A selection of articles on a variety of drought-related issues featuring Pacific Institute staff.


California Got Soaked—But Don’t Start Your Endless Showers Just Yet
01.15.2016 – It’s been pouring in rain-starved California for the past few weeks, so is the Golden State’s drought finally over …Read More.


Gleick: Is the Drought Over? Wrong Question!
01.13.2016 – Given the massive series of storms bringing rain and snow to California over the past month, people are asking …Read More.


Side Effect of California’s Drought: More Climate Pollution
01.03.2016 – Droughts are already getting longer and more severe because of human-caused climate change in the American Southwest and around the world. But the drought-climate …Read More.


California Will Use Aerial Images to Sharpen Lens on Water Conservation
12.02.2016 – California’s water regulators will start using aerial images to measure the green grass and irrigated landscapes of hundreds of communities across the state as part of a new long-term strategy to boost …Read More.


How Water Use Has Declined With Population Growth
11.08.2016 – Water use has not gone up as population increased in the last few years, contrary to popular opinion and expectations. How does this impact how urban water managers …Read More.


Californians Must Recommit to Water Conservation
10.29.2016 – Recent news items raise concerns about California’s ongoing struggle to deal with the punishing drought. The Desert Sun’s Ian James reported this month that Coachella Valley water agencies have …Read More.


California Today: The Drought Isn’t Going Away. What You Can Do.
10.20.2016 – Adam Nagourney, the Los Angeles bureau chief, traveled to a Central Valley farming community that became a national symbol of the drought. He wrote on Wednesday about a setback in …Read More.


California’s Dire Drought Message Wanes, Conservation Levels Drop
10.20.2016 – Remember the California drought? It was all over the news a year ago, when the state took the unprecedented step of mandating statewide water cutbacks. The Sierra Nevada snowpack was at its lowest recorded …Read More.


Why A President Trump Would Be A ‘Massive Disaster’ For U.S. Water
10.19.2016 – Donald Trump told a crowd gathered in Lakeland, Florida, last week that he would ensure the United States had “crystal clear, crystal clean” water if he were elected president. …Read More.


As California Water Use Rises, some Ask: Were Limits Eased Too Soon?
10.19.2016 – This state slashed urban water use over 25 percent in the face of a punishing drought last year, exceeding a mandatory order issued by Gov. Jerry Brown and turning California …Read More.


What Falling Water Conservation Numbers Mean for California
10.11.2016 – It is unclear whether the upcoming winter will be the rainy season the state so desperately needs. If not, California could be facing mandatory water conservation measures again as voluntary …Read More.


Climate Change Could Push Risk of ‘Megadrought’ to 99% in American Southwest
10.5.2016 – A megadrought spanning several decades could be almost certain to hit the American southwest this century if greenhouse gas emissions …Read More.


Peter Gleick: Why California’s Current Drought Is Different
8.23.2016 – Nearly 30 years after founding the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank, Peter Gleick talks about California’s current drought, how it compares to past crises and how the state needs …Read More.


Despite Drought, California Farming Prospered
8.1.2016 – Economic data show that while California farming has seen many changes because of drought, the industry continued its strong growth trend. But total earnings are not the whole picture, especially …Read More.


Wishful Thinking Won’t End California’s Drought
7.24.2016 – I know, you’re tired of the drought. Tired of hearing about it, tired of trying to squeeze a little more savings out of your garden and indoor water use, tired of processing bad news about dying fisheries, drying wells, suffering farmers …Read More.


Complications of ‘New’ Deep Groundwater
7.22.2016 – As exciting as it was to learn of deep groundwater reserves in California, the state’s efforts now are better spent pursuing more cost-effective solutions already at our …Read More.


Drought Felt in Low-Income Bay Area Communities
7.13.2016 – The impact of the drought in rural California has been well documented, but urban areas are also feeling the effects – and low-income communities are especially hard hit, a new report finds …Read More.


Water Agencies Shortsighted with Zero Conservation Goal
7.2.2016 – Coachella Valley water agencies are sending the wrong message to customers who’ve spent the last year struggling to conserve …Read More.


