What a difference a few weeks make. While severe drought still grips most of California, the drought may ever-so-slightly be losing its grip. Over the last few weeks, California received two large rainstorms that helped to alleviate some drought conditions. This week, more rain is on the way. AccuWeather projects that some areas of Northern California could see up to 5 inches of rain before the storm wraps up late this week. While this rain is certainly welcome news to all of us who live in California, we must also remember that adequate water storage capacity is the key to capturing the water that Mother Nature provides us. Continue reading
The fourth year of a statewide drought in California has brought some drastic changes to how citizens view and use water in the Golden State. First, both citizens and businesses are becoming more aware of their water use. State and local efforts to quantify how much water individual communities use have garnered recent media attention. Earlier this week, the California State Water Resources Control Board released data showing per capita water use by city across the state. The data showed that the tony cities of Rancho Santa Fe and Beverly Hills had some of the highest per capita water use despite the historic drought the state is facing. Second, the general public’s awareness of the importance of water issues to the state helped to get ballot measures like Proposition 1 across the finish line and into law despite two prior attempts to get a larger-sized measure on the ballot.
In the aftermath of the historic passage of both Proposition 1 and the groundwater legislation earlier this year, we should step back and determine what these measures both can and cannot do for the State of California. In this piece I will review these issues, and look at water planning in the state as we potentially move into the fourth year of drought in California. Continue reading
Sitting before my computer at sundown November 3rd, thinking about whether California voters will pass the 2014 water bond? Hydrowonk believes the outcome depends on the balance among three factors: will the drought and political leadership exerted by Governor Brown overcome the drag of increasing debt burdens on voter support for water bonds? According to the wisdom of the Stratecon Water Policy Marketplace, the answer is yes. This market now predicts that the chance of the water bond passing is 57%. Given the trend in voter support of water bonds and California debt loads, the passage of the water bond would be a remarkable achievement. Continue reading
In my Post last week, I focused on the groundwater depletion that the Colorado River Basin faces. During the historic drought that California and many western states face, water users have increasingly turned to groundwater to make up for the utter lack of rain or surface water supplies. Despite the torrential rains that some areas of California received in early August, the Los Angeles Times reports that these rains did little to dent the drought in the state. The rains either fell on areas that were not seeing the worst drought conditions in the state, or the rain did not permeate the soil effectively. As such, the state still has large areas stuck in severe and exceptional drought. Please see the picture below for a comparison of the drought in California on July 1st (on the left) versus August 12th. Continue reading