Lake Mead water levels have a 50 percent chance of falling below a threshold that will trigger an official shortage, federal water managers have said, which would result in a significant reduction of water shared by three states. The lake stores water for Arizona, California and Nevada. If it falls below 1,075 feet above sea level, or about 35 percent capacity for the reservoir, federal regulations would kick in mandating radical cuts to the share in water received by the states.
Archive for date: February 1st, 2017
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Documentarian Marina Zenovich, whose most prominent films to date — Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired and Roman Polanski: Odd Man Out — have both revolved around the director of Chinatown, seemingly takes inspiration from Jake Gittes’ noir investigation in this left-turn from celeb-oriented docs to enviro-political ones. In Water & Power: A California Heist, Zenovich tackles a subject of enormous importance.
Efforts to create a new reservoir in Northern California took a step forward Tuesday. The Sites Project Authority issued a “notice of preparation,” which is the first step in the environmental review process. “Californians made a bold and innovative decision to invest in new water storage when they overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 in 2014,” Authority board president Kim Dolbow Vann said in a statement. “The Sites Project makes sense for California — which is why it has strong, diverse and bipartisan support across the state — and why it is important to move this environmental review forward.”
Following years of drought and with 2017 shaping up to be what the California Department of Water Resources calls “one of the wettest years ever,” some observers have wondered why water agencies are not storing more water in reservoirs for future use. Because preventing loss of life and reducing property damage from flooding becomes a top priority during strong storms such as those that reached the state in January, agencies say they must release water from reservoirs to make room for anticipated runoff from subsequent storms.
After a month of huge blizzards and “atmospheric river” storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack — source of a third of California’s drinking water — is 177 percent of the historic average, the biggest in more than two decades. The last time there was this much snow on Feb. 1 in the Sierra was in 1995. Pete Wilson was California’s governor, “Seinfeld” was the top-rated show on television and Steve Young had just led the 49ers to a blowout win in Super Bowl XXIX.
In their recent commentary, “More dams won’t do it, time for a fresh approach on water,” the writers are spot-on in referencing the need for multiple solutions to solving California’s water challenges, especially in the face of anticipated climate change. However, they miss several important points about the value of new water storage in California. Historically, California has used its snow pack as seasonal storage. With climate change, this immense natural water storage system will likely be significantly reduced or lost. Alternative water supply options are critical to maintaining a state that is economically and ecologically healthy.
As the The Valley is slammed with rain and storms, the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range is coming in under average for snow fall totals, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of drinking water for all Californian. The under average conditions brings up the question, does California need more water infrastructure? The state already has a lot of water infrastructure including reservoirs, aquifers, and dams. More than 1,400 dams play an integral role in helping move water from the northern part of the state to the southern portion.
A document obtained by the Kansas City Star and the News Tribune could potentially bode well for two important, and unreasonably delayed, water projects in the Southland. One of those projects is the is the Huntington Beach desalination plant. The document, “purportedly leaked from the Trump administration indicates that the proposed desalination plant in Huntington Beach is among 50 infrastructure projects nationwide that the president has designated as a priority,” the Register reported.
El Nino, La Nina, and El Nino again? Its all too much sometimes, isn’t it? Rest assured that this is very early in the game to be talking about El Nino coming back this fall, but a few things are happening in the background to make me think that it’s at least a possibility.
If you were hoping for a reprieve after Redding received nearly double its normal rainfall for January, the first week of the month might disappoint. “We have another Pacific storm moving in tonight into Saturday but the heaviest precipitation should be Thursday and Friday,” said Idamis Del Valle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Redding could see 2 inches of rain through Saturday morning, according to forecasts. That could cause localized flooding in streams and on some roads, Del Valle said.