Many years ago, leaders in our region came together to figure out how to ensure a reliable water supply for the future. They recognized not just the importance of water to our quality of life, but how essential it is for a healthy economy.
Archive for date: December 28th, 2016
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A press release last week about the release of 97,000 pages of final environmental documents for the Delta tunnels says construction will begin “as soon as 2018.” We’ve heard projections like that before. In January 2009, the Schwarzenegger administration said construction on a peripheral canal — the predecessor to the tunnels — would start in 2011. Nearly eight years later, here we are still talking.
Bay Area residents will experience a drop in temperatures this weekend, as a flow of air from Canada moves south into Northern California. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s on New Years morning, but areas closer to the water—such as San Francisco—will stay slightly warmer. Meteorologists predict morning temperatures of 45 degrees on Jan. 1. Cold weather will continue into Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco, where daily highs may not reach 50 degrees.
This year has been a big one for water. California is still mired in drought, although less of the state is suffering than in previous years and each winter rainstorm brings a fresh bit of optimism. A large reserve of groundwater was found deep under the drought-stricken Central Valley, recycled water continues to gain in popularity, flooding to help fish and farmers is panning out and 2016 will likely wrap up as the hottest year on record. Below are seven other significant milestones that impacted California water and will help shape the year ahead.
More rain during the middle of the week and at the end was joined by the largest snowfall since the first week of the year. Pine Cove received another 3 inches of rain. The 3.3 inches last week brought the total rain since July 1, to 13.5 inches. This is nearly 50 percent greater than the long-term average rainfall of 9.2 inches through the end of December.
Los Angeles received about five times the amount of rain this December than it did during the same month last year. William Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has attributed our wetter weather to several changes, including a dissipated “blob” and an absent La Niña condition. Though this is good news, Patzert said it’ll take more than a single rainy season to quench California’s drought.
On New Year’s Eve, local groundfish might have a reason to celebrate. In the angling community over the past couple winters, our lucky New Year’s baby has been the El Niño conditions that kept yellowtail and tuna close to home in the winter. This winter, as the pelagic species have moved south and water temps are around 60 degrees, boats have returned to target rockcod, sheephead, and whitefish.
Despite heavy rain in Northern California, state officials aren’t ready to declare an end to the drought.Tuesday, officials said the Sierra snowpack is at 72 percent of normal.The mountain snow contributes about one third of California’s water when it melts and fills the reservoirs. Northern California had its wettest October in 30 years, although the snowpack is typically deepest in April.
The Sierra Nevada snowpack — the source of roughly a third of California’s water supply — remains nearly 30 percent below average for this time of the year despite the state recently witnessing its heaviest rainfall in decades. In an update released Tuesday, California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) said that the snowpack currently has a water content of 10.5 inches, just 72 percent of the Dec. 27 average. “It’s too soon to know whether this winter’s wet season will deliver enough rain and snow to move California closer to the end of the state’s five-year drought,” the DWR said.
It’s too soon to declare an end to California’s five-year drought despite the heaviest rain in three decades falling early in the wet season, officials said. The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides roughly one-third of California’s water supply, measures at 72 percent of normal for water content, according to the state’s Department of Water Resources’ electronic monitors.