The State Water Resources Control Board recently announced that urban Californians’ monthly water conservation was 19.5 percent in October, up from 18.3 percent in September and a bit below the 22.3 percent savings in October 2015, when state-mandated conservation targets were in place. The State Water Board stressed the need for continued conservation despite early rains in Northern California. The cumulative statewide savings from June 2015 through October 2016 was 22.8 percent, compared with the same months in 2013. Since June 2015, 2.26 million acre-feet of water has been saved — enough water to supply more than 11 million people, or more than one-quarter the state’s 38 million population, for a year.
Archive for date: December 27th, 2016
You are now in San Diego County category.
The largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas lies at California’s heart. It’s a place of constant change, affected by daily tides, sea-level rise, water diversions that serve 25 million residents and a growing population closing in around it. Yet most of those people have no idea the Delta is the subject of one of the largest habitat restoration projects ever proposed in the U.S. Known as Eco Restore, it is a companion to another proposal called California WaterFix, which calls for reforming water diversions by building two giant tunnels.
Sen. Barbara Boxer was almost out the door of the U.S. Senate a few weeks ago when she broke ranks with Dianne Feinstein, her fellow Democrat and Capitol Hill colleague, on a massive water-projects bill that included key provisions for California. Boxer echoed environmental groups and backed Bay Area interests in opposing the bill, calling it a “last-minute backroom deal” that would destroy the Endangered Species Act and benefit “big agribusiness.” She lost the battle.
After years of working on water, environment and agriculture issues in California, it remains a mystery to me why the appointed State Water Resources Control Board and several other environmental boards and commissions so often don’t understand the pushback from ordinary Californians on their regulatory agenda. The latest example is occurring during the public comment period on the plan to vastly increase unimpaired water flows from eastern and southern tributaries into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Amazing as it is, we’ve all made it through another year. Time to take stock of 2016. Or, as I like to put it, “Where the heck did those 12 months go?” Twenty-sixteen started off with a bang, so to speak, for me. I was solicited for prostitution after dropping my car at the repair shop early one Monday morning in the very first week of the year. I suppose you could look at that like, “Things can only improve from here!”
The $10 billion Congressional water bill approved in December which transfers federal control of some water supplies in California to water authorities at the state level and provides funds for some badly needed structures is being applauded by farmers both north and south. President Obama signed the bill Dec. 16. Sweeping victories by Republicans in the November elections which gave them majorities in the U.S. House and Senate as well as the presidency have brought dramatic changes in the ways California’s water resources – much of them stored or conveyed in federally financed structures – will be allocated.
These are not good times for Governor Brown’s Delta Tunnels (WaterFix) proposal. The twin 40-foot-diameter, 30-mile-long tunnels would harvest Sacramento River water before it flows through the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. A vast majority of this water would be sent to Big Ag operations like The Wonderful Company in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. It will destroy the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas.
It’s gone. The so-called Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, also known as The Blob, once perched off the Northwest coast blocking all storms like a football team’s defensive line, has dissipated, said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Many climatologists believed this was the main reason for the lack of rainfall in Southern California, making the past five years the driest in Southern California history as measured from downtown Los Angeles.
State water officials are saying it’s too soon to know whether this winter will deliver enough rain. But on Jan. 3, they expect to have a better idea of whether the state is headed into another year of drought. The Department of Water Resources will conduct its first media-oriented manual snow survey of Water Year 2017 at 11 a.m. next Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Phillips Station, just off Highway 50 near Sierra-at-Tahoe Road approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento.
Pesident-elect Donald Trump has made job creation and retention a heavy priority. He doesn’t feel constrained either by establishment criticism or by what past presidents have done. Given this history, Gov. Jerry Brown’s push for his $16 billion twin tunnels project may not be the only big water headline next year; 2017 could see a host of historic — and risky — changes in how California divvies up its water.