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Fires, Floods and More: A View of California From Space In 2019

The year began amid the ashes of the deadliest wildfire in California history. Then came torrential rains, the superbloom, a marine heat wave, and fires again.

They are events that foreshadow a future pattern of more extreme wildfires and rainstorms as climate change drives the Earth’s temperatures higher. The 2019 events prompted now familiar responses from politicians confronted with catastrophe across the state: disaster relief money, funding for scientific studies, and recriminations against bankrupt utility Pacific Gas and Electric.

Opinion: Drink More Recycled Wastewater

Drinkable water is becoming increasingly scarce. Population growth, pollution and climate change mean that more cities are being forced to search for unconventional water sources. In a growing number of places, drinking highly treated municipal wastewater, called ‘reused water’, has become the best option — and, in some cases, the only one (see ‘What is reused water?’).

County Officials Lift Coronado Water Contact Closure

The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health lifted a water contact closure Monday for the Coronado shoreline and beaches from Avenida Lunar through North Beach.

Water quality testing confirmed Tijuana River flows are no longer impacting those beaches, according to the Department of Environmental Health, which had placed water contact closure signs to alert Coronado beach-goers to sewage-contaminated flows from the Tijuana River.

A Warning from Ancient Tree Rings: The Americas are Prone to Catastrophic, Simultaneous Droughts

For 10 years, central Chile has been gripped by unrelenting drought. With 30% less rainfall than normal, verdant landscapes have withered, reservoirs are low, and more than 100,000 farm animals have died. The dry spell has lasted so long that researchers are calling it a “megadrought,” rivaling dry stretches centuries ago. It’s not so different from the decadelong drought that California, some 8000 kilometers away, endured until last year.

IID Files Claim For Access to Stored Water in MWD’s System

Since 2007, as a result of agreements associated with the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines, the Imperial Irrigation District has had the ability to store conserved water with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Helix Water District Board Approves Fee Hikes, Other Changes

It will cost more next year to fish, rent boats and camp at Lake Jennings Park, the reservoir and outdoors destination in Lakeside overseen by the Helix Water District.

The hikes were approved unanimously by the Helix Water District board and will become effective Jan. 1.

The daily and annual entrance fees to the lake will remain the same ($2 and $50, respectively) but costs for fishing will be bumped from $9 to $10 for adults, $8 to $9 for seniors and $4 to $5 for children 8 to 15.

Lake Hodges Gets Highly Oxygenated for 2020

The City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department last week took a major step toward completing an innovative project to improve water quality in Lake Hodges. A newly installed oxygenation system, designed by city engineers, will introduce highly oxygenated water to the bottom of the reservoir to reduce the accumulation of excess nutrients and harmful algae growth.

RMWD Resurrects Idea for Sharing Water Facilities with Poway

The City of Poway’s water woes has prompted Ramona Municipal Water District representatives to resurrect a 7-year-old proposal to share water facilities for their mutual benefit.

In December 2012, RMWD General Manager David Barnum presented a three-phase vision for cooperating with Poway with the intent of reducing water costs and maximizing resources. The dormant but unforgotten plan was again floated by RMWD Board President Jim Robinson to the Poway City Council on Dec. 3, 2019.

Amid the Wasteland of the Salton Sea, a Miraculous but Challenging Oasis is Born

LOS ANGELES — It came as a bittersweet surprise to biologists and government agencies monitoring the steadily shrinking Salton Sea’s slide toward death by choking dust storms and salt.

Thousands of acres of exposed lake bed have become the unintended beneficiaries of lush marshlands that are homes for endangered birds and fish at the outlets of a agricultural and urban runoff that used to flow directly into the Salton Sea.

Washington Snowpack Low, Similar to 2015 Drought Year

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s snowpack is less than a year ago and officials say it’s similar to the start of 2015, the state’s last big drought.

The Capital Press reports the statewide snowpack is 47% of normal. It was 46% of normal at this time five years ago.

“It’s very reminiscent of 2015, but this year we are way behind on mountain precipitation,” said Scott Pattee, state water supply specialist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Mount Vernon, Washington. “It’s worrisome. It’s the third slowest start in snow accumulation statewide since the 1990s and we had one of the driest Novembers on record.”