Archived Updates

September 1, 2015

This week in… Groundwater

A new report prepared by NASA for the Department of Water Resources (DWR) shows that increased groundwater pumping in the San Joaquin Valley has caused widespread land subsidence. Some areas have been sinking nearly two inches per month. Subsidence can damage nearby infrastructure and permanently reduce the aquifer’s water storage capacity.

DWR also released a draft list of Critically Overdrafted Groundwater Basins. According to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014, DWR must identify high and medium groundwater basins and subbasins that are in conditions of critical overdraft. These basins must be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan by January 31, 2020; all other high and medium priority basins have until 2022.

As of August 19, approximately 2,225 wells statewide have been identified as critical or dry, which affects an estimated 9,488 residents. The vast majority of these wells are in the Central Valley.

In other news…

-The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a study that shows that, although there is no significant trend in meteorological drought in the United States, there is an increase in meteorological droughts overlapping with heatwaves, which “could lead to a compound extreme event with significant impacts.” 

-The Bureau of Reclamation will begin releasing water from Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River, the Klamath River’s primary tributary, in order to protect salmon fisheries.

-The Bureau will also cut flows from Folsom Dam in half in order to conserve water. Folsom Reservoir is currently at 20% of capacity and about 75,000 acre-feet away from dead-pool, where the lake levels will be too low to continue pumping.

Statewide water use in July was down 31% this year from 2013.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-9-1Drought conditions remain unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-9-1Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 30% of capacity and 49% of group average.

Hydropower

hydropower-monthly-9-1hydropower-june-9-1Hydroelectric power generation in June this year was 31% lower than 2014 and 60% lower than the 2003-2013 average.

August 18, 2015

This week in… The “Godzilla” El Niño

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center now says that there is a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, and around an 85% chance it will last into early spring 2016.

The most powerful El Niño on record was in 1997, which doubled the annual rainfall to Southern California and doubled the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. However, storms also resulted in punishing floods and mudslides. The current signal in the ocean is stronger now than it was in 1997, according to NASA climatologist Bill Patzert.

However, California’s unhatched chickens must not yet be counted. A strong El Niño is going to require a major collapse of the trade winds that could otherwise block El Niño’s storms from reaching California. In addition, a mass of warm water (dubbed “the blob”) in the Pacific Ocean might also dampen the impact of an El Niño. Should higher temperatures cause precipitation to fall in the form of rain rather than snow, California water managers might not be able to capture and store all of it. And even if the “Godzilla” El Niño does develop, California will still have massive water deficits that will be exacerbated if drought conditions continue in the years to come.

In other news…

-On July 31st, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in California to help mobilize additional firefighting and disaster response resources.

-The Forest Service released a report that shows firefighting now consumes more than half of the agency’s annual budget, up from 16% in 1995. Bills are now moving through congress to try to address this issue.

-The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has released 96 million “shade balls” into the Los Angeles Reservoir in order to prevent evaporation and protect water quality.

-AT&T announced a special offer to help California customers detect water leaks in their homes. As part of the program, AT&T will also make contributions to The Nature Conservancy to help protect California’s water resources.

-The California Energy Commission voted to increase water efficiency standards for showerheads and moved up the implementation date for recently-adopted standards for lavatory faucets.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-18Drought conditions remain mostly unchanged (excepting a slight decline in the percent of the state in “severe drought”) from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-8-18Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 32% of capacity and 49% of group average.

 

August 4, 2015

This week in…Wildfires

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has responded to fires that have burned more than 138,000 acres – almost 3 times the 5-year average for this time of year. These numbers do not include fires that have occurred outside of CAL FIRE’s jurisdiction.

The Rocky Fire has been the largest so far, burning 65,000 acres in Lake, Yolo, Colusa Counties. The fire has destroyed 24 residences and 26 outbuildings and is still only 12% contained. More than 13,000 people have been evacuated.

A team of researchers led by the John Muir Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Davis, have published a new journal article showing more wildfires are occurring in high-elevation forest ecosystems. These fires could speed up changes in vegetation, leaving these ecosystems more vulnerable to climate change and future drought conditions.

In other news…

-Healdsburg is giving away recycled wastewater for free, to be used on vegetable gardens and ornamental landscaping.

-A new NASA study shows that, since 2012, California has accumulated a precipitation debt of about 20 inches — the average amount of annual statewide precipitation.

-The state’s new “SaveWater” website is up, which allows users to report water waste in their communities.

Statewide water use in June was down 27% this year from 2013.

A new report from UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability concludes that there’s no way to know how much water in California is lost to leakage and breaks, largely because the state does not require monitoring and utilities do not sufficiently invest in systems to track leaks and breaks.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-4Drought conditions remain unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-8-4Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 33% of capacity and 49% of group average.

Hydropower

may-hydropower-8-4Hydroelectric power generation in May this year was 40% lower than 2014 and 69% lower than the 2003-2013 average.

 

July 21, 2015

This week in… Federal Legislation

Several bills are making their way through the halls of Congress right now. Together, these bills give a good indication of how the Federal government is thinking about their role in finding solutions to the drought.

The current bills include the following:

H.R. 2898: Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, introduced by David Valadao, passed in the house and is on its way to the Senate, where it is not expected to pass (and Obama has indicated he would veto the bill). The bill would increase pumping from the Delta, alter the Bureau of Reclamation’s decision-making process for the operation of the Central Valley Project, end a salmon restoration program in the San Joaquin River, and fast-track feasibility studies for building or enlarging five dams in the state.

H.R. 2983: Drought Recovery and Resilience Act of 2015, introduced by Representative Jared Huffman, was referred to committee on July 8thThe bill would provide emergency funding to improve water supply and reliability, help out-of-work farmworkers, and combat upstream water theft on federal lands.

H.R. 2993: Water Recycling Acceleration Act of 2015 was also was assigned to a congressional committee this month. The bill, introduced by Representative Doris Matsui, would amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize funding for water recycling projects in states with drought declarations, without congressional approval.

H.R. 3045: California Water Recycling and Drought Relief Act, introduced by Representative Jerry McNerney will, like HR 2993, amend the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act to authorize 27 regional water recycling projects that would provide over 100,000 acre-feet of new water.

None of these bills have much of a prayer of becoming law. Richard Frank, director of the California Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis, says “When it comes to the drought and what can be done, the federal government has limited tools and limited jurisdiction. What Californians would probably welcome most would be money.”

In other news…

-The U.S. Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a greater than 90% chance that El Niño will continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, and around an 80% chance it will last into early spring 2016.

A judge ruled that notices to some farmers from the State Water Resources Control Board violated their rights by telling them to stop diverting water. The judge issued a temporary restraining order, blocking the Board from punishing those in violation of the notices, although the Board can still punish those who divert water illegally.

-The State Board responded by issuing a $1.5 million fine to the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District.

-Governor Brown signed a bill that would prevent local governments from issuing fines for brown lawns during drought emergencies.

-The Department of Water Resources has updated the State Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinanceas required by the Governor’s Executive Order in April.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-7-21Drought conditions remain effectively unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-21Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 36% of capacity and 50% of group average.

 

July 8, 2015

This week in…Statewide Water Use Data

New data released by the State Water Resources Control Board show residential users have reduced May water use in 2015 by 28.9% from May 2013. However, the Board notes that, statewide, May 2015 was cooler and wetter than May 2013. The Board will begin issuing enforcement actions in July against suppliers that don’t reduce their required amount.

The Pacific Institute has created an interactive table and map to help readers explore and visualize these data.

In other news…

-The State Board issued curtailment orders to senior water rights dating back to 1858 on the Merced River and to all pre-1914 appropriative rights on the on the Upper San Joaquin River watersheds. The Board also issued a curtailment notice to the City of San Francisco for four appropriative water rights it holds on the Tuolumne River dating back to 1903.
 -For the first time in history, the Delta Mendota Canal is now running backwards, pumping water from San Luis Reservoir to upstream water districts in the western San Joaquin as well as the City of Tracy.
-Over the course of two weeks, the Lake Fire burned more than 30,000 acres of land in San Bernardino County. This was the largest wildfire of the year and the first in recorded history in that area.
 -Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 83, a trailer bill attached to the budget that makes groundwater well logs publicly available. California was previously the only western state that 

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-7-8Drought conditions remain unchanged from two weeks ago. 

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-8Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 38% of capacity and 51% of group average.

Hydropower

hydropower-monthlyhydropower-aprilHydroelectric power generation in April this year was 31% lower than 2014 and 69% lower than the 2003-2013 average.

 

June 23, 2015

This week in…the California Budget

Last Friday, legislators passed a budget bill that included a provision that would, in part, authorize the State Board to order small districts to merge into another when the system is at risk from contamination or insufficient supplies. The bill also requires metering for users diverting more than 10 acre-feet of water annually and allows agencies to issues fines up to $10,000, plus up to $500 per day for continued violation, to people who violate water conservation measures. The bill would also temporarily exempt certain water recycling and groundwater replenishment projects from requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act.

As this bill is part of the state budget, it must be decided on before the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st.

In other news…

-So far, 31% of water rights holders who were issued curtailment notices (representing 78% of the total curtailed water demand) have submitted compliance notices to the State Water Resources Control Board.

-The Marin Municipal Water District is being sued for its tiered rate structure, while the California attorney general’s office has asked the state Supreme Court to depublish a ruling that found the city of San Juan Capistrano’s rate structure to be unconstitutional. The Attorney general’s office claims the opinion is “likely to create confusion and uncertainty”.

-The Department of Water Resources has issued proposed revisions to the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance. The revisions would ban grass in medians, prohibit the installation of non-functional turf in new construction, and require the installation of specific, more water efficient irrigation systems for landscapes. The revisions also reduce the size threshold (the square footage above which projects are subject to the ordinance) for all new constructions projects from 2500 sq. ft. to 500 sq. ft.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-6.23Drought conditions remain essentially unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6.23Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 40% of capacity and 53% of group average.

 

June 9, 2015

This week in… Residential Water Use

The state’s mandatory water cutback went into effect on June 1st. Communities are being asked to reduce anywhere from 8% to 36% of their 2013 residential per capita water use, for an overall statewide reduction of 25%. Failure to meet these targets could result in a fine of up to $10,000 a day.

Just after these reductions went into effect, the State Water Resources Control Board released new water supplier conservation tiers for California water agencies. These tiers indicate how much each utility is required to conserve, relative 2013 use data. As a result of new information submitted by utilities, 22 tiers have been updated, with 36 requests for updates still pending. So far, the number of suppliers who must reduce water use by 36% has decreased from 86 to 67.

The State Board data show residential users have reduced April water use in 2015 by 13.5% compared to April 2013. The Pacific Institute has created an interactive table and map to help readers explore and visualize these data.

In other news…

-The California Sportfishing Protection Association, Restore the Delta, California Water Impact Network and AquAlliance filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, the California State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Water Resources, claiming the groups violated the federal Clean Water Act, the Bay Delta Plan, and other laws.

