Helix Water District Awarded $10.3 Million Grant

California’s Department of Water Resources has awarded Helix Water District $10.3 million in grant funds for the district’s drought resilience and drinking water supply reliability project. Helix was one of 26 California agencies, and the only San Diego County agency, to receive a portion of the $217 million in grants awarded in this round of funding.

The project encompasses four infrastructure upgrades needed for the East County Advanced Water Purification project, which will purify recycled water to provide a drought-proof water supply for up to 30% of East County’s needs.

High-Tech Mapping of Central Valley’s Underground Blazes Path to Drought Resilience

A new underground mapping technology that reveals the best spots for storing surplus water in California’s Central Valley is providing a big boost to the state’s most groundwater-dependent communities.

The maps provided by the California Department of Water Resources for the first time pinpoint paleo valleys and similar prime underground storage zones traditionally found with some guesswork by drilling exploratory wells and other more time-consuming manual methods.

California Water Agencies Outline $3.2B Plan for Central Valley Flood Prevention Projects

California water officials are urging a $3.2-billion investment in flood prevention projects over the next half decade to safeguard the Central Valley; particularly communities on the San Joaquin River that are considered among the most vulnerable in the nation.

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 the Phillips snow course on May 1 was 2020, when only 1.5 inches of snow and .5 inches of snow water equivalent was measured.

DWR’s electronic readings from 130 snow sensors placed throughout the state indicate the statewide snowpack’s snow water equivalent is 49.2 inches, or 254% of average for May 1.

The snow water equivalent measures the amount of water still contained in the snowpack and is a key component of DWR’s water supply run-off forecast.

DWR, Reclamation Submit Request to Adjust Water Right Permit Conditions to Conserve Storage

Following the driest three-year period on record, California experienced one of the wettest three weeks in January. But now those extreme wet conditions have activated a water quality standard in the Delta that, coupled with the extended dry period since then, could result in a sharp reduction in the amount of water that can be retained or moved into storage for both the State Water Project and federal Central Valley Project.

The Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are working in real time to operate the state’s water system to maximize water supply while protecting species and the environment. However, California continues to experience unprecedented swings in weather impacting water management operations.

California’s Snowpack Near Decade High. What’s It Mean for the Drought?

As the new year begins, California’s Sierra is closing in on the second-largest snowpack we’ve seen at this time of year in the last two decades, with more snow expected to pummel the mountain range in the coming days. But here’s why it’s far too soon to declare an end to the drought: Last year, we started 2022 with a similar bounty — and then ended the snow season way, way, way below normal.

Storms Boost Snowpack as First Survey Nears

Reporters who slog through a meadow near Lake Tahoe next week for California’s first manual snow survey of the season will find copious amounts of snow. The state Department of Water Resources’ electronic readings on Dec. 29 showed a statewide snowpack at 156% of normal as a persistent parade of storm clouds has pelted the West Coast in December.


Water Wells Go Dry as California Feels Warming Impacts

A record number of water wells in California have gone dry as climate change amplifies heat and drought in the parched state. Residents reported having 1,394 dry wells statewide from January through last month, an increase of nearly 40 percent from the same time last year. It’s the highest number since the start of record keeping in 2013.

State Water Project Declines Highlight Drought’s Severity

March 18, 2022 – “Today’s announcement about reduced allocations from the State Water Project brings into focus the increasing challenges created by the megadrought. This is an emergency felt throughout the state and we strongly support continued conservation.

“Reduced water deliveries from the State Water Project highlight how the San Diego region’s conservation ethic combined with investments in drought-resilient supplies are paying off. The region uses very little water from the Bay-Delta, and even with reduced allocations, the Water Authority has reliable water supplies for 2022 and beyond.

“During this extended drought, we urge residents and businesses to use water wisely by limiting showers to five minutes, fixing indoor and outdoor water leaks, and ensuring irrigation systems are working efficiently. We must continue to care for our most precious natural resource to sustain our economy and quality of life – not just for today but for our future.”

— Sandra L. Kerl, General Manager, San Diego County Water Authority

Blog: San Diego Region on Track to Receive $15 Million for Water Projects

Several regional water supply projects in San Diego County are on track to receive more than $15 million from the California Department of Water Resources, pending a final decision this summer. Money for the projects has been recommended by DWR, which will make the awards after a public comment period. In San Diego County, the funds would support local agencies to advance conservation, environmental enhancements, water purification and other initiatives.