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Rare ‘Atmospheric River’ Storms To Soak California This Week

Dig out that umbrella, and even the tire chains. It’s mid-May, but a series of rare, winter-like storms will soak the Bay Area and much of California through next week and bring up to 2 feet of new snow to the Sierra Nevada. Two atmospheric rivers are moving in from the Pacific, forecasters say. And although they are weak — expected to be a 1 on a scale of 1 to 5 — they will generate steady rainfall starting Wednesday and continuing through next Tuesday.

Spillway Concerns? DWR, Sheriff Kory Honea Say No

The California Department of Water Resources released a Lake Oroville community update on Monday afternoon amid rumors of ongoing safety concerns regarding the Oroville Dam’s main spillway. These rumors have been circulated mostly on Facebook, according to DWR Public Information Officer Elizabeth Whitmore. “At this time, the community update should answer all questions regarding any safety issues with the main spillway, as well as concerns growing over the upcoming rain storm,” Whitmore said.

Pumped Hydro With Better Financing Can Compete With Batteries

Lazard’s well-known Levelized Cost of Storage analysis does not cover pumped hydro storage, and a pumped hydro cost estimate from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is not expected until late this year, as a follow-up to an interim report. Beating them to the punch is a report by UC San Diego professor David Victor and five co-authors, Pumped Energy Storage: Vital to California’s Renewable Energy Future. The report provides the following cost comparison between pumped hydro and battery storage:

San Diego Water Department Ranks Low In National Customer-Satisfaction Survey

Customers in Fresno are much happier with their water service than residents of San Diego. So are ratepayers in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Honolulu and Denver. In fact, a new survey found only one water provider in the western United States less popular than the San Diego Water Department — the San Jose Water Co., a for-profit utility whose corporate owner is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The city of San Diego ranked 23rd out of 24 large water providers in a customer-satisfaction survey published by J.D. Power, the global marketing and information services company based in Orange County.

Dam It All: More Than Half Of The World’s Long Rivers Are Blocked By Infrastructure

It hasn’t even been a week since the U.N. released a depressing report on biodiversity, and now, a new study in Nature shows that 63 percent of the world’s longest (at least 620 miles) rivers are impeded by human-built infrastructures such as dams and reservoirs. Dam(n). Rivers are a key source of food and water for agriculture, energy, and humanity. They’re critical to many cultures and communities and home to a plethora of species like salmon and trout. They also bolster ecosystems by restoring groundwater and serve as a buffer against drought.