California Abnormally Dry After Low Precipitation Winter

A winter with little precipitation has left most of California abnormally dry and officials are bracing for the possibility of an early and more intense wildfire season amid record-breaking temperatures.

Drought has expanded to nearly a quarter of the state, mainly in central California, the heart of the state’s agricultural sector, according to a U.S. Drought Monitor map mad public Thursday. The map shows 70 percent of the state is abnormally dry.

Everything You Need to Know About California’s Historic Water Law

California began regulating surface water in rivers and streams in 1914, but it took the state another 100 years to look underground.

In 2014, for the first time in its history, California passed a law regulating the use of groundwater – the resource on which 85% of its population and much of its $50bn agriculture industry rely.

California’s New Plan to Deal With Climate Change, Sea-Level Rise OKd

A bold new plan to protect California’s ocean ecosystem from climate change and prepare for sea-level rise was approved Wednesday, setting the stage for sweeping coastal restoration, trash cleanup, research and rule-making involving numerous state agencies.

The strategic plan, adopted unanimously by the state’s Ocean Protection Council, is a blueprint for how state agencies should collaborate over the next five years with tribal groups, research organizations and underserved communities to prepare for ocean warming, acidification, rising seas and plastic pollution.

Driven by Climate Change, Desalination Researchers Seek Solutions to Water Scarcity

The state of California has dedicated $34 million for eight desalination facilities across the state amid growing concerns about water scarcity in the U.S.

Desalination is when saltwater is converted into freshwater. Though 71% of the Earth is made up of water, extreme weather linked to climate change is adding to concerns about water scarcity.

Scientists estimate that by 2071, nearly half of the 204 freshwater basins in the U.S. may not be able to meet the monthly demand for water, according to a study published in the journal Earth’s Future.

Extracting salt from water seems like an easy fix to a global problem, but the process of desalination can be expensive, and it can also have a huge impact on the environment. That’s why some researchers are looking into how to lower the cost and improve efficiency.

Desalination technology can cost anywhere between two to 10 times the cost of traditional freshwater sources, says Meagan Mauter, research director for the National Alliance for Water Innovation and an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.

Trump’s Signature Could Mean More Water for Valley

More water will flow toward San Joaquin Valley farmers, President Donald Trump declared at an event in Bakersfield on Wednesday afternoon.

Trump announced the completion of biological opinions that will increase water allocations in Californians.

“A major obstacle to providing more water for the region’s farmers has now been totally eliminated by the government,” Trump said.

New Data Show Nearly 10% of California is in Moderate Drought

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday shows that 9.5% of California is considered to be in moderate drought. The abnormally dry area, which includes the drought area, has expanded from about 34% to 46%.

The dry area on the new map has spread southward to include most of Los Angeles County, much of Kern and San Luis Obispo counties and all of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

SWA joins the California Statewide Communities Development Authority

The Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board voted to become a member of the Statewide Community Infrastructure Program (SCIP). The resolution passed at last night’s Governing Board meeting means that the Authority is now a member of the Statewide Communities Development Authority.

New Online Interactive Tool Helps Californians Prepare for Future Drought

This rain-year has brought an alarmingly dry winter in California so far, according to climate change experts.

Now, there’s a new tool to help Californians navigate your water supply. It’s an online toll that allows a person to see the groundwater levels in their area. The tool then gives a representation of what could be at risk or impacted if a drought hits.

California Analysts Urge Lawmakers: Reject Gov. Newsom’s $1 Billion Climate Loan Proposal

Nonpartisan policy analysts took aim Thursday at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to use $1 billion in state funds to seed innovative climate change efforts, questioning the state’s ability to even identify the right projects.

The Climate Catalyst Loan Fund, which Newsom called for in his $222.2 budget proposal for next year, would offer low-interest loans to public and private projects that would otherwise struggle to attract venture capital money or bank loans — particularly those intended to combat climate impacts of recycling, transportation, agriculture, and forestry sectors.

Central Valley Clean Water Bill Gets Past Major Hurdle Despite Republican Opposition

A bill that could help disadvantaged Central Valley towns including ones in Tulare County provide safe and affordable drinking passed its first legislative hurdle despite facing opposition by Republican critics, including GOP representatives from California.