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Super-Soaking Storms Cut Severe Drought To 4 Percent Of California

More than 80 percent of California is no longer in drought after a series of winter storms, including last week’s hourslong soaker in Southern California. About 17 percent of the state remains in drought, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, the first since last Friday’s powerful storm. That’s a dramatic turnaround from one year ago when 94 percent of the state was in drought during an historic five-year dry spell.


Drought Monitor Shows Bakersfield Has Recovered From The Drought

Big news this morning as Bakersfield and most of Kern County has officially “recovered” from the drought! However the Frazier Park area, while also seeing an improvement as of this morning’s weekly Drought Monitor Report, remains on the line between “Moderate Drought” and the lowest ranking of “Abnormally dry”. This doesn’t mean the drought has ended however, since much of the Central Coast and Southern California remains in rankings of Abnormally Dry (D0) to Severe drought (D2).

California Expects Surge In Hydropower But That Could Be Bad News For These Power Companies

The huge winter storms in California and out West produced a significant snowpack across the region and increased lake levels, setting the stage for major hydropower generation this year. Yet analysts say the boom in hydroelectricity could further depress power prices, which might be good news for rate payers but bad news ultimately for independent power producers, or IPPs. “The more hydro generation you have the less [natural] gas generation you should have,” Citi analyst Anthony Yuen told CNBC in an interview.

OPINON: Too Much Water? Where Do We Go From Here

Our recent torrential rains both here and throughout California bring the subject of drought to light. The most dramatic and publicized element of this recent deluge has been the Oroville Dam and Feather River catastrophes of the recent few weeks. I was fortunate in my Orange County Grand Jury term to spend a full day at Oroville in 2004 and explore all aspects of its role in the state’s water supply. In light of these overflow disasters, I distinctly remember that Lake Oroville was at 74 percent of capacity and the snowpack was almost nonexistent.

West’s Challenge Is Still Water Scarcity, Wet Winter Or Not

The number of “For Sale” signs compete with “Open” in the storefronts along the main street in this hilly town, where fortunes evaporated with the silver and zinc mines that created it. There’s no bank or grocery store. Mining has mostly vacated the area, leaving a clutch of retirees, some county workers, and not too many others. But this part of Nevada still has one resource that residents to the south in glitzy Las Vegas desperately want and need – water.


Skiing On July 4. More Rain Than Seattle. Yes, California’s Drought Is Receding

How much precipitation has fallen on Northern California this winter? So much that Squaw Valley expects to be open for skiing July 4. So much that Sacramento’s rainfall has surpassed that of traditional rainy meccas like Seattle and Portland, Ore. So much that the U.S. Drought Monitor, a study produced weekly by scientists from multiple federal agencies, reported Thursday that only 17 percent of California is still gripped by drought.

Heaviest Storm In Seven Years Pushes Up Level Of Cachuma Lake By 31 Feet

One of the worst storms in a decade pounded the Santa Ynez Valley and surrounding areas Friday, dumping more than 4 inches of wind-lashed rain, downing trees and power lines, sending mud and water into homes, flooding roadways, and contributing to a slew of vehicle crashes, highway closures, flash flood watches and evacuation warnings. The Valley was expected to get a brief respite from rain midweek, but forecasters said a low pressure area could drop down from the north Saturday, bringing another round of high winds and heavy rain.

‘Normal’ Never Better At New Melones, The Last Major Reservoir To Recover From Drought

Stubborn New Melones Lake finally decided to join the party. New Melones this week topped 100 percent of normal, the last of California’s major reservoirs to climb out of the deep drought hole. The giant reservoir is about 63 percent full, which is perfectly normal for this time of year with more storms possibly to come, and plenty of mountain snow that should melt later this spring. Just 14 months ago, New Melones was 11 percent full, or 20 percent of normal.


Water Woes Need Bigger Fix

California has always been a battleground for water. From Central Valley farmers to thirsty Southern Californians, our state is full of folks vying for their share of our most precious resource. Back in the state’s infancy, our leaders recognized this issue and took action to address it. They built an impressive network of dams and reservoirs, along with an unprecedented water-conveyance system to move water from the soggy north to the parched and populous southern regions. California was an innovator in technology even back then, when technology meant dams, aqueducts and other infrastructural modernisms.


OPINION: How About Lifting The Water Restrictions?

Here’s a random thought: Instead of releasing all that water down the spillways of California’s dams, why not remove the water conservation restrictions on the public. Let us use that water instead of sending it to the ocean? No, your government knows better than you. Can’t lift the restrictions. Need a bullet train; don’t need more water storage.