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Colorado River at ‘Critical’ Levels, Water Deliveries to Mexico in Doubt

Water levels in the Colorado River are a lot lower than normal reducing the water coming into Lake Powell and Lake Mead, according to the Bureau of Reclamation. The level of water in the lake determines how much water will be delivered in the region.

“The reclamation who oversees the operation for the river is forecasting a shortage on the river for next year,” said Kelly Rodgers with the San Diego County Water Authority. “They are predicting a shortage in 2022.”

Rodgers said states such as Arizona and Nevada will see the difference, but not as much in California because agencies such as SDCWA have taken steps to diversify their water supply and have built storage reservoirs and other facilities.

 

Opinion: Profit-Thirsty Big Ag Makes a Bad Thing Worse

In dry years, Californians talk about the drought as if it were a war — a battle of north versus south, haves versus have-nots, fish versus farmer.

When a critical resource is scarce, we want to fight for it. But let’s not drown in the fake narrative of environmentalists against growers. It’s a false dichotomy that distracts from the real heart of California’s water woes: an outdated system that prioritizes the financial interests of a wealthy few over the health and well-being of many. This keeps us from finding honest solutions to drought conditions that the climate crisis will only intensify.

California’s Biggest Heat Wave of the Year Heightens Drought and Fire Fears

With a worsening drought gripping the West and wildfire season looming, California is bracing for the most severe heat wave of the year — one that promises to tax the state’s power supplies while also offering a grim preview of challenging months to come.

The heat wave will bring triple-digit temperatures to the valleys and inland regions of Southern California as well as many parts of the rest of the state, heightening fire risks. It comes as parts of Northern and Central California are turning to water restrictions as the drought rapidly alters the landscape.

The West is the Driest it’s Been in 1,200 Years – Raising Questions About a Livable Future

Trees are dying. Riverbeds are empty. Lake Mead’s water level dropped to its lowest point in history, and Utah’s governor asked residents to pray for rain. Water is increasingly scarce in the Western U.S. — where 72 percent of the region is in “severe” drought, 26 percent is in exceptional drought, and populations are booming. Insufficient monsoon rains last summer and low snowpacks over the winter left states like Arizona, Utah and Nevada without the typical amount of water they need, and forecasts for the rainy summer season don’t show promise.

Curtailment Orders Coming Soon For Wine Country

The State Water Board on Tuesday will consider emergency regulations to address severe shortages in the Russian River watershed. The actions are designed to protect drinking water through 2022 for junior rights holders in the Northern California region.

If the Lake Mendocino storage level falls below 29,000 acre-feet by July 1, the first curtailment orders under the regulations would go into effect. More orders would follow every two weeks if the level continues to decline. The lake level is currently at 34,000 acre-feet, with triple-digit temperatures this week likely to evaporate some of that water. The regulations also include curtailment orders for Sonoma County along the lower watershed.

Drought: Mandatory Water Restrictions Approved for 2 Million Residents of Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County on Wednesday became the most populous county in California to impose mandatory water restrictions, saying that the worsening drought poses a significant threat to the local groundwater supplies that provide nearly half the drinking water for 2 million residents.

On a 7-0 vote, the Santa Clara Valley Water District board declared a water shortage emergency and set a target of reducing water use 33% countywide from 2013 levels, a year the state uses as baseline. The district, a government agency based in San Jose which serves as the county’s wholesale water provider, also urged cities and private water companies who buy its water to put in place water wasting rules and other mandates, including limiting lawn watering to no more than three days a week. As in the last drought, the rules are likely to include monthly water allocations for each home beyond which financial penalties would apply.

Key Reservoir On Colorado River Expected To Match Record Low

A key reservoir on the Colorado River is expected to dip to its record low Thursday in the latest showing of the drought’s grip on the region.

The surface elevation of Lake Mead along the Nevada-Arizona border is projected to be at 1071.61 feet (326.63 meters) — a measure that was hit in 2016. It’s the lowest level since Lake Mead was filled in the 1930s.

Intensifying California Drought Promises ‘Very Concerning’ Fire Season

California is entering its summer fire season with a high level of flammability. The hottest and most fire-prone months of the year are ahead. Conditions in the state are a striking example of escalating fire potential in the drought-stricken West.

How the season unfolds will depend on a number of factors, including where ignitions occur and the duration of summer heat waves.

But the outlook is poor at this time, given deepening drought, abundant dry fuels and hot early-season temperatures.

Opinion: Water Board Choice is Key to Providing Clean Water For All

California’s drought highlights the importance of an appointment sitting on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk – filling the final seat on the State Water Resources Control Board.   This is a critical agency appointment at a critical time.

The drought highlights many inequities in California water policy.

Disadvantaged communities in Stockton face the prospect of a drought summer plagued by harmful algae blooms in Delta rivers.  Those algae outbreaks, which can harm children and kill pets, are caused by excessive nutrients and inadequate freshwater flow.  Think what it means for a parent to be afraid for their child’s health if they swim in a river on a hot summer day.

NorCal Conservationists Float Emergency Water Plan To Save Salmon

After years of drought, salmon in Northern California are facing extinction. Conservation groups in the region have drafted a water management plan that, if adopted, would send less water to Central Valley farmers and keep more cold water for fish.

Last week, fishery advocates in Northern California submitted their temperature management plan to the State Water Resources Control Board. They want to change water operations in the Shasta, Trinity, Sacramento and Lower Klamath Rivers so the region’s salmon runs have enough cold water to survive.