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Requests For Proposals Sought For $6 Agricultural Water Efficiency Program

Combining $3 million each from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have made possible a $6 million pilot grant program for joint applications involving funding for both agricultural water suppliers and agricultural operations.  The grant funding provided in this joint program is intended to address multiple goals including: 1) water use efficiency, conservation and reduction, 2) greenhouse gas emission reductions, 3) groundwater protection, and 4) sustainability of agricultural operations and food production.

Short-Lived La Niña Leaves Impacts Before Fading Away

U.S. weather forecasters said Thursday the cool flip side to the climate phenomenon El Niño has faded away. The La Niña episode lasted only four months and was among the weakest and shortest on record, coming on the heels of one of the strongest El Niños, said Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. La Niña, a cooling of parts of the equatorial Pacific that changes weather patterns worldwide, often lasts a year or more, longer than El Niños. La Niña conditions were first detected in October and disappeared in January.

Drought Dwindling In Southern California

Snow and rain keep putting the hurt on California’s weakening drought, which now encompasses less than half the state for the first time in four years. This week, 53 percent of the state is out of drought and only 11 percent remains in “severe” to “extreme” conditions — with more rain and snow expected in the region today and Saturday. “Extreme” drought conditions linger in a sliver of northwest Los Angeles County and parts of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

CA Dept. of Water Resources Names New Chief Deputy Director

Cindy Messer, a former deputy director of the Delta Stewardship Council, has been appointed chief deputy director at the California Department of Water Resource where she has served as assistant chief deputy director since 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown’s Office announced Tuesday. Messer, of Sacramento, was deputy director of the Planning, Performance and Technology Division at the Delta Stewardship Council from 2012 to 2016 and assistant executive officer at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy from 2010 to 2012.

Advocates Urge Permanent Solution To Unsafe Drinking Water

Water advocacy leaders in California are calling for the state government to permanently invest in water infrastructure–noting that over 300 California communities are affected by unsafe drinking water. Among the chemicals found in the drinking water of these communities are uranium, nitrates, and arsenic. Jennifer Clary from Clean Water Action said during a statewide conference call this week that agricultural communities on the Central Coast specifically are breeding ground for nitrates. “In Monterey County, about 40 percent of the private wells that have been tested over the last two years have exceeded the nitrate standards,” Clary said.

California Storms: Drought Gone In 53 Percent of State, Most Since 2013

For the first time in four years, more than half of California’s land area is no longer classified as being in drought conditions by the federal government — the latest milestone signaling the end of the state’s historic drought. Altogether, 53 percent of California has seen enough precipitation, and its reservoirs and groundwater levels filled so much that it is not in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly report issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska. A year ago, just 5 percent of the state was out of drought.

How Land Subsidence Could Reduce Surface Water Deliveries In California

Two major California canals – the California Aqueduct and the Delta-Mendota Canal – have been significantly impacted by subsidence which the state says is caused by groundwater pumping in the Central Valley. Land subsidence happens, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, when large amounts of groundwater have been withdrawn from certain kinds of rocks, such as fine-grained sediments. The water is partially responsible for holding the ground up. With the absence of that water the ground sinks. One of the concerns of this phenomenon is that once an aquifer collapses in upon itself it can no longer refill.

After Frantic Night, Officials Say Lake Oroville May Not Top Emergency Spillway

With a break in the weather and increased outflow from Oroville Dam’s heavily damaged spillway, state officials said Friday morning they no longer believe the swollen reservoir will breach the dam’s emergency spillway. After a grim assessment late Thursday, officials announced Friday morning they think they can avoid using the dam’s emergency spillway, which they’ve been working feverishly to avoid. The emergency structure feeds into an unlined ravine, and the water would propel soil, trees and other debris into the Feather River.


Only 11 Percent Of California Remains In Severe Drought

Going, going, but not gone yet.  About 47 percent of California still faces a drought, and the conditions are severe in 11 percent of the state, according to the most recent weekly report from the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some 83 percent of the state was in the monitor’s second-most severe category one year ago. The dramatic changes in the drought map comes amid a rainy season marked by a series of moisture-packed atmospheric rivers that drenched the parched West Coast and dumped copious amounts of snow in the Sierra Nevada. All of this rain has ended the drought in most of Northern California.

Strongest Storms Hits Already Soggy Northern California

The strongest of this week’s drenching storms moved ashore Thursday in Northern California, raising the risk of flooding and mudslides in the region of already soggy hillsides and swollen rivers. Flood and wind warnings were in place again north of San Francisco, where residents along the Russian River stacked sandbags to protect their properties. The river overtopped its banks in some areas and flooded streets Wednesday, but began to drop later in the day. The wine region community never dried out after damaging flooding during storms last month.