-The U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing on the status of drought conditions in the western U.S.

-The State Board has reduced flows from Lake Shasta in order to protect endangered salmon.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-6-9Drought conditions remain unchanged from two weeks ago, except in one category, where 69.6% of the state is now considered to be in “extreme drought”, up from 66.6% last week.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6-9Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 42% of capacity and 54% of group average.

May 28, 2015

This week in…State Board Activities

Farmers in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta have come to an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board: in exchange for the Board’s promise to not implement stricter cuts later in the season, some growers have agreed to voluntarily cut their water use by 25%. The Board was expected to impose mandatory cuts to senior water rights holders in the San Joaquin River watershed. These users have not received curtailment orders since 1977.

Historically, the Board has had limited ability to monitor the use of these senior rights holders. Last week, Governor Jerry Brown released a revised budget that includes a provision to require water rights holders to track and report their water usage to the state each year. Until that happens, the Board will enforce curtailment through farm visits, measuring river flows, and the honor system.

In other news…

-Wildfire season officially began earlier this month. Since the beginning of 2015, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), has responded to over 1,406 wildfires across the state, up from a five-year average of 854. These fires have burned more than 6,000 acres, up a five-year average of 5,475 acres. This is a low estimate of the true fire damage in the state, as these numbers do not include fires outside of CAL FIRE’s jurisdiction.

-The International Research Institute for Climate and Society has increased the probability of El Niño weather conditions to more than 90% through August, up from April’s forecast that estimated a probability around 70% through July. Still, this does not necessarily spell drought relief for California.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-5-28Drought conditions remain unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir conditionsStatewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 26.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 43% of capacity and 55% of group average.

May 12, 2015

This week in… the State Board

Last week, the State Water Resources Control Board issued the first mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history. The rules, which take effect June 1st, will be in place until February 2016. Under the new restrictions, every water service provider with more than 3,000 connections must conserve a specific percentage of their 2014 per capita use. Percentages range from 8 to 36 percent. Any utility not meeting its target faces fines up to $10,000 per day.

On May 1st, the State Board issued curtailment orders to junior water rights holders in the Sacramento River watershed, adding to the curtailment orders that have already been issued for junior water rights holders in the San Joaquin River, Scott River, Antelope Creek, and Deer Creek watersheds. This Monday, the State Water Resources Control Board announced it would soon be issuing curtailment orders to users with the most senior water rights.

In other news…

San Jose Water Company will begin imposing mandatory water rationing next month, making San Jose the largest California city to impose rationing.

-The state has started building an emergency salinity barrier in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. The barrier is intended to prevent saltwater intrusion and protect the quality of water pumped from the Delta for irrigation and urban use.

-The U.S. Forest Service estimates the drought has killed at least 12 million trees in California’s national forests, which are already at an elevated risk from wildfires.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-5-12Drought conditions remain effectively unchanged from two weeks ago.

Precipitation

precip-5-12Despite unseasonable snow and rainfall last week, average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1stis still at or below normal for most of the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-5-12Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 45% of capacity and 58% of group average.

 

April 29, 2015

This week in… Water Rates

Last week, the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that the tiered water rates used by the City of San Juan Capistrano are unconstitutional. The court found that the city’s rate structure did not reflect the cost of service, a requirement of Proposition 218, a law passed in 1996 that prohibits any fees or charges imposed on property owners from exceeding the individual’s proportional cost of service.

While the ruling does not outlaw tiered pricing, it could stimulate lawsuits against utilities whose rate structure is believed to be out of compliance with Prop 218. At the very least, utilities with tiered rates will start looking closely at their structure to be sure they are in compliance with the law.

Tiered pricing – where the cost per unit of water increases as use increases – has been shown to be an effective mechanism for encouraging conservation and efficiency, particularly when the cost per unit in the higher tiers is significantly more than the lower tiers. As a result, the flattening of rate structures to bring utilities into compliance with the law could weaken the strength of that conservation signal.

Currently, two-thirds of California utilities employ tiered rates for their residential customers.

In other news…                                                                                     

-This Tuesday, Governor Brown proposed new legislation that will provide utilities with increased enforcement authorities to help them meet the water reductions required by the Governor’s most recent Executive Order.

-Also as a result of Brown’s Executive Order, the California Energy Commission approved stricter standards for water appliances and fixtures.

-The State Water Resources Control Board continues to issue curtailment orders to water rights holders in various regions of the state. The latest orders were issued to junior rights holders in the San Joaquin and Scott River watersheds.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-4-28Drought conditions have slightly worsened from two weeks ago, with 47% of the state now in “exceptional drought.” This is an increase from 44%.

Precipitation

precip-4-28Average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1stis still at or below normal for most of the state. 

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-4-28Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 46% of capacity and 61% of group average.

Hydropower

Feb-hydro-4-28Jan-hydro-4-28Hydroelectric power generation in January and February 2015 was, respectively, 5% and 22% higher than 2014. Still, generation in both months was less than half of the 2003-2013 average.

 

April 16, 2015

This week in… Record-low Snowpack and Mandatory Urban Conservation 

Following severe drought conditions and the lowest early-April snowpack record in 75 years, Governor Brown issued the first-ever statewide mandatory water reductions on April 1, 2015. Executive Order B-29-15 calls for cities and towns throughout the state to reduce water use by 25 percent compared to the 2013 level, potentially resulting in a 1.3 million acre-feet of water in savings. The Order also requires frequent water use reporting from agricultural water users; updates standards for toilets, faucets, and outdoor landscaping; streamlines drought response; and necessitates investments in innovative water management technologies. 

In other news…

-On April 3, 2015, The State Water Board issued its first Curtailment Order this year to limit diversions from Antelope Creek Tributary in Tehama County to maintain minimum environmental flows for salmon and steelhead migration.

-East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD), supplier of potable water to 1.3 million customers in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, declared a Stage 4 drought emergency – the highest level it can adopt. The District has adopted mandatory outdoor water rules and will consider adopting new water rates in June.

DWR plans to install a drought barrier on West False River in May to prevent rising salinity level in the central Delta. This action will protect a large portion of the state’s freshwater supplies.

-Tomorrow, the State Water Board will release a draft of the proposed Emergency Water Conservation for an informal public comment. The Regulation is expected to be adopted on May 5 or 6, 2015 following public comment and a formal notice.

-DWR released  the first two chapters of California’s Groundwater Update 2013– compiling statewide groundwater findings, data gaps, and recommendations. Chapters broken down by hydrological region will be released each month over the next few months.  

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

20150414_CA_trdDrought conditions have slightly worsened from two weeks ago, with 44% of the state now in “exceptional drought.” This is an increase from 41% at the end of March.

Precipitation

precip-4-16Average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1stis still at or below normal for most of the state. 

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-4-16Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 40% of capacity and 62% of group average.

 

March 31, 2015

This week in… Drought Legislation

On Friday, March 27th, Governor Brown signed emergency legislation (AB 91 and 92) that will expedite $1 billion for drought and water infrastructure projects, including emergency food aid, drinking water, water recycling, conservation awareness, and flood protection.

Although the bills have been called emergency drought legislation, nearly two-thirds of the funding allocated by the legislation is slated for flood control projects. A vast majority of the funding authorized by this legislation is provided through previous budgets or bond measures, rather than new money.

The legislation also authorizes fines for illegal diversions, a move that targets marijuana growers that are illegally diverting rivers and streams. In addition, the bill establishes the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions within the State Water Resources Control Board. The office will primarily work to promote permanent and sustainable drinking water and wastewater treatment solutions in rural and disadvantaged communities.

In other news…

-The Association of California Water Agencies in partnership with the statewide conservation education program Save Our Water conducted a statewide poll showing that a vast majority of California residents believe it is important to conserve water, regardless of drought conditions, and are willing to make significant changes to their own usage in order to conserve water.

Another poll, conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, found that Californians are worried about their water supply and that people in their region are not doing enough in response to the drought.

-The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) published a report comparing the hydrology and impacts of the current drought to the state’s most significant historical droughts.

-Tomorrow, DWR will release the results of the year’s fourth manual snow survey. Electronic surveys show that the snowpack is at 8% of the historical average for late March.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-3-31Drought conditions have changed only slightly from two weeks ago, with 41% of the state (up from 40% last week) now in “exceptional drought”.

Precipitation

precip-3-31Average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1stis still at or below normal for most of the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-3-31Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are 65% of average.

 

March 17, 2015

This week in… Urban Water Use

Today, the State Water Resources Control Board will consider adding more restrictions on urban water use in the State. Last year, the State Board adopted emergency regulations for urban water conservation. Today’s regulation would readopt last year’s emergency regulations and impose new restrictions. The proposed regulations consist of four types of requirements:

-a prohibition on certain irrigation practices

-restrictions on certain commercial activities

-an order for all urban water suppliers to implement mandatory restrictions on outdoor irrigation

-an order for water suppliers with 3,000 or more service connections to provide monthly data on water production, compliance actions, and outdoor water conservation measures being implemented.

Two weeks ago, the State Board released urban water use data for January 2015, which shows that water use in January fell nearly 9% in 2015 from 2014.

In other news…

New Research in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that warm temperatures combined with low precipitation increases the probability of drought in California. The report also shows that climate change further increases the probability of drought as a result of warmer weather conditions.

-The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the development of an El Niño, an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon characterized by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean. However, scientists predict the El Nino will be weak and will not result in impacts to global weather conditions.

-The Department of Water Resources conducted this season’s third manual snow survey. On March 3rd, snowpack was 19% of average for this date, the second lowest recorded snowpack in March.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-3-17Drought conditions have not changed from two weeks ago.

Precipitation

precip-3-17Average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1st) is still at or below normal for most of the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-3-17Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 46% of capacity and 67% of average.

Hydroelectric

hydropower-decemebr-3-17hydropower-by-month-3-17hydropower-by-year-3-17Hydroelectric power generation in December 2014 was 7% higher than 2013, but 52% less than the 2000-2012 average. For the 2014 calendar year, hydroelectric power generation was 31% less than last year.

 

March 3, 2015

This week in… water allocations

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has announced the initial 2015 water supply allocations for Central Valley Project water users. For the second year in a row, allocations for junior water rights holders are set at zero, while contractors that supply municipal & industrial uses, as well as the Friant Division Contractors, will receive enough water to meet health and safety needs. USBR did note that allocations could still increase, should supply conditions improve.

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has increased allocations of State Water Project (SWP) water to 20%. This is the second increase this season; in January, DWR increased allocations to 15%, up from December’s 10% allocation. Despite these consistent increases, deliveries will still be far below the 4.2 million acre-feet requested by the 29 agencies that receive water from the SWP. The SWP has not delivered 100% allocation since 2006 and delivered only 5% in 2014.

In other news…

-The California Department of Fish and Wildlife presented promising salmon run forecasts for the coming season.

-In addition, the East Bay Municipal Utility District reported that 12,118 salmon returned to the river last fall, making last year’s run the fifth-highest in 74 years.

