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BLOG: Fishery Agency Slams Feinstein Drought Bill

The federal agency that manages fishing harvests along the Pacific Coast has strongly criticized drought legislation proposed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, saying it will cause “irreparable harm” to salmon and the coastal communities that depend on fishing.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council, based in Portland, Ore., prepared a letter on May 11 analyzing Feinstein’s bill, in response to a request from Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), both of whom represent fishing communities.

California’s Online Water Footprint Calculator Helps Citizens Track Usage

The Department of Water Resources’ new Water Footprint webpage features two online calculators designed to help individuals and households determine how much water they use.

According to Water Plan e-news, the GRACE Communications Foundation developed a calculator that individuals and households can use to calculate their water footprint. The Water Footprint Network also has a calculator that estimates an individual’s personal water footprint.

VIDEO: When a Town Runs Dry

Stratford, California, is located in the Central Valley—where years of drought threaten the livelihood of the community. Lack of water in the region has severely decreased crop yields for farmers, meaning fewer jobs in rural communities. In this short documentary by Joris Debeij and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, Stratford residents mull over what the decrease in food production means for the small farming town.

San Diego Taps a Bottomless Well: The Pacific Ocean

In Southern California, fresh water is constantly in short supply. But the San Diego area can now tap into a resource that’s not dependent on rain — a new $1 billion desalination plant that is the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

In Carlsbad, California, intake pumps pull water from the Pacific Ocean. “We bring 100 million gallons of water through our intake pump system and up the hill to the desalination plant,” said Jessica Jones, spokesperson for Poseidon Water. “We get a 55 percent recovery. We turn half of it into fresh drinking water.”

Lake Mead Water Level Drops Close to its Lowest Point

Lake Mead is less than a foot of dropping to its lowest point in history. Stefano Fasano says he’s been coming to Lake Mead for nearly 20 years and understands the water level is down. Fasano said even launching a boat has changed, but he’s an optimist pointing out there’s still a lot of lake left.

“They do a pretty good job marking things. I know where to go, I’ve been coming here my whole life, I know what to look for, for sure,” said Fasano.

Why We Should Stop Calling California’s Water Shortage a Drought

This is the new normal. Stop calling California’s ongoing water shortage a drought. It may seem counterintuitive, but that’s the best way to get regulators and consumers to rethink the value of water, says Will Sarni, director and practice leader of water strategy at Deloitte.

“As long as the public sector continues to refer to this as the drought, public policy is not going to change, because everyone is going to wait for a good rain,” he said at Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference on Tuesday in Carlsbad, Calif. “That’s not going to happen.”

California’s Estimated 29 Million Dead Trees Fueling Increased Wildfire Risks

The Forest Service survey of California shows that the number of dead trees in the state rose from 3.3 million in 2014 to an estimated 29.1 million in 2015. The 2015 surveys covered almost all of the state. Scientists and fire officials are concerned because under normal circumstances forests lose between 1 percent and 1.5 percent of their trees annually, but the state is losing between 7 and 20 percent of its forests.

OPINION: Governor’s ‘WaterFix’ Fixes Nothing

Have we finally learned our lesson? Water in California is a finite resource, and we can’t build our way out of drought. Fortunately, more and more people are realizing this from the bogus promises the State Water proponents told us in 1991: The Promise that State Water would solve our local water demand problem; The Promise that State Water would be relatively cheap; The Promise that State Water was reliable, delivered on time and when needed.

Now, in 2016, we know from independent studies that the state promised more water than ever could be delivered.

Brown’s Budget Revision Leaves CDFA, Drought Funding Intact

In his annual May budget revision, Gov. Jerry Brown kept the Department of Food and Agriculture’s nearly $80.7 million general-fund allocation intact even though overall revenue has fallen short of expectations.

In addition, the governor still proposes a $2 million boost for the CDFA’s medical marijuana program. just over $1 million to regulate alternative transportation fuels and $436,000 for fairs and expositions, department spokesman Steve Lyle said.



BLOG: The Reward for Saving Water…

Cal Water Stockton customers saved 22 percent from June through February, exceeding their state mandate of 20 percent. Cal Water customers already used less water per capita than most other local providers, making the 22 percent reduction even more impressive.

It took some aggressive new policies to get the job done. For the first time, each Cal Water household was assigned a water “budget” based on previous usage. If you exceeded your budget, you paid a surcharge.