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Governor Declares Drought in Four More Oregon Counties

It’s been a rainy April, but prolonged drought is still impacting parts of Oregon. On Monday, Gov. Kate Brown issued drought declarations for four Oregon counties.

Deschutes, Grant, Lake and Malheur counties are the latest where the governor has declared a drought. These counties join Gilliam, Morrow, Jefferson, Crook, Harney, Klamath and Jackson counties, for which the governor declared a drought earlier in 2022.

CAISO Approves Nearly $3B of Transmission Projects to Prepare for California’s Clean Energy Goals

The California Independent System Operator approved a transmission plan Thursday that includes 23 projects, estimated to cost nearly $3 billion, to cope with the dramatic increase in renewable generation and forecasted load growth in its footprint.

Farmers Key to Renewable Energy Future

California is progressing toward its goal of achieving 100% renewable and carbon-neutral electricity by 2045, and agriculture may be an integral part of the solution.

Farmers statewide have invested in renewable-energy technologies near vineyards, row-crop farms and atop walnut dryers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 8% of California farms have an on-site renewable-energy system.

Aaron Barcellos, who farms row crops and trees in Merced and Fresno counties, took advantage of federal tax incentives and invested in constructing two solar systems that total 1.4 megawatts to offset the farm’s energy usage.

‘It’s Hard to Be Optimistic.’ Here’s What Merced-Area Growers Face After a Dry Winter

With surface water allocations down and costs up, Merced County’s new irrigation season is reflecting the impacts of statewide drought. Merced County isn’t alone. The nearby Fresno Irrigation District (FID) announced Tuesday that the ongoing parched weather, including a record-dry January and February, led the Board of Directors to postpone its planned start of water deliveries.

 

2022 Water Year Looks Dismal as Snowpack Melts

The optimism spurred by heavy snowstorms in December has melted away, and the 2022 water year is now looking bleak.

After facing the driest recorded January and February in state history, California Department of Water Resources reported that statewide, the snowpack stood at 63% of average for the date last week after conducting the agency’s third manual snow survey of the year.

Opinion: California Must Move Forward With Water Projects

Prior to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s State of the State speech, there is one item to examine that serves as a building block for all the issues the governor will address – water.

Despite unexpected storms in late 2021, California is braced for another year of drought.

The water we do have must move throughout the state by way of a complicated system of reservoirs, dams, canals, pipes and treatment plants. That movement is managed by an equally complicated network of federal, state and local officials.

Dry Boat Ramps, Exposed Rocks at Lake Powell Reveal the Cost of Colorado River Drought

A small bucket loader scraped Wahweap Bay’s expanding strip of red mud and gravel, its operator smoothing the shoreline where concrete workers were busy chasing a lake in retreat.

To the left, where the bay had long offered kayakers and water skiers a loop around Lone Rock, the monumental slab now rose from dust flats instead of from flat water. To the right, in the channel that leads to Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado River’s sunken bed, formerly submerged islands and peninsulas mapped out a warming climate’s continuing transformation of one of America’s great water stores and pleasure grounds.

A desert flooded by impounded waters in the last century has visibly reasserted itself in this one.

As Drought Persists, Minimal Water Deliveries Announced for the Central Valley Project

With California entering a third year of drought and its reservoirs at low levels, the federal government has announced plans to deliver minimal amounts of water through the Central Valley Project, putting many farmers on notice that they should prepare to receive no water from the system this year.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the project’s dams and canals, announced a zero-water allocation for irrigation districts that supply many farmers across the Central Valley. Cities that receive water from the project in the Central Valley and parts of the Bay Area were allocated 25% of their historical water use.

One Colorado Farmer Is Going Against the Grain to Use Less Water. It’s Working.

On a chilly morning 5 miles north of Fruita, Lowell King, standing at the edge of a cornfield, reaches down, grabs a clump of dirt, and starts tearing at the soil with his meaty fingers. King eventually points to a tiny white spot in the dirt. “Anytime you can see stuff almost like that mold right there, that’s fungi,” he says. “And there’s all this other good stuff, and these roots intertwined; that’s what increases your water infiltration.”

King, who’s been farming in the Grand Valley since 2005, is illustrating an important principle of a concept known as regenerative agriculture — a technique he says could help Colorado stretch its dwindling water supplies. But adopting that philosophy also requires rejecting deeply entrenched conventional farming methods, such as tilling fields to prepare the ground for planting.

California’s Snowpack Slips Below Average After Dismally Dry January, Renewing Concerns About Drought

Snow levels in California have fallen from their December glory after an extraordinarily dry January, stoking fears that the drought will not only continue but worsen in a third difficult year.

State officials, who will conduct the second snow survey of the season Tuesday, will find snowpack in California’s mountains measuring just shy of average for this time of year. While average is better than the modest accumulation seen the past two winters, it’s a disappointing drop from the 160% of average recorded a month ago.