700 Trillion Gallons of Water Found Deep Below California’s Central Valley
6.28.2016 – Stanford researchers have released a surprising new study revealing that California is sitting on top of a vast water resource that we didn’t know was there, and it could hold …Read More.


California May Have a Huge Groundwater Reserve That Nobody Knew About
6.27.2016 – In a surprising new study, Stanford researchers have found that drought-ravaged California is sitting on top of a vast and previously unrecognized water resource, in the form of deep groundwater, residing at depths between …Read More.


How Much Water Are Top Suppliers Committing to Save This Year? Zilch.
6.26.2016 – A year after California attacked the drought with an unprecedented water rationing program that drove cities and towns to cut back 24 percent collectively, state officials have changed course and given local agencies …Read More.


California’s Drought isn’t Over. Why are so Many Water Agencies Ending Mandatory Conservation?
6.23.2016 – Coachella Valley residents have slashed their water use nearly 25 percent over the past year in response to California’s historic drought. Now they face a new conservation mandate …Read More.


El Niño is Dead. Long Live La Niña!
6.10.2016 – El Niño is dead, scientists declared Thursday. It was 17 months old. The infamous climate pattern defined by warmer-than-average Pacific Ocean water is likely to be succeeded by its cooler kid sister…Read More.


El Nino Has Runs Its Course. But Did It End California’s Drought?
6.10.2016 – El Niño has passed on its merry way after 17 months of unusual warmth, wet weather, and unusual storms from the Pacific Ocean around the world. The big story for this El Niño has been …Read More.


Drought Hasn’t Lifted, but California’s Water Restrictions Just Did
5.28.2016 – They told Vince Calcagno to cut his water use by more than a third last year as the desert summer loomed with its 112-degree highs. He stood near the swimming pool in his pretty …Read More


California’s Water Cuts Are Ending, but Don’t Hose Down Your Sidewalk Just Yet
5.20.2016 – In a major policy shift fueled by a wet winter, California officials announced Wednesday that they will lift mandatory urban water restrictions starting in June. The water cuts, which began last summer, required …Read More.


California’s Water Future
5.20.2016 – When California’s snowpack dwindled last year to a tiny fraction of its normal size, the state mandated steep reductions in urban water use. Now that the drought has eased somewhat, the state is …Read More


California Board Allows Water Districts to set Their own Conservation Targets
5.19.2016 – For its first four years, the California drought spread its pain across most corners of the state. The great peaks of the Sierra Nevada were snow-deprived. Central Valley agricultural fields lay fallow. And the trademark …Read More


Thanks El Nino, but California’s Drought is Probably Forever
5.16.2016 – Drought is a tricky thing to define. It is not just a matter of how little water falls out of the sky. If it were, you would be forgiven for believing that California’s wettish winter had ended, or even alleviated, the worst drought …Read More


Water in California: back to Business as Usual?
5.10.16 A wet winter restored rain and snowfall levels in some areas of California to pre-drought levels, prompting questions about unpopular water conservation efforts. During the past five years of drought, the state has undertaken… Read more.


California Looks at Easing Drought cuts After wet Winter
5.9.16 California will consider lifting a mandatory statewide water conservation order for cities and towns after a rainy, snowy winter eased the state’s five-year drought, water officials said Monday. But an executive order… Read more.


State Taking Greater Control over Groundwater
4.30.16– California has long known that its groundwater problem would reach crisis level. Now the crisis has indeed arrived, and as officials in Sacramento roll out rules in an effort to gradually balance water demand… Read more.


No, California’s Drought Isn’t Over. Here’s Why Easing the Drought Rules Would Be a Big Mistake
4.4.16- On March 23, the San Juan Water District, which serves upper-crust residential estates in the Sacramento area, declared that the drought is over. After months of El Niño rainfall, Folsom Lake, the district’s chief water source… Read more.


Snowpack 97% of Average in California’s Northern Sierra
3.30.16– California’s five-year drought isn’t over yet, but the state’s snowpack now stands at 97 percent of its historical average, according to a measurement taken today in the Sierra Nevada. A year ago, Governor Jerry Brown… Read more.


Groundwater Gets a Recharge From Worried Farmers, Scientists
3.18.16- In California’s famous water wars, who controls what water and where has been material for Hollywood movies. But since 60 percent of the water used by agriculture and industry in this drought era is groundwater pumped… Read more.