-And the Pacific Fisheries Management Council released  2014 stock assessments for the Klamath River that were higher than predicted.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-3-3Drought conditions have not changed much from two weeks ago.

Precipitation

precip-3-3Average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1st) is still at or below normal for much of the state. 

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-3-3Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 26.6 million acre-feet of storage) are at 45% of capacity and 67% of average.

 

February 17, 2015

This week in… The Bureau of Reclamation

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced it will make $50 million in grants available to western states for drought response as part of the $96.9 million provided to the Bureau as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015. Among the programs and projects that the Bureau will fund, the following will be available to California:

-Central Valley Project (California) ($19.9 million);

-WaterSMART Grants, Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, and Drought Response and Comprehensive Drought Planning ($14 million);

-Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Response Action Plan (California, Arizona and Nevada) ($8.6 million); and

-Native American Programs ($4 million)


The Act will also provide $5 million to agricultural water use efficiency projects within the Central Valley Project.


The Bureau also published a new report as part of the 
West-wide Climate Risk Assessments (WWCRA), which aims to project future changes in water supplies, water demands, and river system operations that could result from changes in climate. The new report projects irrigation demand in eight major river basins in the West and reservoir evaporation for 12 reservoirs within those river basins. The basins include the Central Valley in California, as well as three others shared with neighboring states: the Klamath, Colorado, and Truckee and Carson River Basins. The report found (among other things) that reference evapotranspiration is projected to increase in all basins by up to about 15%. You can read the report and other results from this study and other WWCRA studies here.

In other news…

A new study in the journal Science Advances shows there is at least an 80% chance of a 35-year-long drought occurring by the end of this century.

-The Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report outlining recommendations to the legislature for effective implementation of Proposition 1, the water bond measure that was approved by voters in November.

-The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will consider water rationing beginning July 1st, if drought conditions do not improve.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-2-17Drought conditions in the “extreme drought” category have improved this week, down to 67% from 77% last week.

Precipitation

precip-2-17A large storm brought much-needed rain to northern California early this month. Still, average precipitation for the water year (which begins October 1st) is still at or below normal for much of the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-2-17Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 44% of capacity and 68% of average.


February 3, 2015

This week in… NASA and Drought

NASA launched a new satellite – the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) – which will measure the amount of moisture in the first two inches of soil around the world. The satellite will take measurements every 2-3 days for three years, giving scientists a better understanding about how water and carbon circulate. Soil moisture variability is currently poorly understood, but is key to understanding and predicting weather and climate. This data will enable more accurate monitoring and forecasts of weather, climate, agricultural production, floods, and droughts.

drought_gis_2011-14NASA has also released maps of agricultural planting and fallowing in the Central Valley. Using data from NASA satellites, NASA produced maps showing changes in crop cultivation between 2011 and 2014. In the image, brown pixels represent lands that were fallowed between January and August of that year, while green pixels represent lands that had at least one crop planted. Some of the most obvious changes are in the areas around Sacramento and the western side of the San Joaquin Basin.

In other news…

-The Department of Water Resources submitted an application to the US Army Corps of Engineers to install a salinity barrier in the delta if drought conditions continue. The department installed such a barrier during the 1976/1977 drought and had plans in place last year to construct salinity barriers, although these proved unnecessary following late season precipitation.

-The State Water Resources Control Board issued a notice to water rights holders that their allocations may again be curtailed this year. The Board also issued a review of its water rights implementation system; the report focuses on recommendations to improve data collection, analysis, and reporting.

snow-water-equivalents-2-3-The Department of Water Resources has conducted the second manual snow survey of the year, finding a “dismally meager snowpack for a drought-stricken state.” Snow water equivalent in the state is 22% of normal for this time of year, down from 36% two weeks ago.

NOAA satellite images show a greener northern California with visibly less snowpack than previous years.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-2-2Drought conditions are mostly unchanged this week.

Precipitation

precip-2-3Average precipitation has been below normal for the past two weeks in most of California, except for areas in the most southeastern part of the state. Indeed, January was one of the driest on record and San Francisco’s first January on record with zero precipitation. 

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-2-3Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 26.6 million acre-feet of storage) are at 38% of capacity and 60% of normal.

Hydropower

hydropower-2-3The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for November. November generation was 78% of last year and 50% of the 2001-2011 average.

January 21, 2015

This week in… Endangered Fish

delta-smelt-abundance-1-21The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released results from the annual Fall Midwater Trawl (FMWT) Survey of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. CDFW has conducted the monthly trawl survey between September and December since 1967 (except for 1974 and 1979). The Delta Smelt index was the lowest it has been since the trawl surveys were initiated nearly 50 years ago. Other pelagic fish species – including the striped bass, longfin smelt, threadfin shad, and American shad – were also near recorded lows.

Last week, the Supreme Court turned down appeals from Central Valley farmers and water districts to consider overturning pumping restrictions that had been put in place in 2008 to protect the Delta Smelt.

In other news…

-The Department of Water Resources has increased expected water deliveries to State Water Project customers from 10% to 15% of their requested amount.

-Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), together with the other state and federal agencies, submitted a Drought Contingency Plan to the State Water Resources Control Board for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.

summer-streamflow-forecasts-The USDA released this year’s first water supply forecastswhich expect 2015 spring and summer streamflows to be below normal in California.

CA_drought_percent_of_normal_precipitation_needed_610-The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published an article showing that most of the state would need more than double the average precipitation that falls between mid-December and September in order to bring the total precipitation for the past four years out of the bottom 50% of the historical record.

California Drought Status

Seasonal Drought Outlook

season_droughtThe U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook is predicting the drought will linger or worsen in most of California, with drought in southern California remaining but improving.

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-1-21Drought conditions have worsened in some parts of California; 39% of the state is in exceptional drought, up from 32% last week.

Precipitation

avg-precip-1-21snow-water-1-21Average precipitation has been below normal for the past two weeks in most of California, except for areas in and around San Bernardino and Inyo Counties. Snow water equivalent in the state is 36% of normal for this time of year.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-1-21Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage) are at 38% of capacity and 61% of normal.

 

January 6, 2015

This week in… Snowpack

The California Department of Water Resources conducted the first manual snow survey of the year. The good news is that we have more snow than we did last year. The bad news is that the snow water content is still about 43% of the historical average for this time of year. Looking at it another way, the snow water content state-wide is 17% of the historical average on April 1st, when the snowpack typically peaks. On April 1st last year, the snowpack was about 32% of the historical average.

Manual snow surveys are conducted around the 1st of every month, starting in January and ending in May. By the end of the season, more than 300 snow courses will be sampled at least once. The state also has about 105 electronic sensors that provide real-time estimates of snow water content.

In other news…

-This month, Cambria will begin operation of a new desalination plant. The project, proposed in May, had been fast-tracked as a result of the drought and with the help of Governor Brown’s drought declaration.

-In 2014, CAL FIRE responded to 5,620 wildfires across the state, which burned 90,606 acres in State Responsibility Areas (SRA), areas where CAL FIRE has jurisdiction. These figures are higher than the average 4,681 wildfires on 88,169 acres of SRA land.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-1-6Drought conditions have not changed from two weeks ago.

Precipitation

regional-snowpack-1-6While average precipitation is still up for this water year (which starts on October 1st), average precipitation has been below normal for the past two weeks.

Hydropower

hydropower-oct-1-6hydroelectric-1-6The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for October. October generation was 70% of last year and 53% of the 2001-2011 average.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-1-6Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 acre-feet of storage) are at 37% of capacity and 62% of normal.


December 23, 2014

This week in… Rainpocalypse

reservoir-levels-12-23A series of rainstorms passed through California earlier this month, dropping incredible amounts of precipitation onto our parched state. The rain was enough to ease drought conditions in several parts of the state, noticeably increase reservoir levels in some of the state’s largest, more northern reservoirs, and cause flash floods, mud slides, power outages, and road closures.

Despite the positive impact of this much-needed deluge, the drought continues. The U.S. Drought Monitor summed it up nicely in this week’s update: “Cautious optimism, but still a long way to go.”

Check out the “Drought Status” below to see other ways the recent storms have impacted the drought and how far we still have to go.

In other news…

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives voted to approve HR 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014. Although Congress has already left for winter break, the bill could be taken up again by the new Congress in 2015.

-UCLA scientists published a report on the impact of climate change to the Los Angeles region. The research suggests that, while flooding can be expected to increase as more precipitation falls in the form of rain rather than snow, the average amount of precipitation is not expected to change much in the coming decades.

-Last week, NASA scientists presented findings that show it would take 11 trillion gallons of water for California to recover from the drought.

-The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission signed a $113 million agreement with San Bruno, Daly City, and the California Water Service Company, where, during wet years, the Commission will sell excess Hetch Hetchy water so these areas on the Peninsula can fill up their groundwater reservoirs.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-12-23Drought conditions have improved from last week; most notably, 32% of the state is now in “exceptional drought”, down from 55% last week.

Precipitation

precip-12-23Large areas of California have received more precipitation than usual for this time in the water year.

snow-12-23While the snow water content isn’t above the historical average for this time of year, it is above the levels seen this time last year.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-12-23Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 acre-feet of storage) are at 33% of capacity and 57% of normal. Five of the state’s six largest reservoirs (Shasta, Oroville, Trinity Lake, San Luis, and Don Pedro) are all now above 32% capacity. New Melones is at 22% capacity.

December 9, 2014

This week in… Residential Water Use

The State Water Resources Control Board has released residential water use estimates for October 2014. Statewide residential water conservation was about 6.7% of water use in October 2013, down from 10.3% savings in September. It is not immediately clear whether conservation efforts are slowing or consumption is falling naturally due to warmer weather. Water saving efforts peaked in August at 11.6%. Ninety-one percent of urban water suppliers report instituting outdoor water use restrictions. The data represent 399 urban water suppliers that provide water to 34 million Californians.

In other news…

-The Department of Water Resources announced that it expects to deliver 10% of requests to water users on the State Water Project. This is up from the 5% that was delivered last year.

-The State Board lifted the water use curtailment restrictions on the Scotts River Watershed.

-Congress has restarted the debate over a bill to increase water deliveries from north to south. Although Republicans hope to pass a bill before Congress adjourns, White House advisors have already recommended Obama veto the bill.

-A new PPIC poll shows that 70% of respondents would vote yes for local bond measures that would improve local water infrastructure.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-12-9Drought conditions have not changes since last week.

Precipitation

precipitation-12-9Large areas of California have received more precipitation than usual for this time in the water year. Still, DWR estimates California needs 150% of average precipitation to recover from the drought.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-12-9Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.3 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 29% of total capacity and 51% of normal. The state’s five largest reservoirs (Shasta, Oroville, Trinity Lake, New Melones, and San Luis) are all below 30% capacity.

