Drought Threatens to Close Calif. Hydropower Plant for First Time

A California power plant likely will shut down for the first time ever because of low water during a prolonged drought, squeezing the state’s very tight electricity supplies, state officials said yesterday.

The Edward Hyatt power plant, an underground facility next to Oroville Dam in Butte County, is expected to close in August or September, said John Yarbrough, California Department of Water Resources assistant deputy director of the State Water Project.

State Takes Action on Water Exports from the Delta

Construction of a temporary salinity barrier on the False River is underway after an emergency request by the Department of Water Resources was approved by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The barrier, necessitated by worsening drought conditions, is intended to help preserve water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta by reducing saltwater intrusion. The declaration of a drought emergency made by Gov. Gavin Newsom on May 10 suspended the requirement that a project of this nature complete a California Environmental Quality Act assessment.

Opinion: Investment in Delta Tunnel, Sites Reservoir Will Ensure Water Supply

California just recorded its’ third driest winter in history, so it’s no surprise that State Water Project deliveries have been cut to just 5% of contracted amounts.

This is bad news for regional water agencies who collectively depend on the State Water Project for a fourth of their water supply.

But these agencies have seen the climate change writing on the wall for a long time. In fact, Southern California has been in an extended drought for the last 20 years. Because of this, 11 San Bernardino Valley water agencies have identified close to $650 million worth of local stormwater capture, storage and recycling projects they plan to build over the next 50 years to lessen their dependence on State Water Project imports.

Fresno County Joins Coalition Seeking California Emergency Drought Declaration

Fresno County is once again in a water crisis. In late March, the California Department of Water Resources announced the 2021 State Water Project allocation to Fresno County farmers would be only 5% of requested water supplies, half of what DWR had announced would be available in December.

The reduction will have a serious impact on Fresno County farmers and agriculture throughout the Central Valley.

Drought Spreads Water Shortages Throughout State

The 2020-21 California drought has led to significant water cutbacks, compelling farmers to fallow ground and public officials to respond with legislation intended to address the state’s chronic water shortages. Farmers in more parts of the state have learned in recent days just how little water they will have available to them this summer, as water suppliers from the Oregon border to the North Coast to the San Joaquin Valley announced low allocations.

California, Get Ready for Water Cutbacks. Cities, Farms Receive Grim Warning About Supply

The rainy season is nearly over, there’s been no “March miracle” and the possibility of parched lawns and fallowed farm fields is growing.

State and federal officials issued remarkably bleak warnings Tuesday about California’s summer water supplies, telling farmers and others to gear up for potential shortages.

The Department of Water Resources, in a rare turnabout, actually lowered its forecast of the deliveries it expects to make to the cities and farms that belong to the State Water Project. In its new forecast, the agency said its customers can expect just 5% of contracted supplies. In December the expected allocation was set at 10%.

State Warns of Possible Water Shortages

California farmers relying on State Water Project water were warned Monday to prepare for potential shortages by reducing water use and adopting practical conservation measures. Reservoir and groundwater levels are significantly below average, and despite recent storms, snowpack is only 58% of average as of March 10.


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?

Valley Farmers Disappointed at Low Reservoir Water Allocation This Year

Valley farmers as well as communities that rely on surface water deliveries from reservoirs were disappointed to learn how low their allocations will be this year.

Water Wars Heat Up in California

Water makes the world go ‘round, and a major player in California’s breadbasket doesn’t want to part with more than they have already. The city of Bakersfield, and the Kern County Water Agency are suing nearby water districts over their plan to skim water from Kern County sources for transport to other parts of the state — water that county officials say they need for themselves.