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Heavy rain is on its way, and that could mean dangerous mud flows in the Southern California foothills

Powerful winds and rain will sweep across Southern California on Thursday, bringing the potential for dangerous mud flows in the foothills of Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, the National Weather Service said.

Starting early Thursday in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, the storm will spread southeast across Los Angeles County and the San Gabriel Mountains, where it’s expected to drop 1 to 3 inches of rain by Friday morning, meteorologist Joe Sirard said.

A tale of two droughts in California: Wetter in the north, still bone dry in the south

When California water officials assess the drought, the first place they look is the northern Sierra Nevada mountains.

Rain and snowmelt from the area feed into a complex system of rivers, canals and reservoirs that send water across the state. And by almost all measures, the drought picture in Northern California has dramatically improved over the last two months, as a series of storms have helped replenish the state’s two major water projects. So far this season, rain levels in the northern Sierra are 180% of average, with 23.5 inches of rain falling — and more on the way this week.

Problems in California Complicate Negotiations To Boost Sinking Lake Mead

A multistate agreement aimed at shoring up Lake Mead can’t be finished until California finds a way to solve two major, long-simmering environmental fights. That was the message from top water managers Thursday gathered in Las Vegas for the annual conference of the Colorado River Water Users Association. For the past 18 months, Nevada, California and Arizona have been negotiating a drought contingency plan to keep Lake Mead from shrinking enough to trigger a first-ever federal shortage declaration and force Nevada, which receives most of its water from the Colorado, and especially Arizona to slash their use of river water.


OPINION: Congress Drops Ball On Basin Water Plan

Hope blossomed last spring in Washington, D.C., when federal money appeared headed to the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan. Sadly, with the approach of winter, those hopes have been put on ice, at least for this year. Back in April, largely through the bipartisan efforts of Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the Senate overwhelmingly approved $92 million for the integrated plan, a compromise that aims to combine conservation and new storage to ensure a more-reliable water supply for Central Washington.

Fake Sales, Changing Banks And California’s Latest Water Fight

I have three topics today: 1. Discounted prices may be mythical. 2. Banks are changeable. 3. In California, “Whiskey’s for drinking and water’s for fighting,” as the old adage goes. First, the mythical discounts: Last week, the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office sued four major department stores for allegedly issuing misleading advertising. They are JCPenney, Sears, Kohl’s, and Macy’s.


OPINION: Protect Salmon, Drinking Water, And The San Francisco Bay-Delta

Science tells us the world is experiencing a sixth extinction. For California, one of the most environmentally aware places on the planet, to give up on protecting our salmon runs, upon which tens of thousands of jobs depend, rather than conserve and recycle water, would not just be a disaster for salmon communities, it would be a disaster for the state and the world. Last week, Congress passed disastrous legislation weakening protections for San Francisco Bay-Delta salmon under the Endangered Species Act.

Study Warns Of World’s Groundwater Depletion By 2050

Groundwater resources could be depleted in the next few decades in dry areas of the world where people use lots of water for drinking and irrigating crops, researchers said Thursday. The research was presented at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. “While many aquifers remain productive, economically exploitable groundwater is already unattainable or will become so in the near future, especially in intensively irrigated areas in the drier regions of the world,” said researcher Inge de Graaf, a hydrologist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado.


OPINION: Californians Could Soon Be Drinking Recycled Water

Kale or quinoa? Free range chicken or seasonal veggie medley? Pellegrino or … recycled water? Californians could soon start drinking purified wastewater. In response to a five-year drought, the state Water Resources Control Board recently informed legislators that regulating recycled, drinkable water is perfectly feasible. California would be the first state in the nation to implement such regulations.


Can These Tree ‘Shots’ Save Urban Park Trees From Deadly Beetles And Disease?

UC Riverside’s Akif Eskalen pointed to a pattern of small holes in the bark of a majestic California sycamore tree growing in a Riverside park and lamented that it will be dead in about two years. The holes are the work of invaders from Southeast Asia, beetles smaller than a sesame seed that probably hitched a ride to the Golden State in packing wood. First discovered but misidentified in 2003 in Los Angeles County, the beetles have since infested at least 49 species of trees in seven Southern California counties, said Eskalen, a plant pathology professor.

Feinstein Explains Calif. Drought Legislation

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., stayed off the Senate floor on Friday evening while her California Democratic colleague, Sen. Barbara Boxer, opposed a water resources bill. Boxer and senators from Washington and Oregon said the bill contains provisions to deal with the California drought that could damage the salmon industry and reduce the power of the Endangered Species Act. Boxer, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, also said that the drought provision was the work of a single House member, which was a veiled reference to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.