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OPINION: Californians Must Recommit To Water Conservation

Recent news items raise concerns about California’s ongoing struggle to deal with the punishing drought. The Desert Sun’s Ian James reported this month that Coachella Valley water agencies have logged a huge drop in conservation compared to the great efforts seen during 2015 and the first half of this year. Coachella Valley Water District customers used just 4.3 percent less water in September than they did in September 2013, the benchmark year the state has been using to measure conservation.

Wet Fall Changes Everything For Northern California

One small change in the world has led to mind-blowing effects for Northern California, nature and the outdoor prospects for winter and the next year. That small change was a shift in mid-October in the location of the jet stream, the conveyor belt of storms. The deluges that have followed stopped a Tahoe fire, saturated soils, put many reservoirs at 100 percent of average for the date, fed wetlands in time for arriving waterfowl and shorebirds, and put ski parks in line for a chance at a big season. One of the best indicator sites is the weather station at the Blue Canyon airport, at 5,284 feet near Nyack along Interstate 80.

Pacific Storm Brings Needed Rain To California

A Pacific storm spread needed rain to much of California on Friday, causing traffic snarls but no immediate trouble for communities near slopes left barren by wildfires. Northern and central sections of the state felt the brunt of the storm’s impacts but the threat of heavy rain rapidly diminished as it spread into Los Angeles and flash flood watches in local mountains were canceled. Rainfall rates were highly variable from the coast to the Sierra Nevada, but all of it was needed in a state that has seen only modest improvement in its drought situation.

California Farmer’s Measure Takes On Jerry Brown’s Legacy

Wealthy farmer Dino Cortopassi has a lot in common with Gov. Jerry Brown. Both are in their late 70s. Both are opinionated. Both are Democrats. And both have a lot riding on Proposition 53, which would force state leaders to get voters’ approval before undertaking massive state building projects needing $2 billion or more in revenue bonds. Cortopassi, a 79-year-old Central Valley farmer and food processor, is pouring his money into passing the ballot measure, which could upend two legacy projects for Brown: $15.7 billion to build giant water tunnels to carry Northern California water southward, and $64 billion for a high-speed rail system.