Here’s an idea: Let’s use the ocean to create an endless supply of pure water, no matter how much rain and snow falls (or doesn’t) on California. If it sounds like something out of the future, consider: Seven ocean desalination plants are under consideration along the coast from Dana Point to Monterey Bay. By the mid-2020s, those plants could be using the Pacific to produce about 10 percent of the fresh water needed in parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Archive for date: January 23rd, 2017
You are now in California and the U.S. category.
Arizona would be the first state to feel the effects of Colorado River cutbacks if the water level continues to fall at drought-stricken Lake Mead, an environmental advocacy group says in a new report. The Western Resource Advocates reached its conclusion as the vast reservoir behind Hoover Dam sits at 39 percent of capacity. The group concluded that farmers would be first to feel the pinch; that suburban growth in Phoenix and Tucson could be slowed by cutbacks; and the cities themselves could face water reductions by 2020.
Water districts in the Sacramento region cut water use by 25 percent in 2016 compared with 2013 – despite the state’s decision to back away from strict mandatory conservation targets. “The savings that were actually achieved were pretty astounding,” Amy Talbot, the Sacramento Regional Water Authority’s water efficiency program manager, said Monday. In May, the State Water Resources Control Board retreated from the mandatory statewide urban conservation program it had adopted in 2015 by order of Gov. Jerry Brown. In 2015, more than 400 urban water suppliers were ordered to cut usage by an average of 25 percent compared with the base year of 2013.
You know the answer already. No, the drought isn’t over in Southern California – even with this burst of insane amounts of rain the last five days, Alex Tardy, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego, said Monday, Jan. 23. “It’s not likely that this month or next month we’ll erase the drought because our deficit is so large,” Tardy said. “The one thing we have to keep in mind is that our deficits are still 20 to 24 inches of rain over the past six years.”
All these large storms moving quickly through California have brought enough rainwater that a noticeable change has come to many regions in the state: the Sierra snowpack is full of snow, reservoirs are mostly refilled, cities are experiencing record rainfall, and people are surfing on flooded streets. Yep, here’s some video of that.All kidding aside, the storm has revived the questions about California’s five-year drought and whether the rain has provided enough relief to help the state recover.
Here’s an idea: Let’s use the ocean to create an endless supply of pure water, no matter how much rain and snow falls (or doesn’t) on California. If it sounds like something out of the future, consider: As of today, seven ocean desalination plants are under consideration along the coasts from Dana Point through Monterey Bay. By the mid-2020s, those plants could be using the Pacific to produce about 10 percent of the fresh water needed in parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The deluge that hit California this month may have eased some people’s concerns about the drought. But it also raised a new question: Is the state doing enough to capture all that excess stormwater for later use? According to Annalisa Kihara, chief planner at the State Water Board’s Strategy to Optimize Resource Management of Storm Water unit (STORMS), the strategies for capturing and conserving rainwater are abundant, and numerous projects are underway.
In the years before California’s drought, it wasn’t unusual for Sacramentans to spend winters worrying about floods. After more than five years with little rain, the past two weeks delivered a bracing reminder that the region remains vulnerable to rising waters and overtopped levees. The recent rainstorms flooded scattered sections of greater Sacramento, from the Garden Highway north of downtown to the rural communities south of Elk Grove. Three small levee breaches added to the havoc caused by the wayward Cosumnes River.
The Sacramento Weir opened its gates Jan. 10 to reduce water levels in the Sacramento River, but now those gates may begin closing as early as Monday. Thirty-five of the 48 gates are open. The weir acts as a bridge between West Sacramento and Interstate 5 on Old River Road. Most bridges are over water, but this one is blocked with 1,824 wooden planks — each six feet long, one foot wide and four inches thick.
The San Diego County Water Authority and other water managers across California are calling for regulators to end emergency drought rules. “It’s clear here in San Diego County that we are not in a drought emergency. We have adequate supplies to meet demand this year and actually for the next three years if it’s dry,” said Dana Friehauf, the water authority’s water resources manager. Friehauf added that despite this, water users in the county still need to use water wisely, but we need to move to more long-term changes, such as upgrading to a low-water garden.