Daily Digest: Governor issues mandatory water cuts as snowpack hits record low, Scientists say drought worsened by global warming, What Famiglietti meant by one year of water left, Rice growers plant crop despite purchase offers and more, plus some rain & snow on the way …

Daily DigestIn California water news today, Governor issues mandatory water cuts as California snowpack hits record low, New California water reductions don’t apply to farmers, California drought worsened by global warming, scientists say, What this NASA scientist meant about California having a year of water left, Rice growers to plant crop despite water-purchase offers, Thousands of fish left high and dry in Stony Creek outside of Hamilton City, Santa Cruz, Tri-Valley show deep cuts in water use possible, and more …

On the calendar today …

“Understanding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: How the Delta Ecosystem and Water Rights Are Regulated”: Tonight at 7pm, Yolo Basin Foundation’s Flyway Nights will feature senior staff counsel David Sandino talking about water rights and the Delta.  Click here for more information.

In the news today …

California taking sweeping steps to conserve water:  “Gary Whitlock watched water run down to the sidewalk as gardeners hosed down a bed of marigolds outside an Orange County office building and questioned if California’s latest attempt to curb water use would be any more successful than previous ones in the drought-stricken state.  Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered sweeping and unprecedented measures to save water in California. A survey that day found the snowpack, which supplies a third of the state’s water, almost completely vanished. ... ”  Read more from the AP here:  California taking sweeping steps to conserve water

Governor issues mandatory water cuts as California snowpack hits record low:  “Standing in a dry brown meadow that typically would be buried in snow this time of year, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday ordered the first mandatory water cutbacks in California history, a directive that will affect cities and towns statewide.  With new measurements showing the state’s mountain snowpack at a record low, officials said California’s drought is entering uncharted territory and certain to extend into a fourth straight year. As a result, Brown issued sweeping new directives to reduce water consumption by state residents, including a mandatory 25 percent cut in urban water use. … ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Governor issues mandatory water cuts as California snowpack hits record low

New California water reductions don’t apply to farmers:  “Agriculture in California consumes about 80 percent of water used by humans. Brown’s executive order requires farmers to submit information on water usage to the state, but not to cut back further.    Jay Lund of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences says across-the-board cuts to agriculture would be economically disruptive. ... ”  Read more from Capital Public Radio here:  New California water reductions don’t apply to farmers

Farmers, water agencies react to Brown’s water order: An executive order from Governor Jerry Brown imposes a 25 percent mandatory water reduction on California cities and towns. It’s the first such order in the state’s history.  Cannon Michael says that’s enough. He farms 10,000 acres of tomatoes and corn in Central California. … ”  More from Capital Public Radio here:  Farmers, water agencies react to Brown’s water order

More on the mandatory restrictions: Brown orders California’s first mandatory water restrictions: ‘It’s a different world’, from the Los Angeles Times; California drought: Who might feel new restrictions the most?, from the Christian Science Monitor; Brown orders historic cuts, from Capitol Weekly; Water cuts to hit cities, farmers, from the Hanford Sentinel

California drought worsened by global warming, scientists say: The severe California drought that has led the state to order cutbacks in water use may not have been set off by climate change, scientists say, but global warming is making the situation worse.  “The drought is made of two components: not enough rain and too much heat,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton. “The rain deficit isn’t clearly connected to climate change, but the planetary warming has made it more likely that the weather would be hotter in California.” … ”  Read more from the New York Times here:  California drought worsened by global warming, scientists say

What this NASA scientist meant about California having a year of water left:California Governor Jerry Brown announced his state’s first-ever mandatory statewide water restrictions on Wednesday, seeking to curb water use by at least 25%.  While the governor cited a record low snowpack and below average reservoirs in the midst of a four-year drought as the reasons for the move, one particular scientist’s actions may have had something to do with the restrictions.  Climate researcher Jay Famiglietti has pioneered the use of a NASA satellite system to track changes in water use worldwide. … ”  Continue reading at Mashable here: What this NASA scientist meant about California having a year of water left

Rice growers to plant crop despite water-purchase offers:  “Most rice growers with water apparently plan to plant a sizable crop despite offers from urban districts to purchase their water for as much as $700 per acre-foot.  California farmers told the National Agricultural Statistics Service they intend to seed rice on 408,000 acres, or 6 percent below the acreage seeded in 2014, the agency stated in a field plantings report released March 31. ... ”  Read more from the Capital Press here:  Rice growers to plant crop despite water-purchase offers

Up a creek with no water: Thousands of fish left high and dry in Stony Creek outside of Hamilton City:  “The stench of death has been inescapable along Stony Creek for the past couple weeks—particularly for the Hull family, whose homestead and walnut orchard outside of Hamilton City is directly adjacent to the waterway. The smell crosses their lawn and patio when the wind turns. It’s brought inside by their dogs. At night, with their windows shut tight, they’re reminded of it by the cries of feasting coyotes.  The source is thousands of rotting fish carcasses—those of salmon, perch, bass and carp—strewn along the dry creek bed for hundreds of yards and most concentrated in an indentation along the bank below the Hull residence. ... ”  More from the Chico News & Review here:  Up a creek with no water: Thousands of fish left high and dry in Stony Creek outside of Hamilton City

