Good habits die hard, it seems, after five years of epic drought – for most Californians, anyway. The historic dry spell from 2012 to 2016 prompted many state residents to reduce their water consumption, as did strict regulations imposed by state agencies and individual water districts. Whether they wanted to or not, urban Californians reduced their use of the state’s most precious resource by about a quarter.
Archive for date: September 6th, 2017
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The flooding catastrophe in Texas and along the Gulf Coast as a result of Hurricane Harvey is a reality check for those living in flood-prone areas, including in California. Coincidentally, the day before Harvey caused such devastating flooding, on Aug. 25 the Central Valley Flood Protection Board—under the California Department of Water Resources—adopted the 2017 Central Valley Flood Prevention Plan Update. The update, required under the Central Valley Flood Protection Act of 2008, is meant to improve the Central Valley system of state and federal-backed levees.
This year, urban water use has settled into a pattern: Californians are consuming more water than in 2015 and 2016, when mandatory measures were in place to cut down on use during a five-year drought. At the same time, water use has remained below the levels reported in 2013 and 2014, cheering water regulators who hope to make conservation a habit. July 2017 numbers were released Wednesday by the State Water Resources Control Board, and they fit this pattern for the fifth month running.
Sites Reservoir has been talked about for decades, but now that project officials — and backed by 70 major allies — have formally submitted an application for state bond money, the question arises: Will this $5 billion project actually come to pass? The proposed surface reservoir would be located in Colusa County, but is competing with 11 other applicants for part of a $2.7 billion coffer of state money devoted to water storage projects.
For decades, water seeped below the spillway of the nation’s tallest dam unnoticed by operators, slowly eroding critical infrastructure until the spillway crumbled during heavy storm releases this past February, investigators said Tuesday. According to independent experts investigating the Oroville Dam’s spillway failure – which forced nearly 200,000 people to evacuate beneath the 770-foot dam – human error played a key role in the near-disaster.
Just weeks before key votes on a multibillion-dollar state water project, two major questions remain: How much water will the project actually deliver? How much will that water actually cost? If those sound like the only two things you’d really want to be sure about before investing billions of dollars in a new water project – well, they are.The project, known as WaterFix, is designed to ensure that water keeps coming south through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, a series of waterways and wetlands fed by snow melting in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Generally, the city of Needles holds three types of rights in Colorado River water: Present perfect rights, surplus water rights and rights under the lower Colorado River Water Supply Act. These rights are guaranteed in a series of agreements with the federal government and other holders of Colorado River rights; generally states, large water districts, and occasionally Mexico. According to city staff, due to changing circumstances with respect to Colorado River water and especially the looming scarcity due to prolonged drought, there are periodic rounds of renegotiation of the Colorado River agreements, some of which Needles is required to sign.
With less than four months left until a critical deadline when the Salton Sea will begin to shrink rapidly, residents and activists are pressing for California officials to secure funding and act quickly to avert a costly disaster. Some people who live around the lake are driving to Sacramento for a Thursday meeting of the State Water Resources Control Board, which is considering an agreement between several agencies that would commit state officials to following through with pledges of building thousands of acres of ponds, wetlands and other dust-control projects around the lake over the next 10 years.