Sixteen days into summer, with wildfires raging over the bone-dry landscape and more scorching hot days ahead, it might feel as if California is on the verge of another drought. The official word from weather authorities shows much of the state trending in that direction. Abnormally dry or drought conditions prevail over 85 percent of California, including the coast from Monterey County to the Oregon border, the U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday. Nearly all of Lake County and parts of eastern Napa and Mendocino counties are now in moderate drought, authorities said.
Archive for date: July 5th, 2018
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Even after years of drought, Sacramento’s biggest worry over water is flood risk. The city is widely considered the second-most flood-prone major city in America, after New Orleans. Sacramento’s efforts to fight flooding got a major boost Thursday. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Rep. Doris Matsui’s office announced that the region has been allocated nearly $1.8 billion to strengthen levees and raise Folsom Dam. The federal money also will be spent widening the Sacramento Weir, a mechanism north of the city that acts as a safety valve by channeling flood waters into the Yolo Bypass.
The mass of hot, humid air that produced oppressive weather earlier this week in New England, the Midwest and the Rockies was flowing into Southern California on Thursday, where it will generate the first major heat wave of summer in one of the driest regions of the country. The heat wave will peak on Friday when temperatures reach117 in Ocotillo Wells, 114 in Anza Borrego State Park, 113 in Valley Center, 111 in Santee and Ramona, 109 in Campo, 105 in Escondido, 99 in Julian and 87 on Coronado, according to the National Weather Service.
The Department of Water Resources recently released water from Lake Oroville so spillway repairs could continue.
When dust storms began rising off the dry bed of Owens Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra blamed Los Angeles’ thirst. The city had, after all, drained the lake in the 1920s to serve its faucets. Now, as dust kicks up from Mono Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra are once again blaming that water-craving metropolis about 350 miles to the south.
Here’s a suggestion for decision-makers on the California Water Commission who are now finalizing the distribution of $7.5 billion in bond money for storage projects: Look underground. The state should give up — at last — on dated, expensive, environmentally destructive dams and instead put funds toward infrastructure and programs that would help us store more water in aquifers, where there’s plenty of room.
Eleven schools in San Diego County had unsafe levels of lead in drinking water last year, according to new data from the California State Water Resources Control Board, and more test results are expected soon as schools adhere to new legislation. Gov. Jerry Brown in October signed a law that requires community water systems to test drinking water for lead in all public schools that serve kindergarten through 12th grade by July 2019. It took effect in January 2017. So far, more than 500 schools in the county have been tested.
At the turn of the century, San Diego County began experiencing tremendous urban growth. To meet the growing need of the population, water development began in earnest. It started a transition from relying on well water to impounding river water in the county’s mountains, and then moving it into the urbanized areas. The next few decades were dominated by the clash of interests between agricultural interests and development interests, promises for water delivery, and the usual cycles of drought and floods.