Santa Cruz, Tri-Valley show deep cuts in water use possible: To see how Californians can drastically cut back on their water use as ordered Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown, look no further than the East Bay’s Tri-Valley area and the city of Santa Cruz.  They already did it last year.  Santa Cruz, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin all reduced their water use by 25 percent or more in 2014 by imposing a mix of tiered water rates, penalties and bans on wasteful practices. Residents replaced old toilets and appliances with more efficient models, installed low-flow faucets and gathered water from shower buckets to landscape their yards. … ”  Read more from the Santa Cruz Sentinel here:  Santa Cruz, Tri-Valley show deep cuts in water use possible

Santa Cruz may be a model for conservation during mandatory water reductions:  “As California leaders look for a solution to the state’s severe drought, the governor may want to look to Santa Cruz for solutions. Governor Brown announced a plan for 25 percent water restrictions statewide Wednesday, but it’s something Santa Cruz accomplished last year.  People in the city are considered leaders in limiting water use. Rich Carmona stopped watering his lawn last year and proudly displays a sign that reads Doing Our Part to Save Water. … ”  Read more from NBC Bay Area here: Santa Cruz may be a model for conservation during mandatory water reductions

Decision expected soon in San Juan Capistrano lawsuit that questioned tiered water rates:  “Gov. Jerry Brown’s direction that water agencies consider new rates to encourage conservation comes at a questionable time for longstanding rate models used by many agencies to do just that.  Utility agencies across California are awaiting a ruling from the 4th District Court of Appeal regarding the legality of tiered rates in San Juan Capistrano. … ”  Read more from the Orange County Register here:  Decision expected soon in San Juan Capistrano lawsuit that questioned tiered water rates

In commentary today …

As California withers, emergency order may not be enough, says the U-T San Diego: They write, “Gov. Jerry Brown and state water officials hiked into the Sierra Nevada on Wednesday to one of the usual spots where the snowpack is measured every April 1. But there literally was no snow, for the first time in 75 years of measurements. It was no April Fool’s joke. Statewide, officials said, the snowpack is just 5 percent of its historical average, shattering the record of 25 percent set just last year. Brown commendably ordered the first-ever statewide mandatory water restrictions. We fear he did not go far enough. … ”  Read more from the U-T San Diego here:  As California withers, emergency order may not be enough

Our water future is at a critical crossroads, says Assemblyman Adam Gray:  He writes, “Arguments between local governments and individual farmers over the sale, transfer and local use of water are all too familiar.  Some water districts oppose efforts to transfer water out of basins or across county lines. Some irrigation districts oppose city plans to sell wastewater to other irrigation districts. But regardless of where you stand on these specific disputes, all of us in the Valley must work in unity to confront the single largest threat to our economy, farms and way of life. ... ”  Read more from the Merced Sun-Star here:  Our water future is at a critical crossroads

Lois Henry: Sometimes the water questions are more telling:  She writes, “Sometimes press conferences aren’t informative so much for what the officials are saying as for what the reporters are asking.  Wednesday afternoon, I listened in on a conference call with the Governor’s drought task force where I felt the questions were quite illuminating.  As soon as it was time for questions, BAM, right out of the gate: Why aren’t water reductions being required of farmers? … ”  Read more from the Bakersfield Californian here:  Sometimes the water questions are more telling

Does California need rain, rationing, or prices?  Daniel Bier writes,California is in the midst of a crisis. Its gorgeous weather has turned against it as its fourth year of drought drags on. Looming water shortages are leading to calls for rationing and restrictions on water use.  The state has one year of water left, and 35-year mega-droughts ahead of it. The New York Times bleats, “Reservoirs are low. Landscapes are parched and blighted with fields of dead or dormant orange trees.”  Why is there a water shortage? Almost every news story I’ve read blames the drought. … ” Continue reading at Newsweek here:  Does California need rain, rationing, or prices?

 

weatherPrecipitation watch …

Rain and snow on the way … From the National Weather Service:  “A Gulf of Alaska weather system will bring changes to the weather pattern over the weekend. Cooler temperatures are in store as the system approaches with breezy onshore winds likely but Saturday at this point looks dry. The first in a series of frontal systems is forecast to move onshore Saturday night bringing periods of light rain and snow which will continue through the day Sunday. A few to several inches of snow will be possible over the mountains. A stronger weather system is forecast to bring more significant precipitation early next week. Until then…for today…Sunny and Breezy with above normal daytime temperatures.”

Also on Maven’s Notebook today …

 

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About the Daily Digest: The Daily Digest is a collection of selected news articles, commentaries and editorials appearing in the mainstream press. Items are generally selected to follow the focus of the Notebook blog. The Daily Digest is published every weekday with a weekend edition posting on Sundays.

hard_working_on_computer_anim_150_clr_7364Maven’s Notebook
The diary of a confessed obsessive-compulsive California water news junkie

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