You are now in California and the U.S. category.

California Drought: Government Warns ‘This is Just the Beginning’

IT HAS been in drought for five long years and some fear they are in the grip of a never-ending dry spell. The situation has become so severe that the state’s leader has launched permanent water conservation measures.

Welcome to daily life for people in California who have been subjected to a dry spell many Australian states have experienced first hand many times. The situation in California is beyond severe with around 90 per cent of the state still in drought.


BLOG: A New Data Initiative Is Changing Water Management

The last few years has shown that California is getting serious about policies to combat drought. And now it is getting serious about the role of data in that fight. In 2013 Gov. Jerry Brown mandated that urban water suppliers report monthly average gallons per capita per day to track water conservation. And last week the governor further enshrined that data collection effort in a new executive order.

This information, available online to anyone, is useful. But only to a degree.

Fact Check: North County Wants Its ‘Fair Share’ of SANDAG Tax

The board for the San Diego Association of Governments – a regional planning agency of elected leaders from around the county – is asking voters in November if they want to increase sales taxes for a host of regional transportation, infrastructure and preservation projects. The plan has drawn opposition from all sides, including one dissident group of North County leaders who argue their part of the county won’t get a fair cut.

Border Fence Impact on Wetland Mixed

As birds sing and lizards scuttle in the lush vegetation of the Tijuana River Valley, helicopters circle overhead, and Border Patrol agents on all-terrain vehicles comb the area looking to stop illegal border-crossers.

Two big metal fences and stadium lighting divide homes in Mexico from this largest intact coastal wetland in Southern California. Over the decades, fencing construction and associated roadwork have affected wildlife habitat along a 14-mile stretch between the Pacific Ocean and the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

OPINION: California Needs Strong, Fair and Effective Groundwater Agencies

California’s groundwater is threatened – unsustainable use is causing impacts around the state. Pumping during the drought has been so rapid that changes in groundwater levels can be observed from space. In some areas, the land surface has collapsed almost two inches per month. Deep new wells take water from neighbors in a race to the bottom.

There is reason for hope. A historic new state law provides new impetus toward sustainable groundwater management. The law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, seeks to put groundwater management in California on a sustainable path. But passing the law was only the beginning.


Percolation, Not Dams and Roads, Can Protect Water Supply

Dams and reservoirs are an obsolete technology and the shouting for more dams can exacerbate hard water times. Bullet trains make sense; bullet dams do not. In the December issue of Science, researches expounded on the mishandling of numbers; the estimates of how much water evaporates from watersheds around the world missed their mark by a fifth. Reservoirs and flood or furrow irrigation throw most of the precious stuff back into the atmosphere, contributinig to more losses than we had planned for.

BLOG: America’s Water Infrastructure Requires New Mindset

America’s substantial water challenges are not secret any longer. Cities poisoned by lead-contaminated drinking water and toxic algae, along with crippling droughts and dwindling groundwater reserves, make it increasingly clear that the nation’s water systems urgently require an overhaul. That was the consensus view of experts convened this week in New York City during H2O Catalyst, an interactive town hall event broadcast live by Circle of Blue with American Public Media and Columbia University.


California’s Rice Acreage Recovers

The improved water outlook in Northern California has led to a recovery in rice planting.

Farmers say that will help rural businesses such as rice mills and seed sellers that suffered during previous, drought-reduced crops. California rice farmers say the improved plantings should also help them regain markets from farmers in other states and nations. A government crop report says farmers have planted about 40 percent of the California rice crop so far.

Water Regulations Ease, but Drought Still Dominates in California

The past few day have been big for water news. First, Governor Jerry Brown announced plans to ease up on some water restrictions, then Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District said it’ll end limits on the amount of water local suppliers can purchase.

All of this comes as the U.S Drought Monitor reported that Del Norte County and parts of Humboldt and Siskiyou counties are actually drought free. This news is welcome relief after four years of brutal drought.


BLOG: Droughtlandia

In a rumpled suit jacket and faded jeans, Giles Slade stands atop an earthen levee and looks out over a vast expanse of water. It’s mid-November, and the Fraser River runs gray and glasslike into the Salish Sea. Overhead, airplanes flash through low clouds, descending into Vancouver International Airport. To our backs is the city of Richmond, British Columbia, splayed out on the table-flat delta, the majority of its homes and buildings set just a few feet above sea level.