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California Water Storage Projects Receive Awards

The Emergency & Carryover Storage Project (E&CSP) in San Diego is one of the most important infrastructure projects constructed in the United States in the last century. In the naturally dry and arid regions of southern California, 80 percent of the water is imported from hundreds of miles away from more abundant resources in Northern California and the Colorado River.  This leaves all of southern California, especially the San Diego region, susceptible to disruptions in the water delivery system, namely from earthquakes, statewide system failures, or extreme droughts and other water shortages.

Drought-Ridden L.A. Tries Rainmakers to Tap Storm Clouds

Los Angeles has officially stopped trying to make it rain—for now. During three separate storms in the past two months, contract workers for the L.A. County Department of Public Works ignited 25 special flares in the hills above Pasadena, sending columns of glittering smoke into the clouds to give them a literal silver lining that could boost precipitation.

The efforts mark the first time since 2002 that the parched metropolis has seeded clouds in an attempt to enhance rainfall; it is currently enduring a nearly five-year-long drought with this winter’s rainfall at just 40 percent of the usual amount.

California Drought Eases, But It’s Far From Over

The El Nino rains have brought some relief to drought-stricken California. The U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting that the percentage of the state in exceptional drought is half of what it was at the beginning of the year – 21 percent versus 44.8 percent in January. At least one water district has decided to loosen its water usage restrictions.

But Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, says water scarcity is a chronic condition in California and the drought is far from over.

When in drought: the California farmers who don’t water their crops

There’s something different about Will Bucklin’s grape vines. At first it’s hard to notice, but a drive through northern California’s Sonoma Valley, past waves of green, manicured vineyards, makes it clear. The black ribbon of PVC irrigation pipe that typically threads the vines is curiously absent here – because Will doesn’t water his crops.

Bucklin’s Old Hill Ranch, purchased by his stepfather Otto Teller in 1980, claims to be the oldest-rooted vineyard in the area. Teller fell in love with the vineyard because it was one of the few that still “dry-farmed”.

Report Finds Unsafe Water May Affect 24 Percent of California Public Schools

Water supplies in many California public schools have repeatedly exceeded safe drinking standards. The report from the Community Water Center looked at nearly 7,000 public schools around California. It found between 2003 and 2014, up to 24 percent of the schools had water that violated safe standards.

“Bacterial and arsenic violations were the most common types of violations impacting schools, but they were also followed by the pesticide DBCP, disinfectant byproducts, and nitrates,”says lead author Jenny Rempel with the Community Water Center.

BLOG: California Groundwater Regulation Hangs on a Few Words

California’s attempt to exert tighter control over groundwater use, the purpose of a landmark 2014 state law, was designed to be a compromise between state authority and local oversight.

The tension dogged the writing of the law two years ago, and is playing out again as the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) drafts the regulations that will put the law into practice. The regulations in question are those that the state will use to evaluate groundwater sustainability plans, the 20-year planning documents required of local management agencies by the 2014 law.

More Thunderstorms Due; Lake Oroville Could Keep Rising

Thunder and lightning hit the north valley this week and flashing, booming skies could continue through Saturday evening.

“There’s an unsettled pattern, we do have a large trough of low pressure over the West Coast right now,” said Karl Swanberg, a forecaster with the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office. “These enhanced features, they just rotate around the low pressure, so you get little waves of energy bringing a chance of showers and in your area, thunderstorms.”

Long-Term Drought Persists In California

The U.S. Drought Monitor released May 5 shows some minor improvement in California drought conditions. But looking ahead to the dry season shows drought persisting for a fifth consecutive year in the Golden State.

In California, some moderate drought was removed in the northern portion of the state. The extreme northwest portion of the state accounts for the 4.27 percent of California where there is no drought. But 96 percent remains abnormally dry, with 89 percent in moderate, 74 percent in severe, 49 percent in extreme and 21 percent in exceptional drought.

Farmers Innovate to Get More Crop Per Drop

During your next meal, I encourage you to look down at your plate. More closely. No matter if you live in San Diego or Baltimore, chances are, one or more of the foods on that plate was grown or raised right here in California. With nearly half of American-grown nuts, fruits and vegetables produced in California, the state is on your plate.

But the delicious and diverse array of California food available to us is only half the story.

BLOG: Unknown, Unregulated, Undrinkable

Louie Campos stopped drinking the water from his faucets in Visalia, California, so long ago that it takes him a minute to recall just how many years it has been since he held a glass to the tap and took a swill. By his closest approximation, the plainspoken 43-year-old has ripped through a 24-pack of bottled water a week for the last eight years. Bottled water, he says, is a hidden tax Visalia’s residents must pay to live there.