November 25, 2014

This week in… State Board Curtailment Orders

The State Water Resources Control Board has lifted the curtailment orders on most water diversions in the state. These curtailment orders had been issued this May and June to more than 10,000 post-1914 water rights holders in order to protect the rights of senior water rights holders as well as downstream riparian users. Curtailment orders remain in effect in Scott River in Siskiyou County and Deer Creek in Tehama County.

precip-11-25The State Board said the curtailments have been lifted because of recent rainfall and reduced demand. Precipitation for this water year remains below average in most of the state, except in certain parts of northern California and areas of Monterey, Kings, and Tulare Counties.

In other news…

-The San Diego City Council unanimously voted to approve a $2.5 billion project to recycle wastewater into drinking water.

A new report suggests that California’s waters system could probably only utilize about six million acre-feet of additional storage. Additional storage beyond that amount would be limited by precipitation and the water transportation system.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-11-25Drought conditions have not changes since last week.

El Niño

el-nino-11-25The probability of an El Niño developing in November has dropped to 58%, from 67% last month.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-11-25Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing 27.2 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 27% of total capacity and 49% of normal. The state’s five largest reservoirs (Shasta, Oroville, Trinity Lake, and New Melones) are below 25% capacity.

Hydropower

hydropower-11-25hydropower-monthly-11-25The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for September. September generation was 70% of last year and 52% of the 2001-2011 average.

Seasonal Drought Outlook

drought-outlook-11-25For the first time in many months, the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook is predicting the drought in California will improve between now and the end of February. Unfortunately, the Outlook predicts the drought status will be removed in only a small part of southern California.

November 11, 2014

This week in… Water Use Data

Last week, the State Water Resources Control Board released a database  describing residential water use in more than 400 water agencies in the state. The State Board reported that 87% of utilities surveyed are implementing mandatory restrictions on residential water use. Statewide, utilities reported a 10% savings in September 2014 compared to 2013. The San Francisco Bay, Sacramento River, and Central Coast all reduced daily per capita residential water use by more than 15% between September 2013 and 2014.

In other news…

-The California Department of Water Resources has awarded $220 million in grants to 27 proposals to help California communities provide immediate drought relief and prepare for future droughts.

-The Friant Water Authority and most of its member agencies have filed a petition for writ of mandate in Fresno County Superior Court, seeking a judicial review of the State Board’s actions this spring and summer that reduced allocations to junior water rights holders to zero.

-Later this week, the Cambria Community Services District will open a new brackish water desalination plant on the San Simeon Creek that could produce up to 250 acre-feet per year. The plant was approved through an emergency permit and would only operate under State 3 drought conditions.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-11-11Drought conditions have improved slightly this week, but not by much; 55% of the state remains in “exceptional drought”.

Precipitation

precip-11-11Precipitation since the start of the water year has been below normal in most of the state, except for a few areas in northern California, the Central Coast, and the Tulare Lake Basin.

El Niño

el-nino-11-11The probability of an El Niño developing in November has dropped to 58%, from 67% last month.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-11-11Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing nearly 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 27% of total capacity and 49% of normal.

 

October 28, 2014

This week in… migratory birds

Migratory bird species will likely have a difficult year. This past year, federal wildlife refuges reliant on the Central Valley Project only received 50% of their water allocation, reducing the amount of habitat as well as food supplies for the birds. To make matters worse, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is predicting that a larger than average population of migratory birds because of better breeding conditions last winter in Alaska and Canada.

The drought will also increase the spread of avian diseases. Crowding of birds increases the spread of diseases such as cholera and botulism, which also thrive in low, warm, oxygen-depleted waters. In the Tule National Wildlife Refuge in northern California, 10,000 ducks and geese have died this year from avian botulism.

A new program lead by The Nature Conservancy is allowing conservationists to “rent” land from rice farms, flooding the fields temporarily at the most critical points of the season when migration is highest and the amount of wetland habitat is expected to be particularly scarce.

In other news…

In a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, 26% of respondents listed “water” or “drought” as the most important issue facing California. Half of those polled said they’re following news of the drought “very closely.”

A new tool from the Center for Watershed Science at the University of California, Davis has identified 181 dams in California that are likely depriving downstream fish of the flows necessary for their survival.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitior-10-28Drought conditions are unchanged from two weeks ago.

Precipitation

precipitation-10-28Precipitation since the start of the water year has been below normal in most of the state, except for a few counties in northern California.

Seasonal Drought Outlook

drought-outlook-10-28The new seasonal drought outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predicts the drought will improve somewhat in the northwest and the southernmost portion of California, but will remain unchanged or worsen in the rest of the state.

Hydropower

hydropower-monthly-10-28hydropower-10-28The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for August. July generation was 72% of last year and 58% of the 2001-2011 average.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-10-28Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing nearly 27.1 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 28% of total capacity and 50% of normal.|

 

 

October 15, 2014

This week in… water shortages

Counties in California have reported nearly 1,000 homes that rely on groundwater as well as very small water systems are currently experiencing water shortages. Dozens of reports have been written about wells running dry throughout the Central Valley. East Porterville has been hit particularly hard; nearly 1,000 residents currently have no running water. Nearly 300 homes began receiving bottled water in August and some wells in the area reportedly went dry as early as April.

In mid-September, Governor Brown signed an executive order streamlining efforts to provide water to those with the greatest need. The order provides funding through the California Disaster Assistance Act to get drinking water and water for sanitation to homes that have no running water. The order also prohibits price gouging and directs state agencies to work with local agencies to identify and implement solutions to water shortages.

In other news…

According to a survey from the State Water Resources Control Board, water suppliers in California reduced their water use in August 11.5% over the previous year.

-The Association of California Water Agencies released a series of resources regarding the new groundwater legislation.

Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 5,224 wildfires on 91,792 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 4,263 wildfires on 88,470 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

On October 3rd, the State Board declared that water right holders in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Russian, and Eel river watersheds whose water rights have been curtailed may be able to divert or store water on a temporary basis, in the event of significant precipitation this fall and winter.

California Drought Status

El Nino

el-nino-10-15The probability of an El Niño developing in November is 67%.

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-10-15Drought conditions are effectively unchanged from two weeks ago.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-10-15Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing nearly 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 28% of total capacity and 49% of normal.

 

September 30, 2014

This week in… wildfires

California has had several large wildfires this month. Most notably, the King Fire, which has so far burned 97,099 acres in El Dorado County near Pollock Pines, east of Sacramento. The fire injured six people and burned 12 structures. Controlling the fire was greatly aided by some weekend rain and, as of September 30th, the fire is 92% contained.

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy released a report this month calling for more forest restoration, in order to protect forests from disease and wildfires. The report estimates that between 6 and 9 million acres of land managed by the US Forest Service are in need of restoration. The Conservancy is developing an Action Plan to address the issues identified in the report.

As of September 15th, CAL FIRE has responded to 4,750 wildfires on 86,783 acres since January 1st. The year-to-date historical average is 3,777 wildfires on 84,356 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher. Despite the number of fires increasing, The San Francisco Chronicle reports that state and federal officials say that California has actually seen fewer acres burn this year than last year.

In other news…

-A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California found that 72 percent of likely voters say water supply is a “big problem” in their part of California, up from 61% two months ago. In addition, 58% of likely voters support the proposed water bond (Proposition 1) and 67% would vote yes if their district had a bond measure on the ballot to pay for water supply projects.

-On September 25th, Governor Brown signed SB 985, a bill designed to encourage the capture and use of stormwater. Earlier this month, Brown also signed SB 1420, which improve water use reporting to the state; in particular, the law requires urban water suppliers to quantify and report on distribution system water loss. AB 2104 prevents homeowners associations from penalizing homeowners that replace their lawns with drought-resistant plants.

-The Bureau of Reclamation has released a new report assessing the impacts of climate change on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Basins. The report finds that projected changes in temperature and precipitation, combined with a growing population, will have significant impacts on water supplies, water quality, fish and wildlife habitats, ecosystems, hydropower, recreation, and flood control.

-The Bureau has also again increased water releases to the Trinity River to combat a salmon parasite that attacks salmon in stagnant water.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-9-29Drought conditions are effectively unchanged from two weeks ago.

Seasonal Drought Outlook

seasonal-drought-9-30The new seasonal drought outlook from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center predicts the drought will improve somewhat in the southernmost portion of California, but will remain unchanged in the rest of the state.

Hydropower

hydroelectric-july-9-30hydroelectric-9-30The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for July. July generation was 73% of last year 61% of the 2001-2011 average.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-9-29Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 27.2 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 30% of total capacity and 52% of normal.

 

September 17, 2014

This week in… Groundwater

Today, Governor Brown will sign into law new legislation designed to ensure the sustainability of the state’s groundwater resource. The bill would allow a groundwater management agency to regulate groundwater use, register pumps, and require users to measure their use.

The law will take many years to implement; the most at-risk basins have until 2020 to develop and implement a groundwater sustainability plan that outlines objectives for achieving their sustainability goals within 20 years of the plan’s adoption. The legislation defines “sustainable management” as groundwater use that does not cause “undesirable results,” such as chronic lowering of groundwater levels, reductions in storage, seawater intrusion, or land subsidence.

In other news…

A new poll shows that, while nearly two-thirds of likely voters hadn’t heard anything about Proposition 1, the water bond that’s on the ballot in November, more than half of those surveyed would vote yes on it.

-Three hundred sixty-two urban water suppliers reported progress on conservation efforts to the State Water Resources Control Board. In July, statewide urban water use dropped 7.5% from last year’s use.

-According to NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, 2014 has been the warmest on record in California, with a temperature 4.1°F above the 20th century average. This map shows how far temperature has departed from the average since January 1st.

Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 4,750 wildfires on 84,784 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 3,777 wildfires on 84,356 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-9-17Drought conditions have not changed since last week.

Reservoir Conditions

Reservoir-conditions-9-17Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 27.2 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 31% of total capacity and 52% of normal. The state’s five largest reservoirs (Shasta, Trinity, New Melones, San Luis, and Oroville) are all below 31%.

September 9, 2014

This week in… precipitation

A storm system spinning off of Hurricane Norbert dropped several inches of rain in and around Riverside County this weekend, sending flash floods through the Coachella Valley. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection made at least 43 rescues in their service area, although no injuries have been reported yet. This unseasonal rainfall event will not have an impact on drought conditions in the state.

precipitation-9-9Except for this storm system, the rest of the state received effectively no precipitation this week, which is normal this time of year. The water year ends September 30th, closing out a year where a majority of the state has received less than 50% of normal precipitation.

In other news…

-The California Department of Food and Agriculture released the results of a survey that examines how the drought has impacted almond farms. The survey shows that more than 67% of respondents will rely entirely on groundwater this year to water their almond trees, while only 38% only utilize groundwater in a normal year.

-Some dry creeks are now flowing with groundwater as a result of Napa’s recent earthquake.

New research suggests that, over the next century, the southwest has at least a 50% chance of experiencing a decade-long drought and a 20-50% chance of experiencing a “megadrought” (one that lasts more than 30 years).

-Next10 has released the “California Water Challenge,” an online simulation that lets users understand the impact of different water policy options.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-9-9Drought conditions have not changed since last week.

