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Breaking Impasse, Feds Will Include Salton Sea In Seven-State Drought Plan, IID Says

There may be hope for finalizing a sweeping Colorado River drought contingency plan after all. Imperial Irrigation District officials announced at a special board meeting late Friday that the federal Bureau of Reclamation has agreed to their condition that the drought package include restoration of the Salton Sea. They said federal officials will write a strong letter of support backing IID’s requests for $200 million in Farm Bill funding for wetlands projects around the shrinking sea, which is California’s largest inland water body. The projects are aimed at keeping down dust along the shorelines and salvaging deteriorating habitat for fish and birds.

OPINION: We Can Plan For A ‘Leaner’ Colorado River As We Save The Salton Sea

Over the past five years, the seven Colorado River Basin states have been working to develop a series of drought contingency plans (DCPs) to safeguard water levels at Lake Mead. Responding to a 19-year drought, leaders throughout the basin are at last close to finalizing the agreements necessary to bolster conservation and safeguard water levels on the river. The DCPs will ensure that the Colorado River basin can balance water supplies and demands in a way that supports a healthy river and environment. The future of the Colorado River depends on the conservation and flexibility within the DCP agreements.

Major Improvements For Colorado’s Drought Picture As Strong Snowpack Continues

Thanks to a series of recent snow storms, drought conditions in Colorado have shown substantial improvements over the past month, including the past week, with extreme drought nearly disappearing from the state. A remaining sliver of exceptional drought – the worst category – in southwest Archuleta County disappeared in the latest report from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Voluntary Agreements Shared With State Water Board. Will They Replace Disputed Flow Plan?

The top state agencies that manage water and wildlife resources in California submitted a package of voluntary agreements with water districts to the State Water Resources Control Board on Friday, as an alternative to controversial flow requirements approved in December for the Tuolumne, Stanislaus and Merced rivers. The agreements, hammered out in the waning hours of Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration and favored by Gov. Gavin Newsom, combine increased river flows with a larger set of tools for restoring salmon in rivers that feed into the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta.

California’s Largest Reservoir Shot Up 39 Feet In Elevation In February

The storms hitting California in February have left their mark on California’s largest and most important water reserve. Shasta Lake jumped 39 feet in elevation since February 1 and as of Tuesday it was at 85 percent of capacity and only 25 feet from its crest. Amid a wet winter, dramatic lake level rises have been common this year. Folsom Lake east of Sacramento rose 30 feet in January, while Lake Oroville shot up 75 feet in February.

Oceanside Takes Step Toward Water Independence With $2.6 Million Grant

Oceanside announced it will receive a $2.6 million federal grant to build two more of the wells that the city has used for more than 20 years to supply a portion of its drinking water. The wells pump brackish water from what’s called the Mission Basin, an area near the airport, the old swap meet property and the San Luis Rey River. The city filters the water using the same reverse osmosis process used on a much larger scale in Carlsbad to desalinate seawater.

How Atmospheric River Storms Tamed California’s Drought

California’s unusually wet and cold winter has caused epic snow, serious flooding and a renewed interest in umbrellas and portable heaters. But the atmospheric river storms have also put a huge dent in the state’s water woes — at least for now. It’s common in a wet winter, though not a guarantee. Here’s a rundown on how this winter’s storms have affected California, from the pages of The Times.

Get Up To $250 In Drought-Resistant Plants Thanks To New Program

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District is launching the region’s first ever Residential Plant Voucher Program to incentivize residents to transform their landscapes with drought-tolerant plants and develop water-efficient gardening practices, it was announced Friday. The program will provide up to $250 dollars of water efficient plants from Garden View Nursery to qualifying residents, the water district press release said. The nursery was picked because it’s centrally located within Upper District’s area of service in Irwindale and has a wide selection of native plants and trees, the press release said.

Hearing Tuesday On Water, Sewer Rates

Proposed increases in city water and sewer rates will be the subject of a City Council public hearing on Tuesday night. City staff is recommending the water commodity (use) rate increase by 4.5 percent and the fixed water meter charge be increased by 7.5 percent. The staff report also recommends a 3.35 percent increase in the sewer commodity rate and a 3.25 percent hike in the sewer service charge. However, the temporary Drought Recovery Surcharge, in effect since January 2016, expired Dec. 30, meaning customers began receiving a 75-cent-per-unit break on their bills last month. A unit is 748 gallons. Assuming a single-family household uses 25 units of water the bi-monthly bill has included a $16.50 surcharge.

‘Rivers In The Sky’ Are Why California Is Flooding

Powerful rainstorms have battered Northern California this week. The culprit? Atmospheric rivers. The rains were born far away, deep in the tropical Pacific, where water evaporated from the warm ocean surface and fizzed into the atmosphere. The drenched air parcel flow then moved sinuously along, an “atmospheric river” winding its way toward land. When that wet air hit a coast—in this case the West Coast of the U.S.—it dumped that water out as the rain and snow that has overwhelmed Northern California this week.