March 2017

Op-Ed Our wild, wet winter doesn't change this reality -- California will be short of water forever

Agriculture is literally sucking the state dry. Food production requires nearly unfathomable volumes of water, and has resulted in the long-term decline of the total available fresh water in California. The great thirst of our highly productive agricultural sector has never been and will never be satisfied by the annual winter storms that feed the state's rivers and reservoirs.

Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2017

Editorial Why a state as blue as California should get Trump's infrastructure dollars

Californians have approved billions of dollars in bonds to meet their own urgent water infrastructure needs, and by all accounts, more will be needed in short order to protect against the kind of flooding we have seen this year and the kind of shortages we have survived in the recent past.There is unlikely to be another federally funded Central Valley Project. The state deserves a huge chunk of any federal infrastructure funding, but slowing down its own build-out is not an option.

Los Angeles Times, March 3, 2017

February 2017

California water bills are starting to trickle out on Capitol Hill

The lead author in the House of Representatives of a big and controversial California water bill that passed last year is back for more. With a Republican in the White House and the GOP controlling Congress, Rep. David Valadao, R-Calif., said Tuesday that he was hoping to build on last year's legislation that was loved by farmers and loathed by environmentalists.

Sacramento Bee, February 28, 2017

California's Water System Built for a Climate We No Longer Have

Diffenbaugh says while drought and floods aren't new for California, climate change could make them both more extreme.

KQED, February 27, 2017

California governor plans to spend nearly $450 million on flood control but says more needed

California Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday he wants to spend about $450 million for flood control but concedes billions more in water infrastructure spending is needed over the longer term.

CNBC, February 24, 2017

Mind the gaps in dam safety

The near-miss at Oroville should give state legislators and regulators all the warning they need that dam safety systems need to be reassessed and strengthened. Herculean emergency repair efforts and a timely reprieve in the weather prevented an ecological and human catastrophe this time. This state cannot simply count on luck and hasty spillway patches to spare lives in the future.

San Francisco Chronicle, February 21, 2017

Dams remain in line for bulk of funding over cheaper alternatives

Peter Gleick, chief scientist at the Pacific Institute think tank, said the wrong lesson to take from Oroville is the need for more big dams. "The real lesson we ought to learn," he said, "is we should be more careful about maintaining what we already have and think about the value of nonstructural solutions to our water problems."

San Francisco Chronicle, February 21, 2017

Does California really need more dams? We're running out of places to put them

Anyway, dams don't make it rain and end droughts. And lack of rain was our principal drought problem, regardless of corporate agriculture's squawking about governments and judges coddling salmon. "You can build more dams, but there isn't more water flowing into California," says Jay Lund, a water expert and professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis.

Los Angeles Times, February 20, 2017

Dam crisis is wake-up call for ageing California water system

The Oroville Dam crisis this week, in which nearly 190,000 residents were abruptly evacuated from a valley below the tallest U.S. dam, illustrates the safety risks of the Golden State's ageing infrastructure in increasingly populated areas. Sixty-four California reservoirs, or around 5 percent of the state's total, are restricted to holding less than their rated capacity due to earthquake risks and other concerns, a state dam safety official said on Monday.

Reuters, February 14, 2017

January 2017

The worst of the drought is over for California, but water restrictions continue

"The two big holdouts would be groundwater recovery and in Southern California reservoir recovery," said U.S. Department of Agriculture meteorologist Brad Rippey. "As you move to the north it's becoming more and more obvious that the drought has been eradicated."

CNBC, January 26, 2017

Roseville, Placer to join Sites Reservoir effort. What it means for water storage plan.

The benefit to Placer and Roseville would be indirect. With a proposed capacity of up to 1.8 million acre-feet, Sites would provide another big reservoir that could feed water into the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to improve water quality and fish habitat. That would mean Folsom Lake -- the primary water source for Placer and Roseville -- wouldn't have to release as much water into the Delta for environmental purposes.

Sacramento Bee, January 20, 2017

California drought continues to shrink

Overall, 44 percent of the state remains in severe drought conditions or worse, down from 49 percent a week ago, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, a weekly study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The improved area, roughly 5.1 million acres, is mostly in the central Sierra Nevada, which has been hit with major snowstorms in recent weeks

Record Bee, January 19, 2017

Should California drought rules be lifted? State ponders question as storms roll in

A chorus of urban water districts Wednesday urged the State Water Resources Control Board, California's chief drought regulator, to allow the state's emergency conservation rules to expire. Water board members, however, indicated that they plan to keep regulations in place, at least for a few more months. Despite the promising start to the winter, they said conditions could turn dry again.

Sacramento Bee, January 18, 2017

Water Scarce to Recharge California Groundwater Basins, New Report Shows

To capture more peak storm flow for the sake of groundwater recharge will require infrastructure, including diversion, storage, and conveyance. Recharge will need to be integrated with potential sources and can be accomplished using percolation, injection or in-lieu management, where current groundwater users effectively switch to a new source of supply.

Sierra Sun Times, January 16, 2017

All this recent rain won't stop California from sinking

The state simply is using too much water - even during wet years. As a result, thousands of miles of prime agricultural area in the Central Valley are sinking. Roads and bridges are cracking, threatening to cause $1 billion in damage. Homeowners are watching their water supply dwindle. "We're taking more out than we're putting back in," said Michelle Sneed, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist in California. "You can't do that forever without running out."

Reveal, January 14, 2017

As Rains Soak California, Farmers Test How To Store Water Underground

The first is simply that California's aquifers are depleted. It got really bad during the recent drought, when farmers couldn't get much water from the state's surface reservoirs. They pumped so much groundwater that many wells ran dry. The water table in some areas dropped by 10, 20, or even 100 feet. Aquifers are especially depleted in the southern part of California's Central Valley, south of Fresno. Flooding fields could help the aquifers recover.

KQED, Jaunary 13, 2017

Obama Administration Aids Giant California Water Project

In an executive order, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell directed federal wildlife officials on Wednesday to release by Jan. 17 a preliminary environmental opinion that directs the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to assist as the $15.7 billion project seeks state and federal permits and other approvals.

ABC News, January 4, 2017