El Niño

el-nino-9-9The probability of an El Niño developing this fall has dropped below 66%.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-9-9Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 31% of total capacity and 52% of normal.

 

September 2, 2014

This week in… the State Legislature

Last week, a package of groundwater legislation (AB1739 and companion bills SB 1168 and SB1319) passed the legislature and will now go to Governor Brown, who is expected to sign it. Together the bills would require local agencies to implement groundwater management programs and establish the conditions for state intervention in groundwater management.

Two weeks ago, two pieces of legislation passed the State Senate and Assembly. AB 2636 establishes CalConserve, a revolving-loan program to finance water-efficiency projects for home owners and businesses, and help cities and counties reach their water-reduction goals. In addition, AB 2282 requires the state to adopt building standards for recycled water in newly constructed commercial and residential buildings. Both bills now go to Governor Brown for approval.

Last week, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 985, which improves the stormwater resource planning process to encourage the capture and use of stormwater and dry weather runoff.

In other news…

New research suggests Climate change could reduce the supply of surface water runoff from mountains by accelerating vegetation growth at higher elevations and increasing evapotranspiration. This research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses the upper Kings River basin as a case study.

Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 4,429 wildfires on 84,833 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 3,471 wildfires on 73,061 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-9-2Above-normal rainfall in the Mojave Desert has improved drought conditions in a small part of California. However, this improvement will not have an effect on overall drought conditions in the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-9-2Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 31% of total capacity and 51% of normal.

 

August 26, 2014

This week in Chinook Salmon…

At the urging of Native American Indian tribes and other stakeholders, the Bureau of Reclamation has decided to release more water into the Klamath River to prevent die-off of Chinook Salmon. In July, the Bureau had issued a decision to withhold water from the river until the fish began to die; however, scientists noted that, by this point, it would be too late. The major threat to the fish is Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, a parasite that thrives on stagnant, warm waters.

The Bureau noted that the extra water provided for the fish would not reduce the amount of irrigation water diverted to the Sacramento River system; instead, there would be less water carrying over for next year.

In other news…

New research from UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows the recent drought is causing an “uplift” effect in California’s mountains, with more than half an inch and on average 0.15 of an inch increase across the west. Researchers estimate the ground and surface water deficit to be around 63 trillion gallons.

USGS has released the 2010 California water use estimates. In 2010, USGS estimates Californians withdrew 38 billion gallons per day. USGS releases these estimates every five years; results for the rest of the U.S. will be released later this year.

A new report in Environmental Research Letters shows that water rights allocations in California are approximately five times the state’s mean annual runoff.

Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 4,294 wildfires on 84,048 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 3,311 wildfires on 67,492 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-26-14Above-normal rainfall in the southeast has improved drought conditions in a small part of California. However, this improvement will not have an effect on overall drought conditions in the state.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-8-19-14Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 32% of total capacity and 51% of normal.

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

drought-outlook-8-26The Climate Prediction Center at the National Weather Service expects drought to persist or intensify through November in all but the most southeastern part of the state.

Hydropower

hydroelectric-8-26hydroelectric-month-8-26The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly report for June. June generation was 74% of last year 58% of the 2001-2011 average.

August 19, 2014

This week in… the Water Bond

Big news this week in the state capital…On August 13th, Governor Brown signed a scaled-down water bond that will go on the November ballot this year. The $11.4 billion bond from 2009 was cut to $7.5 billion, in order to improve its chance of gaining voter support.

Although supporters cite the current drought as justification for the bond, opponents argue the bond does little to address the current or future droughts. The new bond does provide $2.7 billion for water storage projects and $725 million for water recycling and advanced water treatment technology projects, however, these projects will be years or decades away from completion.

In other news…

-CPUC has ordered water utilities under its jurisdiction to provide notification to customers of water use restrictions and potential fines, consistent with the State Water Resources Control Board’s recent emergency drought regulations.

-Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 4,132 wildfires on 80,634 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 3,153 wildfires on 57,290 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-19-14Drought conditions remain unchanged from last week.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-8-19-14Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 26.6 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 33% of total capacity and 51% of normal.

 

August 12, 2014

This week in… precipitation

precipitation-8-12-14Two areas of California have received significant rainfall in the past few weeks. Monsoon conditions brought heavy rainfall to southern California and the southern Sierra early this August. This storm caused severe flooding and mudslides; one man died when his car was swept into a creek near Mount Baldy in Los Angeles County. Central and northern Sierra, as well as northern California also received some rainfall this week. Despite these unseasonably wet eventsdrought conditions remain unchanged.

San-joaquin-Precip-8-12-14N.Sierra-precip-8-12-14.Since the water year started in October, cumulative rainfall is 61% of normal in the northern Sierra and 49% in the San Joaquin.

In other news…

  • – The Groundwater Voices Coalition released a report highlighting groundwater issues in the Central Coast aquifer.
  • – The US Bureau of Reclamation has come to an agreement with PacifiCorp that would allow the Bureau to ensure Upper Klamath Lake remains above a specified minimum elevation.
  • -Since January 1st, CAL FIRE has responded to 3,959 wildfires on 55,882 acres. The year-to-date historical average is 2,994 wildfires on 44,143 acres. These figures only represent CALFIRE incidents and so the total number of fires and acres burned is much higher.

California Drought Status

 El Nino

el-nino-8-12The probability of an El Nino developing this fall has dropped to about 65%, down from nearly 80% last month.

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-12-14Drought conditions remain relatively unchanged from last week.

Reservoir Conditions

Reservoir-conditions-8-12-14Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing about 26.2 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 34% of total capacity and 52% of normal.

 

August 6, 2014

This week in…  Federal Legislation

On July 31st, U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), U.S. Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced W21: Water in the 21st Century legislation into both the House and Senate. The Act would “expand rebates and grants for water conservation and efficiency; support local investments in water recycling and improved groundwater management and storage; invest in research into water-saving technologies and desalination; and establish an open water data system. The measure would also help local communities take steps to become better prepared for drought.”

In April, Boxer and Feinstein introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, which passed the Senate in May and was sent to the House for consideration. Last week, Politico reported that a re-drafted version was sent to House, in the hopes of getting the bill passed the Republican-controlled House.

In other news…

  • -The U.S. Drought Monitor has increased the intensity of drought conditions in some of California; currently more than 58% of the state is now considered to be in exceptional drought, the most severe category, up from 36.5% last week – a significant jump – and 82% is in extreme drought.
  • – Governor Brown has issued an emergency proclamation for the state of California due to the effects of wildfires in northern California. Since last week, CAL FIRE has responded to 251 fires that have burned 6,568 acres, bringing the year-to-date totals to 3,813 wildfires on 44,408 acres.
  • – On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued a “Finding of No Significant Impact” report for a proposal to allow the transfer and sale of 13,000 acre-feet of Merced County groundwater to the Del Puerto Water District and the Patterson Irrigation District over the next two years.
  • – Mandatory emergency water use restrictions that were approved by the State Water Resources Control Board on July 15th went into effect July 29thSome areas are not likely to impose the $500 fine that the legislation allows, while others have implemented smaller fines or are currently discussing alternative enforcement mechanisms.
  • – On July 30ththe U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced that it will not be releasing extra, cool water from Trinity Lake to the Trinity and Klamath rivers for chinook salmon and steelhead. Instead, the Bureau will use the limited supply to prevent large fish kills of endangered species in other runs in the Central Valley.
  • – Stanford’s Water in the West program has released a series about groundwater management in California. The series takes an in-depth look at available groundwater data, aquifer recharge, and groundwater conflicts in California.
  • – On August 1st,the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation owes “expectancy” damages to the Central San Joaquin Water Conservation District for failure to deliver sufficient water from the New Melones Reservoir.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-8-6The U.S. Drought Monitor has increased the intensity of drought conditions in some of California; currently more than 58% of the state is now considered to be in exceptional drought, up from 36.5% last week.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-levels-8-6Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing nearly 27.2 million acre-feet of storage), are at about 36% of total capacity and 53% of normal.

Hydropower

hydroelectric2-8-6hydroelectric-8-6Hydroelectric power generation in May was 2.1 million megawatt-hours (MWh). From 2001 through 2013, the average generation in May was 3.8 million MWh.

July 29, 2014

This week in…  Chinook Salmon

Salmon in Northern California’s Klamath Basin are starting to feel the effects of the drought. In a population survey this week, the Department of Fish and Wildlife found 54 adult and hundreds of juvenile salmon dead in the Salmon River. A majority of the dead fish were chinook salmon, which usually die in the fall after spawning.

Fisheries managers are worried about the impact of low levels and higher temperatures in the Klamath and its tributaries, the same conditions that led to a massive fish kill in the Klamath in 2002. The water level in the Salmon is currently 42% of average, exacerbating the already unseasonably warm temperatures California has been having this year. According to the National Climate Data Center, 2014 has been the warmest period on record in California, with the average temperature between January and June 4.8°F above the 20th century average. The warm water stresses the fish and makes them more susceptible to diseases such as gill rot. The Klamath Fish Health Assessment Team continues to monitor the situation.

In other news…

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-7-29Drought conditions were mostly unchanged this week.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-29Statewide, California’s major reservoirs (representing more than 27 million acre-feet of storage, are at about 37% of total capacity and 54% of normal.

Seasonal Drought Outlook

seasonal-drought-7-29The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts the drought will continue through October.

July 22, 2014

This week in… Groundwater

Last Tuesday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner ordered Siskiyou County to regulate groundwater pumping in order to protect the Scott River. The Environmental Law Foundation, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, and the Institute for Fisheries Resources brought the case against the county and the State Water Resources Control Board after groundwater pumping had caused water levels in the Scotts River to decline dramatically, in some cases to the point where the river would dry up in the summer and fall, impacting fish and, notably, navigability.

 

Under California law, the state holds navigable waterways “in trust” for the benefit of all Californians and must take this responsibility into account when making decisions that will impact the public trust. The court decision states that, “the court concludes the public trust doctrine protects navigable waterways from harm caused by groundwater extraction…[and]  the County, as a subdivision of the State, is required to consider the public trust when it issues well drilling permits.”

 

In response to the decision, State Board attorney Michael Lauffer told Bloomberg BNA, “Judge Sumner’s decision is an important and thoughtful decision which reaffirms that the public trust doctrine protects our state’s navigable waterways.”

 

The county is expected to appeal the decision.

In other news…

  • – The Environmental Law Foundation is also busy sending letters to agricultural water districts that have not developed their Agricultural Water Management Plans, as required by legislation, threatening suit if they do not.
  • – On Tuesday, the State Board approved an emergency regulation to improve water conservation in urban areas.
  • – USDA is providing $9.7 million in emergency water assistance to 73,000 residents in 11 California counties.

 

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-7-22Droughts conditions as measured by the US Drought Monitor worsened this week, with nearly 82% of the state in extreme drought, up from 79% last week.

