California and the West

Water news from California and the western United States.

(Left to right) California Dept. of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth, California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot and Gov. Gavin Newsom join the snow survey team for fourth media snow survey of the 2024 season is held at Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada. The survey is held approximately 90 miles east of Sacramento off Highway 50 in El Dorado County. Photo:  Andrew Nixon, California Dept. of Water Resources

Snow Survey Confirms Water Supplies Remain Plentiful for San Diego

The California Department of Water Resources performed its fourth snowpack survey of the season on Tuesday, April 2, confirming that the early winter’s “snow drought” gave way to a slightly above-normal snowpack following a series of storms. DWR’s early April snow survey marks what is considered the peak snowpack for the year in the Sierra […]

Low-income-household water bills-federal assistance

Money Still Available for Low-Income Water Customers in San Diego County

Millions of dollars in federal aid are still available for low-income water customers in San Diego County to cover overdue residential water and wastewater bills. The San Diego County Water Authority helped secure the federal funds — and the deadline for applications has been extended to March 31, 2024. The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program […]

FIRO-Scripps-Law-Water Management

New California Law Taps Science to Improve Water Management

Legislation signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom ensures the state has the science and weather forecasting tools it needs for more flexible reservoir operations. The bill, AB 30, makes breakthrough water management technology standard for the California Department of Water Resources. The legislation was introduced by San Diego Assemblymember Chris Ward and co-sponsored […]

wine growing season-UCSD-Scripps-Napa Valley

Warming is Shifting Napa’s Wine Growing Season

The start of wine grape growing season in California’s Napa Valley now comes nearly a month earlier than it used to because of the region’s warming climate, according to a new study from a team led by UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher Dan Cayan. The research, published online in the International Journal of […]

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Snowmelt Runoff Sets Streamflow Records in the Southwest

Across the western U.S., many areas received record or near-record amounts of snowpack over the winter. With the spring and summer temperatures melting the abundant snow, a record volume of streamflow has been recorded in several basins in the southwestern U.S., providing more water for the area later into the summer than is typically seen. […]

winter waves-Climate Change-Sea Level Rise-UCSD-Scripps Institution of Oceanography research

California’s Winter Waves May Be Increasing Under Climate Change

A new study from UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography researcher emeritus Peter Bromirski uses nearly a century of data to show that the average heights of winter waves along the California coast have increased as climate change has heated up the planet. The study, published August 1 in the Journal of Geophysical Research – […]

national study-research-water assets

National Study Aims to Assist Water Utilities

A University of Texas at Arlington civil engineering researcher is leading a nationwide study to find and assess innovative technologies for monitoring water assets. Mohammad Najafi Mohammad Najafi, associate professor of civil engineering, is using a $410,000 grant from the Water Research Foundation for the project. “We hope to streamline water asset monitoring so water […]

June 2023-Climate Change-Record Heat-Air Quqlity

June Marked by Record U.S. Heat Waves, Severe Weather

June 2023 was record hot for some parts of the U.S., while other locations were roiled by severe weather and poor air quality, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Heat waves led to record high temperatures in Puerto Rico, the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, Texas, and Louisiana. Thick smoke from Canadian wildfires created […]

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This Year’s Snow Season Wipes Away Drought in Much of the West

The 2022–2023 snow season started off relatively active across the West, with a few modest storms bringing snow accumulations to the mountains in early November. By the start of December, snow water equivalent (SWE) across much of the region was above normal. Starting in early December, several storm cycles brought moisture-laden families of atmospheric rivers […]

CO2-Carbon Dioxide levels-Climate Change-Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Broken Record: Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels Jump Again

Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory peaked at 424 parts per million (ppm) in May, continuing a steady climb further into territory not seen for millions of years, scientists from NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego announced today. Measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained by NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory averaged […]

California snowlines-Scripps Institution of Oceanography-study-Climate Change

California Snowlines On Track To Be 1,600 Feet Higher by Century’s End

This winter produced record snowfall in California, but a new study suggests the state should expect gradually declining snowpacks, even if punctuated with occasional epic snowfalls, in the future. An analysis by Tamara Shulgina, Alexander Gershunov, and other climate scientists at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggest that in the face of unabated […]

Snow Surveys-DWR-Snowmelt-Flooding-May 1

Snow Surveys Help Plan Snowmelt Runoff Forecasts

The California Department of Water Resources May 1 conducted the fifth snow survey of the season at Phillips Station. The manual survey recorded 59 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 30 inches, which is 241% of average for this location on May 1. The last time there was measurable snow at […]

Record snowpack-April 2023-drought-California

Record Snowpack Conditions in California, Parts of Southwest

After a three-year drought in California and throughout the Southwest, many states throughout the West are measuring record snowpack conditions at NRCS SNOTEL stations and snow courses. Utah especially has seen a benchmark year for snowfall levels throughout the state. Record snowpack In California, the statewide snowpack (April 5) was 243% of normal, with the […]

Sierra Nevada Snowpack: One of the Largest on Record

Following three consecutive years of drought in California, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is one of the most bountiful in more than 40 years. While the snowpack and snow water equivalent is great news for water supply, there are concerns the record snowpack could create flooding issues. The California Department of Water Resources electronic readings from […]

NOAA Spring Outlook-drought-snowpack-flooding

NOAA Spring Outlook: California Drought Cut by Half with More Relief to Come

NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook indicates the abnormally wet winter will further improve drought across much of the western U.S. as the snowpack melts in the coming months. Winter precipitation, combined with recent storms, wiped out exceptional and extreme drought in California for the first time since 2020, and is expected to further improve drought conditions […]