Oceanside homeowner Richard Jaross had two motivations for rethinking his front yard’s landscaping. It was mostly lawn that was not thriving, because of water restrictions. And, to make matters worse, a family of rabbits was eating and digging up the turf. So, when Jaross, who lives in the Vista San Luis Rey neighborhood of north Oceanside, read in the U-T about free WaterSmart landscaping courses offered by the San Diego County Water Authority, he decided to educate himself about drought-tolerant gardens.
Archive for date: April 7th, 2017
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Governor Jerry Brown ended the drought state of emergency in most of California Friday, garnering praise from San Diego County’s Water Authority. Record-breaking rainfall helped create a dramatic improvement in water supplies. Heavy rains fell across California this winter, including record-breaking precipitation in San Diego County, according to the Water Authority. State agencies also issued a plan to make conservation a way of life in California. Governor Brown says this will include new legislation to improve planning for severe droughts and establishing long-term water conservation measures.
After one of the wettest winters on record, Gov. Jerry Brown declared Friday that California’s historic drought is officially over for all but a handful of areas in the Central Valley. But after five years of severely dry conditions, California also is pressing forward with a dramatic overhaul of its conservation ethic for farms to cityscapes. This long-term framework for water conservation includes everything from minimizing pipe leaks, to requiring water suppliers to develop drought contingency plans, to submitting monthly data, to meeting permanent conservation targets.
San Diego’s county and city pension funds are losing ground in their pursuit of a fully funded plan, but 10 other local government pension plans are just as bad or worse off. The Valley Center Municipal Water District, Otay Water District, city of El Cajon’s safety plan, the city of San Marcos and six other local pension plans are only 60 to 70 percent funded. That means the agencies lack 30 to 40 percent of the money ultimately needed to fulfill retirement promises for current and former employees, data from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System shows.
It wasn’t that long ago that many wondered whether California’s drought would ever end. For five years, the state endured significantly less rain than normal, cutting into the water supply and forcing the state to impose strict limits on water use. That officially ended Friday when Gov. Jerry Brown declared the drought over. So how did the drought end? That seemed pretty quick. The turning point began last winter, when Northern California began to see a significant uptick in rain. Then, this winter, the north had one of the wettest seasons on record.
Regarding “Local agencies ignore ‘be open’ admonition”(April 5): It was disturbing to read the U-T Editorial Board’s recent inaccurate and unwarranted assertion that the San Diego County Water Authority has ignored state law by not providing public notice or agendas for every meeting for which a board member receives a stipend. The U-T unfairly attempted to create the impression that the Water Authority was not complying with California’s open meeting laws. This is not true.
Startlingly green hills, surging rivers and the snow-wrapped Sierra Nevada had already signaled what Gov. Jerry Brown made official Friday: The long California drought is over. Brown issued an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all but a handful of San Joaquin Valley counties where some communities are still coping with dried-up wells. He also made it clear that the need for conservation is not going away. “This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” Brown said in a statement. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”
California’s current rainy season can no longer lay claim to being No. 1. After relatively modest rainfall in March, this season now ranks as the second wettest in 122 years of record-keeping, according to data released Thursday by federal scientists. Between October 2016 and March 2017, California averaged 30.75 inches of precipitation, the second-highest average since such records began being kept in 1895, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The destruction of Oroville Dam’s main spillway in February likely occurred because it was built on highly erodible rock, according to several experts interviewed by Water Deeply. If confirmed by a forensic investigation now underway, rebuilding the spillway will require a much more expensive and time-consuming effort. The Oroville spillway was ripped apart in February as California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released water from the dam to make room for heavy storm runoff into the reservoir. It’s an important reminder that no matter how carefully built and maintained a dam might be, it will always remain vulnerable to unknowns.