What a difference a winter can make. On Jan. 1, three-quarters of California was in drought. Just eight weeks later, however, a succession of storms have washed drought conditions away from all but a splotch at the far north edge of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Some of Southern California is still considered abnormally dry, which means there are some lingering water deficits. Considering what the state has been through in recent years, this is good news.
Archive for date: February 26th, 2019
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California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an emergency proclamation to help communities respond to the severe winter storms that began in January and have continued through this month. The proclamation was issued for many counties across California, including Calaveras, El Dorado, and Yolo County. This helps those communities recover from potential flooding, mudslides, erosion, power outages, and damage to infrastructure.
There are still some snow-capped mountains ringing the valley after last week’s winter storm dropped rain and some snow in the metro Phoenix area — and record snowfall in Flagstaff. That city actually set a record for daily snowfall on Thursday with nearly 3 feet. Overall, Flagstaff got more than 40 inches of snow. So, has all that precipitation helped Arizona’s drought conditions at all? With me to talk about that is Nancy Selover, Arizona state climatologist. And Nancy let’s start there. Just how important was the rain and snow we got around the state to the drought conditions we’re in and have been in for years now?
A California irrigation district with the highest-priority rights to Colorado River water is using its power to demand federal funds to restore the state’s largest lake, hoping to capitalize on one of its best opportunities to tackle a long-standing environmental and human health hazard. The Imperial Irrigation District wants $200 million for the Salton Sea, a massive, briny lake in the desert southeast of Los Angeles created when the Colorado River breached a dike in 1905 and flooded a dry lake bed. The money would help create habitat for migratory birds and suppress dust in communities with high rates of asthma and respiratory illnesses.
After the first few days of the aqueduct shut-down, things are going very well in the parts of the Valley Center Municipal Water District affected by the aqueduct shutdown that began February 23 and will continue until March 5. VCMWD Gen. Mgr. Gary Arant told The Roadrunner, “Consumption has been minimal, reflecting only inside domestic use. With the ideal weather condition for having the majority on you imported water supply shut-off. Finally, this is a case where our large water storage volume really pays off.”
Some residents in the Southern California city of Lake Elsinore fear power lines from a proposed $2 billion hydro electric dam project could ignite a brush fire. Residents are worried electrical towers and power lines could impact the area as part of the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pump Storage Dam project. “In the last two years, there have been two wildfires that have burned in the location of the proposed transmission line locations,” said Joe Folmar, who heads up a group of residents who oppose the project. “The Wildomar fire in 2017 and the Holy Fire in 2018 are the two fires, both of which required mandatory evacuations.”
Elected officials throughout the San Diego region are ramping up efforts to form a public alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric, with the city of San Diego leading the way and even the county Board of Supervisors now looking at signing up. California’s three large investor-owned utilities have since 2010 seen more than 8 million customers defect to so-called community choice aggregation programs, from Humboldt to Los Angeles to Solana Beach. However, SDG&E is now facing the largest displacement of a utility’s customer base in the state — raising question about everything from grid reliability to whether the public alternative can deliver more renewable energy as promised.