Defining drought in California can be a tricky business, especially when five years of severely dry conditions are abruptly followed by torrents of rain, flooding rivers and blankets of mountain snow — as residents have seen in the past few weeks.Amid the ongoing succession of storms, water managers up and down the state are urging regulators in Sacramento to permanently cancel historic, emergency drought rules that have been in place for 18 months.
Archive for date: January 20th, 2017
Snow is piling up in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, but this year’s first official water forecast for the Colorado River still predicts Lake Mead will shrink enough to trigger a federal shortage declaration in 2018. Federal forecasters expect the lake’s surface to drop by about 9 feet by the end of 2017, which would put it inches below the all-important shortage line of 1,075 feet above sea level. That would force Nevada and Arizona to cut their use of Colorado River water under rules adopted a decade ago.
It’s raining in California. Is the drought over? That’s a complicated question. Voice of San Diego recently answered it like this: “Southern California’s drought emergency is over, but its overall drought may not be. It depends what you mean by ‘drought.’”
Donald Trump made some big campaign promises about water during his election campaign. Now that he has been elected president, those promises could dramatically shake up how water is managed in the arid West. In one of his few direct statements about water, Trump has said he wants to invest in treatment systems to prevent problems caused by aging distribution lines, citing as an example the drinking-water contamination in the Michigan city of Flint. To do this, he proposes to triple funding for a federal loan program, called the state revolving fund, from the current $2 billion to $6 billion.