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BLOG: ‘Still an Opportunity’ to Save the Smelt?

Shortly before state water officials announced today that most urban water providers will no longer be subject to mandatory conservation targets, three environmental groups pleaded with the same panel for emergency flows through the Delta to prevent extinction of the smelt. It’s normal for some smelt to die off this time of year as juveniles mature into adults, Jon Rosenfield, a conservation biologist with The Bay Institute, told the State Water Resources Control Board. But something must be done to help a larger share of those babies make it to adulthood this year, he said.

Temperance Flat Dam Feasibility Studies Underway

The San Joaquin Valley Weather Infrastructure Authority (SJVWIA), a Joint Power of Authority composed of many San Joaquin Valley cities, counties and water agencies, is charged with the goals of ensuring completion of the Temperance Flat Dam feasibility studies and preparing the necessary bond funding application to get the structure built. Stephen Worthley, president of the SJVWIA and member of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors said, “The big step for us is going to be the preparation of the application, which has to go to the Water Commission in a little less than one year’s time.

Nevada Could See Cut in its 2018 Water Allocation Because of Drought

Amid punishing drought, federal water managers projected Tuesday that — by a very narrow margin— the crucial Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River won’t have enough water to make full deliveries to Nevada and Arizona in 2018. A federal report shows the surface level of the lake behind Hoover Dam is expected to remain high enough this year to avoid a shortage declaration in 2017. But it’ll still be a mere 4 feet above a 1,075-foot elevation action point. For 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects the lake level could fall short — by less than 1 foot.

Bar Lowered on Water Conservation During Drought

State-imposed water conservation targets are mostly a thing of the past in San Joaquin County — and much of California — after water providers determined they have enough supply to scrape through another three years of drought. This doesn’t mean the drought is over, of course, and residents must still abide by relatively new rules and watering-day restrictions. But Tuesday’s news from the State Water Resources Control Board still represents a major relaxation of last year’s unprecedented crackdown, when communities were required to save up to 36 percent.

California Water Supplies Pass ‘Stress Test’

The vast majority of California’s urban water districts report they have enough supplies to withstand three more years of drought, clearing them from an imminent return to state-mandated cutbacks under a new program of locally controlled conservation. The State Water Resources Control Board in May dropped a statewide mandate to cut urban water use by 25% from 2013 levels, after California got a reprieve from its five-year drought by more abundant rain and snow this past winter.

California Water Districts: We Can Handle Three More Years of Drought

State officials will not force most California water districts to reduce water use this year, even as they caution that the five-year drought persists and note that drought-fueled wildfires continue to wreak havoc. The State Water Resources Control Board in May asked California’s 411 urban water districts to evaluate how much water they would need in the next three years if drought continued – and whether their supplies would meet that demand. Districts that certified their supplies are adequate do not face mandatory water-use cuts. Those with inadequate supplies must set conservation goals proportional to their anticipated shortfall.


Sea Level Rise Would Redraw the Map

Many San Diego properties would have a lot more ‘ocean’ in their ‘oceanfront’ if climate predictions come true. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration keeps track of various climate scenarios, and maps what areas would be affected.

Lake Mead Likely to Skirt Shortage Line for Another Year

Despite sinking to a record low in early July, Lake Mead should be just full enough on Jan. 1 to avoid an unprecedented federal shortage declaration for at least one more year. Decisive projections released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation call for the reservoir east of Las Vegas to start 2017 with a surface elevation of about 1,079 feet above sea level. That’s roughly 4 feet above the line that would force Nevada and Arizona to cut their Colorado River water use. Under guidelines adopted in 2007, the bureau uses its August projections for Lake Mead to determine whether to declare a shortage.

OPINION: Investors Call on Tech to be Smart About Water

Recently, Bloomberg reported that investors in massive data centers are making water availability a critical measurement in their decisions — especially in drought-ridden California. Data centers, giant buildings packed with servers that power our virtual world, generate tremendous amounts of intolerable heat. Traditionally, the centers have large cooling systems that require millions of gallons of fresh water. That’s a big problem because water is increasingly in short supply. For the last five years, California has had severe water shortages, forcing Gov. Jerry Brown to issue a series of emergency restrictions.

BLOG: Northern California Towns Are Running Out of Water

Paskenta population 112, is an out-of-the-way place where rustic ranches grace grass-covered hills rolling west toward Mendocino Pass. Since the lumber mill closed in 1992, the Tehama County community 130 miles (210km) north of Sacramento has been settling into bucolic tranquility. A water crisis has triggered a rude awakening. Thomes Creek, the sole source of water for the Paskenta Community Services District, is dropping. A pump that taps the underflow from a pool in the creek is a mere 6ft (1.8m) below the current water level, said Janet Zornig, the district’s manager.