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The Good News, Bad News On California’s Water Supplies, Drought After Record Rainfall

Experts say coming weeks will be critical in seeing if we’ll stay drought-free or experience climate-fueled whiplash back to dry conditions. The record-setting rain that’s pummeled Southern California over the past few days, coupled with solid water storage from last year’s wet winter, has Harvey De La Torre, head of the Municipal Water District of Orange County, offering this reassuring prediction:

Public Event Marks Start of Work on North Shore Salton Sea Project

Riverside County and Salton Sea officials held a public event Oct. 19 in North Shore to mark reaching a significant milestone in the development of the future North Lake Pilot Demonstration Project.

The event was held at the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club Community Center, 99-155 Sea View Drive. The yacht club overlooks the project’s future site along Riverside County’s northern shore of the Salton Sea.

In Split Vote, San Diego County Supervisors Wade into Hotly Debated Water Dispute

San Diego County supervisors have formally weighed in on a contentious — and increasingly costly — plan by two rural water districts to break away from a regional authority they say is too expensive.

The county board voted 3-1 this week in favor of a recommendation from Supervisor Joel Anderson to support state legislation that would require approval by a majority of all voters within the regional water authority — rather than only those residents of a breakaway district.

“This process would allow water customers of all (San Diego County Water Authority) member agencies to decide what is best for our region’s water future and the potential implications of their own water bills,” the former state senator told his board colleagues.

While the letter from Anderson to his board colleagues did not specifically mention the Boerner bill, the implication was clear.

The East County supervisor said county water authority members should not be able to withdraw from a broader group of water districts through a ballot measure limited to their own constituents.

Leaving the regional authority would unfairly stick fellow districts and their ratepayers with long-term capital costs, he said.

San Diego County Water Authority Sues Over Water Agency Exit Fees

The San Diego County Water Authority announced that it has filed suit against the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), challenging LAFCO’s decision to allow two local water agencies to leave the Water Authority without paying certain fees.

Despite Deal, Colorado River’s Long-Term Water Crisis Remains Unsolved

A proposed deal for California, Arizona and Nevada to take less water from the over-tapped Colorado River depends heavily on $1.2 billion in federal funds, which will pay farmers and others who agree to give up some of their supply over the next three years.

Opinion: Is the San Diego-Imperial Model Part of the Solution for Colorado River Woes?

In a sense, the record string of storms that hit California created two lakes — one real and one hypothetical.

The deluges re-established Tulare Lake, once the largest lake west of the Mississippi River that was drained long ago for agriculture and municipal water demands.

Meanwhile, the state’s record snowpack, according to the Los Angeles Times, holds enough water to fill the depleted Lake Mead on the Colorado River. Of course, that’s not where the runoff goes.

Outflows Continue From Lake Oroville

Since the beginning of December, Lake Oroville’s elevation has shot up by around 200 feet thanks to a constant stream of winter storms.

The lake reached a level that has prompted the California Department of Water Resources to let water out over the course of the past month in what the department claims is an effort to control flooding downstream.

Rain Forecast From Atmospheric Rivers Poses Challenge, But Advancements Are Being Made

The forecast said high winds and up to an inch of rain in San Diego Tuesday. The winds showed, but the rain? That was a different story.

How much water you got from this latest atmospheric-river charged storm depended on where you live.

For an example, as of noon Tuesday, San Onofre had received a little over an inch of rain, but San Diego International Airport received just three-tenths of an inch.

California Had a Watershed Climate Year, But Time is Running Out

California made historic investments in climate measures this year, as state leaders warned of current and escalating climate risks. “We’re dealing with such extremes that all our modeling, even updated modeling, needs to be thrown out,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom when he signed more than 40 bills to fight climate change in September. “The hots are just so much hotter. The dries are so much drier.”

Opinion: Finally, the Feds May Force Action to Save the Colorado River. What if It Comes Too Late?

Finally, the ball is rolling to force action on a plan to save the Colorado River. But will it come in time to make a difference? The seven states that rely on the river have been unable to voluntarily stop using enough water to keep a rapidly tanking Lake Mead and Lake Powell on life support. The feds stepped back from a threat this summer to force action if states couldn’t agree, preferring to rely on voluntary actions instead.