 

drought-conditions-7-22This graph shows the development of drought conditions in California since the U.S. Drought Monitor was established. (Image created by Teamrat A. Ghezzehei)

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-22Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 38% of total capacity and 53% of normal.

Statewide Water Conservation

SJM-DROUGHT-0716-90A new State Board survey showed water use in May increased 1% from the past two years, although the increase was concentrated in the North Lahontan and South Coast hydrologic regions.

July 15, 2014

This week in… Emergency Regulations

This week, the State Water Resources Control Board will consider implementing statewide emergency regulations imposing mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use in urban areas. These would include a prohibition against overwater landscapes; hosing down hardscapes; washing cars unless the hose has a shut-off nozzle; and using potable, non-recirculated water in fountains or other decorative water features. Violating these prohibitions could incur a fine of $500 for each day in which the violation occurs. In addition, these emergency regulations would require urban water suppliers to implement their Water Shortage Contingency Plans such that any mandatory restrictions on outdoor water use would be in effect. Although urban water suppliers with more than 3,000 water connections must have these plans in place, 40% do not. Urban water suppliers without contingency plans and those serving fewer than 3,000 connections must require customers to limit outdoor irrigation. The emergency regulations will be considered at State Board’s July 15th meeting and, if approved, would go into effect August 1st.

In other news…

 

California Drought Status

El Niño

el-nino-7-14Forecasts are predicting that a weak-to-moderate strength El Niño will develop during the late fall and early winter. The chance of El Niño is now about 70% during the summer and close to 80% during the fall and early winter, down slightly from previous predictions.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-14Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 41% of total capacity and 55% of normal.

July 7, 2014

This week in… Wildfires

Northern California has had a few large fires this month already. A fire that started on July 1 in Napa County is now 90% contained at 4,300 acres burned. The Monticello Fire in Yolo County has burned more than 6,000 acres and is 35% contained. Although evacuation orders have now been lifted, triple-digit temperatures and high winds continue to pose a threat to homes in the area.

 

The National Weather Service issued Fire Weather Watches for parts of northern California. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions conducive to fire could exist in the next 12-72 hours. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), these types of weather patterns include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above.

fire-table-7-7According to CALFIRE’s incident information website, more than 57,000 acres have burned in 2014 to date. Click on the table icon for a list of July fires; please visit CAL FIRE’s website for a more complete list of fires to date.

 

In other news…

-The California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Independent System Operator Corporation sent a joint letter to the State Water Resources Control Board, warning that water curtailments that cut the state’s generating capacity would threaten grid reliability and have “substantial potential for serious public health and safety impacts.”

-The State Water Resources Control Board has issued curtailment notices to post-1914 water users on the North Fork Eel River, Main Stem Eel River, and the Van Duzen tributary. Last week the State Board approved emergency regulations to assure compliance with water rights curtailment orders.

-The California Almond objective forecast for the 2014–2015 crop year – funded by the Almond Board of California and administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) – has been issued. The forecast is predicting 2.1 billion meat pounds of almonds this year, up 7% from the USDA forecast issued in May.

-The California legislature has adjourned for summer recess without agreeing to a new 2014 water bond, but has indicated they will continue to work on it through the summer.

 

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-7-7jpgThe drought got slightly worse this week; nearly 79% of the state is in extreme drought and more than 36% is in exception drought, up from 77% and 33% last week.

Precipitation

California’s rainy season has officially, closing out the third below-average rainfall season in a row.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-7-7Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 40% of total capacity and 54% of normal.

July 2, 2014

This week in… the water bond

Senate Bill 848 – Lois Wolk’s $10.5 billion water bond – stalled in the Senate last week after failing to garner the two-third s majority support when Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg brought the legislation to a vote on Monday. Although the measure is not dead, it lost more traction on Tuesday when Governor Brown stepped in with a proposal for a $6 billion bond, the details of which legislators are now discussing. The water bond is set to go on the ballot in November, but the legislature fears the current $11.1 billion bond won’t win voter support. Legislators say they intend to pass a modified bond before they go on recess on July 3rd.

In other news…

-According to the most recent update of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Price Outlook, the prices for fresh fruits will go up an estimated 5-6% in the coming months, up from the 4% projected in May. The Outlook maintained the May projection of a 3.5% increase in U.S. food prices this year over last.

The Modesto Bee reports that groundwater-dependent residences in Stanislaus County are starting to report that their wells are drying up.

California Drought Status

Hydropower

hydropower-april-7-1hydropower-7-1The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the Electric Power Monthly for April. April generation was 62% of last year and lower than any other year since 2001.

Precipitation

precipitation-northern-7-1precipitation-san-joaquin-7-1Cumulative precipitation for this water year to date is 59% of normal in the northern Sierras and 49%  of normal in the San Joaquin, respectively.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6-30Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 42% of total capacity and 55% of normal.

 

June 23, 2014

This week in… Water Rights

On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released proposed emergency regulations that would streamline the process for curtailing diversions by junior water rights holders in order to protect the supply for senior rights holders. The new emergency legislation outlines criteria the State Board will use in order to determine whether water is available under a diverter’s priority of right. If the water is not available, the State Board may issue curtailment orders, which – unlike curtailment notices – can incur fines for noncompliance.

In its Findings of Emergency, the State Board outlined why these regulations are needed to effectively curtail diversions and to expedite water transfers, something the Governor’s April drought declaration required the State Board to do. Under existing regulations, water users lack sufficient incentive to comply with curtailment orders. This lack of incentive, in addition to administrative delays related to the curtailment process, could result in continued diversions, impacting senior water rights holders.

Within seven days of being issued a curtailment notice, water rights holders must submit a compliance certification form, indicating they have complied with the curtailment order. As of June 20, only 21%have submitted the form.

In other news…

Another new survey shows Californians are concerned about the drought and a majority consider drought conditions to be the “new normal” in the state.

-California Department of Fish and Wildlife is releasing trout and steelhead fish from hatcheries on the American River earlier than expected; low water levels as a result of the drought are causing increased temperatures, which can be lethal to the fish. In other American River news, water flows into the river from Nimbus Dam were increased last week in order to help inhibit saltwater intrusion into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

-Last Monday, a state appeals court restored the power of the State Board to restrict water use by grape growers. Although a Mendocino County judge previously ruled that the State Board lacked authority, the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that the board has the power to stop growers from “using water in an unreasonable manner” and to decide when the protection of wildlife habitat outweighs growers’ needs.

A survey conducted by the State Board shows that, statewide, California has cut its water use by 5% since January, compared to January-May average water use over the past three years. The Regional Water Authority – a joint powers authority formed to promote collaborative water management in Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado counties – reports their region has cut water use 18% compared to the previous two years.

-The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is banning burning on 31 million acres of California state lands. The number of fires CAL FIRE has responded to so far this year is up 70% from the historical average. UC Riverside posted a short, interesting video of Richard Minnich, a professor of Earth sciences, discussing the 2014 fire season in Southern California.

California Drought Status

Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-6-23Nearly 33% of California is now in exceptional drought, up from nearly 25% last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor released last Thursday.

Seasonal Drought Outlook

seasonal-drought-outlook-6-23The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook was released last week. The drought in California is, unsurprisingly, expected to continue into October.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6-23Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 45% of total capacity and 59% of normal.

 

June 16, 2014

This week in… Groundwater

California Department of Water Resources has issued the final California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring (CASGEM) Groundwater Basin Prioritization list, a statewide ranking of the importance of California groundwater basins and subbasins. The list was required by legislation to help the department evaluate the need for additional monitoring under the CASGEM Program, which was designed to track seasonal and long-term trends in groundwater elevations. Of the 515 alluvial groundwater basins and subbasins in California, 127 (or nearly 25%) have been identified as high or medium priority. These basins represent 96% of annual groundwater pumping and supply 88% of the California population which resides over groundwater basins.

The final ranking was determined based on eight criteria: overlying population; projected growth of overlying population; public supply wells; total wells; overlying irrigated acreage; reliance on groundwater as the primary source of water; impacts on the groundwater, including overdraft, subsidence, saline intrusion, and other water quality degradation; and other information DWR determined relevant.

In other news…

  • The Association of California Water Agencies has issued a report about the current impacts of the drought and areas of concern for the coming years. The report also outlines strategies and priority actions to address this and future droughts.
  • The California Sportfishing Protection Alliance and AquAlliance have sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to stop water transfers from the Sacramento Valley through the Delta to the San Joaquin Valley.

California Drought Status

Temperature

temperature-6-16Average temperatures in most of California have been much higher than average this past week, particularly in the central valley. A new report indicates this is the warmest year so far on record.

Precipitation

san-joaquin-precipitation-6-14precipitation-northern-6-16Cumulative precipitation for this water year to date has been 60% and 49% of normal in the northern Sierras and the San Joaquin, respectively.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6-15Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 47% of total capacity and 59% of normal.

June 9, 2014

This week in… Public Opinion

According to a new poll by USC and the LA Times, a majority of Californians believe the drought is a major problem, although most do not want to pay money to address it. Although 89% of respondents believe the drought is a crisis or major problem, only 36% would support using taxpayer dollars to improve storage and delivery systems. The poll also found 78% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans believe climate change was very or somewhat responsible for California’s water supply problems. In addition, 55% of respondents said they would not support legislation that would roll back federal fish protections in order to increase water deliveries.

Although this poll found (as did a recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California) a vast majority of residents say they are taking steps to reduce their water use, only 16% of respondents feel as though they have been personally impacted by the drought. A story published today by the San Francisco Chronicle shows that the Bay Area has not yet achieved the 20% reduction Governor Jerry Brown called for in his January drought emergency declaration. Between February and April, customers of the East Bay Municipal Utility District reduced their consumption by 3% and residents of San Francisco reduced their use by 8%. In San Jose, water use in the first quarter of this year was actually up from previous years. However, the SF Bay region already uses less water per capita than most areas of the state and so one would expect reductions to come more slowly than in other areas. Another explanation may be that customers need time to respond to the call for conservation – installing a low-flow shower head, for example, isn’t a free or immediate response. The figures cited by the Chronicle do not include summer months when water use peaks, and so increased savings may be forthcoming.

In other news…

California Drought Status

El Niño Forecast

el-nino-forecasetemperature-6-6The International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University has issued their June ENSO forecast. The probability an El Niño will develop by October is now 82%, up from 78% last month. However, forecasts predict only a moderate-strength event, which might not be sufficient to generate the statewide precipitation that usually occurs during stronger events.

Average temperatures in most of California have been higher than average this past week.

Snowpack

snowpack-6-9snowpack-6-6Monitoring stations indicate California snowpack is effectively at zero.These graphs show the current and historic percent of the April 1st average snowpack. According to the graph, snowpack is generally about 20% of the April 1st average by this time of year, but is approaching zero.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-6-9Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 46% of total capacity and 59% of normal.

Hydropower Generation

hydropower-6-6The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the last Electric Power Monthly at the end of May. Hydropower generation in 2014 through March is down significantly from the recent historical average. The next monthly update is due out at the end of June.

