After one year of torrential respite, drought may have returned to California, and with it, a renewal of the state’s perpetual conflict over water management. State and federal water systems have told farmers not to expect more than a fifth of their paper allocations, the state Water Resources Control Board is weighing a new regime of mandatory conservation, and supporters of more reservoirs are complaining about the glacial pace of spending $2.7 billion set aside in a water bond for more storage.
Archive for date: March 4th, 2018
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Heat waves, droughts and floods are climate trends that will force California farmers to change some practices — including what they grow — to continue producing yields that historically have fed people nationwide, a new study by the University of California says. Researchers reviewed 89 studies on California climate trends and impacts on the state’s diverse agriculture industry to predict how the industry must adjust through the end of the 21st century.
Scientists have found dramatically declining snowpack across the American West over the past six decades that will likely cause water shortages in the region that cannot be managed by building new reservoirs, according to a study published Friday. The study led by scientists from Oregon State University and the University of California, Los Angeles found drops in snow measurements at more than 90 percent of regional snow monitoring sites that have consistently tracked snow levels since 1955, said Philip Mote, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute at Oregon State University.
Despite this week’s rain and snow, California is back to dry conditions again after a very wet 2017. With about four weeks left in the normal wet season, the Sacramento Valley is at about 65% of average precipitation (less than 1/3 of last year’s precipitation). The southern Central Valley has less than 50% of average precipitation and southern California is still drier. Snowpack is much less, at 37% statewide. Surface reservoirs, which almost all refilled and spilled in record-wet 2017, are now at 98% of average for this time of year, and will fall quickly as there is well-below-normal snowpack to melt.