Opinion: Why California Will Still Have a Water Shortage No Matter How Much It Rains This Year

During a winter of blizzards, floods and drought-ending downpours, it’s easy to forget that California suffers from chronic water scarcity — the long-term decline of the state’s total available fresh water. This rainy season’s inundation isn’t going to change that.

How is this possible, given the unrelenting series of atmospheric river systems that have dumped near-record snowfall over the Sierra and replenished the state’s reservoirs?

Atmospheric River-fueled Storm Arrives in California. Here’s Which Areas Will Be in the Bull’s-Eye

California is once again bearing the brunt of inclement weather, as a low-pressure system off the coast rapidly intensifies and becomes a storm, tapping into another atmospheric river that’s flowing between Hawaii and California.

The storm that started Monday night is forecast to raise powerful winds along the coast that will spread to all corners of the Bay Area, Central Coast and Central Valley and peak just before sunrise on Tuesday. These winds will ferry heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and the risk for more flooding across most of the California coast and eventually Southern California.

Battered by Destructive Flooding, California Braces for More Rain

California is bracing for another round of rain beginning Monday as officials assess the damage from severe flooding along the Central Coast and Central Valley, which left scores stranded, and whole blocks under water.

California Storms Create Paradox: Too Much Water in Reservoirs, Too Soon

Two winters’ worth of snow has already fallen in the Sierra Nevada since Christmas, pulling California from the depths of extreme drought into one of its wettest winters in memory.

But as a series of tropical storms slams the state, that bounty has become a flood risk as warm rains fall on the state’s record snowpack, causing rapid melting and jeopardizing Central Valley towns still soggy from January’s deluges.

In Stunning Improvement, Half of California Now Out of Drought

The recent storms that walloped the Sierra have significantly moved the needle on the state’s stubborn drought: A large swathe of California, including part of the Sierra foothills, the Central Valley and the south-central coast, is no longer classified as being in drought, according to a map released Thursday by the federal government in partnership with a university group.

Newsom Signs Executive Order to Increase Statewide Stormwater Capture

California is under new orders as of Monday to aggressively work to protect all water supplies from weather extremes brought on by climate change.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to expand statewide storm runoff capture capacity, noting how years of prolonged drought finally paused after three weeks of atmospheric river storms slammed the Golden State at the beginning of the year.

CA’s Depleting Groundwater in Key Agricultural Region Could Be a Warning Sign for AZ

A recent report showed that there is not enough groundwater in a sub-basin surrounding Buckeye to provide the area with a 100-year supply.

That could be a trend seen across the West as a study from ASU found that California’s megadrought has excellent groundwater depletion.

California’s Central Valley covers 20,000 square miles and is a vast agricultural region with a value of approximately $17 billion per year in crops.

California Faces Catastrophic Flood Dangers — and a Need to Invest Billions in Protection

The storms that have been battering California offer a glimpse of the catastrophic floods that scientists warn will come in the future and that the state is unprepared to endure.

Giant floods like those that inundated the Central Valley in 1861 and 1862 are part of California’s natural cycle, but the latest science shows that the coming megafloods, intensified by climate change, will be much bigger and more destructive than anything the state or the country has ever seen.

San Joaquin Valley Residents, Growers Vying for Water in Fourth Year of Drought

Noemi Barrera has spent four months without running water for herself and her four children and is among many people in California living without it as wells across the state run dry. Like most in the 184-person agricultural community of Tooleville, nestled by the Tulare County foothills, Barrera can hear the county’s water truck arriving down the street to bring five-gallon jug rations every other week.

From the Air, Scientists Map ‘Fast Paths’ for Recharging California’s Groundwater

Thousands of years ago during the last Ice Age, rivers flowed from giant glaciers in the Sierra Nevada down to the Central Valley, carving into rock and gouging channels at a time when the sea level was about 400 feet lower. When the glaciers retreated, meltwater coursed down and buried the river channels in sediment.