Western States Finally Strike Colorado River Deal. But The Hard Work Has Only Just Begun

At one of Los Angeles’s main water treatment plants a few miles north of the Port of Los Angeles, a small-scale facility is demonstrating what might be part of the solution to the region’s water woes. The Pure Water Southern California Demonstration Plant facility uses membrane bioreactors, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet radiation to process about 500,000 gallons of treated wastewater a day, further purifying it into something clean enough to use in industry, replenish the region’s groundwater, and potentially put back into the city’s drinking water system.

Even After a Wet Winter, California is Preparing for the Next Drought

Mountains are capped with record snowpack, rolling hills are covered in a rainbow of wildflowers, reservoirs are filled to the brim, and rivers are rushing with snowmelt.

A vast majority of California is finally out of drought this month, after a punishing multiyear period of severe aridity that forced statewide water cuts and fueled existential fear over the future of the water supply.

BOS Declares End to Local Drought Emergency in Mendocino County

A drought emergency declaration in place over the past two years was lifted in the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. “Current conditions are not beyond the control of the services, personnel equipment and facilities of the county” after a stormy winter and spring helped replenish local water reserves, the resolution states.

The Very Bad Math Behind the Colorado River Crisis

California and Arizona are currently fighting each other over water from the Colorado River. But this isn’t new — it’s actually been going on for over 100 years. At one point, the states literally went to war about it. The problem comes down to some really bad math from 1922.

Geologist Weighs in on Importance of California’s Snowpack

California’s snowpack is more than two-and-a-half times larger than average right now, according to the state’s Dept. of Water Resources. As the weather gets warmer, it’s going to melt. Geologists say there’s no question we needed the snow.

When Will California Have Its Next Drought? JPL May Soon Offer a Water Crystal Ball

A new satellite by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will soon provide more precise — and vital — data on how much water is available on Earth’s surface, allowing better forecasts for extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods, and helping water resources managers and farmers to get a better picture of their water budget.

The international Surface Water and Ocean Topography or SWOT mission was launched in December 2022 from Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Water Supply Beneath the Surface: Why Groundwater Matters

When we talk about California’s water, we often think of what we can see: a snowpack, reservoirs to hold water, and aqueducts to deliver water to communities throughout the state.  There is another source of water for California, and it sits deep under our feet.  It’s called groundwater.

What Colorado Water Officials Think of the Federal Government’s Proposed Colorado River Cuts

The federal government has laid out its ideas for water cuts in the Colorado River Basin, which means time is running out for basin states to agree on a plan of their own.

In Colorado, water officials say the onus is on California and Arizona to make it work.

Opinion: Drought and Flood, California’s Double Whammy

Just as federal officials were laying out alternative scenarios last week for steep water supply cuts from the Colorado River due to the drying Southwest, California officials were warning that this year’s historic Sierra snowpack could flood much of the state later this year.

This Drought is Dead – Long Live the Drought

Floods and droughts are not opposites and can occur simultaneously. This occurs often in California and is especially well-illustrated this year.

Floods, droughts, and water scarcity are different. Floods are too much water at a place and time, and we would often pay to reduce the water present at that location and moment. Droughts and water scarcity represent too little water at a place and time, meaning we would often pay to increase its availability. We highlight these differences because people tend to view such conditions through an unrealistic zero-sum lens. This essay uses this year’s experience to examine how floods, drought, and water scarcity differ, can occur in the same year, and how droughts might end, but leave legacies.

This California drought is largely over. Even though there is another month left in California’s wet season, the 2020-2022 California drought is largely over. Precipitation in all major basins of California exceeds averages for the entire water year. Snowpacks are well above April 1 averages (usually about the maximum for the year). Most reservoirs have more than average volumes stored for this time of year, and many are in flood operations. Only a few very large reservoirs (relative to their average inflows) remain below historical averages (such as Trinity at 50% and New Melones at 90% of their averages).