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Pacific Storm To Bring Rain, Mountain Snow To California

California will see widespread rain and heavy Sierra Nevada snowfall through midweek, potentially bringing travel problems and raising the risk of damaging runoff from wildfire burn scars, forecasters said Tuesday. The wet pattern from a deep atmospheric fetch of Pacific moisture marks a significant change in the weather following conditions that contributed to disastrous and deadly wildfires up and down California, where hundreds of thousands of acres have burned this year.


Dry And Getting Drier: Southwestern Water Scarcity The New Norm, Climate Study Says

The effects of climate change are not far off problems for future generations. They are existential problems for everyone alive today. That’s one big takeaway from the U.S. federal government’s latest roundup of climate science, the National Climate Assessment, now in its fourth iteration. Released the day after Thanksgiving, the newest report is unequivocal. In heavily footnoted, short declarative sentences it urgently tells readers that climate change is happening, it’s human-caused, and it could make life in the Western U.S. increasingly difficult.

EPA Gives $614-million Loan To San Diego For Pure Water Project Development

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer accepted a nine- figure loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to help the city finance phase one of the Pure Water San Diego water recycling program. Faulconer joined EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to formally claim the $614 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan. The city estimates that the first phase of the program will cost roughly $1.4 billion, including funding from the loan.

Give new landscaping plants plenty of room to grow and thrive. Photo: Water Authority

Give New Landscape Plants Space To Grow

When choosing plants for new sustainable landscapes, it’s important to account for the height and the width of each plant species when it matures. This allows you to properly space plants in the landscape without having them feel crowded.  

Proper plant placement, taking into account the mature plant’s size, also should limit the need for future pruning, and reduce the amount of maintenance required in the long run. 

Natural plant shapes and sizes maximize habitat value, but wildfire prevention requires regular pruning and removal of dead plant materials.  

The spacing chart below helps to judge how many plants are needed per square foot, based on the mature size of the plants.  

Space plants on your landscaping plan at their full mature size, not the size when you first plant them. Graphic: Water Authority

Space plants on your landscaping plan at their full mature size, not the size when you first plant them. Graphic: Water Authority

Scale your plants at maturity 

On your landscaping plan, use circles to note the size of every plant at maturity using a scale in which one inch equals four feet. Use colored pencils to note different water needs of the plants selected. It will make it easier to group plants into their proper irrigation zones (hydrozones).

Wide canopy trees that grow to 20 or 30 feet in diameter will significantly change the landscaping over time. Consider whether a tree will cover a large section of landscaping with shade that is currently getting full sun. If plants that thrive in full sun are eventually covered in shade, the landscaping may need to be revised in the future.  

Small but mighty 

Select the smallest, healthiest plants possible, especially when choosing native plants. Once they are planted in properly prepared soil and watered wisely, small plants establish themselves more vigorously than plants raised in larger containers. Do not plant more than the space allows when the plants mature. 

Root depth matters 

Take note of the root depth of plants when they are placed into the landscaping. Note root depths on your landscape plan. Trees will be irrigated less frequently, but for a longer period of time. Groundcovers with shallower roots require more frequent, shorter periods of irrigation. Keep these types of plants in separate hydrozones 


This article was inspired by the 71-page Sustainable Landscapes Program guidebook available at The Water Authority and its partners also offer other great resources for landscaping upgrades, including free WaterSmart classes at    




Trump Officials Announce $450 million Loan For New California Reservoir Project

Trump administration officials were in California on Tuesday to announce a $450 million loan for the Sites Reservoir project in Colusa County. The money will be used to build a tunnel to carry water from the Glenn-Colusa Canal to an existing reservoir, giving farmers on the west side of the Sacramento Valley more access to irrigation water. The 12-foot diameter tunnel, called an intertie, will also be used to transport water to and from Sites Reservoir after it is built, said Jim Watson, general manager of the Sites Reservoir Authority.

Imperial Irrigation District Fight Could Threaten Federal Colorado River Drought Plan

A fierce local battle over water rights unfolding in a small Southern California courtroom Wednesday could threaten federal plans to replenish rapidly dwindling Colorado River water supplies. A third-generation farmer is seeking an injunction to block the Imperial Irrigation District from signing on to the seven-state compact.

USDA Invests More Than $449 Million In Innovative Management Of California Water Supply

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Tuesday announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing more than $449 million to help build an innovative water management system that will increase the reliability of the California water supply and create more than 560 jobs in the Sacramento Valley. Secretary Perdue was joined by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Rickey “R.D.” James. The announcement follows on President Donald J. Trump’s memo to promote a reliable supply and delivery of water out west.