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


Op-Ed by Heather Cooley: Why Go for Desal When California Has Cheaper Options? 06.14.2017 – While winter rains have refilled California reservoirs and dumped near-record snow on the mountains, communities across the state are wisely seeking ways …Read More.


The Challenge of Measuring Groundwater in California’s Central Valley 06.02.2017 – A new study estimates that around 9.5 cubic miles of groundwater was pumped from the region …Read More.


California’s Drought Is over, but We’re Still Toting up the Costs 04.26.2017 – It’s been quite a wet season in Sacramento. The National Weather Service Sacramento forecasters have compiled some stats showing just how …Read More.


Season of the Switch 04.26.2017 – The good news: After five years of historic drought, California is awash in water again. The bad news: Schizophrenic …Read More.


California’s Wet Year Eases Drought but Many Still Lack Water 04.17.2017 – Just a week after Governor Jerry Brown declared the end of the California drought emergency, the northern half of …Read More.


How the Drought Changed California Forever 04.10.2017 – California’s historic five-year drought is officially over, washed away with the relentlessly drenching rains, floods and snowstorms of …Read More.


California Governor Lifts Drought Emergency 04.07.2017 – California Gov. Jerry Brown announced the end of the state’s drought emergency Friday …Read More.


California’s Drought May Be Over, But Its Water Troubles Aren’t 03.21.2017 – In the years before California’s civil engineers got around to confining the Sacramento River …Read More.


How Hydroelectric Power has Roared Back in California 03.20.2017 – After slowing to a trickle during the past five years of punishing drought, hydroelectric power …Read More.


California’s Wild Climate Will Only Get More Volatile As Temperatures Rise 03.03.2017 – To understand how climate change is creating a world of extremes, look to California, where the reality of severe drought coupled with …Read More.


California’s Huge Storms Still Haven’t Ended the Drought’s Impacts 02.24.2017 – Several feet of dirty brown water flows through the fields outside Andrew Lockman’s truck window as he surveys the damage from the recent storms. …Read More.


Did the Drought Contribute to Severe Flooding in San Jose? Officials Search for Answers 02.23.2017 – For five long, drought-plagued winters, Mother Nature refused to refill Coyote Creek. Foliage filled its dry bed, and …Read More.


California’s Wet Weather Has Some Believing the Drought is Over 02.22.2017 – A statewide downpour brought chaos to Californians this week, but it also provided some welcome relief to …Read More.


Extreme Droughts and Floods will be California’s Future — Is the State Ready? 02.22.2017 – The erosion of the Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway, which triggered the evacuation of 188,000 people …Read More.


Dams Remain in Line For Bulk of Funding Over Cheaper Alternatives 02.21.2017 – Despite the spectacular near failure of Oroville Dam, a linchpin of California’s vast plumbing system, Congress …Read More.


Expect to See More Emergencies Like Oroville Dam in a Hotter World 02.20.2017 – Scientists predicted decades ago that climate change would add stress to water management systems like Oroville Dam …Read More.


The Dam Truth: Climate Change Means More Lake Orovilles 02.16.2017 – Just two years ago, Lake Oroville was so dry that submerged archaeological artifacts were starting to resurface …Read More.


Oroville Is a Warning for California Dams, as Climate Change Adds Stress 02.14.2017 – The St. Francis Dam was a proud symbol of California’s engineering might and elaborate water system …Read More.


Broken California Dam Is a Sign of Emergencies to Come 02.13.2017 – A deluge of repeated rainstorms set the stage for the near-disaster at the Oroville Dam in California, a crisis …Read More.


Despite Floods, California Extends Drought Regulations 02.09.2017 – The Water Resources Control Board has voted to extend existing conservation regulations, to the chagrin of many water agencies. The decision…Read More.


Despite Objections, State Water Board Extends Drought Emergency 02.08.2017 – Over the opposition of many water agencies, the State Water Resources Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to extend …Read More.


Why Is the Drought Not Over Yet? 02.07.2017 – Since December storms have been battering Los Angeles. In this first week of the city’s traditionally rainiest month, L.A. is more …Read More.