May 30, 2014

This Week In…Crops

This week we’ll cover what we know so far about this year’s plants of some of California’s major crops:

– According to the USDA’s crop progress report, 95% percent of the rice crops are in fair to excellent condition, while 75% of the pasture and range land was rated as being in poor or very poor conditions. As a result, cattle are requiring supplemental feeding and nutrients, and many are being moved out of the state. Increased production costs and lower yields have resulted in alfalfa prices that are currently 50% higher than they were this time last year.

– The 2014 California almond forecast came out on May 1st and is predicting a very good year for the industry. Although production is forecast to be down 2.5%, total bearing acreage in 2014 is predicted to continue upward, with a 24% increase from 2013. Although the report does not discuss water availability assumptions, it does note that, “water is a concern for many growers this year.” Forecasts for other crops were not available.

– The USDA has also released California’s 2013 walnut acreage report. In 2013, walnut acreage and production were up 8.3% and 6.7%, respectively, from 2011. The 2013 grape acreage report also shows increases in production, with total grape acreage up 3.7% from 2012.

– It is still unclear what the drought’s impact will be on California’s citrus crops. The majority of citrus is grown in the Friant Water Authority’s service area, which is not receiving water deliveries from Millerton Lake. As a result, farmers in this area must rely on more expensive groundwater or purchased water, or else let their orchards go unwatered.

In Other News

– The USDA has designated the California Bay Delta (including the Central Valley) as a Critical Conservation Area (CCA). The CCA – under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program – connects businesses, non-profits, universities, and federal, state and local governments with agricultural and conservation groups to invest in innovative water and soil conservation projects. The overall goal of the California Bay Delta CCA is to promote water conservation, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat throughout the Bay-Delta region.

– The State Water Resources Control Board has ordered post-1914 water rights holders in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River watersheds to stop diversions. SWRCB has also established drought emergency minimum flow requirements in Mill, Deer, and Antelope Creeks.

– The Friant Water Authority (FWA) had petitioned the courts to stop the flow of Millerton Lake water to contractors with pre-1914 water rights, pending the outcome of their lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation to resume deliveries to FWA contractors on the east side of the valley. However, the U.S. District Court in Fresno has refused, and deliveries to the exchange contractors will continue.

California Drought Status

Temperature

temperature-5-30Average temperatures in most of northern California and parts of southern California have been higher than average this past week.

Precipitation

precipitation-5-30san-joaquin-precipitation-may-30Precipitation this past week and month has been lower than the historical average for most of the state, with particularly dry areas in the north and unseasonably wet areas in the Tulare Lake basin.

Snowpack

snow-may-30California snowpack is currently 3% of what’s normal for May 29th and 1% of the April 1st average. According to the 28 automatic snow sensors in the Southern Sierra, there is no more snow in the that area.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-may-30Reservoir conditions haven’t changed much since last week. Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 48% of total capacity and 62% of normal.

May 23, 2014

This week in… Lawsuits

millerton-lake-5-23-899x1024Last week, the Bureau of Reclamation began delivering water from Millerton Lake to the San Joaquin Exchange Contractors for the first time in history. The Friant Water Authority, which represents 21 water agencies on the east side of the Central Valley, is now suing the Bureau of Reclamation for not providing water to the Exchange Contractors from alternative supplies, as it had done in the past. The Bureau maintains that these supplies are not available and that the water from Millerton Lake is necessary to meet the Exchange Contractors pre-1914 water rights.

In other News…

– The Fresno Bee reports that the US Bureau of Reclamation estimates 15-40% losses from evaporation and percolation in delivering Millerton Lake water through the San Joaquin River. – New research shows a 46% reduction in winter fog over the past three decades in the Central Valley. Tule fog is essential for crops such as almonds, pistachios, cherries, apricots, and peaches. – Circle of Blue has produced some cool infographics about the drought: one depicts a graph of historical drought trends,  another maps California’s canal system, this one is an interactive dashboard showing current conditions and historical trends for major reservoirs, and this interactive map shows water use by county.

California Drought Status

Drought conditions haven’t changed since last week, so let’s take this opportunity to look more closely at how recent temperatures and precipitation compare to the historical average.

Temperature

avg-temp-5-23Across the board, temperatures in the state have been higher than average this past week (particularly in coastal southern California), while temperatures this month have been higher than average on the coast, but cooler than average further inland.

Precipitation

precipitation-5-23Precipitation this past week and month has been lower than the historical average for most of the state, with particularly dry areas in the north and unseasonably wet areas in the Tulare Lake basin.

Snowpack

snow-water-equivalentsCalifornia snowpack is currently 5% of what’s normal for May 23rd and 2% of the April 1st average.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-5-23Reservoir conditions haven’t changed much since last week. Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 48% of total capacity and about 64% of historical average.

Soil Moisture

soil-moisture-5-23Here’s an update on soil moisture conditions in the state. To see how things have changed, have a look back at last month’s update.

May 16, 2014

This week in… Wildfires

san-diego-fires-5-16We’re doing another wildfire update sooner than expected, as several large fires have broken out in the San Diego area in just the past few days. The largest of these are in the area around Camp Pendleton. The Pulgas Fire, which broke out yesterday afternoon, is the most recent and has already burned 8,000 acres around the san-diego-fires2-5-16Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton. The fire is only 5% contained. This is the third fire the base has been battling with assistance from other local fire response teams. The Tomahawk Fire broke out in the morning on May 14, having spread from the Naval Weapons Station in Fallbrook to Camp Pendleton. This fire has now engulfed 6,300 acres and is 23% contained. table-5-16

Fire
Acres
County
Date Started
Pulgas Fire 8,000 acres San Diego County May 15, 2014 3:15 pm
Freeway Fire 56 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 5:43 pm
Cocos Fire 3,018 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 4:00 pm
Fiddler Fire 50 acres Shasta County May 14, 2014 2:00 pm
Highway Fire 380 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 1:00 pm
River Fire 105 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 12:12 pm
Poinsettia Fire 400 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 10:30 am
Tomahawk Fire 6,300 acres San Diego County May 14, 2014 9:45 am
Miguelito Fire 632 acres Santa Barbara County May 13, 2014 2:00 pm
Bernardo Fire 1,548 acres San Diego County May 13, 2014 11:00 am
Jacumba Fire 29 acres San Diego County May 5, 2014 4:36 pm
San Lucas Fire 75 acres Monterey County April 30, 2014 2:25 pm
Etiwanda Fire 2,143 acres San Bernardino County April 30, 2014 8:00 am

 

In Other News…

On Tuesday, for the first time ever, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) announced that on Thursday it would begin delivering Millerton Lake water to the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. Although the USBR has historically met its contractual obligations to the Exchange Contractors with water from the Delta, because of the drought, it says it must supplement with water from the San Joaquin River. The Friant Water Authority, a public joint-powers agency representing 21 water agencies along the southern San Joaquin Valley’s East Side and which operates and maintains the Friant-Kern Canal for the USBR, has expressed frustration with the USBR’s decision.

New research published this week in the journal Nature suggests that groundwater withdrawals in the Central Valley may be increasing the frequency of earthquakes.

California Drought Status

US Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-5-13Although conditions haven’t changed much from last week, the entire state of California is now considered to be in at least “severe drought” conditions, with 77% of the state in extreme drought and 25% in exceptional drought.

Precipitation

precipitation-5-15Northern California received some precipitation this week, but the rest of the state remains rainless.

Snowpack

snowpack-5-16California snowpack is currently 4% of the April 1 average, down from 9% last week.

Water Supply Conditions

water-conditions-5-16This graph shows statewide percent of average conditions on May 1 for 2001 through 2014 for snowpack, precipitation, runoff, and reservoir storage.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-5-16Reservoir conditions haven’t changed much since last week. Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 49% of total capacity and about 64% of historical average. Levels in the state’s nine largest reservoirs – which together hold about 74% of the state’s total capacity – are below 60% of their historical average and below 47% of their total capacity.

May 9, 2014

This week in… Weather Forecasting

weather-forecasting-5-9Federal weather forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have increased the probability that an El Niño weather system will develop this winter to 78%, up from 66% last month. According to the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, El Niño events tend to develop between April and June, and reach maximum strength between December and February.   Although these events tend to produce more rainfall in California, development of an El Niño would not guarantee an end to drought conditions. While they tend to produce wetter conditions in southern California, precipitation in central and northern California is more unpredictable. “I don’t want to recommend that you invest any of your retirement in the umbrella market yet,” said Bill Patzert, a research scientist and oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.   In addition, El Niño events are characterized by sea surface temperatures that are warmer than average. Couple this with warming that is already occurring as a result of increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and an El Niño event could result in significantly higher global temperatures. The 1998 and 2005 El Niño years were the warmest on record. Higher temperatures would result in more precipitation in the form of rain rather than snow, increasing the risk of flooding, landslides, and coastal erosion, and reducing the amount of water storage in snowpack.

In Other News:

-On May 5th, the California Water Foundation released a framework for sustainable groundwater management. The report was put together with input from water agencies and associations, natural resource conservation advocates, environmental justice advocates, county representatives, representatives from the agriculture industry, farm bureaus, water quality advocates, and legislative and administrative officials.

-The U.S. National Climate Assessment Report was released on Tuesday and the report’s findings aren’t pretty (although the website certainly is).

-The Kern County Water Agency is putting together a plan to reverse the flow of the California Aqueduct, bringing up to 8 million gallons per day from the Kern Water Bank to parched farmers along a 47 mile stretch of the Central Valley.

California Drought Status

US Drought Monitor

us-drought-monitor-5-9There has been effectively no change in statewide drought conditions from last week.

Precipitation

ca-precipitation-5-9Except for a patch of rain in Fresno County and minimal precipitation in the north, most of central and southern California received little to no rain this past week.   hydro-update-5-9This graph from the California Department of Water Resources shows the percent of average precipitation for the water year for cities throughout California. South Lake Tahoe has had the highest percent of normal precipitationsan-joaquin-precipitation-5-9 at 68%, with average precipitation in Palm Springs a mere 19% of normal. The color indicates regional river conditions; visit DWR’s website for more detailed information on river levels and flows.

Snowpack

snowpack-5-9California snowpack is currently at about 9% of the April 1st average, down from 13% last week. The final snow survey of the year was released on May 1st, which found the snowpack water content at about 18% of the May 1st average.

Water Supply Conditions

snow-studies-5-9This graph shows statewide percent of average conditions on April 1st for 2001 through 2014. The graph includes averages for snowpack, precipitation, runoff, and reservoir storage. May has yet to be updated, but we’ll post it when it is.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-levels-5-9Reservoir conditions haven’t changed much at all since last week.

