California water officials on Friday released a plan to increase flows through a major central California river, an effort that would save salmon and other fish but deliver less water to farmers in the state’s agricultural heartland. It’s the latest development in California’s long-running feud between environmental and agricultural interests and is likely to spark lawsuits. “The State Water Resources Control Board’s decision today is the first shot fired in the next chapter of California’s water wars,” warned Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced, who represents San Joaquin Valley communities that rely on diversion from the river for water supply.
Archive for date: July 6th, 2018
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California water officials announced an ambitious plan Friday to revive some of the state’s biggest rivers, a move that seeks to stave off major devastation to wetlands and fish, but on the back of cities and farms. San Francisco, as well as numerous urban and agricultural water suppliers, under the plan would face new limits on how much water it draws from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries in the Sierra Nevada.
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.
A dangerous heat wave is expected to grip California and parts of the southwest Friday and into the weekend, threatening millions of people and likely fueling existing wildfires. More than 25 million people are under excessive heat watches, warnings or advisories, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix metro areas. The scorching heat will bring triple-digit temperatures to Los Angeles, where the mercury is forecast to reach 105 degrees on Friday and 100 on Saturday, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. Over a dozen record highs are forecast to be broken Friday afternoon across California.
Californians have long valued our last remaining wetlands, which represent less than 10 percent of our once-rich natural endowment. In 1993, Republican governor Pete Wilson issued an executive order declaring a state policy not only of “no net loss,” but of long-term net gain, in the quality and quantity of wetlands. Yet 25 years later, protection of these special places remains at risk because the state has failed to create an effective wetlands protection program. If California could rely on federal law, we wouldn’t need our own program. In 1993, it looked like the federal Clean Water Act might do the job.
Many parts of Southern California hit new high-temperature marks Friday, with a few spots reaching the hottest readings ever recorded. Among the places that set all-time records were Van Nuys Airport (117 degrees), Burbank Airport (114), Santa Ana (114) and Ramona (115), according to the National Weather Service. Riverside tied its all-time high temperature of 118. Downtown Los Angeles hit a new high for the day, at 108. Long Beach Airport hit 108 and Woodland Hills, 118. The heat wave will continue this weekend, but forecasters said Friday marked the peak.
The new state budget came with a last-minute deal that prevents new local taxes on soda through 2030 but doesn’t close the door to new taxes on drinking water. Gov. Jerry Brown and others had been pushing to add a new $1 fee to water bills that would help provide safe drinking water to more than 300,000 Californians in mostly rural areas. There wasn’t a “water tax” in the state budget, but some folks expect the issue could come back up later this year, in part because Brown continues to support it.
As predicted, new daily, monthly and all-time record highs were set throughout Southern California on Friday because of a monster heat dome sprawled over the region. The temperature at UCLA soared to 111 degrees, the hottest ever recorded there, surpassing the previous record of 109 degrees, set Sept. 20, 1939, the National Weather Service reported. Records at UCLA date back to 1933. While the temperature at UCLA set an all-time record, the high in downtown Los Angeles, 108 degrees, fell short of its all-time mark of 113 from September 2010. Still, the 108-degree reading crushed the July 6 daily record of 94, set in 1992.
Summer’s first heat wave has Southern California utility officials and managers of the state’s electric grid working to make sure the power system doesn’t wilt. A high-pressure system is forecast to send temperatures as high as 118 in areas of Riverside County, and parts of the coast could hit 100 degrees this weekend. Cooler temperatures aren’t expected to return until the middle of next week.