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JPL Climatologist Announces That, for Now, El Nino is “La Nada”

Some climate models are suggesting that El Niño may return later this year, but for now, the Pacific Ocean lingers in a neutral “La Nada” state, according to climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The latest map of sea level height data from the U.S./European Jason-3 satellite mission shows most of the ocean at neutral heights (green), except for a bulge of high sea level (red) centered along 20 degrees north latitude in the central and eastern Northern Hemisphere tropics, around Hawaii. This high sea level is caused by warm water.


Why CalPERS is Pouring Millions Into a Southern California Water Deal

On the edge of the Mojave Desert, beneath 1,800 acres of scrubland and tumbleweeds, California’s giant public pension fund is trying to make a killing in the water business. CalPERS is the primary owner of the Willow Springs Water Bank, an underground reservoir that could hold as much water as Folsom Lake when fully developed. Its customers, mainly a collection of Los Angeles-area water agencies, pay fees to store water beneath the Kern County soil to bolster their supplies during dry periods.

Rainfall Continues To Top Historical Averages

Following five years of severe drought conditions, California is now in the midst of one of the wettest winters in recorded history – the effects of which can been seen locally in the Tuolumne River Watershed. So far in the 2017 precipitation year, which began in September, several months have already exceeded their historical averages, and last month proved to be no exception with over 15 inches of rainfall in the Tuolumne River Watershed. This amount is nearly 10 inches more than monthly historical average of 5.99 inches for February. Last year, the Tuolumne River Watershed only received 1.59 inches of precipitation during the same time period.

Workers Start Repairs On Key Water Pumping Station

Work crews in California have started repairs to a key pumping station in the state’s water system. State officials said repairs at the Clifton Court Forebay pumping station started Wednesday. The Department of Water Resources says the pumps there are being shut down to repair a damaged intake valve. The Clifton Court Forebay is a crucial part of the north-south water system that delivers Northern California water to millions in Central and Southern California. The pumps, pipes and dams in the system have been strained by five years of drought followed by the heaviest rain in decades this winter.

State Dealing With Another Reservoir Fix Near Tracy, Says It Won’t Interrupt Water Deliveries

On rich Delta farmland just outside Tracy, Suzanne Womack spent her childhood on more than 600 acres dating back to 1961. “I moved there when I was 3 years old,” said Womack. “I learned to ride horses there.” Now, for years, her attention has turned to preserving her land against what she calls poor maintenance by the state linked to the massive Clifton Court Forebay fed by the Delta’s Old River, right next door.

Contradiction in Water Policy

In 2016, annual precipitation was average for the Central Valley and above average for northern California. But the allocation of Central Valley Project water to public water agencies that serve farmers south of the Delta was only 5%. The federal government blamed the low allocation of water on hydrological conditions, rather than environmental regulations that limited pumping of water and prevented water from being moved through the system to communities south of the Delta.

VIDEO: A Look At Repair Efforts At The Lake Oroville Dam Spillway This Week

Images from the state Department of Water Resources show round-the-clock work the week of March 11-17, 2017 at Oroville Dam. A giant fracture developed in Oroville Dam’s main spillway during a heavy storm earlier this year. Five days later, water flowed over the dam’s emergency spillway for the first time, nearly causing the hillside below to fail. Approximately 188,000 downstream residents were evacuated for two days.

Can California Repair Damaged Delta Reservoir Within 45 Days?

State officials said Wednesday that Californians reliant on water pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta won’t face supply shortages, even as crews shut down a massive pumping station that serves much of Southern California for at least a month to make repairs to its intake reservoir. The repair effort involves Clifton Court Forebay, a shallow reservoir that serves as an entryway for a Delta pumping station critical to the State Water Project, the state-run water delivery network that moves water north to south through California.

OPINION: Sierra Water Returns To North County Taps

What a difference one year and one wet winter makes. Last year, 100 percent of the imported water needed to run the North County economy came from the Colorado River. These days, not a drop is coming from the Colorado. Instead, all of the imported water coming out of your tap is from Northern California. Both sources come from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and meet the highest health standards. But there is a big difference for the North County, particularly if you are a farmer or happen to make a little beer (or a lot).


Wet Winter Fails to Solve California’s Forest Problems

Despite the wet winter and far-above-average Sierra Nevada snowpack, California forests remain at risk from tree mortality, bark beetle infestations and overgrown landscapes, according to presentations at the 2017 California Farm Bureau Federation Leaders Conference.(Left) Timber operator and Tuolumne County Farm Bureau President Shaun Crook during the California Farm Bureau Leaders Conference in Sacramento. Photo/Ching Lee. During the event, foresters and forest landowners discussed all those issues and communicated concerns directly to Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest regional forester, who participated as a guest speaker.