May 2, 2014

This week in… Wildfires

wildfires-5-2Wildfire Awareness Week begins on Sunday and 2014 has already seen a handful of large fires throughout the state. Since January 1, California has had 14 wildfires that have burned 6,764 acres. An April 29 fire in San Bernardino County is currently 53% contained and has so far burned 2,190 acres in an area north of Rancho wildfires-table-5-2Cucamonga. The Etiwanda fire, which forced the evacuation of 1,600 homes, was helped along by strong Santa Ana winds, withstrong gusts that prevented low-flying firefighting aircraft from entering the area.   wildfire-potential-5-2 Yesterday, The National Interagency Fire Center issued their monthly National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for May through August, with above-normal fire potential expected to begin in June for most of California and persist through August. The outlook noted that current dryness conditions are near record dry levels, conditions that usually aren’t seen until mid-June. Fuels are expected to remain critically dry from mid-June through the end of the fire season.

In News from Sacramento…

-The Department of Water Resources released a report to the Governor’s drought task force, as required by the January drought declaration. The report finds that the majority of the state’s groundwater is at historic lows and is continuing to decline. The recent Executive Order requires that an updated report be submitted in November 2014.

-On Friday, April 25, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to strengthen the state’s efforts to manage drought.

-The State Water Resources Control Board is projecting to deliver curtailment orders for most junior water rights holders in 10 different rivers and their watersheds. This would be the first time this has happened since 1977.

California Drought Status

US Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-5-2There has been no change since last week in California drought conditions, with 77% of the state still in extreme to exceptional drought.

Precipitation

total-preciptation-5-2Large sections of California, including the Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada mountains, did receive some rain this week, although not enough to significantly alter drought conditions.

Snowpack

snowpack-5-2California snowpack is currently at about 13% of the April 1 average, down from 14% last week.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-5-2Statewide, California’s major reservoirs are at about 50% of total capacity and about 66% of historical average. Levels in the state’s nine largest reservoirs are together below 62% of their historical average and below 48% of their total capacity.

April 25, 2014

This Week in …. Water Allocations

On April 18th, the Department of Water Resources increased State Water Project Allocations from 0% to 5%. 1991 was the last time allocations were cut this low, when municipal customers received 30% of their allocation, while agriculture received none. Today, DWR does not distinguish between customer types when making allocations. The SWP – which delivers water to 29 contractors in California – will still deliver “carryover” water stored by local agencies and water transfers, as well as sufficient supplies for drinking, sanitation and fire protection. In other Allocation News… …Sacramento River Settlement contractors and Central Valley Project refuges will receive 75% of their contracted supply, up from 40% last week. …State Water Resources Control Board approved a deal that will allow the Merced Irrigation District to take an additional 30,000 acre-feet of water from Lake McClure. …After hearing their allocation would be cut in half, districts with strong water rights on the Feather River will receive their full allocation. Some districts are also considering selling about 20% of their water to State Water Contractors south of the delta, at the cost of $500 per acre-foot. …And for the first time ever, East Bay Municipal Utility District will get water from the Sacramento River.

California Drought Status

US Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-4-25The California drought has gotten slightly worse this past week, with 77% of the state in extreme to exceptional drought, up from just over 69% last week.

Precipitation

precipitation-4-25Although precipitation remains a small fraction of the historical average, areas in the north did experience some rainfall this past week. Precipitation is forecast for this weekend in the Bay Area and in the Sierra Nevada mountains, however, it is not expected to have a significant impact on the drought.

Snowpack

snowpack-4-25California snowpack is currently at about 14% of the April 1st average, down from 19% last week, and continue to drop rapidly.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-4-25Statewide, California reservoirs are at about 49% of total capacity and about 66% of the historical average. The state’s nine largest reservoirs, representing about 74% of the state’s capacity, are below 54% of total capacity.

Soil Moisture

soil-moisture-4-25California soil moisture has worsened this past week, particularly in parts of Northern California, the Central Valley, the central coast, and the Los Angeles area.

April 18, 2014

This week in… Groundwater

cumulative-groundwater-losses-4-18Groundwater has been on the lips (both literally and metaphorically) of Californians since the drought began. During normal years, groundwater use accounts for about 40% of total water use in the state and can increase up to 60% or more during dry years. This has resulted in groundwater levels that have been steadily declining since the early 1960s and these levels have yet to totally rebound, indicating unsustainable use (see figure). In the current drought, farmers and residents are already drilling more and deeper wells. In some counties, new drilling permit applications are more than double (in some areas quadruple) what they were this time last year. State regulators, water managers, and other decision makers have been taking notice. Yesterday, California state agencies held a workshop to discuss proposed solutions to implementing improved groundwater management. At the workshop, several organizations – including the Association of California Water Agencies, The National Heritage Institute, the Planning and Conservation League, the Valley AG Water Coalition, and the California Water Foundation – gave presentations outlining their solutions. These proposals generally agreed that the state’s focus should be on enabling improvement of local or regional management of groundwater. Plans also noted the importance of defining “sustainable” management; improving data collection and monitoring; identifying a reliable source of funding for improvement projects; and increasing the use and effectiveness of groundwater management plans. Below is the April 18th update of the key information and graphics on the status of the current drought. Much of this information can be found at our California Drought website: www.californiadrought.org.

California Drought Status

Seasonal Drought Outlook

seasonal-drought-outlook-4-18According to the US Drought Monitor, California drought conditions have not changed since last week, with more than 95% of the state still experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions and 100% of the state in some form of abnormally dry circumstances. Yesterday, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center issued their monthly Seasonal Drought Outlook for April 17th through July 31st. The map indicates that California can expect the drought to persist or intensify during this period. In addition, the outlook shows that most of Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico can also expect the current drought to persist or intensify. Other states with large areas that are also expected to continue to be affected include Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Colorado.

Precipitation

precipitation-4-18We have effectively come to the end of the rainy season, and so it is unlikely that we will see any significant change in precipitation until October. This map from NOAA’s Climate Data Center shows the precipitation deficit since the start of California’s water year on October 1st through April 17th. precipitation2-4-18Other than a few, small area of precipitation in the north, California received effectively no precipitation this week.

Snowpack

snowpack-4-18California snowpack is currently at about 19% of the April 1st average, down from 30% last week. According to the US Drought Monitor, much of the snowmelt was a result of abnormally high temperatures in the west, with California temperatures 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Some areas lost half of the snow water equivalence in a single week. This is an extremely rapid drop and indicative of the rate at which the current drought will worsen in the coming dry months.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-4-18Statewide, California reservoirs are still at about 49% of total capacity and about 66% of the historical average. This Department of Water Resources graphic shows the levels of most of the state’s largest reservoirs’ levels as a percent of capacity and historical average.

Soil Moisture

soil-moisture-4-18California soil moisture has not changed much in the past week, with particularly dry areas in Northern California and the Los Angeles area.

April 10, 2014

This week in… Snowpack

April 10, 2014, Oakland, Calif. – On April 8, the Department of Natural Resources reported that snow water content in the Sierras was about 32% of normal, up from 19% as measured on January 3rd, the first survey of the year. This is effectively unchanged from the April 1stmeasurement, which is the most comprehensive survey of the year and is an important indication of future conditions as snowpack is generally at its peak before the spring melt begins. Snowpack provides about 1/3 of the state’s water supply. Current weather forecasts do not show any appreciable precipitation in the next week or so, indicating that the state may be at the end of the rainy season.

Below is the April 9th update of the key information and graphics on the status of the current drought. Much of this information can be found at our California Drought website: www.californiadrought.org.

California Drought Status

The Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-4-10-14Very little has changed this week in California drought conditions. The entire state remains in abnormally dry conditions, with 69% of the state in extreme or exceptional drought. For a description of these terms, check out the US Drought Monitor’s website.

Precipitation

precipitation-4-10-14Precipitation in California remains low. This map from NOAA’s Climate Data Center shows the precipitation deficit since the start of California’s water year on October 1st through April 8th.

precipitation2-4-10-14This week did see some precipitation, mainly in the North Coast, Sacramento Valley, and San Joaquin Valley regions.

Snowpack

snowpack-4-10-14California snowpack is currently at about 30% of the April 1st average.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-levels-4-10-14Statewide, California reservoirs are at about 48% of total capacity and about 66% of their historical average. This Department of Water Resources graphic shows that levels of most of the state’s largest reservoirs levels are currently between 40% and 74% of their historical average.

Soil Moisture

soil-moisture-4-10-14As measured by NASA’s GRACE satellite system, California soil moisture remains low, with particularly low areas in Northern California and the Los Angeles area.

March 31, 2014

The end of the rainy season in California is arriving in a few weeks, and the April 1st snowpack measurement, which is a key indicator of water conditions, is tomorrow. As we approach the dry spring and summer months, the scope and severity of California’s drought will become more apparent, but it is already clear that California is faced with extraordinarily dry conditions, with impacts to all sectors and every corner of the state.

As part of the Pacific Institute’s Drought Response efforts, here is the March 31st update of the key information and graphics that characterize the current drought. Much of this information can be found, regularly updated, at the California Drought website: www.californiadrought.org.

California Drought Status

The Drought Monitor

drought-monitor-march-25Effectively 100% of California is experiencing abnormally dry to exceptional drought conditions, as reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Precipitation

noaa-precipitation-march-23This map shows the extraordinary precipitation deficit since the start of California’s water year on October 1st from NOAA’s Climate Data Center through March 20th.

Snowpack

snowpack-march-30A key component of California’s water supply system is the winter storage of snowpack and its slow release during spring and summer months. Rains in the past week have slightly boosted snowpack, but as of March 30, the Sierra Nevada current snowpack remains near record lows and the water storage is only 29% of normal.

Reservoir Conditions

reservoir-conditions-march-30California has built a massive amount of reservoir storage – over 45 million acre-feet of capacity. But high demand and low rainfall has led to substantial drops in water stored in these reservoirs. This graphic from the Department of Water Resources, updated today, shows that the state’s most important reservoirs are at around 40-50% of capacity, and well below the average for this date.

Soil Moisture

soil-moisture-march-24A measure of drought of special importance for agriculture is the amount of moisture held in soils. As estimated by the GRACE satellite system operated by NASA, California soil moisture is extremely low (as of March 24). This will have serious consequences for farmers planning 2014 production.

Additional Things We’ll Be Tracking in the Coming Months

Hydropower Generation: California’s ability to generate hydroelectricity always drops during droughts, leading to higher costs, greater use of fossil fuels, and increased emissions of greenhouse gases. We’ll evaluate this problem as the season continues.

Fire Frequency: The risks of wildfires increase during droughts. We’ll report on the fire season later in the year.

Agricultural Production: There is concern about impacts of water shortages on farm production, employment, and income, but until data are available on actual production, acreages left fallow, crop prices for California’s commodities, and more, it is not possible to accurately estimate what the overall impacts will be. We will report on this later in the year as data become available.

Fisheries Impacts: California has, for many years, perched on the edge of ecological fisheries collapse, especially in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region. New pressures on water resources imposed by the drought and by growing demands to weaken environmental protections will have an impact on California’s fisheries that will become evident later in the year and in subsequent years.

For more information, visit the California Drought website at www.californiadrought.org.

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