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Atmospheric Rivers Left California Mostly Dry in Water Year 2021

The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, or CW3E, at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, released its report October 11 on atmospheric rivers during Water Year 2021.

The report, “Distribution of Landfalling Atmospheric Rivers over the U.S. West Coast During Water Year 2021: End of Water Year Summary” shows that more atmospheric rivers landed on the U.S. West Coast in Water Year 2021 than in Water Year 2020. But the majority of those storms reached the Pacific Northwest, not California, where drought conditions have impacted water supply.

A 20-Year Megadrought Threatens Hydropower in the West

A 20-year megadrought in the West is threatening hydropower for millions of people, so the federal government is taking emergency action. It’s sending water from other reservoirs to Lake Powell to help keep the power turbines there spinning.

Big Battle Looms Over California Water Rights

California doesn’t have enough water to meet all demands even in wet years, and when drought strikes the competition becomes, to put it mildly, intense.

State and federal officials who must ration the restricted supply are beset with pleas from farmers, municipal water systems and advocates for the environment.

However, water managers must also contend with a bewildering array of water rights, some of which date to the 19th century, as well as long-standing contractual obligations and laws, both statutes and judicial decrees, on maintaining flows for spawning salmon and other wildlife.

Rare California Water Restrictions Hit Farmers Amid Dire Shortages

Faced with dire water shortages and a severe drought, California has moved to enact emergency restrictions that will prevent thousands of farmers and landowners from using water drawn from an enormous system of streams and rivers that services nearly two-thirds of the state.

Drought Prompts California to Halt Some Water Diversions

Some farmers in one of the country’s most important agricultural regions will have to stop taking water out of major rivers and streams because of a severe drought that is threatening the drinking water supply for 25 million people, state regulators said Tuesday.

The Water Resources Control Board approved an emergency resolution empowering regulators to halt diversions from the state’s two largest river systems. The order could apply to roughly 86% of landowners who have legal rights to divert water from the San Joaquin and Sacramento river watersheds. The remaining 14% could be impacted if things get worse.

Thousands of Central Valley Farmers May Lose Access to Surface Water Amid Worsening Drought

As California endures an increasingly brutal second year of drought, state water regulators are considering an emergency order that would bar thousands of Central Valley farmers from using stream and river water to irrigate their crops.

Why the Southwest’s Shrinking Water Reservoirs Matter to Colorado

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed off on increased funding for water development projects that state officials regard as critical to meet growing demands. But the state’s plans to secure more water from rivers here are colliding with the hotter, drier climate that’s hammering the Southwest, where Colorado River reservoirs are at record-low levels.

Water Crisis “Couldn’t be Worse” on Oregon-California Border

The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year.

In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system.

Drought-Depleted Rivers Force Salmon Hatcheries to Truck Fish to the Pacific

Millions of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries in the Central Valley will be trucked to San Francisco Bay and other coastal sites for release, because the rivers they’d normally travel to get to the ocean are drying up, state and federal officials said Wednesday.

Opinion: As Drought Alarms Sound, is California Prepared?

We’re facing another very dry year, which follows one of the driest on record for Northern California and one of the hottest on record statewide.

The 2012-16 drought caused unprecedented stress to California’s ecosystems and pushed many native species to the brink of extinction, disrupting water management throughout the state.  Are we ready to manage our freshwater ecosystems through another drought?