California Struggles with Groundwater Depletion Following End of Drought 02.06.2017 – Perhaps a bit of good news on the climate change front? Although does it come at a cost. Recent…Read More.


Op-Ed by Laura Feinstein: California Should Protect the Most Vulnerable People Affected by Drought 02.06.2017 – Do we ensure that, while nobody has all the water they want, everyone has enough clean, affordable water to drink…Read More.


Desalination of Aquifers Offers Drought-Weary California New Hope 02.06.2017 – California’s historic drought may be winding down. But water officials across the Golden State are increasingly exploring a hidden but …Read More.


Study Finds Two Groups Hardest Hit by California’s Drought 01.25.2017 – A new Pacific Institute study is the first statewide effort to explore the impact of the California drought on vulnerable communities …Read More.

Five Things to Know About California’s Drought After Big Storms 01.24.2017 – California has been hit with multiple large storms in the last month that have brought above-average snow and rainfall to most of the state …Read More.

A Wet Year Wont Beat California’s Never-Ending Drought01.22.2017 – Storm after storm has pummeled California over the past few weeks as a series of so-called atmospheric rivers has come ashore …Read More.

Focus: California Considers Ending Emergency Drought Rules 01.20.2017 – Defining drought in California can be a tricky business, especially when five years of severely dry conditions …Read More.

California Got Soaked—But Don’t Start Your Endless Showers Just Yet 01.15.2017 – 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! 01.13.2017 – 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 01.03.2017 – 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.


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.


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 1.21.16- 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.


Select Videos

The Water Diplomat – Featuring Peter Gleick



Select Interviews and Podcasts

Report: California’s Five-Year Drought Increased Electricity Costs By $2.45B 
KPBS, featuring Peter Gleick, 04.26.2017

Water, Water Everywhere in California, but No Way to Hold onto It
Marketplace, featuring Peter Gleick, 03.22.2017

Celebrating the End of California’s Drought? Not so Fast, say Water Experts
KQED, 03.07.2017

Rains Ease the Drought — and Boost California’s Power Supply, Too
KALW, 03.03.2017

As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground
NPR, featuring Peter Gleick, 01.12.2017

Low-Income Communities Hit Hardest By Drought, Says Report
KVPR, featuring Peter Gleick, 01.12.2017

With 6th Year of Drought Ahead, California is Slipping on Conservation
KQED, featuring Peter Gleick, 12.1.2016

Bay Area’s Low Income Communities Hard Hit by Drought
KPFA, featuring Heather Cooley, 7.15.2016

“Is California Entering a Megadrought?”
Climate One, featuring Peter Gleick, 7.13.2016

Climate Cast: Water Shortages Around the World,
MPR News, featuring Peter Gleick, 5.13.2016

Catching Storm Runoff Could Ease Droughts, But It’s No Quick Fix
KQED Science, featuring Peter Gleick, 2.14.2016

Sierra Snows Ease, But Won’t End California Drought Public Radio International, featuring Peter Gleick, 2.12.2016

Tips for Using Less Water at Home and at Work
KQED Forum, featuring Heather Cooley, 5.1.15

Taking the hydro out of hydropower
Marketplace, featuring Heather Cooley, 4.8.15

New Solutions For Dire California Drought
NPR On Point, featuring Heather Cooley, 3.23.15

CA water wasters go unchecked, as NASA scientist sounds dire warning
89.3 KPCC, featuring Peter Gleick, 3.16.15

Heavy Rains With Warmer Temperatures Not Diminishing California’s Drought Worries
KCBS, featuring Peter Gleick, 12.15.14

Personal Water Conservation
Current Cast, featuring Heather Cooley, 10.6.14

Exploring Water Solutions for California’s Drought
KCBS, featuring Peter Gleick, 9.29.14

Parched: California Drought Update
Sea Change Radio, featuring Peter Gleick, 9.3.14

Drought or not, how should we value water?
Marketplace, 2.17.14

The California Water Crisis – what lies ahead in the future
The Gary Null Show, featuring Matthew Heberger, 2.6.14

Despite Recent Rain, Drought Fears Escalate
Forum, featuring Peter Gleick, 2.5.14

California Drought And The U.S. Food Supply
On Point, featuring Heather Cooley, 1.27.14



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