Opinion: It’s Time Again for Water Officials to Sound the Alarm

California’s five-year drought that ended in 2016 was brutal, one of the most severe in history. It unfolded during historic statewide high temperatures and included the driest four-year period on record and the lowest Sierra Nevada snowpack ever recorded.

It took sacrifice and resolve, but the state made it through that challenge, thanks in part to a 25 percent reduction in urban water use mandated by former Gov. Jerry Brown.

Now drought conditions have returned — and arguably the underlying conditions are worse than those experienced five years ago. Temperatures continue to rise, setting all-time records last summer, and parched conditions have extended throughout most of the West, stressing the Colorado River basin.

San Jose Relies on Water from the Sierra Nevada. Climate Change is Challenging that System

In Santa Clara County, lawns are dry, a reservoir is nearly empty, and water restrictions are mandated. After two winters with very little rain — and San Jose’s driest year in 128 years of record keeping — the county is marked by one of the worst droughts in modern history.

Santa Clara County’s experience of drought is set apart from the rest of the state by a myriad of issues — less water from the Sierra Nevada, the effect of human-caused climate change on water supplies, and a case of incredibly bad luck.

San Diego’s Water Desalination Efforts Could Get Boost in Federal Funding

Desalination projects in the San Diego area could get millions in federal funding under a bill Rep. Mike Levin introduced Tuesday.

The Desalination Development Act would provide $260 million over five years for desalination projects across the country, including the City of Oceanside’s Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facility, which converts brackish flows into potable water, said Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano.

It also sets environmental standards for projects that get federal funding, with requirements for energy efficiency, wildlife protection and water conservation.

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.

Without Enough Water to Go Around, Farmers in California Are Exhausting Aquifers

The next time you pick up some California-grown carrots or melons in the grocery store, consider the curious, contested odyssey of the water that fed them. Chances are, farmers pumped that water from underground aquifers on a scale that’s become unsustainable, especially as the planet heats up. Facing an ongoing drought that is squeezing surface water supplies, farmers are extracting groundwater at higher rates to continue growing food as usual.

SoCal Has Water Reserves That Will Last Through This Year, Beyond

One of the keys to solving the effects of severe drought in California by keeping the water supply high is drought-tolerant landscaping.

Jerry Kohn, CEO of Edify Landscape Design, said it makes all the difference in conserving water compared to grass yards.

Trio of Waterwise Landscapes Win Vista 2021 Contest

Three homeowners in the Vista Irrigation District won recognition recently from the VID board of directors in its 2021 WaterSmart Landscape Contest.

The annual contest recognizes outstanding water-wise residential landscapes based on overall attractiveness, appropriate plant selection, design, appropriate maintenance, and efficient irrigation methods.

Opinion: Secure California’s Future Water Supply and Invest in Recycled Water

Climate change is forcing our state to reimagine our water supply future. How do we do that? Easy — we reuse water.

Just like recycling a plastic bottle, we can safely use recycled water to drink, irrigate parks, support environmental uses, grow crops, produce energy, and much more. More than just a new source of water, water recycling projects provide a degree of local water independence.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature are considering a drought funding package this summer that will use some of the budget surplus to mitigate drought effects and prepare our state for our new water-scarce future.  The governor and the Legislature need to continue their commitment to recycled water by making a significant investment of at least $500 million in the package.

How to Reduce Home Water Use in an Age of Drought and Climate Change

Each day, it seems, a new climate-related catastrophe makes headlines.

Salmon are dying in California, because the water they inhabit has been heated to the point that it’s inhospitable to life. The Hoover Dam reservoir is at record-low levels, potentially affecting the water supply to the West Coast. And California is, once again, in a drought.

States and municipalities across the country are asking residents to conserve water as the precious resource is threatened with impending scarcity.

A Massive Plumbing System Moves Water Across Colorado’s Mountains. But This Year, There’s Less To Go Around

High up on Colorado’s Independence Pass, a narrow, winding road weaves through the evergreens and across mountain streams, up and over the Continental Divide at more than 10,000 feet. At one point that road crosses a canal.

It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, but that canal is part of water infrastructure that makes life on Colorado’s Front Range possible.

The state has a geographical mismatch between where water shows up and where much of the population has settled.