loss of snowpack, salts and nitrate accumulating in groundwater, new invasive species, population growth and California’s globalized economy and agriculture.

Delta Levees

Gazing down from atop 3,489-foot high Mt. Diablo, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta levees create a patchwork of nearly 60 islands and tracts surrounded by water flowing toward San Francisco Bay.

The 1,100 linear miles of levees was created after the Gold Rush to reclaim vast wetlands for farming. The soil — laden with extremely rich nutrients — is considered among the most prime farmland in California.The levees ultimately made it possible for California to develop the planet’s most elaborate — and lengthy — movement of water stretching  as far as Shasta Reservoir to San Diego covering more than 670 miles.


Cities Look for New Ways to Meet Demand for Water

A quarter-century ago, San Diego and its suburbs imported 95% of their water supplies. Thanks to investments in desalination and other efforts to boost supplies, that figure has already dropped to 57% and is projected to fall to just 18% sometime in the next two decades.

San Diego has gone from being one of the most vulnerable areas of California during drought to one of the best prepared — and in so doing has become a model for the future of water use in cities.

OPINION: The crucial work of restoring Delta habitat is accelerating

As promised a year ago, the state is at work restoring wildlife habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh, with six projects targeted for groundbreaking in 2016.

Through the Natural Resources Agency’s California EcoRestore program, state, federal and local interests are restoring tidal wetlands, blocking salmon from straying into dead-end irrigation channels and reconnecting rivers to their floodplains.


State rallies on drought water conservation

Water conservation in San Diego County and across the state bounced back substantially in March after a weak showing during several previous months.

On average, California’s urban water users saved a robust 24.3 percent in March as compared with just 12 percent the month before. The savings are measured against corresponding months in 2013, the benchmark year set by Gov. Jerry Brown’s emergency drought order.

Water suppliers in San Diego County saved an average of about 17 percent in March. That was a significant improvement from February, when many districts didn’t conserve any water or increased their consumption.

Water Officials Outline Outlook for 2016, Beyond

What if 2017 is a dry year? “There are no predictions yet, but we have to be prepared,” said Jeanine Jones, resources manager for the state Department of Water Resources.

Jones and other state and federal water officials outlined the challenges faced in meeting water demands and the limiting factors to delivery, during a Water Education Foundation seminar held in Fresno. The event addressed concerns about the possibility of a return to more severe drought conditions after an “average-ish” year, current surface and groundwater conditions, and related topics.