The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Thursday a mild winter with warmer, wetter weather likely for much of the country from December through February due to a developing El Niño. California is likely to see hotter-than-average winter temperatures, while parts of Southern California could also get greater precipitation, according to NOAA. Drought conditions may worsen in much of Southern and Central California, although the north coast of California may see some relief, according to NOAA.
Archive for date: October 19th, 2018
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New water supplies in the western United States are likely to come from a panoply of non-traditional sources, including storm water capture, waste water recycling, desalination, infrastructure efficiency improvements, and other conservation measures. One potential new water source for municipalities is contaminated groundwater requiring environmental remediation, that, but for its low quality, could be used as water supply. Exploring this option is especially appealing in water stressed regions, such as much of the western United States. For example, in southern California, the Metropolitan Water District supports “[r]ecovering degraded groundwater supplies for municipal use” as part of its Local Resources Program.
Not long ago, the United Nations warned that water scarcity could be experienced by 40 percent of the world’s population by 2030. Last week, top U.N. scientists reported that problems associated with a warming climate, including drought, water scarcity and pollution, are likely to be worse than previously thought unless we work to hold the average global temperature rise to no more than 3.6F(1.5C). These warnings may seem daunting, but some of the world’s most influential companies are making strides that could significantly help alleviate worsening global water challenges.
San Diego’s goal to provide one-third of its own water by 2035 took a major step recently when the City Council approved a low interest loan that will finance nearly half of the first phase of the Pure Water program. The $614 million loan comes from the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and will cover 49 percent of the $1.25 billion project. The WIFIA program was created to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
Los Angeles is in for another hot winter, with little chance for relief from drought conditions that now exist throughout California, according to a new forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s in spite of a probable El Niño event, which could bring above-average rainfall to the southwestern United States. The NOAA estimates that there’s a 70 to 75 percent chance that an El Niño develops in late fall or early winter, but it’s likely to be a weak El Niño, meaning that it’s less likely to bring higher than average rainfall to Southern California.
Historically the Orange County Water District (OCWD) has had to rely on Mother Nature for water. Although, due to climate change, that is no longer a realistic water strategy for OCWD. The agency has instead made significant investments in cutting-edge technology, such as water reuse, to help the region weather droughts. However, not taking advantage when large rain events take place is not something OCWD wants to miss out on and has found a way to capture more stormwater without having to spend tens of millions of dollars in new infrastructure.