Drought Causing Challenges in Agriculture, Though Profits Remain High

With a long-term drought plaguing much of California and Northern Nevada, the agriculture industry is adjusting and innovating. “[The drought] is one of the worst we’ve had in history,” said UC Davis Professor and watershed expert Jay Lund. “In some ways, particularly up in the watersheds, because it’s been extra warm, it’s among the driest in history.” Lund added, “Some would say even the driest we’ve seen in a thousand years.”

In 2015, snowpack was at record lows in the Sierra Nevada and other western mountain ranges. California’s San Joaquin Valley was probably hit worst by the drought.

Water Mandates May be Ditched

Southern California’s “Godzilla” El Niño never arrived, but the rain that did fall gave the state some relief from the drought, officials said this week.

Although the southern half of the state missed out on much of the rainfall, the northern half got more than average this winter. And the state did a better job of storing water and ensuring it gets to where it’s needed most, officials said. As a result, regulators in Sacramento will recommend this month that the state stop dictating to municipal water agencies how much water they need to save during the drought, Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, announced Monday.

A Question for the Ages: Can Congress Pass a California Water Bill?

California’s two Democratic senators remain somewhat out of sync over proposed water legislation, underscoring its ambiguous future on the eve of a big hearing.

Four months after Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s introduction of her latest California water package, Sen. Barbara Boxer is still evaluating the 185-page bill. Her wait-and-see attitude hints at complex undercurrents, as she supports some parts of Feinstein’s bill while seeking more feedback about other parts.

BLOG: Major Policy Shift By SoCal Water District Signals Receding Drought

In a potential sign the drought is easing, the massive water wholesaler in Southern California is no longer planning to limit its regional water deliveries.

“Effective immediately, the Southland cities and water districts that make purchases from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California [MWD] will no longer be subjected to so-called allocations or the punitive surcharges that come with exceeding them,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

OPINION: Don’t Let Your Water-Saving Habits Dry Up

Water agencies across California are signaling that we may be able to turn the spigot back on, thanks to a decent wet winter and spring in the northern part of the state.

But the sense that the worst of the drought may be behind us is dangerous. The State Water Resources Control Board — the folks who created the statewide mandatory water restriction numbers — indicated it might be willing to lift the foot off the brake a bit when it meets Wednesday.

HEMET: Diamond Valley Lake to Reopen to Private Boats

It has been a year since Steven Latino has been able to put his fishing boat on Diamond Valley Lake.

An avid fisherman who happens to be the city engineer for Hemet, Latino said that since the lake was closed to private boats in April 2015 because of low water levels, he has made a few trips to other spots but has mostly kept his boat in the garage. But not for long. The massive drinking-water reservoir will reopen to private boats Wednesday.

Thanks El Niño, but California’s Drought is Probably Forever

Drought is a tricky thing to define. It is not just a matter of how little water falls out of the sky. If it were, you would be forgiven for believing that California’s wettish winter had ended, or even alleviated, the worst drought in state history. But no. Despite the snow in the Sierra Nevada, the water filling Lake Shasta, and the rapids in the Kern River, California is still in a state of drought. For now, maybe forever.

 

Boosted by Desalination, San Diego County Water Brings Refunding

With water from a desalination plant flowing through its pipes, the San Diego County Water Authority heads to market with a $340 million refunding.