In Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast, city leaders are rushing to install an emergency desalination system. In Healdsburg, lawn watering is banned with fines of up to $1,000. In Hornbrook, a small town in Siskiyou County, faucets have gone completely dry, and the chairman of the water district is driving 15 miles each way to take showers and wash clothes.
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As drought conditions continue throughout Butte County, the Department of Water Resources is currently projecting that the surface water level of Lake Oroville could reach an all-time low of 640 feet above sea level by October or November.
As of Thursday, Lake Oroville’s surface water level was 648.47 feet above sea level. When full Lake Oroville’s surface water level is 900 feet above sea level.
Concerning news about Utah’s extreme drought keeps coming. On Wednesday, Utah’s Department of Natural Resources said the drought continues to have “a stranglehold on the state,” despite wild weather swings that dumped rain in some areas. Washington Post Columnist David Von Drehle recently wrote an opinion piece about the drought gripping the West. He spoke with KUER’s Pamela McCall about the situation.
Climate change projections show the Central Valley will see more hot, dry years like 2021, but also some dangerously wet years as well.
This year has already seen high temperatures, drought and high fire risk for Central Valley residents, and Jordi Vasquez, environmental scientist for the California Department of Water Resources, said climate models show the Central Valley heating up 6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
In Santa Clara County, lawns are dry, a reservoir is nearly empty, and water restrictions are mandated. After two winters with very little rain — and San Jose’s driest year in 128 years of record keeping — the county is marked by one of the worst droughts in modern history.
Santa Clara County’s experience of drought is set apart from the rest of the state by a myriad of issues — less water from the Sierra Nevada, the effect of human-caused climate change on water supplies, and a case of incredibly bad luck.
The state’s severe drought is transforming the landscape of our streams, lakes and reservoirs as the supply of water is depleted day by day.
The changes at Uvas Reservoir in the hills above Morgan are readily apparent. The waterline has receded significantly as the footprint of the reservoir shrinks.
Officials with jurisdiction over about 80% of California’s power grid say the state faces a grim outlook as summer heat, wildfires and a severe drought intensify.
“When you step back, I think many of us are really recognizing now that climate change and these extreme heat waves happening in the earlier parts of the summer now have forced all of us to do things that we really never imagined just a few years ago,” Elliot Mainzer, president and CEO of California’s Independent System Operator, said recently.
After the two driest consecutive years in much of California in nearly half a century, reservoir levels are dropping. Lawns are brown. Water restrictions are increasing. And Californians are getting worried.
Asked to name the environmental issue they are most concerned about, more California residents cited water shortages and drought than any other, according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California, a non-partisan research organization in San Francisco.
Jennifer Beretta has been working as a dairy farmer since she was 6 and knows some of her family’s 700 cows by name. One of her favorites, a Jersey named Harmony, has won top prizes at the Sonoma County Fair.
“I raised them from when they were babies,” said Beretta, 33. “I watched them grow up to be milk cows. You get attached to them. They have personalities.”
But business is business, and right now business is bad. California’s devastating drought has dried up most of the Beretta Family Dairy’s pastures, driven up the cost of feed and made milking cows unprofitable. The Beretta family has sold off more than 40 of its cows this year, and could sell more before too long.
President Joe Biden’s latest leap into the Senate’s up-and-down efforts to clinch a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure deal comes with even more at stake than his coveted plans for boosting road, rail and other public works projects.
The outcome of the infrastructure deal, which for weeks has encountered one snag after another, will affect what could be the crown jewel of his legacy. That would be his hopes for a subsequent $3.5 trillion federal infusion for families’ education and health care costs, a Medicare expansion and efforts to curb climate change.