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Nevada Prepared for More Lake Mead Cuts Without ‘Drastic Steps’

Lake Mead is expected to surpass its historic low after next Wednesday. By the end of June, it is expected to have dropped to its lowest level since the man-made reservoir was created by the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935. And as the elevation drops, Nevada, Arizona and California are working out a new framework for acceptable reductions in water they receive.

While the federal agency charged with overseeing Western water management says it is unlikely that states will need to reduce water in 2017, the next year could present a bleaker picture.

Salton Sea a Concern for IID in Colorado River Talks

Much of the water that California receives from the Colorado River flows to the Imperial Valley, where canals spread out across fields of hay, wheat and vegetables of all sorts, from carrots to broccoli.

Because the Imperial Irrigation District holds the single largest entitlement to water from the river, its participation would be vital in any agreement for California to share in water cutbacks to avert a looming shortage in Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir. But major hurdles remain for the district to support a potential deal, and the reasons begin with the shrinking Salton Sea.

Murky Water Plagues South County

California’s drought means that local waters are carrying more toxins than years prior, according to an ongoing analysis by Coastkeeeper.

Based on Coaskeeper’s analysis, released Tuesday, The San Luis Rey Watershed had the best water quality, followed by the San Dieguito Watershed. Nearly 200 trained volunteers collect and analyze water samples based on their chemistry, nutrients, bacteria and toxicity. Those results are compiled and analyzed, and then each watershed is given a ranking: a score of 100 means that every sample was within an acceptable range for each measurement.

EBMUD Ends Drought Surcharges

Customer conservation combined with a surge in water supplies has prompted East Bay Municipal Utility District directors to vote unanimously to end a drought surcharge that has cost the average household about $8 a month for the past year. Directors approved the 25 percent drought surcharge last June, two months after they declared a stage four critical drought and imposed a mandatory 20 percent reduction in water use for the district’s 1.4 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.


Water Autonomy: From Israel to California

As we celebrate our water independence, the drought California faces is the worst on record. Hundreds of thousands of farm acres have been left uncultivated, driving up food prices and inhibiting growth. The economic impact has skyrocketed into the billions of dollars. Gov. Jerry Brown has enacted the first mandatory water use reductions in state history and sought assistance from the federal government. How should California respond to this major crisis? The state’s leaders are increasingly turning their gaze toward a tiny desert nation some 7,000 miles to the east.

BLOG: OPINION: Central Valley Wildlife Refuges Are Short of Water

Reading the news earlier this month that Central Valley wildlife refuges were going to receive 100 percent of their federal water allocations would normally have made us thrilled for the Pacific Flyway birds that depend on wetland habitat. And we weren’t surprised to see this news greeted with outrage by those who have been suffering from the drought along with the birds for the past three years.

But we weren’t thrilled because we knew that the news wasn’t true.

BLOG: Delta Land Buy Still a ‘Go’

Southern California’s huge water wholesaler declined to reverse course Tuesday on the purchase of roughly 20,000 acres of land in the Delta, a $175 million deal that has Delta advocates worried.

A vote to pull out of the deal failed 54 percent to 29 percent, with another 10 percent abstaining. The decision came despite Stockton-based Restore the Delta’s delivery of 10,223 signatures from those opposing the purchase. Restore the Delta has argued that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s primary interest in buying the land is to facilitate the construction of Gov. Jerry Brown’s twin tunnels.

Drought, What Drought? San Onofre Surfers Want their Beach Showers Back

Gene Lee poured a jug of water over his head after a recent surf session at San Onfore State Beach.

The San Clemente surfer understood when the state needed to turn off the showers in the midst of the drought last year, and he still brings water from home for his after-surf rinse. But with all the recent rainfall and snowpack in the northern part of the state this year, he wonders if it’s time for the state to turn the showers back on.

Metropolitan Water District to End Drought Cutbacks

Southern California’s water wholesaler for cities and districts serving 19 million people will see water deliveries restored to their previous levels in another sign that the state’s deep drought is easing.

The Metropolitan Water District, which sells imported water to more than two dozen local agencies including Los Angeles, last year slashed regional deliveries by 15 percent. On Tuesday, 10 months after the cuts took effect, the MWD voted to rescind them.

OPINION: Green Lawns, Dry Wells: California’s Drought is an Issue of Equality

While Stanford flaunts its lush lawns and recently restored fountains, nearby communities suffer from dried up wells and arsenic-tainted groundwater. We cannot afford to forget about California’s ongoing drought or to dismiss it as a slight annoyance. In this time of severe and prolonged drought — California’s worst in 1200 years — it is the responsibility of privileged communities, like Stanford, to educate themselves and take action on this issue.

It is critical to recognize that the drought is not just a climate event — it is also inextricably linked to the conversations about racial and economic inequality so prevalent on campus.