Last week, folks who are in the inner circle of the plans for Sites Reservoir held a get-together in Maxwell to show off the group’s new office and new logo. Also new is a website, that talks about all things Sites Reservoir — a construction schedule, facts sheets and a list of interested participants (see sidebar). The next big step is money, particularly through a proposal to get a chunk of the $2.7 billion of bond funds available from California’s Proposition 1. The Sites Reservoir committee won’t be able to apply for that funding until around the middle of next year.
Archive for date: October 23rd, 2016
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The San Joaquin River is the longest river in Central California, and the second most endangered river in the country. But because of dams, levees, and water diversion, over 100 miles of the river has been dry for 50 years. Sacramento – The San Joaquin River is second only to the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint rivers basin in Alabama, Georgia, and Florida as a seriously endangered river in this country.
The state’s Bay-Delta water quality and species protection efforts added another piece Friday with the release of the draft report on water flow in and out of the Sacramento River Basin. California’s Water Quality Control Board is seeking comment on the Scientific Basis Report, from which it will determine the necessary flows to “protect fish and wildlife beneficial uses.” “The report also acknowledges that non-flow measures should be integrated with flows to protect fish and wildlife,” the board staff said in a statement released with the report.
This time last year the world’s weather was being dominated by one of the strongest El Niño events on record. As surface waters in the equatorial Eastern Pacific warmed by more than 2°C, a chain reaction of extreme weather events was set in motion. From torrential rains in Peru and huge storms pounding the coast of California, to drought and bushfire in Australia and Indonesia and catastrophic floods in south-east India (submerging parts of Chennai under eight metres of water), this El Niño really packed some punch.
Water users in San Francisco and its suburbs face a day of reckoning as state regulators move to leave more water in California’s two biggest rivers in an effort to halt a collapse in the native ecosystem of the San Francisco Bay and its estuary, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Even as water allocations to California farmers have been severely reduced, San Francisco water authorities have freely tapped the Tuolumne River, which the city dammed early in the last century at its headwaters in Yosemite National Park.
After five years of drought, no easy answers are left. Wells have run dry, lake levels have dropped to historic lows and last winter’s predicted storms were no-shows.That is, at least in the southern half of the state, leaving areas dependent on local rainfall some of the hardest hit. Those importing water, however, got a bit of reprieve as storms boosted supplies in Northern California. Just a few years ago, the opposite was true. Back then, Lake Casitas in the Ojai Valley was still relatively full.
Los Angeles has a serious dependence on imported water, and local officials want the state to pitch in more to help the city get more of its water from local sources. In a letter sent Friday to the California Water Resources Control Board and Department of Water Resources, Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Controller Ron Galperin asked the state to lift a $15 million limit on grants for water recycling projects awarded through a water bond approved by voters in 2014.