Reservoirs Are Getting a Big Boost from ‘Miracle March’ – But the Drought Isn’t Over Yet
3.18.16- So much rain has fallen in Northern California recently that federal officials have done what would have been unthinkable a year ago. They opened the spill gates… Read more.


The Future of the World’s Groundwater
Op-Ed by Peter Gleick
3.17.16- As California grinds into what is likely to be a fifth drought year, awareness of the importance – and poor management – of California’s groundwater… Read more.


Water Conservation Efforts Must Expand in Fifth Year of Drought
Op-Ed by Peter Gleick
3.2.16- A fifth year of California drought and continued water challenges now appear unavoidable, even with new storms on the horizon. Sadly, El Niño has so far failed… Read more.


Drought Costs Californians An Extra $2 Billion In Electricity Expenses
2.19.16- Water and energy are interconnected and California’s drought is providing another reminder of that fact. Last week the Pacific Institute released a report… Read more.


Storm Water, Long a Nuisance, May Be a Parched California’s Salvation
2.18.16- The winter rains finally arrived in Southern California, bringing drenching relief this week to a part of the nation suffering one of the worst droughts… Read more.


As California Enters a ‘New Era’ on Water, Cities Seek Their Own Solutions
2.17.16- For California, which has endured four years of extraordinary drought, the state’s wet season is off to an encouraging start. High in California’s… Read more.


A Step Toward Measuring California’s Water
One of the biggest problems facing California during its drought has been its failure to accurately measure water use, especially by farms. New regulations… Read more.


California in Overdraft: Dry Wells and Sinking Ground as State Struggles with Groundwater Crisis
12.10.15- Two decades ago, the rolling hills of Paso Robles were mostly covered with golden grass and oak trees. Now the hills and valleys are blanketed… Read more. 


California Must Capture Water, Not Waste It
Op-Ed by Peter Gleick

11.17.15– We don’t know for sure whether the El Niño we face this winter will be a drought buster or a bust. But we had better prepare for a lot of rain and the potential… Read more.


California agriculture weathers drought — at a cost
9.30.15- Three brown, withered lawns surround David Behar’s home in Marin County, north of San Francisco in California. Behar, who directs the climate… Read more


How Lifestyle Choices Cause You to Use More Water
9.22.15- Californians have cut our home water use by about 30 percent this summer. That’s a serious effort that is paying off, but most of us probably don’t realize… Read more.


Less water might be plenty for California, experts say, and conservation is only the start
9.6.15- Across California this summer, residents have been racking up water conservation numbers that defy expectations — a 27% reduction in June, followed by 31.3% in July… Read more. 


California Agriculture Posted Record Revenues During Drought
8.26.15 – California’s drought has brought with it stories of acres of farmland fallowed and billions of dollars lost. Farmers have undeniably been affected by… Read more


Flow of Cheap Hydroelectricity Slows in Parched West
8.2.15- As rivers and reservoirs shrink across the parched West, cheap sources of water-generated electricity are starting to dry up…Read more.


On four continents, historic droughts wreak havoc
7.27.15– California’s historic drought appears to be matched by severe dry spells on three other continents. Brazil, North Korea and South Africa are bearing the brunt of much lower-than-average precipitation… Read more.


How more lawn restrictions could remake the California landscape
7.15.15- First it was existing lawns, with Gov. Jerry Brown leading the way in urging Californians to rip out swaths of green to save vast amounts of water… Read more.


The Numbers Behind Agricultural Water Use
6.21.15– Perhaps you’ve noticed—and questioned—recent reports about California’s drought and the surprisingly large quantities of water required to produce foods grown there… Read more.


California Cuts Farmers’ Share of Scant Water
6.12.15– Farmers with rights to California water dating back more than a century will face sharp cutbacks, the first reduction in their water use since 1977… Read more.


Your Contribution to the Drought
5.21.15– California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent… Read more.


Drought cuts power production of California dams
5.16.15- Shasta Dam, looming more than 600 feet tall and gatekeeper of the largest man-made lake in California, was designed to perform two crucial… Read more.