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Recent Northern California Storms Made a Dent in the Drought. But Will It Be Enough?

The parade of storms that blasted California over the past week marked a strong start to the rainy season. Some parts of the state, including Napa, Santa Rosa and Sacramento, received half the rain in 24 hours that they got in all of the past year.

But with California locked in one of its worst droughts in modern history, and some areas short two years’ worth of water, a lot more wet weather is needed to mend the state’s water woes.

Opinion: The Southwest Must Fight for its Water and its Future

For over 30 years, I’ve been a climate scientist who has focused intensely on the causes and consequences of drought and climate change. I’ve done my research all over the planet, but my No. 1 focus has been on interactions of drought and climate change in the Southwest United States and on how drought and climate change are impacting the Colorado River. Seven states in the U.S. and Mexico depend on the Colorado River for water, yet I worry most about one state: Arizona.

The West Needs a Lot of Snow to Escape Drought. This Year, That’s Unlikely

When you’ve been coming to the same place for decades, it’s easy to notice changes. On this ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the tell-tale signs of drought are everywhere. Todd Hagenbuch stands beside a silent, dusty creek bed, where golden grasses and scrub are beginning to reclaim the thin channel.

Marin Municipal Water District Tightens Usage Restrictions

Most Marin County residents will be prohibited from turning on their sprinklers and drip irrigation systems under new drought restrictions starting in December.

The Marin Municipal Water District board voted unanimously Tuesday to adopt an ordinance that bans residents from using outdoor irrigation systems including overhead sprinklers and drip irrigation from Dec. 1 through May 31. Hand spot watering using a hose and spray nozzle or a watering can is still allowed.

From Sky to Bedrock, Researchers Near Crested Butte Are Resetting What We Know About Water in the West

Eight white shipping containers, instruments spouting from the tops of some and a generator humming away in another, sit in the East River valley, on the outskirts of this mountain town, pulling data out of the air.

The containers, a “mobile atmospheric observatory,” will gather bits of information over the next two years about the winds and clouds and rain and snow and heat and cold above the silvery and serpentine waterway as it slides past the gray granite dome of Gothic Mountain on its way to the Colorado River.

Drought-Stricken California Pounded by Massive Storm

A massive storm barreled toward Southern California on Monday after flooding highways, toppling trees, cutting power and causing rock slides and mud flows in areas burned bare by wildfires across the northern half of the state.

Drenching rains and strong winds accompanied the weekend arrival of an atmospheric river — a long plume of Pacific moisture — into the drought-stricken state.

Rainfall records were shattered and heavy snow pounded high elevations of the Sierra Nevada. The National Weather Service issued numerous flash flood warnings.

Opinion: It’s Time to Get Serious About Water Crisis

Talk about timing.

Last Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended and expanded his declaration of a drought emergency, just as the first in a series of storms rolled in from the Pacific to give California a much-needed respite.

Of course, it was just coincidence, one that reminds us of the fickle nature of the state’s water supply, dependent as it is on a few wet months each year. We’ll need an old-fashioned wet winter, with soaking rains and heavy snowfalls, to truly get some relief.

Southwest States Facing Tough Choices About Water as Colorado River Diminishes

This past week, California declared a statewide drought emergency. It follows the first-ever federal shortage declaration on the Colorado River, triggering cuts to water supplies in the Southwest. The Colorado is the lifeblood of the region. It waters some of the country’s fastest-growing cities, nourishes some of our most fertile fields and powers $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity. The river runs more than 1,400 miles, from headwaters in the Rockies to its delta in northern Mexico where it ends in a trickle. Seven states and 30 Native American tribes lie in the Colorado River Basin. Lately, the river has been running dry due to the historically severe drought.

Healdsburg Cut its Water Use in Half. What’s in the City’s Secret, Water-Saving Sauce?

Cutting water use became a bit of a competition for retiree John Diniakos and his wife Merrilyn Joyce after the city mandated a 40% water restriction back in June.

Wearing a faded green collared shirt tucked into equally worn blue jeans, Diniakos said he now limits his showers to “once every other day, sometimes every three days.”

Unchecked Oil and Gas Wastewater Threatens California Groundwater

California has a reputation as a leader on climate and environmental policy. So it doesn’t advertise the fact that it allows the oil and gas industry to store wastewater produced during drilling and extraction in unlined pits in the ground, a practice that began in the early 1900s.

Now, though, researchers have revealed the environmental costs of California’s failure to regulate how its $111 billion oil and gas industry manages the wastewater, known as produced water.