California began a new water year Monday with some rain falling or in the immediate forecast after 12 months of below-average precipitation. The Department of Water Resources said the Oct.1-Sept. 30 water year that ended Sunday was marked by hot and dry conditions, except for sporadic significant precipitation. During the period, the statewide snowpack was just 58 percent of average by April 1, a dramatic reversal from the previous water year in which the pack reached 159 percent of average.
Archive for date: October 1st, 2018
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The remnants of Hurricane Rosa are forecast to bring heavy rain and the threat of flash flooding to the Southwest over the next few days. The now-tropical storm – which had been as strong as a Category 4 hurricane – is poised to make landfall along Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula on Monday evening, where heavy rain was already being reported.
Flint, Mich., isn’t the only place where tap water is poisonous. Shockingly, more than 1 million California residents are exposed to unsafe tap water each year in our homes, schools and public buildings. Latino and low-income communities are suffering the most. At the same time, longer droughts and shrinking Sierra snowpack endanger the water supplies of millions more Californians, and threaten extinction for salmon and other wildlife. More extreme storms have exposed vulnerable old dams and canals that need maintenance to protect us from floods and deliver water to homes and farms.
What’s being sold as commonality between Republicans and Democrats on environmental concerns based on support for Proposition 3 is a false premise. Prop. 3 is not what it appears to be. There are several bad ideas incorporated in this $8.9 billion bond statewide bond measure. A shift of the fiscal burden for water delivery systems from corporate agriculture and water agencies to the general public. How? The bonds would be repaid out of the state’s general fund, thus all taxpayers, not just the project beneficiaries, would foot the bills. Another good deal for large, well-connected water interests, and one more bad deal for the average taxpayer.
No investigations are planned, but David Schug, the winner of the Union-Tribune’s 15th annual Precipitation Prediction Contest, may have had an unfair advantage: His father was a weatherman. Schug predicted San Diego would get 3.5 inches of rain during the 2017-18 rainfall year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017 to Sunday (Sept. 30). The city’s actual total, as measured at San Diego International Airport, site of the city’s official weather station, was 3.34 inches. It was the second driest year in city history.
Southern California got ready Monday for the first storm of the new rain season, due midweek, while also preparing for possible debris flows as the threatening remnants of tropical storm Rosa rolled through the mountain and desert areas. For a time Monday afternoon, authorities issued a voluntary flood evacuation for San Jacinto Mountain communities in the area of the Cranston fire that burned near Idyllwild as Rosa’s clouds headed north from Baja. That voluntary evacuation notice was lifted early Monday evening.
While most of California will miss out on Rosa’s soaking rain, a storm on its heels will bring the first measurable rain since May to San Francisco, Los Angeles and other cities Tuesday into Wednesday. In California, the rain and flood risk associated with Rosa is expected to remain confined to the state’s southeastern corner early this week. Rough seas stirred up by Rosa will still continue to plague Southern California through Monday. Rip currents can endanger surfers or anyone who attempts to enter the water, and minor coastal flooding may occur at high tide.
California needs clean, safe and reliable water supplies. We also would greatly benefit from the improved flood management Proposition 3 would provide. The measure on the Nov. 6 ballot includes $400 million to implement the Central Valley Flood Control Plan and repair Oroville Dam. Climate change is worsening the threat of floods. Sacramento is the nation’s second most flood-prone city after New Orleans. We need all the help we can get to improve our levees, widen the floodplain to accommodate higher Sacramento River flows and improve and repair upstream flood control dams such as Oroville.