La Niña Is On Its Way Out. What Does That Mean For California?

Scientists regularly look for the formation or absence of the system when predicting weather in the American Southwest. La Niñas are driven by changes in ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, as is the El Niño climate system that typically brings wetter, cooler winters to Southern California. This winter, La Niña predictions of less rain and snow have been spot on as counties across SoCal have dipped back into to moderate-to-severe drought conditions.

State Plans To Stagger Construction Of $16 Billion Delta Water Tunnels

State water officials announced Wednesday they will pursue staged construction of a proposed multibillion-dollar water-delivery project, leaving water agencies in Southern California to decide if they want to continue supporting the effort. The $16.3 billion project, known as California WaterFix, would divert water from the Sacramento River as it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and carry it to existing federal and state pumping stations in the southern part of the delta through two 35-mile tunnels.

BLOG: The Incredible Shrinking Delta Conveyance: A Timeline

Delta “isolated conveyance” proposals — be it a canal, tunnels, whatever — have generally gotten less ambitious over the years, at least in terms of capacity. But they don’t seem to be any less controversial, if the reaction to the state’s latest announcement is any indication. Just for perspective: 1970s/80s Peripheral Canal: 22,000 cubic feet per second (cfs).

Brown Tried To Smooth The Way For Delta Project. All He Got Was More Friction

California officials tried to smooth the way for the Delta tunnels project by slicing it in half. Instead they’re facing more pushback and the possibility of additional delays. One day after Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration downsized the Delta tunnels project, a host of project opponents tried Thursday to halt a state regulatory hearing that’s crucial to getting it built. They argued that Brown’s decision, after a decade of planning, creates such a monumental change that they need time to analyze the potential impacts on fish, agriculture and the rest of the Delta’s troubled ecosystem.

How Dry Is This Winter? Sierra Snowpack On Pace To Shatter Record Low Of 2015

As relentless sunshine continued to pound California on Thursday, the Sierra Nevada hit a reckoning point: There’s less snowpack now than on the same date three years ago, when the winter went down as the driest in recorded history and sent shudders through cities, farmlands and the state Capitol. The troubling lack of snow during the winter of 2014-15 not only shortchanged the state’s drinking-water reservoirs but left the Sierra nearly unrecognizable.

California’s Water Savings Dwindle When Drought Fears Subside

California’s population has almost doubled over the past 4 decades, growing from 22 million people in 1976 to 40 million in 2016. During that time frame the state experienced four major droughts, including the driest period on historical record, from 2012 to 2016. Now a new study examines how the public perception of water scarcity affects Californians’ urban residential water consumption.

Butte County Prosecutor Wants State Agency Fined Up To $51 Billion For Oroville Spillway Failure

Butte County prosecutors are seeking up to $51 billion in fines and penalties against California’s water agency for damage caused to local river-based wildlife after the Oroville Dam spillway failure last year, officials said. In a civil complaint filed Wednesday, Dist. Atty. Mike Ramsey accused the Department of Water Resources of failing to build the Oroville Dam’s spillway on sturdy bedrock, which led to its rapid deterioration last February amid the heaviest winter storms the region had seen in years.

Oceanside Joins Cities Looking At Alternative Energy Plan

Oceanside has agreed to join three other North County cities sharing the costs of a study to determine the feasibility of forming a renewable-energy alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. The study, expected to be completed by mid-summer, will look at the possibility of creating a nonprofit joint-powers authority to purchase electricity at a lower cost and higher percentage of renewable sources than that provided by SDG&E. The program is called a Community Choice Aggregation, or community choice energy.