Dozens of California cities could be required to impose permanent water conservation measures starting in about a year — and keep them in place even when the state is not in a drought — under proposed new rules from state water regulators.
Almost all of California is finally drought-free, after Tropical Storm Hilary’s rare summer drenching added to this winter’s record-setting rainfall totals. But despite all that drought-busting precipitation, California continues to capture only a percentage of that water. Much of the abundance in rain from Hilary ended up running off into the ocean — not captured or stored for future use, when California will inevitably face its next drought.
For most of the state, the drought is over. The Central Valley is receiving their full state water supply allocation and farmers don’t need to pull water from the ground to keep their crops from dying of thirst. But that doesn’t mean the signs along Interstate 5 and Highway 99 grumbling about the “Politicians Created Water Crisis” and the Valley’s man-made dust bowl, and asking if “Growing Food Is Wasting Water?” should be taken down.
California’s most-recent drought is over. Reservoirs are full. Ski season lasted until July.
But despite the wet winter, an effort is gaining momentum in the state capitol to add manicured green grass to the list of business trappings — like fax machines, pagers and typewriters — that have become obsolete in a changing world.
After two multi-year episodes of intense drought over the past decade, there is finally a centralized hub of resources and information for well owners and communities that suffered when their wells went dry. Before the most recent drought lifted thanks to this year’s historic winter, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) launched its Be Well Prepared program in May.
After California’s record-breaking winter rains, public health officials are warning about an increased risk for valley fever this summer.
“California’s dry conditions, combined with recent heavy winter rains could result in increasing valley fever cases in the coming months,” California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Tomás Aragón said in a news release.
Californians could drink highly purified sewage water that is piped directly into drinking water supplies for the first time under proposed rules unveiled by state water officials. The drought-prone state has turned to recycled water for more than 60 years to bolster its scarce supplies, but the current regulations require it to first make a pit stop in a reservoir or an aquifer before it can flow to taps.
They’re back! Arising out of their dusty/muddy/sandy graves, the zombie lakes of California are reclaiming their own. For geologic ages, they have lain there, undead — well, often drought-dry, and not their original saturated selves. But now the monumental rains of this winter and spring filled them and then some, reminding us of California’s paleo-hydrology, our ancient lakes and waterways.
Most of California is in recovery mode after a years-long drought plagued the Golden State from 2020 until 2022, which depleted the state’s reservoirs and groundwater resources. Thanks to the historic wet winter season, many areas, such as Los Angeles, Merced and Alameda countries, are no longer in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. However, with the summer season in full swing, temperatures across the state have begun to increase and the hotter weather brings renewed potential drought concerns for many across the state.
Solar farms stretch out mile after mile along Interstate 10 around Palm Springs, creating one of the densest areas of solar development in North America in the heart of California’s Colorado Desert. But the area’s success in meeting the state and the nation’s renewable energy goals is running up against the Southwest’s biggest climate challenge: having enough water.