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Daily Digest: Dry February could bring problems for the drought-stricken Valley; Orange County: Historic water pact taps a local source; Are drought conditions in the Southwest here to stay? and more …

In California water news today, Dry February could bring problems for the drought-stricken Valley; The great wet hope: Will this winter’s Niño end California’s prolonged drought?; Orange County: Historic water pact taps a local source; Are drought conditions in the Southwest here to stay?

In the news today …

Dry February could bring problems for the drought-stricken Valley:  “El Niño has given Central California a wet – and welcome – start to the rainy season, raising water levels in foothill reservoirs and blanketing the Sierra with snow. But the tap has been turned off for the foreseeable future.  An area of high pressure over Central California means that rain won’t be falling to the Valley floor or snow in the mountains anytime soon, but may instead bring record-breaking temperatures this week.  Storms still are brewing from El Niño-charged waters to the far west of the Pacific Ocean but can’t reach the Valley because of the high pressure, bubble-like system currently anchored over the area. … ”  Read more from the Fresno Bee here:  Dry February could bring problems for the drought-stricken Valley

The great wet hope: Will this winter’s Niño end California’s prolonged drought?:While the Atlantic coast of America was preparing for last month’s massive snowstorm, California was enjoying a welcome, albeit temporary, reprieve from its four-year drought. The prolonged downpour—a harbinger of the imminent El Niño storms—raised pool levels in Los Angeles by almost three inches, providing your correspondent with an extra 500 gallons of water free of the city’s Tier 1 tariff. Lawns, parks and hillsides that had been left to go brown during the drought (state-wide emergency measures have required cities to cut water usage by 25%) have turned green again. The one dismay has been seeing millions of gallons of precious rainwater pour down hillside gutters and storm drains, as it flowed unhindered into Santa Monica Bay. … ”  Read more from The Economist here:  The great wet hope

Wildlife and suburbia mingle in the Natomas basin:  “John Roberts peered into several small holes in the earth and said they likely were entrances to the winter dens of giant garter snakes.  “This is what we like to see,” said Roberts, director of the Natomas Basin Conservancy. He stood near one of the group’s man-made marshes in sight of Sacramento’s downtown skyline. “They’re probably in there sleeping.”  For the past 15 years, the conservancy has been buying and preserving acreage for wildlife as part of a plan that allows large swaths of farmland in Sacramento and Sutter counties to be covered in suburban homes, shopping centers and industrial parks. ... ”  Read more from the Sacramento Bee here:  Wildlife and suburbia mingle in the Natomas basin

Orange County: Historic water pact taps a local source: For the first time in 68 years, the Laguna Beach County Water District will lessen its total reliance on imported water by tapping local groundwater in the Santa Ana River Basin, district officials said Wednesday.  By summer, the district expects to provide two-thirds of its water needs locally instead of depending solely on water from the Colorado River and State Water Project, said Renae Hinchey, general manager of the district that supplies water to 20,000 residents within an 8.5 square mile area of Laguna Beach. Still to be worked out is a delivery plan, with discussions underway with neighboring districts to tap into their pipelines. ... ”  Read more from the Laguna Beach Independent here:  Orange County: Historic water pact taps a local source

Mercury, DDT and other contaminants in fish at a four decade low: Fish in today’s oceans contain far lower levels of mercury, DDT and other toxic substances than at any time in the last four decades, according to a major review by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla.  The researchers looked at nearly 2,700 studies of pollutants found in fish samples taken from around the world between 1969 and 2012.  They saw steady, significant drops in the concentrations of a wide range of contaminants known to accumulate in fish — from about 50% for mercury to more than 90% for polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. … ”  Read more from the LA Times here:  Mercury, DDT and other contaminants in fish at a four decade low

Are drought conditions in the Southwest here to stay? A new study suggests that dry conditions in the southwestern United States, including the ongoing California drought, may become standard.  The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, analyzes weather types to demonstrate how the American Southwest has already shifted to a much drier climate system than it once had, along with showing a downward trend in overall precipitation. The research, which uses data from 1979 to 2014 collected from across the contiguous United States, could show that the dry pattern will continue into the future. … ” Read more from the Christian Science Monitor here:  Are drought conditions in the Southwest here to stay?

Plenty more news and commentary in the weekend edition …

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.

 

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