Drought has crept back into Northern California. Despite a flurry of late storms in spring, precipitation for the winter season was below normal and the region is facing moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions once again, according to the federal government’s U.S. Drought Monitor. What’s more, temperatures were above normal throughout winter. The Drought Monitor’s weekly map, released Thursday, shows a large swath extending north of San Francisco through the Sacramento Valley to the Oregon border in moderate drought. The Bay Area and the North Coast went from normal to abnormally dry; parts of the northern Sierra remain normal.
Archive for month: June, 2018
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A winter of exceptionally meager snowfall has revived California’s water woes. Snowpack typically supplies the state with much of its water during the spring and summer, but this year, snow is in short supply, spurring Gov. Jerry Brown to instate permanent conservation measures. Thanks to climate change, the problem is only going to get worse, leaving officials worried about the future of water in the Golden State. Huntington Beach, a seaside Southern California city, is taking the long view, investing in a new desalination plant that will turn seawater into clean, drinkable H20.
After a detailed – and dire – technical presentation from one of her experts, the commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Thursday told an audience of water stakeholders that officials weren’t trying to scare people, only make plain the risks of historically low levels on Lake Mead. Commissioner Brenda Burman and other federal officials urged, cajoled and pushed Arizona to finalize a so-called Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. The plan identifies earlier, steeper cuts to water users than those mandated by a 2007 agreement to decrease the risk of a rapid decline in lake level.
Wholesale water rates adopted Thursday by the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors include some of the smallest increases in the past 15 years due to successful litigation against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and strategic use of financial reserves, the agency said. They also highlight a historic shift in water costs: The Water Authority’s independent supplies from the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement are now less expensive for the region than supplies from MWD, and that difference will grow in the years ahead.
Wholesale water rates adopted today by the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors include some of the smallest increases in the past 15 years due to successful litigation against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and strategic use of financial reserves. They also highlight a historic shift in water costs: The Water Authority’s independent and highly reliable supplies from the 2003 Colorado River Quantification Settlement Agreement are now less expensive for the region than MWD, and that difference will grow in the years ahead.
Encinitas, Calif. — Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors honored Munira Coomber as OMWD’s 2018 winner of the annual Watersmart Landscape Contest at its June 20 meeting.
Coomber’s landscape features attractive water-efficient plants in both front and back yards as well as creative design ideas. The centerpiece in the front of the home is an old water fountain that was given new life by turning it into a beautiful succulent planter. A succulent wall and raised garden beds of strawberries and herbs create a relaxing outdoor living space in the backyard.
“We knew from the start that we wanted low maintenance and low water use landscaping,” said Coomber. “We’ve been very happy with our low water bill and the variety of textures and colors our waterwise landscaping has delivered.”
“Ms. Coomber’s inspirational landscape is both beautiful and water-efficient and has demonstrated how colorful and attractive watersmart landscapes can be,” said board director Robert Topolovac. “Eyecatching landscapes create enthusiasm for water-efficient gardens in the community.”
The Watersmart Landscape Contest is held annually by water agencies throughout San Diego County to showcase attractive landscapes that use less water than conventional turf-heavy landscapes. Contest entries are judged on curb appeal, landscape and irrigation design, and environmental considerations. More information and photos of winning landscapes are available at www.landscapecontest.com.
Olivenhain Municipal Water District is a public agency providing water, wastewater services, recycled water, hydroelectricity, and operation of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. Organized in 1959, OMWD currently serves approximately 86,000 customers over 48 square miles in northern San Diego County.
Arizona water officials committed Thursday to reach a multi-state plan by the end of the year to stave off Colorado River water shortages, or at least lessen the impact. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been prodding Western states to wrap up drought contingency plans, one each in the lower and upper basins. Little snowpack, rising temperatures and ongoing drought have led to steady declines in the river that serves 40 million people in seven U.S. states.
Underneath San Diego streets lies a network of pipes and tunnels that most people never see. But when it rains, that network is busy carrying water out from neighborhoods and into the city’s rivers, bays and beaches. Much of that network is on the verge of collapse, and the city has nowhere near enough money to fix it. A report from the City Auditor’s Office released this month notes a staggering $459 million funding shortfall for stormwater infrastructure.
In less than six months, California will begin to enact new statewide water conservation laws. Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668 call for new urban-efficiency standards for indoor and outdoor uses, water lost to leaks and appropriate variances. The bills will take effect in 2019, although there will a grace period before enforcement, according to Mario Remillard, water conservation specialist for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. Additionally, water agencies are required to stay within their water budgets regardless of current drought conditions. However, the California State Water Board will not enforce these standards until November 2023.
In this episode of Deeply Talks, Tara Lohan, managing editor of Water Deeply, talks with Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at the University of California, Davis, and Rachel Zwillinger, water policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife, about how water storage projects in California are being funded, which projects are receiving state money and what kinds of water projects the state really needs.