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A State Water Agency is Proposing a Northern California Man Pay $4.6 Million in Fines and Restore Wetlands

A state water agency on Tuesday proposed a Northern California man pay $4.6 million in fines and restore wetlands he allegedly damaged while trying to build a kite-surfing hub and revive a duck hunting club in a small island northeast of San Francisco.

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board said John Sweeney and his Point Buckler Club filled and degraded more than 29 acres of tidal wetlands on the 51-acre Point Buckler Island located in Solano County’s Suisun Marsh.

Delta Island Owner May Face Largest Fine Ever by California Water Agency

A two-year Delta fight came to a head Tuesday as a state water agency proposed a $4.6 million fine — its largest ever — and cleanup order against a Pittsburg resident who owns a small island in the Suisun Marsh.

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board issued the complaint and abatement order alleging John Sweeney and his Point Buckler Club, a kite-surfing outfit catering to Silicon Valley executives, filled and degraded more than 29 acres of tidal wetlands on the 51-acre island, located just north of Pittsburg.

Drought Brings New Attention to Recycled Water

Agricultural demand for recycled water is increasing along with the ability to supply it. But water experts say competition for access to the resource is rising—and say they’re unsure what the growing demand may mean for prices.

State water officials plan a survey of recycled water use in coming months—the first since 2009, when they estimated use of recycled water at 700,000 acre-feet. Results from the new survey could come early next year.

There’s a 75% Chance Our Monster El Niño Is Turning Into La Niña

After coming through one of the strongest El Niños on record, it’s now fairly certain that La Niña will be fast on its heels. The odds are up to 75 percent, in fact, that the cooler, drier half of the climate pattern knows as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will be upon us by fall.

The transition might also be quick, with the cool water moving eastward under the surface of the Pacific Ocean pushing us into La Niña by summer.

Chronic Water Scarcity Threatens Food Production

California is getting ready to enter the hottest and driest months of the year, but it’s armed this year, at least, with a rainy season that resulted in nearly average precipitation for parts of the state. The largest reservoirs in Northern California are brimming, and urban water suppliers will be getting something of a reprieve on statewide mandatory conservation requirements.

About 90 percent of the state still suffers from some kind of drought conditions, though, and many experts suggest it will take two or three consecutive winters like the most recent to snap California’s drought.

Snowpack Melting Quickly in Sierra Causes Faster Rapids

With temperatures in the 90s Tuesday, the water was raging along the North Fork of the American River thanks to fast-melting snow.

“It’s pretty high compared to the other years,” Anna Chubar said. The raging waters are good news not only for rafters and boaters, but also for Northern California reservoirs, which are filling up fast. Lake Shasta is 93 percent full Tuesday, thanks to a healthy snowpack. Lake Oroville is 96 percent full while Folsom Lake is 86 percent full. But in Southern California, it’s a very different story.

‘Deeply disappointed’ with Garamendi bill

Long considered an ally of Delta advocates, U.S. Rep. John Garamendi introduced legislation this week that appears likely to test that reputation.Garamendi, a Democrat who lives in Walnut Grove and represents the north Delta, sent to the House of Representatives a drought bill that he said is identical to legislation already brought to the Senate by fellow Democrat Dianne Feinstein.The lengthy Feinstein bill contains $1.3 billion worth of long-term solutions for future water shortages, including dams, desalination and water recycling projects.

California Water Officials Say They Will Consider Dropping a Mandate Requiring Conservation in the State’s Fifth Year of Drought

California water officials say they will consider dropping a mandate requiring conservation in the state’s fifth year of drought.

The State Water Resources Control Board on Wednesday will vote on whether to give local water districts control of setting their own conservation targets. California is in a fifth year of drought. Near-average rain and snowfall this winter in Northern California lifted key reservoirs. Southern California, however, missed out on much of the precipitation.

California Weighs Next Steps in Drought

Strict rules adopted at the height of California’s drought, leading many people to let their lawns turn brown, may soon end. State regulators Wednesday will consider letting local communities decide how to keep their own water use in check.

The drought in California’s still a huge issue, but AP correspondent Sandy Kozel reports precipitation in the fall and winter could lead to lighter restrictions.


California Relaxes Water Restrictions For This Summer

On Wednesday California revised its drought rules, ending a year of local conservation quotas handed down by the state.

The State Water Resources Control Board voted to abandon its formula — decried by some local agencies as a “one-size-fits-all” model — which required each water district to curb water use by a certain state-mandated percentage and instead, let districts determine how much they should save.

Some see the switch as premature.